After spending a few days in Bondi it was time to move up to Newcastle, where I will be studying for the year. Newcastle is Australia’s 7th largest city and is located 160km north of Sydney.
My first few days in Newcastle consisted of a lot of homewares shopping and visits to the local beaches. The first beach I visited was Bar Beach.
Bar Beach is a very family friendly beach which is lifeguard patrolled 7 days a week. It is located 1.6km south east of the Central Newcastle business district and is home to the Cooks Hill Life Saving Club. From the top of Bar Beach if you continue to head north on the costal path you come to the memorial walk way. The Memorial walk way is a 450m cliff top walkway that links Bar Beach to Newcastle’s Strzelecki Lookout, and then the coastal walk continues into King Edwards Park. The walkway was built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli in 1915 and also the commencement of steel making in Newcastle.
The beach slightly south of Bar Beach is known as Mereweather Beach. Mereweather Beach provides competitive surfing conditions and so is a favourite with the local surfers. Swimming is also very popular on the beaches around Newcastle, although at the moment it is too cold unless you are fully equipped with a wetsuit. Mereweather also has Ocean Baths and a Heritage listed Surf House, a small cafe that is very popular all year round and also a larger cafe serving full meals on the beach front.
In Newcastle there are two main streets of cafes, restaurants and shops. One is known and Beaumont street, and the other is Darby Street. Darby Street is the larger of the two, with over 20 restaurants, shops containing unique fashion and homewares, art galleries and many pubs that are well known to the locals. It has a central location, surrounded by the beaches and Newcastle centre.
As I got to know the area slightly better, I decided to go to beaches slightly further away, and less well known.
Glenrock is a State Conservation area just 5Km from Newcastle, with an amazing beach. We parked at the top of the hill and walked down the forest path. Its a great nature get away, with scenic Pacific Ocean views and the secluded beach is a perfect end to the walk.
If you travel even further south you go through an area known as Swansea, which is a small, relatively quiet town. Driving over the Swansea channel offers some great views and continuing south will bring you to Caves Beach. This beach has a long stretch of sand with a network of sea caves at the southern end of the beach. Going at low tide will allow you to fully explore the caves.
A short drive from Caves beach will then bring you to Catherine Hill Bay Beach. This is a 2km long beach well known for its peacefulness, picturesque locations and character. The Catherine Hill Bay heritage village comprises the oldest group of buildings in the Lake Macquarie City and was protected in 2004 as a Heritage Conservation Area.