Experience a different side of Newcastle and soak in the art-deco vibes of the world-famous Merewether Baths, the perfect place to bob away an afternoon in the water, before joining laid-back locals for a coffee at a beach-side café and then heading back to your own apartment…
Newcastle is a harbour city in the Australian state of New South Wales that boasts pristine uncrowded beaches, fascinating historical sites and nature-rich experiences along the Pacific coast, one of Australia’s most celebrated surf breaks. Here is Culture Trip’s pick of the best apartments to call home while you’re in town.
If you’re always losing your hotel room keys or deactivating swipe cards with your phone, there’s no need to worry here. These hi-spec apartments are keyless and a unique code will be texted to you on arrival. However, the white fences and manicured front gardens of these cute townhouses will take you from Star Wars to the Stepford Wives (2004) in an instant – and that’s before you see the quaint, but functional full-size kitchens. There’s also a snug courtyard and the balconies look on to a quiet street. You’ll be baking apple tarts for your neighbours in no time.
This is the best accommodation in Newcastle, the owners boldly claim. It’s set on super-cool coffee hub Darby Street in the historic suburb of Cooks Hill that’s lined with comfy cafés, quirky boutiques and trendy restaurants. For breakfast drop by café Baba Yaga for a friendly welcome and a tasty morning bite or the Three Monkeys Café, a local coffee institution. The apartments are stylish and thoughtfully finished and range from studios to four-beds. In bigger units expect a huge open kitchen and lounge area with ceilings that top 15ft (4.5m), plus a rain shower and jet tub in the bathroom. Maybe the owners’ claim rings true after all.
Located in the heart of Newcastle’s quiet suburb of Hamilton and 4km (2.5mi) from Newcastle Central Business District, the perks at Hamilton Executive Apartments include your own private balcony and easy access to a range of eclectic restaurants serving cuisines from Chinese to Persian and French. Lebanese joint Downtown Beirut is especially popular, and for good reason, thanks to chefs who treat vegan options as expertly as they do the meat grills. Head to the Blind Monk afterwards for a hoppy-fun tasting of local craft beers.
A bathroom can make or break a hotel room. At Studios on Beaumont, the marble finishes, monochrome tiled flooring and seemingly bottomless bathtub – the shower is separate – give this gigantic bathroom an art-deco feel that goes far beyond functionality. When you see the teal velvet booths in the American Bar downstairs and the framed headshots of old-world Hollywood stars in the restaurant it all makes sense. Families or those with an entourage can book a special studio wing: two studios and one superior room on a private corridor, just like in the movies.
Family-focused apartments, run by a family, make for an excellent combination. Wallsend Executive Apartments are located close to Wallsend Parks, for walks and playing, and Wallsend shopping precinct. There’s custom made leather furniture, a fully equipped kitchen and, to avoid any morning queues, two bathrooms – with toiletries and towels – and a third toilet downstairs. Each unit also has a furnished courtyard and single garage. Central Newcastle is around 11km (7mi) away, but Wallsend Executive Apartments are within walking distance of many great local cafés and restaurants.
Newcastle has around 120 playgrounds, which will be music to the ears of parents travelling with children. The nearest from Wallsend on Longworth is in Federal Park, which also has a football playing field and cricket ground ready for the grown-ups to play in. These clean, modern apartments come in two- and three-bed units with simple decor and two bathrooms to wash away all that mud.
Motel, hotel, Holiday Inn – not quite, but these self-contained motel-style apartments tick a lot of boxes. They’re pet friendly, there’s a spa, an outdoor pool and whirlpool, plus an impressive barbecue area. You’re also perfectly positioned to get out into open parklands and explore local walking trails and picnic areas while being only 9.5km (6mi) west of central Newcastle. Film buffs will love the nearby Regal Cinema, housed inside a 1950s wooden building with original red velvet seating. All tickets are AUD $8 (£4.50) no matter what film you see.
Nature lovers look no further – Werekataba is set in a 2.5-acre (1ha) leafy wonderland of gardens and foliage home to native Australian trees such as the lofty spotted gums, ironbarks with their unique dark and furrowed trunks and fruit trees. Spot wild ducks waddling around and the resident kookaburras (kingfishers) outside your fully kitted-out two-bed apartment. There’s also a swimming pool, swings for the kids and allocated rest areas. Venture off the grounds to discover Lake Macquarie and its winding 15km (9mi) walkway. It’s pure blissful relaxation.