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Visiting Australia and Newcastle

Missouri City, Texas
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Visiting Australia and Newcastle

We will be visiting August 2006...Sydney, Newcastle. We have a place to stay in Newcastle. Would like some suggestions on sights, getting around driving, and places to stay further up the coast. Also, what is the weather like that time of year. We are simple folks from Alaska. Like snorkeling, shells, nice hotels but simple and interesting not 20 stories, Indian food. I would think we would stay in Newcastle for about 4 days but what to do after that am up for suggestions. Thanks.

Sydney
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1. Re: Visiting Australia and Newcastle

The weather at that time of year will be dry and clear. Late in August the winds which plague half of September start to spring up, but most of August is calm. The nights are cold, but that shouldn't bother a visitor from Alaska.

There are any number of pleasant areas north of Newcastle to stay in, but, since it's not swimming season, I am not sure just what you would do once you got there. Coff's Harbour and Port Macquarie are fairly lively towns with activities at just about any time of year, so they may be suitable. One interesting place to stay is the Urunga Ocean View Hotel... you can check this out on www.nnsw.worldtourism.com.au/OceanViewHotel/ (or, at least, I hope you can.... I just tried this site thirty seconds ago, and it wouldn't come up; take my word for it, however, this is a fine old place for a night's accommodation, Australian-style).

Sydney Australia
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2. Re: Visiting Australia and Newcastle

As AlanJ says, we don't generally consider it snorkelling weather in Aug in that part of NSW, that said, my daughters snorkel all year round on the south coast and around Sydney without wetsuits. Most people would probably say they're crazy. I guess it just depends how much you like snorkelling and how tolerant of the cold you are.

Around Newcastle you could visit

* Morpeth, a nice historic town out toward Maitland.

*Hunter Valley Gardens out at Pokolbin. If you like wine you could also stop at few cellar doors while in the area.

*Shortlands Wetland Centre a good place to see some Australian birds.

Being cooler (I consider it the coldest month) August is absolutely fabulous weather for bushwalking and touring. There's any number of scenic drives you could do, or national parks and such you could visit. Depending on the season, you should get wattle in bloom. Many australian flowers are at their best in the cooler months. And you can always just walk along the beach. It can be dangerous swimming at unpatrolled beaches anyway, especially if you're not familiar with how to read the surf, identify rips and such. It's much less frustrating being a bit sensible about it when you're not stinking hot.

To the north of Newcastle on the Pacific Hwy, not quite sure how far up you have to get, but a long way before Port Macquarie there's another site that's worth keeping your eyes out for if you like to take a few alternative holiday snaps to laugh at with your friends. Trust me this is a gem! It is a very large, very dreadful replica of Uluru. Truly shocking in an "oh my god, what were they thinking" kind of way... Intended as theme park, it's changed hands a few times and is now a very dodgy looking roadstop. Leaves the various "Big" attractions for dead. (In case you're not aware of it Australia developed a strange obsession with building enormous, generally walk in for information on the subject, replicas of things the local area is known for.. there's a big oyster at Taree (on the way to Port Macquarie) and a Big Bull (complete with that which makes it a bull) near Wauchope, (to the west of Port Macquarie).

If you decide you will head up Port Macquarie way, take a detour off the highway out to Seal Rocks up through Forster and back to the Highway. Seal Rocks is really beautful, and at that time of year it won't be crowded with holidaymakers.

Another stop worth making, is off the Hwy at Kew, turn to the right towards Lake Cathie. Go up and check out the view from North Brother. You can then head up to Port Macquarie via the Christmas Bell plains (which unfortunately won't be flowering in Aug) or duck back out to the Hwy.

Don't expect much in the way of beachcombing on NSW beaches, at least not spectacular shells anyway.

If you like shells, and are going further afield, Lord Howe Island apparently has beaches that still have shells on them , I can't vouch for the quality though, and you might not be able to take them from the island. Snorkelling is good at Lord Howe too, and the water a bit warmer...of course you'd have to fly to Lord Howe. This is also possible from Port Macquarie (as well as from Sydney or Brisbane)

Newcastle Australia
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3. Re: Visiting Australia and Newcastle

Hi Ruthe, Not sure of the reason for the visit to Newcastle and what will interets you but here are some thoughts:

Transport is either easy or difficult depending on where you are lodging. If inner city then walking and public transport will cover you however the distances in Australia are great and a car especially if you can get a deal on a longer rent is probably a must to give the flexibility to get around.

If you are into walking (or you can hire a bike) there is a nice walk some 3 to 4 klm's along the harbour forshore past the new trendy develomnets up to Nobby's break wall which you can walk on and gives great views. Nobby's beach is beautiful to walk on.

Newcastle has some of the best beaches in the world and following the beaches out from the city is worth while. Stop and walk the merewether to bar beach stretch.

The suburb of hamilton is Newcastle's Little Italy and has plenty of restaurants, cafe and atmnosphere. Similarly Darby St in the city is a great cafe districyt.

The Hunter Vallery ha great vineyards and excellent touriosm facilitioes and is worth a bvday or two vsisit with majority of vineyards having cellar door tasiunbgs.

Lake Macquarie is I believe the largest costal lake in the southern hemisphere and you can taker some cruises on it but probably a day drive around is best.

If you let me know some more details I could perhaps help more

Sunny Queensland...
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4. Re: Visiting Australia and Newcastle

Newcastle is one of our hidden gems.many australians still regard it as a steel city and cant see why someone would want to go there.It has a beauty and charm of its own and is a great base for a lot of surrounding attractions.

Unfortunately august isnt the best time to visit.It is a month when the westerly winds blow.This makes the beach and snorkelling much less attractive.But there is plenty of other things to do.

As has been said-visit morpeth which is now a trendy tourist area.you would not believe that until 1932 people sailed from England to here.Many austalian's family arrived in australia here.Take the time to visit central maitland as well with historic buildings and a great little art gallery.

You must visit the vineyards of pokolbin and you will find a lot about them in this forum.

Other placres nearby include port stephens-a really picturesque piece of australia.A bit further north is the myall lakes national park-also a scenic area and the wildflowers should be out.

Another thing I would reccomend is a drive north from maitland up the allyn or paterson river valleys taking a picnic lunch to have on the banks of the river-ah what memories.

You can see from this that it is a great idea to have a car to get around easily.

if you have a couple of weeks then slowly drive north to sunny queensland where you will be able to swim at that time of year.

Penang Malaysia
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5. Re: Visiting Australia and Newcastle

This area is one of the best kept secrets in Australia. South of Newy there are good fishing and beaches in Lake Macquarie. Belmont and Toronto yacht clubs are excellent places on the water to have a meal however I could mention another dozen places. Raffertys Resort at Camms Wharf is a very nice spot.

Newcastle has excellent beaches 500metres from the centre of town. Historic buildings and plenty of pubs. Restaurants of Hamilton and Darby street have already been mentioned. Go to Blackbutt Reserve in the middle of Newcastle if you want to see the wildlife. However if you want to see kangaroos in the wild there is a big mob next to Port Stephens Rd every morning (early) at Salt Ash.

Heaps of good restaurants in Port Stephens. Climb Tomaree Headland and check out that view. Dolphin & whale watching, big game fishing, harbour cruises. You can snorkel for lobsters and abalone at Boat Harbour and Anna Bay (you'll need a wetsuit). Four wheel driving or quad biking on the sand dunes at Birubi Beach.. and you only have 4 days.

Up the coast from Port Stephens is one beautiful spot after another and to the west is the Hunter Valley, which is a chapter in itself.

Here are the local council websites

Newcastle

http://www.ncc.nsw.gov.au/

Lake Macquarie

http://www.lakemac.com.au/

Port Stephens

http://www.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/

Maitland

http://www.maitland.nsw.gov.au/