The Newcastle Beach Youth Hostel is a few blocks from the Newcastle railway station, with regular trains from Sydney along the picturesque coastal route, including the not to be missed bridge over the Hawkesbury River at Brooklyn.
While in Newcastle visit the Renew Newcastle projects. Artists and craft workers are temporarily vacant shops in the CBD. These include artist Vivienne Nelson, with watercolour works of Newcastle industrial and port scenes using coal dust from the ceiling of her home for the black wash. This seems appropriate as coal is the main industry of Newcastle. There is an ABC video clip about the project.
For getting to a low cost hotel by public transport, I have found an airline carry-on size wheeled backpack very handy. Otherwise it can be difficult to wheel a bag, particularly over cobblestones and up stairs. In Istanbul I found myself surrounded by carpet sellers. The backpack changes you from a tourist, to a traveller so you can quickly escape the sellers.