I departed from Sydney at 7am, glad I had no issues with the 545 wake up call. My trip up the coast will consist only of bus travel, via Greyhound. The trip from Sydney to Newcastle was a short 2.5 hours. The bus ride consisted of me sleeping most of the time, with some great road tunes on the ipod. The trip duration was one of the shortest of my sectors, with the longest being 14 hrs, and the second longest 12hrs. These two long ones will be overnight to save on time and costs of accomodation.
I knew going into Newcastle that the town did not have much to offer other than its beaches. WEll after 2 days here, I can tell you its been a great first stop of my east coast trip. Thanks to travel books and online resources, I am glad I decided to stop here. It has been a great stay and I am sure like all places I go, wish I didn't have to leave already.
Newcastle Quick Facts:
- Located in Central Coast New South Wales
- Newcastle exports some of their sand to Hawaii
- Newcastle hosts Surfest, one of Australia's largest surfing competitions
- Home of 4 time worl surfing champ Mark Richards
Day 1 in Newcastle
I arrived in Newcastle at 930 in the morning, and to my luck, to crap weather and light rain. It never really cleared up but the weather was still ok to get things done.And even with clouds in rain, it was still a very comfortable temperature. After getting off the bus I checked into the hostel, a great one by the way (Newcastle Beach YHA), and dropped my bag off in luggage storage since my room was not ready yet.
I headed straight for the beach, a short 1 minute walk to the hostel. The surf was pumping and really enjoyed the beach. It was a shame the weather didnt really get me in the mood to go in the water. I ended up getting a Ham and Cheese Croissant at the oceanside bakery, then headed down the sand to enjoy it. From there it started raining a bit but I was loving it. I ended falling asleep on the beach for about 2 hours. When I woke up, I headed back to the hostel to check into my room and get things situated. As I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, I was shocked to see how red my face was, I just got sumburnt in the rain and cloudy weather. Well anyhow it started to rain again and my bed was right next to the window, I was so relaxed I took another short 20 minute nap (this napping was very uncommon, probly only my 3rd or 4th all trip). Anyway when I woke it was around 2 oclock...the sun was sort of coming out and the rain had stopped. So I decided to head out and do some sight seeing.
All my sightseeing came along the coast. I did the beach walk that took me to Newcastle Beach, Nobby's Beach, and to Nobby's Head Lighthouse. Very calm, beautiful walk. Nothing better than throwin on some music tunes on the ipod and just CRUISIN along to beautiful sights. From there I headed along the wharf. I took the trek up to Queen's Wharf Tower to get a "over the top" view of the city....locals call this tower the "Giant Penis", the picture below may show you why.
After about 2 hours and miles of walking I headed back to the hostel. Little did I know Thursday night was THE night to be staying at the hostel. Thursday nights was FREE BBQ night at the nearby bar/pub called The Brewery.
It was right on the wharf with a great vibe. On entry I recieved 1 buy 1 get 1 free drink coupon, I quickly jumped on the deal and picked up myself two Coopers (one of my new favorite beers here). With my two refreshments I headed out to the patio for the free bbq. Ended up sitting with 2 french girls. They were nice and may be the first french girls I've had an actual converstation with. They then left since they had to catch the bus to head out of town up futher north. (still have the same opinion of the French, regardless of how nice these girls were). the girls did end up giving me one of their drink vouchers. I then hit the bar again to pick up 2 vbs. That brings 1 bbq, and 4 great beers to 10 dollars. What a deal!! The night continuued on with trivia night. The highlight from that, and maybe the highlight of the night was during an air guitar competition. One person from each trivia group had to go up to give their best air guitar performance. At the end, the person with the biggest cheer/ovation would win. So you could imagine it was only each trvia group cheering on their group member. WHen it came to one group, one of the girls in the group, who happened to be somewhat heavy with big boobs got up on her chair and flashed the crowd. With a majority of men in the crowd, you could imagine a good ovation. Well, the competition wasnt over yet, there would be 1 more round of ovations since the cheers were too close to call between groups. So as that group came up again, the chick flashed her boobs again, however this time as she went to sit back down, completely missed her chair and fell flat on her ass, boobs still outt. Oh man, one of the funniest things I've seen in awhile. The best part, her group didnt even win.
After trivia night I was gettin tired and decided to head back, as I was leaving the bar patio I heard some great music, looked upstairs in the bar and saw a guy jammin and singing. I said what the hell I'll check it out. I remembered from research that Newcastle has a great local music scene. The guy playing was excellent, I ended up watching his entire set. Great vocals and just jammin on the guitar, thouroughly enjoyable..glad I discovered it. With that I then called it a night and headed back to the hostel for a good nights sleep
Day 2 Newcastle
I woke up around 9 to a clear sky and sunshine, it was the perfect weather for what I came here to do and see...the beach.
The surf was pumping once again. I can honestly say that this surf is the most aggressive and big surf I have seen so far in Australia. Originally wanting to take one of the free body boards the hostel offers, after a few minutes of watching the surf I knew I was out of my league. I witnessed locals and tourists just getting absolutely pounded in these waves. The reason was the large drops (not sure of the surfing term) but the hard breaking waves just tore apart inexperienced surfers and body boarders. THe local bodyboarders meanwhile also got pounded, but they were also all wearing fins and were pulling off barrel rolls and 360 spins on these trechorous waves..There was some great talent goin on. I am glad I stuck to body surfing, didnt get to many good waves but still enjoyed escaping the monstrous giants coming towards me. One of the guys that rented a body board at the hostel ended up coming back with a bandage wrapped around his head, I never asked but assumed he ate it real hard and probably smacked he head into his board or something.
Today I had a great time in the waves and on the beach..got a bit burnt tho, but nothing a little aloe vera wont cure up. Tonight I am getting on a 13 hr overnight bus to Byron Bay. Byron Bay i think is my most anticipated east coast spot...really looking forward to it.