Newcastle: Your Ultimate Outdoor Playground

Newcastle: Your Ultimate Outdoor Playground

05 July 2023

Looking to immerse yourself in the great outdoorsWith breathtaking beach view walks, unique hiking and cycling trails and idyllic swimming spots, Newcastle is your ultimate outdoor playground to experience Mother Nature like never before.

Whether you’re craving to stretch your legs or needing to recharge your batteries, Newcastle has a wide range of wild and mild outdoor activities to scratch your itch.

1. Beach view walks

From the tip of Stockton’s Breakwall to the secluded expanse of Burwood Beach, pristine beaches accompanied by breathtaking views line the coast. And Novocastrians are lucky enough to call these beaches our backyard! Here are just a few of our favourites…

Hickson Street Track is a hidden gem, tucked away in the bushland of Merewether, offering stunning views and the perfect picnic spot. The bush track leads you to the spectacular lookout over Burwood Beach and Glenrock State Conservation Area. Paragliders can take flight from the pad or those less brave can watch the action as ships in the distance pass by. 

Bather’s Way is the city’s most iconic coastal walk and forms part of the Great North Walk. Over six cruisy kilometres beginning at Merewether Beach (where we recommend grabbing a coffee from one of the many local cafes to fuel the trip ahead!) you’ll embark up the hill to Dixon Park Beach and descend at Bar Beach, a favourite spot for a dip and catching a surf break.

From here, you’re about to reach the pinnacle of the trail, Newcastle Memorial Walk. The 137 steps to Strzelecki Lookout are worth the burn as the panoramic views deserve a moment of rest so you can revel in the scenery.

Insider Tip: Time your walk to reach the lookout at sunset or sunrise – the view is incredible!

Once you pass King Edward Park (a favourite picnic spot for families) and the Bogey Hole, you’ll reach Newcastle Beach where you’ll have plenty of swimming options.

Follow the path until you see Nobbys Lighthouse. That’s when you know you’ve made it (almost) to the end. The sweeping golden shoreline of Nobbys Beach is overlooked by Fort Scratchley and links up to the lighthouse, then the Breakwall extends into the seemingly endless ocean.

2. Hiking tracks

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with nature in these 10/10 hiking tracks, with options suitable to all skill and fitness levels.

The Fernleigh Track stretches around 15km from Adamstown to Lake Macquarie’s Belmont. With multiple access points and refuelling stations, this relatively flat route passes by former stations and heritage railway relics as you wind your way through bushland, wetlands and residential areas.

Part of the Fernleigh Track aligns with the Glenrock State Conservation Area where the local favourite, Yuelarbah Track is located. Great for beginner trail runners or family bushwalks, the track begins on a raised boardwalk and leads you through wet gullies, coastal rainforests and waterfalls until you reach Glenrock Beach and Lagoon.

Feel like a calming walk where you can fill your lungs with fresh air and empty your mind of any worries? Blackbutt Reserve is the place to be. The Tall Trees Trails loops the Richley Reserve area, offering easy terrain and epic scenery. The Reserve also features wildlife exhibits and reptile shows - lots of family fun to be had!

Heading further inland, the Scotts Point Walk is a quiet trail through the Hunter Wetlands National Park. The circuit hugs the Hunter River and leads you to your final destination of Riverside Park – an ideal spot to cast a fishing line.

3. Sightseeing on wheels

Starting at the Nobbys Beach carpark, unload your bike and start along the harbour towards Honeysuckle, Newcastle’s waterfront entertainment precinct. This city bike path captures the essence of Newcastle with views of the harbour. It’s also a great finishing point to wind down from an adventurous day.

Nearby is the Throsby Creek Loop. Starting at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, head north and go under the quirky underpass and find your stride on this flat, peaceful shared pathway. Mostly a residential area, you’ll see locals in their element gardening, on stand-up paddle boards and dragon boaters training for regatta season.

Connecting the central Newcastle suburbs, the Tramway Track is a former steam tram route that climbs a hill from Wallsend before it descends to Glendale. The track passes through tunnels, past residential streets and through bush and farmland, making it an entertaining ride for all ages.

The Blue Gum Hills Regional Park at Minmi was originally an 1800s open cut mining site that’s been restored to bushland and trails. Located outside the hubbub of Newcastle’s city centre, Blue Gum Hills takes you through the town’s industrial history as you work up a leisurely sweat.

4. Skaters paradise

Outdoor activities like skating are endless fun for the little and big kids alike. Stockton Skate Park on Stockton’s foreshore is the place to be. This street-style skate park features a 40 metre skate plaza with an undercover mini ramp and everything beginners and experienced skaters need to have a good time. Located just by the Stockton ferry terminal, it’s easily accessible from anywhere in Newcastle.

Across the water is Empire Skate Park, located against the idyllic backdrop of Bar Beach. The park’s competition-level ‘golden bowls’ are the main attraction and are dubbed as one of Australia’s best. Accompanied by a street-style area, its epic quarter pipe set up and ledges of various heights are great for perfecting your skills before a cooling dip at the beach.

5. Surf, swim and sun

Newcastle is also home to the renowned Merewether Ocean Baths - the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. If challenging waves at the beach aren’t your thing, the more protected ocean baths are perfect for a relaxing dip or to swim a few laps as the kids splash about in the shallow pool.

If you’re an avid surfer with keen nippers in tow, the stretch from Merewether Beach through Dixon Park and towards Bar Beach will be your haven. After a busy day in the waves, retreat to the secluded Susan Gilmore Beach located below the cliffs of Bar Beach (we’ll let you in on a little secret, it’s reputedly a nudist beach).

If the south westerly winds are blowing join the locals at Nobbys Beach for a kite surf. Not into water action sports? Don’t worry, there’s always something to spectate at. Whether it’s surfers conquering the waves, to the surf lifesavers training the next generation of nippers or a ‘friendly’ game of beach volleyball, there’s always something happening at Nobbys.

Your outdoor getaway awaits

Whatever the season, there are outdoor activities everywhere you look in Newcastle!

However you decide to spend your time in Newcastle’s great outdoors, you’re guaranteed to be met with stunning views, memorable experiences and a great time. And if you find you want to make a stay out of your visit, the city offers a range of both budget-friendly and luxury accommodation options.