Our first stop up the East coast, Newcastle! In the guide books, Newcastle hasn't been given a very good write up, mainly because it isn't that attractive in areas. It used to be an industrial town that produced coal and steel etc, but since this production has stopped, the council have tried to revive areas of the town, and Newcastle proved to be a nice stopover.
Our main reason for going to Newcastle originally was to visit the Hunter Wine Valley Region which it is renowned for. So on our first day there we signed up for a days tour to the valley and vineyards. What a great day we had, stopping off at our first vineyard at 9am, not bad going!! By the end of the day and 5 wine and port tastings at different vineyards later you could say we were slightly worse for wear!!
On our second day in Newcastle we decided to go and explore the nearby town of Port Stephens which is renowned for its sand dunes, and duly signed up for a 4WD tour across the dunes and a go at sandboarding!! Not really much like snowboarding, a lot easier actually. You are given a small rectangle piece of wood, place your bum on it and down the dunes you go, great fun, but not much fun climbing back up them again!!!
Our next port of call along the East coast was Coffs Harbour. And again our guide books let us down, first they give us a bad write up of Newcastle which wasn't fair and then when they mentioned Coffs Harbour they failed to mention how spread out the town and all areas are, not a good place to visit if you are on foot and don't have your own transport!! So you could say we spent a couple of days hopefully burning off a bit of our xmas fat with all the walking we did!! As well as the problem with getting around the town, we also struggled to find things to do, everything we tried to do wasn't possible, the tour company had either gone bust, or the water wasn't high enough, so in the end we had to opt for a bush tour on one day and a couple of hours trekking in the rainforest.
The riding was great for Bexta who really got into it when she managed to finally get her steed going, (and was able to relax more this time with her dobbin who was slightly more layed back than her last ride on Frosty!!). Whilst CJ was also given a dobbin which made a change to have to be kicking rather than pulling her horse!!
The following day we managed to get on a day's 4WD bush tour where we were driven around some national parks and shown various wildlife and plantlife, putting the 4WD to full use in places!! After a lovely BBQ lunch (where we were joined by a wild Possum who was searching for some food for his family that apparently live in the building he popped out from!), we then went to a nearby waterfall for a dip, and what a refreshing dip that was!! Another very educational and enjoyable day!!