First published on 12 Sep 2011. Updated on 24 Apr 2013.
Novotel Newcastle Beach is right by Nobbys Head Beach with airy, studio-style suites with a flatscreen, Wi-Fi, king-sized bed and (depending on the room) a good-sized balcony. Proving that small bars aren’t just a capital-city phenomenon, the aptly named Bar Petite is right next door, offering cocktails (their Mint Tulip puts a deliciously punning spin on a classic), a selection of local and imported beers and a well curated wine list. The hotel offers a typical breakfast buffet, but take a stroll along the café-and-boutique-filled Darby Street, the city’s main entertainment strip, and take your pick before getting lost in the excellent giftery of Blackbird Corner. They stock local pieces as well as ultra-cool books, comics, T-shirts and artworks (and were playing Papercuts when we walked by). Their Adrian Tomine postcards are all over our fridges right now. Novotel Newcastle Beach, 5 King St, Newcastle 2300. 02 4032 3700. accorhotels.com.au/hotel/novotel-newcastle-beach. Rates: about $199-$259.
The newly established Rustica is right across the plaza from the Novotel, with gorgeous views of the beach and décor which evokes the romance of the region’s maritime past (can you spot the three ornamental mice?). They offer Mediterranean-style cuisine with seasonal menues here. The Catalan black rice with prawns, squid, mussels and spiced aioli is a must-have ($18), and, given the setting, it seemed only fitting to enjoy their market fish of the day: a delicately flavoured salmon steak. Their wine list is impressive too – we rejected the fish-equals-white-wine cliché and throroughly enjoyed the Brokenwood McLaren Vale shiraz ($47) – and you’d be a fool not to try their coffee martini. 2/1 King St, Newcastle 2300. 02 4929 3333. www.rustica.com.au.
Time Out Tip
If you go to Newy and don’t catch a band at legendary live venue the Great Northern, you have no soul. The old theatre and pub hosts music every night and contains one of the classic glory-days-of-Oz-pub-rock live rooms that are so rare these days. 89 Scott St, Newcastle 2300. www.thegreatnorthern.com.au.
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