Walk this way: Newcastle’s best walks
One of the best ways to get a feel for a destination is on foot, and Australia’s second oldest city is no exception.
Feel the salty breeze on your face, take in Pacific Ocean vistas from clifftop walkways or do some forest bathing (it’s a thing). Lace up your shoes and walk this way.
The Bathers Way
The Bronte to Bondi walk may be one of Australia’s most iconic seaside trails but it’s Newy rival, the Bathers Way, has an edge: no crowds! Eye popping vistas across the sparkling Pacific Ocean abound on the six kilometre walk stretching from Nobbys Headland all the way to Merewether Beach at the gateway to Glenrock State Conservation Area. Highlights include the Newcastle Memorial Walk and its 450-metre clifftop span, the iconic convict-built sea pool the Bogey Hole and Nobbys Lighthouse (open weekends) standing guard at the entrance to Newcastle Harbour. Keep an eye out for dolphins and whales (in season) and stop for a well-earned coffee or sundowner at walks’ end.
Start Point: Either Merewether Beach or Nobbys Beach.
Length: Six kilometres.
Take a stroll along the Shipwreck Walk an easy two km (return) walk along the Stockton breakwater. Catch the ferry from Queens Wharf (you can reach Queens Wharf by light rail) and follow the coastline through Pitt Reserve just past Little Beach. From there see Newcastle from a different perspective as you look back across the harbour. Along the way you’ll see markers with the names of many ships that came to tragedy on the Oyster Bank, a sandbank at the entrance to the Hunter River. This notorious section was the site of scores of ship wrecks before stone break walls were constructed on either side of the harbour entrance. Afterwards stop for a pint at the General Washington Hotel.
Start Point: King St, Stockton
Length: 2km (one-way)
Rainforest Loop Walk, Blackbutt Reserve
Soaring eucalypts, wildlife, reptiles and beautiful flora and fauna call Newcastle’s magnificent beating green heart home. There are seven signposted walking trails but one of the best (especially with kids) is the Rainforest Loop Walk which offers the chance to observe a flying fox colony in the tree canopy. Stay quiet so as to not disturb their daytime snooze. Keep an eye out too for endangered powerful owls, cockatoos and other parrots nesting in overhead tree hollows. Inside the rainforest it’s cool and remarkably quiet given you’re in the heart of a major city.
Start Point: Carnley Reserve, Blackbutt
Length: 2 km loop
Yuelarbah Walking Track
This scenic track – part of the Great North Walk stretching 250kms from Newcastle to Sydney - leads you along Flaggy Creek, through wet gullies and lush coastal rainforest. Setting off from a wheelchair accessible raised boardwalk, walkers pass trickling waterfalls and cross bubbling creeks before finishing at the secluded Glenrock Beach. The trail offers glorious vistas across Glenrock Lagoon. Be sure and pack a picnic for lunch at Flaggy Creek or the beach.
Start Point: Yuelarbah picnic area, Glenrock State Conservation Area.
One of NSW’s few rail trails, the Fernleigh Track connects Newcastle and neighbouring Lake Macquarie. The peaceful and scenic track makes it way along a bushland corridor. Highlights include industrial heritage features such as old signal boxes and railway sleepers, the call of native bell birds and the 181 metre Fernleigh tunnel which runs beneath the Pacific Highway. The shared pathway is sealed and popular with cyclists and electric skateboarders too. Turn around mid-way and finish with lunch at the Fernleigh Café, conveniently positioned at the Newcastle end of the track.
Start Point: Belmont (Railway Pde) or Adamstown Station (Park Avenue)
Length: 15km (one-way)
Top image credit: City of Newcastle