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   Newcastle

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 Newcastle is situated on the Eastern Coast of Australia, 167 kilometres drive north of Sydney, being New South Wales' second largest city and the sixth largest city in Australia. Newcastle City reaches out to the sea on a Peninsula at the mouth of the Hunter River. This distinctive geography creates the only Australian City with a CBD simultaneously on the beach and the harbour waterfront. The average temperatures ranges between 18 – 27 degrees Celsius.

Newcastle is set on a breathtaking stretch of Australia's Pacific Ocean coastline and is built around a large harbour, accessed by both recreational and commercial sea craft. The harbour entrance is home to Nobby's Lighthouse and the Breakwater. The Foreshore area provides a relaxing venue for enjoying a drink or a meal in one of the many harbour side restaurants, cafes or bars. Visitors to the foreshore can sit and relax while watching the busy harbour traffic. High above Newcastle Harbour is Fort Scratchley, a defensive fort built during the Crimean War to protect the city from invasion. At the height of the Second World War, the fort returned fire at a Japanese submarine. It was the only Australian fort to have engaged the enemy in a maritime attack.

The harbour is edged by large expanses of parkland, where people gather for picnics, bike rides, rollerblading, jogging, or simply flying a kite. A little further up the road is the Strzelecki Lookout at Merewether Beach. As the highest point in the city, the lookout is a favourite haunt of Hangliding enthusiasts. Newcastle boasts some of Australia's best beaches and waterways for swimming, surfing, sailing and other water sports. Combined with a low cost of living and a favourable climate, Newcastle presents a relaxed and welcoming lifestyle. With a regional population of about 500,000, Newcastle supports a thriving business and commercial sector and an excellent network of health care and educational facilities. Newcastle is home to some of the best entertainment venues on Australia's eastern coast and offers many of the usual city comforts - restaurants, cafes, parks and gardens, theatres, art galleries, shopping centres and nightclubs. The city has built a solid international and domestic reputation for the wealth of talent radiating from the city. From the commercial success of rock-bands such as Silverchair, to the annual cultural activities such as the Shootout Film Festival and the This Is Not Art Exhibition, Newcastle boasts a vibrant artistic and creative scene, attracting attention world-wide.

Only ten minutes drive from the city centre visitors can get up close and personal with some of Australia's unique and beautiful wildlife. Blackbutt Reserve hosts spacious modern facilities which allow close viewing of a variety of animals, such as Kangaroos, Koalas, Emus, Wallabies, Wombats and a significant array of species of Australian Birds. Nearby Lake Macquarie is the largest coastal salt water lake in Australia and is four times the size of Sydney Harbour. In 2004 Newcastle celebrated its 200th birthday. The Newcastle of today is a thriving cosmopolitan city with a relaxed coastal lifestyle, vibrant cultural life, and civic pride. The city has many historic 19th century buildings some of which have been recently restored to their former glory. The  dunes of Stockton Beach not far from the city, is just a ferry ride away. The surf culture is very strong in Newcastle, with many surfwear and surfboard-makers. The biggest Surf championships is held  in March, and the city has a large student community due the famous University of Newcastle. Newcastle is a place that is redirecting its portuary fame into a tourist destination. It is a well kept secret.

More about Newcastle...

Newcastle background, Nobby's Beach at the bottom, Port to the right

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