Life & Style

Meet Angus O’Connor our work experience student, who provided us with some interesting insights into the happenings of Newcastle's Gen Zs

I challenge everyone to shop and eat like a teenager this summer.

Before we dive in, I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Angus O’Connor and I am a 15-year-old living in Newcastle. As part of my work experience at HUNTERhunter I have been tasked with offering perspective on what is like to eat, shop and live in Newcastle as a member of Generation Z, yes, we have a name and no we are not millennials. With all honesty I couldn’t think of a better place to grow up, a vibrant city without the hustle and bustle of Sydney or Melbourne, pristine beaches and an amazing variety of local shops, cafes and restaurants full of meals that can go straight on your Instagram story without even having to use a filter.

However, living in Newcastle as a teenager can cause some big problems as deciding where to go for brunch can lead to quite the disagreement within friend groups due to everyone having different opinions on which Darby Street Café really is superior.

I continually hear from adults that “Newcastle is dead”, that “No one goes to Darby street anymore” but for my friends and I ‘going Darby’ is one of our favourite activities. Darby street really has it all. Getting there is easy, it’s accessible by public transport from both bus and the light rail for those of us who don’t have our licences yet. On the eating side of things, us ‘youths’ of Newcastle like to keep it pretty simple, frequenting local favourites such as Three Monkeys with the pancakes and smashed avo toast being hot favourites, Coco Monde for their waffles (duh) and WIA store for the iconic acai bowls that are a staple on any wannabe influencer’s Instagram. When wanting to spice things up a bit and move away from Darby Street other local eateries such as Rascal, Blue Door, Table 1 Espresso, The Hood Milk Bar, The Rooftop, Grill’d and Equium Social are all also favourites. Gone are the childhood days of fast food cravings we now like to be a bit more sophisticated and healthier with ‘green bowls’ and superfood smoothies being all the rage, although we still like a good milkshake every now and then (Rascal’s obviously).

As a generation we are growing up in an era of great change in the environment due to global warming. This has led to a rise among my peers of ‘shopping sustainability’ and moving away from ‘fast fashion’. This is where more of our Darby street favourites come into play, with recently closed down Cream on Hunter (Now Sourced on Darby) providing some top-notch vintage threads and local style haven Abicus being a hotspot for records and trendy, quality, sustainable brands such as ‘Wrangler’, ‘Levi’s’, ‘Rolla’s’, ‘Barney Cools’ and ‘Thrills’. Along with LAATE Supply, Stoned Saint Moon, Yardsale and stores such as Universal Store, General Pants Co and Glue Store at Westfield Kotara and Charlestown Square there are an array of fun clothing options for a variety of budgets in the area.

Shopping locally and sustainably is incredibly important both to local economies and to the environment, so I encourage everyone to get out into town and see what the amazing shops of Newcastle have to offer.

The markets scene in Newcastle is also loved as a source of local, sustainable and on trend fashions, accessories and goods with a killer food and beverage section as well. With much loved favourites the Olive Tree Markets being a favourite, I would definitely recommend the raspberry lemonade from stall ‘Hello Lemonade’.

We truly are spoilt for choice in Newcastle being able to shop locally and sustainably without sacrificing convenience and style. It is one of the things that I love most about living in Newcastle and I encourage everyone, regardless of age, to take advantage of our beautiful city and the numerous local businesses within it.

Us teenagers shop at these local stores because we want to be unique, we want to not be wearing the same as everyone else, we want to be cool and edgy and trendy but by doing this the teenagers of Newcastle contribute to the local economy and limit the consumption of massed produced fashion preserving local business and the environment for future generations. So I challenge everyone to shop and eat like a teenager this summer.