A family escape at Crowne Plaza Newcastle

Chilling on the breakwall at Nobbys Newcastle

“Mum, this place kinda feels like home,” declares a smiling Raffles within minutes of checking into the harbour front Crowne Plaza Newcastle. And while our actual home may not boast a marble-clad foyer, an army of friendly-staff or stunning views over Newcastle’s working harbour, he’s right, this place does radiate a special “at home” kind of vibe.

Which immediately raises alarm bells with me. I mean, given the kids’ penchant for parading round stark naked while trashing our own home, this could get ugly! But lucky for the other guests, Raffles and Sugarpuff remain suitably attired and instead of nuding up, don their helmets and grab their scooters to ride to Nobbys Lighthouse.

scootering to Nobbys Lighthouse

We scoot along the boardwalk to the famous old Lighthouse. Now one of Newcastle’s premier attractions, the dramatic lighthouse is perched on a pretty headland that was spotted by Captain James Cook from the ship Endeavour in 1770 and first flashed its beacon in1858. We scooter past it and to the end of the breakwall, Raffles taking a break from clambering over rocks only to soak up the stunning views over the Pacific Ocean and Nobbys Beach.

Loving Newcastle

On the return scoot along Wharf Road, we’re surprised to see Aussie Icon, Harry’s Café D’Wheels and agree it would be positively UnAustralian for us not to stop for a couple of “Tigers”, chunky beef pies packed with mushy peas, mash and gravy. The meal provides enough fuel for the kids to demand further exploration so we head to Newcastle Museum, which is literally right next door to the Crowne Plaza Newcastle, with only an oddly large red metal camel separating the museum from the hotel.

Camel capers in Newcastle

I’m astounded by the modern and awesomely interactive museum which has plenty to see, inside and out…

Newcastle Raffles at the Newcastle Museum

Not only by the quality of the collections, which bring significant moments of the past, present and future to life, but by its amazing hands-on science centre and indoor play space, Supernova!

Newcastle museum

The kids walk under the massive illuminated globe, lift a car with nothing but their own strength and might, make their own tornadoes and play in a magnetic field.

Newcastle Museum

The only thing that can lure them away from the incredible museum is the promise of a swim in the fabulous harbour side pool at Crowne Plaza with their bright new beach balls, left by the thoughtful hotel staff for them to play with.

Ready for the pool at the Crowne Plaza Newcastle

Our swim is followed by a decadent seafood dinner in the hotel’s awesome Seasalt Restaurant. Entrees of garlic and chilli prawns and a sublime salmon ceviche with pomegranate and finger lime were followed by a delectable Fisherman’s Basket of grilled king prawns, Balmain bug, squid and salmon.

Dinner at SeaSalt Crowne Plaza Newcastle

But when it comes time for a dessert, the lure of the traditional hotel bed leap,argy bargy over who sleeps where, and a movie in our room proves too much to resist so we order ice cream sundaes to go.

Jumping for joy at Crowne Plaza Newcastle

Our interconnected rooms offer us not one but two comfortable lounge rooms, but we devour our ice cream in slothful style watching television from the main bed. Because we can.

And then, after trashing our room like the rock stars they are, the kids head off to sleep in their own unscathed room.

Sleep time at Crowne Plaza Newcastle

The following morning I take advantage of free entry into the massive fitness-centre next-door to work off the previous evening’s indulgences. It’s early when I arrive back in our room to the kids but the kids are awake and squealing over the impressive sight of a huge tanker floating right by our window.

We hit the breakfast buffet and rather than holding back, I waste my morning’s gym efforts and taking after my pelican like son, elect to eat all the things, including a fab, cooked-to-order eggs Benedict. I assuage any guilt by working it off with a bicycle ride, after taking a look at some of the extraordinary street art located around the hotel.

STreet Art in Newcastle, NSW

Newcastle is one of the first cities in NSW to offer a bike hiring system and, happily for us, there’s an automated stand located right outside the Crowne Plaza, where we hire bikes for a couple of hours.

Rental Bikes at the Crowne Plaza Newcastle, NSW

The lovely hotel staff are happy to assist us with a loaner from their sneaky stash of helmets and in a few minutes we’re off, whizzing along the waterfront all the way to Flagstaff Hill and Fort Scratchley, a former coastal defence installation that now serves as a museum.

Turning back time at Fort Scratchley Newcastle

At the fort we soak up view of the city, beaches and our old friend Nobbys Lighthouse, before heading underground to tunnel through 200 years of history.

The view form Fort Scratchley, Newcastle

Our tour guide shares the history of Fort Scratchly, one of the few gun installations in eastern Australia that actually engaged in fire during World War 2, with tales of the brave men who fought to protect Newcastle Harbour.

Fort Scratchley Newcastle

Visions of Newcastle’s past continue on a 450-metre long cliff top stroll along the Newcastle Memorial Walk linking Strzelecki Lookout to Bar Beach and built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ANZACs landing in Gallipoli.

A visit Newcastle without a swim at the irresistibly Instagrammable Newcastle Baths is totally against the rules! The picture perfect art deco complex of sea baths, lap pool and an enormous sand filled paddle pool has lifeguard supervision (in the massive main pool only) seven days a week and there is an old-style beach canteen serving up seaside treats.

Newcastle Baths

It’s a perfect spot for families, including this one and we happily while away the hours before the crowds grow and we head back “home” to the wonderful Crowne Plaza and more swimming in the hotel pool.

Beachball bliss at Crowne Plaza Newcastle

On our way out of town, after our short break, we pass a stunning artwork by renowned street artist, Adnate, and we have to stop.

Steet art by Adnate in Newcastle NSW

The work is breathtaking, just like Newcastle, a place it turns out that may just be one of Australia’s most family-friendly and charming cities. And we drive away having barely scratched its rather pretty surface.

But you know, this is fine by us because it provides us with mighty excuse to return in the autumn school holidays to explore further, and enjoy another stay with our fab new friends at the Crowne Plaza Newcastle.

 

Disclosure: The Eats World stayed as guests of the Crowne Plaza Newcastle for one night but all experiences and most meals were at our own cost and discretion. All opinions remain our own.

10 Comments on A family escape at Crowne Plaza Newcastle

  1. Renee Wilson
    March 14, 2017 at 8:26 am (4 months ago)

    God, your kids are cute!!! I never thought of Newcastle as a travel destination, but now that I know what’s there, look out!! Newcastle is where you stop off to get to Hunter Valley, right?!

    Reply
    • BOYEATSWORLD
      March 15, 2017 at 5:36 pm (4 months ago)

      YEp. Or Lake Macquarie. You can make a real break of it and combine all three!

      Reply
  2. Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life
    March 14, 2017 at 8:53 am (4 months ago)

    What a great weekend away location when you live in Sydney! After my twins year 12 half yearly exams we might go up there for the weekend to unwind and refresh!

    Reply
    • BOYEATSWORLD
      March 15, 2017 at 5:35 pm (4 months ago)

      There’s plenty for them, and you, to do to unwind

      Reply
  3. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    March 14, 2017 at 9:47 am (4 months ago)

    Newcastle was the first place I stayed when I came to Australia and it will always have a special place in my heart. We’ve stayed at the Crowne Plaza on a number of occasions and have always had a first rate experience. Can’t recommend it enough!

    Reply
    • BOYEATSWORLD
      March 15, 2017 at 5:35 pm (4 months ago)

      Isn’t it just the nicest hotel?

      Reply
  4. Bec Senyard
    March 14, 2017 at 9:13 pm (4 months ago)

    We’ve stayed at the Crowne Plaza in the Hunter Valley and it was lovely. I’d love to spend time in Newcastle. I am planning to do more little getaways with our girls to experience more local attractions in Australia.

    Reply
    • BOYEATSWORLD
      March 15, 2017 at 5:34 pm (4 months ago)

      IT’s such a lovely place for families, we’re considering it as a long term option.

      Reply
  5. Taiwan Tours Packages
    March 27, 2017 at 10:54 pm (4 months ago)

    Family trips will be come awesome if you will go to places like this because there are number of activities to do which you can remember for years to come in your life.

    Reply
  6. Ralph Kiko
    April 7, 2017 at 12:18 pm (4 months ago)

    Your pictures are amazing. You are having so much fun! Must have been in the beach and the scenery with the lighthouse is just priceless. I am so happy that the Fort is a place that even children can enjoy with the cannons and other installations.You are definitely right, more to see in the city.

    Reply

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