Newcastle Off The Beaten Path

  • Beach at Glenrock
    Beach at Glenrock
    by iandsmith
  • Yellow Thornbill
    Yellow Thornbill
    by iandsmith
  • Superb wrens are also common
    Superb wrens are also common
    by iandsmith

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Newcastle

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Ash Island - the mangrove story

    by iandsmith Updated Aug 2, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On the boardwalk at Ash Island
    1 more image

    This is place of rarity. A place few Novocastrians have been to yet it is within just a few kilometres of the CBD.
    It lies in the Hunter River Delta and, though I find it rather amazing, at one stage this 750 hectare site was home to 55 families working 17 dairies. To go there today is to wonder where on earth they all fitted.
    These days there is a project on to restore this habitat to some of its former glory, called the Kooragang Wetland Rehabilitation Project. Commencing in 1993 the idea is to restore fisheries habitat (over 1300ha of which was lost) and replant some of the lost rainforest species. It is estimated that in the 1860's there were 170 rainforest species but by the time rehabilitation commenced, barely 30 were left. The only significant remnant is a sad looking strangler fig.
    The good news is that over 50,000 plants have been inserted in the soil and every third Sunday of the month there is a planting held where refreshments are provided.
    Another aspect is the Hunter Bird Observers Club who have recorded over 180 species on the island.
    One of the few buildings left these days is the Old Schoolmasters House, built in the 1890's with marble fireplaces and cedar woodwork. It housed schoolmasters until 1935 then tenant farmers before being restored and made the base for the Kooragang Wetlands Information Centre.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Birdwatching

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Mangroves helpful - what a lot of rot!

    by iandsmith Written Jul 31, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Not an ugly swamp, a whole lifestlye.

    600 tonnes of rot roughly. That's per hectare per annum. It's the rubbish that drives the eco-system and Newcastle had a substantial amount of it but, of course, ignorance initially saw humans waste some of this valuable resource.
    It was seen as something that farms could be made out of, at least on the edges anyway.
    They have amazing systems of dealing with the salt of the estuaries. Their specialized roots have filters that eliminate a lot of salt and then, for the stuff that gets through, it's sent to specific leaves; these are the ones coloured yellow on their way to becoming brown and dropping off and thus this becomes another way of the plant ridding itself of the salt.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Eco-Tourism

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Morpeth III

    by iandsmith Written Jul 11, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Rustic Morpeth

    What captures my imagination about the place is probably the architecture that retains its historical ambience.
    The convict-hewn sandstone, still with the chisel marks of someone thrown upon these shores nearly 200 years, evokes thoughts of a time when life was so much harsher.
    In Australia at least, things are much better now. Oh that it could be the same everywhere else!

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Fox on the run

    by iandsmith Updated Mar 25, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I think I see a fox

    South of Newcastle are some wonderful beaches. They don't stop until you reach the Hawkesbury River delta and some are now in the preserve of National Parks and Wildlife. Fraser Park is one such beach but, it is more than just a stretch of sand. There are more wonders in the littoral forest such as the palm grove and dense banksias. Somewhere along the line introduced species have sadly found their way into the mix, playing havoc with native species but, there's little you or I can do about that now.
    This fairly tame feral fox was lurking on the edges of the campsite at Fraser Park.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Fingal Bay

    by iandsmith Updated Dec 29, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you can put op with the crowds......

    I remember getting this picture back and thinking how lucky we are in Australia. Imagine this beach in Europe in the middle of July yet, here in the middle of December, on a lovely summers' day in Australia it still has a little bit of room. Like, almost the whole beach is empty.
    No, it's not always like that but certainly most of the time and it never gets what would be termed "crowded" by overseas standards.
    Fingal Bay is the easternmost of the beaches at Port Stephens and does have some direct exposure to the ocean though the bay is encircled for a large part by its headland and the island and spit opposite.
    There are plenty of facilities here including accommodation and places to eat but there's not a lot of them. This place is ideally suited to those with a young family as the beach rarely gets big waves and rips are almost non-existent at the southern end.
    To get here you just drive straight through Nelson Bay, then Shoal Bay and Fingal is the next one around, just 45 minutes from Newcastle.

    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Beaches
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Barrington Tops II

    by iandsmith Written Nov 24, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Abundant pest

    On top of the plateau, not far from its highest point near Polblue Swamp, you can clearly see the dramatic impact that introduced species can have. Here we see Scotch Broom running amok. Colourful though it is, its growth is deadly to native species and, in a National Park, is not what you come to see.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Barrington

    by iandsmith Written Oct 24, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ...sound of rushing water....

    Mention the word "Barrington" and it will elicit different responses from different people.
    Many will know it as Barrington Tops, a plateau rising to just over 5,000 feet where it snows occasionally in winter and has a dirt road traversing east to west from Gloucester to Scone.
    Others will know it as Barrington Guest House, a famous old rambling place with verandahs, that you had to book weeks ahead to get into, but these days has had cabins added and presents much more accommodation. Like hand feeding crimson rosellas for instance.
    This complex is situated at the base of the mountain, deep in the rainforest, not far from a stream. The watercourse has walks either side with a suspension bridge at one end.
    It is a delightful stroll amongst forest giants, always with the sound of rushing water nearby and bird noises emanating from who knows where.
    If you're seeking a weekend away from it all, it doesn't get much better than this.
    To get there you need to go through Dungog which is about an hour north west of Newcastle. It's then about another 20 minutes to the guest house.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • skatzcatz's Profile Photo

    Green Point

    by skatzcatz Updated Oct 5, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Green Point

    near to the suburb of Belmont, Green Point is a nice spot for a stroll, picnic or to read a book on the shores of Lake Macquarie. Set amongst the shade of eucalypts with birds singing and lush grass to walk or rest upon i found this to be a nice spot away from the city bustle and ocean winds.

    For most people this place is just a stroll in the park, but for me it will always bring back both happy and sad memories. An angel touched me at this place.

    Directions: off Crown Street slightly north of Belmont, the directions are difficult as it appears to be a driveway and not a park entrance.

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

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Rosemount wines

    by iandsmith Written Sep 13, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The lovely gardens below the restaurant.

    Rosemount Estate is a famous name in wines in the Hunter Valley. From a small beginning it grew.
    And grew and grew until it was taken over.
    Starting off bottling a few hundred thousand, they were talking of 15,000,000 per annum.
    Sadly, as ever in these situations, the mega group that bought them out decided to close the whole operation.
    C'est tragique!
    The nearby town of Denman, where most of the workers lived, is devastated.
    The touristy part is still open and there's a nice restaurant and you can still buy wine there but, the gloom of the bottling plant closure hovers as a dark cloud.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Road Trip
    • Wine Tasting

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Guess who's coming to dinner?

    by iandsmith Written Sep 5, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ...and how much for dessert s'il vous plais?

    There I was, sitting riverside at Morpeth, enjoying another blissful spring day, midst the ambience of the balcony set of the cafe when something came to join us. Now, I don't know about you, but having something this nice coming to join you is quite O.K.
    As the pretty blue wren twittered and tittered we placed scraps on the hand rail as it cheekily ran up and ate them.
    It sure beat our kookaburra experience (see Port Stephens pages) or our Blue Mountains experience with the currawong.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Road Trip
    • Birdwatching

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Sign of the times

    by iandsmith Written Aug 27, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nelson would have loved it

    I always glance up at this advertisement. It's around 50 years old, probably heritage listed. I hope so anyway.
    The brand hasn't existed for about 40 years but the picture lives on, a reminder of the fickle nature of the retail industry.
    It's situated at the corner of Stewart Avenue and Hunter Street on a building that used to belong to S&W Miller, whose sign is also partly visible though it is also many years since Bill Miller last sold a fridge.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Baroona continued

    by iandsmith Written Aug 15, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Subsequently Mudie was not reappointed to the magistracy. In 1837 he sold Castle Forbes and returned to England where he published a distorted and vitriolic attack on perceived enemies, particularly within the magistracy. Upon his return to Sydney in 1840 he found his actions had alienated old friends. He was publicly horsewhipped by John Kinchela, the son of one of the judges he had decried. When Kinchela was found guilty of assault the 50-pound fine was paid by subscription. Mudie returned to England in 1842.
    Albert Dangar, son of surveyor Henry Dangar, acquired Rosemont in 1869 and had Benjamin Backhouse design Baroona using the walls of Rosemont as the basic building block. J. Horbury Hunt designed the stables in 1887 and Frederick Menkens designed the tower and spiral staircase in 1893. The exterior is sandstone and stucco, the joinery of cedar and the fireplaces of marble. The cellar is convict-built. Two-time Melbourne Cup winner, Peter Pan, was foaled and died at Baroona. There is a story that the owner dreamed of the win before the race!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Seniors
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    A standout attraction

    by iandsmith Written Aug 15, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On a hillside

    A few kilometres before Singleton, on your left on a hilltop, is the splendid sight of Baroona (formerly Rosemont) on land granted to James Mudie in 1823. Rosemount was built in 1829 by John Lanarch, his overseer and, later, his son-in-law and business partner. Mudie's own property, situated on the opposite side of the present highway, was known as Castle Forbes but Baroona is the standout today.
    Mudie's story is quite interesting. Appointed a magistrate in 1830, he quickly developed a reputation for excessive use of corporal punishment. When Governor Bourke decided to limit the capacity of magistrates to inflict summary punishments Mudie helped organize a petition against him for what he considered an extravagant leniency.
    Five of Mudie's convicts were executed after they mutinied, tried to shoot Lanarch and fled. An investigation into charges that Mudie and Lanarch degraded their servants may have cleared them of ill treatment, but found them wanting in relation to the issuance of rations. Angered by the report, Mudie came under fire and counter-attacked by subverting Bourke's appointment of one of Mudie's critics. This seems to have been influential in Bourke's resignation of his governorship.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Singleton

    by iandsmith Written Aug 13, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Pretty face on a mining town

    This town's reason for being these days is coal. Though originally surviving and prospering on a rural-based economy, it's raison d'etre these days is definitely coloured black.
    Massive opencuts and modern underground mines are all around the town and the wealth that they spawn is in evidence on the new estates surrounding the town.
    It always seemed a poor cousin to Maitland and Muswellbrook, the towns that flank it east and west, but these days it outshines the both of them.
    Its rural heritage is still visible in places but the brash new image is the one most obvious.
    All standard facilities are here in the way of accommodation, shopping etc., that you would expect in a town of 15,000 plus and its one claim to international fame is the biggest sundial in the world.
    Shown here is a pretty street at the back of the showground with the springtime blooms of the jacaranda on display.

    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Family Travel
    • Adventure Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Catherine Hill Bay

    by iandsmith Updated Aug 10, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ...a very surfable beach....

    Catho, as it is known locally, is a bit of an oddity in terms of historical towns. The standard weatherboard miners cottage multiplied many times lines the single street that runs through this town. Now the whole thing has a heritage order placed on it. It's almost bizarre to think that this village is going to remain the same.
    The reason for the town's being was coal and you can still find a coal mine operating there today though the ship that used to pick it up from the famous wharf no longer arrives at the disused facility. That stopped a couple of years ago. Trucks are used today.
    Catho has a very surfable beach, popular with board riders and, just over the back there's Moonee Beach, another great surfing venue but harder to get to as it involves a walk through a bush track.
    All of this is just south of the Swansea-Caves Beach area.
    In this pick you can see fellow VT-er from Canada, Sarah, enjoying the view.

    Related to:
    • Surfing
    • Windsurfing
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Newcastle

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

105 travelers online now

Comments

Newcastle Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Newcastle off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Newcastle sightseeing.

View all Newcastle hotels