Newcastle is approximately 160kms South of Sydney, at the Hunter Valley river mouth. Newcastle has a reputation for having some of the best surf in Australia, and is close to several beaches and national Parks. During my time in Newcastle, I explore as many beaches and national parks as I can. Here are my top 5 free places to visit in Newcastle.
Newcastle Ocean Baths and Beach
Newcastle Beach and the adjoining Ocean Baths are the most popular because they are easily accessible from Newcastle and have facilities such as volleyball courts, cafes and restaurants, shaded table areas and change room facilities. Enjoy a morning relaxing and swimming in the ocean baths before taking a walk in the afternoon. From Newcastle Ocean Baths you walking to Kind Edward Park. Kind Edward Park has a spectacular view of the north and south beaches and headlands and is where you can access another small ocean bath called the bogey hole. The bogey hole is the most popular ocean bath amongst locals, as no one knows about it, it’s smaller and waves break right into it.
Merewether Ocean Baths
The Merewether ocean baths are in a picture perfect location, with great pathways to follow if you want to go for a walk in between swims. The ocean baths are close to cafes, restaurants and parking. You could spend a full day at the Ocean Baths taking walks along the beach, swimming in the baths and soaking up the sun.
Glenrock Conservation Area
A short car ride away from Newcastle (5kms East of Charlestown) is Glenrock Conservation Area, 500 hectares of natural coastline, headlands and wildlife. You can choose from several trails all ranging in distance. We walked from the car park down towards Burwood Beach passing a flowing creek, waterfalls, a lookout (below) and the picturesque Glenrock Lagoon.
If you follow the lagoon you end up on Burwood Beach. From the beach you can explore the lavish headland. There are many other options, including a long hike that takes you all the way back to Newcastle through the forest. Glenrock Conservation Area offers a surprisingly unspoilt beach setting, unique when compared to the surrounding urban area.
Glenrock Conservation Area is also a popular spot for mountain bike riding with two bikes trails winding through the open forest and woodlands.
Nobbys Headland Lighthouse
Nobbys Head Lighthouse is located at the entrance to Newcastle Harbour. The lighthouse is a premier tourist attraction, loved by locals and visitors alike. Take a walk up the headland to the lighthouse and enjoy the spectacular 360 degree views of Newcastle, Nobbys Beach and the Harbour.
Black Butt Reserve
Black Butt reserve occupies over 183 hectares of land and provides visitors with the chance to enjoy nature trails, wildlife exhibits, children’s playgrounds and recreational facilities. At Black Butt Reserve you can see Koala’s, wombats, birds and Australian reptiles… all for free. Black Butt is a great place to spend a day hiking, taking photos, admiring wildlife and enjoying a picnic amongst the wonders of nature.