Newcastle has been a port city for over two hundred years. It exports huge amounts of coal, and was once a leading industrial centre. Today its economy is diverse and its arts scene, on the rise. The central city is home to heritage buildings and museums. There are miles of superb uncrowded surf beaches on its doorstep, and to the west is the Hunter Valley, one of Australia's premier wine-growing and gourmet food regions.

History buffs will enjoy gazing at Newcastle's heritage factories and colonial buildings. Check out Newcastle Cathedral for a look at one of its oldest and most significant. Climb the stairs to the top to get a great view of the city. To learn about the convict-miners who fist occupied the area, visit the Newcastle Museum. The convict heritage of the city may be responsible for the irreverent, fun-loving attitude of the locals.

Visit the Lock-Up Cultural Centre to explore a 19th-century jail complete with padded cell and exercise yard. Inside you’ll see exhibitions by local artists. For more art, drop by the Newcastle Gallery. There are some excellent Australian works as well as regular exhibitions.

Spend a few hours by the ocean at Foreshore Park. There are playgrounds for kids and also picnic areas. Walk the breakwater and climb Nobby’s Head for excellent views of the city and coastline. When it’s time to cool off, take a swim at one of the many beaches. Try Nobby’s Beach for calmer surf or Dudley Beach for an uncrowded stretch with good waves. Visit the Newcastle or Merewether Ocean Baths for a saltwater fix without the waves.

Drive 8 kilometres (5 miles) from town to Blackbutt Reserve. It’s a 182 hectare (450-acre) bush reserve with hiking trails of varying difficulty, and animal exhibits including wallabies, koalas and native birds.

Foodies and wine lovers should take the time to explore the charming towns and grape-growing areas of the Hunter Valley. There are dozens of wineries with cellar-door tastings, and plenty of superb local cafés and restaurants serving up gourmet treats to go with the local wines.

Known for

Family-friendly, Hunting and Libraries

Top hotels in Newcastle

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Rydges Newcastle (formerly Crowne Plaza Newcastle)
Rydges Newcastle (formerly Crowne Plaza Newcastle)
4.5 out of 5
Wharf Rd & Merewether St, Newcastle, NSW
AU$199/night
25 Aug. - 26 Aug.
4.5/5Wonderful! (1,410 reviews)

Located in the heart of Newcastle, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Newcastle Civic Theater, Nobbys Head Beach, and Newcastle Beach. Merewether Beach ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,410 reviews)

"Great location with lots of cafes and restaurants within easy walking distance."…"

Reviewed on 11 Aug. 2019

Rydges Newcastle (formerly Crowne Plaza Newcastle)
Image for Ibis Budget Newcastle
Ibis Budget Newcastle
2.5 out of 5
3-5 Thomas Street, Wallsend, NSW
AU$69/night
29 Aug. - 30 Aug.
3.6/5Good! (245 reviews)

Situated in the entertainment district, this motel is 1.7 mi (2.8 km) from Sarina Beach and 2.8 mi (4.6 km) from University of Newcastle. John Hunter Hospital ...

3.6/5Good! (245 reviews)

"Basic hotel - but that's what we paid for! Room clean and tidy & suitable for a 1 night stay"…"

Reviewed on 18 Aug. 2019

Ibis Budget Newcastle
Image for Best Western Plus Apollo International Hotel
Best Western Plus Apollo International Hotel
4.5 out of 5
290 Pacific Hwy, Charlestown, NSW
AU$118/night
25 Aug. - 26 Aug.
4.5/5Wonderful! (1,271 reviews)

Situated near the airport, this luxury hotel is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Charlestown Square and within 3 mi (5 km) of Westfield Kotara and Blackbutt Reserve. Glenrock ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,271 reviews)

"Superb value - excellent location, very clean and spacious room. Attentive, friendly staff."…"

Reviewed on 16 Aug. 2019

Best Western Plus Apollo International Hotel

Popular activities in Newcastle

Nobbys Head Beach
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Nobbys Head Beach

Overlooked by a 19th-century lighthouse atop a rocky headland, this beach and its long breakwater wall are perfect for sunset strolls and romantic moments.

Merewether Ocean Baths
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Merewether Ocean Baths

Bring your family to swim laps and enjoy the sun in these two pools filled with saltwater delivered by ocean waves.

Newcastle Museum
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Newcastle Museum

Upload your portrait to the Face Wall, see a 19th-century locomotive and play with fire in the steel manufacturing simulation of this fascinating museum.

Top activities in Newcastle

Worimi Sand Dunes ATV Tour
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Worimi Sand Dunes ATV Tour

AU$110

Take on the sands of Stockton Beach with an ATV ride that carries you across some of the biggest dunes around. This outing lets you challenge yourself on the high, shifting slopes for an adventure that's both casual and exhilarating.

Unlimited Sandboarding Port Stephens
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Unlimited Sandboarding Port Stephens

AU$28

Sandboarding, Port Stephens You have to experience sandboarding in Port Stephens. The thrill of sliding down the spectacular Stockton Sand Dunes is so much fun! From our meeting point at Birubi beach, you will board our custom built off road vehicles to start your adventure on the short, bouncy ride into the largest moving sand mass in the southern hemisphere.

Hunter Valley Wine Tour with Cheese, Choc & Liquer Tastings
Image for Hunter Valley Wine Tour with Cheese, Choc & Liquer Tastings

Hunter Valley Wine Tour with Cheese, Choc & Liquer Tastings

AU$135

Visit boutique wineries guided by local experts and learn about the wine making process while tasting over 15 different wines. Indulge in local produce and sample gourmet cheeses, chocolate and fudge. Find your favorite and buy some to take home.

Encounter Tour
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Encounter Tour

AU$95

The Encounter Tour is a nature-based CoastXP immersion experience. The tour focuses closely on the annual Humpback Whale (Megaptera Novaeangliae) migration between the months of June and November each year.

Newcastle True Crime Tour
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Newcastle True Crime Tour

AU$34

Embark on a tour around the oldest and most historic areas of Newcastle whilst learning about the city's dark, often violent past. Retrace the steps of infamous criminals and venture down prominent alleys and nooks, listening to the captivating tales that proves truth is stranger than fiction.

Wine, Cheese, & Chocolate Tour
Image for Wine, Cheese, & Chocolate Tour

Wine, Cheese, & Chocolate Tour

AU$75

Spend some time exploring the beautiful Hunter Valley—Australia’s oldest wine region. Follow your expert and friendly guide on a tasting circuit that takes you to 5 different vintners, a cheese maker, and a chocolate factory—all in a day.

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