Port Review: Newcastle, NSW

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Once a working-class, no-nonsense destination, Newcastle today is a culinary and artistic hot-spot as well as home to some of the best beaches in the country. And there’s plenty to do here, for visitors on a cruise ship.

The Facts

Language: English.

Currency: Australian dollar.

Docking/anchoring: Most cruise ships dock at Dyke Point, Carrington, which has two berths and is a short distance to the city centre.

Transport: Most ships will organise shuttles to the city centre if you don’t fancy doing the pleasant 20-30 minute walk. Taxis are usually available just outside the port as well.


Newcastle’s belching smoke-stacks and thick black smog have been consigned to their place in history, as a vibrant and cosmopolitan city has emerged from an industrial past. This former industrial city has come of age as an international destination, although it is still distinctly a working city with a laid-back atmosphere. A combination of a strong heritage, beautiful harbour and foreshore, classic surf beaches and a thriving commercial centre has transformed the city and more cruise lines are slowly catching on to the fact that this Newcastle and the surrounding Hunter region is a great destination. 

Don’t Miss

Just a short stroll from the east end, Fort Scratchley sits atop Nobby’s Headland - the city’s landmark. Now a maritime museum, it was constructed during the Crimean War to protect the city from invasion. Further south just past the end of Newcastle’s Main Beach, visitors can take a dip in the Bogey Hole, carved into the ocean rocks by convicts in 1819. 

The Bathers Way Coastal Walk is a 5km marked route which starts from the lighthouse at Nobbys Headland and winds its way past Main Beach, Bar Beach and finishes at Merewether Beach. Along the way you can visit Fort Scratchley, swim at great beaches, and there are cafes and kiosks along the way if you want to just sit down and take it all in with coffee or a spot of lunch.

Located on Hunter Street, the Newcastle Regional Museum is a good way to experience the city’s rich and diverse history. You can also find out the effect of the 1989 earthquake which killed 13 people, and damaged 50 percent of the buildings.

Best Photo Op

From the southern end of Main Beach you can get a slightly elevated position and capture the beach itself, the headland and some of the city centre.


The CBD has the largest concentration of retail stores and Hunter Street is the centre of where it all happens. A short walk from the CBD is The Junction which has some upmarket boutique stores while Darby Street features a bohemian mix of local designers and funky street clothes and second hand stores.

Food And Drink 

For foodies, there’s no shortage of quality restaurants and cafes. Those looking for a gastronomic experience should head for the city’s three main “Eat Streets” - Beaumont Street, Darby Street and the Junction. There’s also a lively pub scene in Newcastle if you just feel like hanging out and having a “cold one” and from Wednesday to Sunday, bars and pubs across the centre of the city host live music ranging from rock to blues and traditional jazz.

Pick of the Excursions 

The Hunter Valley has become world-renowned as a wine producing region and a tour of the wineries is an indulgent way to also see some of the area’s beautiful countryside. Tours are usually all-day which include lunch at one of scores of “super-vineyards” which have sprung up to cater for the visitor looking for it all at one location with wine tasting, award-winning restaurants, luxury accommodation and top class facilities. Some of the more traditional wineries include McWilliams Mount Pleasant Estate, McGuigan Cellars and Tyrell’s Vineyards. 

Dolphin and whale watching tours are offered in Port Stephens which is just an hour north of Newcastle. The stunning blue waters of Port Stephens have become an aquatic playground for beach lovers, surfers, fishermen, divers, boaties and nature lovers and it’s a sheltered bay which stretches 20 kms inland and is four times the size of Sydney Harbour. It’s become the permanent home of a pod of 160 bottle nose dolphins which stay in the area all year round.



Joanna Hall


  • 4
    Not Worth It

    Posted by Marsha on 10th Feb 2020

    Stopped here on a Silverseas cruise once Sydney to Singapore. It was our first time in Newcastle and while it's a quaint seaside town there's not much for tourists there from what we could see. Waste of a stop, would have preferred more time in the barrier reef.

  • 5

    Posted by Cyn Arren on 10th Feb 2020

    I'm from Newcastle although living in Melbourne these days....thanks for featuring my old home town, I miss it a lot! Mind you I hear the wether is terrible right now LOL