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It’s ON! in Newcastle and The Hunter, a sensational season of events

February 7, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

There’s never been a better time to visit Newcastle and The Hunter. Renowned for fabulous food, wine, outdoor activities and entertainment, throughout February and March the region is hosting a jam-packed schedule of superb events as part of It’s ON! in Newcastle and The Hunter.

Operation-SmileIt’s ON! in Newcastle and The Hunter runs from February 1 to March 22, featuring everything from lively A-league football clashes, world-class skateboarding (Australian Bowl Riding Championships) and epic white-surf contests (Surfest-the southern hemisphere’s largest surf festival; Navy Australian Surf Rowers Open) through to food and music festivals (Maitland Taste, Food, Wine and Music Festival; Bruce Springsteen concert; CMC Rocks the Hunter), craft beer dinners (Craft Beer Week) and cultural events (Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival).

The City of Newcastle’s Manager of Tourism and Economic Development Services, Ms Jan Ross, can’t wait for the action to begin, saying: “It’s terrific to see the entire region involved in putting together such comprehensive and diverse schedule, from world class music concerts to national sporting competitions the full spectrum of special events and entertainment will be taking place in Newcastle and The Hunter during February and March.

“IT’s ON! in Newcastle and The Hunter comes on the back of a number of successful large-scale events in Newcastle, such as the Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games, the third match in the British and Irish Lion’s 2014 tour, a number of rugby international matches and an exhibition match between the Newcastle Jets and the LA Galaxy which even attracted David Beckham,” added Ms Ross.

Key events on the IT’s ON! Newcastle and The Hunter schedule include: Cultural and culinary celebrations

Commencing with the Hunters and Collectors – A Day on the Green at Bimbadgen Winery in the Hunter Valley on February 1, a series of sensational music festivals and concerts will take to the stage as part of IT’s ON!, with the likes of Bruce Springsteen rocking out amidst picturesque, rolling vineyards at Hope Estate on February 22, followed by a fantastic line up of talent – including Lee Kernaghan, Aleyce Simmons and the Greencards – during CMC Rocks the Hunter (Hope Estate, March 14-16).

If its old time rock n’ roll you’re after, then the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival is for you (March 28-30) – think classic cars, hot rods, 50’s and 60’s fashion supported by a suite of ‘rockability’ dances, dinners, concerts and the rest.

For foodies, festivities include the Maitland Taste, Food, Wine and Music Festival (March 8-9) – bringing together the best of the region’s local produce, while those looking to combine a culinary excursion with rides, animals and more will delight in the Newcastle Show at Broadmeadow Showground (February 28 – March 2).

While for beer lovers, an absolute highlight event for anyone who enjoys a boutique brew is the Newcastle Craft Beer Week – taking place over one jam-packed week from February 20 to March 2 including craft beer tastings, beer-paired dinners, feature speakers and more.

Rounding out the cultural celebrations, for a Wild West Aussie experience, check out the Hunter Valley NHMA Tractor Trek (Dungog, March 18-22) which brings together the biggest and best tractors from the region and beyond for three days of tractor trail-driving, a gala parade and showground activities including chain-sawing, hay-bailing, hammer-milling and more.

Superb sporting events

Showcasing Newcastle’s newly refurbished Hunter Stadium, the city will kick off a series of five A- League football matches from February 1 (various dates) which will see the Newcastle Jets, Sydney FC, Melbourne Heart, and Wellington Phoenix show off their soccer skills.

Kicking off on February 6th, the Australian Bowl Riding Championships will be the first genuine national competition in Australia, enabling the best – and bravest – bowl riders of all ages to strut their stuff at Empire Park Skate Bowl.

Rugby enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice with the Festival of Indigenous Rugby (February 3-8), which culminates in a trial match between the Newcastle Knights and the First Nation Goannas (February 8), as well as some sensational Super Rugby Valentine’s Day action with the NSW Waratahs versus Otago Highlanders at Hunter Stadium on February 14.

Spectacular Stockton Beach will be transformed for three days from February 8 for the biggest surf rowing event in the country – the Navy Australian Surf Rowers’ Open – with 400 crews from 100 Surf Life Saving Clubs battling it out in what will no doubt be a fast and furious race to the finish. While in mid-February, Newcastle’s iconic surf event and the Southern Hemisphere’s largest surf festival – Surfest (February 12-23) – will take centre stage, attracting thousands of spectators to cheer 800 competitors through 10 gruelling events across 11 days at breathtaking Merewether Beach. And the Surfest finale – the Visit NSW Air Show (February 23) is not to be missed with some of the best aerial surfers from around Australia and the world competing for cash prizes as they demonstrate the direction professional surfing is heading.

Besides its growing reputation as one of Australia’s best special events regions, Newcastle is increasingly known for its pre and post event entertainment. From outdoor activities to nightlife, shopping and culture to boutique beer and fabulous food, the action needn’t stop when the showground clears its grounds.

Wind down after a wicked weekend of culinary and cultural celebrations or sporting action with a trip to the Hunter Valley, a fascinating tunnel tour at historic Fort Scratchley, a lazy bike ride along the magnificent coastline, a dip in the Newcastle Ocean Baths or a stroll through the boutiques and cafes of bohemian Darby Street.

For something a little more up tempo hit the Stockton sand dunes for a quad-bike adventure or try cliff hang-gliding or kite surfing to truly test your mettle.

And when the sun goes down, take your pick from al fresco harbourside dining, gastro-pubs galore, famous craft breweries, cocktails at one of the many rooftop bars, iconic live music venues or traditional fish and chips on the beach.

For further information about Newcastle and the upcoming events, visit

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