Home' Destinations : Destinations 25Aug2011 Contents THE HERALD
I LOVE A GOOD TOP 10 LIST.
There should be more of them.
World's top 10 evil women (No 1: Jiang Quing). World's top
10 historical cross dressers (No 1: Joan of Arc). World's top 10
words for things you didn't know had names (No 1: Philtrum,
the verticle groove on the medium line of the upper lip).
These are things we need to know.
On the travel front top 10 lists are invaluable. Who doesn't
need to know that in someone's opinion the number one
extreme holiday destinaton is shark baiting off the coast of
Roatan, Ipanema in Rio De Janeiro is the number one legendary
beach, El Colacho (where men dressed as devils leap over
babies to rid them of original sin) is the number one bizarre
festival, that the number one travel song on cities is I Left My
Heart in San Francisco (I can only presume that list-maker
isn't familiar with Bob Hudson's The Newcastle Song) and --
we all would have known this one -- the top bachelor party
destination is Las Vegas.
And Blake Lively is the top woman of 2011 beating Mila Kunis
into second place. Okay, that doesn't really have anything to do
with anything, I just thought I would look it up while I had the
All these top 10s got me thinking about the Hunter's top 10,
the places I would take a visitor on their first trip to the valley.
Bowing first to the experts, I asked Hayley Sherack, from
Tourism Hunter, what they considered the valley's top 10
attractions, and they came up with:
1. Newcastle including Merewether Beach and Fort Scratchley.
2. Treetop Adventure Park.
3. Wyndham Estate vineyard (national tourism award winner).
4. Scone (Horse capital of Australia).
5. Hunter Valley Gardens.
6. Lake Macquarie.
7. Blackbutt Reser ve.
8. Barrington Tops.
9. Maitland Gaol.
10. Nelson Bay and Moonshadow whale-watching cruise.
A damn fine list, and when I came to compiling my own --
no research, I just sat down, asked myself where I would take
visitors and wrote down the first things that came into my
head (although I can't figure out how to get Jennifer Hawkins
included in an actual tour) -- there were a lot of similarities.
My top 10, in no particular order, turned out to be:
1. Cocktails at Honeysuckle at sunset. There aren't many better
places to spend an evening watching the ships, big and small,
sail by. Nibble on a little fresh seafood. If you get there well
before the sun sets, the maritime and regional museums are
2. Dune buggies in the Stockton sand dunes. I did it earlier this
year for the first time and can recommend it, but take your
time and stop and look around. It's an experience, not a race.
3. Nelson Bay and its dolphins. Beautiful. Check out the bays
and beaches. Take the ferry across to Tea Gardens.
4. Lake Macquarie. Circumnavigate (by road) if you have the
chance, there's some lovely little out-of-the-way places. Take
the turnoff down to Catherine Hill Bay and stop at the beach
and the old pub for a refreshment.
5. Newcastle beaches. If you and your visitors are a little more
energetic than I am, walk the five kilometre Bathers Way. If
you are as lazy as me, at least drive it, from Honeysuckle past
Nobbys, Newcastle and around to Merewether, perhaps even
on to Dudley and Redhead. Visitors will be amazed by the
beauty of the place.
6. Vineyards. Can't miss them out. A call in at practically any of
them is worthwhile.
7. Scone horse studs. To tell the truth, I've driven past them but
never had a good look around, so it's on my personal to-do
list. Some of the greatest racehorses in Australia, most of
which I've lost money on, stand at stud there among rivers
and rolling green pastures. A lovely area.
8. Barrington Tops. A recent trip to Ladies Well swimming hole
has revitalised my interest in the Barringtons. If your visitors
are interested in nature, this is the spot for them.
9. Maitland Gaol. They have done a great job reinventing the
gaol as a tourist attraction and getting across what it was like
when some of the worst criminals in Australia were there.
Go up or return through historic Morpeth with its sandstone
streets and colonial buildings.
10. Go to a Knights game. Or the Jets if that is your preference.
Overseas visitors, particularly, will be amazed both by the
game and the atmosphere.
Any of these things should put a smile on your face, and that
will lift your philtrum. (Sorry, I had to get that in).
Tell me what you think are the major attractions of the
DUNES: It's an
GOTTA LOVE A
GOOD TOP 10
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