1.4.2017 Hawks Nest to Woy Woy

Due to circumstances well beyond her control, the whirlwind known as Julia Caunt was unable to come up and meet us in Hawks Nest last night. She had promise to get up at sunrise and do the 2 hour journey up to Hawks Nest to see us this morning, we only just managed to get out of bed before she flew through the door.

We had a lovely morning having a cup of tea and catching up, reminiscing. 

We then had a coffee, another pie (in Guy’s case) at the bakery and a brisk, breezy and, in the end, damp walk along the beach.

We had lunch booked at the Boatshed, which was a lovely family affair with great, fresh good.

Family photo, Peter nearly smiling 😁

We then had hugs and farewells with Bette and Peter and we were driven to Woy Woy listening to film music theme tunes from the 80s and singing along to many songs we thought we had forgotten.

The evening was spent chatting with Jules and Peter, drinking fizz or beer and singing Five, Journey, Bon Jovi etc etc at loud volume. An absolute hoot!!! 

31.3.2017 Hawks Nest

After our late night we were slightly sluggish at getting up!  We breakfasted and headed out, inbetween rain showers, for a coffee at the local bakery, obviously Guy couldn’t resist an Aussie pie.

And Peter couldn’t resist a large slice of carrot cake, it was so big he shared it and saved some for lunch.

Afterwards we had a car based tour of the area in slightly less summery weather than we were expecting. Guy manfully got out the car to take photos.

We sheltered from the remains of Cyclone Debbie and stayed in the car. 

After a visit to see Gordon and Trish, Bette’s brother and sister in law and viewing their amazing collection of shells and fruit trees, we headed off to an excellent seafood shop nearby. Bette got a kilo of cooked, fresh prawns and we had them for lunch with cobs, avocado and seafood sauce.  It was hands on food and absolutely delicious, sweet and so fresh, the best prawns we have had. We may have had wine with the meal as well!!

The rain was persisting so we ventured out again to the Tea Gardens Boatshed for Peters favourite drink, a London Fog. Earl Grey tea,with frothy milk and vanilla syrup. Not for everyone but Peter and Guy loved it.

We may have had a delicous cake as well!

Gluten free chocolate and macadamia nut cake

Bette and Peter are obviously well known there as we got a sample of one of their desserts, popped onto our table, just to taste!

Strawberry compote, pistachio parfait, cake

Also on chatting to the owner, we found out he had grown up in Bloxwich, the same town as Guy’s mum, June. Small world, innit?

We then went kangaroo spotting and saw them roaming people’s gardens happy to pose for photos.

We had a lovely last evening with Bette and Peter, drinking more wine and watching some English tv and putting the world to rights!

30.3.2017 Hawks Nest – Hunter Valley

Today my wonderful godparents had arranged to take us on a tour of some vineyards in the Hunter valley. Peter drove us 234km around the vineyards and both him and Bette imparted their knowledge of the area onto us, which is considerable!

First vineyard was a new one for Bette and Peter, Adina. Beautiful setting and a cafe which we took advantage of for a coffee and dessert. Yes, I know it was 11am, but we wanted something sweet. We bought a Sangiovese 2014 which was light, long and a great summer wine. 

Waiting for dessert and coffees. Note: Cyclone Debbie not appeared….yet
Clouds gathering over Adina vineyard, Debbie is approaching

Tintilla was the next vineyard, it was a recommendation from my cousin, and it was stunning, a lovely Italian style villa, the scenery was amazing even though the aftermath of cyclone Debbie was starting up. With rain lashing down all around us we sampled a whole variety of wines and fortified wines.

Coats are out, Debbie is in full swing, and so are we….
Tintilla looking good, even in the rain

Drayton’s is a staple vineyard for Bette and Peter, they enjoy going for the food, which was excellent, and the bargain wines.  Blue smurf wine was a particular specialty, made even funnier by the dry humour of the Mackam behind the counter. We bought a butterscotch snapps infused with hot, hot chilli. This is well packaged up and will be used on unsuspecting visitors to our abode back home. Ha ha!

Lunchtime Verdelho please waiter

McGuigans is a massive international name in wine, they also make my Dad’s favourite wine. At the Cellar door we were lucky as they hosted a members day so we got to taste some very expensive wine. $180 a bottle of wine???? Tasty!!!! It bloomin should be.

As we were all still full from lunch when we got back so supper was cheese and biccies, oh, and more wine. 

What a wonderful day, I wish all Thursdays were this good…….

29.3.2017 Sydney to Hawks Nest

We are up, packed and leaving our hostel by 9am. 

Happy to be leaving this place!!

Plenty of time to get the train to Newcastle.  We stop at a cafe next to the station which is always busy when we pass, Cuckoo Callay, it has bacon, pork and anything piggy as their specialty. They also have the usual kiddy menu and the more unusual menu for doggies, puppachino anyone?

Beautiful dog (not puppy) enjoying his puppichino

For the record, they served the best bacon and eggs Guy has ever eaten.

Bacon steak and 63 degree poached egg

Sourdough raisin toast

We then had a relaxing 3 hour journey to Newcastle for $5.85, at home an unrelaxing journey to Newcastle costs $150.

Meeting up with relatives you haven’t seen for ages always gets you a little worried just before you meet up. Questions fly through your head. What if they have changed? What if I don’t recognise them at the station? And the most worrying, what if they don’t drink wine anymore? Thankfully none of these questions were a concern, Peter was waiting for us at the end of the platform wearing his usual outfit of shirt, shorts, socks and sandels with huge sunglasses, it could only be Peter, no doubt about it. We hugged and navigated our way through Broadmeadows station renovations to the car and hugged Bette, who also had not changed a bit, isn’t it wonderful how some people are so familiar yet you don’t see them for years?

Peter, with wine, smiling!!!

With the sun blazing down, we had a tour of Newcastle and the surrounding areas from the comfort of an air conditioned car, it was stunning scenery of bays, green fields, beautiful beaches, and art deco buildings. Getting out the car we were greeted with 34 degree heat and 84% humidity, crumbs.

It was time for wine, nibbles, more wine and a lot of catching up.  After a tour of the Crossley Regis we had a lovely meal of spaghetti bolognase cooked by Peter and more wine and chit chat. It was a lovely evening.