Newcastle

Newcastle is an industrial city about 2 hours drive north of Sydney. It is also a busy port exporting produce from the nearby Hunter Valley and north west NSW. Despite the industrial side to the city, there are some great surfing beaches nearby and some attractive buildings around the city itself.

Newcastle is built on a peninsula with the sea to one side of it and the Hunter River to the other. Hunter Street is the main street and runs parallel to the Hunter River. There are plenty of places to eat along Hunter street as well various shops. The main shopping areas are out of town slightly. Heading south out of Newcastle you will come across Garden City which is a large indoor shopping centre. There is also another large shopping complex at Charlestown, south along the coast from Newcastle.

There are several museums around Newcastle as well as an art gallery, which are worth visiting and plenty of other things to do. Nearby there are also a number of nature reserves which are very beautiful. Blackbutt Reserve offers bushwalking and the chance to see a variety of wildlife around the park, as well as in the enclosures and aviary. You can also head to the Wetlands Ecopark, which offers similar attractions. Both are worth while and are great on a sunny day. You can also hop on Newcastle's famous tram which takes you around the historic sites of Newcastle. Head to the train station on the hour between 10.00am - 3.00pm. Near here the ferry also departs for Stockton on the other side of the port. Stockton Beach runs along the coast to Port Stephens and is backed by the wonderful and beautiful sand dunes.

Newcastle is also popular for surfing. Newcastle Beach is a good surfing beach next to the town centre. It holds the annual surf competition 'Surfest'. Just north of here is Nobby's Beach which is sheltered and so good on windy days (depending on which way the wind is blowing). Further south along the coast is Merewether Beach which is good for swimming and probably the most popular surfing beach in Newcastle, Bar Beach. During the summer Bar Beach flood lit at night, so a great place to go to relax or surf in the evenings.

Newcastle offers plenty of accommodation including apartments, hostels and hotels. Accommodation is located both in the city itself, as well as near the various beaches nearby. There are also plenty of restaurants to choose from. The main eating areas are along Beaumont Street and Darby Street. Newcastle also has a lively entertainment scene. Music is very popular in Newcastle and there are often live bands playing in the pubs. Jazz and blues is also very popular. The two main nightclubs are The Castle and Fanny's, both open from Wednesday to Saturday. Newcastle also has its own theatre, which has various touring companies as well as local performances.

The main train and bus stations are near the peninsula point, heading out towards Nobbys Head. Trains run several times a day to Newcastle and take about 3 hours from Sydney. There are also several bus companies which travel to Newcastle from Sydney, including Greyhound. Driving to Newcastle you can either take the Pacific Highway or the freeway. The Pacific Highway skirts the Central coat if you want to stop on the way. If not the freeway is usually slightly faster. Once in Newcastle the STA buses run around Newcastle and the surrounding area.

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Newcastle Gallery (Visitor Photographs)

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Newcastle Area Old Bar Paterson
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