2 hours drive north of Sydney, Newcastle is the second largest city in New South Wales and Australia’s 2nd oldest. Over the years Newcastle and the nearby Hunter Valley have seen ebbs and flows of development resulting in the area being a hotbed for beautiful colonial architecture and transport heritage.
And it was the transport heritage that our group of travellers were here for. The goal? Fit in as many different types of transport as possible in one short weekend! In just a few days we experienced trains, planes and trams (of course) as well as a beautiful ferry ride from our accommodation in Stockton to the heart of Newcastle’s city centre.
Our first full day saw us catch Newcastle’s Famous Heritage Tram, a replica street car attached to a bus chassis which takes you on a wonderful tour of Newcastle showing off its architecture, history, culture and beaches. We grabbed a bite to eat at the Queens Wharf Hotel with a lovely view of the harbour before hopping on the ferry home.
The following day was one for the aviation enthusiasts. At Fighter World, north of Newcastle, “visitors can walk-around, touch and look into the cockpits of such famous aircraft as the Mirage III, the Avon Sabre, the Gloster Meteor, the first Vampire jet built in Australia and the mighty F-111.” The F-111 in particular is an incredibly impressive machine!
Sunday saw us visit one of the Hunter region’s hidden historical gems. The Richmond Vale Railway Museum is the only regularly run heritage railway experience in New South Wales north of Sydney. It did not disappoint! We took a ride in some beautiful old heritage carriages hauled by a lovingly restored industrial diesel engine. There is also an extensive heritage area that includes ruins, restored buildings and a museum featuring the region’s mining and industrial history.
It was a wonderful weekend for the transport enthusiasts and we hope to explore more of Australia’s fascinating transport heritage again in the future.