24 hours in Newcastle and the Hunter

7am: Take an early swim in the Bogey Hole swimming pool at Newcastle Beach, hand-carved out of a cliff face by convicts, or walk the Bathers Way, a five kilometre coastal trail from Nobbys Lighthouse to Merewether and swim in the pretty Merewether Ocean Baths. Drop by Darby Street for breakfast and coffee and wander the Cooks Hill strip for funky boutiques, bars, galleries and cafes.

10am: Set out for Pokolbin in the Lower Hunter Valley. The area has produced wines since the mid-1800s and is home to world-famous semillon, shiraz and chardonnay producers such as McGuigan, Tyrrell’s and Brokenwood.

1pm: Lunch in the Hunter can be simple or sumptuous. Bistro Molines at Mount View is a rustic French affair, Esca at Bimbadgen Estate offers modern Australian cuisine with views over undulating vineyards and the Firestick Café at Pooles Rock vineyard offers light, easy meals.

3pm: Return to the Newcastle Region Art Gallery to see over 5000 works of art and a vast Australian collection, then get ready for a sundowner on the waterfront.

7pm: Dine in one of Newcastle’s fabulous restaurants, such as Bacchus or Nor’East on the water at Honeysuckle. If you fancy a nightcap, Beaumont Street in Hamilton will be jumping.