Newcastle to Sydney, May 31
Our next destination on the campervan journey through Australia was the Hunter Valley city of Newcastle, located about two hours north of Sydney. We met an Australian couple, Matt and Tash, while in Peru on our GAP Adventure Tour. We had actually hiked the Inca Trail with their father Julian. When in Peru together, they said "look us up when you get to Australia and you'll have a place to stay". So we did! The timing worked out great because Newcastle was on the way to Sydney, and spending the night there would allow us plenty of time to get the campervan dropped off before 3 pm (otherwise we'd incur big penalties).
The long seven hour drive to Newcastle was uneventful until we got to a city named Singleton. The section of highway between Singleton and Maitland was loaded with kangaroo sightings. We hadn't seen any kangaroos since north of Brisbane so it was awesome seeing them in the wild again. We must have seen at least 75+ kangaroos within about a 30 km stretch. At one point we had a sighting every couple km's! Unfortuately we didn't get any quality pictures of the roos because we were driving down a busy single lane highway in traffic.
We arrived in Newcastle in the evening and had a nice BBQ with Matt and Tash. The temperature had dropped quite a bit so we elected to sleep in their guest room rather than attempt a chilly night in the campervan. Staying with friends that we had met on a previous part of our journey reminded us how long we've actually been on the road. It also reminded us how many great people we've met along the way!
We arrived in Sydney early afternoon and said goodbye to another campervan. Although we would have preferred to do the road trip with a little more time, we were glad to have seen that much of Australia in such a short period of time. Australia is a beautiful country with so much to see and do. It would take months to fully experience all that Australia has to offer so we were grateful to have had the opportunity to briefly explore the land down under.
We checked into the Formule One hotel in Kings Cross and were greeted with a spectacular view of the Sydney skyline from our room window. Kings Cross is a funky, backpacker part of Sydney that offers everything from greasy street food to strip clubs to patio bars to boutique cafes. Just what we were looking for! One of the first things we noticed in Sydney was how expensive it is. It's actually not much more expensive than any typical major North American city, but it seemed hotel accomodations were insanely overpriced. Sydney was definitely kicking the crap out of our budget...and fast.
I guess we are just very fortunate people because an ex-colleague of Nicole's from the Board is living in Sydney with his partner Gawain, and what are the odds that they lived a ten minute walk away in the trendy Pott's Point neighbourhood. Richard and Gawain graciously offered us their guest room for our week's stay in Sydney, which was a pleasant and very appreciated surprise. This helped us financially and it was fantastic having all of the comforts of home with great hospitality!
And so our adventure in Sydney began...