We woke up today knowing that we would be picking up the rental car at noon, so we had a few hours to kill before hitting the road. We stopped for brunch at a great neighborhood cafe called Fouratefive in the Surrey Hills area of Sydney. The neighborhood had a great local feel and reminded us of the local scene in San Francisco. The 50 degree weather was the perfect opportunity for Hannah to shop, new jacket for her and new shirt for me.
The road to Newcastle took us out of Sydney north along the coast. The coastal road wound through small towns and villages along the way. The decision to stop in Newcastle for the night will be remembered as one of the poorest decisions of the honeymoon, but also one of the most fun. We definitely made the most of it. The Quality Hotel Newcastle isn't exactly what the name would suggest. Upon arriving in our room Hannah was quick to inform me of what a honeymoon is, apparently the Quality Hotel was not it. During a night to remember, or forget, we had an amusing time at The Brewery, Newcastle's hot spot. Here are a few cool locals we met. Mind you, we gave the camera to them to take our picture. After we managed to regain control of our own camera, we ate. At least the bean nachos were good, they were after all on the "lighter menu".
The unpleasant smell which arouse from the bathroom was not due to our bean nachos, but it was the nail in the coffin for the Quality Hotel Newcastle…next honeymoon we may skip Newcastle. In true Hannah and Jon fashion, we made the most of it, and laughed at ourselves and everyone else.
The next morning we again hit the road, but not before stopping at a local Newcastle cafe. The cafe was recommended by the hotel and as if by fate, it was Goldbergs' cafe. We could not have had a more amazing experience then to sit for breakfast at a cafe in Australia named Goldbergs'. Breakfast was good, but the coincidence was priceless.
Onwards, with Hannah on Kangie watch and Jonathan trying to stay in the lane and on the road on one lane roads through small towns in a country where people drive on the wrong side of the road. We didn't have a room booked yet for this evening, we assumed we'd ask around and decide on a whim where to stay. We arrived safely for lunch in the town of Port Macquarie. The soft-shell crab and bugs (small shellfish) were delicious at the Boardwalk Restaurant, and we enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine. The view was amazing, and we dined.
Sitting at the Boardwalk we became friendly with Nigle and Vanessa. A delightful couple staying in Port Macquarie for the weekend. Nigle's mother owned a great condo directly on the beach and Nigel and Vanessa come to visit from their small town in the mountains. Before they even knew our names they were already inviting us to stay in the spare room. At first I was of course leery, perhaps of us wanting to do our own thing, perhaps of the fear of being robbed of everything we had. But as we got to talk to Vanessa and Nigle we were at complete ease. Its amazing to meet people in another world while traveling and feel such a connection. First Hannah and I explored the beach in Port and then we headed out to meet Nigle and Vanessa for dinner.
We had a great dinner with Nigel and Vanessa, and slept soundly in Nigel's mother's spare bedroom. Hannah slept with a phone in her hand to ward off the potential attackers, and periodically turned it on and shined the light in my eyes. Thankfully we survived and had a nice sendoff brunch with our new Aussie friends.
On the road again, headed for Byron Bay.
We had our first official Kangie siting today! Definitely the high point of the honeymoon for Hannah thus far, that and maybe the Quality Hotel. The Kangie's were all that we imagined and when we tried to put one in the car he became very agitated, I think we just picked a bad seed. We will continue to try to save one from the wild.