Sydney Road Trip: Day 2 Coffs Harbour to Newcastle

Stunning azure skies, warm breezes and endless sunshine dawn to dusk.  This is NOT our experience on day two along the New South Wales coast.  Typically, when you’ve planned to stretch your legs at picturesque points along route (Nambucca Heads, Port Macquarie and Forster), you’re going to be greeted with nothing much more than grey, wet mist. It’s Murphy’s Law.

Imagine it in its glory.

So as road trips must, we sang and eye-spied our way along what would have been quite lovely coastline had we been able to see past the road spray, into Newcastle, our destination for the night.

We were staying in East Newcastle, the oldest section of Australia’s second oldest city.  The area has plenty of well-preserved historical buildings which reminded me of  England’s industrial cities like Manchester, Liverpool and its namesake, Newcastle.  It  was a distinctly charming area and heading down to the ocean baths in the afternoon in a brief moment of respite from the rain, made you feel like you were in a period drama at a British seaside town.

The ocean baths’ art deco facade.

The kids hadn’t seen sea-fed swimming pools before and they explored the landmark, deserted that afternoon as the weather was not conducive to an ocean dip.

We had the place to ourselves.

Later, while walking towards the newly defunct railway station, the heavens opened again and we spent the last of the afternoon looking for a meal in the pouring rain.  However, by the time the kids were asleep, there were stars a-twinkling in the sky and Stephen and I were able to take it in turns to get some night shots down by the water’s edge.

The water pump for the ocean baths in the rising tide.

We woke the next morning to the glorious day we needed the day before, albeit very windy and cold.  Before departing that morning we walked (or were blown depending on the wind) to Nobby’s Beach and to the gates of Fort Scratchley to see the other drawcards this part of the city offered.

Newcastle looks so much nicer in the sunshine.

Finally on the drive out, we stopped at the Merewether Ocean Baths, another collection of sea-fed swimming pools south of the city.  These are some of the most photographed ocean baths in Australia and with blindingly fresh weather, we certainly took plenty of shots ourselves.


In the meantime, the kids enjoyed running from the pounding surf, spraying up against the outer pool walls.  Connie, although strapped securely in her stroller out of the spray’s reach, thought it hilarious as the boys ran squealing from the waves of water to hide behind her.

Run Thomas, run.

I’m sure they (and I) wouldn’t have been quite as happy had they miss-timed their retreat and ended up soaking and salty for our drive in to Sydney.


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