After Byron Bay we roadtripped back down the coast to Newcastle. Newcastle is located on the east coast of Australia about two hours north of Sydney – and the best way to describe it would be the younger, less crowded, cooler sister of Sydney. Built on the back of convicts, coal mines and steel works, Newcastle is undergoing a renaissance with a program of urban renewal bringing life to the what was industrial harbourside and decaying city centre.
We arrived back just in time for a friends going away party along the revitalised harbour district of Honeysuckle – where old wharf storage sheds have been renovated into museums, bars, shops and gyms. Enjoying a cocktail on the deck looking out the night time harbour lights is a must. The urban renewal has also birthed the opening of so many hole in the wall and underground bars – with a big focus of craft brews and outdoor seating. The atrium at the Lucky, the beer selection at Grain Store, the converted wharf warehouse of Honeysuckle Hotel, and even a speakeasy in an old bank vault with no advertisement but a tiny sticker with a phone number on the door. Had so much fun going out and exploring the night life – every Sunday afternoon is itself an event.
The next day we went for an early walk around the beautiful beaches and ocean baths – and I must say they are as good as any I have seen in my travels – even better than Sydney.
Just a short drive away is the heart of the Hunter Valley wine industry – stacks of wineries, cellar doors and restaurants hidden amongst the vineyards. Driving through the country side, stopping to taste the local wines and have high tea – I never wanted to leave.
Newcastle was the last stop on my first journey in Australia – but it will definitely not be my last trip there. Such an amazing country with friendly people, jaw dropping scenery and great taste in food, wine and fashion – I felt so at home. I hope to be back soon!