I confess I’ve been to Newcastle many, MANY times… before kids; to see bands and go to parties, staying up late, sleeping in, and hitting the road without actually seeing much of the town. Even with kids in tow we’ve always stayed harbour side, and again, we never really got to know it at all. Last school holidays we found ourselves ‘up the road’ in Gloucester, an hours drive from Newcastle, and decided to do a 2 day pit stop in Newy (as the locals refer to it…) and get to know it a bit better.
We made our base at the Novotel Newcastle Beach (which is across the road from the beach) and when we weren’t eating/sleeping, we were at the beach! We spent an entire morning at the rock pools at Merewether Beach, collecting starfish, sea snails, seaweed, shells… and the whole afternoon at Newcastle beach, at the Ocean baths, where we found a shark egg, swam, spotted whales not even 40m off shore (a local in the know explained the slapping of the tail fluke we observed was likely to be a bull whale scaring off a shark that may have been trying to attack a calf! Exciting stuff!) had an ice cream and played in the sand. Perfect!
The beach esplanades feature wide footpaths, and are scooter/bike friendly, so we spent a bit of time scooting between beaches, and even down to the lighthouse at the end of Nobbys beach to watch a huge tanker come into the harbour. There is a pretty flash new walkway (The Anzac Walk) from the top of Strezlecki lookout all the way down to Merewether beach which is worth checking out too.
The food scene is flourishing in Newy… cafe culture has taken off in a huge way; and it’s not hard to track down an excellent coffee, or a great meal. We had perfect breakfasts at the Merewether Surf House and The Edwards (our all time fave!), authentic pizza at Napoli Centrale, and delicious seafood at Scotties, Newcastle’s original fish & chip joint (which operates a cute kiosk for take aways and courtyard eating, SUPER kid friendly, as well as a more up market restaurant) Spoilt for choice.
Two days was not long enough. We’ve fallen in love with this beautiful, family friendly town…our to do list still has much to be checked off; A visit to Hello Naomi cakes, a swim at the Bogey Hole (which was closed for reno’s whilst we were in town), a walk up Darby street to check out the shops… We’ll be back!
WE STAYED AT
Novotel Newcastle Beach
5 King St, Newcastle
WE ATE AT
Scotties Fish Cafe
36 Scott Street
Merewether Surf House
Henderson Parade, Merewether, Newcastle
148 Parry St, Newcastle West
173 King St, Newcastle