Visit Newcastle to see great beaches, cafes and places to stay
Newcastle itself is a thriving port city which was once home to BHP Steelworks which closed down some years ago. Today the Port is used for exporting coal and other goods to China and India, but the city has re-invented itself with a diverse range of industries and Tourism activities, and the foreshore and beaches make it Newcastle a very attractive place to visit. It is also close to Port Stephens and the beaches further north too.
In Newcastle itself the beaches are spectacular with great views from the different headlands overlooking the Ocean, rock pools and Newcastle Harbour, and there is magnificent Ocean Baths pool next to Newcastle Beach, and also a huge ocean pool at Merewether Beach – 80 x 100 metres long. It is very easy to drive close to the beaches and there are car parks that are located next to the beaches to make it easy to take photographs, or go to the beach itself. By driving close to the coast, you will be able to stop at various beaches, possibly see Paragliders flying, and see old fortifications at Shepherds Hill and travel past some beautiful Heritage Homes and terraces built in this older part of Newcastle.
Newcastle is built next to a Harbour, and there are also Harbour beaches too, with the ocean and harbour separated by a Breakwall with Nobbys Beach on the ocean side, and Horseshoe Beach on the Harbour side. It is possible to walk out on the Breakwall to Nobbys Lighthouse, or walk or drive along the harbour foreshore to Queens Wharf – where there is a Ferry Service across to Stockton Beach on the other side of the Harbour. At Queens Wharf there is the 40 metre high Queens Wharf Tower, opened by the Queen in 1988, and this is an easy climb up stairs to the top for views over the whole port and city area.
Further along the Harbour on Honeysuckle Drive, there are a number of restored buildings, a Maritime Museum and hotels to stay as well as new developments – making this area very attractive with cafes and other activities.
Newcastle is certainly well worth a visit and stop over.
Just north of Newcastle is Port Stephens and again there are lots of small beaches in and around the Port and along the coastline at Anna Bay, Lemon Tree Passage, Nelson Bay, Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens. There are also fishing, golf resorts, clubs and other activities for both locals and tourists.
The Pacific Highway which is a mix of Expressways and highway sections runs all the way from Sydney to Brisbane but largely misses the coastline – so it is necessary to turn off the highway to see some of the smaller beaches and towns along the way that sit right on the ocean. While it is certainly possible to drive from Sydney to Brisbane or the Gold Coast in a day, it is more enjoyable if you have the time, to stop at places along the way, discovering places that are not necessarily tourist destinations.
Most Australians summer and school holidays are in January, so if this is the time that you are travelling, expect higher occupancy levels, traffic numbers and charges during January when you travel to coastal regions.