So we reluctantly left the lovely Byron Bay, and continued our journey south. We had planned to spend a few nights in the classic seaside resort town of Coffs Harbour and then in the city of Newcastle (which is a bit different from our own one!). It was great to explore different seaside towns along the coast and we were making the most of the slowly dwindling sunshine as we headed further south and closer to the cold.
Coffs Harbour is a sunny little seaside town that was a very popular holiday destination for Australians from the 1950s onwards. It’s less trendy than Byron Bay and has less in the way of attractions and things to do, but there was still plenty to entertain us for a couple of days. We strolled along the beaches and relaxed in the sun. We also rented kayaks from our hostel and paddled peacefully up and down Coffs Creek, occasionally getting stuck where the water was too shallow. We saw stingrays swimming next to our kayaks and all agreed that this looked like the kind of place crocodiles would like to hang out.
We also strolled around the weekend market and then, with encouragement from our hostel owners, decided to walk down the jetty and jump into the sea. It was a much colder day, the winds were up and the water looked freezing. Toby jumped straight in, like the fearless boy he is. It was pretty high and the drop was quite far! Matt stood on the edge for a very long time and then chickened out. I had then been encouraging Matt to jump, so felt that I ought to do it as I’d been telling him how easy it would be! It was pretty scary and the water was cold, but it definitely got our blood pumping.
Coffs Harbour was a nice little town to relax in, but I think it would have been a bit more buzzing in the summer, as most tourist towns are.
We then had our longest bus journey so far, travelling from Coffs Harbour to Newcastle, about 7 hours away. Newcastle was a pleasant surprise. Save for a few pretty streets, it is quite an industrial looking city. It has got a huge port and there are lots of warehouses. It feels like a city on the up, however. Around every corner is a trendy looking cafe or a series of op shops (Australian charity shops) or vintage shops. It feels very trendy and it feels like it’s working pretty hard to make itself a bit more interesting.
We did plenty of walking around when we were in Newcastle. We walked along the seafront and along the very pretty beach. We stopped for ice creams and iced chocolate drinks from the Guylian chocolate cafe (Grace’s spiritual home). We went for a coffee in a trendy looking coffee shop and wandered around the pretty backstreets. Later, we found a local TV and film themed pub quiz. Although we were a bit on the young side for some of the questions and we had a very limited knowledge of Australian television, we came a very respectable third.
We weren’t in Newcastle for long but we all agreed that we liked it. I think in about 5 years time it’ll be even more popular, as residents of Sydney realise they’ve got a trendy and underrated neighbour!