Parisiennes, prepare to cry into your cornichons. Your city may indeed be iconic, historic and beautiful but we have some insider insights on Newcastle that’ll leave you green with envy.
Paris is beautiful and all but last time we checked it was a landlocked city, sitting about two hours’ drive from the closest beach. Newcastle, on the other hand, is flanked by picturesque coastline on one side and the lovely Hunter River on the other. To top things off, it’s also known as one of Australia’s best surfing locations and has regular world-class surfing comps such as Surfest aka the biggest surfing festival in the Southern Hemisphere. So, you know, no biggie. The city’s famous Nobbys Beach is worth a visit all year-round for sun, sand and a great Aussie BBQ. Those interested in doing some laps will find exactly what they’re after just around the corner in the Newcastle Ocean Baths and anyone interested in kite surfing, kayaking, 4WDing or jet skiing will also be able to find a spot for their sport of choice somewhere on the city’s coastline.
Like old churches? Newcastle’s got you covered, offering up the impressively beautiful and – by Australian standards – old Christ Church Cathedral. Longer than an Olympic Pool, adorned with intricate gothic features, and boasting 72 stained glass windows, the only thing it’s missing is a famous hunchback.
Paris may have croissants but does it have deliciously flaky cruffins filled with vanilla bean ice-cream and drizzled with salted caramel sauce? Didn’t think so. Head to The Little French Café (we know, we know – the name’s ironic) to gobble one up.
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While we’re on morning-tea time goods, have you ever tried French coffee? We have: it’s not good. Luckily, here in the land of lattes, flat whites and fluffy cappuccinos, coffee is somewhat a specialty. Head to One Penny Black, Suspension Espresso or Three Monkeys Cafe to get a really decent cup of the black stuff.
You know something else Newcastle is good at? Beer. While it may not have quite the same allure as a ruby red Bordeaux or a sparkling champagne, there’s nothing like a freshly pulled pint on a warm summer’s day. Local breweries Foghorn Brewhouse and Grainfed Brewing Company will keep you hydrated with a crafty mix of pale ales, stouts and IPAs with distinctive tastes and excellent names, including our favourites the Big Ideas Beer and the Sneaky One.
If you are feeling fancy and winey during your stay, Australia’s famous Hunter Valley region is just an hour’s drive away. Some of Australia’s most famous names in the grape squashing business call the Hunter home, including Brokenwood, Peppertree and Audrey Wilkinson. Chances are you won’t want to drive home after a trip here so plan on staying the night or book a seat on one of the many wine tours that leave town each day.
And with that we rest our case: Newcastle > Paris.