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Newcastle: A Changing City

Nobby's Beach in Newcastle
Just 150 kilometres north of Sydney lies the second largest city in New South Wales, Newcastle. This close distance means that you can pick up your campervan hire Sydney and then head north to discover this interesting city. Essentially an industrial city this port is vital to the Australian economy because of the large amount of imports and exports that pass through it. But there is another side to the city, a side that has seen Newcastle and its surrounds emerge as a favoured destination amongst visitors to Australia. Belying the business of the port, the people are friendly, relaxed and welcoming to tourists. The beautiful beaches surrounding the town, its quaint architecture and its proximity to numerous natural attractions have also contributed to Newcastle leaving behind its nickname of 'The Steel City'. A campervan holiday based in this city will be a rewarding break that perfectly combines relaxation and activity to leave you refreshed and invigorated!

Newcastle is Australia's only city centre that is hemmed in by beaches and a harbour, and this makes for fascinating days spent enjoying these different aspects of the ocean. The immense Hunter River flows into the sea here, and the large harbour built at its entrance characterises the industrial side of this city. Yet it is also leaning more and more towards being a tourist attraction, and the working wharves are also a place of play.

Relax in the cafes, bars and restaurants here and watch the port side activity go on around you. For more fine dining options head to Beaumont and Derby Streets in the city, where the choices of cuisine are a tribute to the multi cultural diversity of Newcastle. There is also a thriving arts and culture scene here, with many entertainment venues and clubs to entertain you until the small hours of the morning.

Being such an established town, Newcastle has a rich history that is evident in its architectural heritage. Have a look at the courthouse, the Newcastle Railway Station and the old Customs House. The former police station is also quite unique, with fine iron columns supporting a porch covered in ornate cast iron lacework. Everyone, young and old, will be intrigued by Fort Scratchley, which is a fort that has defended the city in the past, and is now a military museum. A ride on the Newcastle Tram is also a must, a replica of an ancient tram it provides tours of the city to an informative commentary.

If you feel like a bit of peace, quiet and seclusion then jump into your campervan hire and head to one of the many beaches nearby. A mecca for surfers, that culture is alive and strong in Newcastle and the variety of conditions means everyone from beginners to experts can find their niche and enjoy a good days surf. For the non surfers the white sandy beaches and the the azure blue waters are perfect for swimming, suntanning or whatever other activity grasps your fancy.

Newcastle beach is the most accessible, being closest to the city centre. Nobbys beach is definitely the most recognisable though, with the lighthouse perched on the headland overlooking it gracing postcards the world over.

South of the city centre is Bar Beach, which is especially popular late in the day because when the sun goes down the floodlights around the beach come on so you can enjoy a swim or surf under the lights. Mereweather Beach is close to this, which at its bottom end houses the largest ocean pool in the southern hemisphere, making it great for swimmers.

For great views, take the short drive up Mt. Sugarloaf, park your camper and stroll up the bitumen walkway to the peak. From here you have amazing views of the city and the whole expanse of the Hunter Valley spreading out in front of you. The still waters of Lake Macquarie are also visible, and it all makes for an incredible spectacle at sunrise or sunset.

The Hunter Valley is just crying to be explored, and after viewing it from up here you will definitely be inspired to take a day trip or a longer excursion into its lush interior. The valley is Australia's oldest wine producing region, so take a tour of it's many cellar doors and enjoy sampling the world renowned local produce. There are plenty of accommodation options and the locals are renowned for being friendly and hospitable... who knows, you may end up staying a week!

Easily accessible and close to everything, Newcastle is the perfect spot for Sydney-siders looking for a weekend break. For those going on a longer touring holiday with campervan hire New South Wales it is the perfect place to call base as there is so much to do in and around the city. All age groups and all range of interests are catered for, so bring the kids and the grandparents and enjoy the holiday of a lifetime!

Gavin Wyatt

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