The Newcastle Weekender Guide - Expedia Australia Travel Blog

The Newcastle Weekender Guide

The Newcastle Weekender Guide

Alex from design trio Kip & Co heads to Newcastle on the NSW Coast to hang out with the cool kids. 

I originally headed to Newie to spend time with my sister who made a sea change from Arnhem Land to Newcastle. I love spending weekends there because not only do I get some quality family time, but I’ve fallen in love with Newie’s pumping art and foodie communities, relaxed pace and beautiful beaches. It’s the perfect balance between Australia’s cosmopolitan city centres and whimsical seaside towns. Expedia’s Aussie travellers usually spend 1-2 nights in town – that’s the perfect amount of time to get a good dose of Newie culture – especially if you use my weekend guide!


1. Rise up at Uprising

This place has more hipster-cred than a vegan Brunswick street artist on a fixie. No longer Newcastle’s best-kept secret, the organic bakery and cafe is drawing people from up and down the New South Wales coast who’ve heard whispers of the berry custard brioche. The coffee is so good you’ll smash two before your kimchi and provolone sandwich is finished and be buzzing around singing their praises all weekend long.

2. Walk it off down Darby Street

Hit up the cosmopolitan heart of Newcastle with a stroll down trendy Darby Street. The place is chockas with boutiques to lighten your wallet; favourites include interior’s mecca (and Kip & Co stockist!) Willows Home Trader, clothing and record store, Abicus, and womenswear outfit, Scout.

3. Get merry at Mereweather

Mereweather is seriously jaw dropping. There’s a cracking coastline if you feel inclined to grab a board and try your luck, or if you’re cruising at my speed you’ll just want to soak up the views from the Mereweather Surf House. If you’re picturing some Home and Away moment, forget it, Flathead and Bobbie would be totally out of place here. Grab a proper old-school fish and chips and milkshake downstairs in the uber cool cafe (sandy, bare feet and bikinis welcome), then head upstairs and kick back with a beer on the lounges.

4. Slam down a triple dose of culture

Newcastle has been a magnet for arty types for decades and consequently boasts a disproportionate number of galleries and repurposed spaces that makes for one helluva subculture to explore. Case in point – the old jail has been converted into The Lock Up, a modern art space (I saw some of Mignon Steele’s works – one to watch), and sometime gig venue… this town is rockin! They’ve kept just the right amount of creepy in the cells to keep you on your toes. It’s also right next door to the Timeless Textiles and a short stroll to the Emporium, which is full of artists in residence as part of the Renew Newcastle project; a not for profit established to find uses for Newcastle’s vacant or disused buildings.

5. Follow the pied piper

Head to the Grainstore for an early feed and live music. I was lucky enough to catch some spunky kid crooning on his guitar (sadly it wasn’t Daniel Johns) while we devoured some pub grub and craft beers. I don’t dabble in meat myself but the Rib Plate (weighing in at about 5 kilos) was getting many oohs and ahhs from a fierce-looking pack of carnivores.


6. Act local

Start your day off right with a stroll through the Newcastle Sunday Market. Rub shoulders with the locals and get your fill of fruit and veg, homemade preserves…and a lot of knitting. Kids will loose their bananas over the pony rides, jumping castle and face painting and there’s a great band to listen to as you chow down on your market munchies (I doubled down on the Tibetan dumplings).

7. Dive in

There is so much amazing architecture in Newcastle. Check out the art deco delights of the Newcastle Ocean Baths for a start and then stroll along the beach for a swim between the flags like a good little Aussie. There’s a rad little tunnel just near the beach with some street art that is worth hunting out for a snap.

8. Demand moor

Just above Newcastle Beach is one of the most recent additions to Newcastle’s gourmet trail – Moor (so new I can’t even spot a website yet!). The menu has a Moroccan inspired vibe but the whole place feels quite European. All day breakfasts roll straight into a solid dinner menu so this one is an option morning, noon or night.

9. Roll high

Honeysuckle Drive is as sweet as it sounds – hire a bike (I found some just beneath the Crowne Plaza) and peddle your way along the foreshore drive. If you’re lucky enough to catch a sunny Sunday, there is almost no better place you’d rather be.

10. Finish big

Get ready for a treat, Sobu is a serious stand out. Chef Beau Vincent has an impressive track record, with stints at Tetsuya, Guillaume and Assiette. This tiny little Japanese gem is hard to fault, but it’s not for the spontaneous soul…you gotta gotta gotta plan ahead – these guys are booked up months (no, thats not a typo) in advance.

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