Tea Gardens is a stone’s throw from Port Stephens and the other reaches of Newcastle, NSW. It’s a pleasant little spot, and has a ferry operating across the harbour.
It was this ferry that I caught between the wharf outside the Tea Gardens Hotel and the other side of the harbour.
Sun streamed through the gaps between the clear cafe blinds that served as windows on the small vessel, as the captain navigated his way through a shallow harbour. It’s size is bigger than Sydney Harbour, although being much shallower, it doesn’t draw the bigger cruise liners that frequent the larger city.
Lunch was had at the Hotel. Simple and filling, it was salt and pepper squid served with chips and a beautiful salad.
But what made the trip memorable wasn’t the dolphins, or the sea turtle, neither of which I saw, unfortunately.
It was the lovely couple I met while the vessel chugged its way past the marine wildlife.
All for the price of an honest compliment, we struck up a conversation, easy to become immersed in, and we learnt a little of what we had in common.
So, the next time you’re out in public, say hello to the person next to you in line, and smile. You might just have a chance encounter with a kindred spirit.