The Thirsty Travellers are big fans of Newcastle’s relaxed vibe and gorgeous beaches.
We have an added soft spot for the place because we were both born at the Mater Hospital -with the same obstetrician – in Waratah. Talk about a happy co-incidence!
We’ve spent some lovely weekends in Newcastle together over the years.
The reputation of being a “steel city” still clings sootily to the town, but it couldn’t be further from reality. The coastline is spectacular and the bar scene is pumping.
Among the inner-city bars we’ve sampled – and enjoyed – are Coal & Cedar and Bar Petite.
Our most recent visit to “Newie” was to see a pop-up band called Vince Vega & The Gimps at Lizottes.
It was our first-ever Lizotte’s experience – the venue is owned by Diesel’s brother and is set in the former King’s Theatre in Lambton, which is a gorgeous art deco building.
Lizotte’s is very atmospheric and intimate, as it only seats 200 people for dinner and a show. Our local friends were keen for us to experience the venue, as they’ve enjoyed a few fantastic nights there. As it happened, Vince & The Gimps were playing the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction on the weekend we were in town.
And so we found ourselves eating juicy steaks while watching vignettes from the ultra-violent movie, including the infamous gimp scene, the accidentally-blowing-the-guys-head-off-in-the-car scene and the overdose scene. A little intense while eating, but highly memorable.
The next morning we ducked to Newcastle Beach for the most glorious dip. We scored a parking spot right out the front, had a swim, then grabbed coffees from the cafe across the road – Estabar – while we gazed at all the waterfront apartment blocks, choosing which one had the best balcony for a sea change.
The other spot we thoroughly recommend visiting for an afternoon drink is Merewether Surfhouse (above).
The view is absolutely divine.
Our budget hotel tip is the Holiday Inn Express, which is well situated in Newcastle West and also well priced, with a bonus breakfast buffet. We’ve been very happy with the two stays we’ve enjoyed there.
If you’re not in the mood for a hotel breakfast, we can also recommend Mockingbird in Hamilton. The Pork Croquettes with poached eggs, chorizo, romesco, olives and watercress (above, right) were soooo delicious.
It might not be the first place you’d think about heading for a weekend away, but we thoroughly recommend putting Newcastle on your list.
PS The Thirsty Travellers are old friends of Katherine Bowyer, Dean of Newcastle and based at the beautiful Christchurch Cathedral on The Hill. She tells us climbing the spire of the church is her top tip for visitors – it offers 360 degree views extending up and down the coastline and across the entire city including the bustling harbour. Click here for details.