A little beach envy cresting here with the waves that crash onto Newcastle Beach. The water is a lovely turquoise blue, the sand is plentiful and squeaky, like halloumi cheese, and I love the sea breeze whipping around me. Not even this puts me off !
Nudie is holding an Australian Boardriders Battle here in Newcastle and contrary to expectations these are not nude surfers but ones hanging onto their Nudie fruit juices which are au naturelle, having the time of their life. Ah yes, living right on the beach is something that I did so effortlessly as a young thing growing up in the town of Famagusta in Cyprus. That beach culture pervades your every waking moment. Barely needing any clothes you wander through the day with your bikinis and your board shorts and life is meant to be enjoyed through the grains of sands pushing through your toes as you engage in yet another conversation with someone you just met on the beach. I do love that and I guess Newcastle, the Ozzie one, has the advantage over Brisbane here.
Newcastle, some 900 kms down south from Brisbane is on the coast. Not surprisingly it was discovered when someone called Shortland was pursuing escaped convicts in 1797. He entered the mouth of the river and called it the Hunter River after the Governor at the time, but more importantly he found coal at the base of the headland which was as good as any in Europe. Well that sealed the city's fate and from then it grew into a European settlement in 1804 with 34 convict miners, mostly Irish, who came to mine the coal. We walked to one of the landmarks, Bogie hole, built by the convicts for the governor. His own swimming pool, as it were, and there by the side of the road we found - yes, you guessed it, coal. So Newcastle grew to be this industrial port, exporting coal and also iron ore. It has huge mines and ship building factories and if I were really honest it would probably not be up on my list of places to see because of all this.
The Bogie Hole excavated out of the rock by convicts, for the Governor to swim in.
Having friends in these places who can point you in the right direction makes such a difference. So we stayed at Noah Quality Hotel overlooking the beach, and walked right onto Newcastle beach to watch the competition while sipping our Nudies and then onto Nobby's Beach full of life savers and school pupils having a ball, and then onto another with the most beautiful bright pebbles on the beach and lots of happy dogs.
Newcastle is a haven for beaches within a pebble's throw and what a privilege that is, sharks or no sharks. There is something that a beach life offers us which is free and unfettered.