See and do.

The second-largest city in New South Wales has evolved considerably from its gritty, industrial days as a hub of the coal-mining industry. Today, Newcastle is a modern, edgy city that continues to evolve. Yet, for every new attraction is a time-honoured classic, evidenced by the city’s healthy list of heritage sites. Old and new dance together in a place that upholds its past as it forges a diverse and prosperous future.

Walk on

Newcastle is a walker’s delight, with a series of walks dotted across the city that are as scenic as they are easy to navigate. The pick is the Newcastle Memorial Walk, which opened in 2015 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. As well as honouring the sacrifices made by Australian soldiers during World War I, the date also marks the commencement of steel making in Newcastle; the Anzac Memorial Walk was built using 64 tonnes of stainless steel for this reason. The walkway is also adorned with steel silhouettes of soldiers, as well as the names of almost 11,000 Hunter Valley men and women who enlisted to serve during World War I. The Newcastle Memorial Walk consists of two sections: the first is a 160-metre-long bridge that starts at Strzelecki Lookout and leads to another stunning viewing platform. The second section is a stairway that connects the memorial walk to Bathers Way, a six-kilometre coastal walk from Nobbys Beach to Merewether Beach. With stunning clifftop views and an important message for younger generations, this memorial walk is one of Newcastle’s biggest recent developments. With lights illuminating the path after dark, visitors are welcome 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Beaches galore

Beaches are a staple of Newcastle, with an array of sandy strips the length of the city, however perhaps the best part is how close the beaches are to the CBD. Two of them are walking distance from the city’s office buildings while Merewether Beach is only a few minutes away by car or bus. They don’t stop there, as the pristine beaches extend north to Port Stephens and south towards Lake Macquarie and beyond. The pair of protected ocean baths at Newcastle and Merewether beaches are further highlights.

A fort, museum and theatre

The diversity of modern Newcastle is perhaps best displayed by the proximity of three very different attractions.

An iconic and visually imposing site on the edge of the CBD and beaches is Fort Scratchley, which was built in 1882 to defend the city against a possible Russian attack. However, its guns were not fired in anger until June 8, 1942, during the shelling of Newcastle. The Australian Army left the site in 1972 and today Fort Scratchley is open for public viewing every day except Tuesday.

Not far away is Newcastle Museum, which opened in 1988 as a Bicentennial project before moving in 2011 to the city’s Honeysuckle Railway Workshops where three buildings are on the National Trust. Among the permanent exhibitions are the “Newcastle Story”, which reveals the city’s past, and the “Supernova” and “Fire And Earth” exhibitions, the latter of which provides a revealing insight into the city and region’s coal-mining and steel production roots.

A short stroll from the museum is Civic Theatre, a wonderful, stately, dual-tiered indoor arena that’s home to live performances throughout the year. Try not to be distracted by the grandeur of the theatre, though!

For more information