Saturday, April 26, 2014

Easter breaks

Good news everyone, a day after my last post Oscar was found! He was half awake, mangled and riddled with infection at most a day to certain death. It seems he had been attacked by a neighbors dog or wild possum and had been too injured to get home. For 1 week he sat under a table in tercentennial downpours and cold weather being eaten alive. After a few days of recovery and surgery hes back home locked up away from harm in the "kitty motel" out front with his best buddy Lily. So happy to have spoken too soon, thats one tough kitty  I have never seen such horrible injuries on living creature, except maybe a disemboweled hamster eating its own intestines but that little guy didn't make it.

Trip of the Easter weekend was to Newcastle, NSW & Hunter Valley, Wine Region, NSW.

Not quite my hostel

Newcastle is a small beach city with historic bunkers, some of the biggest waves I have ever seen and a lighthouse to boot. It was one of the most uneventful excursions of my travels and to be perfectly honest a relaxing and well needed one. 

Newcastle is pretty awesomely only located about 3 hours outside of Sydney by train, 2 for me in Brooklyn and is the second most populated city in New South Wales. Its a big surf and body boarding town with some gorgeous little beaches, endless groups of beach bums and intimidating waves.

The first day in the city I decided to skip the town center and go directly for the beach. Looking up the place while deciding if I would visit I had seen a lighthouse and after the disappointment of Fingal bay needed to make up for my losses. It was pretty sweet to say it in the laziest way possible. The lighthouse grounds are open every Sunday for exploration, unfortunately I found out after Sunday and missed out but may make a trip back for it. There is however if you find yourself wandering on a weekday a nice rocky path past the lighthouse to the water. Body boarders sit waiting for waves in the small surf on the left and surfers or crazier body boarders sometime ride the bigger waves on the right. Its a good place to chill and watch if you don't have a board yourself.

To really get the most out of Newcastle, exploration of its history should be considered. Newcastle has a rich past filled with interesting stories, convicts and coal. Many traces of that history can still be seen all over the city, they do a good job at preserving the past and deserve to be heard. They really offer a ton of  things to do, the museum is free along with the lighthouse and Fort Scratchy, take advantage.

Carved by the fingernails of the convicts I'd imagine
The Ocean baths are a cool and helpful option for the more lax beach goers. They were somehow carved into the rock by the inmates of old Aus past and provide a sturdy and effective barrier from the madness of the sea. Newcastle on the fringes of the beach still retains a bit of old world charm, old fashioned signs and really a low key touristy feel.

Fort Scratchy has some of the best views of the city and lighthouse, it like I mentioned completely free and not to be missed. There is an option to pay for some tunnel tours as well.

One other place to go and see a bit of wild-caged-life is at Blackbutt Reserve. I shit you not. Its free also and has everything that you, if you were me, have frustratingly not seen close enough plus a million mosquitoes ready to relieve you for a few lbs of blood. Sarcasm aside it was pretty cute and you can get close to Koalas for 5 bucks, I was too bitten to partake but it looked worth it.

There's also a parrot there that loves to climb humans, you're the exhibit to that guy. Just don't try to get him off your shoulder he bites.

I shall feast upon thy fingers
My pictures sum up the sights for the most part, it was beautiful yes and I myself I wold like to say was loving it 24/7, however I was on a sugar detox (bad timing) and was quite honestly a monster. It felt like a hangover all day long without any alcohol, I had a good time when I could ignore my body's minor annoyances. Sights nom nom gorgeous, mind however screaming fuck you all. 
Ps. failed the sugar detox ill try again when Easter candy and birthdays are over.

Hunter Valley

Feeling half okay half fuck the world I departed on a wine tour at 9:15am on Monday. Hunter Valley is one of the most magnificent places I have ever been in my life, that to note may be the wine memories but I really don't think so. Never have I seen so many kangaroos all bunched up together in groups munching by the side of the road. When I thought about going to Australia I thought roos would be everywhere they are after all considered to be like deer in both abundance and road kill respect. This is the place where the American dreams of Kangaroos in Aus is true, at least the first place I've encountered.

There are over 150 wineries in the valley and it is home to some spectacular views. If you are lucky enough to get there do not just go on a tour, make it a weekend. I should have stayed longer I would have traded one day in Newcastle for 2 there hands down. Im a sucker for beautiful landscapes and the wine doesn't hurt either...

Ill pretend to be a wine snob and say my favorite vineyard of the mere 4 I visited was Constable Estate, the wine of choice, 2011 Cabernet Merlot. I had budgeted to buy 1 bottle of wine and since this was the first place we visited struggled with the choice of buying it, I didnt buy it and regretted it. So, I saved my money and will order it online as a last day Au-pairing treat. 

Plans are being made to move on as I try and make my projected bank account conform to my plans. Next stop Alice Springs? Then probably the Barrier Reef. The big picture hopes are Tasmania, New Zealand, Cambodia, Thailand and Tokyo. Then a regroup of funds before an all over UK? Europe will be hard to travel around considering its almost impossible for me to get a work visa. However like I said my plans change on the daily.