Situated in the beautiful Midlands, this Kwa-Zulu Natal Town also played a big role in the wool and coal industry. There is also the opportunity of game viewing in the nearby Nature Reserve or of enjoying sports activities like sailing or water skiing on the dam.
Newcastle, now a busy centre and the largest town in northern KwaZulu-Natal, has seen tremendous turmoil and bloodshed since the 18th century, with various players trying desperately to hold on to their land and their wish to live and prosper here. The Zulu people, the Voortrekkers, the British and the Boers, epic human struggle and battles have unfolded over the years.
At the junction of three provinces, this KwaZulu-Natal town is a natural destination and departure point for travelers on the busy route between Durban and Johannesburg although the major road now the N3 highway, no longer passes through here, the settlement was originally established at a fork in the road, one route going to what is now the Free State and the other to what is now Gauteng.
Newcastle is a sunny and warm place and is significant as an excellent stopover on the Battlefield Route which works its way around the midlands in KwaZulu-Natal. The route is a comprehensive guide to battles and events that have characterised this part of the country. Deeply involved in the Anglo-Boer War, Newcaslte has a number of battlefield sites including Laings Nek, Majuba and Schuinshoogte.
Another notable chapter of Newcastle's history is Hilldrop House, the home of the famous author Rider Haggard, his book Jess is based on his experiences here. More recently the local Indian people have erected what is reputed to be the largest, domed, Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere in this KwaZulu-Natal town.
In Newcastle, the wool industry was well established when coal was discovered in the district in the late 1800's, steel furnaces dominate this town today as well as coal related industries. Tours can now be arranged through modern chemical rubber plant, textile and factory plants, these insights are offered by the local tourism office. There is also a great Art gallery in town.
This Kwa-Zula Natal town has various historic buildings and monuments which include the Manor house Kestrels and Quaffers, O'Neils Cottage where many British Soldiers graves can be found, St Dominics Pavilion, the Town Hall and the Fort Amiel museum there is a cemetery nearby with a tribute to the Welsh 41st Regiment.
Chelmsford Nature Reserve just outside Newcastle is renowned for carp and bass fishing. Visitors can explore the 1000 hectare game park, where game such as Rhino, Wildebeest, Zebra, Springbok and Blesbok can be seen. Bird species include Egyptian and Spur Winged Goose and the Spoonbill. Various water sports like sailing, power boating and water-skiing can be enjoyed on the dam.