Situated on the east coast of NSW, Newcastle is surrounded by golden sand beaches, a breathtaking coastline and a beautiful working harbour. The cafes, restaurants and bars, unique architecture and rich history stretch from the city to the suburbs.

Spectacular beaches and coastal scenery, with ocean baths and some of the country’s best surfing spots, are only just the start. Newcastle has museums and art galleries, rich history and architecture to keep the most ardent culture vultures intrigued. Then there’s a dedication to coffee to attract envious glances from Melbourne, a thriving bar and restaurant scene, and on-trend designer shops and artisan markets.

We’ve compiled some of the best Newcastle itineraries around to help you get the most out of your next trip.

Newcastle Itineraries

48 hours in Newcastle

Day one


Good morning!

There’s something so intrinsically Newcastle about an early morning dip in the stunning Merewether Ocean Baths.

With all senses now enlivened, stroll to a nearby beachside cafe for a well-deserved coffee and acai bowl.

Did you know: Merewether Ocean Baths are the largest ocean baths complex in the Southern Hemisphere, measuring over 100m in length.

Instaworthy: Merewether Ocean Baths are a photographers dream, particularly at sunrise


Jump aboard a tour with CoastXP and slip through pristine waters and secluded bays, or opt for a magic morning of whale-watching between June and November.

Did you know: Newcastle Harbour operates 24 hours a day and has about 4,000 shipping movements a year.

Instaworthy: any moment captured on your CoastXP adventure will be worthy of a social media show-reel, try catching a dolphin or whale as they poke above the water's surface to say hello.

Nearby: a short walk from the end point of your tour you'll find the Newcastle Visitor Information Centre  where you can purchase locally made gifts and produce as well as the Newcastle Monopoly board, receive information about tours and events and learn about the history of the city.


Slow things down to a more chilled pace with an amble around the Junction or Darby Street, where you’ll find boutique and high-street retail stores and lively cafes. Grab a relaxed bite between shops to make the most of Newcastle’s high-quality relaxed eateries.

Did you know: Darby Street was named after company surveyor, George Darby, who first laid out town allotments on the company estate.

Instaworthy: capture the street art and twinkling lights vibes in the alleyway next to Goldbergs Cafe.

After the day’s excitement, you’ll be ready to raise a glass to your newfound favourite city at fine-diner Subo.

Keep the night going with cocktails at speakeasy Coal & Cedar or a live band at one of the many pubs with local music. Retire for the night at the Novotel Newcastle Beach.

Day 2


Start your day at yet another iconic Novocastrian swim spot, Nobbys Beach, and enjoy the view as the sun rises over the sea.

Did you know: on June 8, 2007, Newcastlemade international headlines when the coal ship Pasha Bulker ran aground on Nobbys Beach during a deadly east coast low. The abstract sculpture, Grounded (pictured), was erected to mark the anniversary.

Instaworthy: sunrise over Nobbys Beach is worth the early start, both for the swim and the photography. 


Newcastle has a fascinating and important Australian history; one best uncovered on a guided walking tour with Newcastle Afoot, which takes you on a journey from the sea to the city streets.

Did you know: Fort Scratchley, sitting atop the hill in Newcastle East, was responsible for what are still the only shots fired at enemy vessel from the Australian mainland. It took aim at a Japanese submarine in June 1942.

Instaworthy: capture the unique streets of Newcastle East as you explore with Newcastle Afoot. The terrace houses on Zaara Street, Alfred Street and Stevenson Place are particularly photo-worthy.

You could easily be enticed back to Newcastle Beach for a pre-lunch paddle and a beachside burger. Once refreshed, walk off lunch on the Bathers Way, a spectacular six-kilometre walk hugging the coastline from Nobbys Beach to Merewether. Alternatively, shorten the walk by heading straight to the stunning ANZAC Memorial Walk.

Did you know: the steel silhouettes of soldiers on the ANZAC Memorial Walk are inscribed withclose to 4,000 family names of almost 11,000 known Hunter Valley men and women who enlisted during WWI.

​Instaworthy: the Bathers Way is one long Insta-worthy walk. Capture the waves rolling into Newcastle Beach, the green of King Edward Park, the steel silhouettes at ANZAC Memorial Walk or the stretch of beach from Bar to Merewether Beach. take your pic(k)!

Something extra: if you prefer to take your walking sight-seeing up a notch, check out our Run Newcastle blog to discover the best running trails around the city.

Spend the evening soaking up a harbour-side sunset in the Honeysuckle precinct before closing the curtain on your stay with a show at the exquisitely preserved Art Deco Civic Theatre.

Did you know: Civic Theatre dates back to 1929 and features stunning Art Deco architecture. Although designed as a live theatre, it was leased immediately as a cinema, and used as such for almost 50 years.

Instaworthy: a harbour-side sunset is a special sight. Align the dusk lighting, cocktail in hand and a ship coming into harbour in the background. 

Let's be friends: if you loved your trip to Newcastle (and we are sure you did), why not follow them on Instagram and share your photos by tagging

Family fun in Newcastle

Day 1


Wake to the blast of the ship horns coming into Newcastle harbour.

Make your way to Nobbys Beach where surfers suit up for an early morning wave. Hire a bike from Newcastle’s electric bike share BYKKO and head south along Shortland Esplanade (the Bathers Way) where hopeful pelicans await breakfast from fisherman at the Cowrie Hole.

Just a bit further on watch swimmers crawling through the water at the Newcastle Ocean Baths with its distinctive art deco facade. Stop for coffee and breakfast overlooking Newcastle Beach at Estabar or Liquid Gold and you’re ready for a great day exploring Newcastle.
*Grab an Insta-snap inside the tunnel beneath the road at Newcastle Beach where you’ll find a colourful mural by local artist Trevor Dickinson.


Grab some fish and chips from Scotties, the Kiosk or Scratchleys and share a chip or two with the seagulls.

Afterwards head for the Newcastle Museum at Honeysuckle. Explore the city’s indigenous Awabakal roots to a history forged by convicts, coal and steel. Kids will love the hands-on science centre Supernova and Mininova Gallery.

If you want to get out on the water book a coastal sightseeing or whale watching cruise (June-November) with CoastXP departing from Honeysuckle Foreshore.


Book in for a tour of the tunnels at historic Fort Scratchley standing proudly on Flagstaff Hill. A resounding boom echoes across the city daily (aside from Tuesday when the fort is closed) from the historic fort as two-pound cannons are fired at the same time the ball on Customs House drops.

Afterwards Newcastle’s magnificent King Edward Park awaits. Let the kids loose on the playground while you take in the stunning coastal vistas. At dusk make for Strzelecki Lookout and take a stroll along the magnificent clifftop Anzac Memorial Walk with its 360-degree vistas of Newcastle’s coastline to the Hunter Valley beyond.

Note: Fort Scratchley is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Enjoy a sundowner or two at one of the many bars lining the harbour at Honeysuckle followed by dinner at family friendly Antojitos (kids will love the caravan cubby house), Parry Street Garage or Asa Don in King Street with its charming courtyard dining. Rascals and Newy Burger Co. meanwhile serve up fabulous gourmet burgers the whole brood will love.

Day 2


After breakfast at any of Newcastle’s many cafes, make the 10-minute drive to Blackbutt Reserve, our beating green heart.

Take a stroll through the bush, meet native wildlife, be dwarfed by soaring gums and listen to a cacophony of bird calls.

There are two playgrounds at Blackbutt – Carnley Reserve Adventure Playground and the newer Richley Reserve Mega Adventure Playground with its rope courses, bridges, swings and slides and an adventure tower for everyone from toddlers to tweens. 

*You can see a reptile show at 11am on weekends and throughout school holidays for just $3 per person, or book for a private reptile encounter (charges apply).

Enjoy a picnic lunch at Blackbutt (or use one of the free electric barbecues) then head for the Treetops Adventure Park at Minmi (around a 20-minute drive away). Kids as young as three can enjoy a treetop adventure with the family with flying foxes, ziplines, aerial walks and suspension bridges offering a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy.

Note: check with the venue directly for chages to operations.

Back in Newy take a stroll along the Bathers Way and enjoy an ice cream at the beach (Estabar sells gelato while any of the beach kiosks sell ice creams. An ice cream van also operates from Nobbys Beach carpark most weekends). 

*Bar Beach is home to the awesome Empire Skate Park. Watch the cool kids drop into the 3.3m deep golden bowl.


Before heading home make your way to the inner city harbourside suburb of Carrington and enjoy a craft beer and pub meal at the Criterion, book a table at Napoli Centrale in King St for a traditional Italian pizza or head for the Merewether Surf House overlooking the rolling waves – playground for both surfers and dolphins.

You’ve only just scratched the surface so make plans for your next adventure back to Newcastle.

Credit: VisitNewcastle

Friends weekend getaway

Day 1

Welcome to Newcastle, first things first - check into your weekend accommodation at the Terminus Apartments. Housed in a 19th century sandstone building its harbourside apartments offer full kitchens, Netflix and tasteful coastal hues in individually designed studio, one and two-bedroom apartments. Book adjoining apartments if you’re travelling in a really big group – one with harbour views if you’re feeling flush.


Enjoy the salty spray on your face as you sail into the weekend with Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club’s Friday Harbour Sail program. Afterwards, enjoy sundowners with fellow yachties and old salts back at the clubhouse. It’d be rude not to.

- 5:15pm meet at Marina (hitting the water around 5:30pm). You'll be back ashore around 7:30pm
- $50 per person
- Force 24 inshore keelboats, lifejackets, safety equipment and qualified instructors provided.
- Set sail with your instructor and up to three other participants


As the sun slips into the harbor, punters flock to Newcastle’s lively drinking holes. Continue the weekend wind down at the Landing Bar and Kitchen smack bang along the foreshore at Honeysuckle.
One of the city’s best vantage spots to catch the sunset, The Landing is all about good food and delectable drinks shared with your favourite peeps. Choose from a modern Australian menu with selection of share plates that pay tribute to local producers.
Day 2


Turn off the alarm, there's no rush this morning so enjoy that sleep in. 

When your awake, head around the corner for a delicious breakfast at the Edmonds opposite Pacific Park.


Grab a coffee to go and enjoy it on a brisk stroll out to Nobbys Lighthouse (roughly 4km return).


Head for the inner city harbourside village of Carrington where you’ll find the swanky Earp Distillery Co.

Join a two-hour spirit making class (must book ahead) starting at 12:30pm which runs through the history of distilling, a tasting of Earp’s namesake gin and allows participants to use their choice of botanicals to create their very own bespoke gin.

Our suggestion - book a table for before the class and enjoy some tasting plates for lunch. 


After a wardrobe change it’s time to paint the town red. Travel by Light Rail and alight for The Koutetsu (walk from the Honeysuckle stop through to Hunter Street), a dimly lit, seriously sexy Japanese inspired speakeasy where bartenders craft bespoke cocktails teamed with moreish gyoza. Try the gin from The Farmer’s Wife Distillery at nearby Stroud.
Re-board the Light Rail one stop or walk 900 metres to cult music venue The Cambridge Hotel. Grab a gourmet kebab or moreish rice bowl from the Lost Boys Kebab. Belly full retrace your steps and head east two stops on the Light Rail for Coal and Cedar. This cool prohibition style bar concealed behind a barbershop wall (you need a password for entry) is housed in one of Newcastle’s many heritage buildings. Get cosy in a booth or prop yourself up at the bar and watch tattooed bar tenders crafting top shelf cocktails like Apple Hooch made from tart Granny Smith apples or an epic whisky sour.
If you’re up for a nightcap the upstairs bar at moody Asian inspired Ginger Meg’s nearby will have you wondering whether you’re in Newcastle or Tokyo. It’s a five minute walk tops from Coal and Cedar.

Day 3


Newy starts the day with the blast of the ship’s horn, early morning laps and coffee so rise and shine and dive right in.
Head left from The Terminus down Scott Street to Momo Wholefoods (it’s where Scott and Hunter Streets meet) – it’s a five minute stroll or one stop on the Light Rail. Grab a table in this light-filled café housed in a historic bank building. With a wholefood menu weighted with vegan, vegetarian and delicious healthy options, this soulful café is like a nice warm hug. 

Head back to the Terminus Apartments, pack up your things and check out. 
But be ready, your Newy weekend isn't over yet

If the sun’s shining, jump in the car and head for Hickson Street Merewether.

On the way, visit Harris St Farms (on Darby St) and pick up some picnic supplies. 

Park and look for the track beneath the water tower. Take a walk through towering trees before sandstone steps lead you down to a grassy patch better known as Hickson Street Lookout. This epic lookout is a popular launch pad for hang gliders and for couples tying the knot. Enjoy a picnic with arguably Newcastle’s best views.
Credit: VisitNewcastle

Newcastle's cultural charms

Day 1

Arrive into Newcastle (or Newy as it is affectionately known). Built on the back of convicts and forged by fire and steel, NSW's second largest city is midway through a mighty metamorphous. 

Make your way first to the inner-city suburb of Wickham where on Greenway Street surrounded by street art you’ll find Dark Horse Espresso. Enjoy coffee and friendly banter before popping next door to the House of Lita, a fashion and homewares store that sells beautiful artwork including works by local artist Kiasmin Betina (you can find her works scattered across Newcastle).


From there check into your sustainably luxurious room at the city’s newest five star hotel, Crystalbrook Kingsley. With the best of the city’s cultural experiences on its doorstep the Kingsley celebrates both Newcastle's past and its extraordinary future. 


This afternoon take a wander along King Street to Newcastle’s historic east end admiring the heritage listed Watt and Church Street Terraces enroute.

Continue across Watt St and down Shortland Esplanade before popping in for a drink with the locals at cool bars like the Falcon or Saints Gin Bar. Order an "East End Ice Tea" inspired by Newcastle Beach on a summer's day.

Day 2

Rise and shine. After breakfast at The Kingsley’s rooftop Roundhouse restaurant take a stroll to The Station via the harbour foreshore which bustles with tug boats, freighters and yachts with billowing sails.

Newcastle’s former railway platform is now a grand outdoor event space complete with piazza, kids scooter track, retail and heritage charm in spades.

Browse the Homegrown Markets, the custom made designs of JTaranaki Jewellery or pop into Make Space, an experimental creative workshop and gallery operated by a collective of award-winning local artisans.


Afterwards stroll back for coffee at Mr Sister located in the newly opened East End Village. Owners Garth and sister Bec have brought their caffeine prowess back to the CBD after selling One Penny Black (another great café) six years ago.

Neighbouring Studio Melt and Honest Paper are also worth a browse.

On your way back to The Kingsley, see Sandra Minter-Caldwell’s evocative sculpture of five, life size figures depicting Newcastle’s migrant heritage while adjacent to Newcastle Local Court is a whimsical bronze statue of a paparazzi dog and rabbit woman by Gillie and Marc.

*The Olive Tree Market, Newcastle’s longest running market, is another must see market, usually held on the first Saturday of the month in Civic Park. Shop for local and ethically made goods and contemporary art while soaking up the quintessential Newcastle vibe.


After some downtime, head to Coal River and Co in Darby Street or Asa Don in King Street for an early pre-show.

Then make way to the Civic Theatre – home to a fantastic line-up of local and national acts. Considered one of NSW’s finest theatre buildings designed by Henry Eli White, architect of Sydney's State and Capitol Theatres, the Civic Theatre is The Kingsley’s next door neighbour.
While you’re there admire Herb Gallop’s iconic painting of Nobbys Beach in the lobby. This iconic painting is the inspiration for local mural artist Bronte Naylor’s vintage seaside scene ‘Mirror Ocean’ in Civic Square.

Day 3

Explore Newcastle’s abundance of 19th and 20th century buildings on a self-guided architecture walk.

The 2.2 km walking tour takes in City Hall, Newcastle Art Gallery (Australia’s first purpose built regional art gallery) and the Frederick Menkens designed Baptist Tabernacle with its elaborate neo-classical Corinthian façade inspired by the Spurgeon Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.

A highlight is Miss Porter’s House, a distinctive 1910’s Edwardian Terrace which was the lifelong home of Ella and Hazel Porter. The building retains Edwardian and 1940s period furnishings, unique stencilled ceilings and thousands of objects acquired by the sisters over the decades. Bequeathed to the National Trust of Australia (NSW) it’s open to the public on the second Sunday of the month.


After exploring this snapshot of pre-1950s life in Newcastle pop into Papa’s Bagel Bar for brunch. You’ll find this funky New York style bagel café with its open kitchen and vinyl spinning on the corner of Devonshire and Hunter Streets, around a 200m walk away.


After checking out of the Kingsley, stroll around the corner to Newcastle artist Mitch Revs’ Gallery and unleash your inner artist. Professional artists will guide participants through this fun step-by-step Pinot and Picasso class involving singing, painting and sipping.
Masterpiece in hand, it’s time to bid adieu to Newy and its cultural riches till next time.
Credit: VisitNewcastle

Couples guide to Newcastle

Day 1


Suitably sated, check into one of the 130 elegant rooms and suites at the newly opened five star Crystalbrook Kingsley. Situated in Newcastle’s landmark ‘Roundhouse’ building, Newcastle’s first five star hotel offers sustainable luxury in the city’s former council administrative headquarters.


Make for The Edwards, owned by former Silverchair bass player Chris Joannou. Novocastrian born-and-bred Joannou is also co-owner of The Criterion Hotel and lauded eatery Flotilla but the much-loved Edwards is where his hospitality journey began.
Having literally risen from the ashes of a fire which saw it closed for just over a year, The Edwards is housed in a former dry cleaning business owned by Joannou’s parents in the post-industrial streetscape of Newcastle’s West End. Both the food and welcome are as warm as a summer’s day at this local fixture. Try the Spanner crab omelette, XO sauce, ginger and shallot or tuck into a signature Eddies burger on the farm to plate menu washed down with a local ale.  


As the sun sinks head for the striking rooftop bar Romberg’s (at Crystalbrook Kingsley) for a drink and then wander hand in hand over to the heritage listed Civic Theatre next door for a show.

Day 2


After breakfast at The Kingsley’s rooftop Roundhouse restaurant head for Nobbys Beach.

Ben Ogden from Newy Rides will be waiting with a glass of locally made Dirt Candy wine in hand. His ‘Essentials X The Burbs’ cycle tour starts with a ride along Nobbys Breakwall, skirts the harbour and takes in street art from Newcastle’s inaugural Big Picture Fest including Fintan Magee’s large-scale Shadow at Museum Park.

Participants ride on to the harbourside village of Carrington for a craft beer or gin tasting at either Styx Brewery or Earps Distillery (itineraries change). 


Finish your Newy Rides bike tour with authentic Texan BBQ served up from an orange bus. 

After some downtime, make your way to Signal Box, another of Newcastle’s foodie finds.
Housed in an historic working railway signal box Signal Box’s minimalist steel and concrete dining pavilion pays homage to its industrial past while a rooftop space offers city vistas and glimpses of the old signalling and lever gear.

The repurposed space now offers a contemporary Modern Australian bistro menu where almost everything is made from scratch. Think kingfish ceviche or perhaps a hearty vegie curry made from fresh local produce served with coconut yoghurt and flat bread. Wash it down with some of the Hunter Valley’s best wines.


From the Signal Box it’s a flat 10-minute stroll along the Market Street Lawn precinct home to The Kingsley, alternatively you can catch the Light Rail one stop from Queens Wharf to Civic Station. 

Before you hit the sheets, make sure you call reception and ask for a late checkout in the morning. 

Day 3


Rise and shine and make for the Newcastle Beach, the start of the glorious six-kilometre Bathers Way. From The Kingsley, jump on the light rail stopping at Newcastle Beach.

Follow the footpath along the coastline, taking in rolling Pacific Ocean vistas, passing King Edward Park, Bogey Hole and the former Shepherds Hill military complex.


Finish the walk when you see the steel silhouettes. No trip to Newcastle is complete without visiting this spectacular 450m walkway, that was built in 2015 to mark the centenary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli.  

The steel silhouettes of soldiers are inscribed with the family names of almost 11,000 Hunter Valley servicemen and women who enlisted during World War One. 


Make your way to the popular Cooks Hill cafe, the Autumn Rooms. Choose the leafy rear courtyard or head upstairs overlooking the bustling streetscape where light pours through the windows. The menu ranges from dishes like ‘Morning Greens’ topped with a Cornucopia biodynamic egg or house made crumpets with poached pears, walnut praline and creme fraiche. Expect great coffee, award-winning tea (the ginger bread chai is a winner). If you’re feeling celebratory (you’re on holidays after all) order a Moscow Mule.

Afterwards browse Darby Street’s boutiques (explore Blackbird Corner, Abicus and Steel and Anchor to name but a few)


Check out and head home bidding adieu to Newy - till next time that is.
Credit: VisitNewcastle