Set at the mouth of the Hunter River, with beaches flanking the largest coal exporting harbour in the world, Newcastle is hip. There's the This is Not Art festival on the October long weekend, segway rides at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, top surfing competitions (if you're a water baby, don't miss the ocean baths too) and a re-emerging dining scene.

Newcastle: Beach

Your inner wine aficionado will appreciate a tour inland through the Hunter Valley, home to some of Australia's finest wineries. The Hunter Valley also has coal mines and you can trace the black rock's exit from the region by taking a moment to watch the cargo ships from many vantage points in the city.

Newcastle: Boardwalk