Newcastle Favorites

  • The goanna, keeping an eye on us
    The goanna, keeping an eye on us
    by iandsmith
  • Panorama of a mysteriously waterfall in a cave
    Panorama of a mysteriously waterfall in...
    by iandsmith
  • Surrounded by palms, the Newcastle Regional Museum
    Surrounded by palms, the Newcastle...
    by iandsmith

Most Recent Favorites in Newcastle

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    Glenrock State Recreation Area

    by iandsmith Updated Nov 1, 2011
    The goanna, keeping an eye on us
    4 more images

    Favorite thing: This is a place near Newcastle where you can mountain bike, bushwalk, hang glide, fish, bird watch or surf, no wonder they call it a "recreation area"!
    There are mountain bikes tracks criss-crossing the whole area and many bushwalking trails, some of which take you down to the beaches.

    Fondest memory: On this particular trip I came in from the Dudley end and was guided along some of the trails by a friend of mine, along with three others.
    We came across a wonderful flowering and unusual cactus beneath a fig tree, saw several types of fungi, got ticks on us, saw the biggest skink I've ever seen and a nice goanna to boot.
    Our walk eventually took us down to the rocks beneath Dudley bluff where there's a blowhole if the surf is big enough.
    You can also see whales during their migratory phases from the cliffs around here.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Whale Watching
    • National/State Park

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    Green Point - Lake Macquarie

    by iandsmith Written Sep 25, 2011
    Powerful owl
    4 more images

    Favorite thing: The Green Point you can walk today is a result of a protracted battle over nearly 70 years that commenced when 400 hectares was at stake. In the end, 152 hectares were set aside as Green Point Foreshore Reserve after protracted negotiations with a developer who wanted to set up a major tourist complex and marina but ultimately was conceded 66 hectares for residential development only.

    There are three main walking access points into the reserve: the end of Dilkera Avenue at Valentine, The Shores Way at Belmont and Green Point Drive behind Belmont Hospital.

    Fondest memory: So you can walk one of the variety of walks, my favourite being the one along the foreshore. There’s also a bike track that takes you through the easterly section of the park on a concrete shared path.
    The amount of wildlife is perhaps surprising considering the reserve’s proximity to housing and relatively small area but there’s definitely no shortage of birds, one of which I’ve been fortunate enough to see and that is the powerful owl. This predator is at the top end of the tree and feeds on possums and smaller creatures. It’s a large impressive bird and appropriately named.
    I’ve also spied the scarlet honeyeater, lewin’s honeyeater, silvereye, red browed finch, numerous parrots, chestnut teal, magpies, mynahs, whip birds and others I’ve forgotten.
    The bushland at Green Point features much native flora and fauna, adding interest to the walk. The flora includes open forests of Spotted Gum, Grey Gum, White Mahogany and Forest Red Gum. There is also remnant Littoral Rainforests. These areas provide habitat for native fauna including the Ring-tail Possum, Squirrel Glider and Sea Eagle. All this is easily encountered on the established walking trails throughout the reserve and improved access to the rainforest by a constructed boardwalk to preserve the area for the future.

    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel

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    Newcastle Regional Museum

    by iandsmith Written Sep 18, 2011
    Surrounded by palms, the Newcastle Regional Museum

    Favorite thing: Out the back of Civic Railway Station there's a new attraction in town. It's the Newcastle Regional Museum and it took around a decade to get the old train workshop building converted into its new life.
    There's also a kiosk there should you become a little peckish or thirsty.
    Newcastle Museum is open 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday.

    Fondest memory: You may think that it's just about local stuff but it's much more than that. There's a great place for the kids to learn about science in a room with interactive displays for instance.
    Industry has a significant presence here because (a) it's what Newcastle was founded on and (b) industry kicked in a lot of money for the displays.
    There are personal touches in one of the rooms with local people donating historical things of interest so there's a good cross section of items.
    The variety is such that you will find something of interest there.
    Another good thing is that it's FREE

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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    Shock of the new

    by iandsmith Updated Sep 18, 2011
    The modern side
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    Favorite thing: Newcastle is rebuilding. Parts are being built on for the first time ever, others are being revitalized, still more have nothing happening at the moment, but that will change.
    The shots here are of the new developments down at Honeysuckle by the harbour.

    Fondest memory: The lower one features the Maritime Museum that, rather obviously, features much of Newcastle's important history in the area of shipping. There are some interactive displays, models, slide shows, lots of Pasha Bulker photos and much information.
    It's open Tuesday to Sunday 10-4 and is right on the harbour.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    The shock of the new part two

    by iandsmith Updated Jan 13, 2011
    Beach front apartments at Newcastle
    4 more images

    Favorite thing: It's changing. It's changing so rapidly the local council is keeping a file, renewed every 6 months or so, on what's happening. I've been lucky enough to be the main person taking pictures of these developments and thought I might include a few here taken in January 2011.

    Fondest memory: The opening one is a panorama (you need to click on it to see it all, same as for pic 4) of the new apartment blocks and Sebel Town House (at rear). Though the original CBD is lagging behind as I write this, changes are in the wind.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

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    Going bush

    by iandsmith Written Aug 16, 2010
    Glenrock Lagoon
    4 more images

    Favorite thing: If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of traffic then you might well consider the following.

    Fondest memory: Glenrock State Recreation Area. This woodland lies with 5 kms of Newcastle's CBD and has forever been a popular area but, with the advent of the nearby Track, it seems to be even more popular.
    One reason is that mountain bikers have trails in this area in addition to the walkers. The walks are mostly well marked but, in certain areas, it's just worn from human presence and then the water has done the rest.
    The most popular walking track (accessed from the southern end) is Yuelarbah. This takes you beside Flaggy Creek (pic 4) and even crosses it (pic 2) before heading down the stairs (pic 5) towards Glenrock Lagoon (where there's a scout camp) and then the beach.
    A lot of bike riders start just off Scenic Drive and go down Gun Club Road which is about the centre of the area.
    Hang gliders can often be seen on the northern end when favourable winds are blowing and the beach, which can be accessed during the day via a sealed road, is a good fishing spot.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Cycling

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    The national parks

    by iandsmith Written Aug 11, 2010
    Do your walk accompanied by splashing water
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    Favorite thing: Within one and a half hours of Newcastle are some of Australia's best forests, be they rain or woodland.
    To the north you have Barrington Tops which can be accessed through a number of roads though Dungog and Gloucester are probably the most popular.
    On the southern side there's the Watagans, and one of the most popular spots in this park is Boarding House Dam.

    Fondest memory: Of all the places to picnic in the Watagans this is certainly one of the most popular.
    If you're looking for a large dam, you'll be sadly disappointed. It's just a small concrete affair that was probably erected for a boarding house, hence the name.
    However, it's the location amid tall timbers with a small stream dissecting the valley that makes it a delight. There are toilets, barbecues and sheltered bench seats to make your stay pleasant. Then, when you've finished your meal you can take a stroll along the 640 metre made trail that takes you past the mossy wall (pic 3) for which the location is famous.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Photography
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Back of Customs House

    by iandsmith Updated Feb 2, 2009
    Delightful old residence
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    Favorite thing: If you arrive at the Railway Station and head up Scott Street towards the ocean then, at 92, opposite Pacific Park, is the fine old stationmaster's residence (1858). Beautifully restored, it has iron columns supporting a porch with delicately patterned cast-iron lacework. Opposite, at the corner of Pacific and Scott Sts, is a building partially obscured by hedges and trees. It is the former Newcastle East Police Station (1880) built as a water police residence.
    Further up the road where the buses terminate is Parnell Place and it takes you left towards Nobbys Beach. This thoroughfare was hit by shells from a Japanese submarine in 1942 when the city was on full alert.
    The guns of nearby Fort Scratchley were only able to get off two ranging shots when a vessel scurrying for cover got in the way and the sub was able to escape.
    To the immediate right is a small park where you'll note a large column. This belonged to the original courthouse (1841) on the corner of Bolton and Hunter Sts that was demolished in 1899 to make way for the post office.
    At the end of Parnell Place is a complex intersection, to the side of which is a rusting monument to Newcastle's coalmining and shipping industries with a series of plaques depicting the evolution and interaction of both industries.

    Fondest memory: This route can then take you to Nobbys and back along the harbour foreshore the restaurants that dot the waterfront.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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    Fresh face for a star attraction

    by iandsmith Updated Feb 1, 2009

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    A standout attraction

    Favorite thing: The Customs House was built facing the harbour in 1876 when Newcastle was already one of the world's busiest coal ports. This attraction is a unique example of an Italian Romanesque revival building with polychromatic brickwork and a fine clock tower. The whole thing was sandblasted to clean it up in the 1980's.
    Surmounting the clock tower is a black time ball on a mast. It was dropped precisely at 1.00pm each day to give a visual time signal from which ships' chronometers could be accurately set.
    The time ball was dysfunctional for a long time until a subscription got the funds to get it working again. Not long after that the earthquake occurred and jammed it again.
    These days the Customs House is a restaurant and it has proved to be very popular.
    It can provide a private boardroom lunch for 8 or a theatre style seminar for 200 in the upstairs function rooms.

    Fondest memory: It sits across the way from the Newcastle Railway Station, whose fate is not so certain in the future as there is talk of cutting the rail link right into town. I, for one, am bitterly opposed to such a move.

    Related to:
    • Trains
    • Family Travel
    • Food and Dining

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    The Hunter River

    by iandsmith Updated Feb 1, 2009

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    On a still afternoon, all is benign.

    Favorite thing: This river is one of the main reasons for Newcastle's existence. When coal was noticed it was right at the river mouth so transport was relatively easy.
    Over the years the export tonnage has increased to the point where it now exports nearly 2,000,000 tonnes per week, a large amount even by world standards, but the river is more than just a place where ships come and go. It is a tidal river and salt goes a long way inland so it serves as a fish and prawn spawning area. This is where the mangrove swamps come in. Initially thought of as a nuisance, more enlightened education now makes us realize their importance in the scheme of things, especially in the early days of fish and prawns.
    The river is 467 kilometres long (how do they measure these things?) though, as the crow flies, its source is around 70 kilometres from the sea but it first heads west before taking a long curve and then returning east.

    Fondest memory: When you drive west of Newcastle you go right next to and across the river. Sometimes on still nights the lights of the distant town can be seen in the sheltered waters as their orange beams lay across the surface, reflecting a serene stream.
    At other times the river can be across the roadway though fortunately floods only happen about once every twenty years but are nonetheless unforgettable.
    It is dammed at Glenbawn in the upper Hunter where a 5 megawatt hydroelectric turbine has recently been installed. This also helps to regulate the flow, along with Chichester dam that stems the flow of one of its major tributaries, the Williams River.
    Whatever is happening, it is the lifeblood of Newcastle, capital of the Hunter.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Family Travel
    • Water Sports

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    The cinematic experience

    by iandsmith Updated Feb 1, 2009

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    Favorite thing: Like the movies? A lot of people do. These days you have multiple choice cinemas with space age carpets and architecture and snack bars where you can get totally ripped off when buying yourself treats.

    Fondest memory: However, if you miss the old style cinema where the man that sells you the ticket also operates the projector, where you get a smile and a bit of chat while you buy your ticket, where tickets are two thirds the price of chain cinemas then you are in luck. One place in Newcastle offers just such an experience at Boolaroo, even gives you a free tea and sandwiches at half time during their double feature presentations. Can't ask for more than that!

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

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    Example: Blue Skies and Beaches, plus ships!

    by iandsmith Updated Feb 1, 2009

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    Perfect wave with ships

    Favorite thing: It is hard to avoid the beach and the harbour. Without the latter Newcastle would not be the city it is today. In terms of tonnage it is Australia's biggest export port and, I believe, is reasonably high on a world scale. Around 2 million tonnes a week in fact. This is mainly due to the coal that departs on huge bulk carriers every day, several times a day. You will see them anchored off the beaches awaiting their turn at the docks. There has to be a queue as they turn around these ships in 24 hours and there has been a huge investment in modern coal loaders.

    Fondest memory: I really like Nobbys Beach as you will glean from elsewhere though sitting by the harbour enjoying a cup of tea and a mid afternoon snack as some of the ships go by is pretty neat as well, an activity I frequently indulge in.
    On weekends you also get to see the yachts heading out for a bout of ocean racing; quite idyllic really.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Backpacking

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    An excuse

    by iandsmith Written Dec 17, 2007
    Taken near the Pilot's Station looking west
    2 more images

    Favorite thing: This is just an excuse to put a couple of my sunset shots on display. They're far from being my best but give you an idea of what the harbour looks like from the carpark at Nobbys.

    Fondest memory: Just thought I'd share them with you.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Seniors

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    Bon voyage

    by iandsmith Updated Dec 17, 2007

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    Coming down the harbour
    4 more images

    Favorite thing: Sitting at one of the harbourside restaurants watching the ships arrive/depart, as mentioned elsewhere, is something I like doing. You can just about guarantee that during any stint at a cafe at least one will pass by and they are seriously big. Somehow they never seem as big side on but, when you see one from the front you get some idea of the massive bulk of the coal carriers.
    The tugs in pic 3 are actually being pulled sideways.

    Fondest memory: The extraordinary thing about this picture is that within 48 hours of when it was taken there was the mother of all storms; in fact, the one that put the Pasha Bulker on Nobbys Beach shore. Talk about the calm before the storm!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Seniors

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    Welcome, it's our Destiny

    by iandsmith Updated Jul 15, 2007

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    Greetings

    Favorite thing: It's an eyecatcher. This welcoming scupture aimed at seafaring folk casts its genial light every night across the waters of the harbour.
    Not quite the Statue of LIberty but, we're only a small town by comparison and the French probably don't love us as much (especially since we started making wine seriously).
    The statue sits at the eastern extremity of the suburb of Carrington but is visible all the way down the harbour.
    It is entitled "Destiny" and is a reminder of the prows that used to grace the sailing ships that once were stacked three deep along the foreshore.
    The flowing hair behind her represents the seven seas.
    1999 Destiny – Dyke Point Newcastle Port Corporation, sculpture to commemorate 200th anniversary Newcastle port operations. Bronze height 8.5m x 3m x 2.5m.
    The sculptor was reknowned artist Julie Squires whose CV, especially while she was studying at Newcastle University, is impressive to say the least. Listed below are other commissions she has completed though her latest, the one at the start of The Great Ocean Road, is not registered here but you can find out about that on my Lorne pages.

    Fondest memory: 1999 The Muster point – Newcastle BHP Steelworks Industrial Drive, Newcastle
    Memorial sculpture for Newcastle BHP Steelworkers commemorating the closure of the Steelmaking Plant. Sculpture resulted from an artist initiated project with the Workers Cultural Action Committee called The Molten Arts Project. Following an eighteen month artist residency at the Steelworks, The Muster Point was constructed in the Fabrication Shop on site by the artist and BHP employees. Fabricated steel height 8m x 16m 12m. Weight 70 tone.

    1999 Sea Eagle motifs -West Charlestown Bypass Roads & Traffic Association Bas relief sculptures, cast concrete. 1m x .75m

    1998 Newcastle Port Corporation, Port Entry Walls Eight Bronze cast bas relief sculptures for gateway to Carrington Port Authority. Eight x 2m x 1.5m

    1997 By The Lake – Lake Macquarie City Council 26 Bronze cast bas relief sculptures. .25m x .3m

    1996 Nobby's Break Wall Newcastle Bicentenery Commission me theme, cast concrete. 3m x 1m

    1995 Connection - Constable & Hershon Vineyard Figurative cast bronze sculpture. Two figures 2m x 1.75m

    1995 Journey - Castle Tavern King St, Newcastle Figurative cast iron and steel sculpture. 4m x 2m

    1994 Recognition - Constable & Hershon Vineyard Figurative cast lead sculpture. One figure 1m x .6m

    2001 View From The Edge - Constable & Hershon Vineyard cast bronze sculpture. 2m x 1.5m x .30m

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Disabilities
    • Backpacking

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