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Blue Mountains YHA

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One of our favourite YHA hostels in Australia, the Blue Mountains YHA is within a restored National Trust building with a beautiful art deco interior.  It was built in 1918 as a guesthouse called Homesdale, but during the 1920s and 1930s, it underwent a series of extensions, including a huge ballroom.  The building then became home to the Wentworth Cabaret, a popular club for music and dancing.

 

In the 1960s, tourism slowed down in the Blue Mountains and the building was sold to Illawarra Bible College.  Eight years later, it changed hands again to the Assemblies of God and the ballroom was used as a chapel.  YHA purchased the building in 2000 and a year later, the Blue Mountains YHA was opened.

 

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Facilities

The Blue Mountains YHA is huge and is perfect for groups and families.  It sleeps 200 people and has a variety of room options.  We were in the Blue Mountains during winter so it was fairly quiet.  We had a 6 share dorm all to ourselves.  All the rooms have heaters that become your best friend in winter, and plenty of lockable cupboard space per guest.

 

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The common areas are bright and spacious.  The old ballroom has been decked out with gas fire heaters and lounges, and the side rooms include a quiet reading room, a games room and a checker floor kitchen with gas cooking.  Outside is a giant chess board and a few sun chairs for when the weather is warmer.  There is also free Wifi available in the common areas.

 

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Things Nearby

Within 1km

  • Café – less than 100 metres from the hostel is a cosy little café called the Yellow Deli.
  • Supermarket – there’s a discount supermarket just around the corner only two minutes away, but if you’re looking for a major supermarket, you’re going to have to walk an extra 400m up the road.
  • Street Art Walk – a collaboration with local graffiti artists, the Street Art Walk is 150m from the hostel and exhibits some fantastic works of art.
  • Bottle shop – less than 200m up the street is a bottle shop.
  • Katoomba Station – if you need to catch the train in or out of Katoomba, the railway station is only 800m up the road.

Surrounding Attractions

  • Echo Point and the Three Sisters – only 1.7km down the road, this is the most iconic landmark of the Blue Mountains.
  • Sublime Point Lookout – one of our favourite lookouts in the Blue Mountains is only 6.6km from the hostel.
  • Bakehouse on Wentworth – Enjoy pie? This bakery does some ripper savoury pies and they’re only 11km away in Blackheath.
  • Sydney – the largest city in Australia is only 130km away.

 

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The Essentials

The Blue Mountains YHA is located at 270 Katoomba Street in Katoomba and is open all year. Reception is available from 7:30am to 8pm daily, but they stay open for an hour later on Friday and Saturday nights. Breakfast is available for $6.50 per person.

 

To enquire about accommodation, phone 02 4782 1416, email bluemountains@yha.com.au or go to the website.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sydney Harbour YHA

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Sydney Harbour YHA is not your ordinary YHA.  It’s a new purpose-built hostel with state of the art facilities that’s located within the historic Rocks precinct of Sydney.  It boasts incredible views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge and has won more than 30 awards, but the real feature of this hostel is that it is built on top of the archaeological remains of colonial Sydney.

 

The Hostel

When Sydney was first established, most of the convicts were sent to the Rocks to live.  Houses were built on actual rocks (hence the name), and the suburb earned itself the reputation of being a rough neighbourhood.  The bubonic plague hit Sydney in the early 1900s, and because the Rocks was densely populated, it was assumed that it would suffer the most casualties.  Despite the deaths of only three people, most of the buildings were demolished and those who survived the plague were moved to other suburbs.

 

The current YHA site was not used much between 1901 and 1994, it was mainly an empty lot for car parking.  In 1994, excavations of the current YHA site began and the foundations of over 30 colonial homes were found, as well as thousands of artefacts.  The insight that these discoveries have provided show that perhaps the Rocks wasn’t such a scummy place after all, with some of the artefacts quite fine and expensive, and evidence of a healthy diet.

 

The area was in limbo because of its archaeological significance so the public was invited to make suggestions on how to utilise the land.  YHA submitted a tender which was approved, and in 2008, construction of the hostel began.  The hostel was built around the archaeological dig, and officially opened in April 2010 with only 2% of the site being affected due to construction.  Over a million dollars were spent to make the hostel environmentally friendly and sustainable, and many of the archaeological remnants are displayed in cases within the hostel.

 

The adjacent The Big Dig Archaeology Educational Centre also opened at this time and accommodates large educational groups from primary school students through to uni groups.  About 30% of the guests at the hostel are educational groups and there’s a separate dining room for large groups.  A great part of The Big Dig is the façades around the building that simulate a glimpse back to colonial times.

 

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Facilities

There are 354 beds in the Sydney Harbour YHA, and a percentage of your accommodation fee goes to the archaeological upkeep and development of The Big Dig Centre.  Accommodation options include air conditioned multishare dorms and double/twin accommodation, and all rooms have ensuites – some with separate toilet and bathroom.  Many rooms also have views of the Sydney Harbour and Sydney Opera House.

 

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The common areas are colourful, modern and spacious.  There’s a large fully-equipped kitchen with plenty of storage space and a huge lounge and dining area.  The rooftop has a BBQ area and sun chairs, as well as unobstructed views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and CBD.  The hostel has accessibility access, free Wi-Fi hotspots for guests and a coffee bar at reception.

 

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Things Nearby

Within 1km

  • BridgeClimb – one of the most unique Sydney experiences is only 300m down the street.
  • The Fine Food Store –located on the corner of Mill and Kendall Lane, this café makes great coffee and a tasty croque le grill.
  • Supermarket – there is a major supermarket in the Metcentre on George Street, about 700m south of the hostel.
  • Circular Quay – one of the major terminals of the Harbour City Ferries is only 750m away. Catch the ferry to Manly! It is also a busy bus terminal serviced by the free city bus.

 

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Surrounding Attractions

  • Martin Place – 1.2km away in the heart of Sydney, Martin Place is a pedestrian mall with an entrance to the underground railway station.
  • Sydney Opera House – while you can see the Opera House from the rooftop of the hostel, there’s no harm walking 1.6km to see it up close. While you’re there, why not have a beer at the Opera Bar.
  • Sydney’s Luna Park – the 2.2km walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge will warm you up for a day of fun.
  • Market City – south of the city, 2.5km away is Market City. While there are stalls that sell stuff, the best thing is the food court upstairs that dishes out great value Asian meals.

 

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The Essentials

Sydney Harbour YHA is located at 110 Cumberland Street in The Rocks.  Reception is open 24 hours.  For more information about accommodation and availability, phone 02 8272 0900, email sydneyharbour@yha.com.au, or visit the website.

 

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Glebe Point YHA, Sydney NSW

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Our first night in Sydney was spent at Glebe Point YHA, a relaxed hostel in Sydney’s inner city area. With public transport nearby, it’s just minutes from the city centre and there’s plenty to do within walking distance, like restaurants and cafes, pubs and shopping centres.

 

Facilities

The hostel sleeps 151 guests and has a variety of accommodation options, such as multi-share dorms, double/twin rooms and ensuite rooms.  There’s plenty of space around the hostel, so it’s great for families too.

 

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On the ground floor, you’ll find the reception area and tours desk, with jobs and car sales noticeboards nearby.  There’s also a funky games room with a few consoles for any gaming nerds.

 

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Downstairs is another games area, with a ping pong table, pool table and fusball table.  If you’re looking for a more quiet stay, there is a study area and free Wi-Fi.  The kitchen is fully decked out with gas stoves, toasters and microwaves, and there’s heaps of storage space for food and fridge stuff.

 

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One of our favourite parts of the hostel was the rooftop area.  With BBQs, sun chairs, comfortable lounges and an awesome view of city, you could spend all day up there.

 

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Things Nearby

Within 1km

  • Bus Stop – 35m from the hostel. How good is that!  The 431 bus will take you through the guts of the city, all the way to the Rocks.
  • Supermarket – The closest supermarket is Lucky 7, about 270m down the road. If you want a bigger supermarket, IGA is 800m from the hostel, while the major supermarkets are 1.6km away at Broadway Shopping Centre.
  • Pub – the Toxteth Hotel is only 400m away and does trivia, cheap meals and live music.
  • Light Rail – The Glebe Light Rail is a 750m walk away towards the Toxteth and takes you all the way into the city.

 

Surrounding Attractions

  • Market City – 2.7km. Markets and the best Asian food court in Sydney.
  • Martin Place – 4.2km. The heart of Sydney and the location of the Channel 7 studios and Lindt Café.
  • Young Henry’s – 4.2km. A great craft brewery in the backstreets of Newtown.
  • Bridgeclimb – 5.6km. For a unique Sydney experience, check out Bridgeclimb.  If you have an Opal card, it’s a short bus trip away.
  • Sydney Opera House – 5.6km. Australia’s most famous icon.
  • Sydney’s Luna Park – 7km. Just for Fun!

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The Essentials

Glebe Point YHA is located at 262-264 Glebe Point Road.  Reception is open in the morning from 8:30am-12:30pm and in the afternoon from 4:00pm-7:30pm.  To make a booking or enquiry, call 02 9692 8418, email glebe@yha.com.au or visit their website https://www.yha.com.au/hostels/nsw/sydney-surrounds/glebe/

 

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Bedourie

Bedourie : You’d be crazy not to stay the night…

Bedourie

 

About 200km north of Birdsville is a little oasis in the desert, with the friendliest people and a plethora of pleasant surprises.

 

The word Bedourie means dust storm, but we think it’s anything but.  It’s a clean little town that used to be a rest stop for drovers during the 1880s. Here are all the reasons why you should stop and spend the night.

 

Bedourie is Awesome

The first thing we did is stop at the roadhouse for information.  Not only was the lady behind the counter super helpful, but she had some homemade caramel cheesecake tarts for sale. We bought a slice and found that it was delicious.

 

We passed the Desert Sands sculpture on the way to the Information Centre.  The lady behind the counter was so friendly, we think she talked us into staying the night because everything she told us was too good to be true.

 

Bedourie

 

While at the Information Centre, we learnt that Bedourie is the home of the Bedourie Camp Oven – hence the name.  The Bedourie Camp Oven was developed in the 1920s for drovers and cameleers.  Cast iron cookers were too heavy and cracked while the Bedourie ovens were light and durable.  The Bedourie Camp Oven is recognised by the government as uniquely Australian and is considered to be a significant piece of equipment used by the pioneers of the Queensland outback.

 

Camping is Cheap

The campground is right in between the Artesian Spa & Aquatic Centre and the Bedourie Hotel, so all your conveniences are within walking distance.  It was a measly $7 per person per night for an unpowered site, and this included free use of the washing machine and Hills Hoist, free use of the electric BBQs with a built-in sink for washing up.

 

Bedourie

 

The Artesian Spa & Aquatic Centre

By far the best attraction in Bedourie, the Bedourie Aquatic Centre was opened in 2000 and features a 25m swimming pool and a hot artesian spa that sits at around 35-40°C. The water used by the aquatic centre comes from the town’s original bore head, which was drilled in 1905.

 

The Aquatic Centre is open daily from 6am to 8pm during the summer months and 7am – 7pm during the cooler months, and is accessible by paying a $50 refundable deposit for the key at the Information Centre.  This key gives you unlimited access, until you reluctantly need to give it back before you move on.

 

Bedourie

 

Bedourie Hotel

Across the road from the campground is Bedourie’s historic pub.  It used to be called the Royal Hotel and was originally established in 1886.  It has been operating ever since and the building’s appearance hasn’t changed much over the years.

 

While we were there, we had a chat with one of the locals before knocking out some trivia from the paper.  The jukebox is stuffed with all the country music you could want, and they also do evening meals from 6.00pm till 8.00pm.

 

Bedourie

 

Coober Pedy

Eating Out : John’s Pizza Bar, Coober Pedy SA

Coober Pedy

 

We were absolutely starving and after having a quick browse for what was available in town, there was no question where we were going to have lunch.  John’s Pizza Bar not only looked good and smelt good, but the prices were pretty good too.  It’s a family owned and operated business that is run by the Ikonomopoulos family and has won many awards due to their great quality, affordable food and delicious pizzas.

 

We walked in and discovered that the place was licensed.  Brilliant – let’s have a drink while we wait for our food.  Dave got the steak sandwich and Juz got a mixed yiros. We didn’t have to wait too long for our lunch to arrive.

 

Coober Pedy

 

Both were served with a small side of delicious, crunchy chips, which was totally unexpected. Juz stuffed these into her yiros… just because.

 

Coober Pedy

 

Apart from being the perfect size to satisfy our hunger, both of our meals were absolutely delicious.  All up, our two drinks and two meals was about $30 – which is an awesome deal for lunch and a bevy.

 

http://johnspizzabarandrestaurant.com.au/

 

Alice Springs YHA

Alice Springs YHA

Alice Springs YHA

 

Alice Springs YHA isn’t your ordinary hostel.  The building that it lives in is soaked in history.

 

In the early 1940s, the only cinema in Alice Springs was Capitol Theatre.  In 1942, a guy named Snow Kenna built an open air theatre on the other side of town called the Old Pioneer Walk-In.  The screen faced south to minimise the light from the sun and moon, a light tower was built at the back to project the movies, and Kenna also built his home on the site.  This venue became really popular but after Kenna’s death in 1965, it changed ownership many times and due to the competition with a new drive-in theatre and the introduction of colour television, it closed in the early 1980s.

 

Alice Springs YHA

 

In 1983, the building was leased out and converted into a market.  About 20 shops were built into the seating area but due to bad weather and poor ventilation within the walls, the project failed after a year.

 

By this time, there were talks about having the building demolished but the community protested.  Luckily, YHA bought the site in 1988 and nearly a year later on the 50th anniversary of YHA in Australia, work commenced to convert the old cinema to a hostel.  By June 1990, Alice Springs YHA was officially opened, with many of the old features still intact.  There’s even a picture of the building in the reception area taken in the 1950s.

 

Alice Springs YHA

 

These days, you can still see the building where the movies were projected, and Snow’s old home is now known as the Kenna House, providing accommodation for travellers that come through Alice Springs.  Also, in 2012, a new desert-style accommodation house with a solar powered electricity system was installed with assistance from the Federal Government’s Solar City project and YHA’s Sustainable Hostels Fund.

 

The hostel takes pride in not being a party hostel so that accommodation is appropriate for all travellers.  Besides, the hostel is right in the centre of town so it makes sense to do your partying at the nearby pubs and bars.  That doesn’t mean it’s not a social hostel – movie nights, homemade scones and pancake breakfasts are some of the delights that guests enjoy.  There is also a resident kangaroo that hops around the site.

 

Facilities

Alice Springs YHA had a great selection of air-conditioned rooms that include mixed, male and female only rooms, double and twin rooms, as well as a four-bed family room.

 

The common areas include BBQ facilities, a swimming pool, games room, laundry, lounge with TV, and a spacious, clean kitchen.  There is access to the internet in the reception area and you can also get access to WIFI.  The tour desk offers a wide variety of discounted backpacker tours to nearby attractions like Uluru and Kings Canyon, and bicycles are available for hire.

 

But the really cool thing about Alice Springs YHA is the big outdoor movie screen that shows Australian indigenous movies every night.

 

 

 

Things Nearby

On Foot

  • 100m from the hostel is Todd Mall where the fortnightly markets are held.  Browse the craft tables, food stalls and aboriginal art.  The Visitor Centre is also on Todd Mall, on the corner from the hostel.
  • 400m south on Todd Street is Rocky’s Pizza.  You’re not going to get a better pizza for 1000s of kilometres in any direction.  If you walk through Todd Mall, you’ll pass a few cafes that are open for breakfast.  Epilogue Lounge is also great for a cocktail.
  • 500m away on Hartley Street is your closest supermarket, Woolworths.  It’s within the shopping centre that also contains clothing stores and food outlets.  The post office is across the road.
  • 600m north is the base of Anzac Hill.  Climb to the top for great views of Alice Springs.
  • 1000m south on Bath Street is the Alice Springs Reptile Centre.  This is a great place to meet some reptiles from the Northern Territory, from snakes to lizards and crocs!

 

 

 

By Car

  • 5 minutes away and over the river is Lasseters Casino.  Enjoy a steak with sweet potato chips at the Juicy Rump before trying your luck on the Pokies.
  • About 10 minutes away, along Larapinta Drive, is Flynn’s Grave.  While the grave isn’t anything to write home about, this location is the beginning of the walk to the peak of Mount Gillen.  Make sure you have your hiking boots on – this is an epic climb and will take about 2 hours return.
  • The train station is about 2km from the hostel. Regular Ghan services are available to and from Adelaide and Darwin but its not cheap. There’s a travel agency opposite the Visitor Centre that can give you more information.
  • The airport is about 15km to the south.  An airport shuttle is available and costs $12.00 each way.

 

The Essentials

Alice Springs YHA is located on the corner of Parsons Street and Leichhardt Terrace.  Reception hours are from 7am to 8:30pm.  To make a booking, visit http://www.yha.com.au/hostels/nt/central-australia/alice-springs-backpackers-hostel/

 

Phone: (08) 8952 8855

Email: alicesprings@yha.com.au

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Darwin YHA

Darwin YHA

Darwin YHA

 

Located only a few hundred metres away from the heart of Darwin’s nightlife, Darwin YHA gives you the convenience and affordability of an inner city hostel while still providing a quite place to rest your head.

 

Unlike the hostels further down Mitchell Street, Darwin YHA is not a rowdy party hostel – even though they have a public bar adjoining their building!  The Darwin YHA is a former motel that was converted to a hostel around seven years ago and has a friendly atmosphere that caters for guests of all ages.

 

FACILITIES

There are 168 beds available, with mixed or single sex dorms containing either four or six beds, as well a private double and family rooms.  Each room has air conditioning, a fridge and an ensuite, instead of a large shared bathroom.

 

The communal areas include a cosy kitchen and large outdoor BBQ area with lots of seating, a swimming pool surrounded by sun chairs and a dedicated TV room.  There is also wifi available, off-street parking and a well equipped laundry room.

 

The Dry Season is the best time to visit Darwin, so don’t be surprised if the Darwin YHA gets super busy during this time.  Book ahead to ensure you get a bed or come a little earlier in April.  Carolyn and her team at Darwin YHA also run social events (BBQs, etc) during the Dry Season and are more than happy to help you arrange tours and day trips.

 

 

THINGS NEARBY

To the South

Bus stop – 200m – Darwin’s public transport system is a network of buses that run from Darwin, Casuarina and Palmerston interchanges to service Greater Darwin and some rural areas.  For more information on bus times and routes, visit http://www.transport.nt.gov.au/public/bus/darwin

Fox Ale House – 220m – This is a great spot for a cheap feed and late night live music on the weekend.

Ducks Nuts – 220m – across the road from the Fox Ale House, Ducks Nuts Bar and Grill is a favourite amongst the locals and tourists.  It’s great for breakfast and coffee, and if you feel like dressing up and dancing when the sun goes down, there is a vodka bar at the back.

Crocosaurus Cove – 400m – an absolute must see destination when in Darwin. Experience of a lifetime!

Shennanigans – 450m – this is a great drinking location with awesome trivia on Tuesday nights.  Try the Sweet Potato Salad or Chicken Parmigiana.

Waterfront Precinct – 1.5km – with a great selection of pubs and restaurants, the Waterfront is a great place to spend your Sunday afternoon.  Have a picnic next to the Recreation Lagoon or have a dip in the Wave Lagoon.

Deckchair Cinema – 2km – another great attraction that is open during the Dry Season, the Deckchair Cinema is a great way to relax while enjoying a movie under the stars.

 

 

To the North

Aquascene –550m – this attraction relies on the tides so check their website for fish feeding sessions. The gardens are wonderful as well.

Nirvana – 700m – one of Darwin’s popular destinations for food and live entertainment. http://www.nirvanarestaurantdarwin.com/default.html

Mindil Beach – 2km – during the Dry Season, enjoy the Mindil Beach Markets on Thursday and Sunday nights.  Territory Day, the Beer Can Regatta and various cultural events are also celebrated at Mindil Beach.

 

Tours are also available to Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land Aboriginal Reserve.

 

THE ESSENTIALS

Darwin YHA is located at 97 Mitchell Street in Darwin city.  Reception is open from 6am to 10pm – to make a booking, visit the YHA Australia website: http://www.yha.com.au/hostels/nt/darwin-surrounds/darwin-yha-backpackers-hostel/

 

Phone: (+618) 8981 5385

Email: darwin@yha.com.au

 

Darwin YHA

 
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Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

Eating Out : Twee’s Hut Vietnamese Favourites, Melbourne VIC

Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

 

It was our first day in back Melbourne and Juz wanted nothing more than a big bowl of pho.  Even though we’re travelling around the country, she’s still interested in the Melbourne food scene, curious about which restaurants are on the top and whether there are any new places taking Melbourne foodies by storm.

 

A few months ago, Juz received an invitation to try out a new Vietnamese place in the CBD, and since we were in town, it was an offer she couldn’t refuse.  So, for our first day in Melbourne, we found ourselves driving into the city during lunchtime to sample the offerings of Twee’s Hut Vietnamese Favourites.  Now, maybe we’d been a bit spoilt in Darwin, because we had completely forgotten how frustrating and painful driving in the Melbourne CBD can be.  Not to mention finding parking!

 

However, when we walked in to Twee’s Hut, all was forgotten with the sultry aromas of Vietnamese cooking.  It was evident that the lunchtime rush was over and this gave us the perfect opportunity to introduce ourselves to Ricky.

 

Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

 

Ricky and his wife Thuy used to be office workers, bound to their desks day in and day out.  While they had thought about changing the scenery and opening up a Vietnamese restaurant, it wasn’t until a cancer scare opened their eyes and made them realise how short life is.   After a lot of planning and hard work, Twee’s Hut was born in November 2013.

 

Their story really resonated with us – our situation was fairly similar before we decided to pack up all our belongings and travel around the country.

 

The philosophy behind Twee’s Hut Vietnamese Favourites is revealed in the name – to showcase the favourites of authentic Vietnamese home cooking and create a very warm and familiar atmosphere that’s just like home.  Their passion for great food drives them to produce dishes of high standards, and Thuy won’t send anything out unless she’s happy with it.

 

Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

 

On that note, it was time to order.  While Juz was certain she’d have the beef pho, Dave was seduced by a piece of roast pork with crackling in the window.  He ended up ordering some with rice for now and some in a Bánh Mi ‘Captain Baguette’ pork roll for later.  We also got the signature dish – Soul Bowl – which is a combination noodle dish that consists of two kinds of noodles, pork, prawn, a little quail egg, crushed peanuts, fried shallots and coriander with a side of chicken broth.

 

Everything was amazing in its own way.  The flavours and textures of the Soul Bowl were fantastic, especially when you scoop a spoonful of pork mince, peanuts and fried onion into your mouth for an explosion of flavour.  Juz’s beef pho was clean and very well balanced, with the sliced raw onion amplifying the savoury flavour and the lime juice provided the perfect amount of tang to contrast the subtle sweetness.  Dave’s roast pork was the star of the show with its mighty crunch of crackling.  The meat was super juicy and not oversalted, so the flavour of the pork really stood out.

 

Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

 

We had definitely eaten our fill and thanked Ricky for his warm hospitality before we headed back to the car with pork roll in hand.  Later that night, after a catch up with friends at the pub, we got home and Dave found the roast pork roll in the fridge.  The crackling still had its crunch and that unmistakably addictive flavour, and the roll disappeared in a flash.

 

Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

 

We’re glad that we accepted Ricky’s invitation to visit Twee’s Hut.  We really enjoyed their story because we could relate and it validated our reasons for setting off around Australia. Ricky was also a great host who warmly greeted customers and wished a regular all the best with their new baby.  It was really heart-warming to see someone being so genuinely interested in his customers, but after all, Twee’s Hut has another purpose other than serving delicious food.  They want to provide an experience that revolves around caring and sharing, and promotes happiness and health.  They even donate a portion of their sales of Fru-G Lifters to the Cancer Council!  If only we had room in our bellies for one of those…

 

So if you’re in the CBD and hungry for a delicious meal made with love, visit Twee’s Hut – you won’t be disappointed.

 
 
http://tweeshut.com.au/
 

Egg, bacon & zucchini

Cooking : Stuff you can cook on a free BBQ

One of the things that have been consistently useful while we’ve been travelling around Australia are the free electric or gas BBQ facilities at various parks.  You will find one in nearly every town that you pass through, and it’s a quick and easy way to prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner, fish, poultry, steak, vegetables, and even dessert!

 

Because public facilities have a tendency to be a bit scummy, it’s a good idea to have some foil and spray oil with you.  Start off by spraying the BBQ plate before laying a sheet of foil down that spans the whole width of the plate.  Spray more oil on the foil and press the BBQ button to start the heating process.  This ‘Foil and Oil’ method will protect your food from dirty BBQs and it makes cleaning up heaps easier at the end.

 

Foil & Oil

 

If you’re sick of cold sandwiches or expensive takeaway, here are a few ideas that you can whip up in no time!

 

 

Breakfast Extravaganza

If you’re craving for a big breakfast, turn to your trusty electric BBQ.

 

Bacon rashers work really well, as do sliced mushroom with oil, S&P and herbs, sliced tomatoes with a splash of balsamic vinegar, haloumi with lemon juice, chipolatas and sausage.

 

Eggs can be prepared either scrambled or fried.  For scrambled eggs that are a bit specky, whisk your eggs with some thickened cream, thyme and goat cheese or fetta.  Pour your eggs on the hot plate over caramelise onions and you’ll be in flavour country within minutes.

 

If you have foil and spray oil, craft an ‘egg tray’ with a flap that you can fold over to make a lid. Spray the tray with oil before cracking your eggs into it and about halfway through, fold the lid over the eggs to contain the heat so that the top can cook.  Once the eggs are done, flip the egg tray onto your plate, or make a yummy sandwich or wrap with some Caesar dressing, cos lettuce and shards of parmesan cheese and cooked bacon.

 

MEAT

Red meat can be expensive at times, but if you visit the supermarkets in the morning, chances are good that you’ll find a super awesome special or reduced item.  We’ve struck gold with $5 kangaroo steaks, $3.50 pork steaks and the occasional $4 lamb chop.

 

Heat up the BBQ, season the meat with a bit of salt, pepper and your favourite seasoning, and cook until you’re satisfied.

 

 

Fish

Basa fillets are only $8 a kilo and have a beautiful texture and mild flavour.  Popcorn salt is great to season the fillets while cooking, and you can even wrap them in foil for a more steamed effect.

 

Meat Biscuits

Economical, convenient and delicious – a marvellous trifecta that makes meat biscuits so great.  Check out Juz’s post on how to make a batch of meat biscuits.

 

Vegetables

Caramelising onions requires salt, pepper, oil, butter, vinegar, sugar (optional) and patience.  You need to cook them nice and slowly for between 20-40 minutes to achieve the best results.  The aim of the game is to get the natural sugars to caramelise, giving them a rich sweet flavour – balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of sugar assist with the caramelisation process and give the onions a little boost in flavour.   Use in sandwiches, atop steak or stir through scrambled eggs.

 

Vegetable medallions are a great way to get some veggies in your day.  Slice up discs of sweet potato, zucchini, pumpkin or parsnip and flap onto the hot plate with some S&P, herbs and spices.  For a kooky twist, try a sprinkle of cinnamon on your parsnip or sweet potato.

 

Asparagus, capsicum and eggplant also work well on the hotplate, or you can even make up a few veggie kebabs – YUM!

 

 

 

Fruit

Crazy talk!  Slice up your apple, nectarine, pear or pineapple and sear it on the hotplate before topping with a drizzle of honey and a dollop of yoghurt.  Figs, bananas and peaches also make for a delicious treat, or you can go tutti fruity and make a colourful kebab.

 

Pancakes

You can either make your own batter with some milk, flour, bi-carb and egg, or get some ‘just add water and shake’ stuff from the supermarket.  Pancakes are great with hazelnut spread and cream cheese, fruit and honey, peanut butter or your favourite jam.

 

If you want to get crazy, pour the pancake batter over bacon as it’s frying and you can have ‘panbaconcakes’, which are awesome on their own, drizzled with maple syrup, or topped with scrambled eggs.

 

Panbaconcakes

 

Do you take advantage of free BBQs while travelling?  What’s your favourite thing to cook on a BBQ?

 

 

Straya Animals!

FOREIGNER FAQ

Australia can be a pretty confusing place if you don’t understand the lingo or the law.  We hope this post will help international visitors navigate around what you can and can’t do, and what you shouldn’t do.  If you have any questions that you would like to have answered, send them through and we’ll put an answer together as soon as we can.

 

Aussie Slang

Update your vocabulary with some words of vague origin that are used by Aussies during general speech.  Of course, you may have to get used to the accent and that our laid-back attitude seeps into the way we talk.  A simple sentence can come out sounding like a series of grunts and slurs or a really long word, so the two options you have if you don’t have any clue what was just said to you is to either smile, nod and leave, or keep saying “you’re gonna have to say that again in English because I don’t understand you” until a conversation ensues.

 

Check out our Aussie slang post here.

 

Straya Animals!

 

Free Camping

The most valuable resource you can purchase is a Camps Australia book.  Not only is it a great road directory of Australia, but it also marks off petrol stations, landmarks and places where you can stay overnight.

 

Some of the places are barren rest areas in the middle of no-where, others are sheltered camp spots with picnic facilities and toilets.  Some are in homesteads and remote stations, others are in caravan parks.  The book will tell you whether you need to pay a fee to enter or camp, and it also provides a contact number, just in case you want to call ahead and find out what the fee will be for the night.

 

We purchased one of these brilliant books in Mount Gambier and it has paid for itself over and over again.  We’ve gone through the thing and highlighted all the free camps for quick reference, but there have been a few paid places that we’ve stayed at, purely because they only charge $5 per person for the night.

 

Get your copy here http://www.campsaustraliawide.com/

 

Cobboboonee camping

 

Cheap Supermarkets

Fresh produce prices vary from state to state but you will generally find that the cheapest supermarkets are the major ones (Coles or Woolworths).  Some towns only have IGAs but it’s still worth going in and having a look for some deals.

 

Almost every supermarket you enter will have a clearance section, where you can get stuff like moisturiser and sunscreen, old holiday stock and packet mix foodstuffs super cheap.  The dairy and bakery sections will also have reduced stock like a whole loaf of bread for $1.50 or a 500g tub of yoghurt for $3, while discounted meat is usually marked off with a special clearance sticker.  These reduced products are often very close to their “use-by” date, so make sure you have enough time to eat everything you buy before it gets gross.

 

Half a roast chicken on special for $2 - SCORE!

 

Cheap Petrol

With the fluctuations of petrol prices, it pays to do some research.  More often than not, prices will be lower in larger towns along the coast than smaller towns.  For diesel, the average price is around $1.50 a litre in the cities. We saw the price get up to about $2 a litre on the Nullarbor in South Australia and over $2.35 in the Kimberley.

 

Lots of supermarkets have discount programs with petrol stations.  Coles is connected to Shell, Woolworths is connected to Caltex, and in smaller towns, the independent grocery stores may be connected with the local petrol station.  To get a discount voucher for your petrol, you’ll need to spend around $30 on groceries and your voucher will be a barcode at the bottom of the docket.  Give this to the console operator at the petrol station to get around 4 cents off per litre.

 

Dangerous Wildlife

It is not a secret that Australia is covered with animals that will peck, bite, sting and eat you.  Here is a very brief guide to those animals, but we suggest you do some further research if you are seriously concerned about meeting one of these critters.

 

Crocodiles

There are two kinds of crocodiles in Australia along the northern coast.  Freshwater crocodiles grow to about 1-2 metres in length and tend to just want to chill out.  It doesn’t matter how relaxed they look, leave them alone because they still have a mouth full of sharp teeth.

 

Saltwater crocodiles are found in rivers, estuaries and on beaches and can grow well beyond 2 metres in length.  These guys are aggressive and love eating humans.  A general rule to remember is – if there’s barramundi, there’s crocs, but there are usually signs near water that tell you if crocs are about.  Don’t eat or clean fish near the water’s edge and camp well away from rivers, estuaries and pools.  You don’t want to end up like one of those wildebeest in those documentaries that get dragged and twisted into the water.

 

Spiders

If you want to get close enough to a spider to touch it, then you’re nuts.  Just leave ALL OF THEM alone!  White tails are scavenger spiders that can cause your flesh to rot from the bacteria on their fangs, while funnel webs are seriously venomous and can chase a human just to bite them!  WATCH OUT AND STAY AWAY!

 

 

Snakes

Some are not a threat to humans while others will not hesitate to inject you with a lethal dose of venom if you make them feel threatened.  To avoid any confusion, respect and stay away from all snakes.

 

Cane Toads

These introduced bastards are wreaking havoc on our ecosystems.  An adult cane toad is chunky, about 10-15cm in length with a bony head, poisonous glands behind the ears, dry, bumpy skin of grey, yellow or olive brown and a pale belly.  At the moment, they are found in Northern Territory and Queensland and we don’t want them spreading anywhere else.  Check your car and luggage for stowaways.

 

Marine animals

Jellyfish are an issue, especially the Box Jellyfish, which is one of the most lethal animals in the world.  They are usually found along the coast and have long stingers that administer painful venom.  You can put vinegar on the affected area and remove the tentacles with a towel, but seek medical attention immediately!

 

Other marine animals include the Blue-Ringed Octopus, a pretty little thing that is actually the most toxic sea creature in the world.  It has a powerful nerve toxin in its salivary glands that can paralyse you in 10 minutes and kill you in 30 minutes.  Stonefish are masters of camouflage and are gagging for you to step on them so they can give you a nasty sting.  Stories stay that the pain is so excruciating that the only thing that will stop the pain is amputation…

 

The other obvious marine animal to look out for is the shark.  Just watch JAWS before you arrive in Australia and you’ll get your education.

 

Fishing Permits

Each state has their own laws about fishing.  Some require you to purchase a fishing license while others allow fishing in the ocean but not in rivers and estuaries.  Perhaps you’re allowed to catch this fish but not that fish, or you might be allowed to catch a 13cm blue swimmer crab in South Australia but a 12.7cm crab in Western Australia.

 

Make sure you check the laws at information centres before you end up with a fine.  You can get free stickers that give you the acceptable lengths of each fish that you can catch in the state, and there are identification booklets available to let you know what’s good to eat and what’s poisonous.  Just Google ‘fishing licence Australia’ to get you started…

 

Fishing on Busselton Jetty during a sunset 

 

Quarantine & Exclusion Zones

Quarantine zones are mainly about stuff that you can and can’t bring in and out of the country, but did you know that there are exclusion zones within Australia?  If you’re planning on doing a road trip, make sure you’re aware of these zones.  The last thing you want is to be fully stocked with fruits and vegetables, honey and nuts, and drive past a sign that tells you that you need to put all of that into the bin before going any further.

 

A big checkpoint is Border Village on the Nullarbor.  We were aware of the restrictions and made sure that we had no fresh fruits of vegetables, nuts or honey.  When we got to the check point, a guy with a clipboard searched our vehicle and found adzuki beans in our grains box.  They were confiscated and we were allowed to proceed.

 

The reason for quarantine zones is so that pests like the notorious fruit fly or other little bugs, weeds or diseases don’t get brought into uninfected areas and wreak havoc.  Read up on interstate quarantine here: http://www.quarantinedomestic.gov.au/index.php

 

Bush Fires

Australia’s aridity leaves it susceptible to bush fires that either spring up naturally due to the intense heat, accidentally from a discarded cigarette butt or campfires, or intentionally by an arsonist.

 

Bush fires are serious business and can move really fast, burning everything in its path.  If you hear about a bushfire in the area, talk to locals, listen to the news and make sure you’re not driving to your doom.

 

Darwin 2013-07-01 236

 

Aboriginal Communities

There are many aboriginal communities throughout Australia – some are open and welcome visitors, while some are closed and prefer to be left alone.  It’s important to be respectful and make contact with the community via the appropriate channels before you go to visit.  You may be required to explain why you want to visit and how long you want to stay.

 

Getting Work

Working while you travel is a great way to fund your adventure, and there are a couple of things that you might want to consider. The first thing you’re gonna have to do is get a tax file number.  If you don’t, you could get taxed at a really high amount, thus leading to less money in your pocket.  Get a TFN at www.ato.gov.au.

 

If you’re visiting Australia, you’ll also need a Working Visa that you can get from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.  Go to www.immi.gov.au for information and advice.

 

Once you’ve sorted yourself out, you can check out farm and harvesting jobs, or office and hospitality jobs. If you want to pour beers in a pub, you’ll probably need a Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate (RSA), and if you have any particular qualification, you can search for relevant jobs on www.seek.com.au.

 

Renting/Buying a car

Buying a car in Australia isn’t as easy as going to the milkbar and buying an ice cream.  You need to have a valid license and get a roadworthy certificate, car registration and possibly car insurance.

 

As with some of the other things mentioned already, licensing, registration and roadworthiness differs from state to state.  If you can get a car with registration, then you’re winning, but you need to make sure that the registration is renewed once it runs out, which is usually once a year.  Suss out all the details with the Department of Transport for the state that you plan to visit.

 

If you’re considering renting a car, there are plenty of options for you.  There are companies which offer cars, campervans, mobile homes, and even 4WDs.  Consider the places and things you want to see, and choose your vehicle accordingly.

 

Troopy on the beach!

 

Kimberley Klub YHA

Kimberley Klub YHA

If you’re looking for budget accommodation in Broome that is conveniently located, the Kimberley Klub YHA is the perfect choice!  With a vibrant and social atmosphere, lots of space and all the facilities that you’d need, this hostel will give you the opportunity to explore the surrounding attractions, meet new people and enjoy everything that Broome has to offer, including the Staircase to the Moon!

 

 

What really stands out about the Kimberley Klub YHA is the luscious surroundings; it’s like a tropical oasis with African thatched roofs, a rock-lined swimming pool and green palms all over the place.  There are regular theme nights, pizza and fish & chip nights, and during Broome’s annual horse racing event, guests get a free shuttle to the racecourse.  Kimberley Klub YHA guests are also privy to a free shuttle bus to Broome’s Nightclubs, as well as free entry, and if you love sport, there is a massive new projector screen for international coverage.

 

FACILITIES

You have the choice of single, double and twin room, as well as multi-share dorms and female only dorms, all with air conditioning and clean linen.  The communal bathrooms are centrally located and cleaned daily.

 

The stainless steel communal kitchen has plenty of preparation space, stove tops and storage, and you can hire pots/pans, crockery and cutlery for free from reception.  There is also an outdoor BBQ with lots of undercover seating, as well as hammocks to laze in.  The lounge room has a large TV for movie nights and a ping pong table for those to like to get competitive.  The swimming pool is surrounded by a tropical garden, timber decking and sun chairs, and right next to it is a licensed bar.

 

The laundry is open for use from 1pm, there is a 24 hour internet café and WiFi, secure lockers, free luggage storage, a tours desk and bike hire, as well as regular shuttle buses to Cable Beach.

 

 

THINGS NEARBY

Courthouse Markets – running every Saturday from 8am to midday, the markets are located about 400 metres towards the town centre and it’s chockablock full of funky clothes, artistic creations, jewellery, food stalls and local products.

The Airport – almost across the road.  Fly into Broome and walk to the hostel – easy!

Broome PT Bus Stop – the bus that travels around Broome has a bus stop that is 300 metres down the road.

Town Centre & Chinatown – only 1km from the hostel, the town centre has cafes, restaurants, the supermarket and other shops and facilities.

Shopping Centre – about 800 metres west from the hostel, this is a good sized shopping centre with clothing stores, a petrol station, a food court and supermarkets.

The Roey – located in the town centre, this a great place for a drink and a meal.

Broome RSL – if you want to meet some true locals, the Broome RSL is the place to do it and it’s only 500 metres from the hostel!  On Friday nights, they sell meat packs for $10 that you cook on the BBQ yourself and eat with the free salads on offer.

Matso’s Brewery – this is a mandatory place to visit and is a quick 15 minute walk from the hostel.  The atmosphere is relaxed, the beer garden is spacious, and the award-winning beer is delicious and plentiful.

Town Beach – about 2km south from the hostel is a nice little beach just past the Matos Brewery, with a park that has a playground, toilets and BBQ/picnic facilities.

 

 

THE ESSENTIALS

Kimberley Klub YHA is located at 62 Frederick Street in Broome. Reception is open 24 hours a day  and check in is after 1pm. To make a booking, visit the YHA Australia website

 

Phone: (08) 9192 3233

Email: broome@yha.com.au

Website: http://www.kimberleyklub.com/

 

 
Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

 

Noodles from Chinatown

Eating In : Chinatown, Broome WA

We were excited about having some Asian food when we got to Broome but as usual, the price was not right.  We simply could not justify spending that amount of money for one meal, when we could easily feed the both of us for the same price or less.

 

Juz had a brainwave – “Why don’t we go to Yuen Wing General Store, grab some kooky Asian noodles and cook them back at the hostel?” DEAL!  We went to Yuen Wing and had the choice of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean noodles.  Dave went with Chinese beef and mushroom flavoured Koreano noodles while Juz went with Vietnamese Oh! Ricey Instant Pho noodles and chicken flavoured Koreano noodles.

 

Noodles from Chinatown

 

We scored two pots from the Kimberley Klub YHA reception and got to work in the communal kitchen.  Dave’s noodles were the egg sort so he put both packets into the water to cook simultaneously.  Juz had Korean egg noodles and Vietnamese rice noodles so the cooking time was a bit staggered.

 

The flavour of the noodles were standard – salty and non-descript – but Juz noticed a real change in aroma when she added the flavour packet from her Vietnamese noodles.  The star anise and cloves really came out and combined well with the typical chicken flavouring of the Korean noodles, while Dave’s beef and mushroom noodle combination was tasty but a bit spicy for his liking.

 

We ate in the courtyard out of the pot to save on dishes.  All in all, it was a lovely Asian lunch at a great price – $5 all up!

 

 

Springs Road Rest Area

Camping : Rest Areas

We’ve travelled from one side of the country to the other and we have seen many rest areas on the way.  Some are barren and dry with nothing but a bush to separate you from the noisy highway while others are utopias with shelter, picnic facilities, bins and BBQs.  There might even be a pub across the road, like in Tantanoola.

 

There are some great rest areas in Western Australia.  Some of the best include the ones at Moore River, Cliff Head North, and Galena Bridge next to Kalbarri National Park.

 

Moore River Rest Area (-31.303424,115.555304)

Right next to Indian Ocean Drive about an hour south of Cervantes is a fully equipped rest area with BBQs, toilets and the Moore River.

 

Cliff Head North (-29.517361,114.996332)

About 30 minutes south of Dongara is Cliff Head North, a great camp spot for a few nights.   There are toilets at the entrance but you can get a more secluded experience further down the track.

 

 

Galena Bridge Rest Area (-27.827463,114.690442)

About 13km north of the Kalbarri turnoff on the North West Coastal Hwy – this is a great rest area right next to the Murchison River.  There are picnic benches, fire places that can be used outside of the fire ban season, and drop toilets.

 

 

Springs Road Rest Area, South Australia (-37.213705,139.887806)

A rest area just south of Robe on the Princes Hwy, while lacking in facilities, ended up being a great place to stop.  We arrived about an hour before sundown and shared the area with two German girls in their camper van.  We polished off a bottle of Dal Zotto Elena dessert wine as we watched the sun set and cast golden light over the field of rabbit tail grass.

 

 

 

The worst rest area was the one just outside of Port Augusta.  We pulled up and sat at the picnic bench but made sure our feet were up because there were bull ants everywhere!  We had to listen to a couple arguing in the distance and we assume we heard a puppy being a victim of the anger.  Then, as we tried to get to sleep in the Troopy, a refrigerated road train pulled up next to us and had their noisy cooler system running.  We felt like we were sleeping next to a generator.  It wasn’t until we realised that the truck was hauling explosives that we decided to move the Troopy to the other side of the rest area.  Worst night ever!

 

 

Tuart Drive Rest Area near Busselton

At the end of the day, rest areas suffice.  They provide free accommodation for self contained units and a few cater for tents as well, and many are equipped with conveniences like chairs or a bin.  It’s important to make sure that you’re alert when driving so if you have been driving for long periods of time, make use of rest areas and stay alive.