Accommodation Guide – Australia

Adelaide

Adelaide Central YHA
135 Waymouth St
Adelaide 5000
South Australia
Phone: 8414 3010
WWW: yha.com.au
Stayed there: March 28th then March 30th to April 2nd 2007
Rates: AUS$23 per “multishare” dorm, $25 for 4-share single-sex room. Twins, doubles and families also available.

As with all the YHAs I’ve stayed at, the welcome was warm and the staff friendly and helpful when I arrived.
Clean bedsheets and pillow covers are provided on checkin, doors are key-card locked and very large lockers are provided in the rooms – you need your own padlock for these.
Although the building is “only” on three floors, the facilities are impressive. Clean bathrooms with plenty of showers, a reading room/book exchange, cinema, TV lounge, well-tended kitchen with enormous lounge area (complete with MP3-playing PC, pool table, ping pong table and arcade machines)…
Having used the kitchen, it’s well-stocked and fortunately sees to have patrons who do clean up after themselves fairly well. My only quibble is that there isn’t a 100% functional microwave. One seems to work until you remove your food… and it’s still stone cold. The other works, but the display is broken as is the interior light. This makes it very difficult to set the timer and impossible to keep an eye on your overflowing porridge!
There seems to be something organised almost every night. Pool tournaments, ping-pong competitions, quizzes, tour auctions, free pancakes and so on.
It takes the name “central” fairly seriously as well. There are a couple of backpackers closer to the middle of town, but I’m not going to complain over a 4-minute walk to the mall. There is a downside to this, though – the hostel is on a main route from many bars to accommodation areas. As such, earplugs are recommended (especially on ground floor rooms) unless you can sleep through several hours of drunken revellers shouting and singing their way along the streets.
Oh, one huge plus point. This is the first place anywhere that I’ve seen wireless internet for less than cabled – which is the way it should be. The receptionist seemed amazed that everywhere else charges more for wireless. I hope they don’t switch their pricing! Having said that, very few of the dorm rooms seem to get a wireless signal so if you have a laptop/PSP/whatever you may have to sit in the lounge or reading room to access the internet. The other downside I encountered was the wireless being a bit “flakey” overnight, and was told to wait until morning for it to be fixed. In fairness, the staff rebooted the router twice, but it didn’t sort the problem (network available, but refusing to dish out IP addresses).

Albany

Albany Backpackers
Stirling Terrace
Albany
WA 6330
Freephone: 1800 260 130
WWW: albanybackpackers.com.au
Stayed there: April 9th 2007
Rates: From $23 for a large dorm room on off-season with a YHA/VIP card. Only a couple of bucks more without a card. Doubles, triples, twins all available.

At first glance this looks like a converted shop front, more like a tourist information place than a hostel. Don’t let that fool you. It’s a cracker of a place!
We were there when the weather sucked and it was quiet, so atmosphere-wise it wasn’t too good but I just know this place will be buzzing when it’s busier.
There are just so many things to do within the hostel – they’ve really thought of everything. Free 10 mins internet when you check in, and costs are very reasonable after that. Free coffee/tea and cake at 6:30 each evening. BOGOF beer vouchers for the Inn down the road. Snakes and ladders and noughts and crosses boards painted on the walls of the lounge. Cheap, good condition pool table. Large TV lounge screening films with free popcorn on Sundays. Free breakfast.
We had dinner cooked for us as we arrived with a tour, but the kitchen seemed large and clean enough. The shower was hot, though there may be a few too little of them when it’s busy.
Albany’s pretty small so location’s not a huge issue, though there are several pubs within a stone’s-throw of the front door. One thing I didn’t spot were individual lockers, but this is about the only thing missing from a great place.

Alice Springs

Melanka Backpacker Resort
94 Todd Street
Alice Springs
Northern Territory
Phone: +61 (0)8 8952 4744 or 1800 896 110
WWW: melanka.com.au
Stayed there: November 13-15 and 17th 2006
Rates: AUS$20 per dorm bed per night irrespective of dorm size. AUS$55 per night for a twin.

Well, it seems OK. During my two stays I used a 3-bed dorm (one bunk, one single) with a sink in the room; a 4-bed dorm (two bunks, no sink) and a double (big bed plus sink), all with aircon. The beds were comfy enough – about what you’re used to if you’ve hostelled around. There are two pools, though I could only find one of them and it’s the size of a large bathtub. Internet is available onsite, though at a charge, and there is no freely available wireless that I could connect to.
However… the security gate to get in at night is a nightmare to unlock. At least one room that I’m aware of has broken aircon and they weren’t enthusiastic about fixing it. The lock on my second dorm broke, so I was locked outside after a shower with nothing but a towel. I was lucky that reception was still open (just – it closes at 8pm) and they swapped me to a double room.
Basically, it’s cheap and it shows.
The do offer free airport pickup and it’s $8 to go the other way. There is an on-site “party bar” which is quite popular and seems to have a theme every night. Thankfully, the noise doesn’t spread as far as I experienced, so it shouldn’t keep you awake if you have a 5am start for a trip.
Also on the grounds is a baby kangaroo rescue centre, but on the only full day I was there, it was shut!
The staff seem friendly and helpful enough, and location-wise it’s about as close to town as a hostel gets in Alice Springs.
I hear tell that the hostel has been taken over by the people who run the Cav in Darwin and that they have plans to gut and remodel the entire place, so please check for a more recent review elsewhere before writing Melanka’s off.

Busselton

Busselton Backpackers Hostel
14 Peel Terrace
Busselton
WA
Phone: 9754 2764
Stayed there: February 13th 2007
Rates: AUS$25 per dorm bed per night.

There’s not a lot of choice as far as hostels go in Busselton – this is the only one! As such, it’s quite often pretty busy so book in advance.
It’s pretty rough and ready, in honesty, but the beds are comfy and it’s in a quiet neighbourhood. Actually, it’s in a quiet town. Nothing is more than a few minutes’ walk away.
There’s nowhere secure for your valuables and the number of loos/showers to the number of occupants seems woefully small. Having said that, I didn’t have to queue – but I was one of only two people there who weren’t getting up at 6am for work!
Not the management’s fault, but my one night there was pretty much sleepless due to a long-term resident getting out of bed every couple of hours to make munchies (noisily) in the kitchen and then come back into the dorm to toke on a bong he kept hidden under the bed! Had there been anyone to complain to when I woke up, I would have.
Unless you’re working, it’s not likely you’ll need to spend long in Busselton so this place should do you for a night or two. Any longer and I’d think about getting a motel room, especially if you can split it with a travelling companion.

Byron Bay

Aquarius Backpackers
16 Lawson Street
Byron Bay
NSW 2481
Freecall: 1800 028909
Phone: +61 2 6685 7663
WWW: Aquarius-Backpackers.com.au
Stayed there: March 14th to 16th 2007
Rates: AUS$32 per dorm bed per night, down to $30 p/n if you book 3 nights at one go. Less during off-season.

Byron Bay is backpacker heaven, so there’s a lot to choose from and by all accounts everywhere is good. I ended up with Aquarius as it was the second one I called and the first with a spare bed (the YHA was full).
Fortunately for me it has a 24-hour check-in as I arrived at 10pm. Mattress and pillow covers are included in the rent, but other bedsheets are a separate rental. There are also no lockers in the dorm, though valuables can be stored at reception for no charge.
The rooms are very spacious and the one I was in was actually on two levels with an internal staircase. The en-suite bathroom was sparkly clean, and each dorm also has a small sink unit for basic food preparation – no cooking is allowed in the dorms, though. Still, it means you can get up and have cereal without trailing to the kitchen. There’s even a fridge!
Cleanliness-wise the rooms are OK. Not “eat off the floor” clean but certainly acceptable.
Body boards are available for free hire in exchange for a passport or something else. There are five PCs on site for internet access ($4 per hour) though only one of them has an accessible USB port.
Aquarius, as the name may suggest, has a swimming pool though it’s not huge. Nice to splash in on a hot day (and there are a lot of them here).
Other funky things are a secure car park, TV/DVD room, barbequeue area with bar (happy hour from 5-7pm every day), on-site travel shop and a free courtesy bus, but frankly it’s so close to town you’re lazy if you use it.

Cairns

Caravella 149
149 Esplanade
Cairns
Queensland
Phone: +61 7 40512431
WWW: caravella.com.au
Stayed there: October 10-17 and November 8-10 2006
Rates: AUS$16 per night for a 6-bed dorm, AUS$20 per night for 4-bed dorm. Singles, twins and doubles available. VIP cards accepted for discount

First impressions from telephone conversations were very positive. The staff on the phone were friendly, chatty and helpful. I was arriving at midnight, so had to arrange a late check-in which they did simply. I was given the code for the locked gate, that for the safe where my key would be and directions on how to get from one to the other. My key was attached to a map detailing how to get to my room.
A free airport transfer is provided, though only runs till 10pm. However, they have an arrangement with the Australia Coach transfer, so as long as you tell them you’re going to Caravella and get a docket you won’t pay and they’ll still drop you right at the door. It’s only a 15 minute journey, if that.
I had booked a 14-bed dorm via Hostelbookers, but it seems they only have 4 and 6′s! I was popped into a 4-bed along with a girl I met at the airport and only charged the lower rate for the nights I’d booked. She was in the same boat, but had booked 7 nights whereas I’d only pre-booked two. A shame as it meant she saved a lot more than I did! I could have changed to a cheaper dorm, but opted to stay with someone I knew as we had the room to ourselves.
The room was fine. The bunks were a little too soft for my liking, and the headroom wasn’t enough for someone of my height. It made sitting on the edge of the bed very uncomfortable as you had to “perch”. The only other furniture in the room was a fully working and clean fridge, which was an unexpected bonus. We also had a nice aircon unit. The bathroom was en-suite with a slidy door that sometimes bumped when it was windy outside. However, the facilities within were clean and the shower very powerful and nice and hot.
My main whinge was the lack of individual lighting for each bunk. This meant that if one of us wanted to read, the main light had to be on. Also, the only switch for this was near the door. Fortunately, there was a streetlight outside which gave enough light so that tripping up wasn’t too likely.
After a few days, I downgraded to an 8-bed dorm (the Aquarium) to save myself $4 a day. I wish I’d not bothered. The new room had three strip lights, one of which worked. My bed was by the door so if I put the light on, I’d wake everyone up and still have no light. There were no curtains so the sunlight streamed in. No fridge and the one in the kitchen is locked from 11pm to 7am. Nearest toilets downstairs and a 2 minute walk away. Next time, I stick with the $20 room.
There was a pool outside which I didn’t use, mainly due to the poor weather which I can’t blame on the hostel! Internet availability was down to 4 PCs at reception for which you had to purchase a card, or there were about 8 wireless hotspots around “leaking” from other buildings.
Cooking facilities were plentiful and cleaned thoroughly every day as were the bathrooms.
I found the staff to be hugely helpful, and had a great sense of humour. They helped us organise a good priced diving course and even gave us a discount equivalent to a free night’s accomodation.
Overall, definitely a budget hostel but definitely worth every penny. Good atmosphere, well laid out, everything you need and friendly staff. There is another Caravella slightly closer to town (number 77) which I visited as we met some people from there and it looks very similar.

Canberra

YHA Canberra City
7 Akuna Street
Canberra City
ACT
Phone: 02 6248 9155
Email: canberracity@yhansw.org.au
WWW: yha.com.au
Stayed there: February 28th 2007
Rates: AUS$25 upwards per night for an 8-bed dorm, other rooms available

Like most of the YHAs I’ve been to in Oz, this is a clean and well-presented building in a good location. Rooms are secure with large lockers for which a key deposit is necessary. On checking out, pay lockers are available.
There is a sauna, pool and spa bath but when I visited the sauna was closed and the spa freezing and refused to bubble!
A comfy TV lounge has a large selection of videos, and the dorms all have TVs in them. There’s a balcony BBQ for use during nice weather and a well-stocked kitchen for when it’s like when I visited.
Internet is available 24 hours, as is wireless for the usual additional (nonsensical) charge. Also beware of the “quarter hour” system. As as example, if you buy one hour of internet time and log out after 20 minutes, when you log in you’ll have 30 minutes left. Log out immediately and you’ll be down to 15 minutes. Ouch.

Darwin

Gecko Lodge
146 Mitchell Street
Darwin
Phone: +61 8 8981 5569
Freephone (within Oz only): 1800 811 250
WWW: geckolodge.com.au
Stayed there: August 28-29 2006
Rates: AUS$22 per night for a dorm room, though they do offer a YHA discount of a couple of dollars

First impressions weren’t great. I arrived at 4am and had been told, very kindly, to just “crash on the couch” until reception opened at 8am to save me paying for a night’s accomodation I wouldn’t really need. Thing is, nobody gave me the keycode for the secure gate… Fortunately, someone on the same bus from the airport had paid his dues and had the code, so I could get in.
The rooms are pleasant enough. As well as the 8-bed dorms, there are doubles and singles available in the main building and “The House Next Door”, an additional set of rooms just over the road. Bed linen is changed daily by a cleaner (who pinched my topsheet on my second day so I ended up using my bedsheet as a blankie!). There aren’t too many showers and toilets given the number of people staying, but I never had to queue. Maybe just lucky timing! The room I was in had a set of lockers built into one wall for which you had to provide your own padlock. They were very spacious – easily enough for both my rucksacks, my camera bag and a few other bits and bobs.
Staff were very friendly and helpful, and will help with anything from employment to tours. They also rent bikes for a reasonable sum.
The breakfast included each morning runs from 8am till roughly 10am and consists of pancakes and a variety of toppings and spreads. They’re cooked fresh up until 9am at which point a large stack is left for the late-risers. Tea and coffee is also freely available. On arrival, you’re provided with a plate, bowl, teacup and cutlery – these are yours for the duration of the stay, which encourages washing up!
Overall, nice place and a friendly welcome to Oz.

The Cavenagh
12 Cavenagh Street
Darwin
Phone: +61 8 8941 6383
WWW: thecavenagh.com
Stayed there: November 20-27 2006 and April 13-18 2007
Rates: AUS$20 per night for a dorm room.

Not a bad place, this one. I was very pleasantly surprised with the room I ended up in. 6-bed dorm (3 bunks) with very clean white sheets, a fridge, a desk and ensuite bathroom/WC. There’s no secure luggage storage in the rooms, though, in case that bothers you.
The pool’s a decent size, about 10m x 5m at a guess, and there’s a restaurant and bar on the premises. Food looks OK, but is a little pricey so I stuck to the Vic while I was here. They don’t give out the $1 meal vouchers like Gecko’s though – I assume because they do sell their own food.
Staff have been very helpful (including a lovely Asian cleaning lady), though reception shuts around 8pm. There is a “night porter” button, though, so I assume there’s someone on call 24/7.
Locationwise, it’s less than 5 minutes’ walk to the mall area which is a lot closer than Gecko. But… Gecko does those fantastic pancake breakfasts! I don’t often compare hostels directly but as they’re in the same place it makes sense. On a tight budget? Geckos. $2 a night cheaper, breakfast included and $1 dinner vouchers. A little more cash? Cav’s. Nicer facilities and better location.

Devonport

Alexander Hotel
78 Formby Road
Devonport
Tasmania 7310
Phone: (03) 6424 2252
Stayed there: Feb 24th 2007
Rates: Not sure – part of ATA tour

First impressions were good. Two buildings, nice bar, good staff… and then we found out they’d overbooked us. Five people in two single rooms. Plus another couple who didn’t have a room.
The best they could offer was either to let us sleep on the floors in the single rooms (barely room for one person on the floor – two was just stupid) or a backpacker’s about 10 miles outside of town. We opted for the former. And some of us got free beer to make up.
The rooms had a sink but shared bathroom. No idea if the beds were comfy as I was one of the ones who ended up on the floor with a blanket cushioning me from the carpet. The showers were OK, though, and the staff were – other than the cockup – helpful.
Two of the lads sleeping on the floor got locked out, though. Only one key was supplied, and the security staff wouldn’t let the two floor-sleepers in when they returned later as they were keyless. They ended up trying to scale walls before noticing that the fire escape was wide open and just walked in the back door.

Hobart

Central City Backpackers’
138 Collins Street
Hobart
Tasmania
Phone: (03) 6224 2404
WWW: centralbackpackers.com.au
Stayed there: Feb 21 and 27 2007
Rates: AUS$22 upwards depending on room size

Very nice overall. As the name suggests, the hostel is right in the heart of the city so everything shoppingwise is within a short walk. The major touristy attractions (the brewery and Cadbury’s) are a bus ride or long walk away, but that’s going to be the same regardless of your hostel choice.
The staff on reception were great – very helpful and friendly. Rooms are clean, showers hot and powerful, facilities good and security adequate. There are no lockers in rooms and bedlinen is an extra cost if you don’t have your own.
Wireless internet is available, but costs money. The only other issue is that reception is closed from 8pm to 8am, but late checkin is still possible if you sort it in advance.

Launceston

Launceston Backpackers’
103 Canning Street
Launceston
Tasmania
Phone: (03) 6334 2327
WWW: launcestonbackpackers.com.au
Stayed there: Feb 20 2007
Rates: AUS$18 upwards depending on room size

I can tell you next to nothing about this place. As the airport shuttle bus failed to appear, I was an hour late getting to the hostel. As such, it was all locked up when I arrived.
After being ignored by several guests inside, someone who looked like a janitor let me in but there was nobody around to book me into a room. I slept on a sofa in the lounge. At the time of writing, I have no idea if I was charged for the night or not.
Given that I provided a contact number with the booking (though neglected to keep the hostel’s number handy for myself – my bad) I’d have expected a call had they been concerned about my no-show.
Looking around, it’s a nice place. Clean, spacious and the bathrooms are sparkling. Internet is provided by three pay-terminals at $4 an hour or wireless at $3 an hour. I can’t comment on the rooms as I’ve not seen one!

Pemberton

Pemberton Forest Stay
Stirling Road
Pemberton WA
Phone: (08) 97761153
WWW: pembertonforeststay.com
Stayed there: April 10th 2007
Rates: $80/$90 for a cottage for two people (off-peak/peak), plus $15 per adult after that. $10 surcharge for 1-night stays. Camping also available.

This kind of place is better for couples, families or groups travelling together. Although the kitchens are well-furnishes, it’s so much better to gather some firewood and use the covered BBQ kitchen outside.
The setting beats any city centre hostel with sheep and kangaroos wandering around. OK, the kangaroos are penned into a “sanctuary” but they’re friendly and will come up to the fence to be stroked.
Facilities are a little ramshackle, but genuinely add to the charm. Water is from rain buckets so no 30-minute showers! Bedsheets are clean, as were all the facilities when we arrived.
There aren’t any obvious “extras” like pools tables and the like, but this just isn’t that kind of place. Peaceful, quiet, remote and different.

Perth

The Witch’s Hat
148 Palmerston Street
Northbridge
Perth
WA 6000
Phone: (08) 9228 4228
Freefone: 1800 818 358
WWW: witchs-hat.com
Stayed there: Feb 8-12 and 14-17 2007
Rates: AUS$21 upwards depending on room size

Yes it’s a weird name, but when you see the building you’ll know how it got it. An old house with a towering spire which has been converted into a hostel, the Witch’s Hat was recommended by Hans who stayed here about four years ago.
It’s not the closest to town, being out in Northbridge, but you can be in the city centre within a 20-minute brisk walk. A nearby servo, KFC and bottle shop will satisfy snack cravings and there are supermarkets within 15 minutes’ walk in both directions.
The hostel itself is spacious and has various rooms from twins to 6-share dorms, all priced accordingly and reasonably.
Bed linen is changed whenever someone moves out (or, I presume if really needed) and the atmosphere is very much one of “nothing is too much to ask of us”. The staff are superb – helpful, knowledgeable, uncomplaining, friendly. Hopper, the manager, is an experienced diver and ex tour-guide who knows pretty much all you’ll need to know about the surrounding area.
Internet facilities are good with four broadband PCs available. Internet time is $AUS5 for 2 1/2 hours for which you get your own little account so you don’t have to use up 15 or 30 minute chunks. No wireless, though. In the same room are some comfy sofas and a huge telly with cable (not much in the way of sports channels though!)
The kitchen is well-stocked (tea, coffee, Milo, cutlery, pots, pans, etc) and very clean. They somehow seem to manage to get the punters to clean up after themselves here, something so many hostels struggle with.
Food and beer can be enjoyed in the covered courtyard until 22:30 when it’s closed as this is a residential area!
Showers are hot and powerful, loos clean and well stocked, power points plentiful, small lockers provided in rooms (bring your own padlock – big enough for cameras, laptops, etc) and someone is always on duty somewhere, even if they’re asleep in a dorm.
There are signs in various places simply stating that if there’s a problem (vomit in the loo, no toilet paper, etc) just tell someone and it’ll be sorted. And, the thing is, you just know it will be sorted. Quickly. It’s that kind of place.

Sydney

base Sydney
477 Kent Street
Sydney
New South Wales 2000
Phone: +61 02 926 777 18
WWW: basebackpackers.com
Stayed there: March 4th-6th and 11th-12th 2007
Rates: AUS$24 for a 10-bed share dorm. Varies by room size and season.

I’d heard good things about the xBase chain (there are three in Oz and lot more in NZ), and on this example I can see why. I was originally booked in for 2 nights, and changed that booking to arrive a night early. This meant an 8-bed dorm on the first night and a change to my original 10-bed the next morning.
The staff on the phone and at check-in were bright and friendly. The dorms are clean and fresh sheets put on each bed between visitors, though the bunks are squeakier than the ones in the YHA nearby. Hey, I’m allowed to be picky given the number of places I’ve stayed!
Laundry facilities are fairly plentiful (I think ten machines and a dozen driers) and the kitchen is large and well-stocked. Internet is available at $4 per hour, though there’s no wireless.
Showers are powerful, but a little cold, and the bathrooms are very clean.
It’s a short walk from the Town Hall station and therefore very close to George Street. You can walk to the Opera House in maybe 15 minutes from the front door.

d*Lux Budget Hotel
30 Darlinghurst Rd
Kings Cross
Sydney
New South Wales 2011
Phone: +61 02 9331 7485
Stayed there: March 1st 2007
Rates: AUS$18 for a 10-bed share dorm. Varies by room size and season.

Very mixed feelings on this one. The area it’s in reminds me of a mix of Soho, Pat Pong and downtown Auckland with it’s various sex shops, clubs and fast food restaurants. If you’re not uptight about semi-naked ladies then you won’t mind too much!
Booking in was a nightmare as someone had made a mess of the reservations. I wasn’t anywhere on their system despite paying a deposit. When I checked out in the morning, I was charged the full amount for my stay despite having paid a deposit online. I’m currently trying to sort this with them.
At least I got the room I was after. The couple in front of me had booked a twin/double and ended up in a 4-share. The rooms themselves were OK with plenty of plug sockets and very large lockers (supply your own padlock). Beds were comfy and clean sheets supplied on checking in. All rooms are en-suite and the shower was nice and hot.
I didn’t see the kitchen, but the lounge area had a large TV with cable. The games room, bizarrely, had pool cues but no table to go with them! I believe it had been used as a temporary dorm during a previous busy period.
On the whole, for the price it’ll do for a couple of nights. It’s a short hike into the city centre – maybe 20 mins fast-paced walk – but the view from the rooftop lounge is great at night.

Sydney Central YHA
Corner of Pitt Street and Rawson Place
Sydney
New South Wales 2000
Phone: (02) 9218 9000
WWW: yha.com.au
Stayed there: August 31 2006
Rates: AUS$29 per night for a dorm room with YHA discount

This, so far, ranks as one of the nicest hostels I’ve been in. The one in Wellington was posh, but was more like a cheap hotel – this is a proper hostel. There are three YHAs within the bounds of Sydney and two are very close together, this being one of the pair. It’s about five minutes’ walk from the train platform at the Central station and reception is open 24 hours, though check-in is midday. In theory, anyway. I checked in at 9am after they confirmed they had a free bed I could use.
I contacted them via the freefone system at the airport and the woman who answered was polite, informative and friendly (as was the one from the other YHA I rang). What tipped the scales for this one was that it was slightly closer to the station and that it had a sauna and swimming pool. At no extra charge.
On arrival, I was checked in swiftly, handed two clean bedsheets and a keycard and given a sheet of information and directions. This place is huge – 9 floors with around 26 rooms per floor. Bathroom facilities are shared on each floor – I’m not sure if any rooms are en suite.
The bunks are of the best quality I’ve encountered and are rock solid. No creaks when the person above gets in and out! The aforementioned keycard is needed everywhere. To get in, to enter your dorm, to go to the loo, to use the pool… The card will only open your dorm and the bathrooms on that same floor. It’s a minor inconvenience, but greatly increases security.
Each dorm also has a locker per bed. You need to supply your own padlock (available to buy from reception) and they’re deep enough to take both my rucksacks, my daybag and my camera bag. Luggage and more secure storage is available on the ground floor at a cost.
I wasn’t staying long enough to benefit, but the hostel seems to organise a great variety of excursions and so forth. Rooftop BBQs with hermit crab races, pub crawls, trips to Aussie Rules games and so on.
Heck, they even have a sharps bin at reception for diabetics to dispose of used needles. This is the first place I’ve been ever where someone’s thought of this. There are TV rooms, a games room, the aforementioned sauna and plunge pool and even limited carparking (for a fee).
You can tell I’m impressed. At around £11 a night at the current exchange rate this place is utterly top notch. I wasn’t too impressed with Sydney itself, but the accomodation is nothing short of superb.

Tasmania

See Launceston, Hobart and Tullah

Tullah

Tullah Lakeside Lodge
Farrell Street
Tullah 7321
WWW: www.tasmania.visitorsbureau.com.au/tullah_lakeside/chalets.html
Stayed there: February 22-23 2007
Rates: Not sure as it was part of an ATA tour, but they do dorms and private rooms

In a beautiful location on the west coast of Tasmania, this is one of the nicest places I’ve stayed. The main building houses a dining room and bar with comfy sofas and a TV room. The view out the large windows is astounding, especially first thing in the morning being – as the name suggest – right on the lakeside.
On our first night, there was a thunderstorm and the lights all went out. The staff still managed to make a nice, hot meal which they served by candlelight.
The dorm rooms were a little cramped, to be honest, with four people (two bunks) in them. The 6-bed bunks actually had more spare space in them per person. All were en-suite with a piping hot shower, though ours splashed out onto the bathroom floor and didn’t ever seem to dry by itself so you’re plodding through the water when you go to the loo at 3am.
There is no internet access (this is Tas – town centres only!) and you won’t get mobile reception on anything other than Telstra (again, just a Tas thing).

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