There are endless options for romantic getaways in New South Wales as this ever-popular destination has an incredible range of stunning locales to choose from. One such precinct burgeoning in popularity is Newcastle, particularly her historic East End which sees a lively CBD linked with a fabulous foreshore. From cool cafes, boutique shops to excellent beaches, Newcastle can tickle the fancy of any couple, making it the perfect place for a short break or weekend getaway.
See and do
In recent years, Newcastle’s East End has undergone a significant transformation to become a vibrant and constantly evolving district popular with locals and visitors alike. Meandering away from the CBD towards Hunter Street Mall, a hive of retail activity, couples will love the picturesque parks at Foreshore Reserve and Nobby’s Beach – both ideal for picnicking and promenading, whatever the season.
The perfect activity for a Sunday, climb the iconic Nobby’s Lighthouse to take in the spectacular coastal views. Alternatively, history buffs will enjoy a visit to the historic Fort Scratchley, the only Australian fortress to have fired on an enemy during wartime, which commands unobstructed vistas from its position high above the headland.
Just a stone’s throw away, Newcastle’s renowned Ocean Baths offer a protected spot for bathers and sun worshippers alike with money-can’t-buy views across Newcastle Beach, while nearby Scottie’s Fish Cafe is a veritable institution, dishing up delicious seaside fare since 1950. Stop by for a taste of the catch of the day, hand-cut chips, juicy burgers, salt and Szechuan pepper squid with handmade condiments.
Eat and drink
Gourmands will be pleased to know that Newcastle is a foodie town. At the end of a day’s exploring, there are plenty of possibilities for wining and dining, from a la carte cuisine overlooking Newcastle Harbour at Paymasters to fresh seasonal seaside dining at Bistro Sandbar on Newcastle Beach to Casa de Loco, serving authentic mouth-watering Mexican cuisine – and that’s just for starters. If your palate prefers something sourced from the local markets at Sandgate, head over to Fruit A Peel where patrons can purchase market fresh fruit and vegetables, juices, smoothies, salads and wraps – all handmade. Nearby is Newcastle’s only Persian restaurant, The Persian Place, offering guests’ a journey to the aromatic Middle East – one not to be missed for those looking to explore world cuisine.
For couples seeking some retail therapy, try Alie Jane in Hunter Street Mall, offering hand-made travel accessories, children’s clothing and jewellery. Meanwhile, House of Elliott, located in a deceptively large Victorian property on Perkins Street, combines interior design consultations with retail furniture, gifts and homewares. Equally as appetising is The Deck Homewares and Fashion, stocking a swathe of Asian, Indian and Moroccan wares to inspire.
Ride and walk
Make the most of the city’s weather by picking up a set of wheels from Spinway Bikes at Crowne Plaza Hotel for a romantic cycle around the East End and along the breakwall on a sunny afternoon, or enjoy the civic vibe at Pacific Park, home to the boutique Hunt & Gather Markets on the third Saturday of every month. If travelling by foot is your favoured mode of transport, why not try the Newcastle East Heritage Walk? At three kilometres, the path takes in magnificent coastal views and a number of key historic sites outlining the region’s rich and fascinating history, including the East End’s origins as a meeting and fishing spot for the local Awabakal people.
When the night draws near, the historic East End takes on an entirely different persona when ghoulish ghost tours share stories of the city’s underbelly and haunted past. Guests will visit the spooky old Convict Lumberyard, Newcastle Hospital site, Watt Street sites, The Asylum, Christ Church Cemetery and Bolton Street finishing on Hunter Street.