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Hit the ground running with Newcastle Afoot

How well do you really know Newcastle? No really, because even though I’ve lived here for twenty six years, there are still so many corners of our little universe to discover. Thankfully though, there are great people like Becky from Newcastle Afoot who make it their mission to share all of the wonderful things that Newcastle has to offer.

Have you had a chance to meet Becky yet? If you haven’t met her face to face, there’s a definite chance you’ve seen her about town, showing groups of wonderful humans just how great Newcastle is. Whether you’re a seasoned Novocastrian or from out of town (welcome by the way), when was the last time you really saw the city? Someone who knows our precious town’s hidden gems better than anyone is Becky Kiil aka Newcastle Afoot. Team Swell caught up with Becky to find out what she loves most about Newcastle and why it’s the perfect haven for creative entrepreneurs.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Becky Kiil, I am a cultural consultant, walking tour and school excursion guide for Newcastle Afoot, and a festival director – I organised the new street art festival The Big Picture Fest in 2020. 

For those playing at home, Becky runs incredible tours throughout Newcastle giving locals and tourists alike a glimpse into the quirkiest corners of our great city through walking tours. Not only are the tours super interactive, but they are always packed with delicious extras and a whole host of trivia and little tidbits all set to entertain and impress.

What do you love most about Newcastle?

This is always a hard one! The city on the sea / that people are truly friendly, make eye contact, and smile on the street / the creative and small business community. 

I’ve personally spent some time with Becky as she squires folks around town, and it’s pretty undeniable how much she loves the city. As someone who has lived here for twenty six years, I was so excited to see what was coming next even though I was peering around the corner in anticipation! Becky continuously has her finger on the pulse, and is first in the door when a new bar/gallery/hot spot in town opens its doors. A true supporter of the town!

How would you describe the creative/entrepreneur community in Newcastle and what does it mean to you?

Newcastle’s creative and entrepreneurial community is innovative, incredibly self-sufficient, determined, and often very quirky. I’ve travelled around the world and lived in lots of cities, and to me, nothing has compared to the passion and pride that this community continues to display. This is the city where you can create something new and not get bogged down by competitiveness or being part of ‘what’s in’ right now – on the whole, it’s a very friendly and supportive environment.  The community has been through tough times and they’re very resilient. I fell in love with Newcastle after discovering the creative and business community and decided to set up my business around this great foundation.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The relationships I’ve built with the local community, and with guests – some of my guests have been on tour three or more times, and some are now my best friends!

What’s the most common response from your clients and customers who are seeing Newcastle for the first time?

A lot of Sydneysiders are blown away by the fact that there’s such a cosmopolitan and beautiful, historic city so close to them. Some visitors have assumed that Newcastle is still a ‘dirty steel town’ and they are always surprised by our exceptional nightlife and cultural experiences, and the beautiful landscapes. (Some of the locals will kill me for writing this – they want to keep it a secret!)

Where can we find you? And how can we book?

You can find me and book at Newcastle Afoot’s website, or say hi to me if you see me on the streets of Newcastle!

Don’t forget friends, tours of the town are not just for tourists! Becky is a dream to hang with and is guaranteed to take you through some of her favourite corners of town, and maybe even share a few beverages along the way.

Becky’s hot tip for exploring Newcastle

I like to think our tours are the ultimate intro to Newcastle! If exploring by yourself though, I recommend my favourite section of Bathers Way walking trail – from Nobbys Beach past Newcastle Ocean Baths to the The Kiosk at Newcastle Beach for a coffee on the steps, then continuing on to my favourite place, The Bogey Hole (a 200-year-old ocean bath carved by convicts. Then finishing up on the stunning ANZAC Memorial Walk for views of the city and the ocean. So much beauty in such a short walk!

Words: Laura Kebby | Photography: Lee Illfield

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