After a final dig from Newcastle, I felt I was happy to escape New South Wales’ second city and head to on to my rain forest retreat in Port Stephens up the coast. Beautiful beaches and hidden hostel hideaways.
Just to complete my stay in Newcastle, on my last day I was thrown off a bus for no apparent reason. I was simply asked to get off and when I questioned why and asked if it was because the bus didn’t go as far as my stated destination after all, I was just told once more to get off . The bus then continued on the same path and I would assume right past where I wanted to go.
So Newcastle had firmly established itself as definitely not my city so Port Stephens, here I come. And it did not disappoint. My hostel was located just outside Anna Bay but turned out to be just as described – a pocket of rain forest at the coast. Set between two sections of Tomaree National Park and 20 minute walk to two stunning beaches. The location was ideal but the hostel itself was perfect, especially compared with the Newcastle YHA. In no way a traditional backpackers, this hostel was made up of 4 separate wooden cabins dotted about in the forest with a big pool and bush kitchen in the centre. Making dinner in the bush kitchen was a little odd as I shared my work surface with a noisy Kookabura who was very interested in my pasta, staring at me from only a few inches away. I scared the odd lizard as I walked to and from my cabin but was told to keep an eye out for Sython the Python who was supposedly friendly.
I spent some time at the nearby One Mile Beach which, to me, was a perfect spot. In total there are 26 beaches in the Port Stephens area so I only visited a few but all seemed really nice.
I have also suffered my first injury or possibly illness of the trip in Anna Bay. After a day at the beach, my foot turned a lovely purple- red colour and became swollen. I have no idea of the cause as I would have definitely noticed a jelly sting, I don’t appear to have been bitten by anything and it looks more like a rash than a bruise. It has cleared up a bit now so the mysterious affliction has apparently fixed itself.
Thursday I spent my afternoon exploring the National Park on horse back, joining a 2hr trek. Having not ridden in a while I feel a little saddle sore today not helped by spending 6 hours travelling a little further up the coast to Port Macquarie.
Finally got my banking fixed today having sent my bank card to my own choice of branch rather than heading all the way back to Sydney. So I now have access to my Australian bank account – its good to have money. While at the bank the girl serving me told me I had been unlucky as this was the coldest spring New South Wales has had in 50 years. Guess the weather saw me coming.