Situated just two hours north of Sydney at the mouth of the Hunter River, Newcastle possesses some of Australiaís best surfing beaches. Nobbyís Beach, Bar Beach, Merewether Beach and of course, iconic Newcastle Beach, are names familiar with the surfing fraternity and throughout the year surfers and beach-lovers from far and wide flock to the city to experience its unique laid-back charm. Unfortunately for visitors, however, budget accommodation close to the beaches is practically non-existent, and therefore I was pleasantly surprised when I heard about the Newcastle Beach YHA, a member of the Australian Youth Hostel Association, located just minutes away from all the action on Newcastle Beach.
Newcastle Beach YHA is situated in a lovely old building that begun its life as a gentlemanís club servicing members of Newcastleís business community, and later as residential quarters for student nurses training at the old Newcastle Hospital, located nearby. Constructed in the early years of the Twentieth Century, itís full of delightful heritage features that, even today, endow the hostel with a warm, home-like ambiance.
Despite its name, as with all Australian YHA hostels, Newcastle Beach Youth Hostel welcomes guests of all ages. YHA membership is also not essential, although I definitely recommend it as members receive discounts on all YHA accommodation within Australia, as well as concessions for transport, tourist attractions, at selected retailers and at many other places. Australian YHA membership also includes membership to Hostelling International, which provides similar money-saving deals at hostels and related services throughout the world. Therefore, if youíre on a long backpacking adventure around Australia or the world, membership is definitely advisable.
Newcastle Beach YHA offers travellers several accommodation options. The cheapest beds are in the hostelís dormitories, and these are available as male, female or mixed gender dorms. These contain anything from four to ten beds, so if youíre travelling with a group of friends you could perhaps book an entire dormitory. For a slightly higher price but still much cheaper than hotel or motel accommodation, there are also single, twin, double and family rooms available. None of these rooms has an en suite and therefore all toilets and showers are common, but there are plenty of them just a short walk up the hall, so itís never a big problem.
Apart from the bathrooms, most common areas are situated on the lower floors. The well-equipped open-plan kitchen, along with the dining area and laundry, is on the lower ground floor, while the ground level contains a large atmospheric living area, also open-planned, that is full of comfy settees, a television corner, bookshelf, pool-table and other homey touches. On the walls there are historic photographs portraying the cityís colonial past, which history-lovers will be sure to appreciate. There are also plenty of notice-boards everywhere, full of invaluable information about local tours and attractions. All in all, the hostel has a laid-back social vibe very similar to the mood of Newcastle itself.
As with all YHA hostels, accommodation at Newcastle Beach YHA is budget-priced, catering mainly to students, young backpackers, surfers and other money-savvy travellers. Although itís definitely not five-star accommodation, itís a charming friendly spot, located just minutesí walk from one of Australiaís most beautiful beaches and close to the heart of Newcastle City. Keeping these things in mind, I consider it to be a complete bargain.
From time to time Newcastle Beach YHA offers special memberís deals to visitors, including a popular Stretch and Surf Package that includes dormitory accommodation, free surf board hire and unlimited yoga classes at a studio just around the corner. To learn more about this or any other offers, give the hostel a call.
In a nutshell, whether youíre looking for an action-packed holiday in Newcastle, surfing, sailing and sky-diving; would like to check out the cityís famous cultural scene and cafes, or are looking for a budget beach-side break with the family, this hostel may be just what youíre looking for. Newcastle Beach YHA is situated at 30 Pacific Street , Newcastle, at the corner of King Street. To learn more, check out this page at the YHA Australia website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 4925 3544.