Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Sea and Sand Castle Is King; Visitors to Australia's Second-Oldest City Are Finding That to Know Newcastle Is to Love It

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Sea and Sand Castle Is King; Visitors to Australia's Second-Oldest City Are Finding That to Know Newcastle Is to Love It

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE is Australia's most underrated city, but if you have taken the time to pull in off the Pacific Hwy, you would know why it was named in the Lonely Planet's top 10 cities for 2011.

There are many reasons why people fall in love with this New South Wales seaside city Co from its rich history and convict past to the shipping graveyard of the harbour.

Or it may be the long stretches of pristine white-sand beaches or the vast and beautiful Lake Macquarie, which is Australia's largest coastal saltwater lake.

Whatever the reason, once you have visited this coastal city, it will no doubt hold a special place in your heart.

My love for Newcastle stems from the fact I was born there, but my adoration for this city comes after years of getting to know it better.

Every year for 19 years, I have returned to Newcastle to catch up with all the relatives but it was not until this year that I took the time to truly explore C[pounds sterling]NewyC[yen] (as we locals call it).

My sister Melanie and I went on a mini-road trip around the metropolis, checking out the entertainment, beaches, art galleries, coastal walks, drinking-holes and picnic spots.

Our favourite place to visit was King Edward Park.

The park has an elegant rotunda, playground for the kids, tranquil rose garden and breathtaking views of the ocean.

On weekends, the park resembles a patched-up quilt with randomly thrown picnic blankets covering the grassy expanse, stitched together by families criss-crossing the park with frisbees, weaving in and out of the trees and climbing through the rotunda.

But if you have a passion for good food and shopping, then Darby Street is an absolute must. Grab a friend, do breakfast and catch up at one of the 20 cafes on the Cooks Hill road.

After a spot of shopping, you'll find nothing better than heading to the popular Canoe Pool. The Newcastle Ocean Baths are great for those people wanting to take advantage of the calmer conditions without having to sacrifice the ocean views and laid-back atmosphere. …

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