I feel guilty for overlooking Newcastle as a destination for so long. In the last five years I’ve visited with the family and by myself on several occasions and always have a great time.
On my last trip to the region I was visiting to speak at a disability expo and took my Mum along for company. We stayed at the Novotel Newcastle Beach which is positioned just a short walk or wheel from the ocean. I really appreciated the location when I woke up early and had easy access to the beach.
A beach vibe in the foyer assisted in melting away my city stress immediately. Beach towels and toys enticed me to check out the nearby beach but first I had a mission, to inspect the accessible accommodation.
“Wow”, was the first word uttered as we walked into the spacious room. I know people often say a room is just somewhere to sleep but it’s so refreshing to have space to move around, somewhere to sit to eat room service and of course, a truly accessible room. And there’s four accessible rooms in this hotel!
Circulation space is the stand out feature of this accessible accommodation. There’s room on either side of both beds to transfer, 13cm clearance under the bed and the height of the bed is 64cm from floor to the top of the bed.
Pleasingly we found the bathroom to be equally spacious with a widened entrance (84cm), flip-down shower bench, height adjustable hand-held shower and grab rails throughout.
The magnifying mirror is positioned too high for a wheelchair user but there is a large regular mirror which is easy to use.
Wheelchair access is available at the sink which is fitted with a lever tap and there is room either side for a toiletries bag with additional storage space in a moveable stand with shelves. Towel rails are also lowered for easy use. There’s ample room to transfer to the toilet on one side and the height of the toilet is 47.5cm floor to seat and 44cm floor to pan.
Tea and coffee making facilities and a mini-bar fridge are available in the room. If using a wheelchair you may like to ask the hotel to lower the glasses in readiness for your arrival as they are too high to access from a chair.
The safe is lowered and easy to access.
We had breakfast daily at Bistro Dalby and enjoyed the cooked to order eggs and fresh buffet choices. The banana bread is delish. Mum and I both had our eyes on the high tea which can be booked on weekends but sadly time did not allow us to take up the option.
If you are torn between the beach and business, there is a business centre to help you get that work out of the way.
With lovely walks and the beach so close I prefer being outdoors but the Novotel Newcastle Beach has a small pool and gym if you wish to stay indoors.
Access to the pool is via stairs.
Novotel Newcastle Beach has undercover secure parking with two dedicated wide accessible parking bays and lift access to the hotel.
The car park height restriction is 2.1 metres however, there is an designated accessible parking space at the front of the property and further parking opposite the hotel.
We stayed as guests of Novotel Newcastle Beach but as always, my glowing review is reflective of a wonderful stay.
You can read more about the hotel here.
We had a lovely walk along the path at the beach and appreciated the closeness to the hotel.
A lift assists with access to beach level from the hotel. The lift is just a few metres away from the hotel entrance.
The walk is definitely more suited to a power chair user rather than manual chair. Although the ramp is gentle it would be a big old hill to push back up.
The Newcastle Ocean Baths are lovely at sunrise but I can’t vouch for the water temp as this gal wasn’t game enough to take a dip. Plenty of brave souls were out doing their laps though.
Ramp entry is provided and I noted in water seating in one section.
The pavilion near the baths was not open at the time I was visiting so I’m unsure if there is a pool chair to use in the baths but there is a beach wheelchair available from the lifeguard tower. This is quite a walk from the baths and even the lifeguard was a little frustrated at the location of the ramp in relation to the tower.
Nearby Mereweather Baths has a range of equipment to access the beach and good ramp access, so if you’re staying for a few days, make sure you take a trip there too.
We loved our time at the beach but there are many more accessible activities in the Newcastle area which you can read about here.
Don’t do what we did for many years and bypass Newcastle, it’s definitely worth making it a destination, or at least a stopover on your way somewhere up or down the coast.