The Hunter--> Aussie Equivalent of Napa Valley
Jun 24, 2010
Jul 11, 2010
Where I stayed
. We finally somehow made it to town of Cessnock, a charming sort of rural old west town meets yuppy retreat. There we gave up on Mike's phone GPS working and ended up buying a local Australian GPS device with turn-by-turn directions and points-of-interest. What a big relief when that started to work! We headed out to visit some of the many wineries in the area, but was getting late in the day and boys got bored after one winery so we decided to grab a couple souvenir bottles and head for the coast. We drive for a couple more hours and found a real waterfront campground near Port Stevens with a swimming pool, hot showers, laundry facilities, etc. Asked about swimming in the bay, but they warned us about sharks and instead gave us directions toward a variety of other beaches to try out over the next couple days. The guy said that warm currents can blow in and make the water really warm in the ocean... even warmer than the outside air! We'll see about that! Aside from having a great campground, restaurant options were limited for our dinner this night: we had a choice between bad, and worse. We'll spare you the details, but unfortunately it turns out we chose what probably was the worse (we won't stick around to compare). Ended the day with hot showers, high spirits, and excitement about the road ahead.
We woke up to a 600 am sunrise with truckers all around us. We must have slept well last night, because the trucks didn't even wake us up as they surrounded us. We woke the boys up at around 730 after Mike spent nearly an hour trying to get the GPS working on his phone. Then we asked a friendly local for some directions (a theme is emerging here) and headed off to the Hunter Valley. Stopped for to buy some produce from a very fertile jungle / farm region on the way up North. We got an armload of locally grown oranges, potatoes, apples, and pineapple for a few dollars! When we got up to Wollombi wunch and were once again impressed by how friendly everyone has been. The waitress and most of the people we've met have been sincerely interested in us and what we're up to and they want to be helpful in terms of providing views on where the best places to go are. In turn, we also get to ask them a lot of questions about the area and what its like to live there. After driving for a few hours through country with rugged hills, lakes & rivers, fruit vendors, wombat crossings, etc