Are you one of the many peeps making the trip to Newcastle for Crack Theatre Festival? Not familiar with the TiNA terrain? Look no further, we have your official how-to Newcastle right here.

Staying with us for the long haul? Let’s book ahead: ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation is filling up super quick for the October long weekend. Whether you’re coming by yourself, in a group, or just need a place to pass out after the Pants On The Outside Party we recommend checking out the local hostels, AirBnB, or if you want to splash out and treat yo self – maybe even a little hotel visit. Still struggling? Why not widen the search to the surrounding suburbs (Stockton is only a short, beautiful ferry ride away) and make sure you have an opal card or a bike handy! If all else fails, it’s time to make some Newcastle friends and get closely acquainted with their couches.


Alright, we’re packed let’s go: TRAVEL


Heading from Sydney? Jump on a Central Coast & Newcastle Line from Central Train Station and settle in – the trip takes about three hours but has some spectacular views around the Hawkesbury River. Also if you haven’t made the trip to Newcastle for a while, be aware that Civic, Wickham and Newcastle stations are now inactive and the train terminates at Hamilton. From Hamilton you can jump on the 110 shuttle (it’s free!), and head straight to the heart of TiNA.


Travelling from Interstate? GREAT! There’s direct flights straight to Newcastle from around Australia. Newcastle Airport is also about 30min from the CBD so when you fly in you can either wait for a bus, jump in an uber or organise an airport shuttle to whisk you away. Taxis are about $60 so try and get a group together to help reduce the cost.


Google Maps is generally helpful (hooray for live traffic updates!). Snack stops recommended (we particularly love the new all-vegan restaurant Bonta Vera in Minmi). If you are unsure about parking options and rules, head to the Newcastle City Transport page or see the best spots for free/cheap parking here.


Feeling like you want to go coach? Greyhound Australia has coaches to get you from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra to TiNA. Check out their timetables and make a booking!


You know This Is Not Art is spread across all of Newcastle right? Well these are our recommendations to make sure you get to events across town!


Newcastle is (generally) a flat city, and because both Crack Theatre Festival and all of TiNA is spread across many locations Newcastle we recommend bringing your bike! If you need to hire one, our pals at Metro Cycles are offering a TiNA discount for the weekend if you call in advance and mention the Festival. Once you’ve got a bike sorted, you can sign up for The Lightning Furies workshop and bike ride!


There are actually FREE buses that operate in Newcastle CBD! Jump on Newcastle buses between 7.30am and 6pm and travel within the fare free zone for stress free travel! The Fare Zone is indicated by signs on the bus stops, but extends from Newcastle Station to just on the edge of Hamilton. Travel is covered from the beaches, up Darby Street, right along Hunter Street to the backpackers both in Hamilton and Newcastle East. For more info visit the Newcastle Public Transport page.

For all other buses, make sure you are armed with an opal card, and you check out the timetable and journey planner on the Newcastle Buses website.


OK – We’re set, but where do we start?! FESTIVAL HOTSPOTS and TIME MANAGEMENT

TiNA Mobile App

The best way to manage your time at TiNA is to download the TiNA Mobile Application on your apple or android device. This app has the full TiNA program, event details, maps, and best of all, a planner so you can make sure you get to your MUST ATTEND events!

Festival Hotspots

Not technologically inclined? No worries, if you hang out at these places you are bound end up at events!

Pivot Dance:

A whole heap of Crack Theatre Festival events will be taking place at Pivot Dance from Friday-Sunday. From Newcastle’s own Tantrum: Trajectory artists, to HYSTERIA on Saturday, to a great mix of key works and works in progress, there will be so many things to tickle your fancy.

Watt Space Gallery:

This space will be teaming with TiNA goodness as both CTF and Critical Animals have some crackers going on in here. On Friday and Sunday night, you’ll be able to have a tipple at the Crack House Bar here as well. Open from 5:30pm

Royal Exchange:

Both writers and performers alike will fill the Royal Exchange each day, as National Young Writers’ Festival and Crack Theatre Festival showcase spectacular works for everyone to enjoy. On Saturday, local artist Zana Kobayashi is guest-programming a suite of Hysteria artists, and in the evening our Pants on the Outside Party will have you dancing into the night.

TiNA Discounts! 

We also have scored some great discounts from our venue partners, with 10% off at Foghorn if you show the ad in the print program and $3 hot drinks at Roses if you use the code word NEON. Get on it!

And while you’re in Newcastle – LIVE LIKE A LOCAL!14408005_1226244280729349_1941425308_o

We caught up with Ben Mitchell, Newcastle local and all round knower of good things, and got the inside scoop and grind on the best places to eat, drink and be merry during the festival! Let’s get relaxing Crackerjacks.


Coffee and light refreshments:

Scoot over to Hunter Street to experience some of the best coffee Newcastle has to offer: One Penny Black and The Press Bookhouse. According to Ben, The Press Bookhouse have some delicious vegan options such as mushroom toasted sandwiches and don’t miss out on the banh mi sandwiches on Fridays! “Incredible” says Ben.

And while you’re there, why not whet your TiNA appetite with some of the National Young Writers’ Festival events such as The Poetry Lunch, while quenching your coffee thirst with bottomless filter coffee.


Food for all your cuisine needs:

With only four days at TiNA, these restaurants are your top targets for your good food cravings! The Greenroof in Hamilton is “a standard” and seems to specialise in ‘balls’ amongst many other deliciously tempting american inspired menu.

If you are looking for something on the complete opposite end of the cuisine scale, Habesha on King St is your one stop shop (or restaurant rather) to try some ethiopian styled meals. Emphasis on the red lentils! Not quite your style? Stay on Kings and head to Napoli Centrale for some classic Italian instead. While Ben rates Napoli Centrale as the best Italian, he does also state that Delucas on Darby Street does the best not-super-legit-italian-but-not-dominoes pizza.

Want some more spice? Antojitos in Carrington is the place to go for authentic and fresh mexican. Or perhaps you want to keep it simple? Newy Burger Co has a wide choice of burgers to fill your hangry needs – and all the burgers are named after beaches! Still can’t decide? Well on Fridays the East End Mall has food stalls from paella, to dumpling to falafels. One of everything right?

And for Dessert? Head straight to Talby’s to satisfy your sweet tooth. Hot Waffles, Gelato and even things to satisfy those who are gluten free, dairy free, nut free etc! Located super close to Hamilton station so you just jump off the train and immediately get a taste of TiNA with the speciality flavour Tallby’s will be featuring (Hint: Look for the greenest ice-cream)! It gets a “!!” from Ben.


Alright let’s keep this simple. The Grain Store in the East End, The Edwards in the West End, and Basement on Market St.


Things to do:

Ben recommends heading to the Honeysuckle Foreshore for a “very nice walk!” and following it to the beach for a relaxing break from the festivities.

Ben also recommends the National Young Writer’s Festival event Get Lost! In These City Streets, as he is one of the featuring artists so naturally you’re in for a treat.


All in one:

And if you simply cannot decide to do when you are not in festival mode, head to Cafe Browny’s, half cafe, half vintage clothing market, half florist. “Yes, three halves” Ben says.

Pro-tip: You’ll also get to meet the most outrageous mullet (and the excellent man attached to it) that you have ever seen!


Catch up with Ben at his event, Get Lost! In These City Streets, or check more of his great ideas and things on his website!

Look we think we have covered it all but if you run into strife, ask a cool looking local or TiNA member, or if all else fails – Google’s got ya back. See you soon Crackerjacks!