Newcastle is big on water sports. A new marina, completed in 2003, has opened and already has added colour to the harbour.
Surfing, kite surfing, wind surfing, body surfing, fishing, swimming, sailing, cruising on Lake Macquarie or Nelson Bay, kayaking, rowing and surf boat rowing are all popular, especially in spring to autumn.
Facilities are many so don't forget to pack your bathers.
This shot is taken at Merewether where Mark Richards, three times world surfboard champion, still struts his stuff. His house actually overlooks the beach.
Knowledgeable viewers will know this is not a shot of Mark however, as this is a goofy footer and Mark's a natural. (He made the wave after getting inside if you were curious.)
I should also mention that before you go in the water you should be "surf safe", i.e. you should understand rips and such because swimming in surf is so different to swimming in a pool or a lake.
The Forum at the University of Newcastle has the 2nd highest climbing wall in Australia. At an awesome height of 18 metres, the artificial wall is a magnificent centre piece of The Forum where members and guests can experience the extreme world of climbing.
The colour coded routes range from an easy 10 for the beginner to the more advanced climbing routes of 20+. In addition, The Forum can offer climbing tuition, specialised climbing classes, group sessions and personal training for persons of most ages.
Swimming is a popular summer pastime in Newcastle, and much of Australia for that matter. One great thing I like about Australia is that here and there are ocean baths.
Personally, I'm a salt man, chlorine doesn't do it for me; plus, you float better in salt.
This is a shot of the starting blocks at Merewether Baths with a moderate swell and high tide happening, one of two ocean baths in the Newcastle area where you can splash away to your heart's delight with the sound of the surf just metres away.
There are also several chlorine pools for those so inclined, with Lambton being the best known and it has the highest tower, a 10 metre affair.
Equipment: Just put on your cossies, swimmers, boardies or whatever you want to call them and jump in (it's nice if you shower beforehand in consideration of the other patrons though).
Every weekend when I'm not travelling I head off over to my bike club and have a race. I'm a member of the Hunter Valley Veterans Cycling Club and we race every Sunday at the eastern end of Kooragang Island, 9.00 am winter and 8.00 am summer.
Other clubs race here as well on Saturday afternoons at 2.30pm.
There are 5 clubs in the Hunter Valley all up and any of them will make you quite welcome on their race days.
Equipment: All you need is a bike, a helmet and a racing licence, current of course.
Some days you get lucky. The picture shows me winning a race, for which the handicapper put me up a grade the following week.
Mmm, I can't imagine there are too many VTers who are into skateboarding. This is more an excuse to use a photo of the local skateboard ramp at South Newcastle Beach than anything else. Having said that it's not the only one surfside and you can find one at Bar Beach, Stockton and Redhead as well as a few in the inner suburbs.
Personally, I just wish the graffiti artists would go elsewhere...........like in the water.........for a very long time.
Netball is big in Newcastle. Once upon a time we had our own team in the National League but we got controversially axed. Newcastle not happy, it has happened so many times in so many sports it's almost embarrassing.
Still, that hasn't stopped netball being extremely popular in Newcastle and, just behind the No. 1 Sportsground in Union Street are a bank of netball courts, 20 plus if my memory serves me correctly. Heck, I only live 100 metres away, you'd think I could do better than that!
Especially as I walk past them at least three times a week.
Anyhow, I digress; there's also a soccer ground there which regularly gets flooded when it buckets down and, slack me, I don't have a picture of netball being played but I do have a picture of the wet ground after a humungous storm.
Equipment: If you want to play then just turn up any weekend in winter and there's thousands of people coming and going (and taking up the car parking spot out in front of our place). It's all very colourful and very healthy and all you need is your uniform, a pair of impact resistant sandshoes and a team.
Yachting has taken on a new lease of life since the opening of the Newcastle Marina around the turn of the century.
Most sundays they head out for some offshore racing and you'll often see them right up close as they come out through the breakwalls.
This shot was taken from Nobbys breakwater.