THE WEEKENDER: NEWCASTLE, NSW
The small town-feel of this city encourages relaxing and eating, two of the best things in life.
Darby Street is packed full of restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as the odd boutique. There are eateries for every occasion, and every local will tell you their favourite. It’s hard to pick a single place in Newcastle, but Darby St has some of the best food in town.
If you’re after a fine dining experience, Coco Monde Chocolateria is for you. Everything is made on site, from ice cream to marshmallows, and you can tell the owners have a passion for food and service. While they and their team are certainly gifted at desserts, their savoury meals are equally as delicious. The restaurant is perfect for groups or couples and the cosy atmosphere will have you forgetting the time, no matter the weather.
80 Darby St, Newcastle, New South Wales
This café does all day breakfast, which is the best time for breakfast. With a range of hot and cold drinks and coffees, there will be something you love, and something new you should try. The banana bread with maple butter is great at any time of day, and you can eat to your heart’s content while looking out over Charlestown.
Level 2, Charlestown Square, 30 Pearson St, Charlestown, New South Wales
Scratchleys is an upper class restaurant found on the foreshore in Newcastle, and floats on the top of the water. The room is filled with light as the windows stretch floor to ceiling, and as you eat your meal it’s easy to get distracted by how close you are to the sparkling water. If you don’t feel like dining in-doors, you can order takeaway or ice cream from their window and sit on the tables or grass nearby, or eat as you walk down the esplanade.
200 Wharf Road, Newcastle, New South Wales
When The Depot on Darby introduced their ‘freakshakes’ a few years back, everyone rushed to try one. With whole doughnuts, waffles and fairy floss loaded on, these milkshakes are a decadent experience and are definitely something to instagram about. Their meals are also beautifully presented with a colourful aesthetic, they look almost too good to eat (definitely eat them though).
414-143 Darby St, Cooks Hill, Newcastle, New South Wales
With 15 beers and ciders on tap right now, there’s sure to be one you love. The Blind Monk also have a large range of whiskeys (with a new one added each week) and cocktails, and 90c dumplings on Tuesdays. You can’t go wrong.
76 Beaumont St, Hamilton, Newcastle New South Wales
The Koutetsu serves signature cocktails, as well as beer, wine, cider and snacks in their dark bar. The moody orangey-red lighting draws you in, and you imagine you could be anywhere in the world. Both the physical space and their menu have been lovingly made, recycling materials to create the bar and everything you see. This building has had many lives, and you should make sure you catch this current incarnation, as it’s not one to miss.
555 Hunter St, Newcastle, New South Wales
This quirky little boutique is home to gifts made by independent artists sourced from Newcastle and all around Australia. From earrings and pins to t-shirts and kids books, there will be something for everyone, and you’ll probably have trouble picking just a few things! Shopping here also supports both a local business and small artists, so you can be sure your support is welcomed.
70 Darby St, Newcastle, New South Wales
While you’re in Blackbird Corner, why not pop into Cooks Hill Books and Records next door? Operating since 1985, their collection of second hand books is incredible. Whether you’re looking for something specific or just wanting to browse, you’re likely to find something that catches your eye.
72 Darby St, Newcastle, New South Wales
It wouldn’t be a trip to Newcastle without a visit to the beach. If you’re in ‘town’ (inner Newcastle), make sure to visit Nobbys Beach and walk down the Newcastle Breakwall to the lighthouse. If sport is your thing, there are volleyball nets and plenty of space for beach soccer. You could also visit the Bar Beach/Merewether Beach stretch, grab a bite to eat at the Merewether Surfhouse and have a dip in the Merewether Ocean Baths. Each beach is surrounded by rocks and greenery, and is only a short walk to food, parking or your next adventure (just make sure to bring a bucket of sun screen!).
King Edward Park – Rose Garden – Bogey Hole
If the weather is clear and you’re up for a nice afternoon stroll, Kind Edward Park is a picturesque location that is frequently used for formal pictures, weddings and events, and is full of beautiful little spots to stop and chat in. The rotunda is a main feature of the park, in a clearing surrounded by incredibly tall trees. A nice picnic lunch in the park is a great way to spend the afternoon with friends, and if you can grab a spot in the rotunda or in the tree-shade, you’re in for a relaxing afternoon.
If you follow the path down from the main park, you can find yourself at the Rose Garden. Especially in spring and summer, vibrant flowerbeds pop out from the bright green grass, and you can spend hours strolling through the small garden, perhaps stopping for a few photo-ops on the way.
After a flowery photoshoot, it’s only a short walk down to the Bogey Hole, a swimming pool cut out of a rock platform by convicts for Mayor James Morisset between 1819-1823. Although it’s not an ideal spot in cold or windy weather, when the sun is shining it’s a beautiful sight. The area is occasionally fenced off for safety (especially around storms), but you can still get a good look without ducking through the fence and wandering down the steep steps.
This beautiful hotel is close to the beach, as well as a variety of restaurants in the heart of Newcastle. They also have a fitness centre as well as room service and a restaurant on-site, so if you don’t feel like venturing out for meals you don’t have to go far from your room. After all, the best place for breakfast is bed.
5 King St, Newcastle, New South Wales