Newcastle is not what I was expecting. I think in my planning I didn’t really look at the places I just picked convenient stops that meant the drive up from Sydney was too arduous. I had heard mixed reviews about the town and I can see why it isn’t a huge hotspot for tourists as its mining industry is still a huge part of life here. It’s also only about 1 hour 30 minutes from Sydney and most of the population are employed in mining and is the largest coal exporting harbour in the world. The centre is made up of the old and new parts of the city and the prominent city in the Hunter Region. After an evening of wandering up and down the esplanade and witnessing the largest fish catch I’ve ever seen in my life!
Second day of Newcastle was an early start being picked up by Tex from “Tex Tours” for a day of boozing in the wine region of the Hunter Valley. Basically my dream day. Initially I was very worried that we would be with a load of wine experts who would frown upon us getting drunk at lunch time. Luckily we picked up a couple of lads from back home (one of whom had a friend from Holmfirth and had spent many a wonderful evening in The Nook, small world) and a group of four from Singapore. It safe to say the British half of the tour were representing hard. Even as a hard core wine fan having several glasses of varying types of wine before 11am is hard work, I managed to power through and very much enjoyed the beautiful wine country. The highlight definitely being the manic tour leader who was extremely enthusiastic about getting us all drunk, especially the slightly more cautious Singaporeans, much to our amusement. Definitely worth doing in any part of the world that offers a wine tour.
Our last day in Newcastle and I desperately wanted to head out to Nobbys Head and see a bit of the coastline and old town. We decided to hop on couple of the rental bikes and managed to do a nice loop of the town, although there were far too many hills for my liking and cycling down past the lighthouse was marginally terrifying as the sea was in a foul mood. Once we had dried off it was back in the car for another couple of hours to Port Stevens and Nelsons Bay.