Newcastle – what was originally a colony for Great Britain’s worst-behaved convicts is now one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities.
Once known as the “Hell Hole”, the region has been gentrified to host a multifaceted cosmopolitan lifestyle, and some of Australia’s most famous surfing breaks, finest vineyards, lively gig venues and innovative art spaces.
Visit popular beaches, take a dip in art-deco ocean baths, dine at first-rate restaurants, sample wines from the Hunter Valley and whale watch at Port Stephens.
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A relaxed casual lifestyle, combined with thriving tourism and industrial trades has seen Newcastle grow one of Australia’s most promising dining scenes. Entertainment and eating precincts dot the waterfront and suburbs, highlighting a diverse array of cuisines and great choice of dining options.
Newcastle’s city centre is busy with businesses and first-class restaurants, while bordering suburb, Newcastle East also boasts a range of upmarket restaurants with sweeping views of the ocean.
As Newcastle has grown into an urban city, its infamous working wharves have been gentrified into foreshore promenades, which host waterfront cafes and restaurants galore. Honeysuckle Drive is Newcastle’s most sophisticated dining area, featuring a dazzling array restaurants and bars with spectacular water views.
Home to the area’s first Italian and Greek arrivals, Hamilton’s Beaumont Street is Newcastle’s premier Mediterranean eat-street, dotted with sidewalk cafes and a lively pub scene.
Darby Street in Cooks Hill is the city’s most bohemian precinct – an inner city cultural hub that seamlessly blends cafe culture with galleries and boutique shopping. Afterhours check out one of the street’s live music venues or pubs, or pull a seat up at a late night coffee house.
To experiences the riches of the local wine scene, take a day trip to the nearby Hunter Valley vineyards, just over an hour away, where some of Australia’s finest drops are on show.
As New South Wales’ second biggest city, outside Sydney, Newcastle offers a number of exciting retail opportunities. Several large shopping centres hosts well-known labels, inner-city neighbourhoods thrive with a unique mix of vintage and independent boutiques, while the city centre boasts a vibrant array of world-class shopping.
The city centre holds most of Newcastle’s retail trade, with four thriving precincts: the Heritage Precinct, the Mall Precinct, the West Precinct and the Tower Precinct. Located on Hunter Street, the Mall is the city’s most frequented precinct hosting hundreds of specialty, fashion, book and souvenir stores.
Situated five minutes from Newcastle Harbour and foreshore, Darby Street in Cooks Hill has a reputation as Newcastle’s best shopping destination. Hosting a bohemian blend of local designers, unique fashion boutiques, inspiring art spaces and trendy cafes, the inner-city precinct is a must-visit for all shoppers.
The Junction is Newcastle’s premier retail zone. Just southwest of the city centre, the cosmopolitan hub features an impressive selection of upmarket boutiques, which showcase designer labels, intricate jewellery and sought-after home wares.
Carrying the Westfield moniker, Westfield Kotara is the area’s largest shopping centre. Over 120 specialty stores populate the huge complex.
As Australia’s second oldest city, antique stores abound. Discover the region’s and the country’s history at a number of antique dealers throughout Islington, Mayfield and Hamilton. Centenary Antique Centre is Newcastle’s largest antique centre, offering a wide range of antique collectables on Centenary Road in the city centre.
Adding to the region’s already flourishing retail scene, Newcastle also features an array of markets. Unique and retro items can be found at the Adamstown Markets; bargain hunters rejoice at the Islington flea markets; while farm fresh produce and gourmet foods are on display at the City Farmers and Craft Markets.