Newcastle is a pretty happening place, and not just because it has the world’s largest coal-exporting port. This underrated gem is just a 2.5hr drive north from Sydney, and it boasts some pretty stunning beaches and nature reserves.
It’s also where Aussie model Jennifer Hawkins, NRL legend Andrew Johns, and ‘Bondi Vet’ Chris Brown call home. So, it’s got that going for it.
It’s not all glitz and glamour and coal, though. Like any city, Newcastle also has its downfalls. If you’re considering moving to Newcastle, read up on the pros and cons before you start packing those boxes.
In a rush? Skip to the info you need:
- Pros and cons of living in Newcastle
- Best Newcastle suburbs to live in
- Moving from Sydney to Newcastle
- Newcastle’s dining scene
- Culture in Newcastle
- Newcastle’s climate
- Getting around Newcastle
Living in Newcastle: Pros and Cons
Sure, you can handle the great scenery and famous faces, but can you handle the not-so-great features of Newcastle?
Pro: City life meets country vibes
Newcastle has everything you could ever want in a city. From hip bars and restaurants to huge shopping centres, it offers the convenience of city living without the hectic crowds and stressful traffic you’ll find in Sydney. This regional city is perfect for those who love city life with a little more peace and quiet and a more relaxed lifestyle.
Con: It can be tough to find a job
Apparently, it can be pretty tricky to land employment in Newcastle. Reports show Newcastle job-seekers have it hard, with an average of around 15 people going for each vacant position. But if you don’t mind a 5hr daily commute, you could always take your job hunt to Sydney, which is reported to be the easiest place in Australia to find work.
Pro: It has great beaches
The coast of Newcastle is dotted with great beaches to lay a towel and take a dip. Some local favourites include:
- Newcastle Beach
- Nobby’s Beach
- Horse Shoe Beach
- Dixon Park Beach
- Stockton Beach
- Dudley Beach.
Con: The public transport could be better
If you rely on public transport to get around, you might be walking a bit further than preferred to make it to the nearest bus stop or train station. Most people in Newcastle drive, because the public transport system isn’t the best. In fact, there was a recent rally calling to make improvements.
Pro: There’s plenty to see and do
While Newcastle may not be as busy and buzzing as Sydney, it’s still chock-full of exciting stuff to see and do. Take a daytrip to Lake Macquarie or the Hunter Valley, check out the art gallery or Maritime Museum, or see the Knights in action at the Newcastle International Sports Centre. There’s an option for everyone.
Best Newcastle Suburbs to Live In
From quaint and quiet streets to seaside suburbs, Newcastle has an ideal area for every lifestyle.
This hip suburb is home to endless trendy cafés to grab your morning takeaway on the way to work. Mayfield used to be an industrial suburb, but now it offers a village feel right on the edge of the city. It has a train station, schools, shops, parks and pubs, so you’ll never get bored. It’s also just a 15-minute drive from the beach. Mayfield is a popular spot for first-home buyers looking to snap up period properties to renovate.
If you love the beach lifestyle, coastal suburb Merewether is for you. Just minutes from the CBD, this laidback suburb is the perfect combination of city and sea. It also offers some great schools, making it a top pick for young families. If you dream of taking a dip before pulling your 9-5, you’ll feel right at home in Merewether.
This quiet suburb is near the shores of Lake Macquarie and Newcastle’s southern beaches. Charlestown is a great spot for families, with schools and a huge shopping centre conveniently nearby. It puts you in prime position for shopping, dining, and entertainment. What more could you want?
Moving from Sydney to Newcastle
Looking to leave the big smoke for a sleepier NSW city? Be prepared with these quick tips.
- Journey time: 2hr 20min drive
- Sydney to Newcastle removalist cost: $616 – $990
- Housing costs: The median price of a house in Newcastle is $167,525 more affordable than the median price of a house in Sydney ($647,475 vs. $815,000)
- Rent: Renting in Newcastle is roughly $55 more affordable than renting in Sydney ($485 vs. $540 median weekly rent)
- What you’ll miss from Sydney: The dining scene and nightlife
- What you’ll love about Newcastle: A slower-paced lifestyle
Removalist costs are based on the average cost of moving the contents of a 3-bedroom home. Prices will vary depending on your needs.
Newcastle’s Dining Scene
Hitting the town for some cheap eats with the family? Or maybe you’re on the hunt for your new favourite bar for date night? Newcastle has a dish to suit every craving, and funky new eateries popping up on every corner!
Darby Street Precinct – Newcastle CBD
Whether you’re looking for a cosy café or romantic outdoor dining, you’ll find it at Darby Street Precinct. This local hotspot is plating up a diverse selection of cuisines, putting plenty of pubs, bars, cafés, and restaurants at your fingertips. You can look forward to fresh seafood, authentic Spanish fare, delicious Italian, hearty pub grub, and more. Darby Street Precinct is also home to some pretty cool street art and unique boutiques, so be sure to have a good wander before you stop for a bite.
The Junction – Newcastle CBD
This leafy inner-city suburb is sprinkled with fantastic cafés and restaurants to sink your teeth into. It’s also known for its great shopping, offering designer labels and bespoke pieces to add to your wardrobe. From classy restaurants to casual bites and delicious desserts, you’ll find what you’re craving at The Junction.
Culture in Newcastle
Believe it or not, Newcastle is pretty darn cultural – and not just because Aussie rock band Silverchair was formed there. Or because the city has produced more dancers than any other for the Australian Ballet Company.
Civic Cultural Precinct
The cultural heart and soul of Newcastle, the Civic Cultural Precinct is host to some of the city’s most prestigious venues.
For world-class performing arts, the heritage-listed Civic Theatre offers a diverse range of shows year-round inside a beautiful art deco building. From live music to ballet, comedy and theatre, the Civic Theatre is your go-to for an eyeful and an earful of local and international talent.
Newcastle Region Art Gallery
Lose track of time wandering around the biggest art gallery in the city. The Newcastle Art Gallery has collections spanning ceramic, sculpture, prints and drawings, photography, paintings, and video and new media. Here you can become familiar with established and emerging local artists, and check out the ever-changing exhibits.
Newcastle Maritime Centre
If you’re into history, you can’t beat the Newcastle Maritime Centre for some fascinating info on the city’s past. Check out some massive boats, learn about the maritime history of Newcastle and the Hunter River, and duck into the centre shop on your way out for books and toys for the whole family.
The weather in Newcastle is pretty pleasant and mostly clear all year round.
You can expect warm and humid summers, with a maximum temperature of 26°C. Winters are short and cool, and temperatures rarely drop below 7°C.
Getting Around Newcastle
Newcastle has several options for getting from A to B.
Most suburbs inside Newcastle and Lake Macquarie are serviced by Newcastle Buses. There are some private bus companies operating between the outer suburbs, towns and regional centres in the Lower Hunter.
Ferry services operate between Stockton Wharf and Newcastle Wharf from 5am to11pm weekdays, 10pm on Sundays, and approximately midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. The service operates every half hour for most of the day, with higher frequency during peak periods.
Trains travel between many suburban areas and the main centres in Newcastle and across the Lower Hunter.
Taxi services are available wherever you are in Newcastle. You can order one over the phone, or you can generally find them in taxi ranks in popular areas like shopping centres and dining precincts.
Take some stress out of your move to Newcastle with these 10 tips.
Tags: City Guides