Exploring the Newcastle Area

We woke up later than we wanted and there was a moment when Stephen and I looked at each other and wondered whether we should drop our plans and just do something local. It was fleeting. We regrouped, made brekkie for everyone and then loaded them into the car.

A two hour drive north of Sydney we started our Saturday at the Blackbutt Nature Reserve. A free, albeit small, zoo of sorts that allowed us to get up close with koalas, owls, parrots, cockatoos, kangaroos, wallabies and emus. We loved it! The reserve also has hiking trails, a modern playground and substantial picnicking facilities.

We had an amazing Indian buffet at nearby Raj’s Corner which had fabulous lime pickle (must try to make this at home) and spicy potato balls. My kids were already accustomed to eating curry however it was nice that they had several dishes for kids that were mild.


Great climbing structure at Speers Point Park


Nice bike path around Lake Macquarie

We needed to walk off our happy but very full bellies so I found an adventure playground not far at Speers Point Park on Lake Macquarie for some much needed play time. The breezes off the lake were amazing and welcomed as the sun was getting warm. The playground was modern with large climbing frames and slides for older kids. We are seriously lacking this type of facility in Sydney. Thanks to Hellowsydneykids.com.au for the review for the review which encouraged our visit.

Strolling along the lakeside bike track we watched families enjoying their weekend cycle. After googling it we were now dreaming of a day trip cycling the 90 km path ourselves. Some day perhaps we’ll Loop the Lake….putting it on my checklist of cool grown up things to do.

We read about sightings and close encounters with great white and hammerhead sharks in the lake not too long ago, yikes! They were reported in shallow water too. It’s still amazing to me that Aussies ever venture outside. Chopper Reid, I know what you would say to me and I’m working on it.

As we were so close to Newcastle proper we popped back in the car for the quick drive north. We walked the path out to Nobby’s Head Lighthouse at the entrance to Newcastle Harbour with the kids then meandered back along Nobby’s Beach. The waves were on the larger side and very active. Wet little feet turned into half wet bodies. It’s so hard for them to be near to water and not pounce. It’s all very exciting. I, too, feel such a peaceful sense of joy while at the beach so I can’t really blame them for wanting to throw themselves into it.


Nobby’s Beach

We stopped at Popolo gelateria in Newcastle for a sweet treat on the way home. With such interesting flavours such as mango saffron, strawberry champagne, vanilla anise and passion fruit pineapple, there was something for everyone.

We met a man walking back to the car who chatted to us about travel, Australia Day beach Bbq’s and Bears in Bern, Switzerland. It was a nice conversation with a stranger who made us feel very welcome in his home country. I have found people here to be comfortable about approaching strangers and engaging us in conversation. I genuinely enjoy meeting people in this way. In my experience, ex-pats are really good at this. We have a limited amount of time in a new country and have to make connections to feel settled so we tend to not waste any time. Here the Aussies are doing it naturally. I love this!

Another winning weekend outing. When you wake up on Saturday morning and you’re not sure where to go or if you even want to get out, just get up and go. Just say yes and see where the day takes you. You never know what’s in store for you. To have an adventure you must take the steps. So go.

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