Located just outside Newcastle city is this wonderfully maintained Wildlife Reserve . Recently I was invited for a "mini VT meet up" at this location and we were having a small get togeather For Dorrise and friend who was visiting from Cairns ..The meeting?BBQ was set up by " "Betska" and what a great job she did organising it Thanks also to her man also who did the cooking and looked after us a treat....Also there was "Budgy " so great to see everyone once again..along with some friends..The day was lovely and warm after so much recent rains..
First impressions of this Reserve are one of an immaculately clean one with many various Shelters with tables and bench seating..alongside are the great stainless steel BBQ's...The best thing also here is that this is all free ...Yes FREE..now you don't hear that much these days,..
Blackbutt Reserve covers an area of 182 hectares with over ten kilometers of walking tracks ..The Reserve has many types of Australian wildlife, birds coloured parrots Cockatoos, Emus, Wombats ,Kangaroos , Wallabies..There is even a hands on "cuddle a Koala" and contact with various wildlife reptiles daily at 2 PM... This can be done by getting a ticket at the small cottage .There is .a huge walk through aviary and others with safety gates
The BBQ areas are everywhere with clean BBQ's for the perfect "sausage sizzle..This was such a great day being able to catch up once again with my VT friends the usual travel cahatter..and with a lovely big bread roll and sausages with some fried onions accompanied by a couple of "icy cold this was just such a great location for it.!!
.The walking tracks are well maintained and easily accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.. Photography opportunities are everywhere. Evening spotlight adventures are held Saturday eveningsfrom April through till September .This certainly is a great place to spend the day..
Like very city around the world, things change, some for better, some for worse. Around the beach area along the Merewether/Dixon Park/Bar Beach strip things are getting better.
There's a new skating ramp at the rear of Bar Beach, a whole new restaurant complex at Merewether and new picnic facilities in the park at the back of Dixon Park that features a new mural with Newcastle's three time world surfing champion, Mark Richards.
I decided that one of the things that I would do when in Newcastle yesterday was that i would take a walk along the Harbour front...Usually I am up at the beach end and must say the harbouside walk was interesting..I beleive that they call it the North Walk...anyway there are various restuarants where you can sit and look out to the Harbours entrance or directly up the Harbour as I was looking at a large bulk carrier coming in and gently being shown its way up the Harbour by local tugs..
The boardwalk is nicely set out with a well manicured grass are with a mast and monument to the many sailors lost to the sea..I was extremely lucky as it was a lovely day even though a little on the hotside..
Here you will see the new Maritime Observation Tower that controls the local shipping.
I must say that I was surprised while walking along the Harbour front to see a Harry's Cafe on Wheels.!!!.Seems like he must be spreading his wings...A long time institution in Sydney by the Naval wharves it was and still is a great place to fill that 2am gap of hunger...
This Harry's I noticed is set up the same way as its counterpart in sydney..and sells the same many faire..different pies , hot dogs ,chili dogs, pasties, and the popular quick likeable fast type of food....Located (just across the road)on the great North walk at Queens wharf..You cant' miss it..
A day at the beach is always something to look forward to but now there is another Don't added to the many Do's and Dont's that we live with. Recent laws in N.S.W. means now that it is illegal to smoke on the beach..So, if you are a smoker now you have to BUTT OUT...The only butts on the Beach are human.
Overses visitors are not familiar with these laws..but they are enforced and fines apply.
Please take note of all safety signs on beaches..
Tanilba Bay means 'place of wild flowers' [thought to be Flannel flowers]
It is located in a quiet spot, surrounded on three sides by the waters of Port Stephens and Tilligerry Creek.
It was quite a surprise to us, when we were greeted by large gates at the entrance to this small community.
The huge stone centenary gates were built in 1931 to commemorate the arrival of the first settler, William Caswell. He came to Tanilba, built Tanilba House in 1831, lived there for about ten years before moving to the Williams River.
The house is open for inspections Wednesdays, weekends, and every day during school and public holidays.
Telephone: 02 4982 4866.
Tanilba house faces Port Stephens across Meridian Park, and has more stone landscaping.
Other points were the street names, ......Navy Nook, Army Avenue and Diggers Drive. were chosen to remind residents & visitors of the heroes of the World War I, Both the gates, 'The Water Gate' with the bollards from H.M.A.S Sydney, which was briefly in Port Stephens on its way to being scrapped after World War I, and 'The Entrance Gates' near Lemon Tree Passage Road, were built using unemployed workers during the Depression
Small Tanilba Bay was quite a surprise!
Located about 40mins from Newcastle.
We don't make as much use of Blackbutt as we should. It's a fabulous place to take the kids for a morning out. They can get up close and personal with a koala, walk through the wildlife exhibits, burn off energy and work up an appetite on the playground equipment, and then have a BBQ lunch. The Barbeque area's are clean, and there is plenty of seating...just look out for the possums if you eat at the undercover area! If you don't have kids, its still a great place to be with some lovely walks through the bush.
You know how I rave about Sydney's beaches. Well I have to admit that Newcastles' aren't too bad either.
And there's a bit of history to be found too. At the northern end of Newcastle Beach straight out from where I was staying & working is one of a series of Ocean Pools. I think this one is called the Bogey Hole, but I'm not too sure. What I do know, as was related to me by Peter Chapman a local & Principal of Mannering Park Public School, is that this was on of a number that were dug out of the rock by convicts well over 150 years ago. The really interesting fact about this one is that apparently they chiselled a map of the world on the bottom of this one, but unfortunately it is more often than not covered by sand washed in by the high tides & waves.
You can also take advantage of the five kilometres of Newcastle Beach's walking path, called Bathers' Way to explore more of the beachfront. You can download a map for this wal from the website below.
The Heritage Walk takes you past some lovely buildings such as the Customs House which was built in 1876, and is now a Hotel. Walk on past the Convict Lumber Yard, Fort Scratchley, Newcastle Ocean Baths and Beach and Christ Church Cathedral.
The 3km walk takes about 1.5hours.
King Edward Park , is a nice park to visit, and a added plus are the great views to the Ocean and Fort Scratchley. The lawned park has a sunken garden & Victorian rotunda.
The remains of the Shepherds Hill Battery and Gunner's Cottage which were in regular use from 1890 to World War II are located here.
The one complaint we had, was it was so popular it was hard to get a car park, just lucky that one car pulled out as we were driving around again!
Jesmond House, what a beautiful, well kept enormous mansion this was!
This Mansion was built for spirit merchant John Wood in 1865, originally standing amongst an extensive garden. It was often used for grand social occasions. Features include a grand entry staircase, magnificent ornamental cast-iron fencing and a tower. It was Newcastle's most fashionable house at one time and it is not hard to see why, it is beautiful!,
This old Beacon Tower, which was used as a navigational aid, was originally 7 metres high, then it was extended to 20 metres in 1877 after the light had been obscured by the erection of a Wesley Parsonage. Alterations to the bearings of the entrance channel led to commissioning of new lights in steel towers on other sites on 1 June 1918.
The public are no longer allowed to climb the Tower
The Hunter Botanic gardens are not to be confused with the Hunter Valley gardens, they are two different gardens located in different places.
We didn't know this one existed until we saw sign on the Pacific Highway, of course, this meant a visit!
Heading to the Visitor's centre 1st, we found leaflets on the Gardens, plus souvenirs and a Cafe serving Devonshire morning teas, yummy! They also have lite meals and refreshments here.
The gardens cover quite an area, so be prepared for some walking, as there is plenty to see. There are lots of the Australian natives, like the Grevillea, Banksia, Acacia gardens just to name a few. Most of the plants here are Australian flora.
There are so many themed gardens, the Protea garden [south african plants] was one of my favorites, and the Succulent garden would have to be one of the best I have ever seen, so many different types of cacti here! They also have an area with the plants that grow in the region. Rainforest, Wetland, a really nice place for a stroll!
If you have the time, there is a large expanse of natural bushland with several walking tracks up to 6km in length providing an opportunity to see local plants and wildlife including numerous birds, goannas, possums, wallabies and koalas.
The bushland called the Gundabooka Trail is used to indicate the plants which were important to the local Kooris [aborigines] and were used for food, medicine and other purposes.
The Gardens and Visitors Centre, and Gardens Shop and the Kookaburra Cafe are open daily, from 9.00am to 4.00pm
Admission to the Gardens is FREE for individuals.
The Gardens has a boom gate controlled carpark for visitors. A parking charge of $4.00 applies for cars.
Check the website for different events that are held throughout the year at the gardens.
Lovely gardens well worth visiting, especially in Spring/Summer when the shrubs and Trees are flowering.
Cellar Door Opening Hours
9am - 5pm Monday to Saturday
10am - 4pm Sunday
$5 per person
Private Group Tour & Tasting
$5 per person for tour
$8 per person for tour and tasting
Bookings are essential
There are three standout sandstone buildings in Newcastle. The old Post Office, the old Customs House and the Town Hall, shown here.
This shot is taken from near the library on the other side of Civic Park one afternoon with a storm brewing which somewhat enhances the colour of the sandstone.
It was opened in 1929 and inside is a lovely dance hall with balcony et al.
Walking up the splendid stairway however, one notices what I consider to be an eyesore. There is a large mural in lurid yellow set amongst the sandstone supposedly depicting the Hunter Valley by a famous artist called Olsen. In an art gallery it may well have a place. Here, where it clashes with everything, is not the place.