Ben should have known what was coming for him when he said, “let’s go for a walk at the beach,” and I threw on flip flops instead of sneakers, and grabbed my camera instead of a water bottle. There are so many places to explore here in Newcastle that I can’t take a walk through a park or beach without bringing the camera.
We headed down to King Edwards Park and strolled through the gardens and along the coast taking in the scenic views.
After doing a little research, I learned that King Edwards Park is the only area in New South Wales to contain a mix of Aboriginal, convict, and European historical features including convict made swimming baths, mining and defense heritage, and Victorian gardens.
You’ll still find coal in the park as you walk along the paths.
At the end of the paths we came upon Bogey Hole – a gorgeous ocean bath that was cut into the rocks by convicts in 1819.
Bogey Hole was constructed by order of the Commandant of Newcastle who served from 1819-1822 for his own personal use, and was originally called the “Commandants Baths,” which seems fitting. The name “Bogey Hole” was later applied and comes from the indigenous word “to bathe”.
Let me tell you something – those convicts or the Commandant got Bogey Hole right! This swimming hole is stunning!
Just check it out as the ocean waves crash over and into the baths.
The spot is open year round for swimming in, and from my understanding is a bit warmer than swimming directly in the Pacific Ocean. I can only image what types of view you would get sitting in that hole early in the morning as the sun rises over the ocean… although, now that I have said that, we may have to check it out!
After watching several waves crash over Bogey Hole, we moved on and up Shepherds Hill to the Shepherds Hill Radar Station. At this point I regretted wearing flip flops. If only all the stairs you see in this photo were the stairs we had to climb.
At the top of our climb was a radar station which played a key role in the defense of Australia during World War II. At the time, Newcastle was an area of great strategic and industrial importance and the station was manned by the Australian Army, Navy, and Air Force branches – something uncommon for the country.
Next to the station we found gorgeous 360 views of the beach, ships waiting to pull into the shipyards, and the top of Christ Church Cathedral, built (reconstructed) in the early 1900’s.
As the sun set we decided to head home for the evening… but that wouldn’t be our only trip to Bogey Hole this weekend.
After a bit of errand shopping on Sunday (I bought two lovely Venus Fly Traps to combat our house fly problem), we headed back to Bogey Hole… but this time with bathing suits in tow.
I must tell you the views you get being in the water of the cliffs above you are even more incredible than the photos I took the day before. If I had a camera that could survive a potential fall in the water I would have taken more during our swim. But those views are ones you will have to check out for yourself in person – yep! even you my American friends. 🙂
You won’t need to worry about the threat of sharks while swimming in Bogey Hole! Ben did share with me that sharks are curious about urine and if you happen to use the ocean as your toilet you may receive a friendly visit from a not so friendly creature. I won’t share with you how that topic came up… all I can say is whoops.
As the sun disappeared to the other side of Shepherds Hill, and the water got chilly, we dried off and took a drive into town to Scotties takeaway restaurant to get some fish and chips for dinner. What we ended up getting was a mix of fish, chips, and other assorted fried goodies.
According to Ben, Scotties has the best Fish and Chips in Newcastle, and if the line of people at their take away window wasn’t proof enough, just one chip will have you hooked – and that’s before you even start eating the huge, perfectly fried fish!
We took our feed back up to Shepherds Hill to watch the sun set on the cliffs and enjoy our picnic.
I am already looking forward to Summer in Newcastle for more trips down to the ocean baths, unfortunately there is a while to wait, as we haven’t made it through the fall yet.
Countdown to Summer 2014: 8 months!
You can check out more of my favorite photos from our adventure at Bogey Hole and King Edward Park in the image gallery below.