Newcastle is Australia's sixth largest city and the second largest in the state of New South Wales. The first European to explore the area was Lt. John Shortland in September, 1797. The Port of Newcastle remains the economic and trade center for the resource rich Hunter Valley and for much of the north and northwest of New South Wales. Newcastle is the world's busiest coal export port and Australia's oldest and second biggest tonnage port, of which coal exports embody more than 90%. The volume of coal exported, and attempts to increase coal exports, are altered by a number of small local conservationist groups. Newcastle has a small ship building industry, which has fell off since the 1970s due to failure to win government contract propositions. With the closure of the steel works in 2000 many see the era of heavy industry as past. This vision contrasts with Newcastle's role as a enormous coal export point, and the Hunter Valley's constant role in coal and aluminum production.
Newcastle is full of Festivals all year round. The most prominent festival in New Castle is the is not Art festival. It is a national festival of new media and arts held in Newcastle each year over the October long weekend. Since its meek beginnings in 1998, it has become one of the leading arts festivals in Australia dedicated to the work and ideas of communities not included in other key Australian arts festivals. The Shootout Film Festival, first started in Newcastle in 1999. This is the film festival where filmmakers come together in one place to make a short film in 24 hours. It is held annually in July. The Newcastle Jazz Festival is held across three days in August, and attracts performers and audiences from all over Australia.
Enjoy a plethora of beaches that Newcastle offers all of which are prime surf and parasailing spots. Stockton Beach, Nobby's Beach, Newcastle Beach, and Ocean Baths beach. So take advantage and catch a wave.