Eclectic and ever-evolving city extraordinaire
Metropolitan Newcastle is the second most populated area in New South Wales. Located 162km north-east of Sydney, it’s the Hunter region’s leading city. Once known as the 'steel city', thanks to the BHP steelworks that was the biggest employer here until its closure in 1999, Newcastle has metamorphosed into a highly liveable, buzzing city with top-drawer café and culinary cultures.
It's the perfect place for creative types: from the Newcastle Jazz Festival to the This Is Not Art new media and arts event and Electrofringe, the National Young Writers’ Festival and an active youth music culture, Newcastle rates high on inspiration, innovation and inventiveness. If you're more beach-bunny than artist, your needs are well covered by the three distinctly different beaches here, from Nobbys in the north to Merewether in the south. They're linked by Bathers Way, a spectacular three-hour coastal walk, so there's something to get you out and active, too.
Things to do
Underground Epicureans run food tours of Newcastle, where the trail takes you to a different, favourite restaurant for each dish. Enjoy an ambulatory long lunch in the foodie hotspot of the east end, or a breakfast trail that lets you explore a charming corner of the city. A great way to discover the locals' favourite dining spots.
Architecturally breathtaking, the Art Deco-style Newcastle Ocean Baths is one of the city’s most enduring historical landmarks, dating back more than a century. This saltwater bathing complex is not just a magnificent place to swim, it has also long served as an open-air studio backdrop for photographers and a magnet for Art Deco aficionados. And it really is a magnificent place to swim!
From late May to early November each year, the Newcastle coastline welcomes thousands of humpback whales as they undertake their annual migration from the Antarctic Southern Ocean to the warmer waters off Hervey Bay, Queensland. An estimated 20,000 humpbacks make their way along the beautiful coastline here and are best spotted from Birubi Point, Bar Beach Cliff, King Edward Park or Redhead Beach.
Distance to city centre 27km
Taxi A taxi ride into central Newcastle costs around AUD $70-80 and takes about 25 minutes.
Bus Port Stephens Coaches route 130 runs several times a day to Newcastle Bus Terminal, taking around 40 minutes. Hunter Valley Buses route 136 runs approximately once an hour Monday to Friday to Stockton Wharf, taking around 30 minutes. Bus fares are around AUD $5.Back to top
When to go
Newcastle boasts a subtropical oceanic climate: summers are warm and winters are generally mild. Rainfall is heaviest in late autumn and early winter. This is truly a year-round destination, plus or minus a layer of clothing.
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Transport for NSW runs Newcastle’s public transport system, Newcastle Transport, consisting of a comprehensive bus and light-rail network around the city and suburbs, and ferry services between Stockton Wharf and Newcastle Wharf.
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