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How to Explore Newcastle, Australia like a Local: Locals introduce their city.

In today’s MYCITY interview Luke from “Backstreet Nomad” introduces Newcastle, Australia. Send an email to info[at]universal-traveller.com when you’d like to present your city.

NAME, Profession

LUKE MARLIN, Stock market analyst

Please introduce yourself:

I was lucky enough to have parents who preferred to travel overseas about once every 2 years as I was growing. I’ve always treasured these experiences and it was something I always looked forward to doing, but I wasn’t until I set out on my first overseas trip – 6 months in England – that I realized I’d been bitten by the travel bug. I traveled Europe during this trip, came back to Australia and finished my degree, traveled Canada and America then came back and got a masters. Since then I’ve done smaller trips to Fiji, back to the US, the Caribbean, and New Zealand in between working full time. My spare time is spent blogging at Backstreet Nomad and planning the next trip.

My city:

Newcastle, Australia

My city Newcastle, Australia - Cool store fonts in Newcastle West. Plenty to explore on foot
How to Explore Newcastle, Australia like a Local – Cool store fonts in Newcastle West. Plenty to explore on foot

My favorite place to eat:

Foghorn. Pretty new place, brew their own beer and have an outstanding American menu.

A typical dish of Newcastle:

It’s hard to go to a restaurant or a pub without there being chicken schnitzel on the menu, though this is also true Australia-wide.

My favorite bar:

Coal and Cedar – a gentleman’s bar with manly cocktails, old timey decorations, no signage, and the requirement to text when you arrive so they can unlock the door.

What about the Nightlife?

I prefer pubs over night clubs, but I hear Finnegans is the place to be these days. There’s also a 1am lockout due to a lot of alcohol infused violence. So if you go out, pick your place before 1am otherwise you’ll be locked out.

Things to do for free:

  • If it’s hot, there are plenty of beaches to choose from. Some of the best in the country in my opinion.
  • The council has recently installed the “Anzac memorial walkway” which gives stunning views over Bar Beach and the Pacific Ocean.
  • Watch the tugboats guide coal ships into the port through the harbor. Who knows when this occurs but it’s cool when it does.
  • Walk up to For Scratchley. This was used in defending the city in WWII and gives stunning views of Nobby’s Beach and the Harbour.
  • Climb the giant penis. No, that’s not actually a euphemism (unless you want it to be). There is a tower on the foreshore that well, you’ll see what it looks like when you get there (or Google it). It also happens to offer a pretty sweet view of the Harbour and Stockton across the harbor.
  • Swim in the Bogey Hole. Just down from King Edward Park is a man made pool carved out of rock by convicts for Governor Morisset in 1819. Unfortunately this is probably the most interesting historical fact of our city.

My city Newcastle, Australia - The Bogey Hole, a man made rock pool on the coast:
How to Explore Newcastle, Australia like a Local – The Bogey Hole, a man made rock pool on the coast:

Keep away of:

The Argyle. Has a reputation of being dingiest, stickiest night club in Newcastle.

Best way to get around:

I’ll be honest, we are well behind when it comes to transport. You might be able to get a bus around on buses, you can forget about trains, Uber hasn’t yet come to Newcastle so the options you are left with are hailing a cab, hiring bikes, or on foot. Though if you are staying in the city walking isn’t a bad option; most things are walking distance within the CBD.

Best place for first date:

The Locale in Lambton is a lovely café for breakfast or lunch. For dinner try tapas at the Red Baron.

Best place to meet locals:

At the beach or at Park Run. Everyone seems to do Park Run these days.

Best place to relax:

Either at the beach or in a pub.

Best spot to watch people:

Sitting at a café on Hunter Street or on the grass along the  Newcastle foreshore.

Where to stay?

Backpackers by the Beach is a great spot right near the beach and on the doorstop to the Hunter Street mall, which is full of Newcastle’s best cafes and shopping.

My city Newcastle, Australia - Sandboarding at Anna Bay
How to Explore Newcastle, Australia like a Local – Sandboarding at Anna Bay

Five hot tips for enjoying Newcastle:

  1. Ok, I know I keep banging the beach drum, but if you haven’t picked up on that, come in summer. Newcastle is way better in summer because everything great to do is outside.
  2. Go out for coffee all the time. Newcastle is starting to reach Melbourne levels when it comes to coffee, we love it and all the cafes seem to be trying to outdo each other in quality and uniqueness. As the coffee drinker, we are all winners.
  3. Wander through the Hunt and Gather Markets every 3rd Saturday of the month in Pacific Park, Newcastle’s East End.
  4. Try your best to get out to the vineyards to go wine tasting. It’s very beautiful landscape and has some of Australia’s best wines. My favourite is Tulloch.
  5. Go sandboarding on the dunes at Anna Bay. If you have a 4×4 you can take yourself on the sand, otherwise there are local tour operators that aren’t too expensive.

One thing you would like to change about Newcastle?

Newcastle needs good public transport. I don’t know anybody who ever catches a bus except to school, or a train except to Sydney.

Luke works a regular 9-5 job, and his salary he calls his travel fund. He and his wife spend most of their time in negative annual leave due to this expensive yet incredibly rewarding hobby. Luke travels for 3 reasons: becoming immersed in a different culture, finding the less obvious attractions, and for hectic bragging rights back home. He is the author of the blogs Backstreet Nomad and Next Level Travel Blogging, and gets social on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, Pinterest and G+.

My city Newcastle, Australia - Newcastle Beach on a hot summer’s day
How to Explore Newcastle, Australia like a Local – Newcastle Beach on a hot summer’s day

Logistics

Cheap Flights:

My top choice is kayak.com. You can easily search for the best fares over 30 days or see where you can go on your budget. My favorite airline is Qatar Airways, I especially like the on-demand menu in Business Class. 

Hotel Deals:

I would recommend checking out Agoda.com. It is one of the leading hotel sites with worldwide more than 500,000 hotels. Other sites I check are Booking.com and Expedia. Trusted Housesitters connects you with home and pet owners who need a sitter when going away. Another great option is Airbnb – Use this link to get $40 off your first stay. Visit TripAdvisor for hotel review

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How to Explore Newcastle, Australia like a Local

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