Newcastle, just under three hours north of Sydney, was the destination. A city, I had heard, with a funky vibe and a rejuvenated heart.
A weekend away. The ocean. Oh, how I miss the Pacific.
Previously I had only driven through the outskirts of Newcastle on the way south to the bigger smoke. It had not been a destination before, but here we were, MLP and I, weekend-ing in Newcastle. We started at the ocean, because MLP knows how my heart bleeds to see the ocean. Our current abode means a morning walk on the beach is not even the remotest possibility. I have never lived, long term, so far from my sparkling Pacific.
Shoal Bay for breakfast. And the ocean. Crystal clear and so enticing.
Then around the corner, along a bush track, Spring blooms,
and orange eucalyptus gums
down a wooden pathway
onto a secluded cove
and feet into the ocean, the glistening Pacific,
for the first time in ages.
But I am full of a head cold and, as much as I want to swim, I don't.
Next time. Definitely, next time.
So we head off in search of coffee and find the old Customs House.
What a majestic building. Now the Customs House Hotel.
A shaded verandah.
Our spot for coffee and treats.
We wander a little further via Timeless Textiles gallery with fibre and fabric arts that set my heart a flutter, particularly this work by Judy Hooworth. I know my sister will looovve this piece.
Look at the detail of that quilting. Be still my heart.
Then past streets that disappear into the sky, San Francisco style.
On to Hunter Street and its Mall filled with independent retailers, so much more intriguing than your average shopping centre.
Quirky, funky, retro, cool; all the things I love.
How could you get bored in this vibrant city?
Be as random as you like.
We lunched with this guy.
In Cazador, a busy coffee shop come tapas bar.
A back wall covered in old doors. Love it.
Or a Mall view from cow hide stools.
And I found Alie Jane Travel Accessories and Design … and fabric … and handmade wonders … and the friendliest dog, Clyde, … and his friendliest owner.
Sorry, I was too busy looking to take photos. Oh, and buying fabric to make aprons. Next time. Definitely, next time.
By the way, if you didn't already know, my aprons are now available for purchase from Alie Jane and also from my Etsy shop. Shameless self promotion. Sorry.
Later in the afternoon, we moved over to the bustling pub and restaurant district on the Hunter River and watched the boats/ships do their thing.
Newcastle is the largest coal exporting harbour in the world. The passing traffic is fascinating to watch. Coal carriers, fishing boats, tugs, pilot boats, teeny tiny sailing craft all manoeuvre their way up, down, across the Hunter. Amazing.
And then came the mother of all electrical storms. Nature's own light and sound show. Free and just as the sun was setting.
The crowds were impressed. Very impressed. But also very wary. A young surfer had been killed by lightning on a beach near here not long ago.
So, what do you think?
Been to Newcastle lately?
Adding it to your must visit list.