Slowing the pace down – a visit to Newcastle

So far, my Australian tour had been a whirlwind of city visits, taking in the capitals of all the states in this amazing country. I decided that I needed to throttle back just a bit and maybe take in a smaller city, just to catch my breath again!
newcastle city
In my research before my visit, Newcastle had always seemed a likely destination for a smaller city visit. Newcastle itself is situated a mere 101 miles north-east of Sydney and I chose a bus as my form of transport to get there.

Although I wanted to slow the pace down, I had decided to stick to my “24 hours in a city rule.”

My 24 hours in Newcastle went a little like this…

I had caught the 5:30am bus to Newcastle and had arrived by around 8am in the morning.

8am

First things first, I needed coffee and some breakfast. Newcastle has a number of little cafés all throughout the city. There was one right by the bus stop, so I stopped for a quick cup of coffee and a good bacon and egg breakfast! cafe_newcastleI was charged and ready for the day. I had to remind myself that I would take everything a little slower. Sometimes with the 24 hour rule it is easy to get carried away!

9:30am

A trip to another country means that you better bring mementoes and presents for your family back home when you return. I really wanted to get something special for the youngest and oldest members of my family. I found a beautiful shop with a stunning brooch for Grammy. I knew she would love it. She has been collecting brooches for as long as I can remember and she has an enormous collection which she is always very happy to add to. antique shop newcastle

11:30am

I was feeling hungry again! Shopping can really give you an appetite. I decided to head to Darby Street as I had heard that a number of excellent restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisine could be found there. vietking newcastleI settled on a small Vietnamese restaurant where I ate a number of traditional dishes. All of them were exquisite and were the best Vietnamese food that I had eaten anywhere in the world. Next door to the restaurant was a baby blanket shop called Bundle & Co. It was such a lovely little place with high quality products. My niece had been born while I was away, and my sister would kill me if I didn’t bring a present. I ended up buying around 5 baby blankets, each with classic children’s characters printed on them. Tina will love them!

1:30pm

Well I definitely slowed things down. Two hours for lunch, probably a bit long but definitely worth it. nobbys1beachSince it was a beautiful, sunny day, I decided to hop on a bus and take a ride down to Nobby’s beach. I spent a few hours catching a some rays, swimming and eating some ice-cream. I even made a few new Australian friends. They invited me out on a late afternoon wine tour in the Hunter Valley region. I couldn’t resist.

3:30pm

We set off in an old camper van to the Hunter Valley wine region outside Newcastle. couple-wine-tasting-overlooking-hunter-valleyThe whole area around Hunter Valley is so beautiful and although we didn’t have much time, we managed to stop at two wine farms and sample their wares. It was a happy bunch that returned to Newcastle later that night.

8:00pm

Myself and my new found Australian friends all ended up at a house in Newcastle and had a proper Australian barbeque. There was so much to eat, I could not believe it.The-BBQ_Draft01_11 I really enjoyed the shrimps the most, they were not only huge, but so tasty. We chatted late into the night and eventually I found a place on a couch and fell asleep.

6am

I almost missed my bus back to Sydney! Luckily, I got a lift to the bus stop on the back of a motorbike. I made it just in time. I slept for most of the two hour trip back. So much for a slow, relaxed trip to Newcastle, but what a blast it was!