by Jacqui Owens
When I told a friend we were going to stay a few nights in Newcastle she said “Really? Newcastle? Why?” At this point, I started doubting my decision. However, I am pleased to report that Newcastle is an EXCELLENT place to visit and we will definitely go again soon. Here’s a list of some fun things to do there:
1. Hire a bike
At a number of locations, including right outside the Crowne Plaza (where we stayed) are Automated Bike Hire Terminals from which you can rent a bike 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with the swipe of your credit/debit/savings card. Free helmets, locks, and maps are provided for each rental. There are loads of flat areas to discover. We wanted 2 bikes with child chairs at the back but could only find one so sadly we had to skip this activity.
2. Visit the Merewether Ocean Baths
I have only good things to say about these stunning ocean baths. It is actually the largest ocean baths complex in the Southern Hemisphere. There are two baths, a shallow kid’s pool and a large deeper pool for adults and big kids which includes some lanes for those wishing to do some laps. The facilities are excellent with lots of space, weekly cleaning and a lifeguard every day during swimming season. The only downside of the baths is that parking can be tricky.
3. Newcastle Memorial Walk
This beautiful commemorative coastal walkway overlooking Merewether and Bar Beach is a great place to discover the history of local Anzacs as well as enjoy spectacular views. The Memorial Walk is 450m (the bridge part is 160m) and it is pram and wheelchair friendly from the Strzelecki lookout side. Although we didn’t see any, it’s said that many a dolphin and whale have been spotted!
Image Source: Trip Advisor
4. Visit Newcastle Museum
The Newcastle Museum is not only super child-friendly, interactive and educational but it’s great for kids of a range of ages. Entry is free but there are special exhibitions which have a small fee. The museum offers great information about Aboriginal life in Newcastle and Newcastle’s history. Although it is a small museum you could spend many hours there.
5. Visit the Animals at Blackbutt Reserve
Blackbutt Reserve is a fantastic place to visit with kids. It has a pram-friendly boardwalk tour with incredible animal enclosures, a good playground, clean barbecues, lovely environment and wildlife. It’s a very pleasant place to spend the day. There are koalas, wombats, emus, peacocks and wallabies plus lots more. Admission is free but car parking is at a charge, which is used to maintain the reserve.
I can definitely recommend the following eateries, all for different reasons. All are kid friendly and all were very pleasing to our merry band of travellers.
- Blue Door Cafe – super healthy and delicious menu options plus it’s adjacent to a huge empty plaza for kids to run around in.
- Honey Suckle Hotel – beautiful vista, great beer/wine selection, plenty of seating and delicious pub fare.
- Scotties Fish Cafe – Fresh, yum, all outdoor seating. BYO picnic rug! I ordered the fish burger and a cider and it hit the spot like nothing else!