Nobbys Beach, Explore Australia Publishing

Population 493465

Newcastle began as a penal settlement and coalmining town, with a shipment of coal to Bengal in 1799 noted as Australia's first export. It soon became an industrial city, known for its steel works and port. As the steel industry is phased out, Newcastle is developing a reputation for being an elegant and cosmopolitan seaside city. The spectacular harbour is the largest export harbour in the Commonwealth and the town is bordered by some of the world's finest surfing beaches.

Visitor Information

Newcastle Maritime Visitor Centre, 3 Honeysuckle Dr; (02) 4929 2588 or 1800 654 558

Nearby national parks

Nearby towns

  • Raymond Terrace

    Situated on the banks of the Hunter and William rivers just outside Newcastle, Raymond Terrace was an important wool-shipping area in the...more

  • Maitland NSW

    Maitland is in the heart of the world-class Hunter Valley wine region, on the Hunter River. Built on flood plains, it has suffered 15 major...more

  • Nelson Bay

    Nelson Bay is a coastal tourist centre that has remained small enough to maintain its charm. With outstanding white beaches and gentle...more

In Town

Fort Scratchley This fascinating fort was built in 1882 amid fears of Russian attack. Soldiers' barracks and officers' residences were built in 1886. It is one of the few gun installations to have fired on the Japanese in WW II and it remains in excellent condition. Explore networks of tunnels, gun emplacements and fascinating military and maritime museums. Nobbys Rd; (02) 4929 3066; open Wed–Mon, 10am–4pm.

Queens Wharf: centre point of foreshore redevelopment with restaurants, boutique brewery and observation tower linked by a walkway to Hunter Street Mall.

Newcastle Regional Art Gallery: broad collection of Australian art including works by Arthur Streeton, Brett Whiteley, William Dobell, Sidney Nolan and Russell Drysdale, as well as changing exhibitions; closed Mon; Laman St; (02) 4974 5100.

Darby Street: Newcastle's bohemian enclave has vibrant restaurants and cafes, giftshops, galleries and young designer boutiques.

King Edward Park: waterfront recreation reserve since 1863 featuring sunken gardens, ocean views, band rotunda (1898), Soldiers Baths (public pool) and Bogey Hole, a hole cut in rocks by convicts; Shortland Espl.

Merewether Baths: largest ocean baths in the Southern Hemisphere; Scenic Dr.

Blackbutt Reserve: 182 ha of bushland with duck ponds, native animal enclosures, walking trails, and picnic and barbecue facilities; New Lambton, off Carnley Ave; (02) 4904 3344.

Hunter Wetlands Centre: 45 ha wetlands reserve 10 min from the city centre, with bike trails, playground, treasure hunt, guided eco-tours, canoe hire, picnic areas and cafe; Sandgate Rd, Shortland; (02) 4951 6466.

Self-guide walks

: include Town Walk and Shipwreck Walk; maps from visitor centre.


: on the river and harbour; bookings at visitor centre.


Lake Macquarie The enormous saltwater lake provides a huge aquatic playground with secluded bays and coves, sandy beaches and well-maintained parks lining its foreshore. Lake cruises leave from Toronto Wharf and Belmont Public Wharf. Dobell House, on the shore at Wangi Wangi, was the home of artist Sir William Dobell and has a collection of his work and memorabilia. Open to the public Sat and Sun 1pm–4pm and public holidays; (02) 4975 4115. The Lake Macquarie Heritage Afloat Festival is held here every Apr. 20 km S.

Munmorah State Recreation Area: Munmorah State Conservation Area: coastal wilderness with great walking, picnicking, camping, swimming, surfing and fishing; 15 km W; (02) 4972 9000.

Eraring Power Station: regular tours include access to cooling towers and a simulator used to train operators; bookings essential, phone (02) 4973 0700; 22 km S.

Swansea: modern resort town enjoying both lake and ocean exposure. It is popular with anglers and has excellent surf beaches; 24 km S.

Surf beaches: many with world-class breaks, including Newcastle, Merewether and Nobbys; details from visitor centre.

Fishing spots near town

Port Stephens 39 km

 Port Stephens is about 220 km north of Sydney and offers a mixed bag of quality species. In the estuaries, bream, flathead, mulloway and whiting dominate the catch while beach anglers do well on tailor, whiting and... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Snorkelling and diving around Nelson Bay 41 km

Nelson Bay and surrounds offer some superb snorkelling and diving. Many locations are accessible by boat only, such as beautiful Broughton Island, but there are some exceptional shore dives and snorkelling – some... Find out more

Golf courses around town

Newcastle Golf Club 7 km

Long before American Tom Doak became the revered course designer he is today, he travelled the world playing and studying more than 800 courses. He made notes on every one, before compiling them into what he called ... Find out more

Pacific Dunes Golf Club 20 km

Advances in club and ball technology, aimed at helping players hit longer and straighter, have had a big effect on golf course architecture since the early 1990s. Many new developers have urged designers to stretch... Find out more

The Vintage Golf Club 48 km

Hunter Valley semillon, with its zesty aromas and flavours, is sometimes described by wine experts as ‘Australia’s wine gift to the world’. Its appeal also lies in its capacity to age well. The same... Find out more

Magenta Shores Golf & Country Club 49 km

There is something truly inspiring about a golf course – whatever the quality of its playing surfaces – that offers the smells and sounds of the ocean. This is perhaps what first persuaded the Scots to use... Find out more

Kooindah Waters Golf & Spa Resort 52 km

Throughout his playing career, Craig Parry has won tournaments around the world thanks to a mix of sound strategy, good ball-striking and a first-class short game. He brought those same key elements – golfing... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town


With its decor featuring velvet drapes and chaises longues, Bacchus offers elegant fine dining. Choose from the extensive à la carte menu in the formal dining room, complete with white linen and crystal glassware,... Find out more

Queens Wharf Brewery

The smartly developed waterfront restaurant features harbourside dining, either alfresco or indoors, and serves hearty, family-friendly fare. Seafood is a specialty, from oysters and mussels to the fisherman’s... Find out more

Restaurant Deux

Restaurant Deux is generally regarded as the best restaurant in Newcastle, with well-regarded local chef Lesley Taylor at the helm. Its contemporary French menu makes use of the nearby Hunter Valley produce.... Find out more

Silo Restaurant & Lounge

Eclectic, electric, excellent – Silo Restaurant and Lounge is Newcastle’s new harbourside favourite and everyone flocks to its tables to eat and be seen. The decor is incredible and the ambience is groovy,... Find out more

Nearby breweries

Steel River Brewery 7 km

Every brewhouse has its own distinct personality – new ones are punched out in uniform fashion and pretty much look the same, but pre-loved ones tend to have a bit more character and, more often than not, a... Find out more

Bluetongue Brewery 17 km

Set up in 2004 by a consortium of Hunter region identities, including wine man Bruce Tyrell and hotelier Ian Burford, Bluetongue Brewery soon established a significant regional market for its premium lager and alcoholic... Find out more

Murray's Craft Brewing Company 25 km

But there’s a-nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear, Than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer. So sang the late country singing legend Slim Dusty and, more importantly, the words of the famous song were penned... Find out more

Hunter Beer Company 43 km

Potters Brewery, as this microbrewery is also known, might seem like a rather odd addition to this convention-based accommodation complex, which is named after the historic beehive-shaped pottery kilns scattered around... Find out more

Campsites around town

The Watagan Track 21 km

This 61 km track from Flat Rock takes you through rural farmland and Awaba State Forest, past the Sugerloaf Range and on to the town of Teralba on Lake Macquarie. There are 3 camping areas on this stretch, and... Find out more

Frazer camping area 32 km

The 6 sites here each fit 6 people, and you can stay for a maximum of 2 weeks. The camping ground is nestled in the Frazer Valley, close to the beach (only patrolled during Christmas and Easter holidays) and Snapper... Find out more

Bays Holiday Park 33 km

You can camp in style at this well-appointed caravan park on the Tomaree Peninsula in classy Port Stephens. As well as caravan and tent sites, there are 1- and 2-bedroom cabins and bunkhouse rooms sleeping 4 in each... Find out more

Gap Creek camping area 35 km

To get here, continue along Bangalow Rd for 1 km past Bangalow Road camping area. Bring your own firewood; gas/fuel stove preferred. Gap Creek is situated near 2 rainforest walks, one of which wends its way beneath red... Find out more

Bangalow Road camping area 35 km

As its name suggests, you’ll find this on Bangalow Rd, 3.8 km from the Mt Faulk Rd intersection, amid majestic blue gum and blackbutt forest. There are wood BBQs, although you’ll need to bring your own... Find out more

Watagan Headquarters camping area 35 km

Once a forest workers’ camp, this is now a quiet, grassy area ringed with protective native forest and blue-leaved stringybark. You’ll find it off Watagan Rd, 3 km north of Watagan Forest Rd. Bring your own... Find out more

Freemans camping area 35 km

Freemans, a short walk to Birdie Beach, has 8 caravan sites and 28 tent sites. Note: the grounds close at 6pm in winter, 9pm in summer, and camping is limited to stays of 2 weeks. You can only use gas BBQs and gas/fuel... Find out more

Wharf Reserve camping area 37 km

Ah, the serenity. Watch the sun set over the beautiful, tree-lined Williams River in historic Clarence Town, an old shipbuilding township 200 km north of Sydney and 50 km north of Newcastle. Coming from the south, take... Find out more

Williams River Holiday Park 38 km

This extensive and well-equipped holiday park in Clarence Town provides a range of accommodation styles, from tent-based camping to air-conditioned cabins. Clarence Town was an important trading port in the 1800s; today,... Find out more

Tattersalls camping area 42 km

Located on the Karuah River, access is via Hobart Rd from Limeburners Creek. The site is for self-sufficient campers only and access is 4WD only. Bring water and firewood.... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Stockton Beach Tourist Park 2 km

This park is located on the beachfront, just north of the port of Newcastle. Stroll along the beach, join in with the fishing on the breakwater, or just watch the large ships come and go. The park has large grassy areas... Find out more

Bellhaven Caravan Park 17 km

With good access to the Pacific Highway, this basic park has grassy drive-through sites ideal for an overnight stop. The town centre is only a short drive away. Bookings are recommended all year round.... Find out more

Belmont Pines Lakeside Holiday Park 18 km

Not far south of the city of Newcastle, this park is in a superb position on the shores of Lake Macquarie, in a quiet, off-the-highway location. It faces north, with great views across the water. It is a good family park... Find out more

Blacksmiths Beachside Holiday Park 21 km

A very appealing park with modern amenities, this place is just 100 metres from the surf club. The photos in reception are testament to its popularity with caravan clubs. We like it. Bookings are required in peak periods... Find out more

Swansea Gardens Lakeside Holiday Park 21 km

This large, council-operated park is located in a quiet area on the shores of Lake Macquarie. Facilities are good and include tennis courts and a half court basketball area. There are a small number of absolute... Find out more

Big4 Koala Shores Port Stephens Holiday Park 30 km

Located in a quiet area of the Port Stephens region, this is a quality waterfront park ideal for a family holiday or just a few days. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies during all... Find out more

Australian Motor Homes Tourist Park 31 km

This park is designed for big rigs. Located alongside the Pacific Highway, west of Karuah, it is a great place for an overnight stay and popular with groups on weekends. The owners also operate a commercial fish farm,... Find out more

BIG4 Karuah Jetty Village 34 km

Located in a quiet position a short distance from the Pacific Highway, this park has very good amenities and looks across the northern arm of Port Stephens. There is a long jetty, good for fishing, and a limited number... Find out more

Munmorah State Conservation Area 35 km

The National Parks and Wildlife Service manage this recreation area. There are two camping areas, Fraser and Freemans, with tent sites and a limited number of unpowered caravan sites. It is just a short walk through the... Find out more

One Mile Beach Holiday Park 35 km

This quality, award-winning caravan park is located in the popular Port Stephens region, just a few kilometres south of Nelson Bay. Set alongside a popular surf beach, it has excellent amenities and great recreational... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town


A nickname for Ashiana could be ‘Shhh!’, as anyone who stays here wants this little guesthouse to remain their secret. Hiding inside a delightful Federation-style home are two private guest rooms that could... Find out more

Cooks Hill Cottage

Centrally located near Newcastle’s bustling CBD and perfectly positioned to explore the surrounding areas, Cooks Hill Cottage is a rare find in fully self-contained accommodation. Sleek, stylish and brimming with... Find out more

Crowne Plaza Newcastle

Located amid the historic maritime buildings in the Honeysuckle area, the Crowne Plaza is the premier foreshore hotel in Newcastle. There is a huge variety of contemporary suites to choose from, all decorated in a chic,... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Banjo’s Bushland Retreat, Vacy 49 km

With three self-contained lodges of various sizes and a recreation room that includes an environmental centre, this eco-accredited resort keeps nature as its focus. Even the nine-hole minigolf course weaves around the... Find out more

Somewhere Unique, Wollombi 58 km

The two stand-alone, couples-only cottages here are stylish, contemporary and have passive solar design. They are eco-accredited, on an 8-hectare bushland reserve, and use only renewable energy and Greenfleet vehicles.... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Medowie Road rest area 29 km

57km S of Bulahdelah (L)

Surrounded by trees just off the highway. For southbound only.

Twelve Mile Hill rest area 30 km

15km N of Raymond Terrace (L)

Just off the highway. For northbound only.

Station Creek rest area 46 km

42km N of Raymond Terrace (L)

Just off the highway. For northbound only.

Service Centre 51 km

93 km N of Sydney (L) or 74 km S of Raymond Terrace (R)

Highway Service Centre just off the highway.

Browns Flat rest area 54 km

20km S of Bulahdelah (L)

Well off the highway near the forest. For southbound only.

Nerong Waterholes rest area 54 km

51km N of Raymond Terrace (L)

On the edge of the forest just off the highway. For northbound only.

Pothana Lane rest area 55 km

30km NW of Maitland (L) or 17km SE of Singleton (R)

Just off the highway at the end of the 'No Through Rd'.

Ourimbah Exit rest area 60 km

80km N of Sydney (L) or 85km S of Raymond Terrace (R)

Well off the freeway via the exit.

Golden Highway Junction rest area 61 km

36km NW of Maitland (L) or 11km SE of Singleton (R)

Among a few trees off Golden Hwy.      

What's on around town

Surfest: Mar

. Newcastle Show: Mar

. Offshore Superboat Championships: Apr


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