HostelBookers Awards for Excellence 2010 – Oceania’s Top Hostels

The following post is about the 2010 awards but you can read the latest results from HostelBookers Awards for Excellence 2011 including:
Best Hostels in Europe
Best Hostels in North America
Best Hostels in Oceania

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been revealing the winners of our 2010 HostelBookers Awards for Excellence, continent by continent. Last week we discovered the identity of the 18 top hostels in North America.

This week it’s the turn of Oceania; home to some of the most beautiful beaches and top travel destinations in the world, with cities like Sydney, Christchurch, Cairns and Melbourne all boasting award winning hostels.

Check out the winners below…


The Friendly Hostel
Hervey Bay, Australia

Overall Rating: 89%

Top Australia Hostel: The Friendly HostelThe Friendly Hostel is a small, clean, quiet and friendly family run guest house and hostel in the center of Hervey Bay, offering quality accommodation at great budget prices.

It’s no party hostel- there are only 28 beds- but it does provide an intimate, homely atmosphere, allowing you to experience personal service and develop friendships with the guests.

The hostel also has excellent facilities, such as modern, fully equipped kitchens and provides guests with those extra touches, like 24 hr internet access and free bike hire, that you won’t find in your average hostel.

Cycling is a great way to explore the 10km of bike paths on Hervey Bay’s famous Esplanade. Bike hire can be costly (up to $15 per 1/2 day) so the free bike hire is a really nice touch.

This is by far the best hostel that I’ve stayed in and everyone else there thought so too. Great place, really clean, good rooms and bathrooms and the guy on reception (Anrich) was so brilliant and helpful. I wished that I’d been staying there longer! – Customer Review by Kate Ford on 30 October 2009

Other nice touches which set the hostel aside are the large fridges in the kitchen, TV & DVD player and internet and guest phone access (for incoming and outgoing calls) 24 hours a day unlike many other hostels in the area where facilities tend to be locked up early.

In short, The Friendly Hostel is a home away from home with warm and friendly staff where you can come, go and do things when they suit you, not the hostel.

Unsurprisingly, given it’s laid back atmosphere and quality facilities, 117 out of 121 HostelBookers customers who have left reviews said that they would recommend it to fellow travelers, and who can blame them given the hostel’s outstanding value for money, courteous staff, and clean, comfortable beds?

New Zealand’s Albatross Backpacker Inn in Kaikoura and and Port Macquarie Backpackers in Portmacquarie, Australia, are the other hostels to make the overall top 3 for Oceania with overall ratings of 90% and 92% respectively.

Recommended by 76 out of 87 backpackers Albatross Backpacker Inn made its way into the top 3 hostels in Oceania thanks to the quality of its service across the board, offering guests fantastic facilities like a massive garden and TV room with extensive DVD collection from as little as €12.76 a night for shared accommodation.

Owened and managed by ‘Big Tony’, Port Macquarie Backpackers earned its place alongside The Friendly Inn and Albatross Backpacker Inn thanks in large part to its fantastic array of facilities and services which include free breakfast, tea and coffe, free pool and fantastic hammock beside the swimming pool. 46 out of 47 customers can’t be wrong surely?!


Thomas Hotel – on the waterfront
Queenstown, New Zealand

Location Rating: 99%

Located right on the waterfront looking out onto Lake Wakatipu you can’t really get much more central than Thomas Hotel – on the waterfront. Queenstown is not a massive place but the hotel undoubtedly occupies one of the best spots.

Queenstown center is just five minutes walk away, while you can hire single and double sea kayaks direct from the hotel and be out on the lake within five minutes.

In Queenstown town center there are more than 100 bars and restaurants to choose from with many providing happy hours at the different hours of the night, allowing you to jump straight from one bar to the next. The beauty of Thomas Hotel’s location is that you don’t have to go far to get home.

Aside from its fantastic location, the hotel offers guests a range of extremely comfortable accommodation from dorm beds to private rooms with en-suite bathrooms and TVs. It also provides guests with 24 hour hot showers, free linen and a luggage storage facility for valuables.

Great location right in the middle of it all, lots of tours can be booked here although we just enjoyed the beach! Kitchen isnt great but the bbq area is great for steaks, we stayed in one of the doubles and the a/c was great, separate rooms for fridge, shower, toilet etc was great too, great place. Customer Review by Leannae Hurley on 27 January 2010

There is also a communal kitchen, laundry room and internet access so that you can keep up with your everyday life. It doesn’t have a bar of its own but with so many pubs and bars nearby this really isn’t important.

The staff are warm and friendly and 42 out of 54 HostelBookers customers would recommend Thomas Hostel – on the waterfront to fellow travelers, making it a worthy winner of its Award for Excellence.

Australian duo Gilligan’s Backpackers Hotel & Resort and Islander Backpacker Resort scooped Oceania’s other two award slots for the best location award.

Gilligan’s Backpackers Hotel & Resort won the award thanks to its location in the heart of Cairns in Far North Queensland. It is the perfect starting point for trips to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest and is also only a few minutes walk to all Cairns’ waterfront lagoon, shopping centers, galleries, restaurants and nightclubs. All this couple with its location rating of 91% means it is well worth its place in the top 3 for location.

Islander Backpacker Resort scored an impressive 93% location rating based on our customer ratings and when you consider it is just 50 meters from the beach, next t o a bus stop and five minutes stroll from the nearest shops, cafes and pubs, it’s easy to see why it made it into our top 3 for location.


Calypso Inn Backpackers Resorts
Cairns, Australia

Atmosphere Rating: 90%

Calypso Inn Backpackes Resorts is a fantastic place; cool, clean and friendly, it has an awesome atmosphere. It is run by owners with more than 15 years of backpacking experience around the world, who have a particular way of taking care of people, and will make you feel welcome from the moment you enter the resort.

The hostel itself is well maintained, with lots of character and excellent facilities. The communal kitchens where you can cook for yourself are a great place to meet people while Zanzibar, the hostel’s in-house restaurant and bar is a fantastic meeting place for everyone at Calypso. It features funky music and chilled out tunes conducive to creating a happy and social environment.

I had a fantastic time staying there! Atmosphere was great and everyone was really nice!! The staff know the in’s and out’s of where to go and what to see and do!! Its close to all the pubs and clubs and if you dont w;ant to walk just jump on the free bus to town!! All in all great place to stay  Customer Review by Kimberley Collins on 13 December 2009

Other facilities include a fantastic pool, spacious gardens, free regular courtesy bus transfers to and from the city center and top rate laundry facilities.

The staff however are the real stars of the show; they go out of their way to ensure that you make the most out of your stay and are on hand 24 hours a day to provide you with extensive tour information, advice and help you save money and this is one of the main reasons why they made their way into Oceania’s top 3 hostels for atmosphere.

Two other Australian properties, Blue Parrot Backpackers in Sydney and Scotty’s Beach House in Mission Beach, complete our top 3 for atmosphere, scoring 94% and 90% for atmosphere respectively.

Blue Parrot Backpackers is centrally located on Macleay Street in cosmopolitan Potts Point; the chic and glamorous part of inner Sydney and has its own private courtyard garden where guests can chill out and socialize with other travelers and its cozy lounge room to thank for its place in the top 3.

Scotty’s Beach House comes recommended by 74 out of 88 customers and found its way into the top 3 thanks to its friendly staff, huge pool, all day music and regular hostel ‘nights out.’


The Old Countryhouse Clean
Christchurch New Zealand

Cleanliness Rating: 96%

The Old Countryhouse is a fantastic city base for those who enjoy quality and comfortable surroundings while traveling.

The house is a 15 minute walk from the city center, making it far enough away from the hustle and bustle to ensure you have a relaxing stay but not so far out that you’re reliant on public transport or car hire to get anywhere.

As you’d expect from an award for cleanliness winner, the Old Countryhouse is spotless throughout- from the perfectly polished wooden floors to the clean, comfortable and well turned out beds.

Wow! this is the nicest hostel I’ve ever stayed in (including my own). Neat, tidy, clean, secure, big spacious rooms, solid wooden beds that don’t squeak, thermodrape curtains, quiet street, nice clean big kitchen, nice lounge, separate showers and toilets. Each house has its own facilities and has been recently renovated. Consequently, it attracts the quiet couple types so the atmosphere is rather subdued – which makes good sleeping! I would thoroughly recommend this place and I only moved because my friends were booked in another place on the other side of town. – Customer Review by Tim Michell on 06 February 2010

One of the properties most outstanding attributes, other than its outstanding cleanliness, is its beautiful landscaped garden which is full of native plants, ferns and palm trees. This is a wonderful place to relax and get away from it all and has plenty of outdoor seating where you can share travel stories with fellow travelers or just simply watch the world go by.

The garden features an organic herb garden where you can pick your own fresh herbs to accompany meals prepared in the house’s well equipped kitchen. Other features include a TV lounge, guest telephone and internet access and all the home comforts you’d expect of a first rate property including off-street parking, central heating and laundry service.

148 out of 154 HostelBookers customers would recommend The Old Countryhouse to other travelers making it a very worthy winner.

The other two properties to make our top 3 for Clealiness both hail from Australia- the Blue Mountains YHA from the Blue Mountains and Next Backpackers both hail from Hervey Bay.

Situated in Katoomba in the heart of the Blue Mountains national Park, The Blue Mountains YHA scored a tidy (pardon the pun) 94% for cleanliness from customer reviews thanks in no small part to its free linen, 24 hot showers, bath, washing machines, spotless communal areas, top-notch kitchen and clean, comfortable rooms.

Next Backpackers made it into the top 3 thanks to its comfy beds, crisp linen sheets, en-suite bathrooms and free linen. Scoring 98% helped its cause considerably as did the fact that it comes recommended by all 81 customers that left feedback!


Toni’s Guesthouse
Nuku’alofa, Tonga

Value Rating: 93%

Offering clean and comfortable shared and private rooms for just €6.61 a night in one of Tonga’s best locations, it’s not hard to see why Toni’s Guesthouse made it into the top 3.

Linen, towels and a luggage storage facility all come included in the price along with fantastic self-catering and cooking facilities and laid back lounge rooms where you can kick back and relax.

Toni’s “Castle” is a lovely place to stay. I totally recommend it to everyone who wants to explore Tonga. Toni’s Tour is worth every cent and a great opportunity to get to know the island well. He shows you everything interesting and explains the local habits. Sometimes he might appear a little grumpy, but in a nice way. We liked him, his wife Leni and the driver Peter very much. A great advantage is the ride to town they offer for 1 Tongan Dollar per way. Everyone is really helpful and Toni will tell you where to get the best deals for trips to other islands like Eua or daytrips to Atata or Fava. The place is clean and it is so nice to sit outside and have dinner or a drink with the other people there. Just go there! – Customer Review by Johanna Wissenback on 18 June 2009.

The Guesthouse offers snorkeling trips to beaches and dinners shows and provides lifts to and from town for just one Tongan dollar per person.

There is no curfew, Toni is warm and friendly and there is internet access at very cheap rates so that you can keep in touch with your friends and loved ones during your stay.

59 out of 62 Hostelbookers customers would recommend Toni’s Guesthouse to a fellow traveler and with rooms for less than €7 it’s difficult to argue against its inclusion in the top 3.

Australian duo Byron Springs Guest House and Molly Malones Irish Backpackers make up the two best value awards for Oceania, winning the awards for the high quality services and facilities they provide at a fraction of the usual price.

Byron Springs Guest House in Byron Bay offers guests a generous continental breakfast, a comfortable lounge with TV, magazines, books and cooking facilities and spacious rooms for just €24.91.

Offering a chioce of twin rooms, double rooms with or without ensuites or dorm rooms are available above a bright and cheerful Irish pub for just €10.96, Molly Malones Irish Backpackers is every fun-loving backpackers dream, featuring a balcony, bar and TV lounge amongst its many facilities.


Base Sydney
Sydney, Australia

460 Bookings

Those of you wondering why Base Sydney was one of our three most popular hostels in Oceania last year need look no further than the hostel’s superb location in the heart of Sydney. It is just a few minutes walk to Center Point Tower and Darling Harbour- the home of all Sydney’s best cafes and bars.

If the hostel’s location isn’t enough to convince you, then perhaps you’ll be more interested by its fantastic features and facilities including a 24 hour internet café, full travel desk to help you for all your travel needs, a great bar, laundry and public phones. For girls there is even ‘The Sanctuary’- an innovative & luxurious ‘girls only’ floor with high quality facilities and pampering products.

Wonderful people. Always something to do, always a party going on. If you’re lost, there’s always someone to pick you up, and help you out. Great with the help with booking and you’re always welcome to ask the staff anything. Nice rooms, wonderful bathrooms, awesome DJ’s. Customer Review by Veronica Nielsen on 18 December 2009.

It also has a fantastic atmosphere and the young, helpful and friendly staff make it easy to meet other cool travelers, regularly putting on a variety of group offers from Wednesday night theme party nights to impromptu evenings in the Scary Canary Bar, Base Sydney’s brand new party den.

Add to that the spacious dorms, selection of chill areas and clean, comfortable rooms that are cleaned on a daily basis and you have yourself one of Oceania’s top hostels!

Melbourne’s Victoria Hall and Wake Up Hostel in Sydney completed the top 3 for the most popular award category, racking up 413 and 552 bookings respectively.

Victoria Hall offers some of the cheapest and most fun accommodation in Melbourne. Private rooms start from €15.28, however it doesn’t shirk on quality as a result. Sensational views, iPod docking stations, high quality mattresses and flat screen TVs all come as part of the price. Not to mention spaces to play games, watch movies, workout and lounge around.

Sydney’s Wake Up Hostel was Oceania’s most popular hostel last year with 552 booking beds over the course of 2009. It’s superb location, outstanding facilities like its lively bar, lounge and pool tables are a lot to do with its ever growing popularity along with its fantastic rooms and 24 hour reception, cafe and on-site restaurant.

And that completes our review of Oceania’s HostelBookers Awards for Excellence Winners. Stay tuned to the blog next week as we hop over to South America for a closer look at South America’s top rated hostels as chosen based upon your customer ratings and feedback.

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