A weekend in Newcastle is always a great idea for a coastal getaway that is easily accessed from Sydney within a couple of hours. This industrial harbour city might be famous for it’s coal exports, but it punches well above its weight when it comes to sun, sand and beautiful coastal walks. As one of Australia’s best city breaks, it’s a great idea for a day trip from Sydney, or a longer stay.
There’s also a significant amount of history in Newcastle to be explored including incredible convict-built ocean baths and lovely architecture in the town’s centre.
A weekend in Newcastle will also surprise newcomers with a wide variety of pubs, restaurants and cafes that belie its industrial roots and make the town feel like a modern urban centre.
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How to get to Newcastle
If you’re coming from Sydney to spend a weekend in Newcastle, there are plenty of options available to you including coming by train, bus or car. For out of towners, Newcastle also boasts an airport which provides a gateway to the city as well as to other popular tourist spots such as Nelson Bay and Port Stephens.
Newcastle Airport is serviced by major domestic airlines such as Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia. Flights come in daily from Melbourne and Brisbane.
If you want to fly from Sydney to Newcastle, you’ll be looking at one of Australia’s smaller airlines such as Pelican to do the trip as the major carriers don’t operate the route.
Newcastle has its own central train station that is serviced from Sydney each day. From Sydney’s Central Station, take the train towards Newcastle Interchange and ride it to the end of the line.
The trip should cost less than $10 AUD and take around two and a half hours one way. The benefits of travelling by train? All you have to do is settle into your seat and relax to watch the scenery go by on your journey!
Newcastle is also serviced by a bus line from Sydney’s Central Station at Bus Stand D. The trip will take around two hours and 45 mins to three hours and cost around the same amount as the train.
Given that the traffic can be a little unpredictable on the bus, I’d definitely pick the rail option if I was taking public transport.
A drive to Newcastle for the weekend is a nice easy road trip from Sydney taking just over two hours. Driving has the additional advantage of providing more options to travel around the Newcastle area with ease, including perhaps a stop in the nearby wine country of the Hunter Valley or a drive to Nelson Bay.
If you don’t have access to your own car, then hiring a car from one of Sydney’s many car hire outlets for the weekend in Newcastle. Alternatively, you can hire a car in Newcastle on arrival.
Where to stay on a weekend in Newcastle
Newcastle may not be a capital city of Australia, but there’s definitely an abundance of accommodation options here.
The Novotel Newcastle Beach is a great option for those wanting water views. Rydges Newcastle is also a perfect luxe option with great amenities and the Hamilton Heritage B&B is lovely for an historic feeling stay.
Things to do on a weekend in Newcastle
Walk the Bathers Way
The Bathers Way Walk is a 6km stretch of coastline that connects up to the much longer Great Northern Walk that goes from Merewether Baths to Sydney.
The Bathers Way runs from Merewether Baths to Nobby’s Beach, allowing walkers to sample some of New South Wales’ most beautiful coastal views.
The Newcastle Memorial Walk forms part of the Bathers Way – a 450m trail that commemorates the sacrifices made on that infamous World War One ANZAC Day landing at Gallipoli over a century ago.
The trail is lined with rust-coloured steel silhouettes of the troops with names of local servicemen and women who were involved in World War One.
Check out the Bogey Hole
Found along the Bathers Way, the Bogey Hole is a convict-made swimming hole carved into the coastline. The Bogey Hole can be dangerous and at times is closed, so please heed the warnings before taking a dip.
That said, even just seeing this incredible piece of history is quite remarkable – to think that convicts created this private swimming facility for their commandant, James Morriset back in 1819 is astonishing.
View the historic buildings in town
Newcastle is full of history, as the settlement here dates all the way back to the convict years – and Australia’s indigenous population before that.
The good news is, many of the amazing sandstone historic buildings are still standing and lead to a beautiful CBD walk around the town.
The best ones to look out for are the stunning City Hall and the Newcastle Railway which features the old historic signal box.
Swim at the Newcastle Ocean Baths
The historic open air Newcastle Ocean Baths were first opened in 1922 and the gorgeous art deco style pavilion is still an inviting view on the Newcastle coast today. The baths are open year round, so visitors can pop in for a few laps whilst looking over the white sandy beaches of the city.
Another great alternative to the Newcastle Ocean Baths are the ever-so-slightly younger Merewether Baths (built in 1935) just a little further along the coast. Or, why not try both?!
Take a trip to the Hunter Valley
Ever so slightly inland from the city of Newcastle lies the incredible regional holiday destination of the Hunter Valley. This area is famous for its abundance of wineries and breweries and is an absolute foodie haven.
Whilst the Hunter Valley itself is one of Australia’s best regional destinations to visit, why not couple a trip to coastal beach-side Newcastle with the lush green vineyards and rolling hills of Australia’s wine country?
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