The Weekend Series: take a whirlwind trip to Newcastle
There’s nothing quite like a carefree weekend away – the act of getting out of town in search of adventure and new experiences. A lot can be said for checking out the cultural melting pots of Sydney and Melbourne, but let’s not overlook the rest of Australia! If you’ve been itching to explore somewhere new, we suggest packing an overnight bag and diving headfirst into discovering the best spots of a new city. This week, we are giving you a whirlwind tour of Newcastle – listing our picks for the best spots to dine from dawn to dusk and a few special events to time your visit around.
Start the day off right
When we say whirlwind trip, we mean it! There’s no time to waste on this visit – get up and seize the day. In order to carpe diem the heck out of your visit, we suggest starting with a balanced breakfast and a coffee or two at Blue Door. Located within the Fred Ash building in Wheeler Place on Hunter Street, Blue Door is a charming cafe that focuses on honest and quality fare. The menu is chock-full of locally sourced produce that looks almost too good to eat. But don’t let the pretty plating fool you – you’re going to want to eat this. From deconstructed sushi bowls, green pea and haloumi fritters, breakfast nasi goreng and breakfast planks, any meal you choose will have you ready to face the day ahead.
Honourable mentions: Bolton Street Pantry, Hubro, One Penny Black
Image credit: Blue Door
Snack and splurge
After spending the morning browsing through boutiques such as 876 and RAD Store on Hunter Street, and Wolfe and Ordnance and Abicus on Darby Street, you’re going to probably be thinking about lunch. Black Sheep Cafe & Bar on Darby Street has everything you will need to refuel and relax with an all-day brunch menu – the field mushroom toasties with haloumi and the nourishing plate sounds good to us – and even a cheeky cocktail to accompany your meal. Want something more substantial? The Family Hotel on Hunter Street pairs Italian-inspired pub food with an incredible drinks list. We can’t judge you for starting happy hour early – it’s the freakin’ weekend, baby!
Honourable mentions: Rascal, Newy Burger Co., East End Hub
Image credit:Black Sheep Cafe & Bar
Do the happy hour hop
After dropping off your shopping haul and freshening up for a night on the town, it’s time to start thinking about the evening ahead. Whether you like to check out the bar scene before dinner or after, there’s plenty of hotspots that will be more than accommodating. For the cocktail lovers, we suggest Coal and Cedar, which is a hidden speakeasy on Hunter Street that won Best Regional bar in Australia last year – so you know it’s got the goods. The knowledgeable bar staff can whip up any concoction you can think of, paired with some specialty cheese and cured meat. If you are more of a craft beer lover, The Grain Store on Scott Street in Newcastle East can pour you a frothy beverage from several local craft breweries.
Honourable mentions: 5 Sawyers, Greenroof, The Koutetsu
Image: Coal and Cedar
Dinner to die for
Once the sun sets it’s only natural to start thinking about dinner plans. Thankfully Newcastle is flush with world-class eateries that will make you melt with culinary excellence. If you are keen on trying the best of the best (we like your style), choose from Newcastle’s hatted restaurants. Restaurant Mason on Hunter Street has maintained One Chef’s Hat for five consecutive years, thanks to chef Chris Thornton’s expertly crafted menu of smart food served in style. Another must-try is Subo, a two-hatted contemporary bistro that offers a seasonal, set five-course menu that uses produce sourced from local growers. If a view is what you are after, Rustica on Newcastle Beach pairs Mediterranean cuisine with come choice ambience.
Honourable mentions: The Lucky Hotel, Fortunate Son
Get amongst the local culture
Newcastle is brimming with great natural and historical sites to explore, so we forgive you if you can’t fit a visit to all of these spots into your itinerary. Fort Scratchley is open six days a week for history buffs, with plenty of dolphin and whale watching spots for the nature lovers. If you love getting out and about, Blackbutt Reserve boasts plenty of bird watching opportunities and hiking tracks, while the Glenrock State Conservation Area offers opportunities for thrill seekers to go hang gliding. If you are keen to tie in your visit with a particular event, we suggest expanding your mind at the Newcastle Writers Festival, gorging on street food at FEASTival or sampling the region’s best beer at the Newcastle Beer Festival or hearing the finest music at the Newcastle Music Festival.
Image: Newcastle City Council