Newcastle and a Man Called Sheep

The next morning it was, surprise surprise, still raining which motivated us to pack up with reasonable speed and make the drive to Newcastle. Fortunately because it was a Sunday Sheep wasn’t at work so once we’d arrived, and settled in he took us on a drive and look around the city and beaches. I don’t know what I’d expected but I really liked the place and could see why sheep would want to live there. We went to a fantastic cafe for lunch and then went for a walk along the coast to a lookout before heading to the pub for some beers and a tasty dinner. It was a brilliant change from being wet and cold in the van. On Monday it rained some more but Matt and I spent the whole day inside doing washing and then watching the latest episode of Pat Callinan’s 4×4 Adventures which was filmed in Rainbow Valley when we were there. We were both stoked when we spotted the Egg in one of the drone shots #famous.

On Tuesday we decided to do some touristing in the Hunter Valley which we had originally planned to spend some time in but were forced to avoid it due to flooding last week. We visited a nice chocolate shop and a cider brewery which we were both disappointed by, however, we couldn’t complain about it because the woman that was working, upon discovering we were Tasmanian, did warn us that we probably wouldn’t like their cider. It wasn’t bad but it did taste more like cordial than the strong apple cider we are used to, the dry perry was the highlight but we didn’t get any take aways. For lunch we stumbled upon the most amazing cheese shop connected to the McGuigan Wines Cellar Door. The platter was made up of 5 cheeses, bread, olives, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. The vinegar was so good that despite being $25 for a tiny bottle we couldn’t leave without it. In the afternoon we drove to Cessnock to visit Matt’s aunt and uncle. Along the way I kept smelling a really strong petrol smell which was the same smell had been happening for a couple of weeks. Despite several searches neither of us could locate the cause so we parked up outside Mark and Cathy’s house and put it out of our minds. A little bit later I had to go back out to the van to get something and found it sitting in a puddle of petrol with more spilling out the side as I watched. I ran back to the house and told Matt and Mark who both came out to take a look. Matt quickly got into the van and moved it up to the flat driveway which fortunately stopped the severe petrol leak. We explained to Mark that we’d just had a new fuel tank installed and he deduced that there was a fault with the vacuum in the petrol cap, as luck would have it he also happened to have a brand new cap which fit our tank and was an immediate fix. Thanks Mark! We had a delicious meal of Chinese take away for dinner before saying our goodbyes and driving back to Newcastle just in time to watch the Matildas play on Sheep’s big TV.

With the forecast looking up we decided Wednesday would be our last day in Newcastle which made it a day of grocery shopping and getting organised. Matt wanted some new shorts so we had a poke around in some op shops where he bought the most hideous Heineken branded shorts. I managed to pick up 3 new tank tops for $4 each. In the evening Sheep took us out to Drag Queen Bingo where we ate amazing wood-fired pizzas and Matt got up and had a dance with a drag queen. It was the perfect way to end a brilliant stay.

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