Bylong Creek Continued
Kandos to Kurri Kurri
Maitland to Stockton
We are hitting the road again with a quick drive from Maitland to Stockton, it’s a nice easy run, past the coal loaders on Kooragang Island, over the Stockton bridge and a sharp right hand turn into Stockton. For the next two nights, we are staying at the Stockton Beach Holiday Park. The park is situated right on the water’s edge, hosting by a stunning beach that stretches 32 km from Stockton at the southern end to Anna Bay in Port Stephens at the northern end. The day we arrive 5” waves are rolling in, and the surfers are all out checking out the waves, apparently the waves are usually not that great for surfing in Stockton, but today they’re great. Stockton Beach Holiday Park has 27 cabins in two and three bedroom configurations. They have a range of powered sites and unpowered sites for vans including eight ensuite sites. They have two amenity blocks and new modern camp kitchen. If you love a holiday park on a beach, then you can’t go past this place, and if that didn’t satisfy you, there is the Newcastle Harbour at your doorstep, where you can sit and watch an active working harbour or take a quick 3min ferry ride across to Newcastle.
We quickly position our vans on some powered sites and decide because it’s such a stunning day we are going to get out and have a look at Newcastle. Now there is a light onshore wind blowing, and the tip is if we head in to Newcastle we might see a bunch of people hang gliding and Paragliding. We might even see if we can get Macca to have a go. We head over to an amazing lookout high above Glenrock Beach and meet up with Tony from Newcastle Paragliding Tony gives us a quick instruction, and then we have to make a decision about who is going over the edge. Because there is only a light breeze Tony is not confident the wind is strong enough to lift him and Macca. The option is to come back later, or we get someone else a bit lighter than Macca to strap in. Tania, it is then. She has never done Paragliding but this girl is up for anything, and her attitude is, “what the heck, you only live once” way to go, Tania! Just quietly Macca looks relieved he is not going over the edge.cAfter getting fitted out with a helmet and all the safety harnesses, Tania and Tony are all rigged up in a tandem configuration. They get in position, and Tony inflates the large sail above them. We wait for the big run and jump off the cliff. There is none of that, a quick adjustment of the two handles by Tony and they are up and away, it’s just so graceful and effortless; there off soaring along the cliff faces of Newcastle, in front of them just blue sky and ocean. Later when Tania lands and I ask her how the experience was? She says, “it was the closest you can come to flying, completely amazing” Paragliding is such a great way to see a coastline, it docent use any power, doesn’t make any noise or emit any pollution, you just need the wind to blow and a sense of adventure. Well, we are off to a good start in Stockton and Newcastle. The place has a very nice feel to it, we know we are going to enjoy it here, there is so much more to see and do, can’t wait for tomorrow.
Stockton to Nelson Bay
Stockton & Newcastle
We are up and at it again today in Stockton, there is something very soothing about waking up to the sound of waves breaking on the shore. It’s time to get out and explore some more of Newcastle, but before we do it’s a quick brekky right on the beach at Lexies on the beach great food, fast, friendly service and one of the best locations for a cafe you’ve ever seen.
After a quick drive into Newcastle, we pull up at the Queens Wharf to meet Chris from Newcastle’s Famous Tram tours Chris drives a replica of one of the trams that used to work in Newcastle in the 1920s. It’s a fun and quirky way to explore the city and tap into Chris’s wealth of local knowledge. We go for a quick tour of all the cities beaches, some old forts like Fort Scratchley, King Edward Park, we also stop and have a wander around the magnificent Christ Church Cathedral, a stunning old church. If you are new to town, it’s an excellent way to get an overview of the whole city and decide which places you want to go back and spend more time looking around. One of the places that we were all very grateful Chris stopped at was the Anzac Memorial Walkway. It’s a 450m cliff top walkway that both commemorates the 100th anniversary of ANZACs landing at Gallipoli in 1915 and gives you the most incredible view of the city and the ocean. What a fantastic asset to the city, well worth your time to make the short walk, you can even read the names of locals who went off to war. Depending on the time-of-year, you might even be lucky enough to see some whales making their way up the coast.
Well were back to Stockton Holiday Park and it’s cooking time again. Tonight Macca and Tania are working on a French Onion Soup made from scratch and a family recipe that Tania got from here sister, fish tacos, not too sure about the fish tacos, but after seeing Tania cooking the Tasmanian Salmon, adding salsa and salad, they sure do look pretty good. While dinner is cooking there are a few people in the park the want to take a look through the Lotus Caravan, the boys from G&S Chassis are on hand to show them through.
We sure have enjoyed our time in Stockton and Newcastle. We know we’ve barely scratched the surface, but we like what we have seen so far. Tomorrow we continue our way up the coast to Port Stephens for more adventures.
Out and about again, in Dubbo
Taronga Western Plains Zoo
Today was a very special day for our presenters Macca and Tania, neither of them had ever been to Taronga Western Plains Zoo. As many times as they had both been to Dubbo, they had never stopped in. And what day it was! The first job on this crisp, foggy morning was for Macca to secure some transport; you can walk, drive your car, hire bikes or grab a buggy to cover the 6km circuit; what do you reckon Macca did? Buggy it is then!
First stop was a keeper talk with the friendly staff on the White Rhino. While Macca was trying to entertain the zoo keepers cracking a joke or two about Rhinos, Tania just wanted to head over and see the Meerkats. These little critters are so cute. They were out and about sunning themselves after a chilly Dubbo night. The next stop was the Giraffes and a quick talk from another one of the helpful staff; there was also an opportunity to feed them a carrot. Macca had to keep an eye on his hat, but Tania had the carrot-feeding action down-pat. Next was the Savannah Safari Tour on the specially built bus. Make sure you have your camera ready as there are lots of opportunities for some great shots. Apart from many animals walking around in the open, you will notice the Savannah Cabins right on the edge of the exhibit; did you know you can stay overnight in the zoo? Imagine waking up to a Giraffe strolling past your balcony!