Hands up who knew there was a Newcastle in Australia? No? Of you who did, how many have been there? That’s what I thought! When I tell people I’m going there I am usually met with a blank face and have to explain whereabouts it is. Which is exactly what happened to me the first time I heard about it! On my travels in Australia many years ago, I don’t think I even noticed it was there – it’s a major city, how could I miss it?!!
Newcastle does not seem to be a known destination on the tourist trail up the east coast though… and secretly I hope it stays that way. The city is a couple of hours north of Sydney (or a 3 hour train ride) and sits straddling the entrance of the Hunter River.
It has everything that you would expect from an Aussie city, particularly the stunning beaches, but you also get a massive dose of normality with it too. I guess this comes from the fact that it isn’t touristy in the slightest and what you see is what you get with Newcastle. It feels raw, brash and rough round the edges and has a very interesting history. It also serves the best brekkies (as they say!)!
I have been lucky enough to travel to this city numerous times now, but I still discover new things about it every time I visit. I love spending a time in the city centre, the acommodation on offer ranges from hotels to airbnb rooms, to cute houses. We rented a house for a few days the last time we went and it was gorgeous!
It was ideally placed, the beaches were around the corner and the shops and restaurants were a short stroll away. As I was quite majorly jet-lagged I was up early on our first day there and absolutely loved getting out for an early morning walk around the promenade.
The sun was rising slowly in the sky, the sea was fairly calm with only a little bit of mist kicking up from the waves, there were a few joggers out for their morning run and all was calm and peaceful….and of course it was warm and I was in my flip-flops…..absolute bliss!
As we were up so early we decided to go and grab breakfast at one of the cafes that line the high street. Wow, it was delicious! And so brilliant to be able to easily get a gluten free version, it was no hassle at all.
There is something lovely about being up early (and not having to go to work!) in a city and being able to sit back and watch it wake up and start the day. I enjoyed sitting there with a cup of tea (in my flip-flops of course!) watching people walking by on their way to work, emerging from their early morning yoga classes, and tourists floundering around from the giant cruise ship that had docked in the harbour.
After a leisurely breakfast, we wandered back to our little house to get ourselves organised for the day. We had a plan to do some more sightseeing taking in Fort Scratchley, as I hadn’t yet visited this famous Newcastle landmark.
I also of course, had to have a swim in the magnificient art deco baths that they have. I love those baths!
I’m a bit of a coward when it comes to the sea. I absolutely love the sea, but when it comes to going in it, I’m afraid that I usually chicken out if the waves are too big. I was brought up in Bahrain, where the sea was as flat as a pancake and it was very shallow, show me a beach with pounding waves and I’ll usually only manage to go for a paddle!
Newcastle has definitely managed to capture a bit of my heart and I can’t wait to return soon and discover more of what it has to offer!