Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Newcastle Beach Youth Hostel

Newcastle Beach YHAMy be a bit late in life but I have discovered the wonders of Youth Hostels Australia. having stayed at Newcastle Beach YHA last weekend. This is in a converted 100 year old hospital, which looks more like a gentleman's club than a backpackers, with high pattered ceilings, fireplaces and chesterfield sofas. A double room at the YHA costs about half that for a budget hotel and a genuinely friendly atmosphere. The YHA is not age limited (but young people get a discount on membership).

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.

Train Signal Box by Vivienne NelsonWhile 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.

carry-on size wheeled backpackFor 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.

No comments: