48 hours in Newcastle

The beach and the city are side by side, and that’s just one of the amazing things about Newcastle! Moreover, Newcastle is a fantastic destination for foodies, with trendy restaurants and cafes popping up left, right and centre. Boasting street art, boutique stores, an insane beach, epic food, and coffee game – maybe even good enough to give Melbourne a run for its money!

Newcastle Beach YHA is the ideal base for exploring everything wonderful in Newcastle. This coastal city has so much to offfer and we’ve found some killer recommendations for you to make the most of your time here. 

Do as the locals do!

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  • Newcastle’s beautiful beaches remain the highlight of the city, and so many people make the mistake of underestimating how spectacular they are! Not only are the beaches really pretty, but they’re also clean, and perfect for surfing, swimming and relaxing in the sun. Local favourites include Cowrie Hole and Pogo’s Beach, as well as Merewether Beach which gets packed with people during the annual Surfest competition (usually December - April).

  • Be sure to suss out Newcastle Harbour, whilst the coal ships act as a great backdrop against Nobby’s Lighthouse, the harbour gives off some serious ‘mini Melbourne’ vibes with its hustle and bustle of people hanging out along the foreshore. Why not join the crowd and get out and about? Go for a bike ride along the waterway, grabbing a coffee or perhaps a glass of wine?

  • There’s a huge art scene! Music, art and everything creative is a massive part of what makes Newcastle what it is. Allowing artists to escape the crowds and competitive nature of the city, Newcastle is full of eccentric and energetic talents. Between the weekly markets, art galleries, and music venues, you’re guaranteed to be inspired. There’s also plenty of opportunities to get involved with many of the local artists, see live gigs, or take a studio class?

 Explore Newcastle’s Best

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  • If you’re looking for a great way to see Newcastle, hop aboard Newcastle’s Famous Tram for the 10:30am-12pm tour. It’s not as dorky as it sounds, and it’s a fail-safe way to see all the great Newcastle viewpoints, visit some cool spots and share some history.  Really good value – who doesn’t love some sightseeing?!

  • See a show at the 1,520 seat Civic Theatre, one of Newcastle’s most popular and prestigious venues. A visit to the Civic Theatre with its grand marble foyer and staircase, terrazzo-balcony, beautiful interiors and historic main auditorium chandelier, makes for an unforgettable experience. Featuring a diverse and entertaining program of dance, drama, comedy, cabaret, film and children’s shows.

  • You won’t be bored in Newcastle, so don’t be fooled by its size and population, there’s always something happening. Explore Newcastle’s surroundings, by possibly taking a Hunter Valley Day Trip (click here for more info), or go on a whale watching or sand boarding in Port Stephens.

Newcastle Eats

Breakfast and Brunch

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  • But first… coffee! Get on over to One Penny Black, a Newcastle favourite. If it’s not too chilly, nab yourself a seat outside and enjoy the fresh morning air. Some avo on toast always goes down a treat and the coffee is fantastic! Afterwards, take a walk around the corner on Wolfe Street, head up the hill, and down the laneway to your right, brightly adorned with street art of all shapes, sizes and colours.

  • You’ll be wanting more of Moor! The chilled out little spot is the kind of place you could sit for hours, sipping coffee and soaking in the world around you! The breakfast menu features all your typical classics, as well as Middle Eastern influences, like Shakshuka or the Moor brekky bowl.


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  • Right in the heart of Newcastle, you’ll find The Lucky Hotel, with a unique and cool soul of its own. With a bar and restaurant downstairs, be sure to get a pub feed from The Lucky’s great American BBQ menu. Offering cheap lunch and dinner specials, chips and burgers, pulled pork and a drool-worthy brownie bowl, to name a few. This is an ideal hangout spot for backpackers and anyone in Newcastle to catch a gig.

  • If you’re after a post-lunch or pre-lunch snack, head to Baked Uprising. The local bakery produces a tantalising range of freshly baked goods, including fresh bread, tarts, pies, and brioche concoctions that will blow your mind. According to a 10/10 recommendation, their lemon and white chocolate tart will rock your world.


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  • Wait until you’re crazy peckish, then head on over to Rustica. This the coolest fit-out and lanterns coming out of the ceiling like jagged shards of crystal. With a menu full of Mediterranean options and tapas available if you’re more of a ‘small plate’s type!’ Highlights include the gnocchi and the insanely good chocolate fondant.

  • In true backpacker style, Newcastle has a vibrant nightlife. Not exactly, Sydney or Melbourne – but there’s still a good time to be had! Newcastle is the perfect mix of that city, country lifestyle, as the relaxed and chilled out surfing spot is stirred with endless bars, restaurants, pubs and event happenings by night. Boasting a great selection of small bars, ideal for a cocktail (or two), such as Coal and Cedar or Koutetsu, And for those seeking a bit of a D-floor sesh, nightclubs such as The Cambridge and Argyle House are always pumping with people over the weekend.

    YHA Newcastle Beach
    YHA Newcastle Beach
    Opposite Newcastle Beach, and right in the centre of town, this friendly YHA is perfect for travellers looking for affordable accommodation.

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