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.

UP  TO BASE AIRLIE BEACH HOSTEL…

 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.

MADE IT TO AIRLIE…

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)

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$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.

 

 





Melbourne: See it, feel it, eat it, live it. Don’t just “do it”

3 06 2011

Base Backpackers Crew Member Simon Bond fills you in on a few of Melbourne’s secrets.

Have you ever been chatting to a fellow traveler and heard them reel off the plethora of cities/countries that they’ve ‘done.’ E.g. “Oh yeah, I’ve done New York, I’ve done France, done Rome, done done done done….I’ve never been a fan of this term as it just seems so finite. To me, it sounds like they feel they have somehow completed an entire city, that they’ve exhausted all possible sights, activities and experiences. Which is an almighty feat for even a humble city like Melbourne, let alone somewhere as a vast as New York.

Despite living in Melbourne my entire life I would never say nor think that I’ve ‘done’ Melbourne. My blog posts are going to be about a few notable places events and activities within Melbourne that I feel are definitely worth your while. I’ll try and stick to cheap-ish things to do, as I understand most reading this are on a pretty tight budget. Also, I’ll steer away from the typical travel pamphlet activities such as Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island and Wilsons Prom. Whilst definitely worth seeing, I figure most are already aware of them (**Shameless plug alert.**) If not, see Paul at the Travel desk.

Today’s post is about FOOD!

Melbourne is a city where you can eat really well, for really cheap providing you know the right places. If your willing to put your carnivorous needs aside for a meal, I highly recommend Lentil As Anything it’s a great vegetarian restaurant that is just around the corner from Base. It has a unique ‘pay what you feel it’s worth’ philosophy, serving up a variety of delicious curries and many vegetarian delights.

If you keen on the veg, then I beg you to take trip to the bohemian north side of Melbourne and check out Moroccan Soup Bar. It is genuinely some of the nicest vegetarian food you’ll ever eat. The soup is great, but if your really hungry I recommend the banquet, it’s about $17 per person and you get a plethora of incredible Moroccan style dishes.

Don’t worry meat lovers, I’m one of you, and I know you need your fix. For most people that live in Melbourne, The Queen Victoria Market is not a place we go to for fake/cheap clothes and goods, Ebay overtook that long ago. It’s a food market. Head into the meat and fish area and you will find thick, organic, locally produced, grain fed, wagyu steaks that will have any true steak lover drooling at the mouth. Instead of eating out, why not buy a really nice steak and a bottle of wine, and cook it yourself. It’s a great way to get a taste of Australia’s premium quality fresh produce at a fraction of the price you’d pay at a nice restaurant. I guarantee you, the meat you find at the market is cheaper and far better quality than what you’d buy at our local supermarkets.

 

If looking at all that meat make’s you hungry, there a two awesome cheap market stalls you should try out for hot food. Look for the crowds of people surrounding the ‘borek’ stall. A ‘borek’ is a delicious, long bready, pastry thingy with various meat, veg and cheeses inside. It hails from Turkey and at only $2.50 is a true bargain. Have your order ready before you get to the front of the line as these ladies are known for their ‘soup Nazi’ styled vending.

Near the Borek stall, is the home of Melbourne’s best bratwurst sausage. You might have to queue for a couple of minutes but its well worth your wait, I recommend the spicy sausage with cheese, onion, tommy k, and hot mustard.

China Town is full of cheap restaurants, so of which are fantastic some of which are terrible. Here are a couple of my favourites. For a mouth-watering Shanghai style dumpling house head to Shanghai Village, large plates of around 12 dumplings are a measly $7-$8 and its BYO any alcohol, I’ve actually been there before with a bottle of a Jager and a six pack of Red Bulls, pounding Jager Bombs in plain sight. Truly a great and cheap way to start out a night in the city.

 If Japanese is your thing you must go to the authentic, yet still cheap Izakaya Chuji. The lunch Bento Boxes are about $12 and you get a wide variety tasty treats. Lygon Street – The home of Melbourne’s best and worst Italian food. Just north of the city is Lygon Street, Melbourne’s Italian district. Unfortunately it’s become so well known for it’s Italian food that many not so cheap, and very average restaurants have popped up. There are still a few really ones though. ‘Tiamo’ serve up fresh simple traditional pasta that rivals the best. If you’re into pasta, you won’t be disappointed. A little bit more expensive than the other places I’ve mentioned but I’m pretty sure most of the dishes are under $20.

Victoria St, Richmond aka Little Vietnam. This is an area known for it’s delectable yet super cheap Vietnamese food, particularly the Pho. (famous Vietnamese rice noodle soup) Victoria Street is an area where restaurant competition is so fierce that you can pretty much walk into any restaurant and be sure to have a decent cheap meal. My number one spot on Victoria St for Pho is Co Do it’s about $8 for a soup that I feel is just as good if not better than something you’d actually get in Saigon.

 That’s my two cents on eating in Melbourne. If nothing appeals to you, then tell me what does and I’m sure I’ll be able to recommend a place for you. For those too lazy to google, I’ve listed the names of the restaurants and their address below, our friendly reception staff can show you the way.

Lentil As Anything 41 Blessington St, St Kilda Shanghai Village 112 Little Burke St, Melbourne Izakaya Chuji 1989 Lonsdale St, Melbourne Tiamo Coffee Restaurant 303 Lygon St, Carlton Co Do 196 Victoria St, Richmond





“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





BASE JUMPING!!

10 05 2011

 

JUMP INTO BED WITH US!

BASE jumping, usually an activity that employs an initially packed parachute to jump from fixed objects. CRAZY PEOPLE!!

At Base Backpackers, We are CRAZY, but we have made BASE JUMPING a lot Safer….

BASE JUMPING OZ 10 NIGHTS – AU$249

This is a 10-night flexible accommodation package with the opportunity to stay at any BASE Hostel in Australia. That would be in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Magnetic Island and now also to be used with our affiliate properties, The Haven, Aquarius Backpackers, Frasers on Rainbow, Palace Backpackers, Cool Bananas, Gilligans, Calypso Backpackers, Melaleuca and The Old Swan Barracks.The pass allows you to stay for a maximum 3 nights in each hostel. Consecutive stays of 4 or more nights are not permitted. BASE Jumping vouchers are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase and nights at any of the above properties and are subject to availability at the booking time.The Base Jumping passes are NOT valid during the whole Rugby World Cup period (9th Sept – 23rd Oct 2011).

Please book one person per package. For any questions, please email info@stayatbase.com.
 
 




Every Traveller Needs a BASE!

10 05 2011

Experience the Excitement of Australia and New Zealand with the friendly Base Backpackers Crew

BASE Backpacker Hostels are a revolution in beds, bars and entertainment. Base hostels are located throughout Australia and New Zealand and are specially designed for you, the modern-day global travellers, with state of the art facilities, superior comfort and friendly services. You can experience Base in our hostel backpackers located in Auckland, Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown & Wanaka.

www.stayatbase.com








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