The city of Newcastle is New South Wales' largest city after its capital of Sydney, and today is home to one of the country's busiest ports. The port is the world's largest exporter of coal, with more than 80 million tonnes exported from here each year. It is also Australia's oldest port, with coal first exported from the harbour in 1799.
The area was first explored by Europeans in 1797 and in 1801 the first convict settlement was established in the area. The city's coal mines began life as convict camps for Sydney's most dangerous criminals. They were sent here to dig for coal as harsh punishment for their crimes. Today some of Australia's largest mining companies operate in the area, keeping the port extremely busy.
Take a ride aboard Newcastle's famous tram and enjoy a 45 minute tour of Newcastle's landmarks. Discover its convict past and see many of the city's heritage buildings and landmarks.
Newcastle has plenty of shopping and dining options just waiting to be explored. Stroll down trendy Darby Street and explore its arts and craft galleries, designer shops, cafes and gourmet restaurants. Nearby Cooks Hill features many private art galleries giving you a chance to talk to local artists.
Explore the suburb of Hamilton with its strong Mediterranean influence and be tempted by the delicious flavours of its many cafes, restaurants and delis.
Newcastle also has a strong fleet of fishing trawlers, which provide the city with some of the freshest seafood. There are plenty of seafood restaurants located along the waterfront, serving up the day's fresh catch.
The old Wharf waterfront precinct has seen a revival in recent years and is now a very trendy, upmarket area, with restaurants and bars all coming to life at night. During the day, it has a busy cafe scene.
Newcastle also has some great beaches just waiting to be explored. Keen surfers should head to Mereweather Beach, which often hosts surfing competitions and features strong swells.
Newcastle is also the gateway to the Hunter Valley wine growing region. The Hunter Valley is famous for its many wineries and is perfect for a quick escape to sample some of Australia's finest wines. This picturesque valley is full of quaint little wineries, with vines running wild across the rolling hills.
Discover the distinct personality of Newcastle and explore its many attractions, from fine food to heritage buildings, to its beaches and its convict past.
Newcastle is a two hour drive north of Sydney with the Pacific Highway being the most direct route.
Newcastle is also part of the New South Wales rail network with trains departing regularly from the city to Newcastle.
Several coach companies make regular trips from Sydney to Newcastle daily.
For something different why not catch a sea plane from Rose Bay in the city and land directly in Newcastle's harbour just 30 minutes later.
- Take a ride aboard Newcastle's historic tram and discover the city's landmarks
- Catch a sea plane from Sydney to newcastle and see the city from the air
- Make the trip to the Hunter Valley and discover its local wineries
- Visit Fort Scratchley, a historic military outpost constructed in 1886 to protect the harbour
- Cruise the harbour aboard the Stockton ferry and see first hand its operations
- Head to Merewether Beach and take the board out for a surf
- Explore the art galleries and boutique shops of Darby Street
- Enjoy a meal at one of the traditional Mediterranean restaurants of Hamilton
- Visit the Newcastle Regional Museum and explore its Supernova Science Centre, perfect for the kids
- Watch a game of soccer and cheer on the Newcastle United Jets
- Find your inner artist and explore the Newcastle Region Art Gallery with its extensive collection of classic Australian pieces
- Dine on fresh seafood at Queen's Wharf
- Head to Energy Australia Stadium and watch the Newcastle Knights in action
- Catch a live show at the historic Civic Theatre