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BACKPACKER / ESSENTIALS /OCTOBER 2016

SAVOUR SPRING IN CANBERRA THE COOL CAPITAL

AWESOME AUCKLAND NEAT PLACES IN NZ CALIFORNIA DREAMING MORE THAN JUST LA EASY BEING GREEN YHA GETS SUSTAINABLE


/ ESSENTIALS

/ ESSENTIALS

with the FREE interactive iPad app app Get Get moremore traveltravel with the FREE interactive iPad and iPhone

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exclusive extra content photo galleries video, audio, polls, and more

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iPad only app iPhone and Android users can read or download online editions.

Also available as a free online edition and a printable PDF Read or download the latest issue and catch up on previous issues at www.yha.com.au/backpacker-essentials


INSIDE BACKPACKER / ESSENTIALS

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GLOBAL NEWS NORWAY TO NOTTING HILL

Visit Canberra

AUSTRALIA/NZ YHA MAKEOVERS

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GETAWAYS TOP DEALS IN OZ & NZ

SAVOURING SPRING ◆

IN CANBERRA

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NEW ZEALAND AUCKLAND’S NEAT PLACES

VOL 20 / No 5 OCTOBER 2016 MANAGING EDITOR Janet McGarry NEW ZEALAND EDITOR Brindi Joy DEPUTY EDITOR Tom Smith YHA CONTRIBUTORS Leah Kmiec Lauren Walker Di Caught

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ART DIRECTOR Justin Thomas

Backpacker Essentials is the member magazine for YHA Australia. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Association. No material may be reproduced without prior permission from the editor. All travel prices are subject to change and conditions apply. All hostel prices are YHA member rates and are subject to change. © YHA Australia ISSN 1328-6749. ®YHA Australia, Hostelling International and YHA house and tree logos are Registered Trademarks of YHA Australia Inc., PO Box A2462, Sydney South NSW 1235

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CALIFORNIA MORE THAN LA

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SUSTAINABILITY EASY BEING GREEN

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WHAT’S ON AUSTRALIA/NZ EVENTS

GRAPHIC DESIGN Nicolas Chua

EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES The Editor, Backpacker Essentials, GPO Box 5276, Sydney NSW 2001. T: +61 2 9261 1111 F: +61 2 9261 1969 E: backpackeressentials@ yha.com.au


AUSTRALIA/ NZ NEW HOSTEL / MAKEOVERS / NEWS / YOUR YHA

Poolside Cabana, Townsville YHA

NEW HOSTEL ALERT! Meet the newest kid on the YHA block: Rambutan Townsville YHA, a stylish oasis just a short stroll from the tropical city’s best beaches and nightlife. This modern property offers a variety of purpose-built room types to suit every traveller’s budget, including spacious multishare and hotel-style rooms, as well as selfcontained villas and apartments – and every room is decked out with ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning.


Townsville Shutterstock

The luxurious hostel also boasts a stunning rooftop pool surrounded by cabanas and pool lounges to soak up the sun all year round, plus an outdoor bar and restaurant, guest lounge, kitchen and laundry. Townsville YHA is the perfect place to kick back and relax on the road between Cairns and the Whitsundays – or as a launching pad to tropical Magnetic Island, only a half-hour ferry ride away. So book your next North Queensland getaway at this state-of-the-art glam-packers!

The Strand, Townsville Shutterstock

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TOWNSVILLE YHA +61 7 4771 6915 townsville@yha.com.au

BOOK NOW


/ NEWS

LOOK WHO’S GETTING A MAKEOVER • The paradise of Port Elliot Beach House YHA has been made a little more comfortable by the addition of five sparkly new ensuite bathrooms installed in private rooms. A grant from YHA’s Small Hostels Development Fund renovated the breezy beachfront hostel, adding modern facilities to the historic 100-year-old building. Stay at Port Elliot YHA.

Port Elliot YHA

• YHA has moved to a new hostel in Mission Beach, shifting to a larger, newly renovated, purpose-built backpackers in Wongaling Beach, the central hub of the area. The tropical town is a mecca for adventure seekers with white water rafting on the Tully River and skydiving on the beach, as well as a base for exploring the picturesque Dunk Island. Stay at Mission Beach YHA

Mission Beach YHA

Newcastle Beach YHA

• Newcastle Beach YHA has revealed its facelift after YHA purchased the hostel in January. The beautifully restored heritage property has been given a paint job and fresh carpet and is rolling out brand new linen and doona designs – plus a few extra improvements – over the coming months, making the beachside hostel even more appealing to backpackers road-tripping the East Coast. Stay at Newcastle Beach YHA.

DOWNLOAD YHA AUSTRALIA’S FREE NEW APP ‘Appy days! The new YHA Australia app is designed to help travellers go wherever their wanderlust may lead. Find the nearest YHA hostel, search for nearby supermarkets and ATMs, share handy hints with fellow backpackers, explore far and wide with offline maps and stay up-to-date with live road conditions. Download the free app on IOS or Android and travel Oz with ease.


/ NEWS

YHA AUCKLAND CITY RE-OPENS

View of Auckland from Mt Eden

Get ready to have your socks knocked off by the sensationally refurbished YHA Auckland City. The hostel will reopen its doors in mid-October to eager travellers who will be blown away by the transformation. All six of the accommodation floors were stripped back to the studs for a tip-to-toe doover and do-up. There’s a whole lot of new going on. New bedrooms, new ensuites, new furniture, new carpet, new security, new heaters, new TVs, new everything! Including locker storage with plenty of ever-handy powerpoints. The hostel even has a new travel theme throughout and the electrical fittings are now low wattage to reduce overall energy consumption. But wait, there’s more! We want our adventurous travellers to mix and mingle. So we’ve dedicated the third floor to communal spaces only, including a large TV room kitted out for popcorn and movie nights and a deck for summer BBQs with views of the city and Sky Tower (which, rest assured, are still exactly the same). u u u

YHA AUCKLAND CITY +64 9 309 2802 aucklandcity@yha.co.nz

BOOK NOW

WIN A LONG WEEKEND IN AUCKLAND YHA New Zealand is on Instagram! And we’re celebrating the awesomeness of photoswapping, selfie-ing and travel bragging by giving away an Auckland weekend goody bag

PLANNING YOUR NEXT TRIP JUST GOT EASIER

for two people, including accommodation, harbour sailing and bridge climbing. Find us on Instagram @YHANewZealand to enter. Entries close 14 October 2016.

provides all the up-to-date info you need to know about YHA’s network of 85 properties, as well as membership YHA Australia’s 2017 Accommodation benefits and great discounts on activities Guide has hit the shelves in all Australian and transport. Don’t leave for your next YHA hostels so grab your copy now! No adventure without this handy travel guide two hostels are the same and the guide in your pocket!


YOUR YHA YHA NEWS FOR MEMBERS IN AUSTRALIA

Hobart waterfront Shutterstock

Bridport, Tasmania Shutterstock

Strahan, Tasmania Shutterstock

YHA TASMANIA MERGER PROGRESS Further progress is being made towards uniting YHA in Australia, with the potential merger of YHA Tasmania with YHA Ltd (the operator of hostels across most of Australia, including the ACT, NSW, NT, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria). YHA Ltd CEO Julian Ledger met with the Council of YHA Tasmania in Hobart in August and was able to visit east coast YHA hostels. The Council have since sent an Explanatory Memorandum about the proposed merger to members in Tasmania who will have the opportunity to vote on the proposal at a Special General Meeting scheduled for 6.00pm on 18 October 2016 at the Philip Smith Centre, Conference Room, 2 Edward Street, Glebe, Tasmania, 7000. The Council recommends that members vote in favour of the merger. Eligible members can also lodge proxy votes in advance of the meeting. Full details can be found at yha.com.au/about/merger Meanwhile, the Board of YHA Western Australia is considering a Memorandum of Understanding with YHA Ltd which sets out the process for a proposed merger to be worked upon in 2017.

Coles Bay, Tasmania Shutterstock

YHA Hostels are located in some of the most beautiful locations in Tasmania.


GLOBAL

AUTHENTIC NORWAY / NEW HOSTELS / HONG KONG / FESTIVALS The Bergen Mountains

NORWAY’S HIDDEN GEMS Get off the beaten path with these five Norwegian activities, including fjords, Finnmark and fish-skin purses.


/AUTHENTIC NORWAY

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HIKE THE SEVEN MOUNTAINS OF BERGEN

The City of Bergen Shutterstock

Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen, is nicknamed ‘the city of rain’ because clouds are trapped by the seven mountains that surround the town. An adventurous hiker can tackle all seven peaks in one day – make sure you start early, bring plenty of water, and wear good shoes . . . and a raincoat!

Stay at: Bergen Montana Hostel on the hillside of Mount Ulriken

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GO ON A NORTHERN LIGHTS SAFARI

Head north to the county of Finnmark, home of the Indigenous Sami people, reindeer, midnight sun and the famous Northern Lights. We guarantee a trip you’ll never forget: join hostel manager Vidar on a snowmobile ride into the seemingly endless valleys of the north – and if you’re lucky, see the Aurora Borealis ignite the sky with colour.

Stay at: Mehamn Hostel

The Northern Lights Ørjan Bertelsen


/AUTHENTIC NORWAY

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RAUMABANEN – THE NOT-SOFAMOUS TRAIN JOURNEY

Plenty of backpackers explore Norway by the trains that pass through sweeping valleys, snow-covered mountains and stunning fjords. But a less well-known option is the Raumabanen from Dombås to Åndalsnes, a breathtaking two-hour journey showing off some of the country’s most Instagrammable scenery. Don’t miss the nearby Trollstigen (‘troll ladder’), a steep mountainside road knotted with sharp bends.

Stay at: Dombås Hostel and Åndalsnes Hostel

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WHITE-WATER RAFTING IN THE GUDBRANDSDAL VALLEY

White Water Rafting

Fancy the white-knuckle experience of white-water rafting? The Sjoa River, 300km north of Oslo, is possibly the best rafting river in Northern Europe. Thrill seekers from all over the world flock to Sjoa to navigate their boat safely through the wild waterway . . . then relax in front of the fireplace at Sjoa Hostel, an idyllic 18th Century farmhouse.

Raumabanen Rail Bridge Shutterstock

Stay at: Sjoa Hostel

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TRADITIONAL NORWEGIAN HANDICRAFT COURSES

If you really want a taste of authentic Norwegian culture, stay at Rauland Hostel in the county of Telemark, renowned as the most ‘Norwegian’ of Norway’s 19 counties thanks to its thriving cultural life. Located on the doorstep of Hardangervidda, the country’s largest national park, the hostel offers courses in traditional handicrafts like knife-making, silver-smithing, Viking costumes and even making purses out of fish skin!

Stay at: Rauland Hostel


/NEW HI HOSTELS HELDRUNGEN GERMANY REYKHÓLAR & EYRARBAKKI ICELAND Heldrungen DJH Ralf Lehmann

HELDRUNGEN YOUTH HOSTEL Take a trip to the Middle Ages at the Heldrungen Youth Hostel, located in a fully preserved Wasserburg (‘Water Castle’) dating back to the early 1200s. The French-style castle, which was converted into a hostel 40 years ago, finished five years of renovations last July to double the hostel’s capacity to 142 beds and add 21st Century facilities to the unique historical experience of sleeping in a 13th Century fort. Step back in time to an era of knights and noblemen then cross Heldrungen’s moat to visit the churches, parks, monuments, caves, forests and walking trails of the Kyffhäuserkreis district in central Germany, 275km south-west of Berlin.

BOOK NOW HI HELDRUNGEN u

jugendherberge.de

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heldrungen@jugendherberge.de


/NEW HI HOSTELS HELDRUNGEN GERMANY REYKHÓLAR & EYRARBAKKI ICELAND A Fishing Boat in Reykhólar Shutterstock

REYKHÓLAR & EYRARBAKKI YOUTH HOSTELS ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’ is one of the world’s coolest destinations – both literally and figuratively – and HI Iceland has added two new hostels to its network. Reykhólar HI Hostel is a tranquil seaside lodge ringed by birch trees and boasting spectacular views of Iceland’s north-west coast. The tiny fishing village is the perfect base to explore the Westfjords’ natural wonders, including Reykhólar’s seaweed baths, a great way to unwind after a long day of mountain hiking or bird watching. Eyrarbakki is another quaint coastal town just 40 minutes south-east of the capital Reykjavik, offering some of the country’s best seafood and an authentic taste of Icelandic culture. The modern Eyrarbakki Hostel offers multi-share rooms and private apartments to suit every traveller’s budget.

Eyrarbakki Youth Hostel

HI REYKHÓLAR & EYRARBAKKI u

hihostels.com

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reykholar@hostel.is

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eyrarbakki@hostel.is

BOOK NOW


/HONG KONG

: N O T H G I L T O P S

HONG KONG

Hong Kong Harbour Shutterstock

Mei Ho House YHA Before and After

YHA Mei Ho House has been highlighted as a significant cultural project in the Hong Kong government’s official ‘Our Hong Kong’ booklet, a publication distributed to HKSAR trade offices in London, Berlin, New York, Sydney and all over the world. The only surviving complex from Hong Kong’s successful public housing program of the 1950s, the revitalised Mei Ho House re-opened as a hostel and interactive heritage museum in 2013, walking guests through the neighbourhood’s history with retro-styled yet state-of-the-art rooms and common areas. The recognition of YHA Mei Ho House in ‘Our Hong Kong’ follows the hostel’s UNESCO award for heritage preservation last year.


FIVE FESTIVALS WORTH TRAVELLING FOR As revellers from all over the world nurse their Oktoberfest hangovers in Munich, here are five other festivals to add to your travel bucket list . . . Dia De Muertos, Mexico City Shutterstock

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ST PATRICK’S DAY, DUBLIN

If Oktoberfest sounds like your cup of tea – or, rather, stein of beer – then you’d also love a pint of Guinness or three on St Paddy’s Day (March 17) in the Irish capital. Slàinte! Stay at: Dublin International YHA

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CARNIVAL, RIO DE JANEIRO

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RUNNING OF THE BULLS, PAMPLONA

Shimmy into the Sambadrome with 90,000 other party-lovers for an over-the-top celebration of South American passion. Runs for a week each February. Stay at: HI Rio de Janeiro

Was your last holiday too relaxing? Then next July, wrap a red hanky around your neck and toss yourself in front of one tonne of bovine fury at this adrenaline-charged Spanish fiesta. Stay at: HI Pamplona

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DIA DE MUERTOS, MEXICO CITY

Processions of skeletons and candlelight picnics light up this colourful commemoration of the dead, a millennia-old Mexican tradition on 1-2 November. Stay at: HI Mexico City

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NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL, LONDON

More than one million party people pile into Notting Hill one weekend each August for a festival that injects loads of Caribbean flair into London’s streets. Stay at: YHA London Carnival, Rio De Janeiro Shutterstock


DEALS

YHA DEALS IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

YHA GETAWAYS

Cycling along the Brisbane River Tourism Queensland

BRISBANE BUDGET BREAK

HOBART CENTRAL SPRING 3 FOR 2

SYDNEY CENTRAL BED AND BREAKFAST

Need a short city getaway? Discover the sites of Brisbane with our Budget Break deal. Stay in the comfort of your own private room and get out and enjoy the city’s bars, restaurants, markets and nightlife. Hire a bike and cycle along the Brisbane River or take a trip up to the Sunshine Coast for a day on the beach – it’s all here!

Spring is the ideal time of year to explore terrific Tasmania! Perfect for Hobart city adventures, bush walking days, whisky tasting nights, art immersion and loads of cool local experiences. To celebrate spring, Hobart Central YHA is offering a three nights for the price of two – because two nights in Hobart is never enough!

We know how expensive Sydney can be, so book this budgetfriendly B&B deal at Sydney Central YHA and save. Enjoy your daily continental breakfast at InCafe to kickstart your day before heading out to explore the harbour city.

Package includes: u u u

2 nights’ accommodation in a double/twin or family room Continental breakfast Free premium Wi-Fi

From AU$106 for 2 people. Valid until 25 December 2016.

BRISBANE CITY YHA u u

BOOK NOW

+61 7 3236 1004 brisbanecity@yha.com.au

Package includes: u

Stay for 3 nights, pay for 2 (multi-share only)

From AU$54 p.p multi-share. Valid until 30 November 2016.

HOBART CENTRAL YHA u u

BOOK NOW

+61 3 6231 2660 hobartcentral@yha.com.au

Package includes: u

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 night accommodation (can 1 book multiple nights)  ontinental breakfast at C InCafe (between 7am-11am)

From AU$43 p.p. Valid until 1 December 2016.

SYDNEY CENTRAL YHA u u

BOOK NOW

+61 2 8272 9000 sydcentral@yha.com.au


AUCKLAND HISTORY GALORE PACKAGE Wander through Auckland’s top-notch, historyrich attractions. For the maritime-inclined, step back in time at the New Zealand Maritime Museum to early history and culture with canoes and ships galore, including a one-hour cruise on a ketch-rigged deck scow. Then hotfoot it to the Auckland Museum for your fix of Pacific Island and Maori artefacts, Gallipoli in Minecraft, wartime exhibitions, military displays and more. Package includes: u 2 nights’ multi-share or private accommodation

at YHA Auckland City or International

u Maritime Museum entry, including guided tour u Ted Ashby Harbour Cruise u Auckland War Memorial Museum entry

From NZ$122.50 p.p. Valid until 6 December 2016.

BOOK NOW

YHA AUCKLAND CITY +64 9 309 2802 u aucklandcity@yha.co.nz u

YHA AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL +64 9 302 8200 u auckland@yha.co.nz u

New Zealand Maritime Museum

PRISON TOUR AND STAY

Fremantle Prison

Check into Fremantle Prison YHA for two nights then head next door for a tour of the World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison and immerse yourself in convict life in the early 1900s. Check out the main cell block, the yards and see the whipping posts, gallows and solitary confinement cells. Package includes: u

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 nights’ accommodation in a twin cell, 2 8 or 10 share room or double ensuite room Fremantle Prison day tour

From AU$60 p.p. Valid until 30 November 2016.

FREMANTLE PRISON YHA u u

+61 8 9433 4305 fremantle@yha.com.au

BOOK NOW


5 NIGHT PORT FAIRY EXTRAVAGANZA This summer grab your mates, jump in the car and cruise down the Great Ocean Road (or the Princes Highway for the less scenic but way quicker route) until you reach Port Fairy. You’ve driven all that way, so you might as well stay a while, right? We’ve got a 5 night super special to give you time to enjoy everything Port Fairy has to offer. Package includes: u

 nights’ accommodation in a 4 or 6 bed family 5 room or 5 bed self-contained apartment

From AU$117 p.p. Valid from 26 December 2016 to 29 January 2017.

PORT FAIRY YHA u u

+61 3 5568 2468 portfairy@yha.com.au

BOOK NOW Port Fairy Shutterstock

AUCKLAND 360° PACKAGE Ready to get really high for tip top views? Take to the 60th floor of Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower and catch your breath over Auckland and surrounds in 360°. If you dare, tread the glass walkway and spy the street 220m beneath your feet. Package includes: u

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 night’s multi share or private accommodation 1 at YHA Auckland City or International Entry to the Sky Tower

From NZ$50 p.p. Valid until 6 December 2016.

YHA AUCKLAND CITY +64 9 309 2802 u aucklandcity@yha.co.nz u

BOOK NOW

BLUE MOUNTAINS CANYONING ADVENTURE This is one for the adrenaline junkies! Explore the Blue Mountains and take in breathtaking views from new heights with this thrilling adventure into Empress Canyon. Enjoy a day of exhilarating swims, waterslides and scenery, which starts by abseiling a 5m cliff and ends with a 30m descent down a waterfall into a deep rock pool. Package includes: u

2 nights’ multi-share accommodation

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Full day canyoning adventure (lunch included)

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Breakfast daily

From AU$239 p.p. Valid until 31 March 2017.

YHA AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL

BLUE MOUNTAINS YHA

+64 9 302 8200 u auckland@yha.co.nz

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Chris McLennan

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+61 2 4782 1416 bluemountains@yha.com.au

Canyoning Blue Mountains Tourism Authority

BOOK NOW


MELBOURNE METRO HOT WEEKLY DEAL There’s so much to do in Melbourne, you’re definitely going to need a week to see it all. Plus, you’ll be staying in North Melbourne, one of the coolest suburbs in the city. With a new hip bar or cafe popping up almost every week, a comedy club and the Queen Victoria Market right nearby, don’t be surprised if you end up spending your time close to the hostel! Package includes: u 7

nights’ accommodation in a 4 or 8 share room

From AU$189 p.p. Valid until 30 November 2016.

Melbourne Metro YHA rooftop

MELBOURNE METRO YHA +61 3 9329 8599 u melbmetro@yha.com.au u

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Melbourne city

NEWCASTLE STRETCH AND SURF PACKAGE

Newcastle Beach

Unwind at the newly refurbished Newcastle Beach YHA with a week of limitless – and free! – yoga and surfing. Hang ten in the morning, work on your downward dog in the afternoon, then put your feet up at night in this modern hostel, a two-minute stroll to the beach. Package includes: u

 nights’ accommodation in a double or 7 multi-share room

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Unlimited yoga classes for 10 days

NEWCASTLE BEACH YHA

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Free surfboard and bodyboard hire

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From AU$238 p.p. Valid until 1 April 2017.

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+61 2 4925 3544 newcastle@yha.com.au

BOOK NOW


FRASER ISLAND ESCAPE FROM NOOSA

Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island Tourism & Events QLD

Stay at Noosa Heads YHA and travel out to the World Heritage listed Fraser Island to discover its natural wonders on a 4WD adventure. You’ll explore the stunning Lake McKenzie, cruise along Seventy Five Mile Beach and visit the island’s historic heart, Central Station. Package includes: u

2 nights’ multi-share accommodation at Noosa Heads YHA

u

Full day 4WD tour to Fraser Island

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Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea

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$10 internet voucher

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National Park fees

NOOSA HEADS YHA

From AU$235 p.p. Valid until 31 March 2017.

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BOOK NOW

+61 7 5447 3377 noosaheads@yha.com.au

Fraser Island Tourism & Events QLD

AUCKLAND SEASCAPE & WILDLIFE PACKAGE

PERTH ROTTNEST ISLAND DEAL

Take a break from downtown Auckland and set sail on the Hauraki Gulf. The Dolphin Explorer’s keen crew will help you play ‘I spy’ with the resident whales, dolphins and seabirds galore on a half-day eco-safari. Package includes: u

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 night’s multi-share or private accommodation 1 at YHA Auckland City or International  alf-day eco-safari with Auckland Whale and H Dolphin Safari

From NZ$158 p.p. Valid until 6 December 2016.

YHA AUCKLAND CITY +64 9 309 2802 u aucklandcity@yha.co.nz u

BOOK NOW

YHA AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL +64 9 302 8200 u auckland@yha.co.nz

Heading west? Make time for a day trip to Rottnest Island and you definitely won’t regret it. This stunning island has the bluest waters you’ll ever see, pristine beaches and the friendliest animal on earth – the quokka! Package includes: u

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2  nights’ accommodation in a double/twin ensuite or 4 share room R  ottnest Island day trip including ferry ride and bike hire F  ree premium Wi-Fi

From AU$139 p.p. Valid until 30 November 2016.

PERTH CITY YHA u u

+61 8 9287 3333 perthcity@yha.com.au

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Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari

Quokkas on Rottnest Island

BOOK NOW


FEATURE / AUCKLAND NEW ZEALAND

LIVE. LOVE. AUCKLAND.

Neat Places, Shutterstock

THE NEAT PLACES TEAM DISPATCHES TO AUCKLAND WITH A SINGLE-MINDED MISSION: TO SUSS OUT THE BEST NEAT PLACES IN THE ‘BURBS.


Auckland Skyline Shutterstock

THE NEAT PLACES

team is a bespoke and devoted group of culture and foodie enthusiasts and they know there’s oh so much more to Auckland than its CBD and oft visited Newmarket and Ponsonby precincts. Use the city centre as your home base and head out in any direction for these ‘burbs that give a glimpse of New Zealand suburban life, and the diversity that now defines it.


NEW ZEALAND AUCKLAND'S BEST SUBURBS

AUCKLAND

HAMILTON

NORTH ISLAND

NAPIER

WELLINGTON SOUTH ISLAND


Auckland War Memorial Museum Julian Apse

St Kevins Arcade

GRAFTON AND K’ ROAD

A stone’s throw from the city centre, Grafton and K’ Road should be top of any traveller’s list. In Grafton head to the impressive Auckland Domain, a popular spot for fitness and good old fashioned relaxation. The Domain is the city’s oldest park and its 75 hectares of trees and fields and its indoor winter garden were designed around the cone of an extinct volcano (Auckland has a few of those). It’s also home to the Auckland War Memorial Museum where a line-up of permanent and visiting exhibitions school visitors on all things Auckland, including the city’s long volcanic history. For top-notch coffee in the suburb stop by Ceremony before heading to K’ Road, best known as Auckland’s red light district. Now, thanks to the creative enthusiasm of new generation business owners, K’ Road is home to very fine restaurants, galleries, boutiques and second-hand shops. Visit St Kevins Arcade for vintage finds and hole-in-the-wall cafés.


Sunrise from Mt Albert Richard de Groen

BALMORAL

Balmoral is a 5km jaunt from the city centre and is Auckland’s indisputable Chinatown. The suburb is best known for, and is defined by, its food. So go if you’re serious about eating. Head for Dominion Road and you’ll instantly recognise the influence of immigration. Dom Road, as it’s affectionately nicknamed, is literally littered with the city’s best cheap and cheerful Asian eats. You’ll find everything from dumplings to hand pulled noodles to Asian pancakes. At local favourites Barilla, New Flavour and Shaolin Kung Fu Noodles lunch or dinner won’t set you back much more than $10. Balmoral first became a shopping centre in the 1920s and while most of the historic buildings remain, Balmoral is now a truly international suburb. The famous Capitol Cinema, built in the beginning, remains a favourite for catching a movie.

MT ALBERT

Plonked on one of Auckland’s many volcanic peaks, Mt Albert was the second suburb to appear in Auckland. Wander its leafy streets for insight into early New Zealand life and excellent city views. Pay a visit to the famous Rocket Park for the city’s favourite playground – big kids are welcome! In the last couple of years Mt Albert has experienced something of a reincarnation after a couple of ex-Melbourne hospitality folk moved into the suburb, giving it dining and drinking spaces that wouldn’t look out of place in any of the world’s major metropolitan areas. For one of the best breakfasts in the city visit L’oeuf and for shared plates, lots of beer and good fun visit Chinoiserie . You’ll also find no shortage of delish Asian restaurants.

Delicious dumplings at Shaolin Kung Fu Noodles in Balmoral Shutterstock


Little Bird Neat Places

KINGSLAND

A short train ride from the city centre, Kingsland is home to Eden Park, New Zealand’s largest sports stadium. If you’re a rugby fanatic, visit over winter for national and international rugby matches. Summer promises cricket. Either season, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium and relive some of New Zealand’s finest sporting moments. Kingsland is one of Auckland’s most populous suburbs and folk from a range of ethnic backgrounds call it home, so you’ll be well served when it comes to international food and drink. Kingsland has numerous cafés (like Mondays or Little Bird Organics that serves raw food for the masses) as well as pubs and bars where locals like to hang out for live music over the weekend.

KINGSLAND IS ONE OF AUCKLAND'S MOST POPULOUS SUBURBS, AND FOLK FROM A RANGE OF ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS CALL IT HOME AUCKLAND ARTISANS Auckland is home to a growing collective of creative young business owners and has cemented itself as an incubator for producers and artisans. While in town, check out what these locals are up to:

Bonnie Goods

Houston Design Co: Local ceramic artist Holly Houston makes handmade ceramics in Auckland, many of which are made using sand from the nearby Muriwai Beach and other New Zealand beaches. Her designs are simple and beautiful. You’ll find her wares at Muck Floral and General Store. Bonnie Goods: Local couple Morgan and Nic make handmade Scottish style oat cakes in their central Auckland bakery. The pair returned to New Zealand after a stint in Edinburgh, and their take on a Scottish favourite made using local ingredients quickly became Auckland’s favourite accompaniment to good cheese. Their range is stocked at Farro Fresh stores throughout the city. Watch their video here. Objectspace: A public gallery showing the work of local craftspeople, artists and producers. Objectspace on Ponsonby Road is worth a visit if you’re interested in seeing what Auckland’s (and New Zealand’s) young, progressive and diverse artists are up to.


Tiger Burger Neat Places

GREY LYNN

A stone’s throw from popular shopping hub Ponsonby, Grey Lynn has long been home to those of the arty and anti-establishment inclination. Full of beautiful gentrified villas, you can quite easily while away time on foot in this suburb. In recent times, Grey Lynn has become home to some of the city’s coolest businesses, run by a growing group of young entrepreneurs who are doing things a bit differently. Check out Were Bros for beautiful sourdough bread and fermented goods, Muck Floral for impressive flowers and homewares and Tiger Burger for Korean-style burgers made from scratch. The Grey Lynn Returned Services Club is a favourite for community events, billiards, cheap beer and hearty dinners.

Muck Floral Neat Places

WHERE TO STAY YHA AUCKLAND CITY ◆ +64 9 309 2802 ◆ aucklandcity@yha.co.nz

YHA AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL ◆ +64 9 302 8200

BOOK NOW

◆ auckland@yha.co.nz

YHA Auckland International


TOP 5 CHEAP EATS

1 2 3 4 5

Burger Burger Neat Places

 Mumbai Chaat: for vegetarian, Mumbai-style street food that’s unlike any Indian food you’ve had before. It’s a wee hike from the city, but worth it. Eden Noodles: locals are reluctant to tell others about this place because they don’t want lunchtime queues to grow. Eden Noodles is an institution and the dan dan noodles have a cult-like following. Ponsonby Village International Foodcourt: it’s one of the city’s longest-standing and most popular food courts, which is little wonder given the variety of food on offer. A diverse line-up of ethnic food, cheap meals and the option of having a beer or glass of wine – it’s got it all.  urger Burger: this popular local burger joint has B outlets in Ponsonby, Newmarket and Takapuna. The stellar burgers and sides are made with top ingredients, the service is fun, it’s loud and there’s plenty of good stuff to drink. Selera: for some of the best Malaysian food in the city head to Newmarket’s Selera. The rendang curry is a Newmarket favourite. Get there early to nab a table.

GET APP-Y: NEAT PLACES Love these neat places? Discover more of the best neat places in New Zealand with Neat Places' free app. Use it online or off to find nearby cafés, galleries, shops, restaurants and bars.


FEATURE / CANBERRA

SAVOURING SPRING ◆

Visit Canberra

THINK CANBERRA IS BORING? YOU’RE FAST BECOMING ONE OF A SMALL MINORITY, WRITES SUE WHITE.


IT’S NO SURPRISE

that human beings delight in their fifteen minutes of fame, but if the same were true of cities Canberra would surely be blushing by now. Something has shifted in the nation’s capital: the city once widely derided for being boring and daggy is now being heralded as almost, well, hip. Hip? Canberra? We’re not the only ones who think so. Over the past couple of years, hard-to-impress travel experts from across the globe have also noticed. The kudos started in 2014, when a New York Times writer noted Canberra’s “big-sky beauty” and “decidedly hipster underbelly”. Fairfax followed, with its travel editor admitting the unlikely phrase “Canberra is cool” was finally worth typing. Last year, by the time The Guardian acknowledged Canberra as a compelling urban destination with a “world class cafe culture”, it was reiterating what many already knew: Canberra has changed for the better. Visiting Canberra in spring has always been popular – the acacias and cherry blossoms are in flower, the weather is perfect for walking or cycling (pesky magpies aside), and the busy cafe scene moves outdoors again.

Parliament House forecourt Shutterstock

KANGAROOS IN THE CAPITAL the lawns of the Governor General’s house. The house itself is only open a couple of times a year, but the roos are a year-round feature. Next door, the Royal Canberra Golf Club is also home to plenty of kangaroos (you should be able to see some from the bike path). Black Mountain, Mount Ainslie and the National Botanic Gardens are other good options.

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There’s a good reason Canberra is known as the bush capital. Whether you’re visiting from overseas, aged in single digits, or just like the thrill of seeing Australia’s cultural emblem roaming free on a city’s fringe, Canberra is ideal for kangaroo spotting. Around Lake Burley Griffin, plenty of grey kangaroos hang out at Weston Park (on the cycle route and a nice spot for BBQs). A little further away from the city on the same cycle path, you might see them grazing on


Given spring is an ideal time to get outdoors, take the short, steep drive up to the National Arboretum. Coffee and sweeping views attract almost every demographic, even before considering the audacity of the project: the arboretum is a collection of 94 forests from across the globe. While the trees themselves are in various stages of infancy – the arboretum only opened in 2013 – the site and the concept capture the imagination. If your visit falls on a weekend, a short drive to EPIC (Exhibition Park In Canberra) will land you at the Capital Region Farmers Market. Packed with produce stalls from across the region, it provides the perfect picnic or BBQ fodder. Given the early start (the whole thing wraps by about 11.30am) you’ll want a beverage in hand. Coffee aficionados flock to Wagonga Coffee’s stall, while hipsters prefer Real Chai’s stand, another local success story. It’s the area’s biggest farmer’s market, but it’s far from the only one. On Friday nights, the Farmers and Foodies Markets runs from 3-7pm at the Old Bus Depot in Kingston, while every quarter The Forage draws together restaurants, wineries and foodies from across the region for an evening of food and music. The location changes, so check Facebook.

EVEN BEFORE CONSIDERING THE AUDACITY OF THE PROJECT: THE ARBORETUM IS A COLLECTION OF 94 FORESTS FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE. Of course, there are some indoor-focused stops worth making time for, even when Canberra’s weather is at its inarguable best. The National Gallery of Australia will rarely disappoint (its next blockbuster exhibition, Versailles: Treasures from the Palace, opens 9 December), while spring is a good time to watch Aussie politics at its rawest by sitting in on Question Time at Parliament House (plenty of options across October and November).

Old Bus Depot Markets

Canberra National Arboretum


The Hamlet Visit Canberra

Once you’ve ticked all the above off your list, you’ll need to make sure you don’t miss two of Canberra’s best urban hubs, each a short stroll from the city centre. Slightly north of the YHA is Lonsdale Street in Braddon, where food and beer lovers gather, often at outdoor tables. For vegan treats, try Sweet Bones Bakery on nearby Elouera Street – the chai is some of the best in town and the dining options go well beyond baked goods. Nearby, coffee diehards head to Lonsdale Street Roasters, while beer drinkers cross the road to the Hamlet, a hub of well-patronised food vans. Here, they try a local brew from Canberra’s smallest pub: The Hutch is so small that it only has two bar stools. Given the food focus of Lonsdale Street, you’ll want to pause, or perhaps cycle off a few calories with a bike ride around the lake, before tackling the New Acton arts precinct. When people wax lyrical about Canberra’s new vibe, they’ve often been here, either for a drink at New Acton’s visually compelling, slightly upmarket Monster Kitchen and Bar, a movie at Palace Electric (check out the stairwell round the corner – photo worthy), or to enjoy one of the neighbourhood’s community-focused events. Tired yet? Hopefully not, because in the ‘new’ Canberra, even the national institutions conspire to make evenings event-worthy. The National Botanic Gardens hosts a season of outdoor cinema that is both intimate and inspiring (starts 11 November); the National Portrait Gallery runs ‘adults only’ evening events to time with major exhibitions (series starts in January); while those in town in November should head to the National Museum of Australia. On 11 November this stunning space opens for an evening of music, pop up talks, games, art and bars at its ‘Night at the Museum’ event. Finally, for music fans, if autumn’s Groovin’ the Moo festival feels too far away, there’s always Spilt Milk on 3 December, when cutting edge music, experimental art and culture and artisan food and drink take over Commonwealth Park. Aerial view of the National Museum of Australia Visit Canberra


URBAN BUSHWALKS Canberra’s many nature reserves mean you don’t have to leave the city to take a satisfying bushwalk. Mount Ainslie is a favourite of locals: the steep track starts behind the Australian War Memorial. On the hour-ish walk to the top hikers are treated to Aussie birdlife, kangaroos and eventually, a postcard-perfect view across the lake to Parliament House. With trails through rainforest gullies and across Eucalyptus lawns, the Australian National Botanic Gardens are also excellent for walks, particularly if you have junior travellers in tow. The location on the side of Black Mountain makes it possible to get quite a good workout if you’re so inclined. In fact, the hills on site are a surprise to many attending the excellent outdoor Sunset Cinema (see main story): getting to the screening site requires a steep 10-minute hike. Want to go harder? Walk up Black Mountain itself: either start from Clunies Ross Street or take the numerous summit tracks found at the top. View of Canberra from Mount Ainslie Shutterstock

WHERE TO STAY Canberra City YHA is right in the heart of the CBD in Civic. Stroll to shops, restaurants or down to the lake front. Rent a bike for a leisurely way to explore the sights. BOOK

CANBERRA CITY YHA ◆ +61 2 6248 9155 ◆ canberracity@yha.com.au Rooftop, Canberra City YHA

NOW


FEATURE / CALIFORNIA

NEWS

california

calling â—†

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BYPASSING L.A. IS A GOOD IDEA WHEN NORCAL AND SOCAL JUST HAVE SO MUCH TO OFFER.


SAN FRANCISCO ON A SHOESTRING By Louise Southerden. It’s Beat poets and flower power, rainbow flags and the rust-red Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and cable cars. It’s a little piece of America that feels like another country, one with its own groove, good food and great coffee. And, since the tech-startup boom, it’s one of the most expensive cities in the US. But it’s still possible to see San Francisco on a shoestring budget. Staying at one of the city’s three HI hostels is a good start and not just for affordable accommodation. They all have free activities such as walking tours of Chinatown, Bike the Bay tours across the Golden Gate Bridge and in-house “San Francisco movie” nights to help you get your bearings. The city itself also has more than its fair share of museums, many of which are free (e.g. San Francisco Cable Car Museum) or have free days (e.g. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is free on the first Tuesday of the month). And its green spaces are always free. Bigger than New York’s Central Park and best seen from a rental bike, Golden Gate Park is a must for its towering redwoods, Japanese tea garden, model yacht club, even free-range bison. The Presidio, at the base of Golden Gate Bridge, is another park so sprawling it’s crisscrossed with more than 35km of hiking trails and 20km of bike tracks. It’s also free to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Redwoods in Golden Gate Park Louise Southerden

Alamo Square, San Francisco Shutterstock

Bison in Golden Gate Park Louise Southerden

Japanese Tea Garden Shutterstock


Another way to keep costs down is to buy a transport or attractions pass from San Francisco Visitor Centre, near HI Downtown hostel. A 3-day MUNI pass costs US$31 and lets you hop on and off buses, trains, streetcars and cable cars around the city, while the CityPass ($94 for nine days) covers cable-car rides and admission to attractions such as the California Academy of Sciences, one of the largest and most innovative museums in the world. If you’re not daunted by steep hills, you can use Bay Area Bike Share to get around ($22 for three days). Or tour the city by train; many attractions are close to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) stations. It's also the cheapest way to get to and from the airport ($8.65 one way). And even in a foodie city like this there are ways to eat well on a budget. Chinatown has no-frills dim-sum places like Good Mong Kok Bakery. Or settle into a corduroy booth at a 24-hour diner like Pinecrest near HI Downtown hostel for generous serves and bottomless cups of drip coffee (though they also make cappuccinos). And when you find yourself at Fisherman’s Wharf, as everyone does, try the famous clam chowder at Boudin’s sourdough bakery, served in an edible bread bowl. It’s the taste of freedom, for under $10.

DON’T MISS HOSTELS HI SAN FRANCISCO DOWNTOWN There’s a lot to love about this renovated 100-year-old former hotel. First, its location: a block from Union Square and a short walk from museums, all-American diners and the Powell Street cable cars to Fisherman’s Wharf. It also “made the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs”, according to a plaque in the lobby. Er, what? It’s a Star Wars reference and just one of the witty geek-chic touches around the place. Speaking of the lobby, it’s a refuge from chilly NorCal days with its fireplace, retro chandelier, comfy couches and free Wi-Fi that’s as fast as you’d expect in this tech-centric city. Up the creaking stairs are 102 high-ceilinged rooms: 58 private, 44 multi-shares. My four-share room with ensuite had white walls and big sash windows that let in

plenty of light, and bunk beds with everything a traveller needs: reading lights, power outlets, plenty of headroom, cheery orange-and-white duvets and lockable storage. Then there’s the help-yourself breakfast, served in the kitchen at communal wooden tables: toasted bagels with cream cheese, jam or peanut butter, oatmeal, fresh fruit, tea and coffee. Hostelling has never tasted so good. HI San Francisco Downtown

Food bargains galore in Chinatown Shutterstock


Cycling around Golden Gate Bridge Louise Southerden

DON’T MISS HOSTELS HI POINT MONTARA LIGHTHOUSE HOSTEL About half an hour’s drive south of San Francisco on Highway 1, the coast-hugging road that’s seen a thousand movie car-chases and meanders all the way to LA, lies HI Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel. It feels like a movie set too: white picket fence, historic lightstation, two-storey Anne of Green Gables house (staff quarters, sadly), gnarled old cyprus pine and timber bungalows – the former fog signal building and Coast Guard quarters, now the hostel. Inside, there’s a large lounge with combustion stove, two large kitchens and picture windows framing that wave-lashed coastline and the hostel’s own secluded beach. A blackboard lists daily seal and whale sightings, and activities include beach walks,

swimming, whale-watching, scenic drives, movie nights, meditation and stand ing on the cliff ed ge watching the sun set over the Pacific. Breakfast isn’t provided, but there is an Espresso Bar with locally roasted organic coffee you can drink outside in the fresh sea air. HI Point Montara Lighthouse


SAN DIEGO: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE By Shaney Hudson. With an average daily temperature of 21 degrees year round, there’s an old joke there are only two seasons in San Diego: night and day. For years, the city has sailed under the backpacker radar - until now. Free from the congestion, pollution and hustle that defines LA, San Diego exemplifies the relaxed SoCal vibe of sunshine, beaches and surf culture - and the best way to acquaint yourself with the city is to pick a stretch of the city’s 112km of coastline and start exploring. Keen to chill out? Meander along the Mission Beach boardwalk. Ready to party? Try Pacific Beach. Seeking solitude? Hike miles of unspoiled beach at the Torrey Pines Reserve. Animal Lover? Swim with the neon orange garibaldi fish at La Jolla Cove. Just watch your step. In San Diego you don’t just see seals looping the waves off in the distance, you have to step over them as you walk along the shore. But it’s not all just fun in the sun. Along with being a major tech and innovation hub, San Diego is a major US naval port. Nothing is more spectacular than getting buzzed, Top Gun style as you’re strolling the city, but most encounters are limited to a visit to the USS Midway, a retired aircraft carrier open to the public. San Diego city Shutterstock

USS Midway Shutterstock


While the Midway is one of the city’s big attractions, there are plenty of other ways to pass the time, from witnessing America’s bizarre fascination with koalas at the San Diego Zoo to seeing the gray whale migration off the coast or mingling with the fans and fanatics at San Diego Comic-Con. However, it’s important to understand San Diego isn’t a place where you tick the box on what to do. Instead, this is a city you experience - and I recommend starting with your stomach. Given its location smack bang on the corner of Mexico and the sea, it is not surprising tacos are king in San Diego. Talk to any local and chances are they’ll give you the hot tip about where to find the best tacos in town before you even ask. One bartender swears by the pork tacos at Carnitas’ Snack Shack in North Park, while at the HI Downtown, I’m given handdrawn directions to a grungy neighbourhood restaurant called Pokez, with strict instructions to try the Mahi Mahi tacos. In addition to being budget friendly, the city’s taco obsession pairs perfectly with the city’s booming craft beer scene, with over 115 breweries and a tidy haul of 14 medals at the 2016 World Beer Cup. Accolades aside however, these brews are the type of tipple best enjoyed as the sun goes down over the Pacific. Join one of the bonfires lighting up the beach, feel the summer in the nighttime air, and exhale in a city that knows how to relax. The writer travelled as a guest of San Diego Tourism Authority

San Diego Seals Shutterstock

Tacos at Puesto Chris Van Hove


SURFIN’ USA: SOCAL STYLE From point breaks to heavy peaks, here’s how to hang ten in Southern California: Learn to Surf: It’s a great spectator sport, sure, but find out what all the fuss is about with a beginners’ lesson at La Jolla Shores surf school. California Surf Museum: Find out how California’s surf culture started at this Oceanside favourite for surf buffs and curious beach bums. Encinitas: Time Poor? Head to Encinitas to get the feel of a typical SoCal surf town; if the swell is up, head to international renowned surf spot Swamis to watch the locals shred the waves. Mix it up: Don’t limit yourself to the typical surfboard. Try paddleboarding, sea kayaking or even (gasp) boogie boarding to get out in it. Secret Spots: Ask around (and watch you don’t tread on any toes) - experienced surfers should seek out a few secret spots like Sunset Cliffs near Point Loma. Encinitas Shutterstock

Surfing at La Jolla Shutterstock

WHERE TO STAY You will be spoilt for choice with three San Francisco HI hostels including HI Fisherman's Wharf overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, and two in San Diego. Book online.

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HI San Francisco, Fisherman’s Wharf


FIVE US TRAVEL TIPS

1 2 3 4 5

For every price you see on a menu or swing tag, remember to add tax (around 10%) and a tip of 15-18%. Some restaurants add a “gratuity” to the bill for you, so be careful not to tip twice. When renting a car, book online. It’s cheaper than booking in person and you can go straight to the selfserve kiosk when picking it up.

San Francisco-based ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft are all over America like a rash and offer the fastest, friendliest and most affordable way to get around. Use your frequent flyer points to upgrade on US domestic flights (Virgin and Qantas are both part of worldwide networks) and you’ll bypass security lines that can stretch into tomorrow. A little courtesy goes a long way; America rewards “please” and “thank you” like nowhere else. And get used to being called “ma’am” or “sir”. It’s the American way.

La Jolla, San Diego Chris Van Hove


FEATURE / SUSTAINABILITY

Green is the new

BLACK â—†

FROM CHOOK FARMS TO SOLAR PANELS, TOM SMITH LEARNS HOW SERIOUSLY YHA TAKES SUSTAINABILITY.

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YOU ONLY NEED

to glance at the logo to appreciate the importance of sustainability to YHA. Having a tree on your emblem is a fair indicator of an organisation’s green credentials. A home with an open door, signifying a warm welcome to shelter, next to a tree, representing nature and the environment. The hostelling philosophy has had sustainability at its core ever since a German schoolteacher named Richard Schirrmann led his class on a summer hike 107 years ago, and began the hostel movement in the process. But like how the tree in the logo bends with the breeze, the YHA of 2016 has evolved from the era of quaint countryside Jugendherbergen to become flexible to the eco-concerns of today. From small projects like free-range chicken farms and herb gardens to massive ones like the decision to stop selling bottled water and the installation of solar cells, YHA hostels bring to life this enduring commitment to sustainability at a time when Mother Nature needs a hand more than ever. And although enviro-initiatives are the most obvious examples, the ethos of social responsibility at the heart of YHA’s mission statement extends further than tree-hugging to a raft of other actions that help maintain the health of local communities and promote low-impact travel.

YHA MISSION STATEMENT: “TO PROVIDE OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL, BUT ESPECIALLY YOUNG PEOPLE, FOR EDUCATION BY PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, FOSTERING FRIENDSHIP AND BRINGING ABOUT A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF OTHERS AND THE WORLD AROUND THEM”

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WHAT’S HAPPENING IN OZ YHA Australia introduced an Environmental Policy in 1998 and a Strategic Sustainability Action Plan in 2009, and there’s plenty of hard work going on around the network to make sure those words are turned into action. Some ideas are big. The Sustainable Hostels Fund – which gives you the choice to donate $1 when you book a stay online that YHA then matches dollar for dollar – has helped install solar hot water systems at Adelaide Central, Byron Bay, Cairns Central, Glebe Point, Pittwater, Grampians Eco YHA and Melbourne Metro, as well as solar power in sun-baked Alice Springs, which generates as much as half of that hostel’s energy needs. The 145 solar cells installed on Perth City’s rooftop in 2014 saves more than 42 tonnes of carbon emissions a year. But others are small, and no less significant in helping guests travel sustainably. All the waste from the Grampians’ kitchen is composted then fed to the hostel’s free-range chicken farm. Brisbane City flushes its loos with an 80,000L rainwater tank. Port Elliot has its very own onsite veggie garden. And Sydney Harbour YHA, which has been feted with award after award for its $1 million worth of sustainability features since opening in 2009, even has pin boards made from recycled PET (the nasty stuff disposable plastic bottles are made of).

Port Elliot YHA offers bike rental


Swap shelves, bike rental, low-energy lightbulbs/LEDs, and watersaving bathroom devices are common in YHA hostels . . . as well as a number of non-environmental initiatives that promote positive social change in local communities. A portion of your room rate at Sydney Harbour goes towards preserving Australia’s largest urban archaeology area beneath the hostel, as well as educating school kids about the heritage of Sydney’s historic Rocks district through The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre. Also, many YHAs display an acknowledgement of the original Indigenous owners of the land in front of their hostels, donate lost property and rattle donation tins for charities, sponsor community groups, and offer work experience to local young people.

Rainwater tank at Grampians Eco YHA

Veggie garden at Port Elliot YHA

Chook farm at Grampians Eco YHA


ACROSS THE DITCH IN NZ YHA New Zealand certainly isn’t left behind by their neighbours across the Tasman – they’re so green that even their membership cards are made out of recycled PVC! The NZ government’s environmental accreditation system, Qualmark, have awarded only six hostels in the whole country the Enviro-Gold stamp of approval – and they’re all YHAs. Another 14 earned bronze or silver, meaning every single YHA-managed property in NZ has achieved a Qualmark Enviro Award. The gongs are thanks to programmes like the Low Carbon Traveller initiative, which has given away more than 4000 discounted nights to backpackers travelling on foot or by bike since 2011, and the Green Footprint Project, which has encouraged guests to purchase more than 11,000 native trees and shrubs to restore the native habitat around New Zealand, including the island of Motuihe near Auckland in May. The 108m of solar panels at YHA Franz Josef – a rainforest town servicing the nearby Fox and Franz Josef glaciers – became one of the largest solar power systems on the West Coast when it was installed six months ago. While on the North Island, YHA Rotorua has begun to harness geothermal energy through a down-bore heat exchanger, slashing the hostel’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent. In May this year, YHA New Zealand threw its support behind World Wide Fund for Nature’s Challenge 55, which aims to protect the endangered population of 55 Maui's dolphins surviving off the West Coast of the North Island. The staff at YHA Queenstown each walked 55,000 steps over five days, and the Christchurch national office raised money with accommodation auctions, fun runs and bake sales.

Maui’s dolphin

Tree planting


THE BATTLE WITH THE BOTTLE YHA hostels are pretty easy-going places but one ugly item has made its way onto the ‘banned’ list: disposable water bottles. The gas-guzzling process of producing, packaging, transporting and refrigerating bottled water means it has a carbon footprint 300 times greater than the clean, free water we’re lucky to have plumbed into our buildings. And then there’s the 1000 years PET products take to break down in landfill. So YHA Australia has gone down a path that’s kinder to the environment, and considering bottled water is twice as expensive as petrol, much gentler on your wallet, too. YHA hostels have axed disposable water bottles from vending machines and group lunches, installed chilled water bubblers in our properties, and now sell quality re-usable water bottles for $9 a pop – virtually cost price – so guests can fill up at no cost to them or the environment. Since imposing the bottle ban on July 1, 2014, YHA has sold 1500 re-fillable bottles to take a dent out of the 600 million litres of bottled water Australians consume every year, which churns out 60,000 tonnes YHA has removed bottled of greenhouse gas water from vending machines emissions or the equivalent in favour of re-usable of 13,000 cars on the road bottles sold at cost price for 12 months.

PET bottles Shutterstock


FIVE WAYS TO GREEN UP YOUR NEXT GETAWAY 1. Give $1 to the Sustainable Hostels Fund when booking your stay on yha.com.au and YHA will match your contribution dollar for dollar. Your contributions have already helped install solar hot water at Byron Bay YHA and Adelaide Central YHA, as well as solar electricity at Alice Springs YHA. 2. Cut down on flying. Either fly direct to minimise emissions from take-off and landing, or catch the train! Rail is often cheaper, pumps out way less pollution than air travel, and is a great way of seeing the country. 3. Tread lightly when you arrive by seeing the sights on foot or on bike – plenty of YHA hostels offer free or great-value bike rental. And reduce your eco-footprint during your stay by flicking off lights and air conditioning when you’re not using them.

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4. Save water by taking shorter showers, turning off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving, and reporting leaking taps and showers when you see them. Take extra care to conserve water in remote, natural hostels. 5. Swap and share. Leave behind food, books, clothes, and anything else you don’t want when you check-out so other people can use them. One person’s trash is another one’s treasure . . . especially on a backpacker’s budget!

WHERE TO STAY ◆ Learn more about YHA Australia’s sustainable hostels at yha.com.au ◆ Check out YHA New Zealand’s Enviro Award winning hostels at yha.co.nz


WHAT'S ON HERE’S OUR PICK OF EVENTS COMING UP IN YOUR REGION

LET’S GET FESTIVE! It’s festival season across Australia and New Zealand – and whether it’s music, art, food, sport or comic books that floats your boat, we’ve got an event you’ll love. Especially for lovers of food, glorious food . . .

TASTE OF AUCKLAND 17 – 20 November 2016

NZ

Tantalise your taste buds with Auckland’s best culinary creations, sure to satisfy even the fussiest foodies. This globally-renowned festival invites 12 top restaurants to serve their signature dishes and over 100 producers of fine foods, wine makers, distilleries and craft brewers to showcase the best of their best. Join the live demos, live music, workshops, market stalls and more. And be sure to come hungry. tasteofauckland.co.nz

BOOK NOW

u

u u

S  tay at YHA Auckland International or YHA Auckland City 0  800 278 299 (NZ) or 1800 242 191 (Aus) book@yha.co.nz

Taste of Auckland


QLD

OKTOBERFEST BRISBANE 7 – 9 and 14 – 16 October 2016 Get your Dirndl or Lederhosen ready for an Oktoberfest experience like no other! Indulge in a range of delicious German dishes and try out some traditional German beer, handcrafted especially for Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest Brisbane is an extravaganza of food, fashion, music and more. oktoberfestbrisbane.com.au u u u

S  tay at Brisbane City YHA +  61 7 3236 1004 brisbanecity@yha.com.au

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GOOD FOOD MONTH 1 – 31 October 2016

Oktoberfest Brisbane

N SW

Feast on this! Sink your teeth into NSW’s vibrant food scene right across the state in the month of October, from top-shelf regional restaurants to hip Sydney venues. Don’t miss the Night Noodle Markets in Sydney’s Hyde Park, where more than 40 food stalls dish up finger-licking Asian food in a buzzing market atmosphere smack bang in the city centre. sydney.goodfoodmonth.com u u u

BEAUVINE FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL

Good Food Month

21 – 23 October 2016

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WA

Warm sunshine, live music, stand-up comedy, a boutique arts market, plus mouthwatering food and thirst-quenching drinks – BeauVine Food and Wine Festival is definitely a feast for the senses. With all your drink tastings plus a souvenir glass included in the price of your ticket (only $34!) and the festival only a short walk from Perth City YHA, how can you say no to such deliciousness? beauvine.com.au u u

BeauVine Food & Wine Festival OK Media

Stay at Sydney Central YHA +61 2 9218 9000 sydcentral@yha.com.au

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u

Stay at Perth City YHA +61 8 9287 3333 perthcity@yha.com.au

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VI C

MELBOURNE MUSIC WEEK 11 – 19 November 2016

Nine days of music, film, art, design and raging parties is how Melbourne celebrates the city’s booming independent music scene. From DJs spinning their tunes to hard-core rock performances, there’s more than 250 artists performing at this stellar festival – so many that you’ll have to make some tough choices who to see because you can’t squeeze them all in! thatsmelbourne.com.au Melbourne Music Week Shutterstock

u u u

Stay at Melbourne Central YHA +61 3 9621 2523 melbcentral@yha.com.au

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NZ Lindi Ortega

SOUTHERN FORK AMERICANA FEST 7 – 16 October 2016 Get yourself to this top-notch alternative country music festival that promises a bumper crop of the best and brightest musicians bringing their flavour of Americana to New Zealand. Musos hail from North America, Australia and New Zealand and include a Grammy-nominated Texan, a Canadian honkytonk songstress, plus a collection of folk, blues and country singer-songwriters belting out tunes for 10 days at Auckland’s Great South Pacific Tuning Fork. southernfork.co.nz u u u

AIRLIE BEACH FESTIVAL OF MUSIC 3 – 6 November 2016

S  tay at YHA Auckland International or YHA Auckland City 0  800 278 299 (NZ) or 1800 242 191 (Aus) book@yha.co.nz

Airlie Beach Fesitval of Music

QLD

The Airlie Beach Festival of Music is the only waterfront music festival in tropical Australia offering three main concerts, 74 bands and a party atmosphere over four days in November. Tailored to an audience who want to soak up the setting and enjoy an excess of live music with internationally and nationally recognised artists. You’ll be up close and personal to artists at the many lively bars and beachside venues around Airlie Beach. airliebeachfestivalofmusic.com.au

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u u u

S  tay at Airlie Beach YHA +  61 7 4946 6312 a  irliebeach@yha.com.au

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SCULPTURE BY THE SEA 20 October – 6 November 2016

N SW

The world’s largest free sculpture exhibition returns for its 20th annual event, drawing half a million visitors to Bondi to admire artworks by more than 100 local and international sculptors. Bondi Beachouse YHA is just a five-minute stroll from the clifftop Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk, which provides a jaw-dropping backdrop for the weird and wonderful masterpieces. sculpturebythesea.com

One of the major events on Adelaide’s jampacked festival calendar, Feast Festival celebrates pride and diversity by hosting a dazzling display of art and culture from the LGBTIQ community and their supporters. Be captivated by performances of dance, music, literature, film, art, cabaret and comedy by some of the top acts from Australia and all over the world. feast.org.au

Sculpture by the Sea Shutterstock

u u u

Stay at Bondi Beachouse YHA +61 2 9365 2088 bondi@yha.com.au

NZ

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SA

FEAST FESTIVAL 21 October – 6 November 2016

Feast Opening Night Party Jo Robinson

u u u

Stay at Adelaide Central YHA +61 8 8414 3010 adlcentral@yha.com.au

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AUCKLAND DIWALI FESTIVAL 15 – 16 October 2016 India comes to Auckland! The Diwali festival offers the chance to experience the music, dance (traditional and Bollywood), street theatre, workshops and vegetarian food of India. And it all culminates with fireworks! So slip on your turban or Sari and celebrate Indian and Kiwi-Indian culture for Auckland’s premier Indian festival in the heart of the city. aucklandnz.com/diwali u

u u

S  tay at YHA Auckland International or YHA Auckland City 0800 278 299 (NZ) or 1800 242 191 (Aus) book@yha.co.nz

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SPRING RACING CARNIVAL 29 October – 5 November 2016 Gentlemen, suit up and ladies, get your frocks on for one of the biggest sporting events on the Victorian calendar. The Spring Racing Carnival is here – get some mates together, pack a picnic lunch, enjoy the sunshine and have a punt on a horse. You never know, you could win big! flemington.com.au u u u

Stay at Melbourne Metro YHA +61 3 9329 8599 melbmetro@yha.com.au

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ROTTNEST ISLAND CARNIVALE 29 October 2016

VI C

MELBOURNE FESTIVAL 6 – 23 October 2016 Stay Melbourne Central YHA or Melbourne Metro YHA

Spring Racing Carnival Shutterstock

WA

Arrive at Rottnest Island Carnivale by day and you’ll be surrounded by families enjoying sunshine and activities. By night, Rottnest Island turns into a grown up’s paradise with an exciting program full of food and entertainment. Plus it’s Halloween themed, so dress up in your spookiest costume and go trick or treating or join the undead at the Zombie Silent Disco, before getting a couple of snaps in the Halloween-themed photo booth and hitting the dance floor with live music performances or relaxing with a movie under the stars. rottnestisland.com u u u

Stay at Fremantle Prison YHA +61 8 9433 4305 fremantle@yha.com.au

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Head to the Adelaide Showgrounds and release your inner geek in a world that celebrates comic books, novels, anime and cartoons, video games, science-fiction, cosplay, pulp TV shows and movies. Supanova Pop Culture Expo is now in its 26th year and is pulling out the big guns in 2016 to ensure you have an absolute blast! supanova.com.au u u u

Stay at Adelaide Central YHA +61 8 8414 3010 adlcentral@yha.com.au

QUEENSTOWN JAZZFEST 21 – 24 October 2016 Stay YHA Queenstown Central or YHA Queenstown Lakefront

FESTA CHRISTCHURCH 21 – 24 October 2016 Stay YHA Christchurch or YHA Christchurch Rolleston House

AUSTRALIA V SOUTH AFRICA TEST CRICKET 12 – 16 November 2016 Stay Hobart YHA

Carnivale by night

SUPANOVA POP CULTURE EXPO 18 – 20 November

MORE EVENTS

SA

MARGARET RIVER GOURMET ESCAPE 18 – 20 November 2016 Stay Margaret River YHA

SANTA PARADE 27 November 2016 Stay YHA Auckland International or YHA Auckland City BOOK ONLINE

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YHA.COM.AU YHA.CO.NZ Shutterstock


BACKPACKER / ESSENTIALS

YHA.COM.AU YHA.CO.NZ NEXT ISSUE AVAILABLE 6TH DECEMBER 2016

Profile for YHA Ltd

Backpacker Essentials October 2016  

In this issue, we explore Canberra’s cool café culture, discover the best of the ‘burbs in Auckland, cruise around California to San Francis...

Backpacker Essentials October 2016  

In this issue, we explore Canberra’s cool café culture, discover the best of the ‘burbs in Auckland, cruise around California to San Francis...