"You can leave anything you want on the coach; it'll be perfectly safe, I won't steal anything... I'll have a good look through though!" - Tex of TexTours
Thu 12 Apr 12 - Sat 14 Apr 12
Newcastle itself isn't much to shout about - it's a small city which doesn't have a whole lot going on most of the time. Supposedly, it's the second largest city in New South Wales after Sydney, but it certainly doesn't feel like it! There's no real city centre - it's all spread out among the suburbs, and apart from the main foreshore the whole area seems mostly residential.
We lucked out on the accomodation and had a four-bed dorm to ourselves for the whole stay, and we've been out to a few of the local cafes and bars while we've been here on nearby Beaumont Street, which is apparently the 'busy' area of the part of town our hostel was in. Needless to say, it still wasn't exactly busy...
Our main reason for stopping here was for a Wine Tasting and Vineyard Tour. A group of seven of us were taken round four vineyards in the Hunter Valley by Tex who owns and operates 'TexTours'. He was brilliant fun - full of bad jokes and quirky little sayings like 'Yummo' and 'Hooley Doley!'. A great tour guide and well worth taking the tour.
We stopped for lunch in a pretty place in the middle of the vineyards, which had a couple of places to eat, a multitude of shops (including 'The British Lolly Shop' which sold PG Tips and I was half-tempted to buy them), and a chapel. The chapel looks out over the gardens there, but we didn't have time to visit them - the wine was much more important! One of the best shops there was a Christmas shop - year-round, it sells Christmas stock! Brilliant.
Some of the vineyards were beautiful and we tried some lovely wines as well. At one of the vineyards they also had an area where you could try their cheeses and chutneys too, so we made the most of that part!
There 's not much more to say about Newcastle... so next stop Byron Bay!