Sydney: 2 hr | 170 km
Hunter Valley:1 hr 15 min | 100 km
Port Stephens: 1 hr | 60 km
Newcastle has come a long way in recent years from a coastal industrial city with a lot of potential, to a thriving cultural and surf centre with gorgeously restored heritage buildings, hip bars, and a laid back attitude. It's surrounded by water with the Hunter River to one side and the Pacific Ocean to the other. All highlights and the best places to stay in your camper van are mapped at the end of the article.
Newcastle is part of the Sydney to Gold Coast drive.
Things to do
- Visit Fort Scratchley to learn about the city's military history (it once had to defend itself), explore the underground tunnels and take in some great city and coastal views.
- The Harbour Foreshore is a promenade, with a replica of Australia’s first built steamship, restaurants and bars.
- The Newcastle Regional Museum, is housed in one of the city's many historical buildings with engaging exhibitions.
- Queens Wharf, is a colourful and cosmopolitan hub with restaurants, boutiques, a brewery, and an observation tower that gives you commanding views of the city.
- Enjoy the soaring architecture, stained glass and peace in Christ Church Cathedral.
- Visit the 'lock up', a police station turned artists' studios. Its padded cell is still in tact.
Christ Church Cathedral overlooks the city of Newcastle
- Take a cruise and explore Newcastle Harbour, or enjoy a full day tour along the Hunter River up to Morpeth.
- A scenic drive from the city centre winds along spectacular coastline, past the Bogey Hole, an historic rock pool chiseled into the rocks by the first convicts, and through King Edward Park with its lookout point and panoramic coastal views.
- See the rich birdlife and wildlife in the 160 acre Hunter Wetland Centre. Feed emus and cuddle a wombat at the Blackbutt Reserve.
- Walk the 5 km scenic and historic coastal walk known as Bathers Way. Another beautiful walk is Nobby's Head to the lighthouse to surround yourself with ocean views and fresh salt air.
Surf Fest Newcastle
Where to Stay
Stockton Beach Holiday Park is across the river from Newcastle on a headland. Ferries between Stockton and Newcastle run every 30 minutes. Walking from the holiday park, the ferry journey, and the walk to the centre of Newcastle will take you around 20 minutes.
Add on trips
- Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park - Brisbane Water and Bouddi National Park - Newcastle - Port Stephens - Hunter Valley - Wollemi National Park - Blue Mountains National Park is an 8 - 10 day loop that begins and ends in Sydney.
- You could make Newcastle and Port Stephens the first leg of a 5 - 9 day Sydney to Brisbane drivealong Australia's east coast.