The original birthplace of the city, Newcastle’s East End has undergone a significant transformation in recent years to become a vibrant, constantly evolving district popular with visitors, locals and fans of fantastic beachside living and a burgeoning cultural scene.
Meandering away from the CBD towards Hunter Street Mall, a hive of retail activity, visitors will find their way to the picturesque parks at Foreshore Reserve and Nobby’s Beach, both ideal for picnicking and promenading, whatever the season.
Sundays see visitors flock to climb the iconic Nobby’s Lighthouse to take in spectacular coastal views, while historic Fort Scratchley, the only Australian fortress to have fired on an enemy during wartime, commands unobstructed vistas from its position high above the headland.
Just a stone’s throw away, Newcastle’s renowned Ocean Baths offer a protected spot for bathers and sun worshippers alike with money-can’t-buy views across Newcastle Beach, while nearby Scottie’s Fish Cafe is a veritable institution, dishing up delicious seaside fare since 1950. Stop by for a taste of the catch of the day, hand-cut chips, juicy burgers, salt and Szechuan pepper squid with handmade condiments.
Newcastle is a foodie town. At the end of a day’s exploring, there are plenty of possibilities for wining and dining, from a la carte cuisine overlooking Newcastle Harbour at Paymasters to fresh seasonal seaside dining at Bistro Sandbar on Newcastle Beach to Casa de Loco, serving authentic mouth watering Mexican cuisine – and that’s just for starters. If your palate prefers something sourced from the local markets at Sandgate, why not head over to Fruit A Peel where patrons can purchase market fresh fruit and vegetables, juices, smoothies, salads and wraps – all handmade. Nearby is Newcastle’s only Persian restaurant, The Persian Place, offering guests’ a journey to the aromatic Middle East – one not to be missed for those looking to explore world cuisine.
For visitors seeking some retail therapy, try Alie Jane in Hunter Street Mall, offering hand made travel accessories, children’s clothing and jewellery. Meanwhile, House of Elliott, located in a deceptively large Victorian property on Perkins Street, combines interior design consultations with retail furniture, gifts and homewares. Equally as appetising is The Deck Homewares and Fashion, stocking a swathe of Asian, Indian and Moroccan wares to inspire.
Make the most of the city’s weather by picking up a set of wheels from Spinway Bikes at Crowne Plaza Hotel to cycle around the East End and along the breakwall on a sunny afternoon, or enjoy the civic vibe at Pacific Park, home to the boutique Hunt & Gather Markets on the third Saturday of every month. If travelling by foot is your favoured mode of transport, why not try the Newcastle East Heritage Walk? At three kilometres, the path takes in magnificent coastal views and a number of key historic sites outlining the region’s rich and fascinating history, including the East End’s origins as a meeting and fishing spot for the local Awabakal people.
And when the night draws near, the historic East End takes on an entirely different persona when ghoulish ghost tours share stories of the city’s underbelly and haunted past. Why not enjoy a dose of history and things that go bump in the night on an East End Dark History and Ghost Walk? Guests will visit the spooky old Convict Lumberyard, Newcastle Hospital site, Watt Street sites, The Asylum, Christ Church Cemetery and Bolton Street finishing on Hunter Street. Taking a tour may help to explain why some things go bump in the night!