Overnights stays: Chateau Newman, Fletcher (6 nights); Chateau Troonhill, Adamstown (1 night)
When details of Ally and Tony’s wedding (Newcastle friends) were released months ago, knowing we would be on Wombatical, we agreed we’d probably be somewhere just north of Brisbane towards the end of Feb (wedding day). So we booked our flights from Brissy to Newy, which became our first firm deadline for the trip, beyond Tamworth for the Country Music Festival in Jan.
Little did we know we’d end up a mere three hours south of Brisbane, moving slower than the countdown to the 2020 US Presidential Election. Truth is we didn’t realise how much great stuff northern NSW has to offer, which is part of the beauty of a trip like this.
Anyway, we said our goodbyes to the lovely Hanna’s, and made our way to Brissy Airport, leaving the WomBatmobile to rest at the airport for a disgustingly cheap $10 a day.
I reckon the least we’ve ever paid for a hire-car would be about $70 per-day. So you could imagine the pleasant surprise when Thrifty threw us a Toyota Yaris for a mere $20 a day from Newy Airport. It’s quite a change up from the 4.5 tonne WomBatmobile, but managed the job as our mode of transport wonderfully.
Can’t teach old dogs…
A return to Newcastle isn’t complete without an arvo at Lowlands Bowling Club, our old local. There we caught up with Bec, Kunky and Ruby for a few drinks and insane burgers for old times’ sake. For the first time in history I steered away from the Baconator, repeatedly nominated as my all-time fav burger. Despite the beef brisket being beautiful, the Baconator and I will reacquaint before too long.
Happily ever Bauer
Ally and Tony’s wedding was wonderful. The venue at Stanley Park was awesome, the weather turned on, the Coronas were cold, and the food was out of control good. Add to that novelty-sized kids games and you’re onto a winning formula.
Ally looked beautiful and with the sensational sunset over the water allowing my sweat to rest, we were set in for a good night. The food plates must’ve missed Loz, but not the red wine, bringing out the Lozzy that Ally remembers and loves most; all party and no stamina 🍷💃🏼🤢😴.
It was a wonderful and emotional day, a great opportunity to catch up and relax with Halz and Els, and awesome to see one of the best friends we’ve ever had tie the knot with the man she loves.
Every time we spend time with Claire and Shaun, friends made through our anti-natal classes pre-Liv, Loz and I agree that we need to spend more time with them. Liv and Millah (their 3yo daughter) get on like they’ve never been apart, and we rarely feel so relaxed in others’ company as we do with them.
Shaun whipped up some of the best fish we’ve eaten, and we spent the night mostly laughing at his infinite amount of stories, delivered with more detail than a Grey Nomad giving you directions (little do the nomads know you’re not listening and you’re going to Google it).
Although it seems we’re in Newcastle more than some East-Enders complaining of living in conditions similar to those in Holocaust (Google it), we always do our best to touch base with as many friends as possible when we’re about. On a drizzly weekday, with most normal people at work, Loz spent some time with Ally and Tony, while I popped in to see the legendary nib marketing team, followed by some quality FIFA 16 at Stu’s, and Taco Tuesday that night back at Chateau Newman.
Turning 23 (backwards)
The weather finally turned around and after catching up with another mate and his gorgeous daughter in the morning, we shot to Bar Beach for a day of sun with Stu, who only seems to work about 10 minutes per-day (but bought be a present of 6 delicious Doughhead doughnuts, so I’ll lay off him). Exhausted from all the holidaying, we retreated to Stu’s Bachelor Pad (with the best view in Newy) for some PS4 followed by an epic Kick session with Kunky and Andrew in Gregson Park.
I’m telling the story so I’m going to say that Andrew and I dominated Forcy Backs, while Loz and Em doted over Charlie, and Liv and Ruby ran around like maniacs. Somewhere along the line I did some serious damage to my back, which has since made the most mundane tasks, such as putting pants on, more difficult and painful than sitting through an episode of Gilmore Girls.
Loz delivered the goods, stocking up in the best salmon sushi in town, followed by Vienetta. A birthday dreams are made of; beach, doughnuts, Playstation, kick, sushi, and ice-cream cake 👌🏻. Oh, and Loz also bought me a Whale Shark Diving Experience to be used in Ningaloo Reef later this year – something on my bucket list since I saw whale sharks on the front of a National Geographic magazine when I was about 5.
Before we knew it, a week had almost passed, and it was time to say our goodbyes, this time being the last for many.
With our flight not until the late arvo, we spent the day with Deb and Stu up at Port Stephens, first checking out the Tomaree Head walk we’ve never bothered with. The walk is steep but short, so relatively easy; so much so that Liv made it most of the way, and only decided to stop so she could take a bunch of photos. The views on the way up and at the top are pretty special, and it made us realise we never took advantage of this area when we lived in Newcastle.
It’s not a visit to Shoal Bay without Co-Op prawns for lunch and a swim, both of which we abided by.
Then we waited like suckers in the concourse of Newcastle Airport (no Qantas Club 😔), and were back in the familiar comfort of the WomBatmobile before we knew it, ready to continue our journey of a lifetime.