Newcastle, NSW, Australia

I live here. It's a grouse place, great surf, good climate, and how can you forget the babes?

Surely you say, thats quite enough, you don't need more than that?

Sure you do! We also have excellent restaurants, cinemas, parks, shopping, all the goods.

A lot of people are starting to come to Newcastle as it is only about 2 hours drive from Sydney. In fact, it's a lot like Sydney but without the pollution, people, and other stuff.

I've pasted in a little blurb that the Newcastle City Council wrote up about our fair town (They do a helluva better job at writing than I do). You can find out more at http://www.ncc.nsw.gov.au/index.cfm

The direct link to the info below is http://www.ncc.nsw.gov.au/visitor/today.htm


Newcastle - Today

Welcome to the City of Newcastle, may your visit be pleasant, interesting and beneficial.

Newcastle is many things. It is the birthplace of Australia's heavy industry. it is the largest export harbour, by tonnage, in the Commonwealth and the second busiest. Newcastle is the second city of New South Wales and sixth largest in Australia (bigger even than Canberra, our National Capital). Yet Newcastle is a HOLIDAY CENTRE.

Few cities can claim as many beaches so close to the city centre. Newcastle beach is only metres from Hunter Street, the busy business sector of the city. Nearby at Bar Beach, a natural rock bar creates a sheltered pool which is popular with families. The beach is floodlit. As well as two large salt water pools in landscaped settings and various indoor heated pools. One may even swim in the historic pool near King Edward Park that was cut into the rock by convicts around 1820 as a private swimming pool for the Military Commandant, Major Morisset.

Newcastle's greatest feature is its hospitality, the residents, called Novocastrians, are intensely proud of their city and give Newcastle an air of friendliness that is perhaps the exception in a city its size.

FESTIVALS

During spring, Newcastle stages its 'Mattara' Festival; the name, aboriginal for 'Hand of Friendship'. Like all good Festivals, Mattara is forever changing, bringing new features, new directions and new people.

Newcastle Regatta is staged each year to compliment and reinforce Newcastle's maritime links.

Newcastle Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Association conduct their annual 'Show' during February/March and various trade exhibitions, motor and boat shows are held during each year. The annual Keyboard Festival is conducted by the Conservatorium of Music.

Other events of the area include the Cooks Hill and King Street Fair in early December; Newcastle Folk Festival and monster Fireworks Display held each Queens Birthday Weekend; Wine Festivals - Lower Hunter in March, Upper Hunter in October, Toronto Trade Fair, late March or April; Nelson Bay Festival, Easter; International Brick throwing contest, Stroud in July, and various Shows, Rodeos and Bushmen's Carnivals throughout the Hunter Valley.

SPORTS

Newcastle offers a wealth of amenities for recreation: excellent golf courses, tennis, badminton and squash courts, roller skating rinks; salt water swimming pools, landscaped fresh water pools, indoor heated pools, sailing facilities, numerous angling sites, boat launching ramps, water ski venues, grass ski-slopes, horse riding schools, equestrian clubs, horse and greyhound racecourses, trotting paceway, basketball stadiums, lawn bowling rinks, ten-pin bowling alley, table tennis centres, billiard rooms, bicycle velodrome and B.M.X. rally-cross track, athletics centre as well as all the spectator sports the visitor can imagine.

SHOPPING

The shopping centres of Newcastle hold a special treat in store for you with a wide range of Australian and foreign products. The selection available has something worthwhile to suit every purse and personal fancy.

Specialist shops, not too obvious to the casual observer, will hold a fascination for the discerning. Shops displaying arts and crafts through to fashionable boutiques will be discovered within the inner city business district (including Market Square), Hunter Street (Australia's longest shopping thoroughfare, 3km), 'Garden City' - Kotara, Stockland Mall, Jesmond, Charlestown Square and the many suburban complexes.

CULTURAL LIFE

Newcastle, although an industrial city, has become involved in many cultural activities. The city has its own orchestra and choir, a flourishing Conservatorium of Music arts/drama and music groups, connected with the University (including an excellent choir), a professional theatre company (H.V.T.C.), a number of amateur theatrical groups and the Regional Museum.

ART

A thriving art movement exists within the city - the Society of Artists, the Ceramic Group and Embroiderer's Guild being very active.

The Newcastle Region Art Gallery situated alongside the War Memorial Cultural Centre houses the City Art Collection and regularly features visiting exhibitions. Nearby are two private galleries of high standard - the Von Bertouch Galleries and Cooks Hill Gallery.

William Dobell, the famous Australian Artist was born in Cooks Hill and his home/studio beside Lake Macquarie is open for inspection. Also within the Lake area is the Lake Macquarie Community Gallery.

The locations of other galleries within the district may be obtained from the Newcastle Visitor and Convention Bureau.

THEATRE

Intimate theatre is presented at the Civic Playhouse, home of the Hunter Valley Theatre Company, while the very successful Newcastle Repertory Club and unique Young People's Theatre have their own premises in the suburbs. The University Arts/Drama Theatre is also among the venues used by local amateur and professional groups.

The Civic Theatre and City Hall are frequency booked for larger scale productions and the Hunter Orchestra concerts, Music Viva concerts, ballet and visiting celebrity artists. Throughout the year the Conservatorium of Music organises music recitals for a variety of instruments (including organ recitals at the Newcastle Cathedral). Christ Church Cathedral, the significant landmark designed by 'Architect Extraordinary' Horbury Hunt, is the venue of many theatrical and musical events.

The City Hall, built in 1929, was extensively refurbished in 1980-81 to provide modern facilities for Conventions, Concerts and Community Functions. The grandeur of the building was retained and the building was awarded a Royal Australian Institute of Architects' Citation for the outstanding quality of the work.

RESTAURANTS

Eating out in Newcastle is no problem as the city abounds with a large number of quality restaurants. They range from the traditional 'Fish and Chips' corner cafe to the sophisticated restaurants featuring the best international and Australian Cuisine. The national styles include, French, Spanish, Italian, Swiss, German, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Chinese and Singaporian. Seafoods are very good in the area - particularly the Port Stephens oysters and the local prawns.

QUEENS WHARF AND THE FORESHORE:

Newcastle has capitalised on its superb harbour position with the major redevelopment of the Foreshore and Queens Wharf. The 1988 Bicenntential Project, which won the Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design, has created a 1.2km recreational focal point which is highlighted by the exciting Queens Wharf. Linked to the city centre by a walkway, Queens Wharf features a marina, ferry wharf, restaurants, shops, a boutique brewery and observation tower. Hire a bicycle, enjoy lunch or dinner, or relax and view the harbour activity. Historic Customs House is linked to the foreshore by a stunning plaza.


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