A stroll or ride along the Foreshore promenade, exploring the harbour foreshore from Honeysuckle to Nobby’s is the quintessential Newcastle experience and Foreshore Park is an excellent vantage point to view the busy harbour while watching the bulk carriers and the ever efficient tug boats navigate the waters. Explore Newcastle’s Foreshore
The Foreshore is located on the southern side of the Newcastle Harbour and covers an area of over eleven hectares. It extends 1.5 kilometres from Nobbys Beach in the east to almost the start of the Honeysuckle Development in the west. It is one of Newcastle’s premier and most popular attractions showcasing the harbour and heritage of the area. It is the city’s major park with connections to the central business district, Honeysuckle precinct, the harbour, Nobbys Beach, the ferry terminal and the historically significant sites of Fort Scratchley, the Convict Lumberyard and Customs House. A mix of residential and commercial development also borders the park to the south.
Today, the Foreshore is made up of the three distinct sectors -Joy Cummings Promenade, Foreshore Park and Camp Shortland.
The park is used regularly by both local community members and regional visitors for walking, cycling, fitness training and other forms of recreation. Special events are regularly held in Foreshore Park and Camp Shortland which range from small scale community events such as markets to large scale sporting events and music festivals such as This That and Live at the Foreshore.
Up until recently, the Newcastle Foreshore was little more than disused State Rail owned land and disconnected from the city. That is until a national competition was held in the 1980s for the design and construction of a new public recreation precinct, to be built around the harbour’s southern edge, from Nobby’s beach to the Honeysuckle area. The objective of the project was to regain Newcastle community’s engagement and ownership of the harbour for public use.
Melbourne landscape architecture firm Tract Consultants went on to win the competition with a design that featured an extended Queen’s Wharf hospitality development, a signature tower structure on the harbour’s edge, and a long pedestrian promenade and parkland running the length of the Foreshore. In 1985, construction work began on the redevelopment of the site and in 1988 Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Foreshore as part of Australia’s bicentenary celebrations.
For the adventurous, and those with an interest in historical sites, the Foreshore has an array of interesting attractions that include Nobbys Head and Nobbys Lighthouse, the historically significant Fort Scratchley with its breathtaking views over Nobbys Beach and Newcastle Harbour and also the site of Australia’s first coal mine dating back to 1801. Newcastle Ocean Baths on Shortland Esplanade, with its distinctive and architecturally significant Art Deco pavilion, is well worth a visit and is also a popular informal open air studio for amateur photographers.
Other interesting and historically significant landmarks include the convict-hewn Bogey Hole built around 1820 for the personal use of Commandant James T. Morriset and the Convict Lumber Yard, the location of Australia’s first industrial site.
Heading eastward along the Promenade toward the Queens Wharf Precinct and with wonderful views of the harbour through its floor to ceiling windows is Scratchley’s On The Wharf restaurant. Owned by well-known restaurateur Neil Slater and his wife Donna, Scratchley’s commenced operation in 1989 on what was once the site of the old Stockton Ferry Terminal before it was moved to Queens Wharf.
Developed as part of the Foreshore redevelopment, Queens Wharf was the vision of Joy Cummings, Lord Mayor of Newcastle in 1974 and the first woman ever to hold such a position in Australia.
As well as being one of the many excellent starting (or finishing) points for self-directed walks around Newcastle, Queens Wharf is also home to the recently refurbished Queen’s Wharf Hotel – previously known as The Queens Wharf Brewery and the perfect place to meet up for a relaxing meal or drink with family or friends after a day exploring Newcastle.