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Hidden, Local Gems: Newcastle's Best-kept Secrets

Looking for local secrets? Here are the best things to do in Newcastle, that are under the radar.

Newcastle Memorial Walk, Newcastle (Image credit: Destination NSW)
Newcastle Memorial Walk, Newcastle (Image credit: Destination NSW)

Just a short two-hour drive from Sydney, laid-back Newcastle is an arty city that's home to legendary surf beaches, historical architecture, and a cool, creative community. Meaning, there are plenty of things to do in Newcastle that will have you heading north in a heartbeat.

From great weekend markets and local live music gigs, to secret swimming spots and the best fish and chips, there are many great things to do that you might easily miss without a bit of insider, local knowledge. Here is our edit of the best Newcastle local secrets and hidden gems to check out on your next trip.

Newcastle's Best-kept Secrets: Eat & Drink

Scotties Beach House
Scotties Beach House
Scotties Beach House

Newcastle is a town that knows its seafood, and the standard is set incredibly high. So, when we say that Scotties Beach House has the best seafood in Newcastle, you better believe that we mean that! Perhaps the most delicious of Newcastle’s local secrets, this restaurant is the place to eat in Newcastle. 

Over the last 50 or so years, the Scotties’ space has had a rich history. This East End spot has been a corner store, a general store, a humble fish’n’chips shop and now it’s reached its zenith in the form of a casual but delicious restaurant helmed by a mother-son team. With a happy hour and a menu that changes weekly, this is the perfect place to soak up the seaside air and enjoy some delicious food. The menu is incredibly diverse, running the gamut from chip butties to delicate Yellowfin tuna sashimi but, if you can only order one thing, we recommend the fish and chips. Can't beat them!

36 Scott Street, Newcastle East

Baked Uprising
Baked Uprising
Baked Uprising

How good is bread? We’re serious. As far as we’re concerned, bread might be one of the very best things on this earth and the bread at Baked Uprising is some of the best in Australia. Beginning as a home-based micro-bakery, Baked Uprising has expanded to have over 50 staff. A Newcastle local secret, the bakery is tucked away in a warehouse in the unassuming suburb of Maryville. The bakers here don’t limit themselves to just producing truly epic bread, they also turn out some of the best pastries in the region. It’s an absolute must-visit!

21/25 Downie Street, Maryville

MEET
MEET
MEET

For a taste of Brazil, MEET brings the real churrasco experience to the Newcastle streets. MEET sources the finest local pork, beef, chicken and lamb to spit roast over their custom BBQ, with added natural woods and coals to give the dishes that authentic smoky flavour. Along with endless meats served tableside, the huge menu of sides featuring cassava chips and flat bread will have you hooked. 

1/2 Honeysuckle Drive, Newcastle


Newcastle's Best-kept Secrets: Arts

The Lock-Up (Image credit: Andrew Toogood)
The Lock-Up (Image credit: Andrew Toogood)
Visit The Lock-Up

Calling the old Newcastle Police Station home, The Lock-Up is one of Australia's most innovative creative hubs and contemporary arts spaces. From exhibitions and workshops, to residencies and performances, The Lock-Up has something inspiring on show for every kind of creative. Right now, you can experience the group show False Sense of Security that explores the privilege and cost of security.

90 Hunter Street, Newcastle

Honeysuckle Hotel
Honeysuckle Hotel
Check Out Newcastle’s Epic Live Music Scene

Over the last few years there has been a major effort to revive the live music and gig scene in Newcastle. These efforts have not been in vain and a whole host of pubs and local venues have stepped up to the plate to host local bands and DJs every week. The Honeysuckle Hotel’s Harbour Sessions bring local musos to the stage every Sunday from 3pm. The Great Northern Hotel, in addition to having a very cool Twins Peaks-esque name, has live music and DJ sets organised every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check out Newcastle Live’s gig guide to see what’s coming up.

Newcastle's Best-kept Secrets: Markets

Homegrown Markets, The Station
Homegrown Markets, The Station
The Station Newcastle

This historic train station turned multi-purpose outdoor event space plays host to an array of community events throughout the year. From retail pop-ups and workshops, to live music and weekend markets, The Station is the place to be. For market lovers, be sure to add the monthly Vegan Market, Saturday's Homegrown Market and the Friday Night Feast to your diary! You won't be disappointed.

Corner Scott Street & Watt Street, Newcastle

Olive Tree Markets
Olive Tree Markets
Olive Tree Markets

We can never get enough of a good market and this is a truly great find! Held on the first and third Saturday of every month, Olive Tree is Newcastle’s premier art and design market. Featuring over 130 makers, artisan producers, designers and artists, this Newcastle local secret is the perfect nexus of arts, culture and shopping in Newcastle. From ceramics and literature, to gorgeous handmade jewellery and clothes, this is one of the best shopping experiences in Newcastle. Make a day of it by grabbing some food and enjoying Civic Park.

Civic Park, Corner King & Darby Streets, Newcastle

Newcastle Food & Flower Markets
Newcastle Food & Flower Markets
Newcastle Food & Flower Markets

An absolute paradise for foodies and floral enthusiasts alike, this market is one of the best-kept Newcastle local secrets. Open Wednesday to Sunday, this is the spot to come for fresh blooms and even fresher produce, both locally sourced and unmatched in terms of quality. Officially launching in early 2019, the Newcastle market instantly became a hub for foodies and florists whilst also breathing life and beauty back into the Sandgate area. So, if you love good food and fine flowers (and who doesn’t?) then this is the best Newcastle local secret spot to explore on your next trip.

1 Rural Drive, Sandgate

Newcastle's Best-kept Secrets: Explore

The Bogey Hole, Newcastle (Image credit: City of Newcastle)
The Bogey Hole, Newcastle (Image credit: City of Newcastle)
The Bogey Hole

The Bogey Hole is an Instagram-worthy ocean pool in the heart of Newcastle, popular for visitors and photographers. Along a stunning stretch of coast, the pool was hand-hewn out of a rock platform by convicts in the early 1800s. The unpatrolled, swimming hole has historical significance as the earliest Australian example of a purpose-built ocean swimming pool. It can get busy on hot days with people trying to get the best shot, but with its photogenic, turquoise water and natural beauty, it’s absolutely unmissable.

York Drive, Newcastle

Nobbys Beach (Image credit: City of Newcastle)
Nobbys Beach (Image credit: City of Newcastle)
Check Out the Best Beaches In Newcastle

Let’s be honest, there are no bad beaches in Newcastle. We’d even go as far as to venture that there are no bad beaches in New South Wales but if you’re only visiting Newcastle for the weekend, which beaches should go to the top of your list? Nobbys Beach is hardly a local Newcastle secret but it’s beautiful so it’s got to make the list. Well worth a visit, Merewether Beach is home to the largest ocean baths complex in the Southern Hemisphere. Merewether Beach also marks the conclusion of the Bathers Way Walk, one of the best walking tracks in Newcastle so it’s definitely worth adding to the itinerary. If you're not a fan of the sand, then head to either the Merewether or Newcastle Baths. These free, public ocean pools provide the perfect place to soak up the rays and take a relaxing dip.


There’s no end of things to explore in Newcastle from walking trails to foodie hotspots and national parks, there are so many things to do in Newcastle. Check out more of our Newcastle edits here. For more Newcastle travel inspo, be sure to check out visitnsw.com.