Why The Hunter, Central Coast And Newcastle Regions Should Be On Your Summer Hit List

By Tim Piccione

Keen to ditch your current view for somewhere a little more wanderlust-worthy? Just an hour north of Sydney, you’ll find the beautiful Central Coast, enviably peppered with national parks and beaches galore. Continue further up to the Hunter region, with Newcastle and the Hunter Valley offering more ideal holiday locations, with a few twists unique to the areas. 

From charming coastal villages and the crystal waters of secluded beaches to vineyards, breweries and helicopter rides—the Central Coast and Hunter are easily accessible from Sydney and the ideal summer spots to renew your weekend plans or dedicate a proper holiday week away. 

Start planning your getaway with some of the best places to stay, eat and drink in the area, as well as a few experiences and nature adventures you have to check out. And don’t worry, we’ve found a few deals along the way to save you some coin too. 

Here’s how you can renew your routine and recharge your batteries with a vacation this summer. 

Recharge Your Senses With These Experiences 

In between casual long lunches at vineyards and relaxing days on the beach, the Central Coast and Hunter regions offer plenty when it comes to exciting and adventurous experiences to help you renew your walk around the block. 

Starting in Newcastle, the city has more than beaches and surfing to offer, with a few unique experiences worth checking out. Like seeing said beaches from the skies with a helicopter tour, giving you a chance to follow the coastline and experience a view like none other. If you like the idea of being off the ground, try your daredevil hand at the TreeTop Adventure Park, with suspension bridges, ziplines and obstacles high up in the trees. Or stay two feet on the ground and spookily venture around Newcastle at night for a Dark Stories True Crime Tour

There’s some adventuring down in the Central Coast region as well if you find yourself descending into the wilderness of the Glenworth Valley. Our pick has to be an afternoon of abseiling as you drop off the side of a cliff and abseil your way down for the (safe) rush of a lifetime. 

As for the Hunter Valley—we all know what kind of experiences await you there. What better way to spend a summer holiday (or any holiday) than wandering through vineyards and cellar doors and tasting some of the most renowned vino in the country. When choosing what to do, know that you are very much the proverbial kid in the candy store. 

Go for a sparkling masterclass, a vineyard tour and a three-course lunch or embark on a full-day wine tasting tour around the region and a handful of wineries with lunch included. Combine your love of flying and eating with a Hunter Valley helicopter and degustation tour. Prefer beer? Take a day-long guided tour of the area’s best craft breweries instead. Or forget drinking altogether and get stuck into local cheeses with a tasting at the Hunter Valley Cheese Factory. And if you can’t possibly bear to decide, just tick every box and take a tour that includes tasting wine, craft beer, cheese and chocolate. 

Deal: Get 30% off all NSW bookable experiences listed on Tripadvisor. *T&Cs apply.

Trade Your Usual Takeaway For Dining Out

There’s nothing we love more than being out on the town on holidays. Letting yourself order that extra cocktail, having a few daytime beers, stopping in for a late-night bite or treating yourself to some fine dining. Renewing your menu and eating to your heart’s content is all the better if it also means supporting the local hospitality industry, which has done it tough this past year. 

To help make it easier, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite spots in the area. The only question remains: what are you in the mood for?

Share a whole dry-aged Aylesbury duck paired with some of the Hunter Valley’s best wines at contemporary Italian restaurant éRemo in Pokolbin. Grab yourself a signature weekend “Breakfast Martini”, and a boujee smashed avo from Newcastle’s Ms Mary. Treat yourself and get your hands around a wonderfully greasy fried chicken burger and drool-inducing sides like bacon mac & cheese croquettes at Milky Lane. Otherwise, head to Newy’s Honeysuckle promenade for high tea and waterfront views at Wharf350. Keep walking down, and you’ll find the Honeysuckle Hotel, with plenty of tables by the shoreline, live music Friday and Saturday nights and a rum bar upstairs. 

If you’re a little further south in the Central Coast region, there’s plenty of places to head as well. Like Audrey’s Restaurant Cafe in Green Point for cosy vibes and a bit of everything from seafood to pasta and tapas to pizza. Or The Ettalong in Ettalong Beach for some classic coastal pub grub and a cold schooner just metres from the water. 

Deal: Book with TheFork and receive up to 50% off food bills at selected restaurants. Dine and Discover Vouchers can be redeemed with discounts based on the restaurant T&Cs.

Go Off-Grid With These Nature Adventures

Like so many regions in NSW, the Central Coast and Hunter are absolutely blessed with natural wonders, like countless white sand stretches of beach and national parks that offer up some of the most beautiful and rewarding hikes in the state. 

For example, make your way to Bouddi National Park, only a 15-minute drive from popular Avoca Beach. There, you’ll find plenty of walking options, including the 8.5km Bouddi coastal walk that boasts plenty of views like the Gerrin Point Lookout. Just make sure you leave time for a swim at the hidden away, highly ‘grammable and often secluded Maitland Bay Beach. 

We could go on all day about beaches and swimming spots in the region, and up the NSW North Coast—genuinely one of the best areas to embark on this summer, knowing a cool-down dip and a lie on the sand is never far away. From Terrigal Beach and Kariong Brook Falls on the Central Coast to surfer’s paradise Merewether Beach and the heritage-listed Bogey Hole ocean pool in Newcastle—there are endless ways to renew your summer holiday swim. 

Stay safe in NSW national parks this summer. Plan ahead by checking the NPWS website for alerts and closures before visiting a park.

Renew Your View At These Hotels

You need to find yourself a good, comfortable base that you can jet off from on any holiday. So, to help you renew your weekend accommodation, we’ve picked out a couple of hotels around the Central Coast and Hunter area in prime spots you can call home during your stay. 

Why not stay in the heart of Newcastle, a stone’s throw away from the Honeysuckle promenade and dining precinct and its many restaurants and bars? Quest Newcastle West and its apartment-style accommodation place you in the middle of the city, close to shopping and beaches aplenty. 

Deal: Book to stay between 15 November 2021 — 31 January 2022 at a Quest hotel and score 15% off the best available rate for a 3+ night stay, and another 10% off if you book directly through the Quest website. 

If you prefer to stay right up on the water’s edge, make sure you book in a room at Rydges Newcastle. Sitting directly on the Hunter River and adjacent to the Honeysuckle promenade, the hotel is surrounded by cafes, bars and boutiques. It also boasts an outdoor pool and houses Wharf350 bar and restaurant if you don’t feel like leaving the premises and enjoy dining with a view. 

Deal: Rydges is offering up to 20% off and $20 food & bev credit per night if you stay 4+ nights and book to stay between now and February 28, 2022. 

Finally, Accor is bringing a bit of luxury to your holiday weekend plans as well. Stay at the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel, right on the city’s main beach, with the sounds of crashing waves gently waking you every morning. You’re obviously not far from everything else, but we reckon the convenient daily swims are enough of a drawcard anyway. Or further away from the water and into the wine region, book in at the Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens. Not only does it offer features like a pool, spa, sauna and tennis courts, but the resort is surrounded by cellar doors, restaurants, cafes and just a short walk to the Hunter Valley Gardens. 

Deal: Find rooms with Accor from just $155 a night. 

Swap Zoom on screen for a zoom around the harbour. Abandon the couch for front-row seats at the theatre. Reinvigorate your lockdown love with a romantic room above the city. Renew your routine, recharge your senses and experience the best of the Central Coast and Hunter regions. And with so many great deals, did you really need another excuse to book? Head to Tripadvisor for more things to book and do. 

*Important stuff to know: 

  • Discount is capped at $60 per booking. Limited Units of discount is available for redemption.
  • Promo code is valid for purchases between 16 November to 31 January 2022. Bookings can be made for a later travel date.
  • Tripadvisor reserves the right to modify the promotion period and promotion mechanics at its own discretion. In the event of a cancellation or refund, the refund amount will be based on the amount paid.

Image credit: Destination NSW

This article is sponsored by Destination New South Wales and Tripadvisor, and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

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