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We’re not sure if Newcastle is humble and unpretentious, or just too busy surfing to care, but this coastal New South Wales town somehow manages to fly under the radar. It’s walkable, vibrant, artsy and boozy—basically everything you could want in a holiday destination.
So don’t be a drongo. Read on for the top tips in our Newcastle travel guide and get going!
Newcastle Airport (NTL) is 30km north of downtown. Bus Route 130 runs about every hour to Newcastle Station, and late-night arrivals can always call a taxi. But if you’re seriously knackered, look into Wotif’s hotels near Newcastle Airport and get yourself to a nice, soft pillow, STAT.
Newcastle is also just 170km north of Sydney, so road-trippers have it made in the shade—or more likely around here, the sun.
Everyone knows you can judge a place by its food—and if you live by this belief, prepare to be impressed. The city has a few different foodie areas, but Newcastle hotels in the East End or Cooks Hill should top your wishlist.
Which one is right for you? The East End is quirky, trendy and diverse: If you love being first to try that cute bistro that just opened down the street, this is the place for you. Cooks Hill is the classy, sophisticated cousin: Think rustic Italian and Parisian-style cafes. Even the neighbourhood’s main drag, Darby Street, looks European.
Wherever you stay, Wotif’s Newcastle hotel deals will leave you with plenty of dough to spend on dough. Pizza, pasta, pastries…they don’t all have to start with “p”, but a lot of them will. And you will love them all.
The little ones will love Newcastle Museum. Tiny tykes can tumble safely in the soft play area, while older kids can create a tornado, lift a car or enjoy the perennial favourite: a loud, hot, fiery demonstration of steelmaking. Yes, it’s all the things kids love—and you can admit that you think it’s pretty cool, too! We won’t tell.
Tire out your teens with a trip to the outdoorsy paradise that is Lake Macquarie—not a real lake at all, by the way; it’s Australia’s biggest saltwater lagoon. Spend the day at Caves Beach building sandcastles or get “extreme” with go-karts and tramping in Warners Bay and Speers Point. Where to stay in Lake Macquarie really depends on you (who are we kidding? We know it’s up to the kids).
Newcastle holidays are the perfect time to hang 10. Those who are practically ready to go pro can catch some waves on the long stretch of Merewether and Bar Beaches. Grommets can take a quick ferry ride from Queen’s Wharf to Stockton Beach for waves that are gentler than a newborn lamb. And if you’re wondering what a grommet is, you are one—it’s a baby surfer!
Hotels in Newcastle are an awesome starting point for more adrenaline-pumping adventures, too. Blast around the Southern Hemisphere’s longest moving sand dunes on an ATV or try out your sandboarding skills at the Worimi Conservation Lands, 60km north.
Prefer to get your hands (and everywhere else) a little less dirty? The rope course challenges of Blue Gum Hills Regional Park are just 20km west.
Surfers aren’t just about shredding gnarly waves—everyone knows they can party, too. Whether you came to surf and party or just to party, the enclave of Merewether is the place to be for laid-back beach bars and oceanfront views.
But if you like your nightlife dark, loud and laser-filled, check out places to stay in Newcastle West and head to King Street for thumping beats and early-morning eats. You won’t have to crawl far to get back to your comfy Newcastle accommodation after a night of…ahem, festivities.
Speaking of festivities, whether you came to explore, party or get in some much-needed family time, there is one thing everyone can get behind: Food! Book accommodation in Newcastle in August for the three-day feasting extravaganza that is the Newcastle Food & Wine Expo. With MasterChef guests, hundreds of exhibits and of course, samples, samples and more samples, you definitely can’t go wrong.
If you came to surf, though, there is just one festival you need to know about. Lock down a Newcastle hotel during February for uber-popular Surfest, Australia’s biggest surfing event. Attracting over 700 competitors to the waves of Mereweather for all kinds of events, lessons and exhibitions, you could say it’s a “swell” event!
Wotif’s great hotel deals are fair dinkum, so everyone from grommets to Grandma is sure to be satisfied. Plus, bundle your accommodation and airfares with our Newcastle holidays and save even more. You’ll really be able to bring your A-Game this getaway!
Hotels in Newcastle start at NZ$108 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.