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Wait, where is “Up The Coast”?

Sydney-siders are collectively guilty of this – saying they’re spending a few days “up the coast” and never specifying exactly where. Well, friends, read on to find out exactly where you should be hightailing it to on your next cheeky weekender.

Newcastle Beach YHA

Photo by Jimi Richardson


Ladies and gentleman start your engines for a car ride just long enough to fit all the bangers in, but short enough that you don’t get fidgety and resort to a fourth round of Eye Spy. Just two hours’ drive or train from Sydney lies the quirky beachside city of Newcastle, lined with naval history and bursting at the seams with coffee culture by day and pub culture by night.

First have a read of our 48 Hours in Newcastle guide to get a handle on your next getaway. If you’re looking to pad out your stay (v. recommended) make sure to schedule some time to peruse the streets glistening with comic book and record stores, take yourself on a lil’ pub crawl to absorb local live music and, most importantly, hang out on the beautiful, sprawling beaches.

Speaking of beaches – Newcastle Beach YHA is literally across the road from the beach and has free cheese and wine nights on Wednesdays. ‘Nuff said.

 Port Stephens YHA

Port Stephens

Welcome to your new home! Trust us, you ain’t leaving. The Indonesian-inspired Port Stephens YHA is nestled under a rainforest canopy and surrounded by lush native flora and fauna, and inquisitive wildlife. Sounds like the start of a Disney film, right? If you’re not lounging on your personal balcony or around the pool, or warming yourself around the bonfire with a bevvy in hand, you could ignite your inner daredevil by cruising on the Stockton Sand Dunes. How about a boat cruise complete with boom net so you can get super friendly with the local whales?

There’s oodles of life-affirming walks and hidden beaches, and when you’re done getting your fill of fresh air you can retire to one of the many laid-back but scrumptious eateries and pubs. The dream. Here's how we reccommend spending 48 hours in this little slice of paradise. 

 Port Macquarie YHA

Port Macquarie

Get yourself a map and pop your finger halfway between Sydney and Byron Bay and you’ll find the one and only Port Macquarie. If you fancy all things salt water, you’re going to have an absolute blast. Port Mac boasts nine truly stunning beaches all connected by an 8km coastal walk, and the kind of small-town laid-back charm that can only be found in a city by the sea. Take a sunrise surf or sunset paddle board with the locals, visit the disastrously adorable koala hospital, laze the afternoon away by the resort-style pool at Port Macquarie YHA before heading out to the local Irish pub for trivia and fresh-to-death oysters. Don't go too hard, though - you want to be fresh for your sunrise beach camel ride. Sounds like a bloody wonderful holibob to us!

Coffs Harbour YHA

Coffs Harbour

Just keep driving until you see the Big Banana, then you know you’ve arrived (it’s about 5.5 hours’ drive from Sydney, if you needed a little more specificity). The beauty of this town is that it’s got all you need in walking distance from Coffs Harbour YHA – beach, walking trails, the jetty, pubs, restaurants, Botanical Gardens, oh my! The hostel has tonnes of free surfboards, body boards, fishing gear and snorkel equipment so you can explore under the sea, then join them for a wander on one of many gorgeous, nature-filled local walks.

When you’re all tuckered out, and you will be, take a gamble on turning left or right out of the hostel and indulge in a coupla couplas and some world-class meals. Word on the street is, Coffs is home to one of Australia’s ten best pizzas. Ya welcome. Here's how we reckon you should spend your weekend in Coffs, if you fancy more local's recommendations. 

    Newcastle Beach YHA
    From $30 per night
    Newcastle Beach YHA
    Opposite Newcastle Beach, and right in the centre of town, this friendly YHA is perfect for travellers looking for affordable accommodation.
    Port Stephens YHA
    From $31 per night
    Port Stephens YHA
    Gorgeous beaches, lush bushland, stunning bay and sea views and a great chill-out spot - that's Port Stephens and its award-winning YHA.
    Port Macquarie YHA - Ozzie Pozzie Backpackers
    From $28 per night
    Port Macquarie YHA - Ozzie Pozzie Backpackers
    Located halfway between Sydney & Byron Bay, Ozzie Pozzie Backpackers is more like a resort than a hostel.
    Coffs Harbour YHA
    From $26 per night
    Coffs Harbour YHA
    Mid way between Sydney and Brisbane, the purpose-built Coffs Harbour YHA hostel makes a great stopover for those travelling the east coast.
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YHA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We acknowledge and pay our respects to Elders past, present, emerging and the extended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community.