Time Out Melbourne

Newcastle is a city of contrasts and you’ll discover every precinct has an identity all its own

East End

Great gusts of sea air barrel down the grand old streets of Newcastle’s East. But the winds of change most evident here are the glut of retro-charged cafés, indie galleries and pop-up shops blossoming from the urban decay. Peopled by an odd mob of professionals, priests, coastline hikers, interlopers, street folk and workers of yore, the East is entering a new phase in its renewal, a bright future crystallised by its City Evolutions nightscapes.

Hotspots: Bocados, Sprocket, Fort Scratchley, Scotties, Great Northern, Paymasters, The Grand, Newcastle Beach, the Bogey Hole, the Lock-Up.

Cooks Hill

Hipsters, hustlers and herbalists saunter side-by-side in Cooks Hill, a Greenwich Village-style slice of Newcastle sandwiched between the civic centre and the ragged shoreline leading out to Merewether. Cooks Hill’s main artery of Darby Street is a smorgasbord of small bars, curio shops, street food, casual dining, colourful cafés and creative studios, a happy hunting ground for students smitten with its second-hand book stores and hip boutiques and a growing legion of couples drawn to its bohemia and street life.

Hotspots: Newcastle Art Gallery, Blackbird Corner, Frankie's Place, Honeybee, DeLucas, Fez Pide, Goldbergs.

The Junction

Once the crossroads for Newcastle’s coal trains, this pulsating area is now a crosshairs for culture, where fashion boutiques nestle beside beautiful homewares and upscale restaurants and hot cafés. Attracting a mix of professionals, tree-changers, young couples, retirees and families, the Junction is fueled today by artisan chefs and designer chic.

Hotspots: Snows Patisserie, Talulah, Silver Spoon, Cha Chaz, Junction Hotel.


An earthquake shattered this region in 1989, but in picking up the pieces, a bigger picture emerged. You’ll see it on Beaumont Street, an Awakabal track that became a migrant hub, mining base and site of boxing tents, gay bars and business. Consider it a shortcut to Newcastle’s cosmopolitan capital.

Hotspots: Rolador, Old Regent Theatre, Auld & Grey Antiques, Islington Markets, Suspension Espresso.

Honeysuckle & The Harbour

Newcastle’s working harbour is now its pre-eminent playground. The waterways and wharves that once churned with traffic have now evolved into chilled promenades attracting endless waves of diners and drinkers, workers and walkers, locals, tourists and families. On clear days there’s no better way bottle Newcastle’s lightning than to walk, bike or jog the spectacular foreshore that links beach and big city.

Hotspots: Newcastle Museum, Queens Wharf Tower, Moonshadow Harbour Sights & Sounds Cruise.

West End

Newcastle’s wave of renewal is cresting in the west. Here, the city’s industrial heartland is morphing into a gateway to art, food, bars and grungy fun. Hidden gems are everywhere in these parts, be they cafés sharing space with bike workshops, old pubs with new-wave menus, or warehouses reduxed as liquor lairs bursting with fine wine and craft beer. And the reinventions don’t stop there. An influx of young couples, edgy artists and crafty tradesfolk are moving in, burning down conventions to start pop-up shops and studios where creatives cluster.

Hotspots: The Albion, Wickham Motorcycle Co, Wallsend Markets, Dark Horse Espresso, Inner City Winemakers, Tree of Knowledge.


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Updated on 10 Mar 2014.

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