So lets talk about how different my life will be next year. Because I’m moving. In case you missed that.
About where I live now.
Well, I live in the Hunter Valley area of NSW, Australia. The area I live in is within the biggest coal producing area of Australia. I wake up to a beautiful dust bowl effect every day. We have the highest rate of asthma in kids under five in Australia as well. YAY, go us. We do underground mining and open cut. I can drive five minutes out of town and see the ground messed up in all kinds of ways. Lets just say that if you vote for the Greens Party here, you’re wasting your vote. And if you walk down the street and you’re not wearing reflective safety gear, then you’re going to feel overdressed.
And it’s always hot. My father watches the weather reports on the news and he rings me and says – why do you live in that place, it’s always either the hottest or the coldest in the area.
We have no public transport, no decent shopping centre and no decent restaurants or cafes. Basically we’re a little shithole that makes a shitload of money for the government but get none of it back in amenities or services.
We do have good sportsmen and women though. Australian country towns produce a lot of our best sportspeople. Nothing else to do you see and with no public transport, no way of getting anywhere to do anything else. Kimba wanted to come home for a long weekend once but when we rang about the train timetables they said there wouldn’t be any passenger trains running because the coal trains will be monopolizing the tracks that weekend.
But next year we’re moving into Newcastle. Which by the way, has just been named number nine in the Lonely Planet Guide of cities to visit for 2011. So come on over!
Is it Australia’s most underrated city? Anyone surprised to see Newcastle on the list of 2011′s hottest cities (and there’s a few of you, right?) probably hasn’t pulled in off the Pacific Highway, or at least not for a while. Newcastle flies under the radar of Aussies and international travellers in part because it’s overshadowed by its bigger, bolder and better-known sibling, Sydney, 150km south. But, at around one-tenth the size, Australia’s second-oldest city has Sydney-like assets: surf beaches, a sun-drenched subtropical climate, and diverse dining, nightlife and arts.
‘You gotta love this city’, the Whitlams’ front man croons, and what’s not to love? Outstanding heritage architecture in the CBD, a beautiful foreshore and some classy inner-city suburbs fashion a very comely package indeed, and Novocastrians know it.
Newcastle was settled in 1801 as a colony for the worst-behaved convicts. This past has tinged the surfing lifestyle with a hint of larrikin mischief and a ‘no worries’ attitude. The city is so laid-back that it’s one of the few places in the developed world where you can grocery shop barefoot and no one blinks an eye.
Visit popular beaches and soak in ocean baths, dine at world-class restaurants, exhaust yourself courtesy of live and local music, and explore the innovative arts scene. Whatever you do, don’t just pass through – Newcastle is easily worth a couple of days or more.
Beaches – I love the beach. And having a beach right near the city centre gives the place a laidback feel. No one’s too full of themselves. If I was living there now I could be at the beach. And diverse dining and nightlife. I’ve almost forgotten what that is. I’ll actually be able to get something to eat that’s more exotic than a chicken schnitzel. And I’ll be able to get it after 9pm.
And I can go to markets and the theatre and museum exhibitions and the art gallery. I can sit on the foreshore on a sunday afternoon and listen to live music and have a drink. And where we’ll be living is just a five minute drive away from it all. Although I’ll probably be taking the bus. Bus stop right outside our door. Don’t have to worry about parking then.
Where we live now has been great for us while the kids were growing. But now they’re gone or independent there’s just nothing keeping us here. Time for a change. Time for the next chapter to begin.
I’m starting to get a little bit excited actually. Maybe I should go and pack another box.