13 Unmissable Things To Do In Newcastle This Weekend

Newcastle is one of the best cities on the east coast of Australia. From a bustling industrial-style city to ominous cliff faces, beautiful untouched bushland and some of the best beaches in the world Newcastle seems to have it all. If you’re new to the area or just visiting one of the things you’re sure to ask what there is to do! And the short answer is where do we start? There is so much to do around Newcastle. As someone who grew up in the Newcastle region, I’m going to be sharing with you some of the best things to do in Newcastle and soon you’ll be wishing you had visited sooner!

Hot Air Balloon in the Hunter Valley

Hot Air balloon hunter valley
Hot Air Balloons Hunter Valley

Imagine waking up at the crack of dawn and catching the sunrise over the mountains while you’re hundred of meters in the sky. This is what hot air ballooning in the Hunter Valley is like. The Hunter Valley is one of the most picturesque regions around Newcastle and seeing it from this angle is one of the best things to do in Newcastle. You’ll drift in the sky over treetops and sometimes over 2000 ft in the air. The flight is so peaceful it doesn’t even feel like you’re moving most of the time.

Once you land you’ll be treated to a champagne breakfast at Peterson House and receive your inflight photography to commemorate such an amazing moment. These experiences due tend to book out quickly so make sure you make a booking so you don’t miss out!

Newcastle Memorial Walk

Anzac walk newcastle
visit Newcastle

The Newcastle Anzac Memorial Walk is a beautiful tribute to our local Anzacs and our industrial history. Along this walk, you’ll pay tribute to the fallen men and women of WWI. The Anzac Walk was built on the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing in Gallipoli. Over 11,000 men and women were enlisted to serve during WWI and this 450m walk dons their names and pays tribute to those who served their country.

On top of paying tribute to our local soldiers and nurses of WWI, the walk also features beautiful views of the Mereweather region. This walk is also connected to the Bathers Way walk which features 6 km of beautiful coastline from Nobby’s Beach to Mereweather Beach.

Visit the Watagan Mountains

Abbotts Falls photo
Abbotts Falls in the Watagan Mountains

The Watagan Mountains are the closest bush playground to Newcastle and are the perfect place for people interested in 4wd, bushwalking, or mountain biking to congregate. The mountain range is both a national park (fees apply) and a state park (dog-friendly and fee-free) so it is important to do your research to find out where you are going and the rules which apply to the region.

However, the views from the mountain range are unmatched in the Newcastle region. Here you’ll find hundreds of km of bushland, waterfalls, 4×4 tracks, and lookouts over hundreds of km of untouched wilderness. If you getting off the beaten track is on your to-do list. The Watagan Mountains are the place for it.

Swim at the Bogey Hole

the bogey hole newcastle
Visit Newcastle

One of the must-see attractions in Newcastle is the Bogey Hole. Located just off of King Edward Park, this rock pool was cut by hand by convicts for Major James Morisset in 1819. The pool was originally known as the ‘Commandant’s Baths’ and was for personal use only.

The Bogey Hole is now an Instagrammer’s dream and is one of the most beautiful places to swim in NSW.

Visit Fighter World

Newcastle has a rich aviation history. In fact, the RAAF base at Williamtown is the main fighter pilot training base in Australia. This is where you’ll find Fighterworld. This museum is a fantastic way to understand and preserve Australia’s aviation and RAAF history. At Fighterworld you can sit in the cockpits of fighter planes and trainers, and see in person 18 historic fighter planes which have been actively used in wars and conflicts around the world.

Fighter World is open daily from 10am-4pm and tickets are $19 each. If you’re lucky you may even see the fighter pilots training in the RAAF base, which is actively used daily.

Go Hiking on the Central Coast!

things to do in Newcastle
Koolewong Lookout

Less than 1 hour away from Newcastle you’ll find the Central Coast. Here you’ll find hundreds of km of untouched forests and countless hikes which feature some of the best views NSW has to offer. The Central Coast is a popular day trip from Newcastle with many people visiting the region to view breathtaking waterfalls, and easily accessible lookouts and to catch a glimpse of the Sydney CBD from a unique angle. If you’re looking for the best way to explore the Central Coast it is by foot and on the trails. To make the most of your time on the Central Coast grab our Hiking Guide book which features 42 hiking guides to Central Coast hidden gems, waterfalls, and lookouts. It’s the best way to see some of the best views in the region and also features the best hikes south of Newcastle.

Wine Tasting in the Hunter Valley

Only 1 hour from Newcastle is the Hunter Valley which is one of the best wine-making regions in NSW and all of Australia. There are hundreds of Hunter Valley Wineries from small-batch wineries to heavyweights in the Australian wine business such as Mcguigan Wines, Tyrells, and Saddler Creek. Most wineries have a cellar door that is open to the public and you can taste wines for as little as $5. The Hunter Valley has also evolved a lot since it began with spirit tasting and beer tasting also being open to the public as well.

The area is known for fine wine and good food, so make sure you head to the region with an empty stomach and take in some of the best food in NSW.

Find the Secret Bars in Newcastle

It’s no secret that Newcastle loves a good drink. Because of this, speakeasies, rooftop bars, beer gardens boutique bars, and secret bars are all the rage in Newcastle. When it comes to the secret bars however they are especially unique. Sometimes you’ll walk down a dingy alleyway to find the secret entranceway, other times you’ll walk through a barber shop or text a number to get the code to the door. If you’re willing to do the research you’re going to get a unique night at a small bar. I’d tell you which ones to try and find, but that would ruin the secret…

Go Whale Watching

Eco friendly cruise newcastle
Backpacker deals

Between June and November every year, the coast off of Newcastle becomes a super highway for humpback whales! During this time whales are migrating from Antarctica to warmer waters and then head back down to Antarctica again. Often you’ll be able to spot the whales playing and moving up and down the coastline from headlands, however, Newcastle offers eco-friendly whale-watching cruises which let you get a lot closer and see the whales from your boat.

These cruises are an immersive experience where you’ll soak in the beautiful Newcastle Coastline, learn about the whales, and if you’re lucky you might even get to catch glimpse of fur seals and dolphins.

Many whales are part of this migration however you are most likely to encounter humpback whales. Growing up to 18 meters long and weighing up to a whopping 50 tonnes humpback whales are the most interactive sea mammals and they often are seen breaching, pectoral slapping, and tail lobbing close to cruise ships.

It is important to note that these are eco-friendly cruises and there is never a guarantee that you will encounter whales as only ethical methods are used to see the whales and distance must be kept between the boat and the whales at all times it is possible.

Swim at Redhead Beach

redhead shark tower
Shark Tower at Redhead Beach

Newcastle is known for having some of the best beaches in the world, Redhead Beach is a prime example of this. The beach is located at Redhead in Lake Macquarie and is popular for a few reasons.

  1. It boasts kms of untouched beach, where you can take your dog
  2. The giant red headland
  3. The historic Shark tower

The shark tower at Redhead Beach is particularly popular due to it being the only remaining shark tower on the east coast of Australia. The towers were used in the 1920s so lifesavers could spot sharks and protect swimmers. The tower is rarely used these days but it is a great piece of local history and seeing the shark tower in contrast to the looming headland is a sight to see!

Explore Caves Beach

Caves beach sea caves
Visit NSW

Also located in Lake Macquarie you’ll find Caves Beach. This beach is known for its giant sea caves which during low tide you can walk through and explore. On the other side of the main caves, you’ll find countless rockpools and more caves to explore.

Caves Beach is also a patrolled beach during the summer and school holidays which is rare when it comes to beaches featuring a sea cave, so here you can explore the caves safely with your family.

Visit Blackbutt Reserve

blackbutt reserve entry fee
Blackbutt reserve

Only 10 minutes away from the Newcastle CBD you’ll find Blackbutt Reserve. This free wildlife park holds 60 different species of animals and there is a range of free feedings every day where keepers will feed the lorikeets, koalas, and wombats. There is also the option of visiting the kangaroos and emus which you can feed by hand at any time of the day.

During the school holidays, there are often extra activities including reptile shows. The park itself is also home to 10 km of bushwalks and boardwalks where you will visit many of the different species of native animals in their natural environments. The park is also home to 2 playgrounds including a wheelchair-accessible carousel.

Go Paragliding over the coastline

One of the more unique things to do in Newcastle is getting out and paragliding. Newcastle Paragliding offers tandem flights across the coastline where you can take in the sights and see the cliffs and beaches Newcastle is known for. On this 30-minute flight, you’ll jump off a cliff with a professional and embark on a gentle flight. No experience or license is required, all they ask is an adventurous spirit and a can-do attitude. This paragliding experience runs all year round but for the best experience, it’s best to book between September and April.

Do a Scenic Skydive

fun things to do newcastle
Newcastle Skydive

Ever thought about plummeting 200 km toward the ground from 15000 ft in the air? Most people will say no, but for the thrill seekers out there, this is one of the most scenic sky-diving locations in Australia. Catch views of the Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie, and Newcastle. You’ll be left in awe after the free fall is over and you gently glide back to the airport where you can soak in some of the best views NSW has to offer. Lake Macquarie is known for its islands and turquoise blue water, and it looks even better from above.

On this tandem skydive, you’ll be paired with a professional skydiver to worry about the nitty-gritty details and you can sit back and wait for the experience of a lifetime.

Go Quad Biking

cool things to do in Newcastle
Quad biking in Newcastle

The Stockton Dunes look like they are straight out of Mad Max and are some of the more unique things to do in Newcastle Australia. Here you can go quad biking through the grasslands and progressively make your way to the giant sand dunes in Worimi Country. The Sand dunes here can get up to 100ft in size and are huge! This tour is the best way to see the sand dunes and take in 360-degree views of the Newcastle Region.

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