Car Next Door team members Julia & Fiona headed north to launch Car Next Door in Newcastle earlier this month. The whole Car Next Door team are really excited to be expanding our peer-to-peer car sharing platform to our first regional city. We asked them to tell us a bit about their road trip and why they think Newcastle will embrace this new car share option.
Newcastle's renewed town centre
Having spent the early part of her life in Newcastle, Fiona was really excited to be heading back there to launch peer-to-peer car sharing there.
“It was great being back in my home town launching Car Next Door," said Fiona. "It filled me with pride. I also loved seeing all the great things that are happening there now, largely thanks to Renew Newcastle which has brought so much life back into the formerly stagnant main strips. Novocastrians know how to think outside the square, and they love their town, Renew Newcastle being a good example of both of those things, so I'm sure they will take to Car Next Door enthusiastically!”
Getting there, where to stay & where to find Newcastle's finest cocktails
A newcomer to Newcastle, Julia shared her highlights and why she believes Car Next Door is a perfect fit for Novocastrians:
"On the road heading North from Sydney we enjoyed picturesque drive over the Hawkesbury River Bridge through the national parks. At this time of year, the parks such as Popran National Park and Brisbane National Water Park are luscious and green and well worth a visit.
We stayed at the Grand Hotel in Newcastle, by the beach. My favourite experience was exploring the burgeoning and bustling café, restaurant, food and drink scene in Newcastle. On the Friday night we were in town, Fiona and I went to The Koutetsu, a super-cool, underground cocktail bar, which boasts over 250 types of spirits and makes cocktails to your taste, upon request. The owners have travelled the world absorbing all the cocktail culture across many countries and have brought this knowledge back to their hometown to create a truly special bar experience.
Olive Tree Markets
Another highlight for me was going to the monthly Olive Tree Market in Civic Park. There were over 100 stalls with everything from food (including vegan) and wine to gourmet coffee and treats, leather-goods, candles, organic body products, jewellery, clothing and lots of pretty things! In general, the products were very 'green' and sustainable - I invested in a lot of these (on behalf of the environment, of course!) including organic soaps, beeswax food wrap, wooden mobile phone chargers and others (I could barely carry these home by the end of the day - woops!) I will definitely be going back to this market in future and bringing friends next time!
We met a lovely local couple who lived in nearby Maitland. They have 7 cars between them!! We let them know about Car Next Door’s Newcastle launch and how sharing their car on the platform could help assist with their ongoing car expenses as well as give other locals and uni students the opportunity to rent their cars. So we’ll be following up with them to list their cars as soon as possible!
Car sharing at the University of Newcastle
The University of Newcastle (UON) hosted us for a couple of days so we could have a chat to the students about their car hire needs and let them know about our launch. We blasted music at our Car Next Door tent and the students were enthusiastic about Car Next Door launching in their community.
Newcastle is in dire need of a peer-to-peer car sharing service to aid the transportation issues that the city faces. Public transport is unreliable - residents talk of buses that never come - and the network is poorly supported. There is a very high rate of car ownership and reliance.
UON has a high rate of international students that arrive at the university thinking they are right next to the beach, but in fact the beach (and Newcastle city proper) is 12 km from the university which means a train or bus ride to the beach can take up to 45 minutes for such a short trip!
We really think getting a few cars at the university for these students will be a popular option. Many were also keen to take a van up the coast with friends for a road trip, so we’ll be working to bring vans, as well as utes, into our Newcastle fleet as soon as we can.
Car share vehicle near Hamilton train station
As the Sydney to Newcastle train line now stops at Hamilton instead of the city centre, we reckon getting some cars ready for sharing near key train stations will be helpful to visitors who want to pop up to Newcastle for a day without having to drive. The idea being that you could just jump off the train, jump in a Car Next Door car and easily navigate your way around all of Newcastle’s hot spots and hidden gems over the day.
Why we love Newcastle
I really love Novocastrians (one of my new favourite words which I didn’t realise even existed until I started planning our trip!) The city is small enough to have a small-town, friendly and personable feel, but also has the culture of a big city, thanks to the redevelopment that has been done there in recent years. Great shops, cafes, restaurants and of course - a beautiful beach!"