Newcastle is a picturesque harbor city located less than 100 miles north of Sydney. While in port on your Australia cruise, you’ll have the chance to explore one of Newcastle’s many beaches and its popular coastal walking path. As a newer cruise port, travelers on Newcastle cruises will get to experience a less touristy area of Australia’s coveted east coast while still having an abundance of history and interesting attractions to explore.
Conveniently located right behind the harbor, the Newcastle Museum is a great place to visit to learn more about the history of the area when you cruise Newcastle. Through interactive displays, including an audiovisual recreation of a steelworks factory, you’ll learn about the city’s industrial past. The museum also focuses on the 5.6 magnitude earthquake that hit the area in 1989 and destroyed a large portion of the city center.
This unique memorial is a powerful dedication to those lost in World War I. It was completed in 2015 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli. The walkway, made from 64 tons of steel, is located on top of a cliff and stretches from the Strzelecki Lookout to Bar Beach. Along the way, you’ll get to soak in picture-perfect views of Newcastle and the coastline.
Enjoy lounging on a piece of sand under the circular rock cliff upon which Nobby’s Lighthouse is perched. Located right in the city, the picturesque boardwalk to Nobby’s Beach and Lighthouse is framed by the mouth of the Hunter River on one side and coastal waves on the other.
You can explore this scenic lake, which includes a large coastal lagoon, via kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Getting out onto the lake on one of these fun water vessels is a great way to spend a day in port when you cruise Newcastle.
The origins of this tram date back to 1923, though what you’ll be riding on today is a quaint replica of the original tram. During the tram city tour, you’ll be taken past the beautiful beaches of Newcastle and some of the city’s top historical sights while your onboard guide narrates the ride.
Fort Scratchley was constructed in 1882 and stands prominently over the city near the mouth of the Hunter River. Thanks to its high vantage point, it was used to look out for any attacks upon the city. Fort Scratchley was the only coastal fort in Australia that fired on an enemy ship during World War II, when it protected the city from an attack on Newcastle from Axis forces in June of 1942. Today, those on Newcastle cruises can tour the fort and even witness the firing of a gun in the fort’s battery that takes place daily at 1pm (except Tuesdays, when the fort is closed).
The cuisine in Newcastle is varied and comes with an international flare. At Three Bears Kitchen, you’ll find a trendy industrial ambiance with frescoed walls and a delicious breakfast menu, including breakfast pizza. Rustica Newcastle Beach, with its rustic-chic décor, serves up tasty Mediterranean cuisine right in the city center. Subo, an upscale bistro run by a former Australian Young Chef of the Year, offers Asian cuisine delicacies with inventive twists.
The production of coal plays a big part in Newcastle’s history as well as its present-day economy. In fact, the harbor is the world’s largest exporter of coal, thanks to the large coal deposits within the nearby Hunter Region of Australia. A large part of the culture of Newcastle is centered on the arts, with art galleries and the works of local artisans taking center stage at many of the shopping complexes around the city.
Newcastle cruises dock at Dyke Point, which is located across the harbor from the city center. Complimentary shuttles are often available to take guests into Newcastle. There are also restaurants and souvenir shops right by Dyke Point if you find yourself with extra time before having to board the ship.
Once you’ve reached the city center of Newcastle via a shuttle or taxi, you’ll find that the city itself is very walkable. If you want to travel beyond the city center when you cruise Newcastle, there are local buses, ferries, and even a light rail that visit many of the suburbs and top destinations near Newcastle.
For a myriad of shopping opportunities all in one place when you cruise Newcastle, head to Darby Street Precinct in the city center. You’ll find fashion stores, charming second-hand bookstores, art galleries, jewelers, and more. Plus, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from when you need to sit and take a break from your shopping. Throughout Newcastle, a number of boutique shops sell the wares of local artisans, including ceramic jewelry, bespoke hats, handcrafted homewares, and bohemian clothing and accessories.
The official currency in Newcastle is the Australian Dollar (AUD). Most establishments take credit cards, with Visa and Mastercard being the most widely accepted in Australia. Tipping isn’t obligatory, but it is appreciated. Generally, tipping is at the discretion of the customer for good service, but a good rule of thumb is to tip 10% to 15% of the total bill.