Newcastle and Hunter

The largest economy in regional NSW

The second-largest city in NSW, Newcastle offers world-class education, research and employment opportunities across defence, clean energy, health and technology.

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About the Hunter Region

The Hunter Region, which extends from 120 kilometres to 310 kilometres north of Sydney, is the largest economy in regional NSW. Its strengths lie in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, defence, tourism and mining. A dynamic start-up sector has developed in the region’s cultural and economic capital, Newcastle, and Australia’s oldest wine region, the famous Hunter Valley, is one of the area’s biggest drawcards. The Hunter Region offers the best of Australia’s famous lifestyle —  stunning coastlines and beaches, picturesque rural communities, incredible food and wine, great entertainment options and perfect weather — with easy access to Sydney and beyond.

Want to learn more? Visit the Imagine Newcastle website

Study destination: Newcastle

Just a two-hour drive north of Sydney at the mouth of the Hunter River, Newcastle is home to one of Australia’s leading universities, the University of Newcastle (UoN), which has a focus on globally in-demand STEM subjects including science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Newcastle has been named a National Geographic Smart City and offers world-class education, research and employment opportunities across defence, clean energy, health and tech. The second-largest city in NSW after Sydney, Newcastle has undergone a significant transformation in recent years to shrug off its 'steel city' industrial past and embrace a knowledge-based services economy. Significant investment in infrastructure and residential development, including a light rail network and major transport hub interchange, airport expansion and international cruise ship terminal, have made it a magnet for smart thinkers and industry leaders.


Top reasons to study in the Hunter

Second biggest city in NSW
Two-hour drive Sydney to Newcastle
Climate: 23.3°C summer (Jan) and 13.4°C winter (Jul)
Booming tourist destination, home to world-famous Hunter Valley vineyards
Main industries: Health care and social assistance, education and training, retail, construction
Coastal lifestyle with a vibrant and safe city hub


  • Distance from Sydney: 2 hours by car / 40-minute flight / 2.5 hours by train
  • Population: 570,000 for Greater Newcastle
  • Largest industries: Health care, education and training, retail, construction
  • Accommodation: $675 per week (3-bed house) /$590 per week (2-bed unit)
  • Shared rooms and homestays: Campus rooms from $195 a week / off-site property from $170 a week
  • International sister cities: Ube, Japan; Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England; Arcadia, United States

Biggest employment sectors in Newcastle

  1. Health care and social assistance
  2. Education and training
  3. Retail trade
  4. Construction
  5. Accommodation and food services
  6. Professional, scientific and technical services


The UoN is ranked one of the Top 200 Universities in the world, with 95 % of its research regarded as ‘at or above’ world standard. UoN specialises in subjects including health and medicine, science and engineering, and energy and the environment. Its location in a city known for its focus on innovation and emerging technologies means students are exceptionally well placed to benefit from training and work opportunities in high-value careers including aerospace, medical technology and advanced manufacturing. With one of Australia’s busiest hospitals located here, first-hand experience working in health and medicine during and after study is possible. UoN has two campuses in the city, with a cutting-edge new innovation centre, the I2N Hub Honeysuckle.


While studying in the Hunter Region, many students work in retail, hospitality and aged care, or in the region’s flourishing food and wine scene during harvest. The University of Newcastle organises jobs fairs to help international students find work while they study, and many graduates move on to roles with high-profile Newcastle-based engineering, asset management and construction firms. With an increasing number of national and international organisations basing themselves in the city, there are growing career opportunities for graduates across a diverse range of industries and sectors.

Study NSW also offers a comprehensive range of programs to help international students find work during and after study in the regions, including #NSWGlobalConnections, Farm Jobs Connect, Finding a Job, and 2021 Study NSW Employability Program for International Students. For information on your rights and opportunities around working in Australia, visit the Australian Government’s Study in Australia website.


Newcastle’s bars, cafes, restaurants and packed events calendar mean the city is buzzing, day and night. If you want to escape, however, its uncrowded, award winning beaches are just walking distance from the city centre. Newcastle has all the benefits of big-city living without the crowds and congestion, with accommodation and food costs generally lower than the capital cities.

Find out about living on-campus and off-campus on the University of Newcastle’s Student Living page. On-campus fees for a single room in a shared apartment start at $195 a week. The University has operated a homestay program since 1998, which offers safe and affordable accommodation for international students with a local family while studying. To see prices of independent apartments or houses in Newcastle visit local real estate sites such as and For more about the cost of living in Australia, visit the Australian Government’s Study in Australia website.

Newcastle Airport operates flights to seven destinations across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as internationally to Auckland, New Zealand. For more information on transport to and around Newcastle, visit Transport NSW.

The City of Newcastle offers information on living, working and studying in Newcastle and surrounds, including community and support links.


Swimming and surfing, winery visits, leisurely breakfasts at local cafes, hot air balloon tours, whale and dolphin watching and one of the country’s most vibrant arts and entertainment scenes are all on offer in Newcastle and the wider Hunter Region. A four-time winner of the World Festival and Event City award and previously named in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities list, the Smart City of Newcastle offers everything you need in one easily accessible location. Check out the famous Hunter Valley Gardens or go camel riding on the largest sand dunes in the southern hemisphere in nearby Port Stephens. See the City of Newcastle and Visit NSW for more information.