Working at Base Backpackers Hostels

12 07 2011

“What is it about this job…?

I work at Base Backpackers hostel in Stkilda Melbourne, and I LOVE MY JOB!!

I’m pretty sure that most people have had those same aspirations in life.  Finish school, get a job, meet that girl, ‘settle down’, grow a beer belly and spend every second day talking about how next week you plan on going for a jog, spending more time with the dog …lest you actually enjoy that 35 hour a week job.

Somewhere along the way though you took a few months off and went to a South East Asian temple, you sun-baked on a tropical North Queensland beach, went an impossibly long time without showering in India, climbed a Mexican pyramid…and just generally basked in life. You lament….those really were the days.

No suits, No ties, no responsibilities, and just the promise of waking up and actually enjoying yourself, each and every day!

I have now worked at Base Hostel for over a year and reflecting back…I don’t really know exactly what makes this place so special.  Maybe its confiscating the 12 bottles of wine off of one lone Irish lad at 8am who was yet to head to bed (“sorry boss, sorry, never again boss”), or the  chirpy Dutch boys who seemed that touch queer if they weren’t so sleazy the entire time.  Maybe its  the  beautiful kiwi girl giving you that half a smile in the morning on her way to work, or the remarkably unintelligible accent of that Scottish man giving me advice on my air-conditioning at 3am in the morning??

Somewhere along the way I realised I really enjoy this life, this job. Base, and the people within it. Not buildings or facades, but the living breathing 250 beds a few metres above me. The short termers, the long termers, the friends becoming almost like family. The faces often changing, but so many staying the same. Welcoming hellos and teary good byes.

No suits, no ties, and just actually enjoying myself each and every day…

Happy Travels


Reception Pumper!


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)

Island Backpacking

5 07 2011

On a beautiful deserted island in the middle of nowhere,

the following Backpackers were shipwrecked and stranded.


2 Italian men and 1 Italian woman

2 French men and 1 French woman

2 German men and 1 German woman

2 Greek men and 1 Greek woman

2 English men and 1 English woman

2 Bulgarian men and 1 Bulgarian woman

2 Japanese men and 1 Japanese woman

2 American men and 1 American woman

2 Irish men and 1 Irish woman

One month later , the following had occurred.

One Italian man killed the other Italian man for the Italian woman.

The two French men and the French woman are living happily together in

a menage a trois.

The 2 German men have a strict weekly schedule of when they alternate with

the German woman.

The 2 Greek men are sleeping with each other and the Greek woman

is cleaning and cooking for them.

The 2 English men are waiting for someone to introduce them to the

English woman.

The Bulgarian men took a long look at the endless ocean and

one look at the Bulgarian woman and they started swimming.

The two American men are contemplating the virtues of suicide as they

listen to the American woman bitching about her body being her own,

and on the true nature of  feminism and how she can do everything that

they can do, about the necessity of fulfilment, the equal division of

household chores, how her last boyfriend respected her opinion and

treated her much nicer, how all men except her father are pigs, and how her

relationship with her mother is improving. But at least the taxes are

low and it is not raining.

The two Japanese men have faxed Tokyo and are waiting for instructions.

The Irish began by dividing the island into North and South and by

setting up a distillery. They do not remember if sex is in the picture

because it gets sort of foggy after the first few litres of coconut

whiskey, but they are satisfied in that at least the English are not

getting any so what the hell!!!


If you want to experience  Island life, check out Base Magnetic Island!!

David Fitzpatrick (Base Melbourne Stkilda)


Life is a Highway…

27 06 2011

… AND for the next three weeks I’ll be riding it all night long!

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.

If you see Stuart at a Backpackers hostel on the East Coast, make him buy you a drink 😉


 This trip is a little different to just about every other one I’ve done in the last seven years though. Those trips have been around Europe, Asia, South Africa and the USA; this time around though it’s my home state of Queensland.

In many ways it’s a bit of a homecoming for me. My first road trip was at the grand old age of one month old, as we headed south from Townsville to Mum’s family in Brisbane. Since leaving Townsville at age 2 I’ve been back a total of once, with most family trips being down south to visit Dad’s family in Victoria.

What a trip it is too! Two days of leisurely tootling up the Bruce Highway to Airlie Beach before four days on a cruise around the Whitsundays before four nights relaxing just off the coast of Townsville on Magnetic Island. After that it’s up to Cairns and Cooktown for a couple of nights each, before taking a week to get back to Brisbane – quite possibly looking at going through Atherton, Charters Towers and Emerald to change things up.

Three weeks off, the iPod at the ready, Great Barrier Reef and some beautiful tropical winter weather: what more can you ask for?


Time to hit the highway…

$20 beds?!? Base Wanaka Backpackers cheapest in town!

3 06 2011

This June something special is happening at Base Wanaka Backpackers, they have started offering current guests the opportunity to extend their stay in a dorm for just $20.



 We went undercover to find out the harm this is causing certain inanimates in the hostel. Something so basic has been neglected, and this is the reception counters’ Till.

Quoted as saying ‘I don’t think people understand we must consume money to survive’ it said, while eyeing my wallet longingly ‘before this so-called deal I was well fed, and my baby coin floats were happy’

Now it seems the till has had to go on an enforced diet, not surprisingly all $20 bills. With such a lack of variety of notes for consumption the Till is thinking of applying for a job in the Mint Bar, but has heard that on Fridays the Till is forced to eat only $5 bills during the $5 Friday promotion where all house wine/beer and spirits are just $5.

The Till went on to say ‘I guess it’s not as bad as those guys in the bar, I’ll take a $20 over a $5 any day.’

Managers at Base Wanaka have assured the till that this $20 dorm bed deal will only last for a week or so more before it goes back to regular rates.



X marks the Pipi Patch – Identity crises.

18 05 2011

You know the old saying ‘change never comes easy’, and this could not be any truer. It’s been almost 5 years since ACB holdings (Beyond Backpackers) and Base Backpackers merged thus giving the most northern NZ property the title of Base Bay of Islands.

On any given day the phone will ring with someone wanting to get in touch with the ‘Pipi Patch’. As soon as they hear the welcome spiel given by the receptionist (‘Good morning Base Bay of Islands Jess speaking’) it’s a case of ‘sorry I have the wrong number’ or ‘can you give me the number for the Pipi’. What’s a place to do?

In true kiwi style we embraced our Pipi Patch history and welcomed the Base future with open arms – our name may have changed but we stayed the same funky little lodge surrounded by massive palm trees, engulfed by gorgeous weather and surrounded by Mother Nature at her best. What an amazing lifestyle to be involved in and what a fantastic location.

 Down the road you’ll find the birthplace of the nation, Waitangi, and across the water is Russell – the ‘hell hole of the pacific’ as it was affectionately referred to during the whaling boom. The Bay of Islands is a place of firsts – first New Zealand capital, first church, first licenced pub, first brothel, and first port of call for all sailors – hello.

We here at Base Pipi Patch Bay of Islands Beyond backpackers ACB Holdings, create many firsts for travellers that walk thru our tropical doors. Don’t believe me? Spend 1 night in the Pipi Patch bar and prove me wrong!

The most memorable first for me was witnessing a young English lad do a real life ‘Zoolander remove your undies without taking off your jeans’ manoeuvre. I can still hear his pained squeals to this day as he navigated his crown jewels out of his CK briefs – what a legend. Why did he do such a thing you ask? All for 2 bonus points in our famous pub quiz – again, legend.

As I finish writing this piece, I have already had 2 phone calls this morning saying they have the wrong number. ‘Wait’ I say, ‘are you trying to phone the Pipi Patch?’ Both responses? ‘Yes’.

Jess Ivess, General Manager

A city with secrets

13 05 2011

“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” G. K. Chesterton

It happens as it does every night, same routine, same people. Traveller’s mostly, those who are in the know, and those who wish they were. I nod to them as they pass by. Excited youngster’s conquering the world. Happy. I sit back watching as they return from their latest adventure in the city. A Big city. A City with secrets few would ever see. Unless you wanted to look for them. For Her.

 I take another sip from a mug that had seen better days. Chipped. Old. A story to tell. Like me. I Should throw it away I tell myself for the hundredth time. Get something new. Shiny. I take another sip of the oily liquid, wincing. Good coffee. Always good coffee in this city.

 I look to the list of names on my desk. Lot of Name’s. From places I knew, some I didn’t. All a mystery to me. Unknown. That is until I’m called upon. Then, as always, names begin to match faces, and a story, old as it is new, comes to light. Stories need to be told. That’s one of the things you learn in this job. Stories need to be told. And everyone has a story.

A piece by M.H. Clancy (Base Backpackers Night Manager)

%d bloggers like this: