Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Newcastle is a vibrant, historic and colourful beach-side city, located two hours north of Sydney. It is the major metropolis of the Hunter region, gateway to the Hunter Valley wine region and Australia’s sixth largest city.

Newcastle’s European settlement was the result of an accident when, in 1797, Lieutenant Shortland landed there during a search for convicts who had escaped from the penal colony of Sydney. It is believed that several years prior to this, escaped convict Mary Bryant, together with her husband, two children and a number of others landed in the region and discovered coal.

The coal industry saw Newcastle quickly develop and by 1799 enough was being mined to export. By 1804, a permanent penal colony was established and industrial growth continued. In fact, Newcastle provided a regular supply of coal, timber and lime to Sydney to help maintain its rapid development. Over the next 20 years the colony started to change. Buildings were constructed and streets laid out. This pattern of industrialisation and adaptation to needs and circumstances set the tone for Newcastle’s future. In the 20th century major heavy industries such as ship building and train manufacturing were established. However, in the later years of the 20th century heavy industry started to wind down and the steel works closed completely. New industries and a renewed energy have replaced these and the city has found an identity beyond that of a manufacturing powerhouse.

WHAT TO SEE IN NEWCASTLE

Take A Look Around Town

Wander the city’s streets and lanes discovering major historic sites including Fort Scratchley. It was built during the mid 1800’s and, unlike other Australian forts, actually fired shots in anger at a Japanese submarine that was attacking the BHP steel works during the Second World War. The fort is just east of the downtown area, overlooking the city it used to guard.

Discover Local Art Galleries And Museums

The Newcastle Region Art Gallery in Laman Street has an excellent collection of Australian art, while the Newcastle Regional Museum on the corner of Wood and Hunter Streets offers an excellent snapshot of the city’s indigenous and European history.

Visit The Hunter Wetlands Centre

Spend the day canoeing, exploring the walking trails and bike paths, or collecting bugs with a bucket and net. Whatever activity you pursue you’ll enjoy discovering the diverse wildlife including numerous species of fish and frogs. Don’t miss the bird and reptile feeding talks.

Head To The Hunter Valley

Famous for its great wines and beautiful scenery, the Hunter Valley also offers some lovely art galleries and a range of activities from biking to hot air ballooning. There are over 120 cellar doors in the area, where you can sample some of the world’s most distinctive and outstanding wines. The award winning Hunter Valley Gardens are also well worth a visit. The 60 acre gardens offer a feast of colour and fragrance.

MORE ABOUT NEWCASTLE

Getting Around

Taxis are widely available throughout Newcastle.

Dining

Newcastle has plenty of fine restaurants, cafes, pubs, and hotels offering everything from a humble meat pie to a gastronomic delight. A few areas to consider are the harbour waterfront, particularly Honeysuckle, where old wharves have been turned into entertainment precincts featuring dining venues with water views. Darby Street in Cooks Hill, Beaumont Street, in the inner suburb of Hamilton and The Junction, south of the city, all have cafes, pubs and upmarket restaurants.

Quarantine authorities do not generally allow food such as fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat products and sandwiches to be taken off the ship however commercially packaged confectionery, chips and bottled drinking water are allowed subject to inspection.

Shopping

Don’t be afraid to venture into the inner suburbs in search for something unusual. Darby Street in Cooks Hill has some interesting galleries and shops that feature the work of local designers. While you’re in Newcastle don’t forget to purchase a selection of famous Hunter Valley wines.

Climate

Newcastle and the Hunter Valley enjoy a temperate climate. In summer it can get quite hot and humid, particularly from January to March. Winters are mild to cool, while autumn and spring are delightful.

Credit Cards

Major credit cards and charge cards are widely accepted. Automatic teller machines can provide currency to foreign card holders.

Communication

Public telephones and internet access are widely available. Mobile coverage is generally available.

What To Wear Ashore

To make your day ashore as enjoyable as possible please wear comfortable flat soled shoes, layered clothing (to allow for changes in temperature) and a hat. You are also advised to bring sunscreen, bottled water, an umbrella on overcast days and a warm jacket in winter.

Shore Tours

There are a range of tours available for you to really get the most out of your time in Newcastle. Tours can be booked onboard at the shore tours desk and are subject to availability. Passengers are required to meet at a specific location for each shore tour departure. Please refer to your tour ticket for the correct time and place.