Fort Scratchley

Explore the tunnels of historic Fort Scratchley and learn about the strategic significance of this national landmark. Guarding the Hunter River Estuary, the fort dates back more than 200 years and was the site of Australia’s first coal mine, and later became a defence post to protect the coastline from foreign attack. Venture into the amazing network of tunnels and discover the role convicts and the fort played in Australia’s early history. The visit is worthwhile for the views alone. The fort occupies a commanding position on a headland overlooking Nobbys Beach and the lighthouse, with spectacular harbour and city views.

Newcastle Ocean Baths and Bogey Hole

When you're compiling your list of things to do in Newcastle, you will no doubt keep coming back to the ocean baths. With open-air pools to rival Bondi, Newcastle Ocean Baths are a summer favourite with locals and visitors alike. The almost century-old Art Deco pavilion housing the change rooms is one of the city’s most iconic sites and makes a swim here a truly memorable experience. If you like your swim spots a little more rustic, take a dip in Bogey Hole. The ocean rock pool was cut out by convicts in 1820 at the order of Commandant Morisset, who wanted a personal place to swim (apparently without getting sand between his toes).

Newcastle Ocean baths
Image Credit: Daniel Boud; Destination NSW

Newcastle Bogeyhole
Image Credit: Newcastle Tourism

Maritime Centre

Unlock 200 years of maritime history at the Maritime Centre. The harbour-front museum details Newcastle’s pivotal role as an early port city and Hunter River trading hub. The port ultimately shaped the economic development of Australia, and Newcastle today remains the largest coal export terminal in the world. Learn about the rescues and wrecks and gain insight into the modern machinations of the working port via a series of interactive displays and exhibits.

Inner City Winemakers

Viticulture and a city locale seem like an incongruous pairing – but at Inner City Winemakers it works. Here, you’ll find wine tasting by the barrel load (or should that be bottle?). Try the range of reds, whites, sparkling and fortified wines direct from the cellar door and be sure to sample the intriguing Street Art Sangiovese Shiraz. Settle in on Sundays for exhibitions, live music and food and wine pairings, and keep an eye out for other special events.

Newcastle Art Gallery

Who says art and culture are confined to the big smoke? The Newcastle Art Gallery holds the most important collection in New South Wales after Sydney, with a reputation to boot. Opened in 1977 by the Queen, the gallery was Australia’s first purpose-built regional exhibition space, providing a permanent home for the collection, which was previously housed in the War Memorial building. The gallery contains 6100 works of art including a visual showcase of Australian history from Indigenous artwork and colonial depictions right through to present day collections. There are workshops, guided tours, film screenings, lectures, seminars and other public events to enjoy, as well as 17 annual exhibitions.


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