Discover quirky bars, inspired local fare, golden beaches and more in Newcastle

You know everything about Newcastle. You know it has golden beaches, endless adventure options, a superbly quirky but also very chic shopping scene and one of the most thriving food scenes in NSW. You know that.

You also know it’s a comfortable two-hour drive from Sydney, or an easy flight to Newcastle Airport from Victoria, Canberra and South East Queensland. But you’re not sure what to commit to during your stay and you need help deciding.

No problem, because we’ve partnered with Destination NSW and KAYAK to bring you the ultimate guide to things you absolutely must do in Newcastle. Consider this your official itinerary, my friends. We have what you need.

Let yourself be captivated by the coasts

As you may have noted earlier, there are incredible beaches to explore in Newy, and only plenty of time to dive into the water or wiggle your toes in the sand. Take a slap from top to top on this scenic helicopter flight, where the crashing waves look like tiny ripples and the whole city, including the parts you haven’t yet discovered, is within sight. This is the best kind of boujee. If the timing works for you, do this whale watching to experience absolute priority; there are few things that heal the soul more than seeing these majestic creatures up close. To get closer to the coast, the iconic ANZAC Memorial Walk is a highlight, followed by fish and chips on the beach. Scratchleys is a local institution.

Get stuck in the local food scene

Hope you have plenty of time to explore as there are so many restaurants, bars and cafes in Newcastle. If you’re trying to channel 5ive and like to keep moving, this ultra-trendy bike ride starts at Nobby’s Beach before heading into the suburbs, showing off the best of the region: think of the street art and haunting local food and drink as you cycle and ponder your move here. There is also a walking bar tour for traveling drinkers who like to keep up to date with the local style.

[In Little Mermaid singing voice] Want food? They have plenty. A quick overview: there is the hat subo, a minimalist ode to modern Australian cuisine. There are TO ENCOUNTER, a paradise for two-way BBQ gastronomy with cocktails galore. There are Merewether Surfhousewhere beachfront sunsets mingle with panoramic views, and upstairs Italian Surf House makes it the perfect party. So there is The Flotilla in Wickham, a testament to quality local produce with a community vibe.

For drinkers, you can’t beat Uptowns’ 80s and 90s basketball bar for a little fun. Charcoal & Cedarand The Subway bring that easy-to-talk energy that feels great with a cocktail in hand. Fuel up the next day with a coffee at the Minimalist (so you know it’s cool) Mr sister or visit legends at good brother in Newcastle East.

Buy local with this

If there’s one thing the people of Newy do well, it’s shopping. Very well. Check The olive market, a love letter to the region’s thriving creative arts scene, on the first Saturday of the month. It would be remiss of us not to mention Beaumont Street in Hamilton, with the natural falls at Vera Winethe eccentric styles of Fever dream and you simply cannot miss the vintage bonanza that is fynde. Further down the street in Islington you will find the Independent Shop Yard Sale Trading longer a plant lover’s dream to Diving at height. Finally, head to Wickham’s Lita’s Housewhich houses coveted furniture, clothing and homewares curated by a former Vogue Living editor.

Stay at these epic hotels and resorts

Accommodation is a personal choice, we understand that. You might like it plush, or maybe you’d like a place to just put your bags down and walk out the door. We are big fans of the brand new QT Newcastle, which opened this year and continues its characteristic quirky and cheeky luxury style and has combined it with fluffy bathrobes and comfortable beds, as well as cocktails and surprises around every corner. For a simple but quality stay, Newcastle Quest has you covered, with one, two and three bedroom apartments for groups and families. Then there is the beloved lucky hotel, a quirky pub-style venue conveniently located in the heart of the city, so it’s the perfect place to start exploring. Dream.

Get ready for a well deserved and totally rejuvenating trip to Newcastle. KAYAK makes it easy by arranging flights, accommodations, rental cars and vacation packages all in one place.

Image credit: City of Newcastle and Destination New South Wales

Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored by Visit Newcastle, Destination New South Wales, Tourism Australia and KAYAK, and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Please support the sponsors that make Urban List possible. Click on here for more information on our editorial policy.

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