Fun Filled Weekend in Newcastle

Next week being week six, our final week before fall semester break, I decided to get a few things done. I had 2 papers, a presentation and a quiz due with Bali on my mind. I wasn’t very happy that I hadn’t started my papers earlier, but better late than never, right? Friday was a laid back day and I did start some of my work, but Netfix took over as priority. I made myself a checklist to accomplish everyday and I made it my goal to stick to that as best I could. Morgan and I decided to go to Blackbutt Reserve for the afternoon on Saturday and that we did.
Morgan and I ate our breakfast and met up for the bus at the Uni art building stop to head to Blackbutt. On our way there we weren’t sure where we needed to exactly get off and ended up missing the right one. We laughed it off as started our hike before we even got there. About a quarter mile from the stop, we hiked back and hit the trails. Sad to find out upon arrival that most of the trails were paved. Disregarding this and enjoying the views we took photos and made outta way to the information stand. On our way to the stand we talked and realised there were dozens of unique Australian animals kept here. We checked out the birds, owls, lizards and wallabies on our way to hike the other side of the reserve. And yet again we were surprised to see another section of animal enclosures including kangaroos and emus. There was a little boy who was feeding and emu that reminded me of myself. He was fearless, stretching out his arm and pushing the food through the fence where the emu snapped its beak almost taking off a few fingers with every bite. His mom was hardly even nervous, where I was nervous as ever. Morgan and I took more photos moving on to find some better trails to hike.
We had no idea where we were headed, but that’s what made the next part more exciting. We started to get quiet at this point taking in the silence and beautiful bush. I haven’t felt this sense of home since I have been here, yes I have friends, talk to my family back home and now have a church, but I’m a backwoods kinda girl that needs her peace and quiet out in the middle of nowhere. Even though this isn’t the kind of woods I’m used to, it’s a good replacement, minus all the spiders we saw. Continuing on after seeing massive webs with giant spiders, we came across some wicked trees that were crooked or had massive branches or vines running around their trunks. My favorite had to have been the tree that had its trunk 1/2 eaten by termites, but still stood and hung up and over the trail.
Working our way deeper into the reserve we came across a camping area where the trails started to become more dirt than pavement and we went even deeper into the bush. Walking, talking and taking in the tranquility we came upon a dead end and were forced to turn back and make our way back to the bus stop. Once back at on the paved trails and at the camping area where we were earlier we decided to catch a bus close to where we were, rather than trekking all the way back to where we were.
Taking a short walk out from the reserve we walked through the streets of Kotara by a cool neighbourhood tire swing and realised sidewalks aren’t alway paved, but rather beaten paths through the grass in front of people’s homes. Confused, we found the right bus stop finally and when we were waiting for the bus (really getting sick of public transportation), it was late and we kept watch. Sitting on the bench in the heat we waited as patient as we could. Out of nowhere Morgan said hey that was Ashlea?, confused I said who? She is one of Morgan’s roommates who seconds later called her. Missing the bus while she answered the phone, we joined Ashlea and her boyfriend in their car and went to our first Knights game. Never been to a rugby game before, let alone an Aussie game, I was excited to see and learn as much as I could. We didn’t have far to drive, but parking was hectic since everyone and their brother seemed to be at the game, but after about ten minutes of searching we found a park about a mile away from the stadium.

During the game I was so lost, but thanks to all the questions Morgan and I asked Ashlea and her boyfriend we had a small grasp on what was happening and why. I was sweating profusely as the sun was shining on us, thankfully during halftime we decided to switch sides of the stadium were it was shaded. This gave us a better view and I could take in the game with better understanding and concentration. I learned several things about Australian rugby, but may still be incorrect on a few details. There are 6 downs total to score, when scoring you receive 4 points and 2 points for kicking if made, you never throw the ball like American Football, you pitch it to your right or left to beat the defense, when the play is dead you set the ball down in roll it backwards with your foot to your teammate to start the next play (similar to what a center does when hiking the ball), the kick is on a diagonal rather than straight on, and the game is on a running clock. I hope to learn more and correct the things I am wrong about at another game this season, but if not maybe early next season before I leave to head back home. After we won 24-14, we headed back to the car to make our way back to uni for the night.

Early the next morning I got myself up for breakfast and messaged Morgan to head to the farmers market to check out a few things. I was running low on my natural face soap and really wanted to try something new, but still be natural. I was nervous to go alone for some reason, so we went together. We grabbed the train to Hamilton and hiked the mile or two to the farmers market. We walked around for awhile checking everything out and taste testing as much as we could, from the cheeses to the wine we gladly took what they were handing us. Finally, in the last area we found some amazing soaps and I had a tough time choosing, but finally chose 3 small bars for $6 and got Morgan in on it as well. Happy with our purchases we headed back toward the train station to do some shopping at Aldi for our regular groceries. On our way we found these massive trees that reminded us of the tree in Disney’s Animal Kingdom from when we were kids, but better. The trees roots seemed to erupt out of the ground in every direction, letting me sit perfectly on one near some cobwebs to take a great photo to remember this outstanding tree that I would probably never see anywhere else in the world. After taking photos of one another, we continued our journey to Aldi for some shopping and finished our productive morning by catching the train back to Uni to have lunch and buckle down for our final week of assignments before being off for 2 weeks.

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