If you haven’t been to Newcastle (in NSW) you need to put it on your list. And if you’re a local then you will know what I am talking about when I say that this city (the second oldest in Australia) is a diamond.
The city is bursting with good coffee, home to a growing number of creatives and entrepreneurs and with its natural beauty and plentiful beaches, it’s one of my favourite places to get outdoors and get active.
My number one tip for getting the most out of this city is to think local. Local produce, local artists, local roasters, local business.
What To Pack
Joggers – you can walk the majority of the city centre in a day if you have good walking shoes and a good pace!
Beach wear– pack that new bikini, grab your beach towel and your hat and get ready to get comfortable on the sand and bury into the novel you’ve been meaning to get to (and of course sun cream!).
Great Ways to Move
Newcastle is one place that you should definitely get active outdoors in the sunshine! It is almost always great weather and the whole city centre is bordered by beautiful beaches.
Start your morning with a run along a beach – there are plenty to choose from, depending on your preference. If you are ready for a big start to your day, the perfect run route is around 12km and takes you from the harbour, through the city and all the way along the beautiful border of beaches. If that distance feels intimidating you could consider trying my 10km running training program.
If getting wet is more your thing there are plenty of opportunities to do this too. Newcastle has two ocean baths which are both free of charge and open to the public. The first is Newcastle Ocean Baths at the eastern point of the city and the other is Merewether Ocean Baths a couple of kilometres south. Both are picturesque and both are supplied with great coffee shops.
If you’re on a bike and looking for some hills warm your legs by starting at Dixon Park Surf Club and get ready to climb your way up Scenic drive, before turning around and cruising down while you enjoy the beautiful view over the ocean.
If hills aren’t your thing you may prefer a cruise along the 15km Fernleigh track, it’s a dedicated walking/cycle path that follows the old train line from Adamstown to Belmont. Or if you’d prefer off road keep making your way up the hill and turn left into Glenrock Reserve for some off road fun!
Of course you might just want to get all sweaty indoors – there are loads of options for this too. Check out The Forum Harbourside, or Balance Health Club Newcastle, which has a marble stair case that leads you up to the third floor of the gym which is girls only! From here you can look out over the harbour while you work out.
Great Ways to Nourish
When you need to stop for that caffeine hit, Newcastle delivers. There are so many options for quality roasters and providers it is difficult to narrow it down but my advice – support local businesses!
Darby street is a great place to start. At the south end of the street you will find a great little café run by two local brothers called Hubro. These boys started out by making their own cold brew. They have now opened their simple and stylish café space and are working towards creating a coworking space supporting local business start ups and creatives. If you time your stop for a meal their seasonal menu is well worth a sample.
For a nourishing lunch that is tasty and instaworthy head to Momo Wholefoods. It’s located in a beautiful old bank building on the corner of Hunter and Brown street. Their menu is based on ‘fresh, unrefined’ whole foods and they have plenty of vegetarian and vegan options to cater for all needs. And yes, they support local business and agriculture. They source all their produce from within a 100km radius (whenever possible) and they make a lot of their ingredients on site, including their ricotta, almond milk and cashew cheese. Make sure you stop here for lunch!
However, if you are making the most of the coast while you are here then Merewether Surfhouse is a wonderful alternative! They serve delicious coffee and their menu has plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options for you to enjoy while you look out over the surf.
Great Ways to Believe
One of the most important ways that I keep my life balanced is by taking some time out for relaxation and meditation. I often speak about the importance of wellbeing in my blog. Newcastle has some picturesque places for practicing meditation.
My favourite place is at the end of the breakwall at Nobbys Beach. Sitting on one of the big concrete rocks facing out to sea there is nothing and nobody to distract you from the beauty and power of the creation in front of you. It’s a great spot to try some new yoga poses, breathe out and let go of the stress of the work week.
I also love to indulge in a bit of culture when I’m away. I’m not too creative myself but I appreciate when others are! Newcastle Art Gallery (also on Darby street) is my favourite. They do public tours where you can get educated on all things art critic. My favourite time to go is the last Friday of the month when you get after-hours access to exhibitions with a pop-up bar and live local music. It’s definitely my kind of art gallery.
If you’re relying on public transport you will need to remember your Opal card. There are no longer any trains operating in the city centre (they stop at Hamilton) but the good news is that to make up for the inconvenience there is a free bus service in this area. Click here to find all the details.
What’s your favourite part about Newcastle?
About the author
Amy Darcy is a Mum, lawyer and the editor of Eat Pray Workout, an Australian based website for women who want to be the healthiest, happiest version of themselves.
You’ll find healthy recipes; articles on wellbeing; fitness and travel – all aimed at helping women gain a generally healthy, happy and balanced lifestyle. Subscribe here for her weekly inspiring emails. You can also connect with Amy on instagram or Facebook.