Australia Day is so big in Newcastle these days is that they have to hold it over two days ... unfortunately we still only get one day off!
This Australia Day the Newcastle City Council decided to combine our national holiday with our annual Maritime Festival, which in some ways is a great idea, like having heaps more activities around the harbour, however it does rob us of another weekend festival on our wonderful harbour later during the year!
So starting on Australia Day Eve, the harbour came alive as all types of water craft assembled on the harbour, from the Police vessel 'Intrepid' right through to riders on stand up paddle boards to participate in the 'Harbour Lights Boat Parade'. Then at 9pm the sky erupted as a spectacular fireworks display from Dyke Point showered Newcastle with an awesome light display. One of the local cruise operators decided to offer a supper cruise for less than $100 to those who wanted to take advantage of the festivities but didn't want jostle with the crowds. I love harbour cruises, so I decided to spend the dollars and take part in a unique Australia Day experience on the harbour.
Australia Day itself was another picture perfect Newcastle Day and although some may contend that it was a bit on the warm side, long you kept hydrated, with plenty of sunscreen applied, there were plenty of activities to enjoy and participate in such as;
* Beach Volleyball,
* Ski Boat racing,
* Tugboat Ballet,
* Maritime Naval Salutes,
* F/A-18 flyovers,
* Boat building competitions &
* various multi cultural stalls and displays that highlighted our unique Australian culture.
If you couldn't find something to please you in Newcastle on Australia Day, you are very hard to please.
Of course if you are planning to visit Newcastle for Australia Day next year, if possible utilise the wonderful public transport system, make sure you bring plenty of water, wear some very comfortable walking shoes and of course ... make sure you bring the most important item, your camera!
Australia Day the Newcastle way is a unique way to celebrate everything that is great about our wonderful country ... see you next year!