Victor & Joanne's Australia Adventure travel blog

Reptile Park Entrance

John is holding a small alligator; the bulge around his middle is...

A Wombat ... the cuddly member of the Koala family, very relaxed...

Koala checking me out and not looking too impressed

Wish my Koala myths hadn't been busted ... I always thought they...

This prehistoric looking bird (sorry, forgot the name) was HUGE (bigger than...

One of the only Kangaroos not sleeping, but not moving too much...

Yellow Foot Wallaby; they were really active, playing, chasing each other and...

Victor beside the very, very large Pelicans; not like their smaller cousins...

The Water Park in The Entrance; kids everywhere and picnic area close...

The port of Newcastle as we leave the port; Christ Church Cathedral...

Very interesting architecture here; old and new side by side.

Lighthouse on the point; we received a two-gun salute from the cannons...


Oct 17 – Newcastle


As with any cruise, yesterday we spent most of our afternoon and evening exploring the ship and getting lost. Thank goodness it’s a small ship and fairly easy to figure out. After a late dinner, we attended the evening show (spinning tops and yo-yos, so not really our favourite) and headed to bed.


Up early, we joined a group of about 45 to go to the Australian Reptile Park 90 minutes from Newcastle. Our driver gave an informative commentary along our drive. He also endured an unending deluge of questions by a woman from Arkansas that has most of us in fits of giggles. Her favourite exclamation was “Well, I do declare” which she said loudly whenever the driver answered her questions. The best question was, “Well, do y’all have any safe waters?” to which the driver responded, “Yes, swimming pools.”


At our first stop, the Australian Reptile Park, we had 2 hours on our own to explore the park, see presentations and enjoy a BBQ lunch. At this wildlife sanctuary, they not only provide protection and breeding programs for endangered species, they also develop and produce anti-venom for Australia’s many deadly spiders and snakes.


John Weigel hosted the reptile show with a wry sense of humour. Like any educational program, the kids in the audience were front row and captivated. When the python show started, Joanne took a step back and was very impressed by the kids who remained quite calm. The Koala presentation was less stressful, but we learned that they aren’t as cuddly as you’d think. They are quite aggressive and will attack family pets in the wild. Their fur is woolly and coarse; it’s ok to touch their body, but not their head as they tend to bite. Hmm, not what we expected.


After the presentations, we wandered the acreage and saw Kangaroos sleeping in the shade, Yellow Foot Wallabies (like a small kangaroo), Wombats (relative to the Koala and much friendlier), Tasmanian Devils (disgusting eating habits—prefer to eat things that have been dead for a day or two), Alligators, Tortoises, Dingoes and more.


Like many parks in Australia, the Reptile Park has a picnic area complete with gas barbeques. Wherever we’ve gone, there is usually a park area with tables, running water, sinks and gas barbeques to use. A very nice option for families.


Our next stop was a letdown: Henry Clarence Kendall’s Cottage. Apparently, a famous Australian Poet, our 30 minute stop was 25 minutes too long. The final stop was in a town called The Entrance. Truly, that’s the name. Their claim to fame is the daily feeding of Pelicans. Over 20 years go staff at a local fish and chips shop fed scraps to the birds every day. They became so accustomed to the feedings that, if a feeding was missed, the Pelicans would head across the road and into the shop to demand their feeding. Eventually, the town took over the feeding and built a platform known as Pelican Plaza.


Back to the ship, we thoroughly enjoyed the Aussie’s on the top deck who were madly waving to their family and friends who were lining the coastline. People on cell phones tried to give a location for family to find them (“Dad’s wearing his red jacket” etc), people hollering Aussie rugby cheers to friends, and general mayhem that was quite funny. Newcastle is emerging as a bedroom community for commuters who work in Sydney. Its shoreline is sprinkled with high-end condos selling in the $700K range. With miles of beaches very close by, we can understand the attraction.




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