First Stop Australia
Saturday Feb 20, 2016
Our first stop in our trip across the world was Australia. We left Christchurch in the early hours of the morning and flew into Sydney. We quickly popped into Circular Quay to see the Opera House and walk across the Harbour Bridge. It was hot, very hot. We walked over the bridge, grabbing a Gelato on the other side before attempting the walk back in the heat, thankfully there was a breeze while walking the bridge.
After the heat of walking we found a bar to grab a cold drink. We stopped in at the The Glenmore Hotel for a cold one, well we weren’t there long before Simon couldn’t wait to finish his drink to leave, as there were two Aussie guys talking about the basketball they were watching and the accent was getting on Simon’s nerves. So we finished our drinks and headed back to the Quay to catch the train to airport to collect our luggage and head on up to Newcastle, where we were staying with friends for a few days.
It was an enjoyable journey up to Newcastle (approx 3 hours). The train carriages were double deckers, if you sat i the bottom half, the window was level with the station platform, something a little different. Thankfully, the carriages were also air-conditioned. We read, watched some Suits, watched the scenery go by as we traveled up the east coast of Australia. Something new for both of us.
We arrived in Hamilton Station to be greeted by Harish, Bhavisha and baby Suraj. It was just so good to see them and meet baby. It’s been too long, though I had briefly seen them for the baby shower last year, we hadn’t seen them together since their wedding at the end of 2011. We were very much looking forward to spending the next few days with them.
Sunday Feb 21, 2016
We woke up to heat, heat and more heat. Not in the house though, B&H have a beautiful home just north of Newcastle, in Seaside Village suburb, but it was very hot outside and wasn’t yet noon. Harish took us for a walk round to the sand dunes that are just behind their village. It wasn’t quite 10am and we were sweating. Amazing to see such a vast spread of nothing but sand and blue, blue, blue – sky and sea.
The day was spent being shown round Newcastle suburbs. B&H showed us where they first lived and we had lunch down at the local market, a short walk from their little flat. We popped into the local Westfield Mall for a mosey round. I found a Guess shop, of course, however I was very restrained and didn’t buy anything. Had the obligatory look in the Pandora shop at possible charms for Australia. Then I proceeded to ‘test’ out the new range of nail polish colours, well they all had a tester, so why not?
After enjoying a bit of the air conditioning, we headed back out towards their place, but a little further north for some dinner at Murray’s Brewing Craft Company.
We had a lovely pizza and chips, with a couple of cold ones.
Monday Feb 22.
Bhavisha took us over to Newcastle city, we drove to Stockton Beach and took the 5 minute ferry across to the town. Another beautiful day. We wondered around a little, popped into the office where B works, met her boss, enjoyed a cold drink overlooking one of the beaches around the area. Then walked, in the heat (this place is never cool) up to the lighthouse at the end of peninsula, where the entrance to Newcastle Harbour starts.
There was a cruise ship docked, the Queen Mary, which hadn’t visited Newcastle in many years, so they had been letting cannons off in honour of the maiden visit. We wondered what on earth they were doing.
Tuesday Feb 23,
We ventured out on our own, on the bus, to Stockton Beach and went swimming in the sea. It was amazing, so warm, so very different from NZ waters on the east. It was pretty calm, not too many big waves and not crowded. We enjoyed lying in the hot sunshine, then another dip in the sea, before drying off to grab a cold drink at the cafe next to the beach (and a scone with jam & cream – had such a desire to have one – it was yummy too).
We ended the day with delicious desserts at Coco Monde – a slice of snickers bar cheesecake and chocolate brownie.
Wednesday Feb 24,
Our last whole day in Newcastle took us to Blackbutt Reserve, where we got to see sleeping koalas, little kangaroos, wombats, birds, turtles and a peacock. Koalas look so cute and fluffy, but apparently they’re not quite this in nature, their claws are long and very sharp looking.
We found a great kebab place for lunch and we all tried Baskin Robbins ice cream for the first time, there were so many flavours, about 20-30, it was so hard to choose. We tested a few to make the right choice, of course.
We enjoyed the rest of the day at home, just hanging with our friends. We played some Taboo – Tuckers vs Lalas – a game that can easily cause arguments, we kept it clean…. this time.
Thursday Feb 25 – last day
Well, Thursday had come around, all too quickly. We had greatly enjoyed our time in Australia (thankfully without any encounters with snakes or spiders), but now it was time to tidy up the packing and say another goodbye. We didn’t need to catch the train until after lunch. We had said our goodbyes to Harish the night before as he was working. We spent the morning with Bhavisha and Baby Suraj, he is just so cute and adorable.
We’d made the choice to pack our carry on cases with the clothes and things we would need while in Australia and had only opened our big cases to breathe, therefore meaning we didn’t have much re-packing to do.
Then all too soon lunch was over and we loaded up the car to head to the train station. Bhavisha dropped us off and we said our goodbyes, and lots of kisses for Suraj.
Our journey back into Sydney was just beautiful as arrival. So green, but a different green to home. Windng back down the east coast of Australia, past larges lakes/rivers with houses/baches on the other side, looking peaceful and serene.
We arrived back at Sydney airport, check our large 30Kg cases in (one just over, one slightly under – not bad for moving across the world). Had a bite to eat before heading through the gates to departure.
Now we say Goodbye to the Southern Hemisphere…..