Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Newcastle: Beaches and Ocean Baths -- Tues., Nov. 27

The beach won out today. Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, to be exact. Bob loves the ocean and when I saw the 5K Bathers Way Walk on the "Free Guide and Maps to Newcastle" brochure, I knew that would be our walk today.

After a one-hour drive to Newcastle, we parked at Camp Shortland and started the walk along Macquarie's Pier and walked out past Nobby's Lighthouse to the end of the harbour break-wall. The weather was overcast and warm; however, when we went out on the harbour wall, a fierce wind kicked up and we got sandblasted for a short distance.

The breeze was a constant companion on our walk and without it, the temperature would have been sweltering. About two hours into the walk, we had quite a bit of ocean spray and high misty fog roll in, but didn't block our views.

Nobby's Lighthouse and dunes.
Looking back at Nobby's Lighthouse from the break-wall.
The city of Newcastle from the lighthouse walk.
Looking back toward Nobby's Lighthouse.
Along Bathers Way, we saw numerous beaches along with Ocean Baths.  The first ocean bath we came to was Newcastle Ocean Baths.

Art deco building at Newcastle Ocean Baths.

Huge saltwater pool at the baths with lap lanes at one end.

The walk followed a beautiful stretch of coastline.

Bob's happy face.
Newcastle Beach and our walkway.
While we were walking, a Marine Rescue helicopter was just off-shore. We saw someone in the water set off a flare. The helicopter hovered for quite a while and ended up pulling two people out of the water.

Marine Rescue helicopter.
The next point of interest on the Bathers Way was the Bogey Hole, one of the oldest ocean baths in New South Wales. The Bogey Hole was constructed by convicts in 1819 for the personal use of Commandant Morisset. The name Bogey Hole comes from the indigenous word meaning "to bathe." There were about 12 people swimming in the Bogey Hole today. If we had our swimsuits and towels there would have been two more in there. It looked so inviting.

The Bogey Hole.
"Crown Land" beyond the fence.
The steepest part of the walk was up and over the above headland. At the top we came to Cook Hill neighborhood (The Hill) and Strzelecki Lookout.

Cook Hill homes.
Strzelecki Scenic Lookout
Rainbow Lorikeet
(You didn't think I could do a post without a bird or animal, did you?)
Bar Beach, Dixon Beach and Meriwether Beach.
Along our route were history markers. The signs below tell about the history of coal in the area. Click to enlarge the history markers below.

Kite surfers
The farthest destination on our walk was Merewether Ocean Baths, the largest ocean bath complex in the Southern Hemisphere.

Merewether Ocean Baths.
From here we turned around and walked 5 km back to our car along the same route. All in all, our walk was about 13 km (7-1/2 miles). With all our stops it took us 4 hours and 20 minutes.

Dinner was at "A Taste of Asia." Then we drove back to Cessnock.

On the way home, the rain started, and the lightning. Tonight, we are having another thunder and lightning show.

We were going to take the train into Sydney tomorrow, but the weather says otherwise. It's supposed to rain with thunderstorms. Thursday will be better weather, so we'll do our Sydney trip on Thursday.

Oh, I don't think I've posted a photo of our replacement Hertz car. It's a Hyundai. We love the sapphire blue color!

Friday, we check out of our timeshare. We're still waiting to hear about our Melbourne timeshare--they haven't found one for us yet. If we don't get the timeshare, we will wing it and drive the coastline from Sydney to Melbourne, staying at motels along the way.

Tomorrow is another day. Let's see what it brings.

Travel Bug out.