Newcastle is such a beautiful city and I feel so lucky to call this place home! Newcastle is full of adventure and even though I have lived here most of my life, i'm always discovering new things to do. We have so many view points that showcase our amazing coastline but I wanted to see more, so when the opportunity came up to do just that with CoastXP, I was definitely on board!
CoastXP is a premier Hunter Coast adventure boat experience operated by ocean enthusiast Dominic and his team. CoastXP has many experiences up on offer but this blog will be highlighting the Adventure Tour. Although small in size, the vessel is actually quite spacious and the seats are extremely comfortable, there's even a toilet on board!
Boarding at Harbour Square Boat Dock along the Honeysuckle Foreshore, we got our names ticked off, found ourselves a seat and got settled in with a brief safety demonstration of the life jackets. For those who feel uneasy on boats, i'd recommend sitting towards the back however, for the thrill seekers the seats right at the front offer exhilarating experiences, especially if the conditions are a little choppy, it feels like the boat is flying above the water!
Slowly cruising through the harbour, we made our way past Nobbys Lighthouse and breakwall. This is a popular walking place thanks to it's flat surface and it takes you out to the water where at the end you can see a great view of Newcastle and the Harbour.
Once out of the Harbour we pass Nobbys Beach and start our coastal adventure! Dominic is a proud Novocastrian and it's clear that he's passionate about what he does and loves showing visitors and locals our beautiful coastline. Newcastle and surrounding coastlines are packed full of history and geological features and Dominic will stop by points of interest and explain the story behind these sites.
Passing by Newcastle Beach is quite a sight seeing the contrast between a natural beach coastline then massive high rise buildings and apartments. As much as I was hoping to spot some dolphins on this trip, unfortunately nature had other plans for them and none were to be seen, in saying that though, CoastXP does have quite a few lucky dolphin encounters so there's always next time. During whale watching season (June - November) you may get the opportunity to spot some whales and having my fair share of whale experiences it's something I could never tire of and I always get such a thrill seeing them!
There are other wildlife encounters to experience though. There were hundreds of sea birds flocking around the vessel as we were moving along. Some were even flying right up next to the vessel almost as if we were racing them! In some parts of the coast the surface of the water was so glassy and I could just stare at it forever it is so beautiful.
Next up we passed by the ANZAC Memorial Walk then up towards Bar Beach. The ANZAC Memorial Walk is one of the most visited places in Newcastle and there's a very good reason as to why. It provides some of the most incredible views of the coastline and is just simply a beautiful walk. It's a real hot spot for photographers too especially during sunset and storms. One evening I went along the walk to capture a silhouette of the soldiers during sunset and was very happy with the result!
Next up one of my favourite beaches, Redhead Beach! I love this beach because it has some awesome rock formations in the cliffs and on top of the cliff has a bird eye's view stretching many kilometres of beach, I have attached a photo of a sunset visit for you guys to see! I also love this beach because it's dog friendly so my husband and I take our two German Shepherd dogs, Alpha and Cleo, quite a bit and they love it. It's also a popular camping spot and let me tell you, there is nothing better than waking up to the sound of the waves kissing the shore!
As we continue to cruise along the coast passing by areas like Belmont and Blacksmiths we saw some people jet-skiing and saw some very impressive houses located right by the beach or on top of cliffs. If I ever won the lotto one day I would definitely search the market for a house by the coast!
Another very beautiful beach and a popular spot for photographers is Caves Beach. Photographers love this beach because during low tide, the caves become accessible and you can go exploring through them. Looking out towards the ocean from inside the caves, the edge of the cave creates a window like form and provides the perfect image for photos. It is very important to keep an eye on the change of tides though as the cave can fill up quickly and you don't want to be stuck!
Our last location before heading back is Catherine Hill Bay. Another go to spot for photographers (well let's be honest, with a coastline this gorgeous every spot is really a go to spot!), Catherine Hill Bay is State Heritage Listed and has twice been named as one of Australia's 101 Best Beaches! Many years back the jetty was used to transport coal however, is now no longer accessible and there is a debate whether to demolish it or restore it. I really hope it is restored because I can see so much potential for business growth and tourism!
Heading back to Newcastle I took some time to put my camera down and just take in the ocean scenery and breathe in the fresh, salty breeze. As we approached Glenrock Lagoon we saw the Westpac helicopter flying low taking part in what seemed to be an exercise operation. The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is a very important part in search and rescue missions and transporting patients to nearby hospitals.
A bit further up from the Glenrock Lagoon is the Merewether Ocean Baths, a popular swimming spot for meeting up with friends or swimming laps. Merewether Ocean Baths were opened in 1935 and are claimed to be the largest ocean baths in the Southern Hemisphere with a 50 metre lane section and the width of the pool at 100 metres. The pool is sectioned off in two parts, one full of water and the other usually partly filled with water which is perfect for young children to play in. One afternoon I took a photo from the top of a hill which you can see below.
Cruising closer to Newcastle we pulled in nice and close to the Bogey Hole. Back in 1819, the Bogey Hole was cut into ocean rocks by convict labour to be constructed as a personal bath and pool for Commandant Morisset. Today, the Bogey Hole is a very popular swimming spot for visitors and locals who want that refreshing salt water, without the sand and waves involved. Years ago access to the Bogey Hole was quite dangerous as the steps leading down were made of rock and were very slippery and uneven however, is now a solid and stable steel construction.
Whether you're on land, in the sky or out in the ocean, our coastal region is a simply beautiful one and it was so wonderful to see it from a new and exciting perspective with CoastXP. This 1.5 hour tour is perfect for those short on time or need an excuse to fill out their morning. I'll definitely be hopping on board with CoastXP when whale season comes around!