Between Brisbane to Sydney I stopped off in Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour and Newcastle.
I stayed 2 nights in Byron Bay. The weather was not as dry as I had hoped, but I managed to walk up to the lighthouse on my first day, where I saw a humpback whale. The next morning I had a surf lesson, this was my third lesson. I’m not sure how far I’ve progressed, but practice makes perfect!
On my final morning, I woke at 4:00 am and walked up to the lighthouse. I’d heard the sunrise is meant to be beautiful, unfortunately, the cloud was too thick to see it! But on the way home I saw dolphins playing in the waves, close to the surfers. This is the first time I have seen this so was definitely worth waking up for! I got a bit excited so was unable to catch anygood photos/videos of this!
After a 4 hour bus journey to Coffs Harbour, I spend 24 hours there, which was not enough! I arrived at 3pm, so had a very quick walk around the CBD and Botanical Garden (where you could easily spend half a day). The botanical garden was strictly split into different zones, including a mangrove swamp and native and non-native species.You could really feel the difference in temperatures as you moved between the zones.
The next day I went to the Porpoise Park during the morning, I spent around 3 hours there where you are moved from one show to another. I arrived in time for the dolphin and seal “kisses”, before the main show.The main show featured a couple of seals and dolphins doing tricks. After the show you could feed the seal and touch the dolphin as they were swimming around. Throughout the next few hours there were shows at the snapper fish enclosure, and with the penguins, again, where you could feed all the animals. It was the most interactive park that I have been to. Even when the shows were not on you could see the animals play and relax within their enclosures. The trainers also seemed to know the animals well, ensuring they wouldn’t get too stressed or tired, and there were always people around to ensure no one would try and take a cuddly seal/dolphin!
That afternoon I walked to the seafront and along the pier. I thought I would also taste my first piece of Australian meat so I tried a crocodile burger… safe to say I didn’t enjoy it!
What to say about Newcastle… I don’t know if it was just a little miserable when I went or if there is generally not much to do…I arrived late in the evening so I had about 2 full days in Newcastle. I was hoping to go wine tasting in the Hunter Valley, but was unable to find a tour company operating midweek in the off-season.
I walked to the end of the pier with the lighthouse. This was attached to the mainland by convicts when the area was first colonised and many lost their lives during its construction due to strong waves.The city cathedral is also worth a visit on the top of a hill, I’m sure pre-skyscraper it would’ve stood tall and proud above the city.
As I walked around the city, it didn’t feel like it had a defined CBD, and like many Australian cities it seemed to be sprawling, with no real feel of a centre. After walking around a bit longer I managed to find the Civic building, which was surrounded by a nice park and a few museums and galleries. I then headed further along the water front where an area near from workshops had been regenerated then back to the hostel. On my second day I took a slow walk along the water front again to the Newcastle Museum which included plenty of information about the convict and coal past of the local area.
Whilst I enjoyed my trip from Brisbane to Sydney, I would’ve happily skipped out the stop in Newcastle, and spend more time in Byron Bay or Coffs Harbour!