Travelling to Airlie Beach..

7 07 2011

We have given one of our superstar crew members 3 weeks off to explore the East Coast of Australia. Stuart John from Base Backpackers Brisbane will be tweeting and blogging his experiences up the East Coast. This is an update of his travels.


 WORD of warning for those driving through Queensland. Before you go any further into this blog, I want you to go to Google Maps. Now find directions from Brisbane to Airlie Beach. Now have a look at the direction the road goes either side of Rockhampton (about the middle of the map). This is pretty much north-west, which by coincidence is the exact direction the sun sets in, making driving at the exact time I was somewhat of a dangerous task…

 It’s a little over 1100km from Brisbane to Airlie Beach and takes you past some of Queensland’s major attractions, including the Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Hervey Bay and Fraser Island. The Bruce Highway also takes you past some historic old towns that are well worth a look, including Childers, my first sight-seeing stop.

Childers itself is an attractive, old-style country town located on the Bruce Highway south-west of Bundaberg. Walking down the highway you get a glimpse of what Australian towns must have been like over 50 years ago (at least until you see the multi-national takeaway store); my destination was one such building.

Back in 2000 a deranged man set fire to the old Palace Backpackers Hostel, killing 15 people. Today it is rebuilt, with an art gallery and memorial open to the public. The memorial itself is extremely well done, with a large painting showing the victims in poses from photographs provided by the families, while on the back wall are small collages containing photos of all 15 victims. To see those photos, of people enjoying their Australian experience – including cuddling a koala at Lone Pine, something we encourage down in Brisbane – then realising these people would never make it home to share their experiences with friends and family was somewhat jolting. The lady at the desk was very informative about what exactly happened, and if you are travelling through Childers I highly recommend stopping in.

THE rest of the journey was a little less memorable. Driving through country Australia you realise a couple of things:

1) service station food is terrible; and 2) some people should not be allowed out on the road. Overtaking lanes are few and far between, so just north of Gympie I took the chance to fly past a truck that had been holding me up. Problem was a woman in a 4wd decided to jump into the right-hand lane for no reason and hold me up, which meant the truck zoomed back past me on my left before it went back to one lane each way. Seriously.

At Rockhampton I’d planned on stopping at the Tropic of Capricorn, but as the sun was shining directly in my face pretty much the last 50kms into town, I missed it completely. Oops.

After Rockhampton I kept driving north towards a very small town called Marlborough for possibly the worst chicken and chips at the local service station, before pulling into a rest area 66km up the road for some much-needed sleep.


We resume our story at a rest stop some 170km south of Mackay, Queensland. Our hero has managed to set off his car alarm and try sleeping in about 30 different positions before the sun comes up and awakens him for the last time…

 WITH just over 300km to go until Airlie Beach, I decided to try and push straight through in the hope there was already a spare bed waiting for me. This was naturally foiled by my stomach wondering just where the hell breakfast was, and with that threatening to bring other parts of my body on strike, it was into another little service station for what was actually a half-decent bacon and egg roll.

This part of the Bruce Highway is dominated by sugar cane: all around were signs warning of cane trucks and train crossings. Eventually though I got through Sarina, Mackay and Proserpine without any problems before taking the turn-off to Airlie Beach itself, only to discover that a) the main road was closed and we had to detour; and b) I was stuck behind a large camper van whose driver had apparently forgotten the accelerator was the pedal on the right…

The scenery made up for Captain Slow though. Tree-covered hills rise over the town itself as you drive in while the blue waters of the Coral Sea tease you on the left. Even better than the view though was the available bed at Base Airlie Beach, complete with bath! One relaxing soak later and it was off to Whitsunday Sailing Adventures to check in for my cruise the next day.

The rest of the day was pretty chilled. I’m staying in Airlie Beach again after the cruise, so after a quick mission out to the docks to see where I leave from it was back to Base for a snooze before heading to their very own Down Under Bar for a $10 meal and pint deal, a few beers – and most importantly of all a few cracks at the pinball machine.

Next stop: Great Barrier Reef!!!

Stuart John (Base Brisbane)



15 06 2011

Guest’s at Base Backpacker’s Hostels across Australia and New Zealand are getting excited for a Thrilling Game of Rugby League tonight.

Game #2 in the State of origin will be played in Sydney.

It’s one of the  biggest game’s in the last 6 years for myself, and thousands of very nervous New South Wales supporters. It’s either going to be the best game of rugby league that we know, or it could be the turning point of an absolutely devastating five years.

We are not nervous because it’s State of Origin time, but more so nervous that we may have to once and for all  keep our mouths shut. “Oh No” What is to become of us all if we do not have a Win.


We will travel far and wide just to attend this game of games,  but as I ponder the possibilities I still have to wonder,

” Is this the greatest losing streak in history of all sports, where there are only two teams battling for the glorious prize of being the best” is it?

What will my friends say when I return on Thursday if we are not victorious. I think I may have to go into hiding, or even worse I may have to wear a maroons jersey just to avoid ridicule.

Being a die-hard blues supporter living in Brisvegas is no longer an easy task. How can we maintain any dignity when we have not won a series in Five years? I still remain hopeful that the blues will have a win tomorrow night, and this will be the pivotal game that will end the winning streak Of the Cane Toads.

When I step off that plane on Thursday morning I will be holding my head high and donning my blues jersey for everyone in Queensland to see. I will walk past and offer all condolences to my neighborly losers, and when I get to work all my friends will buy me an ice-cold beer and say,

” You were right oh wise one, you stayed faithful to the end”

Now this may sound like rubbish to all of you Queensland supporters, but I am sure that with all the hopes and dreams laying on the line, All we have to say is.


Shane Sutton

Base Brisbane

“Go the Blues”

25 05 2011

One passionate Base Backpackers Brisbane crew member and his thoughts on tonight’s opener- 

Ah yes it has come to that time of year once again when we all decide that we will stay loyal to our roots and support the hell out of our State Of Origin Team,  or do we? Although a lot of us move to Queensland from NSW, and some even further south where Rugby league is not even considered a sport, we tend to find that a lot of these people also forget their roots and support Queensland. What the hell is that all about?

 Me, well i do believe in loyalty and have supported the Blues every year with all the zest that i can muster, Maybe after living in Queensland for 15 years i probably should change colours, but i find this would be like cheating on my wife. It is JUST NOT ON. It is absolutely inspiring to watch Brisbane come alive when the Broncos play and even more so when the State of origin is being played here in sunny Brisvegas. Even this morning i am running around Base Brisbane Hostel telling everyone,. ” Go The Blues “ and they all look at me with the look of what the hell is this old boy on about. Thats when I remember that all the backpackers staying here don’t have a clue what State Of Origin is. But I must voice my love for the Blues even though we are on a losing streak of which i get reminded every single day..

 But today is the day my friends.

It is the beginning of the end for the maroon winning streak. We are taking back the glory, it is the first day in a long time that I will be able to say ” I told you guys that we are going to win” even though i have been practicing this line for far too long now. But when I went to bed last night and said my prayers it was not for anything but an absolute slaughter of the Maroons by the MIGHTY BLUES.

Come into Down Under Bar tonight and get involved!

Mighty Blue’s Fan

Base Backpackers Brisbane

“QUEENSLANDER” – Maroon is my colour, what’s yours?

24 05 2011

THOSE arriving  in Queensland on Wednesday may notice the locals have gone a little crazy, along with the Crew at Base Backpackers Brisbane. All around you’ll find people dressed in maroon, red, or any shade thereof, bellowing out “QUEENSLANDER” to all and sundry… Ah yes, its State of Origin time again!

So what is State of Origin? The short answer is that it’s a 3-match rugby league series played between Queensland and New South Wales. Eligibility is similar to national eligibility in football (soccer), so everyone gets right in behind it as their teams battle it out for bragging rights each year.
Up here in Queensland though it always means that much extra. Back in the day Queensland was known more for its conservative (some would say backward) locals and rural lifestyle – Brisbane wasn’t even fully sewered until the early 1970s! Around that time eligibility wasn’t based on where you were from, but rather where you were living. This meant all the best Queensland players ended up playing for more money in Sydney – then playing against and beating Queensland each year! In 1980 NSW beat Queensland in two games using the residency rule before agreeing to play the third game under new “origin” rules. A sellout crowd of 33,210 people watched a number of Queenslanders make their Queensland debuts and win 20-10.

Since then the series have been very even – Queensland have won 45 matches, NSW 40, while the series tally stands at 12 for NSW and 19 (including the last 5 straight!) for Queensland. Queenslanders are still very passionate about State of Origin; tickets sell out in a matter of hours, while the atmosphere inside the stadium is nothing short of electric.
So when you see everyone in Queensland getting all excited Wednesday night, now you’ll know why…

Wear something maroon and join in the fun at The Down under bar – Fullon Flatout 7 days a week!!

Stuart John

Base Crew

24hrs in Brisbane?

23 05 2011

PICTURE THIS: You’ve just arrived in Brisbane, checked into Base Backpackers Brisbane Central/Embassy, dumped your bags in your room and ask yourself the question – what do I do with 24 hours in Brisbane?

The best place to kick off any trip around Brisbane is the Queen Street Mall. Just two blocks from Base Backpackers Central – and literally right behind Base Embassy – the Queen Street Mall is Brisbane’s premier shopping precinct. Cruise up the mall to Albert Street before swinging right to check out King George Square and Brisbane’s iconic City Hall.

Head back to Queen Street and keep walking up the mall until you find the old (the heritage-listed Treasury Casino) and the new (the Brisbane City Council Library). Keep walking up from there over the Victoria Bridge to get a nice view of the Brisbane River- South Bank Parklands to your right, the CBD and Kangaroo Point Cliffs ahead and to the left.

Over the river there’s more things to do than you can poke a stick at – I know, because I got a stick, started poking, eventually gave it up as a bad joke… Once over the river on the right you’ll the Queensland Museum for all you ever wanted to know about Australia’s natural history; the Sciencentre for all you ever wanted to know about science and technology (in a seriously fun way!); and the Gallery of Modern Art for all you ever wanted to know about Australian and international modern art.

Course that’s not all you ever wanted to know about is it – what about food? No problems there because Brisbane’s West End has just about every type of cuisine you could possibly want (unless you’re after traditional Kyrgyzstan cooking) + cool pubs and bistros + some seriously sensational second-hand book stores! Of course, if all you want to do is chill out and maybe have a swim, South Bank Parklands has you covered there. Markets on weekends, artificial lagoon with beach, green spaces to just lay about and top up that sun tan! Once that’s done and the sun decides it’s bed time, walk over to Kangaroo Point to watch it descend over the hills of Brisbane…

Naturally, if you’ve only got 24 hours in Brisbane, you’ll want to have a drink and meet other like-minded travellers. Head back home, because when the sun goes to bed, the Down Under Bar comes out to play…

Stuart John

 Duty Manager

Base Brisbane Embassy

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