27/07/2017 Port Macquarie to Newcastle

I’ve got three movies up on Youtube of rides we’ve done-we don’t always have the wifi capacity for uploading such big file


We had a nice relaxing day wandering around Port Macquarie. There’s some lovely buildings there but lots of high rises which I don’t really like to see. The area was setup early on as a penal colony and the prisoners were harshly treated. The convicts were not just from the UK, but from Aust too, and all the disabled convicts were sent to Port Macquarie. They had special jobs for men with one leg, one arm etc and the blind were put to work at night time. There’s a very nice church that was built by the convicts. It’s interesting that when it became too expensive to keep the convicts, and perhaps when they had finished the work that was to be done, they were just turned loose and many of them then worked the land and became farmers.

Early on when the original pioneer explorers came to Port Macquarie, they wrote how the port area was full of fish and they had never seen so many or such large sharks. When they looked up to the hills, they saw many huge red kangeroos. It seems a shame that their arrival changed everything, and not really for the good of the country. The Aboriginals were used to track escaped convicts and if they brought one back they were paid with blankets and tobacco.

There ‘s a very nice coastal walkway from where we were staying into the town centre. We probably walked about 8 k’s. We self catered again and ate some nice healthy food.

On the road this morning. We back tracked on the main highway to get onto the ride husband had mapped out. Once off the main highway the roads were in terrible condition-as in fact they were all around Port Macquarie. More patches than tar seal.

Out on the open road that poor surface condition makes for a real concentrated effort for us both. Taking a corner and finding a pot hole or a slump in the road can be a problem, the last thing we want is a flat tyre.

We rode through mostly farming land today, dairy, sheep and beef. Often the land looks like NZ, and it’s very hilly in places. The small towns are very small, no chance of getting a coffee. Not much open, not many people around. We went into one country pub looking for a coffee. The guy at the bar looked at us as if he had never heard of it before. Then he said it’s made in the kitchen and he would check. He came back and said the machine has only just been turned on and it would take 20 minutes to get going. I had a vision of pistons and steam. We rode on!

We had about a 4 hour ride into Newcastle. We’ve been for a walk around to explore the city, neither of us have been here before. Newcastle is the biggest coal export port in the world and it’s very evident as you ride in.

This area was discovered by chance by John Shortland. He was a Lieutenant on a ship that was looking for ship stolen by some convicts out of Sydney. He saw the port and came in to explore. He was thrilled to have discovered a deep water port and an abundance of coal. This was in 1797 so coal really would have been black gold-it drove transport and factories.

In 1804 this area was settled and called Newcastle after the coal port of the UK. It was a penal settlement until 1822, then the land was opened up for farming.

The city looks different to any other we have been to so far, but it doesn’t look like Newcastle in the UK. It does however have lots of old buildings and churches, and even some terraced housing.

We are heading to Sydney tomorrow for 3 days.