This week I've been to Newcastle, and I didn't spot a single Geordie! Actually, Newcastle in New South Wales does have some similarities with its namesake in north east England, and in some parts does look a lot like other areas on the north east coast of England. It particularly reminded me of Scarborough, with its ruggedness and steep cliffs overlooking the beaches.
Newcastle in New South Wales is the 6th most populous city and the site of the second European settlement in Australia, being discovered in 1797. So it does have quite a bit of history, comparatively for Australia that is. It's not a particularly large city, I'd say it's no bigger than the average size town in the UK. However, it may be small but it certainly has a lot to offer.
Whilst Newcastle in itself is not the most picturesque place in Australia, the surrounding area is absolutely beautiful, at least it is from the air. When we were coming in to land I was amazed by the amount of greenery from vast untouched dense forests that surround the area, as well as the famous vineyards from the nearby Hunter Valley region. I'll be definitely coming back here with Rach to tour the vineyards or enjoy a family break in Port Stephens.
I was only in Newcastle for a couple of days, doing some PCI security consultancy for a client. Luckily we managed to finish a little early on the first day, and that combined with daylight savings (Queensland is so backwards in that respect!) meant I was able make it to the beach and drive round the area while it was still light.
Europcar rented me a Ford Falcon Wagon to get about in whilst I was there, which made a nice change from our shit-heap of a car. I needed it because the client was based out in the suburbs. I started off my little exploration by driving down to Nobby's Beach in East Newcastle. It was still around 28 degrees and I was cursing the fact that I'd forgotten to bring any shorts with me or my swim shorts so I could take a dip. It was still nice though. I took my shoes and socks off and rolled up my jeans and walked along the edge of the surf watching the windsurfers and kite surfers.
It was fairly windy so the conditions were pretty rough. There were still plenty of people in the sea though taking on the waves.
I then went for a drive around the coastline. The beaches aren't as nice as the ones near us on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, but there is plenty of diversity, including beaches with rockpools and ocean baths.
I also went up to a scenic lookout where I got a fantastic view of the surrounding area. Out at sea I spotted what looked like 7 oil tankers all lined up waiting to come into port. They would more likely have been coal transporting ships - Newcastle being the largest coal port in the world.
After finishing my little tour drive I headed down to the new boardwalk Honeysuckle development on Newcastle Harbour where I had a delicious meal of mussells in white wine followed by Berkshire pork strip-loin at the Silo Lounge restaurant and bar.
I forgot to take my camera with my to Newcastle but I still managed to get a few decent shots with my iPhone. This one certainly isn't bad for the crappy iPhone camera...