The national perception is of a smoky, blue-collar, coal-and-steel town, yet the reality for Newcastle is anything but that. Cranes now spread their tentacles across the inner-city scape, sprouting trendy lifestyle apartments. Drop a pin and you’ll likely hit a harbourside bar frequented by students and surfers.

Ideally situated midway between Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens, Newcastle Harbour is a destination in itself for visiting sailors. Within a 90-minute driving radius, there are more blue waterways than blue collars. In fact, the surrounding Hunter Valley and adjoining Barrington Coast are home to some of the state’s finest lake systems.

Newcastle Harbour itself is the nation’s oldest export port, its catchment being fed by the Hunter River that meanders 300 kilometres inland and intersects with the Williams and Paterson tributaries. It’s a nirvana for all manner of boats and, not surprisingly, the region has one of Australia’s highest per-capita ratios of ownership.

To see spinnakers straining against a seabreeze on Newcastle Harbour is transformative for the city’s lifestyle image and further reinforces our reputation as an elite sporting centre.

The surrounding precinct has cafes, restaurants and retail specialty stores, along with the art gallery and library, while the beaches and close proximity to the Hunter wine region make it an attractive drawcard for boaties and their families.