One of the most surreal things about Christmas in Australia is the fact that it is in summer. Coming from the Northern Hemisphere and specifically Scotland, it is difficult to feel festive when the temperature is soaring. That was until today when we took part in the Variety Santa Fun Run 2016 around Newcastle, NSW. Despite having lived just outside the city since August, we have not really had a chance to explore the CBD so this was a great opportunity to see the sights along the route having soaked up the festive atmosphere at the start line. As we waited for the race to begin, we were entertained by dance troupe Jingle Bellies before the Marching Koalas played some seasonal tunes to get us into the Christmas spirit.
When the starter pistol was fired, surrounded by around a thousand fellow Santas (and a couple of Santa pups), we made our way from the Honeysuckle Hotel on the harbourside to Nobby’s Head lighthouse on the coast before heading back to the start/finish line. The race took us along Merewether Wharf, a prime example of the regeneration Newcastle has seen in recent years. This area was originally the site of industrial cargo sheds and warehouses but is now home to hotels, restaurants and high-end apartment buildings.
We took our time so that we could enjoy the occasion while admiring Newcastle’s various attractions and numerous beaches. Nobby’s Beach, with the lighthouse serving as its backdrop, is particularly popular with the Novocastrians (people of Newcastle). Overlooking Nobby’s Beach from the hillside above is Fort Scratchley. Built in 1882 to defend Newcastle from the threat of Russian attack, its guns were not actually fired until WW2 when Newcastle came under the bombardment of a Japanese submarine in 1942, the only occasion that Australian coastal artillery engaged an enemy during the war.
Around 6km later, having paused en route for an ice cream pit stop, we crossed the finish line, hot and a little tired but pleased to have had the opportunity to explore Newcastle. I also managed to chalk up most of my 10,000 step target!
We really enjoyed the day especially as it was to support such a good cause. If you would like to find out more you can visit our fundraising website which highlights some of the great work that Variety does for children.
With the countdown now on for Christmas, in the coming weeks I will take you on a virtual tour of Australia’s biggest Christmas light display: the Christmas Spectacular at the Hunter Valley Gardens. It is unmissable if you are in the Hunter Region in the months of November to January.
Are you going to be taking part in a Santa Dash during the festive season? What are your plans to discover the world this Christmas? Leave a comment below to let me know.
This weekend’s step target: 20,000 steps. Actual total: 27,450.