Health | Lifestyle

Long weekend in Newcastle

Jacqueline Alwill

Brown Paper Nutrition

Newcastle seems to have become our home away from home this past year or so. Between holidays, work trips, surf comps and more we are really getting a feel for this welcoming city on the coast. On our most recent trip we travelled to Newcastle from the Snowy Mountains (read our Snowy Mountains itinerary here) for a 4 day weekend and discovered Cook’s Hill and our favourite accomodation to date at The Willow’s. Cook’s Hill is the most central location we’ve stayed with regard to beach and parks access, shops (including – because you have to have your creature comforts, and groceries – one of the best Harris Farm’s around) and a short walk into town centre too. 

The Willow’s is a 4 bedroom home sleeping 8, with a combination of king, and queen beds plus bunks. Each room is carefully considered for ultimate comfort, design and style and there is a generous kitchen, living, dining and outdoor entertaining space. Whilst it was a bit more chilly on this occasion for dips in the pool, we made it work (because kids), and warmed up by the fire pit after. 

As a passionate cook I was stoked to walk into a stunning kitchen with a dreamy, vintage Smeg fridge, spacious cook top and to be able to quickly serve in the beautiful dining room. As a family we loved the outdoor kitchen entertaining area for our bbq’s and evenings colouring in, after afternoons with books on the day bed. 

*Breakfasts at The Willow’s, 1) Banana Omelette, 2) Peanut butter french toast using local Uprising Bakery Fruit Bread and grilled banana 

On this trip to Newcastle I took a dive back into some of the past tips locals had given me for places  to visit. Ok, food places to visit, let’s be honest, and they did not disappoint. 

UPRISING BAKERY was recommended by an old friend, so on the first day I beelined there with the toddlers for some lunch. It’s set in the quiet back streets away from the city or main drag, and has an excellent outdoor eating area for you to enjoy your baked goodies without pressure of having to shuffle on. The toasties were a top recommendation, so I ordered a pesto chicken, cheese and kraut toasty and it was one of the most delicious sandwiches I may have ever eaten. If you’re there, head to Uprising and give yourself some time to sink right into one of them, you won’t regret it. 

POPOLO GELATERIA has been a favourite a few times running now and I made it back there with the kids on this occasion too. It’s in the city centre which is always quiet on the weekends. It’s small but plentiful in options of delicious gelato. Across the road is their sister pizzeria, Napoli, which I’ve also heard great things. 

COMMON CIRCUS took our hearts on our way out of the city back to Sydney. Stopping for a coffee, we were taken by surprise with the most incredible explosion of colour, homewares, apparel and kiddie things in their shop surrounding the cafe. It’s a real more than meets the eye venue, with an understated red brick building unfolding into spectacular store. Above Common Circus Cafe and Store are there studios which I understand they use for parties, photography studio shoots and events. I was so taken by Common Circus, can’t wait to return for another of their excellent bagels and delish coffees. 

MEREWETHER MARKETS feature once every 3 months at Dixon Park in Merewether Beach and fortunately were on for the time we were there. They had a fun selection of food stalls, emerging fashion brands, including a women’s surf athlesiure brand I came across ‘SALTED’, creating some beautiful designs. I’m dropping a plug for these girls here because great things come from markets (where my business found its feet) and you just never know who is reading, perhaps owning a surf shop and needing new, fresh, designers. Hinting. 

Between surfs, park plays, fishing, big walks, pool sessions, fire pits, cruising surf shops and chilling for weekend footy at The Willows, that did us well for our time at Cook’s Hill. 

What I’ve really gathered in the past few trips to Newy is that literally everything is really within about 10 minutes. Ten walking or ten driving to go further, but everything just feels close. And maybe that’s why the beautiful community in Newcastle feels close as well. It’s not a hard push to get places, to see people, to do stuff. Everything is pretty easily and welcomingly within reach.