The Novel Novocastrian
The Random Ramblings of a Temporary Resident
By Tara Brady
A list of things to do if you’re visiting Newcastle (in honour of my Ma’s impending visit and all of the fun things we will be getting up to!)
Next week my mum (who will be referred to as Ma from here on out) arrives from the UK! I am soooo excited! This is because, not only do I love my Ma in the way that you kind of have to love family members, I actually LIKE her. I like spending time with her, she’s an incredibly interesting and funny person and we share the same kind of crazy so it’s all good. Better yet, Ma and the husband get along really well, and I realise how lucky I am that this is the case (even if it means they occasionally join forces against me…I mean…how unfair is that?) Anyway, since I’ve known she was coming to visit, I have been compiling an ever growing list of things to do here in Newcastle that may, or may not, be useful for others with guests from out of town, or indeed if you yourself are from out of town.
- Christ Church Cathedral via Good Brother Coffee: Even if you’re not a particularly religious person and churches and temples aren’t really your thing, Christ Church Cathedral is worth visiting simply because of the history it contains, particularly in relation to the First World War. To me the most incredible and moving aspect in the cathedral is the Gallipoli Flag which is simply framed so that it speaks for itself. If you need refreshment afterwards then pop down King St to Good Brother Coffee where you can indulge in cardamom cake and excellent coffee.
- Newcastle Beach/Ocean Baths/Estabar: Now its warming up again it is of course time once more to hit the beach and the ocean baths. And as I’ve mentioned before: Estabar = blood orange frappe. That is all.
- Hunter Street Shopping: I love strolling along the Hunter St shopping precinct. There are so many different shops to poke around in! And many, many cafés in which to chill out. My two faves are The Ground Floor and One Penny Black.
- Nobbys Beach and Lighthouse: This is particularly nice to walk along in the evenings when it’s a bit cooler and you can catch some incredible sunsets. The lighthouse is open on Sundays and has a little coffee kiosk to reward you for making the climb! Also make sure to look at the rocks lining the walkway – some have carvings in them including a surfer and other sea creatures. And if you’re a bit peckish after all that windblown walking, why not head to Scottie’s on Scott St for dinner or take away.
- Galleries to sooth the eyes and the soul: Newcastle has an incredible number of artists so it only makes sense that there would be numerous galleries to visit. www.urbaninsider.com.au has a great list of galleries with opening times. A few to check out are the Newcastle Regional Art Gallery on Laman St and The Lock Up and Curve Galleries on Hunter St. And if you want to take home some stunning images of Newcastle as a keepsake then check out Shannon Hartigan Images on Hunter St.
- Here for a few weeks? Why not learn something while you’re at it: Studio Melt on Hunter St offers various workshops through CleverLab www.cleverlab.com.au where you can learn silver-smithing, precious metal clay jewellery making and book illustration over a couple of weekends or evenings. Suzy who runs most of the workshops is great fun, in fact she suggested this next activity.
- Hire electric bikes and “cycle” the Fernleigh Track or Honeysuckle /Foreshore: www.newcastleelectricbikes.com.au located on Parry St (opposite The Edwards if you need a brunch spot) will let you hire a bike + helmet + lock for only 2 hours up to 5 days at a very reasonable price. A great way to explore with pedalling as an option.
- Rainy day? How about coffee, a trip to the spa and then the cinema? I have actually done this in this precise order and my goodness what a wonderful way to spend a rainy day. Start at Saluna on King St where you can read copies of Newcastle Mirage while you tuck into your coffee, then proceed to Endota Spa which is just a couple of shops down for some phenomenal pampering, then catch up with the latest flicks at Event (Tower) Cinema which is still on King St (you don’t even need to cross the road!)
- Finally, especially if you have visitors from overseas or children or both, it is worth checking out the small but lovely Hunter Valley Zoo which is only 5 mins from Cessnock. You can feed the animals, have a meerkat encounter and tickle some kangaroos…just beware the Emus…greedy buggers!