"The 21st century, puts the "new" back in Newcastle" Top 5 Page for this destination Newcastle by iandsmith

Newcastle Travel Guide: 347 reviews and 613 photos

The secret is out

Lonely Planet rates Newcastle number 9 IN THE WORLD on its list of cities to see. I should add here that they're talking about off the beaten track and how favourable it is to backpackers. This has resulted in an increase in backpacker trade. Frankly, they love it here, most extending their stay by a few days.
Newcastle, for so long has been viewed as a polluted steel city by Australians in general and Sydneysiders in particular. Smoke belching from chimney stacks, steam trains beside the main street and, in the old days, sailing ships anchored three deep at the wharves. For those who still have the vision I have some news. None of it is there anymore! What you do have is a major city with beaches at the end of the main street, one of Australia's most vibrant universities and the world's most generous town. How we got the title is that during our first Telethon (24 hour fund raiser on your local T.V. channel) we gave more money per capita than anywhere else in the world.
Not far away we also have Australia's foremost tourist vinyards; gorgeous and visually stunning Port Stephens; wonderfully undiscovered (by tourists) Lake Macquarie and some of the best eating streets in Australia.
In a recent international survey, 4 cities in Australia were in the top 10 of best places to live in the world (Melbourne got number one). Unfortunately, they only included capital cities. Fortunately, they did an equivalent survey for major Australian towns and, guess who came out as number one - my home town. Much to the chagrin of Sydneysiders especially! So, I could be living in the best town in the world - depends on your viewpoint. I have to say that the lifestyle here is hard to beat.
If you plan to be in the area, let me know and we may be able to meet up.
If you like architecture, check my travelogue.
Pictured here is a ship I sailed around the harbour in. We manage to average about one tall ship a year.

Sunsets and storms

You'll find a few sunsets and sunrises here and there among my pics. It's something I enjoy watching, along with storm fronts and lightning.
Shown here is one storm front we were well warned about; shame all the ships didn't heed the warning to move further off the coast. You see, the problem is that we have between 20 and 70 ships lying offshore awaiting a berth at the coal loader. When the storm hit we were near maximum numbers. Obviously some skippers hadn't heard of the Sygna, a 50,000 tonne ship that went aground in a similar storm in 1974. Only half of it was ever recovered. These days it's rapidly succumbing to the elements.
The Pasha Bulker had a problem with slow dishcharge of its ballast so, it appears likely from my seat, the skipper had dumped his water ballast early and, when his engine got going the swells and wind contrived to send it backwards as the prop got no purchase and spent a lot of the time spinning in mid air. Its dramatic arrival on Nobbys Beach was reported live on ABC radio by several eye witnesses. I arrived just in time to get the snaps as it ran aground. This shot was taken the next day.

Tragedy on the beach

Today, 7/8/06, I saw one of the saddest sights I've ever come across. It was a whale; a beached whale; one slit from end to end by a ship's propellor.
It's difficult to explain how gutted I felt. It probably means more now since I've seen them up close in the wild and my youngest son has swam with them in the wild whilst surfing. We were both deeply touched by our experiences and perhaps this is why sorrow overcame me for this wonderful creature of the deep who had found one of the many ways man has devised, intentionally or unintentionally, to slaughter these benign giants of the ocean.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Unpolluted generally, very friendly people, handy to a lot of places, excellent seaside living
  • Cons:Rubbish in the harbour, overhead power lines
  • In a nutshell:Very relaxing, great lifestyle, great beaches
  • Last visit to Newcastle: Jun 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (152)

Comments (69)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    The scenery looks so appealing that I am trying to figure how to get down your way soon. You are lucky to live here and enjoy the setting daily/ Nice presentation.

  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2009 at 12:44 PM

    Hikes up in the hills, mangrove swamps, sunsets, good food, and so much more to see and doo - delightful tips and info ;-)))

  • ranger49's Profile Photo
    Aug 26, 2008 at 9:55 AM

    Thanks for your visit and ratings for Camaret-sur-Mer - the Crozon peninsula was a real discovery. Thanks too for your lovely pics and pages - so much to see here!

  • Mar 7, 2008 at 5:54 PM

    Fantastic picture

  • Toshioohsako's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2008 at 1:43 AM

    Its a lovely beach view.

  • Intrepidduck's Profile Photo
    Dec 16, 2007 at 12:27 AM

    I always enjoyed a good walk about your city, it has a unique architectural heritage.

  • Darby2's Profile Photo
    Nov 8, 2007 at 4:52 PM

    It's a bloody good thing that wasn't an oil tanker that ran aground!

  • Sjalen's Profile Photo
    Jun 11, 2007 at 1:12 AM

    I now see you're in fact USED TO storms! Still, are you OK? That sandwich cinema seems lovely and Lake M sunset is awesome!

  • pedroswift's Profile Photo
    Jun 8, 2007 at 4:47 PM

    Don't those chopper crews do a great job? Stay dry! de p.

  • thedouglas's Profile Photo
    Jun 8, 2007 at 2:15 PM

    Fabulous photographs Ian.

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