Newcastle City packages
Newcastle is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a rich maritime history and a world-famous surfing destination, Merewether Beach. You’ll discover cool bars, quality restaurants, and a lively arts and music scene in NSW’s second-biggest city, just two hours’ drive north of Sydney.
Perched between a working harbour and beautiful beaches, Newcastle is home to the rock band Silverchair. Visit major attractions such as Fort Scratchley Historic Site with the Newcastle Coastal Explorer, a bus tour, and explore waterways and see majestic whales with Nova Cruises.
Australia’s largest surfing festival, Surfest, is in Newcastle. The waves shaped the success of Mark Richards, who was crowned world surfing champion four times. Amble along Bathers Way and swim in the art deco Newcastle Ocean Baths or at Bogey Hole, which convicts carved from rock in 1819.
For more outdoor adventures, you can soar on zip-lines at the TreeTop Adventure Park, learn surfing at Surfest Surf School and explore the harbour on a kayak tour. For a wildlife experience, take the kids to Blackbutt Reserve and see the native animals, including koalas, emus and kangaroos.
Accommodation options range from luxury hotels to backpacker hostels. The delicious food scene includes awarding-winning restaurants such as Subo and a number of tours, such as Underground Epicureans Food Trails and One for the Road. Sip cocktails at waterfront restaurants or bars, head for Beaumont Street in Hamilton for more outdoor cafes and eclectic Darby Street, in Cooks Hill, is popular too.
The Hunter Street Organic Markets are every Wednesday to Saturday. For impressive art, visit the Newcastle Art Gallery. The city celebrates its creativity with events all year, including Newcastle Jazz Festival.
hunter valley packages
Explore the delicious delights of the beautiful Hunter Valley, from award-winning wineries and acclaimed restaurants to tasty festivals and fresh local produce. A lovely escape only two hours’ drive north of Sydney, Australia’s oldest wine region is surrounded by magnificent natural beauty.
Exceptional heritage and exciting innovation define the winemaking, producing some of the best wines in the world such as the iconic Hunter Valley Semillon. The success of the pioneering family-owned wineries inspired new vignerons making new wines from emerging European grape varieties.
With more cellar doors than any other wine region in Australia, one of the great pleasures of wine tasting is discovering what you like. From the classic valley wines to the newer varieties, you’ll find the experience both fun and informative, and you can visit the wineries directly or with wine tours.
For a bird’s-eye view of the vineyards and beyond, gently soar in a hot air balloon. A highlight of the events calendar is the annual Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival, a celebration in May and June of the elegant wine and diverse produce. Colourful markets and vineyard concerts are popular, too.
Perfect for a midweek break, weekend escape or romantic getaway, accommodation options suit various budgets. There are campgrounds and caravan parks, vineyard cottages and guesthouses, as well as retreats and luxury resorts adjacent to championship golf courses with mesmerising views.
The kids will be thrilled, too, with all the fun family activities. You can meet big cats and meerkats at the Hunter Valley Zoo, near Cessnock. At the idyllic Hunter Valley Gardens in Pokolbin, discover the enchanting Storybook garden. In the national parks, enjoy bushwalking and mountain bike trails.
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Yengo National Park is near Broke and Wollombi, which traces its colonial heritage to the convict-built Great North Road that linked Sydney to the Hunter Valley. You can explore ancient Aboriginal rock art and other indigenous heritage on the Finchley cultural walk.
In colonial times the Hunter River was a transport artery. Find out more about river ports in Paterson and Morpeth, where the Arnott’s biscuit dynasty began. In Maitland is a heritage walk and tour of the old Maitland Gaol. For military history, visit the Australian Army Infantry Museum in Singleton.
port stephens packages
With 26 golden beaches, a vast blue bay and many beautiful inlets, Port Stephens is an idyllic beach getaway. Freshly caught seafood, local winery and alfresco waterside dining are all available at cafes and restaurants in Nelson Bay and Tea Gardens.
Port Stephens is home to a prominent dining scene characterised by its diversity and use of locally sourced ingredients. From hand-shucked oysters to fresh avocados, figs and macadamia nuts, the Port Stephens region is abundant with beautiful produce. Sample quality wines and craft beers at a local brewery or winery.
With its winning combination of sandy beaches, national parklands and rugged coastlines, Port Stephens is the perfect place to get in touch with nature. The region is home to around 150 bottlenose dolphins, and there are plenty of tours departing from Nelson Bay which offer dolphin watching opportunities and kayak trips.
Whale watching is also popular during the annual migration season between June and November. See these majestic animals on a whale watching cruise, or from a headland in Tomaree National Park.
Outdoor adventurers can also be enjoyed year-round with water sports such as diving, snorkelling, swimming, surfing, sailing and ferry rides. Other outdoor activities include quad-biking and sandboarding at Stockton Sand Dunes, as well as horse riding through the region’s parklands and along its scenic shorelines.
*All packages pricing subject to airfare and accommodation availability, blackout dates do apply.
All images are courtesy of Destination Port Stephens, Paul Foley Lake Macquarie Tourism and Destination NSW