Dobbys Lighthouse in Newcastle, Australia

5 Places You Won’t Want to Miss in Newcastle, Australia

By Jeffrey Sendejar, Site Specialist, Australia

One of Australia’s hidden gems, the city of Newcastle is coastal and iconic, with picturesque beaches, low-key surf spots, and a bustling food and art scene. As one of the oldest cities in Australia, it is surprising that Newcastle has been able to fly under the radar for so long, but word has gotten out and it’s now the place to be. Whether you are eager to hit the beach and catch some waves, or hit the shops and find the perfect flat white, Newcastle is well-connected and has heaps to offer as the host city for your study abroad semester down under.  

Let me share a few of the key highlights and attractions you’re sure to encounter during your semester abroad:

Nobbys Lighthouse

One of the most iconic sights of the Newcastle coastline, Nobbys Lighthouse, sits at the mouth of the Hunter River on the aptly named Nobbys Head. Although the current lighthouse was rebuilt in 1858, the original was constructed in 1821 and was used to direct cargo ships into port. This signature sight is nearly synonymous with Newcastle itself, and no semester abroad in the city would be complete without an obligatory selfie stop at Nobbys Lighthouse.  

Lake Macquarie in Newcastle, Australia.

Lake Macquarie  

Take the opportunity to beat the Australian heat with a visit to Australia’s largest coastal saltwater lake – Lake Macquarie. This lake has been known to Indigenous Australian Peoples for thousands of years, but was first discovered by Europeans in the 1800’s. Now, the lake has fostered an active community of locals and tourists alike who flock to the lake for a wide range of water sports. From kayaking to sailing, to fishing and water skiing, Lake Macquarie has no shortage of fun in the sun.  

Hunter Valley

Be sure to make it a point to visit the Hunter Valley – one of Australia’s most prominent wine regions, and sample some of the country’s best. Thanks to the fertile soil surrounding the Hunter River, and the region’s Mediterranean climate, the area has proven to be especially well suited for wine production. Over the years, the wine industry has cultivated dozens of varieties and given rise to more than 150 wineries in and around the region.  A day trip to the Hunter Valley is included on our ISA Fall and Spring programs in Newcastle.

Barrington Tops National Park in Newcastle, Australia.

Barrington Tops National Park

As just part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, Barrington Tops National Park is one of 50 separate parks that make up the world’s largest area of subtropical rainforests in the world. This area is home to diverse populations of plants and animals, many of which existed shortly after the super continent Pangaea began to separate and before dinosaurs ruled the earth. Take a break to travel back in time and tour the signature trails and guided hikes through this amazing national park.  

Beaumont x Darby Street  

Much like Harlem was the place to be in NYC for live entertainment, in Newcastle, Beaumont and Darby Streets are quickly becoming known as the place to eat, drink (coffee), and be merry. These trendy Newcastle streets are rapidly becoming hotspots for locals and tourists alike. From amazing international cuisine, quaint shops and galleries, to mouthwatering bakeries and cafes, Beaumont and Darby Streets are great places to discover all of the art, culture, and cuisine that Newcastle has to offer.  

Whether you’re looking to take in all of Australia’s natural beauty, or hoping to experience Australia through its culture and cuisine, Newcastle offers endless opportunities to get out and see all that the land down under has to offer. And with amazing course offerings available in nearly every academic discipline, studying at the University of Newcastle makes for the perfect opportunity to stay on track with your degree while you’re abroad.  


For more information about our semester programs in Newcastle, please fill out this form. 

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