The Radiance of the Seas arrives into Newcastle at 10:00am.
Although we dock in Newcastle Dockyard, we still need to get to the city centre by bus and … bonus for the passengers… we don’t even have to pay for the bus this time! The loading of passengers onto the buses seems to take forever and we are finally dropped into town at midday.
The bus drops us at the waterfront and I am keen to get away from the increasing throng of cruise passenger tourists who are literally everywhere (and yes I know we are two of them).
We seek out a likely fellow who is one of the volunteer information people …. looking very knowledgeable dressed in a traditional Fort Scratchley uniform (nice touch and so cute). As it turns out he supports the Sydney Swans (which is a team in Australia’s national AFL football league “AFL” ….and information which is critically important!). We chat about footy, about Sydney and about the woes of Richmond which takes some time, eventually forgetting why we are speaking to him in the first place….oh right….map…can he tell us where to go (nicely of course).
“The heritage walk” he suggests, putting a map in Alex’s hand… “Excellent, thank you” etc etc.
Off we head…along with everybody else from the ship who seem to be going in the same direction…. I guess “if you can’t beat em’…join em’”.
First impressions are that Newcastle seems to be a nice, well kept and interesting town.
Alex is in charge of the map today and nominated our official “Tourguide Ken”.
Our first stop is…. “Alex where are we going?”
Alex is leading us with map in hand to Fort Scratchley. Mr Sydney Swans supporter volunteer man told us there is a 1:00pm firing of the cannon…cool! Boys love that kind of stuff.
We walk along and, only once we have passed it, I realise we have missed stoping at Customs House and Convict Lumber Yard (point of interest #3 on the map). “Alex! We missed Customs House!” I don’t think he cared which was confirmed by his reply “Who cares… come on!”.
So…onto Fort Scratchley … except we take a wrong turn at Nobby Beach and find ourselves heading to the Lighthouse instead of the fort…. “Alex….the fort is over there!” (emphasised with pointing finger).
There are three options:
– we could go back; or
– we could keep going; or
– we could sack Alex (Tourguide Ken) from map duty.
I am out-voted (somehow) and Alex remains in charge of the map and it is decided we can watch the cannon fire from the Lighthouse – not as good but good enough.
Look at Lighthouse…check.
The cannon fire from Fort Scratchley doesn’t happed at the scheduled 1:00pm….hmmm (typically misinformed Sydney Swans supporter).
We head back down the hill, back past Nobbys Beach and up the hill on the other side which takes us (finally) to Fort Scratchley. Apparently there is a problem with the cannon today (no…couldn’t be yesterday or tomorrow) and they (the volunteers) are very disappointed but they cannot fire the cannon… well I hope that didn’t happen too often “back in the day” or else it wouldn’t have been a very effective fort !
Look around Fort Scratchley….check
Tourguide Ken (Alex) manages to find our way from Fort Scratchley through some back streets …
glimpsing the ocean baths on the way (“Look…there are the ocean baths”) to the city centre and Hunter Mall where he downs his map (possibly forever) and all six of us enjoy some lunch (Alex, me and 4 flies who refuse to buzz off).
After lunch we wave goodbye to the flies and head over to Queens Wharf, manage to find a vacant table and enjoy a cool drink, the view and an acoustic guitarist playing some cool tunes.
Alex decides to climb the lookout tower…yep… “Show me the photos when you get back Alex… I’ll be here”. It’s a brilliant sunny Saturday afternoon and the perfect place to chill for a bit before we make our way back to the ship.
Newcastle is only about 160km north of Sydney and originally became known as an industrial city, for its steel works and port. Newcastle certainly has its charms and is certainly worth a visit and I was surprised as to the water access this place has which includes the working harbour and numerous beaches. A good majority of the apartments and locations would seem to have some sort of water view, which is always a nice outlook to have.
The “All Aboard” time today is 7:00pm. I head for the bus about 4:30pm. Alex wants to have a quick look at some more shops so we agree to go our separate ways and meet at the ship.
So thank you Alex…ummm Tourguide Ken for an excellent personal guided tour of Newcastle, even if we did miss some stuff.[showmyads]
For previous Royal Carribean Cruise post see Cairns to Newcastle via Whitsunday Islands (evening)
For next Royal Carribean Cruise post see Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia (evening)