A visit to Blackbutt Reserve

Today I took Becky for a visit to Blackbutt Reserve to view a few of our native animals.

We were lucky to fit the visit between rain showers.

We saw some kangaroos:

2018_June1_BBR_kanga1

Some very sleepy koalas:

2018_June1_BBR_koala

Some native birds:

2018_June1_BBR_cockatoo

Sulphur crested cockatoo

2018_June1_BBR_kingfishers_pair

2018_June1_BBR_kingfishers

Kingfishers

BB_GouldianFinch

Gouldian finch

But really, for me, this was just an excuse to visit the wombats again.

2018_June1_BBR_wombat

Sally (3 year old common wombat)

BB_wombat_Clyde

Clyde (15 year old common wombat)

Wombats make me very happy, and it was nice to share them with a friend who had never seen one before!

Sightseeing around Newcastle

With Becky visiting from Texas, I have had an excuse to do some activities that I have wanted to do, but not got around to.

Yesterday we did a river boat cruise along the Hunter River.

IMG_3398

We left from Newcastle Harbour (where the Hunter River meets the sea) on board one of Nova Cruises boats and cruised up to Morpeth.

 

The trip along the river is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It was a lovely day for it – pleasant and relaxing. From the harbour, we travelled up to Hexham where it is necessary to lift the bridge for the boat to pass underneath. I have never experienced the bridge going up, so that was good to see.

There were lots of interesting things to look at along the way as well.

I love an old, ruined building.

HR_cruise-6

Morpeth was established in 1821 and was a bustling river port in colonial days. It is a lovely historic town right on the Hunter River, with National-Trust listed buildings, craft and antique stores and some lovely, scenic places to eat or sit, relax and grab a coffee. We shopped a little and had lunch.

HR_cruise-5

Historic Morpeth bridge from the Hunter River

Newcastle harbour is home to the largest coal exporting port in the southern hemisphere, and as we were coming back we saw a fully laden ship on it’s way out of the port. These ships are huge.

HR_cruise-8

 

A visitor from Texas, USA to Newcastle, NSW!

 

My friend Becky is currently visiting us from Texas. We meet through the pilates class at the local gym in Sherman whilst I was living there, and now I would consider her one of my best friends. Becky has been in Newcastle now 5 days. We have been exploring a little and I have been showing of the parts of my town (with plenty more planned). But today is a bit of a rest day as Becky picked up a cold on the way over (we’ll blame the aeroplane germs). So I’d thought I write a little about what’s happened so far.

IMG_3375

A lazy Sunday afternoon drink listening to some live music at Queens Wharf

We have done a bit of walking, well, quite a bit really. We have been along the harbourside, past the beaches, visited the Christ Church Cathedral, have done a spot of shopping (how can you not?) and have taken a few photos. It’s been fun!

2018_May28_ChristChurchCathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

2018_May28_NewcastleTownHall

Newcastle Town Hall and the pool in front of Civic Fountain

2018_May28_Becky_NewcastleBaths

Becky and the pump house for the Newcastle Ocean Baths

Becky has written a couple of blog posts about her adventures so far. Check them out here.

We also took a drive up to the Hunter Valley vineyards and tasted some excellent wine. Andrew was the designated driver so we could enjoy what was on offer. Besides the good wines, there are also some lovely, picturesque views. The following pictures were taken at Audrey Wilkinson vineyard (excellent wines). We also visited Tulloch wines (also very good wines),  before having some lunch. There is something for everyone in Hunter Valley wine country, from boutique vineyards through to the large well known wine makers, and many excellent places to stay and to eat – so come and visit and spend the weekend (or week) relaxing in the Hunter Valley.

2018_May28_AWvineyard_Becky_sml

2018_May28_AWvineyard

Red roses means red grapes

 

This is the first time I have had a non-family member house guest in a long time. It certainly makes you pay more attention to what is around you (and clean up after yourself more). Seeing your surroundings through the eyes of a visitor from overseas will give you a new perspective on things. There are subtle differences between the USA and Australia, from light switches and power point switches to not so subtle differences, like driving on the other side of the road, and it’s fun to be able to discover and comment on these with a friend.

Tomorrow we are going on a Hunter River cruise to the lovely town of Morpeth. We are both looking forward to that.

 

 

Winter Stress Release at the Beach

Today was a good day!

I took myself off far a walk at the beach this morning (while my husband sat at home and prepared tax returns – bless him). I have much I need to do too, but what I really needed was a break – and the best place for me to find solace is at the beach! So off I went with my trusty camera and enjoyed an hour or so capturing images around one of my favourite places.

 

Unfortunately I didn’t see any whales today (they migrate up the coast at this time of year, so you will often see them off shore). If you like whale watching, then Newcastle and Port Stephens are great places to catch them. Whale watching in Port Stephens

It was a gorgeous winter’s day in Newcastle today, except for the wind, but otherwise, it was lovely – the sun was out and it wasn’t too cold.

 

The surf was up today, and apparently it was a great day for the surfers.

There was a lot of white water about today,

and with the surf up, the ocean baths were closed as the waves were breaking into the pool and washing all over the pool deck, but that didn’t stop a few hardy souls from swimming through the breaking waves.

If you’d like to see more of my photos from today – check out my SmugMug page:

Newcastle – A New Perspective

Over the weekend I took part in my first Meetups activity and partook of a street photography walking tour of Newcastle City. We only covered about 2 blocks in about 1 – 1.5 hours and I must admit it, it was something of an eye-opener. I took time to really take notice what was around me; to look up as well as what was in front of me and to really see (I got so immersed in my photographing that I was nearly run over).

We started our outing in Market Street, by the new Post Office and walked east up the mall to Bolton Street and then back along Scott Street to complete the loop.

Newcastle has some amazing architecture (I’ve always known that),

The once glorious old sandstone post office building:

oldpostoffice the art deco buildings:

cityarcade artdecobuildingdetail

gloriouscolumns but there is also some great graffiti art:

morganst_graffiti honeycafewall

There is so much development going on in Newcastle at the moment – it’s a great opportunity to get out, explore the city and to document some of those changes, and to see things you perhaps have never noticed before.

Like the sandstone figures adorning the old Longworth Institute building in Scott Street:

I feel like this some days!

I feel like this some days!

I actually really enjoyed my afternoon out – I meet a couple of new people who share an interest in photography and I saw my city from a different perspective.

Here are a few of my favourite images that I thought I would share with you.

Who doesn't love an orange door!

Who doesn’t love an orange door!

 

 

A Stairway to Heaven?

A Stairway to Heaven?

 

Reflected buildings!

Reflected buildings!

 

I really do love the city in which I live, and I feel privileged to live right amongst it where it’s not too far to walk to anywhere really.

It’s been quite a while since I have posted anything on my blog (there have been a few reasons for that, which I may include in future blogs, but for now, it’s good to be back writing again). I hope you enjoy it and come visit again!