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10 Awesome Reasons to Live in Newcastle

This article is sponsored by The University of Newcastle

Introducing Newcastle, a regional city where culture meets coastal charm and opportunities for education and career progression are endless. 

Newcastle is located on the stunning east coast of New South Wales (NSW) and is around two hours by car from Sydney and three hours by train. Newcastle’s population currently sits at around 550,000 people, but perhaps there’s room for one more lucky resident!

If you’re undecided about Newcastle, we’ve curated a list of 10 awesome reasons why you should live in this vibrant city.

1. Cheaper cost of living

Newcastle is Australia’s fourth-cheapest city to live in, and on average, the cost of living here is 60 per cent lower than in Sydney – a great reason to get out of the big city and head up the coast! Renting in Newcastle costs 34% less than in Sydney, with median rent for a room in a sharehouse around $350 per week

Food, transportation and clothing are all cheaper in comparison too. Getting takeaway or dining out with friends will cost you around $20 per meal, a bus or train ticket is around $4.50 and a gym membership will cost $58 per month on average.

2. World-class education

Not just an affordable place to live – Newcastle is home to a number of world-class education providers, offering excellent opportunities on campus and beyond for international students. 

The University of Newcastle is ranked in the top 175 universities in the world, with 12 subjects ranked in the top 200 in the world

Its facilities include a Marketing Technology Lab, a finance lab and dedicated research centres, including the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources. No matter what you’re interested in learning (or how!) the University of Newcastle has an opportunity for you.

The University of Newcastle College of International Education (UNCIE) is another great option for those seeking higher education. UNCIE offers pathways to over 100 degree programs at the University of Newcastle.

3. Beaches

Meeting people in Newcastle is easy, as a day at the beach will have you mixing and swimming with all the locals! Newy is famous for its ocean baths and beautiful sunsets, offering a complete experience at these iconic locations.

Head down to the Bogey Hole for fresh Instagram pics – enjoy a relaxing float in this heritage-listed ocean pool or watch the majestic waves crash across the rocks.

If you’d prefer to swim some laps, why not try the Merewether Ocean Baths? The largest ocean baths in the southern hemisphere have been open for almost 100 years, and are free to enjoy year-round. Brave the cold and join a winter swimming club during the colder months!

The Bathers Way Walk ending at the iconic Nobby’s Lighthouse is a great way to take in Newcastle’s coastline, while Nobby’s Beach is ideal for surfing and dolphin spotting. 

If you’ve relocated with a dog, a trip to pet-friendly Horseshoe Beach might suit you perfectly, and if you’re after a relaxing day out with friends, try Dudley Beach, just south of the city.

4. Migration benefits

Studying and living regionally in a city like Newcastle could make getting a visa easier. 

Temporary Graduate visa (TGV) holders, who graduate from a regional university or educational institution and have lived regionally then become eligible for a second TGV

Because Newcastle is a Category 2 city, graduates could enjoy an additional year in the country. 

5. Job opportunities

Newcastle is full of jobs for students.  The unemployment rate in Newcastle was at an all-time low of 3% in September 2023. A low unemployment rate means most people already have a job, making new employees hard to find. This is perfect for students, as the job market needs workers! 

The University of Newcastle hosts Career Expos throughout the year across all areas of study to help students gain more exposure to local employers. Large international companies like Boeing and GHD are based in Newcastle, with technology and engineering opportunities available for graduates. 

Or, if you plan to spend most of your time at university, why not work there too? The University of Newcastle also offers employment opportunities to students who are interested in working on campus! 

6. Welcoming community

The people of Newcastle are welcoming and friendly, and the city is renowned for its tight-knit community where locals support locals. The community will be happy to have you, with plenty of local and international students and colleagues ready to meet you!

The latest data also shows that the City of Newcastle is home to over 21,000 residents who were born overseas, and 87 per cent of 15-24 year-olds living locally are engaged in school, work or further education. You won’t have trouble making friends on campus – with over 100 clubs and societies ready for you to join at the University of Newcastle.

The City of Newcastle has also just launched a brand new International Student Ambassador program, aimed at connecting international students with the community, making your transition to living in Newcastle as smooth as possible.

7. Hunter Valley wine region

If you’re studying winemaking or are interested in viniculture, then Newcastle is the place for you! 

Wineries and vineyards surround the city, with the world-famous Hunter Valley wine region only a short drive away. On your trip, you can wave goodbye to Newcastle and say hello to wine tasting, vineyard tours, gourmet food experience, spa retreats and high-end accommodation. 

Wine aside, it’s the perfect scenic spot to unwind and take in the views over a long weekend. 

8. Delicious food

The food in Newcastle is delicious. If you’re looking for a classic Australian pub meal, then Newcastle has you covered – but the city can satisfy your international cravings too! 

If you’re hungry for Mexican cuisine, a trip to Antojitos is recommended, or if you’re after something straight from the sea, then a meal at Scottie’s is a must. Asian cuisine is plentiful in the city, with restaurants like Sapphire Indian, Bangkok Nights and Eight Buns taking your tastebuds to India, Thailand, China and beyond.

Cooking at home and need that one special ingredient? Newcastle’s multicultural grocers will help you out. Try Young Asian Grocery, Kwon Mart, Raj Spices, Kairali or Bibina for a taste of home.

For coffee, head to Sherwood Coffee or Mr. Sister Coffee for a brew. 

If you’re interested in checking out the best local produce, baked goods and handmade products, you can’t go past the Newcastle Farmers’ Market.

9. Sports and recreation 

With natural beauty at your doorstep, you’ll want to spend your time out and moving! Newcastle residents get to enjoy various physical pursuits, with surfing, swimming and skating popular among locals. 

If you’re new to the area, why not give surfing a go? Lessons take place all summer, with private and group sessions available. 

If you’re keen to partake in something land-based, then golf might be the way to go. Beresfield Golf Course has 10 holes and a mini golf course, too! For a classic Aussie experience, head down to the Adamstown Bowling Club (the ‘Bowlo’) with your friends for an evening of fun and games.

Be sure to check out your educational institution for social sporting groups to meet new friends and get active at the same time. 

10. Prime location

Newcastle’s location is unbeatable, as the regional city is only around 169 kilometres from Sydney and a 64km drive to the central coast, with its beautiful beaches and gorgeous hinterland villages.

If you have access to a car, the drive from Sydney to Newcastle will take you just over two hours. For a more affordable option, the train from Sydney to Newcastle takes around three hours. Coach services are also available if you prefer to travel by bus. 

Newcastle also has a local airport that makes interstate travel easy.