A two-hour drive north of Sydney is Newcastle, population 270 300, in Awabakal country, the second largest city in New South Wales. Newcastle is a lively city that overlooks the spectacular harbour formed by the Hunter River. The harbour is guarded by Nobbys Breakwater and Lighthouse at the mouth of the Hunter River. Walk the trail that leads to the top of Nobbys Head where the lighthouse stands with panoramic views over the river to the port and the city.

Some of the finest surfing beaches in the world can be found on Newcastles coastline.

Australias first man-made ocean pool, the Bogie Hole, sits on a rock ledge in King Edward Park south of Newcastle Beach.

Bar Beach is floodlit at night and popular with surfers and next door, Mereweather Beach has a fabulous ocean bath as well as a separate childrens pool.

About 10 kilometres, 6.2 miles southwest of the city is a large nature reserve known as Blackbutt Reserve. Blackbutt has four valleys where remnant rainforest, creeks, lakes, ponds and walking trails can be found. Kangaroos, koalas, wombats and emus all live in the reserves wildlife enclosures.

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