Newcastle is the second most populous area in the state of New South Wales and is situated some 160 or so kilometres north of Sydney. It sits at the mouth of the Hunter River, which flows into the Tasman Sea to a major harbor port, servicing one of the world’s largest exporters of coal. Busy both day and night, the port has also seen a vast increase in cruise ship traffic.
Newcastle also provides relatively easy access to the Watagans National Park and is known for its stunning beaches, which stretch from Port Stephens (home to over 25 beautiful beaches and serene bays and an abundance of marine life) in the north, right down to Lake Macquarie in the south. Lake Macquarie is an exceptional place to visit. It’s actually double the size of Sydney Harbour and is exceedingly popular with cyclists and trekkers and offers a number of water sport activities such as fishing, sailing and kayaking. For visitors who happen to be a tad nervous swimming in the open water, Newcastle offers a variety of enclosed ocean pools, which have become very popular over the years.
Culturally, Newcastle is also valued for its many festivals, in particular the Newcastle Jazz festival, which occupies a full three days each August. Later this year (2017), it’s also going to host a round of the ‘V8 Supercars Championship’.
Along with football, ice hockey, basketball and a full on rugby following, the city’s residents and visitors enjoy a rapidly growing music scene, excellent nightlife and superb dining. As it’s situated in close proximity to the Hunter Valley, Newcastle is home to Australia’s oldest wine growing area and includes over 150 well-established wineries.