Newcastle & Coffs Harbour

I have decided to include both of these locations in the same post due to the fact that, as lovely as they both are, they are relatively small and we only spent a short amount of time in both places.

Firstly Newcastle – we hopped on the Greyhound from Sydney Central and arrived 3 hours later at the bus station in Newcastle. If you jump off and walk a few minutes around the corner up Watt Street onto Hunter Street you’ll come across Backpackers By The Beach which, in my opinion, the ONLY place anyone should stay in Newcastle. Run by the friendliest couple, you can grab a comfy dorm bed for $29 a night which by all accounts is a little steep but there is literally only this lovely homely place or a YHA in the little town. This price will get you into a super clean ensuite dorm with internet access, free tea and coffee, free BBQ and bingo on Tuesdays, a pasta night at The Great Northern hotel on Wednesdays, another free BBQ on Thursdays, $4 Pizza on Fridays and Poker on Monday nights. They also have a cute communal kitchen and lounge area and a great selection of films, books and magazines to choose from if you fancy a bit of R&R which was what we used Newcastle for.

For a day or two out and around Newcastle you can wander down to Nobbys Beach which is a nice little walk, or check out the shops in the Hunter Mall – other than this we did little else other than hang out with the hostel owners, eating and watching films. If you go to Newcastle for one reason, let it be Backpackers By The Beach.

Moving onto Coffs Harbour – we stayed at a hostel called Aussietel where for $25 per night you get cosy dorms, a swimming pool, laundry and free pancakes on a Wednesday (backpacking is all about getting things for free).
A couple of tips when staying at Aussietel – do not arrive before 8:30am, saving money on accommodation by getting the overnight Greyhound may seem like a good idea until you’re sat outside a gas station at 3:00am waiting for your hostel to open, and be aware that check out here is a harsh 9:30am so avoid drinking too much the night before you leave.
A bonus however, is that if you arrive or leave at reasonable hours you can grab a lift to and from the Greyhound stop from the guys who work at Aussietel.

Coffs is a pretty decent place to spend a couple of nights, you can rent bikes from Aussietel for $5 a day and tour the entire harbour – make sure you take a ride past Park and Jetty Beach, and perhaps go and visit the Big Banana even if only to grab a delicious banana milkshake and take a peek at the plantation.

There is plenty of diving available in Coffs – Aussietel has their own dive center right out the back and offers Peter Pan travel deals so you can get your PADI Open Water and Advanced for around $300 each.

If diving isn’t your thing Coffs has an excellent market on a Sunday and pretty great shopping overall – for super cheap second hand books check out Readmore Books on the main street just down from Coles. Alternatively we checked out the Botanic Gardens which, although the gardens themselves are not overly impressive, a picnic on a sunny day can really lift your spirits.

That’s all I have on Newcastle and Coffs, next stop Byron Bay!

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