Got 24 Hours to Kill in Newcastle? 10 Must-Dos While You’re Here
They* say if you’ve lived in a city for 10 years, you can officially call yourself a resident. Well, I’ve lived in Newcastle for 20, and have picked up a few gems of local knowledge along the way.
Here are what I’d regard as 10 must-do’s for out-of-towners and residents seeking the simply pleasures of this vibrant city! All you need is a couple of tenners, some sunscreen – and your nearest & dearest, of course.
*not entirely sure who ‘they’ are – safe to say they know their stuff.
After sampling the wares at any of Newcastle's licensed venues, this next must-do may seem like a very tantalising idea. Harry’s is famous in Newcastle for delicious, wholesome and generous pies and, equally, for the bizarre venue. Harry’s is operated from a refurbished train carriage, and the friendly young things manning the fort are only too happy to supply your slightly-inebriated-self a pie (or hot dog). There's even options for the vegetarian partiers amongst you. Pop by after your night out on the town!
When you’re travelling through the CBD it’s difficult to miss the Newcastle Harbour Viewing Tower on the skyline. Of course, if you’re from Newcastle you know it by another, far more colloquial name – but we’re all adults here, so we'll let you wait & see for yourself! The tower houses stairs upon stairs and at the top the viewer is greeted warmly by an unrivalled view of the Harbour and the city. Engage in a local challenge and run to the top!
Yes, it’s a rite of passage when you come to Newcastle. No, you can’t get out of it. You simply must direct yourself to the notorious Fanny’s Nightclub, in the CBD at some stage on a Saturday night. The club is vast, boasting numerous dance floors and a bar full of glamorous and biting bartenders, along with clubbers from every walk of life – jocks and preps, young silly disco dancers, packs of Italian soccer stallions and a huge misc category. Fanny’s is the perfect place to have a drink (or several) and wake up laughing at your wild adventures – just remember to use the old “sorry, I’m taken” excuse when approached by, well, anyone. It is Fanny’s after all!
If you’re feeling energetic, throw on some joggers and walk the Breakwall! Let the cool breeze play across your skin and clear your lungs with the salty sea water – it is a refreshing and hydrating walk that provides a stunning outlook to the ocean. Be sure to nod to the various fishermen perched along the rocks, hoping to snap up the catch of the day and, if you’re really motivated, continue your walk around the foreshore.
Summer is a harsh mistress. The only solution to the scalding hot rays baking your skin is to throw yourself unceremoniously into the water a la beached whale. A great spot to do this is Dixon Park Beach – a homely beach where you can escape pesky seagulls poaching your chippies and teeny weeny bikinis on equally squealy girls. Just unpopulated enough to avoid embarrassment upon being dumped and just busy enough to host an array of cute lifeguards, Dixon Park is the perfect place to spend a warm day.
Having recently turned one year old, trendy coffee house One Penny Black has been quick to establish themselves as producing some of the most delicious coffee in the city. Situated as a hole-in-the-wall in Newcastle’s mall, they also sell delicious homemade cakes and chic stationary. Be sure to request Huon Oliver as your barista – a rumoured coffee guru who only settles for the best (and delivers it too!).
Ahh, you’ve just woken up with a club stamp transplanted from your wrist to your forehead and you reasonably believe you’d rather kill yourself rather than deal with your hangover. Never fear! Three Monkeys Cafe on Darby St do breakfast til (very) late on weekends, and their Big Breakfasts (available veggie or carnivore) provide the perfect amount of delicious oils and flavours to stop your head exploding all over your skim latte. If feeling delicate, drag a friend along – they are a monster-serving that, split by two, leaves just enough room for some Mars Bar Cheesecake. What? It’s not like it’s breakfast time anyway...
The name ‘Rainbow’ is familiar to many, if not all, Novocastrians. Rainbow is Darby Street’s resident busker who consistently plants himself and his rainbow beard on the street and rambles wildly to anyone and no one. He also bears a collection of various instruments that are played in a way that makes you think Billy Ray Cyrus was an okay musician with a decent amount of talent. However, if you take the time to buy him a coffee and have a chat, you’ll be swept into a semi-fictional world of exciting anecdotes and erratic linguistics – Rainbow is funny and cheeky and loves nothing better than a response from the walkers by (except maybe some money).
Best enjoyed at dusk, the Obelisk is perched at the highest point in town in a gorgeous untouched park. The area boasts the most spectacular panoramic views of the city and the coastline. Bring a basket and a rug, pull up some grass, the Obelisk is a great spot for some plastic cupped-champers and a recap of your day.
Recently given the go-ahead for a completely plastic facelift of a renovation (to leave it more child-friendly), the Bogey Hole is a fleeting treat you simply must visit while you can. The bathing pool was carved into rock via convict labour in 1819, as a personal swimming pool for Commandant Morisset. Nowadays it rightfully belongs to any native Novocastrian and hosts a variety of folk, young and old. It is a secluded spot located within just enough nature to allow the swimmer to relax and re-energise.