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Once one of Australia’s industrial titans Newcastle has cleverly reinvented itself as food-loving, outdoorsy and creative regional centre. The city is now packed with hip bars, waterfront restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, artisan bakeries and microbreweries. At the same time the world is rediscovering the city’s natural attractions, especially its magnificent surf beaches and Art Deco buildings. Thanks to its compact size Newcastle is easy to explore on foot – or hire a bike if you want to cover more ground. For something a little quirkier, step aboard Newcastle’s Famous Tram, a replica of the original 1923 tram, or a cute and eco-friendly pedicab. Walking tours showcasing the city’s food, pubs and convict history are also available.

Who goes there: P&O Cruises, Cunard, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Silversea Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises.

Cruisers like: Explore Newcastle’s colourful history by visiting the Fort Scratchley Historical Site, Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle Maritime Centre and the Newcastle Museum. Kids especially love running around the tunnels beneath Fort Scratchley, built to defend the city from a feared Russian attack in the 1880s. Other landmarks include the Newcastle Ocean Baths and Art Deco pavilion dating from 1922. The city is also celebrated for its vibrant pub culture and craft breweries. Some of the best examples include the FogHorn Brewhouse, The Edwards, The Lucky Hotel and Customs House Hotel. Newcastle is also an outdoor adventure base, offering nature walks, wildlife encounters, sailing and swimming with dolphins.

Best for: History buffs, ocean swimmers, surfers, craft beer lovers and fans of heritage architecture

Getting around: Cruise ships berth at the Port of Newcastle. There are city shuttles and taxis available to take guests into the city centre. The best way to get around Newcastle is on foot or by hiring at Spinway bike from the Maritime Centre of Crowne Plaza hotel.