Often overlooked for its larger neighbours, the thriving coastal city of Newcastle is a vibrant hub of art and adrenaline for Sydneysiders looking for an affordable weekend escape. Culture-seekers can be tempted by country fairs, annual music festivals and theatre productions in historic Art Deco venues. Come winter, visitors can test their skating skills with a bout of ice hockey, or turn to kitesurfing at the city’s famous beaches and surf breaks in the summer months. At just over a two-hour drive from Sydney, it’s an easy journey pleasantly punctuated with weekend farmers markets and seaside views.
When it comes to bedding down for the night, you’ll find an array of accommodation choices much more affordable than those of other major Australian cities. Breezy balconies with sunset views and deep spa baths set the tone for intimate weekends away with a partner. On-site restaurants reflect the city’s eclectic, cultured vibe, with options ranging from meaty South American grills to delicate French bakeries. You’ll find spacious serviced apartments and boutique B&Bs just steps from the beach and the pulse of Newcastle’s Central Business District, all for a fraction of what you’d expect to pay for a staycation in Sydney.