Newcastle Kayak Tours. As the world's largest export coal port, Newcastle has a genuine working harbor. It's fascinating to watch the huge freighters as they line up beyond the harbor in the open sea, come through the heads, fill up with coal, and depart. Since the steelworks closed down in 1999, the harbor has opened up to visitors and is lined with smart apartments, hotels, and restaurants. For a close-up look at the giant ships and smaller boats, hop into a kayak for a guided excursion with Newcastle Kayak Tours. The two-hour (A$45) blue tour is the easiest and most popular—it begins at Dog Beach (so named because dogs are allowed), skirts past Queen's Wharf, and then meanders up Throsby Creek and past Newcastle Marina. Limited to 12 paddlers, the tour takes in all the highlights, and you may even be fortunate enough to spot dolphins. Longer and more challenging tours are also available. New Castle, NSW, 2300. 0468/929152. www.newcastlekayaktours.com.au.