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Visiting Newcastle

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Lavon, Tx
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Visiting Newcastle

My husband and I have decided to visit Newcastle next December (2008) for our 2nd anniversary. We will be there for 6 days from the 26th to the 31st. I am looking for some great things to do. I'm not big into tourist attractions but do love history. I wanted to stay in Newcastle because I figured it wouldn't be crawling with people. My husband and I really just want to enjoy a few attractions but mostly we just want to be able to get a feel for the culture and hang out where locals would. If anyone has any ideas, I'd be greatful! Also, my husband tends to normally hate to drive too far. We were planning on getting a car or renting a bike but we'd like to stay close and not go too far. Unless of course it's really worth it. Thanks!!

Canberra, Australia
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1. Re: Visiting Newcastle

We have found Newcastle to be a seriously under-rated town - it is well over its steel city/coal city days and has a lot of very visible history and pretty beaches/ spectacular coastal scenery. The fort overlooking the harbour is interesting, there are still remnants of seaward defences against the Japanese from WW2, and around the CBD there are plenty of buildings with origins back to convict colony period.

The CBD was a bit run down last time we were there but was being rennovated - will be better when there are a few more cafes and restaurants. But the main town railway station is probably only 400 metres from one of the main surf beaches. And the town hospital has billion dollar views.

Further afield (you'll need a car or to book a tour) there are the great wineries of the Hunter region, and old towns up the Hunter R & Williams R like Maitland, Dungog, Paterson etc have lots of history - well worth a poke around.

Newcastle
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2. Re: Visiting Newcastle

I live in Newcastle and maybe I could help you! Our CBD has been undergoing serious redevelopments in the last few years and is still ongoing. Our harbour and foreshore is now quite beautiful and it has a multitude of accommodations. Our main street in the CBD is unfortunately, not yet as it should be due to an earthquake we had here around 17? years ago. However Newcastle offers more than the city. Our beaches are ALL sensational and the southernmost beach would be Catherine Hill Bay, which by car, would only be about 35-40minutes drive from CBD. Our Museum is being relocated to Honeysuckle in the CBD and I would imagine will be worth a visit when moved. We have a nature park at New Lambton, a 10-15minute drive from CBD, called Blackbutt Reserve, and absolutely fabulous, it will show you a lot of our flora and fauna. Port Stephens, north of Newcastle, is also worth a trip. It is quite busy and especially at Christmas time. I could go on and on, but probably bore you, but I won't. Anyway, feel free to ask!!!

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Visiting Newcastle

Newcastle is a great place to visit. It is very close to the Hunter Valley which is the wine region so there is lovely wineries to visit and B&B's in the area.

If you like listening to bands many great Aussie bands came from Newcastle so there are always great bands to see in the pubs.

The people of Newcastle are very friendly and helpful so if you ever get lost you will always be pointed back in the right direction.

Also they have fantastic, long white beaches great for morning or early evening walks. There is so much to do and see in the area.

I have been to Newcastle many many times and yes it isn't your flash, fancy, new city though I don't believe you are going there for that.

A good website to start looking for things to do is ... www.visitnewcastle.com.au/visitnewcastle.asp It is the Newcastle City Council website and is a great guide to Newcastle listing all accommodation, events etc.

Lavon, Tx
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4. Re: Visiting Newcastle

Thanks for all your suggestions! It's great having someone who lives there and really knows the area.

Are they're any specific pubs that are best for music? I'm not huge into drinking but would LOVE to hear some local music. I'm not finding many online. I'd like to really find a couple of great ones.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Visiting Newcastle

A couple of things to look at to see where bands are playing ...

http://www.thebeachhotel.com.au/gigguide.htm

http://www.newcastlemusic.com/gigguide.php

www.liveguide.com.au/liveguide_newcastle.html

Also when you arrive look in the local newspaper in the entertainment section for what is on around town.

I am sure someone from Newcastle will let you know the best pub from their point of view. Also now in Australia Pubs are smoke free.

Newcastle
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6. Re: Visiting Newcastle

The suburb of Hamilton is very cosmopolitan and very trendy. It has a few bars and pubs which are very popular,. This is just a short (5minute) trip from city. You could hire bikes and cycle around the foreshore in town it takes you right up to Nobbys Beach and all around our new developments at Honeysuckle. Lake Macquarie is just a short trip south of the city and is well worth a look around. The beaches here are really beautiful(I am biased as I live here). tThe government bus service is really good and if you got a bit overwhelmed, just ask, anyone will help you.

Once again I seem to be rambling, I can"t help it,we love Newcastle.

Cya

Newcastle, Australia
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7. Re: Visiting Newcastle

Hey Im also a Newie local. Beautiful place. Im going to Colorado for a white xmas and i am sad (unbelievable!) to be missing newie during xmas and our finest summer days that are yet to come. The main streets to check out:

Darby Street

A chic, fashion, cafe dominated street where our famous footy boys are often seen grabbing a meal. The place to eat.

Restaurants of note:

Darby Raj - Indian

3 Monkeys

Goldberg's

Anacapri

But they are all honestly great, i still havn't tried them all

Beaumont Street, Hamilton

Similar to Darby St, but slightly different feel.

Newcastle, Australia
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8. Re: Visiting Newcastle

Hey Im also a Newie local. Beautiful place. Im going to Colorado for a white xmas and i am sad (unbelievable!) to be missing newie during xmas and our finest summer days that are yet to come. The main streets to check out:

Darby Street

A chic, fashion, cafe dominated street where our famous footy boys are often seen grabbing a meal. The place to eat.

Restaurants of note:

Darby Raj - Indian

3 Monkeys

Goldberg's

Anacapri

But they are all honestly great, i still havn't tried them all

Beaumont Street, Hamilton is also another main street. Similar to Darby St, but slightly different feel.

Newcastle beaches are absolutely indescribable. Our sun is high till like 8pm in summer with daylight savings.

The main ones; Newcastle, Merewether, Nobby's, Bar Beach

ALL WITH IN WALKING DISTANCE OF EACH OTHER

Shopping centres are Charlestown (Charlestown) & Garden City(Kotara), about 20 min max from Newcastle.

Honeysuckle is also a place to checkout. It has been rennovated, come check it out yourself. We have Fresh farmers Markets on Sundays at certain times.

Lake Macqaurie is also beautiful but alot quieter. Toronto is a quiet suburb that is rapidly being populated, much to my angst, where its main street is about 10 metres off Lake Macquarie (like the largest lake in southern hemisphere or something) . the main Street is called The Boulevarde. There are mostly cafes that offer prime views and beautiful atmosphere to just sit and watch the lake and forshore while everyone bustles around heading off for their Saturday fun int he sun. you can also go on a cruise around the lake, on the supercat, or macquarie star (older version of supercat) which takes you around while the sunsets over the hills. you will also see some magnificent waterfront houses and people have a freindly tendency of flashing their house lights when the boat passes to say G'day, to which the boat will flash right back!

Our local council organises air movies on the forshore where they project a movie into the sky over apark and people picinic around. They also do summer latino dancing classes outside the civic theatre for free, they create giant checkers to play with people.

Anyways thats alot of info, but i could not love a place more than Newcastle, there is much more to it. I don't know whether I'll ever move. I'm only 19.

Parramatta...
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9. Re: Visiting Newcastle

Hi Amandiandy,

This suggestion is for your 'day trip' in a car.

Take a drive out to Maitland & visit the old goal there. It's a beautiful old sandstone building but it would've been awful as a prison. It closed several years ago. From the goal it's just 3 mins to Morpeth - a pretty little village overlooking the Hunter River. There are heaps of art & craft places & cafes. I'd avoid the weekend tho as it might get busy. From here take a lovely meandering drive towards Barrington Tops National Park. Tiny villages along the way are lovely: Paterson, Vacy, Dungog, Stroud, Gloucester. Generally they have wide main streets so that the bullock teams carrying timber could turn around um, these have of course been superseded by semis.

You could forge up over the Tops to Scone (dirt road not suitable for low lying cars) or just drive to one of the many lookouts & get out & do some bushwalking. There are no shops along the road thru the national park itself so take supplies. No need to travel back via Maitland as you can loop back through Raymond Terrace.

Its a lovely, easy drive criss-crossing the country side. Have a go at googleing it to see for yourself.

or visit Maitlands tourist office site

www.visitmaitland.com.au

cheers

Greater Sydney...
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10. Re: Visiting Newcastle

Nice to see this thread revived as it was started before I found this forum.

Tex, there is some good advice above. My wife comes from the lower Hunter region and I have spent a lot of time in the Newcastle region 35+ years ago, both lower and upper Hunter.

A few weeks ago I made a flying visit to Newcastle and was absolutely amazed at the riverside improvements. I presume this is what the other posters have referred to as Honeysuckle, although where that name came from I cannot imagine. It was always Wharf Road and the steel works when I haunted the area.

Beaches ARE fantastic; people ARE laid back and very friendly; CBD IS run-down; Fort Scratchley WAS closed for renovations of the war museum, but that would not be a problem for your time of visit, and I recommend it highly, just for the history and the views.

(I once sat on the top of the observation post at Fort Scratchley and watched the sun rise, with a can of Guiness in hand, when the Fort was still in Army use.)

Barrington Tops, Nelson Bay, Lake Macquarie etc, all great spots to visit, and you will not find a crush of tourists, with perhaps the exception of Nelson Bay.

Good on you Novocastrians for promoting the area with such good suggestions.

Brian