BACKPACKER /ESSENTIALS / OCTOBER 2015
SYDNEY MUSIC, FOOD & MORE
ADRENALINE JUNKIES SOUTH ISLAND, NZ SWITZERLAND A BUCKET LIST EXPERIENCE SHAKE OFF WINTER INSPIRATION AND DEALS
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INSIDE BACKPACKER / ESSENTIALS
BUDAPEST TO BRAZIL
TOP DEALS IN OZ & NZ
SWITZERLAND HAS IT ALL
VOL 19 / No 5 OCTOBER 2015
SYDNEY SPRING ◆
MANAGING EDITOR Janet McGarry
FOOD, FESTIVALS AND MUSIC
NEW ZEALAND EDITOR Brindi Joy DEPUTY EDITOR Melanie Tesoriero
YHA CONTRIBUTORS Christina Harris Rachel Seymour Tanya Heuke Francois LaJoie
Sydney Festival - The Domain Destination NSW
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
FOR ADRENALINE JUNKIES
IT'S EASY BEING GREEN
ART DIRECTOR Justin Thomas 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 TOP 10 YHA VIEWS / NEWS / YOUR YHA
CHAMPAGNE VIEWS ON A BEER BUDGET? HERE ARE THE TOP 10 YHAS WITH THE BEST VIEWS OF THE LAND DOWN UNDER:
TOP 10 VI EWS
Sydney Harbour YHA
Get a picturesque view of one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks, the Sydney Harbour. Marvel at the view of Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge whilst on the rooftop of Sydney Harbour YHA.
How does having one of the best views of one of the world’s most famous beaches sound? At Bondi Beachouse YHA in Sydney, this fantastic view is a daily event. Queensland’s bustling metropolis, Brisbane, has a vibrant downtown that nestles itself along the Brisbane River - which just so happens to be the backdrop for Brisbane City YHA. Soak in the view (literally) from the rooftop outdoor pool.
Stradbroke Island TEQ
Sit back with a cuppa and enjoy the views across the South Pacific to the Seaward Kaikoura Ranges. Set in the South Islands’ capital of seafood and sea life, unexpected guests (seal pups) sometimes wander by the beachfront YHA Kaikoura for a visit.
Tucked between the Tweed River and Mount Warning (or ‘Wollumbin’ - cloud catcher - as the local Aboriginal people call it) is Murwillumbah YHA in Northern New South Wales.
Want the excitement of Queenstown but with lakefront views? YHA Queenstown Lakefront is on the shores of a very frigid and very stunning Lake Wakitipu with unbeatable views across the lake to the Remarkables mountain range.
Melbourne Metro YHA, just north of the city, has 300 + degree views from its rooftop.
All aboard YHA Bay of Islands The Rock Cruise, the only floating hostel with 360° views of the beautiful Bay of Islands where dolphin spotting, clear water snorkelling and phosphorescent night swimming are just three of the pretty cool water baby pastimes. Every room and every deck has a view.
Clockwise from top: Queenstown, Melbourne Metro YHA, YHA Bay of Islands The Rock Cruise, Brisbane City YHA
Port Elliot Beach House YHA offers a picture perfect setting to enjoy a 270-degree view of the South Australian coast. Feast your eyes upon Encounter Bay and the Great Australian Bight. Escape to the tranquil views of Pittwater YHA. Situated in Sydney’s outskirts on the hillside of Morning Bay in Ku-ring-gai National Park, this YHA is where the bush meets the sea.
RENT-A-CAR WITH YHA Did you know that as a member of YHA you have access to five different hire car company deals? Australia’s leading car rental companies are helping young drivers on the road - for less! No matter your age, if you’re a member of YHA, there is a car rental company that can offer you a great discount. Click here for more details!
ARE YOU ACTUALLY PREPARED FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP?
BACKPACKER ESSENTIALS CAN NOW BE READ ON IPHONE! Your favourite travel magazine can now be read on iPhone! Just like the iPad, on the iPhone you’ll have the full experience of the magazine with all the fantastic animations and features. Of course, you can continue to read the magazine on iPad or digital flip and pdf. Depending on the size of your iPhone screen, there is the capability of “pinch and zoom” to help you read the great stories inside. Android coming soon.
Tickets, check. Passport, check. Travel insurance, check. Travel medical kit, che…wait, what? Often overlooked, travel medical kits can prove to be invaluable if you get sick unexpectedly. Dr Deb the Travel Doctor can provide you with a medical kit that will suit your destination, length of stay and medical history. Better yet, if you’re a member of YHA you receive 10% off a kit!
FOLLOW THESE STEPS 1. Download the “Backpacker Essentials” app 2. Download the issue you want to read 3. Be inspired 4. Start planning your next trip
Visit yha.com.au/membership/ discounts for more information.
GETTING FROM POINT A TO POINT B AND BEYOND JUST GOT EASIER! YHA Australia’s 2016 Accommodation Guide is now available to pick up in all Australian YHA hostels and YHA New Zealand’s 2016 Backpacker Map will hit the hostel shelves this month! With up to date hostel info, membership benefits and great activity and transport discounts, they’re the travel guides to get you from point A to point B and beyond that you don’t want to be without!
YOUR YHA YHA NEWS FOR MEMBERS IN AUSTRALIA
CONGRATULATIONS TASSIE AND MURWILLUMBAH YHA! Tassie Duff is YHA’s longest serving hostel manager, having been the manager of Murwillumbah YHA for 35 years. He is not just the manager of a busy, coastal hostel, he is the host. Tassie takes great pride in the experience that his guests receive when they visit the lovely town of Murwillumbah and believes that his role is to facilitate whatever his guests want to do, which he says, is the most important part of his job. Tassie speaks with great warmth when he’s discussing his hometown as he describes the beautiful weather and views he wakes up to every morning (Mt Warning to the west, the Tweed River to the east and to the north stunning trees). In fact, it’s hard not to be drawn to the idea of visiting Murwillumbah simply through Tassie’s infectious love for the town. Famous for his 9pm ice cream tradition, Tassie rallies all the guests and provides the chance for them all to sit together, eat ice cream and talk about their days’ events. Indeed, Tassie recalls a young man that visited his hostel and asked to have a look around, the young man then proceeded to tell Tassie that his parents had met at the hostel years ago - were now married and
Check out some of the great reviews he’s received over the years:
had two kids! Tassie remembered the couple and is looking forward to having the whole family partners of the kids and all - at his upcoming 35th year celebration. Tassie speaks with pride when he talks about his association with YHA and for the past 35 years he says it has been a pleasure to have such a great partnership. Under the YHA philosophy, his relationship with YHA has only flourished – Congratulations Tassie!
BOOK NOW MURWILLUMBAH YHA u u
+61 2 6672 3763 email@example.com
Fremantle Prison YHA
Fremantle Prison Tour Tourism WA
YHA Board of Directors
INCARCERATED AT YHA The Directors of YHA in Australia recently met for meetings and stayed at Fremantle Prison YHA, a unique hostel in a World Heritage-listed nineteenth century jail. Directors from around the country gathered in ‘Freo’ - as it’s locally known - for the official opening of the hostel on 22 August 2015. Snipping the ribbon was Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AO, Governor of Western Australia. A large crowd was in attendance for the opening of the hostel, which has been more than five years in the making. The hostel is in the former women’s section of the prison whilst the main former men’s prison is now Western Australia’s most visited tourist attraction. The Directors were able to do a night tour of the prison, which included highlights into its dark history. The next day they also did a tunnels tour, that includes small boat travel along flooded tunnels which were once the prison’s water supply. In hard hats, Directors clambered down sections of vertical ladders with harnesses and carabineers, as a team-building exercise. As a not-for-profit organisation, YHA has a Board of Directors made up of regular members who donate their time and expertise voluntarily. Thanks go to YHA in WA for hosting the event, and to Directors for giving their time to attend.
FREMANTLE PRISON YHA u u
Fremantle Prison YHA
+61 8 9433 4305 firstname.lastname@example.org
NOW OPEN / HALLOWEEN HOSTELS / GARDEN ROUTE
WE HIGHLIGHT HOSTELS FROM AROUND THE WORLD AND GO ON TOUR ALONG THE PICTURESQUE GARDEN ROUTE, SOUTH AFRICA.
T S E P A D U B L I Z A R B O T
Ozgur Guvenc - Budapest Shutterstock
Buda Castle - Budapest Shutterstock
MAVERICK CITY LODGE, HUNGARY Budapest is known as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and the “Paris of the East”. With an extensive list of World Heritage Sites and fascinating history, Budapest ticks all of the travel boxes. Right in the heart of the historical Jewish Quarter lies a new hostel, the Maverick City Lodge. It will give you a chance to visit the second largest synagogue in the world! Most of the attractions are within walking distance and you’re not far from an array of restaurants, concert venues, bars and pubs! With the history in Budapest, each of these is likely to be more unique than the next.
MAVERICK CITY LODGE
Rio De Janeiro - Brazil Shutterstock
BRAZ HOSTEL, BRAZIL Rio de Janeiro – what came straight to your mind? Beaches…? Sun…? Surf…? Well Braz Hostel is probably where you want to stay for your next trip to the land of the beautiful people! Located at Macumba beach in Rio de Janeiro, this hostel has been fully restored and is perfect for those wishing to surf and get to know another side of the city of Rio de Janeiro. The hostel also has a swimming pool, and air conditioning, plus you can also choose from a private two person room with garden view or shared 6 bed accommodation.
BRAZ HOSTEL u
Chemnitz Opera - Germany Shutterstock
CITY HOSTEL, CHEMNITZ Just one hourâ€™s drive from historical Dresden lies Chemnitz, a city that was once named Karl-Marx-Stadt, after the famous socialist. Chemnitz has a large manufacturing industry and City Hostel Chemnitz is a testimony to the cityâ€™s industrial architecture, particularly with the imported steam engine in the foyer! All rooms in this hostel have a shower and toilet, complemented by the usual suspects: dining room, lounge, BBQ area, buffet, plus an outdoor table tennis and open air lounge!
CITY HOSTEL CHEMNITZ
WITCH SPOOKY HOSTEL WILL YOU BE AT FOR HALLOWEEN? Whether or not you believe in ghosts and spooky stories, it’s always fun to get in the spirit of Halloween and try to spook yourself as much as possible … or maybe you’re just after an excuse for a party! These hostels around the world lay claim to having a spooky history or a paranormal guest or two … Why not tempt fate and explore these locations’ spooktacular traditions, myths and legends. Shutterstock
GUILIN, CHINA Be enchanted by tales of dragons and the supernatural amongst the fairytale mountains of Guilin.
Stay at: Flowers Blossom Youth Hostel OTTAWA, CANADA Sleep in surprising comfort at Ottawa’s 150 year old former jail. You can also see the gallows and possibly the resident ghost.
Stay at: Ottawa Jail Hostel MEXICO CITY, MEXICO Processions of skeletons and candlelight picnics mark the Day of the Dead or “Día de los muertos” from 1 - 2 November.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE, ENGLAND Be transported back to medieval times at this castle which is over 800 years old. Wander through the former hunting lodge of King John and wonder who spent time in the debtor’s prison and met their grizzly end on the gallows.
Stay at: YHA St Briavels Caste, England CALIFORNIA, USA This 19th Century lighthouse was built after several ships ran ashore and is still an operating lighthouse. Find out for yourself if any former captains are still haunting the site.
Stay at: HI Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel
Stay at: Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral BRASOV, ROMANIA Set in the heart of medieval citadel, this spooky town is not far from Transylvania, the birthplace of the blood sucking Dracula.
Stay at: Hostel Mara
Ottawa Jail Hostel
SOUTH AFRICA GARDEN ROUTE The Garden Route will take you on a journey through South Africa’s natural beauty. Spanning only 300 kilometres, the array of scenery, wildlife and outdoor activities will keep you occupied for as long as you need. Start from one of the many HI hostels in Cape Town to begin your Garden Route adventure and make your way through the Garden Route, spending the night at these HI South Africa hostels.
WESTERN CAPE EASTERN CAPE
SEDGEFIELD Stay at: Myoli Beach – Afrovibe Adventure Lodge
CAPE TOWN PORT ELIZABETH JEFFREY’S BAY OUDTSHOORN
South Africa’s ostrich capital; visit one of the Ostrich farms and experience firsthand the animal’s frenzied behaviour. Stay at Oudtshoorn - Backpacker’s Paradise
At the end of the Garden Route is Jeffrey’s Bay which is rated as one of the 10 best places in the world to catch the perfect wave. Make sure you taste their calamari, or ‘white gold’, a famous dish in Jeffrey’s Bay. Stay at Jeffrey’s Bay - Island Vibe Backpackers
WILDERNESS Stay at Wilderness Fairy Knowe Backpackers
Situated between forests and a lagoon, Knysna is most famous for the spectacular Knysna Heads, two immense sandstone cliffs guarding the entry to a spectacular lagoon. A must-stop on the Garden Route. Stay at Knysna - Island Vibe Backpackers
TSITSIKAMMA NATIONAL PARK
A popular section of the Garden Route National Park, covered in a large expanse of forest. Get lost exploring the river gorges and marvel at the magnificent waterfalls and deep ravines. Stay at Tsitsikamma Backpackers
YHA DEALS IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
Canyoning in the Blue Mountains Blue Mountains Tourism
BLUE MOUNTAINS CANYON
MURWILLUMBAH ADVENTURE PACKAGE
RIDE THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE TRACK
Canyoning is the perfect mountain adventure. Explore hidden spots through narrow passes, outstanding rainforest and mountain streams. This fully guided adventure will extend your personal boundaries and introduce you to a new side of this World Heritage landscape. Package includes:
Explore stunning Tweed Valley and climb Mt Warning for spectacular views of the valley and coastline. Stay at Murwillumbah and kayak and stand-up paddleboard - the ultimate adventure trip! Package Includes:
Hop on your bike and experience one of New Zealand’s classic mountain bike tracks. Skirt bay after secluded bay, trace coves, climb hills and ridges for gobsmacking views of the Marlborough Sounds Package includes:
2 nights' stay in multi- share or private room u Lunch u Breakfast daily u Full day canyoning u
From AU$229 p.p. Valid until 30 April 2016.
BLUE MOUNTAINS YHA u u
+61 2 4782 1416 email@example.com
3 nights’ stay in a multi-share or twin/double room u
1 hour guided kayak tour u Stand-up paddleboard hire u Return Mt Warning transfer u Sightseeing tours u
From AU$211.50 p.p. Valid until 30 September 2016.
MURWILLUMBAH YHA u u
+61 2 6672 3763 firstname.lastname@example.org
2 nights' multi-share u 1 or 2 days on the Queen Charlotte Track u Return ferry from Picton to the track u
From NZ$122 per person for 1 night or $157 per person or for 2. Valid until 5 December 2015. Packages with bike hire are available.
YHA PICTON u u
+64 3 573 6598 email@example.com
D A O R N A E C O T A E GR
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE GREAT OCEAN ROAD
See the Great Ocean Road your way, with our new Choose Your Own Adventure packs. Roll down the windows, crank up the tunes and embrace the freedom to explore with our seven night accommodation packs, saving you money and putting the choice in your hands. We've got the hostels, you bring the car and we have loads of great car hire discounters for you to choose from. Check them out here. Starting in Adelaide or Melbourne,
choose from any of these awesome YHA locations to create your own Great Ocean Road adventure: The Choose Your Own Adventure pack comes in at just AU$175 for seven nights - that's just AU$25 per night for some of the most amazing locations in Australia! One lucky winner will win this pack plus car hire! Prize includes: 2 x 7 night YHA accommodation pack u 7 night car rental u
Visit Facebook.com/BackpackingMate for details
TO WIN! Upload a photo of your best road trip moment on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #YHAroadtrip for you chance to win a Choose Your Own Adventure Pack. Ends 21 October 2015.
MELBOURNE METRO YHA Save on accommodation this festival season! Australia’s world-class multi-art Melbourne Festival is back in town! To celebrate we’re taking the hard work out of your stay with our bed and breakfast festival deal. Start your day the right way with included continental breakfast before exploring all that Melbourne has to offer and attending the great shows at the Melbourne Festival. Package includes: u u
3 nights’ accommodation in a multi-share or private twin/double room Continental breakfast
From AU$94.50 per person in a multi-share room. Valid until 25 October 2015.
MELBOURNE METRO YHA u u
+ 61 3 9329 8599 firstname.lastname@example.org
PORT FAIRY YHA
Spring has sprung and it’s time to hit the beach! Port Fairy YHA is offering a sweet treat with a 4 night deal in their 5-person self-contained apartment. Located at the end of the Great Ocean Road, historic and charming Port Fairy is the perfect group getaway. Spend your holiday swimming, hiking, fishing, boating, wildlife watching, eating fresh seafood and strolling around the historic village this spring and summer season. Package includes:
Lock yourself up and throw away the key.... for an extra night free! At Fremantle Prison YHA you can pay for 3 nights and stay for 4 in a dorm, extending your time served at no extra cost - plus while you’re there, why not visit the beautiful Rottnest Island by bike? For only an extra $94 you’ll get the ferry to Rottnest Island, a river cruise, plus bike hire - which includes helmet and lock. You’ll have the chance to meet quokkas - a marsupial native to Rottnest Island and swim in the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. You can’t really go wrong at Freo! Package
4 nights’ in a 5 share self-contained apartment.
From AU$600. Valid until 24 December 2015, excluding 31 October 2015 - 3 November 2015.
4 nights for the price of 3 in a multi-share
From AU$78. Valid until 30 November 2015.
Port Fairy YHA
PORT FAIRY YHA u u
+61 3 5568 2468 email@example.com
FREMANTLE PRISON YHA u u
+61 8 9433 4305 firstname.lastname@example.org
AUSTRALIA ZOO DAY TOUR
FRASER ISLAND AND WHALE WATCHING SPECIAL
How about a full day tour of World Heritage Fraser Island and a half day of the best whale watching Australia has to offer? Hervey Bay’s close proximity to Fraser Island (or K’Gari as Aboriginal legend calls it – aptly meaning paradise), you are directly amongst the best spots. Package includes: u u u
2 nights’ accommodation at Hervey Bay YHA Full Day Fraser Island Tour Half Day Whale Watching Tour
Experience the ultimate wildlife adventure with a visit to Australia Zoo. Cuddle a koala, feed the kangaroos, get up close to the elusively cute red pandas or check out the rhinos in the African Savannah exhibit. Package includes: 2 nights’ in a multi-share room at Brisbane City YHA u 1 Day entry to Australia Zoo u
From AU$101 per person. Valid until 31 March 2016
From AU$305 per person in a multi-share room or AU$668 for a private ensuite for two people. Valid until 31 October 2015.
Australia Zoo TEQ
HERVEY BAY YHA u u
+61 7 4125 1844 email@example.com
BRISBANE CITY YHA u u
+61 7 3236 1004 firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW ZEALAND CAR & BED Hitting the road for your New Zealand roadie has never been so easy. Travel at your own pace with this road-worthy deal that bundles affordable car hire with accommodation in the YHAs of your choice. Prebook your whole itinerary or book as you go. Package includes: u
5 - 20 night multi-share accommodation vouchers to redeem at any YHA in New Zealand u 7 - 28 day car hire - you choose your vehicle u Unlimited kilometres, low to no excess insurance
Pick up/drop off locations: Auckland, Wellington, Picton, Nelson, Christchurch, Queenstown. From NZ$400 per person for 7 day rental/ 5 nights multi-share accommodation. Other length of stay options available. Valid to 30 September 2016
YHA NEW ZEALAND u u
+0800 278 299 (NZ) 1800 242 191 (AU) email@example.com
MT LOFTY YHA GETAWAY SPECIAL - STAY 3 PAY 2 Make the most of this stunning bushland setting in the Cleland Conservation Park surrounded by abundant wildlife, bushwalking trails and amazing views through the trees to Adelaide. Only 20 minutes from the centre of Adelaide but a world away from the hustle and bustle of normal life. Enjoy 3 days in this beautiful location and really switch off. From AU$216 for three nights (that's just $72 per night!) Package includes: u u
3 consecutive nights' stay Exclusive use for up to 10 guests
Valid until 10 December NotYHA available AIRLIE 2015. BEACH on long weekends or school holidays. u +64 7 4946 6312 BOOK u firstname.lastname@example.org NOW
MT LOFTY YHA u
+61 8 8414 3000
BAY OF ISLANDS CRUISE AND STAY Explore Northland by land and sea on YHAâ€™s only houseboat for a 22-hour activity-packed, nature-filled overnight cruise. Rest easy pre or post cruise with YHA Bay of Islands Paihia. This package bundles both YHAs for excellent savings. Package includes: 1 night with YHA Bay of Islands Paihia u 1 night with YHA Bay of Islands u The Rock Cruise, including swimming, mussel and kina diving, snorkelling, kayaking, target shooting, fishing, island walking, watching for dolphins, birds and fish u
From NZ$215 per person shared cabin or NZ$504 for a private room for 2. Valid until 23 December 2015. All prices are for YHA members. Non-member prices available.
YHA BAY OF ISLANDS u u
+64 9 402 7796 email@example.com
FEATURE / SWITZERLAND
MOUNTAINS, CHOCOLATE AND TRAINS: JANET MCGARRY FOUND SWITZERLAND HAD IT ALL.
Matterhorn views, near Zermatt Tom Malecha
is everything. Switzerland had long been on my bucket list and expectations were of mountains, snow, trains and chocolate. Oh, and those cute dogs with little whiskey barrels on their collars. Sometimes the clichés just work. A confession first: I am a mountain-view junkie. I’m one of those people that stops dead centre on the path to look up with an open-jawed dopey expression. I stroll with a camera in one hand and phone in the other (a girl can multi-task after all, and those photos have to hit Facebook the instant you take them for full brag value). It’s very hard to choose the single best wow moment from our eight days in Switzerland. After a while, superlatives just didn’t cut it. But I do still have a shot from the Jungfrau on my phone, which I’m showing people months later. Some places do linger in your memory. Our mission was simple. To cram as many walks, views, trains and chocolate stops in as we could. We mainly ditched the cities (but see later the ones that cut the mustard) and instead spent our time in Zermatt and the Bernese Oberland (based in Interlaken).
The views from the top of Jungfraujoch stretch forever. jungfrau.ch
Any photo you’ll ever see of Zermatt, in southern Switzerland near the Italian border, will have the Matterhorn front and centre. This impressive slab of craggy rock dominates the whole region. Snow-covered year round, its flanks change colour as the light changes during the day, wisps of cloud often linger at the top, and its slopes and nearby assorted peaks are host to many glaciers. Down in the valley beneath is nestled the picture postcard alpine village of Zermatt. Home to skiers in winter, and outdoor enthusiasts in summer, it’s easy to stroll around, has three impressive cable car/train routes up to the surrounding heights, and is a great base day and night. Oh, and the YHA has a view to kill for – dead set up the valley to the Matterhorn. We headed out both days on an itinerary of uphill transport, walking and photo snapping. Pick of the peaks was the trip up to Gornergrat – step out of the train and you have a 360 degree vista of peaks, glaciers and lakes. The cold will take your breath away but the view is what you remember. The next day, we did our best walk. The Matterhorn Glacier trail is a three hour loop circuit through alpine meadows (the flowers were in full bloom), past turquoise blue lakes, beneath the face of the Matterhorn. It was topped off by finding a Swiss chalet housing a restaurant with killer views from its sundrenched terrace. A slice of rhubarb tart had never tasted so good! Gornergart Observatory Station with Matterhorn in the background. Shutterstock
Morning at Lake Stellisee near Zermatt. Shutterstock
Parasailing into Interlaken. Jost von Allmen
This region is slap bang in the middle of the country and sits on the main west-east Alpine Range. Beneath towering peaks, sandwiched between two lakes sits Interlaken, a major tourist hub. To be honest, I could skip re-visiting the town itself. The YHA is terrific with great views and facilities, but getting up into the nearby alpine villages would be my goal another trip. Interlaken is the gateway to alpine valleys, cookie cutter Swiss villages and the peaks of Jungfrau. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to really explore this area. The trip up to the top of Jungfrau is by an incredibly engineered mountain railway (it goes right through the range for about 20 minutes) is a special experience. Fresh snow, a dramatic zip line ride and a piercing blue sky topped off our day. Janet McGarry travelled with the assistance of Swiss Tourism and Swiss Rail.
Walking down from Jungfrau. Sarah Day
GET ADVENTUROUS Interlaken is the Swiss equivalent of Queenstown – adventure activity central. Raft down a turbulent river, canyon a narrow gorge or zip line through the trees. Whatever gets your heart beat going, you can do. We opted for the Seilpark tree adventure – with complex courses high up in the canopy, vertical drops and more. But you can also try out the First Flyer (nearly 800 metres of zip line with stunning Jungfrau views) or the Trotti bikes (like a Segway crossed with a mountain bike) overlooking Grindelwald, or the toboggan run at Mt Pilatus You won’t be short of choices!
View up to Jungfrau from Interlaken. Interlaken Tourism
Switzerland is more than snow and views. It is easy to add on several fine medieval cities for a dose of history and culture:
Notable for its wooden Chapel Bridge with its distinctive Water Tower, the medieval heart of the old city is easily accessible from the modern centre of this lakeside city. Cobbled streets, narrow lanes with restaurants spruiking the best fondue, restored wall murals on building walls, and the old city walls all make for a lovely summer’s evening. Mix it up with a day trip to Mt Pilatus combining a lake ferry ride, cogwheel railway and stunning regional views at the top.
Most famous for its Clock Tower which draws hordes of tour groups waiting for the hour to tick over and the show to begin, the heart of the Swiss capital is a maze of streets lined with small shopping arcades, a well restored streetscape, outdoor dining and a whisper quiet light rail train system. With gothic churches and top notch musuems (including one dedicated to Einstein), Berne is more than just stuffy diplomats.
MORE INFORMATION The Swiss Tourism’s website will whet your appetite and get you started – myswitzerland.com u Train travel: It
really is the only way to go as many villages have no car access. Start your planning here and then use the official train timetable site to fine tune your itinerary – sbb.ch Where to stay: Swiss YHA’s are super. Both Zermatt and Interlaken come highly recommended. See more and book at youthhostel.ch u
Switzerland’s largest city is a modern, bustling place, but has made one great choice: cars are banished from the central quarter on either side of the river that transects the city. It results in a peaceful air, filled with whizzing bikes and strolling locals. It is all very, well, Swiss.
Zurich. Sarah Day
TRAINING SWITZERLAND Online timetable and a train pass. Easy. Well, yes, Switzerland is definitely the land of rail but this puppy needs some research before you rock up and climb aboard. First off some simple facts: • There is a comprehensive network of conventional trains – run by a number of companies so expect name confusion. There are local city trains, regional, intercity and inter-country ones. A clue is in the length of the journey, the initials used to describe the train and number of stops. Don’t worry, you are bound to end up on the wrong one at least once. • Trains are not just trains: Switzerland has an awesome selection of related transport and, at the risk of offending all train fanatics who will quibble they aren’t really trains, these include mountain and cogwheel railways. Some are single track, many head up hill at an alarming angle,
Jungfrau railways. Jungfrau.ch
all rattle and clatter, but get on as many of them as you can. • After the trains come the gondolas. Not got a head for heights? Well, you will then miss some great journeys and views. But, remember, if the mountain above you is in cloud, then your journey will be in zero visibility. Maybe better to go and eat chocolate instead. ESSENTIALS TO KNOW: • Print out the map on the Swiss rail site (sbb.ch) in colour and A3. Study it. Look at the names. You can’t plan your route without getting your head around it. • Buy a train pass as single ticket prices are expensive. Ignore all pre-2015 information on passes as they changed them this year. A Eurail pass only gets you discounts not free travel. • Pass choices can confuse and the only way you will know if you are
saving money is an excel spreadsheet. On the sbb.ch site, look up price for each leg or journey, then compare the total against the three main pass choices: Number of consecutive days, number of days in a period of time or half-fare • Mountain railways are extra! Well, actually some are included, some are half price, some are 25% off. Confused? Welcome to Swiss trains. In the end, the choice is simple: Buy the best pass you can afford (first class is worth it in July and August when the trains are chockers with tour groups) and allow for extra for the mountain railways, but don’t buy those tickets till you see the weather. You can’t go to Switzerland unless you see something!
FEATURE / SYDNEY IN SPRING
SYDNEY IS MORE THAN JUST THE ICONS; THE CITY HUMS WITH MUSIC AND FOOD WRITES ROB GRANT.
Crowds enjoying a concert at the Domain Destination NSW
Clockwise from top: Bondi’s Beach Road Hotel, Newtown Festival, Bondi Markets.
is a short affair in Sydney; it barely lasts a month. Yet when ocean temperatures start to rise and the jacaranda trees blossom, it’s a whole new world. Outdoor events appear from nowhere. Early nights become a thing of the past. Every park, beach or corner becomes a place to hang out. Replenished by a brief hibernation, Sydney awakens and there’s no finer place to be.
Two highlights of summer in Sydney are food and music. For some reason, the former tastes twice as good eaten outdoors. Meanwhile, musical acts of all kinds seem to converge on the harbour city in the warmer months, perhaps escaping the seasonal chills of the northern hemisphere. Whether you're a foodie or a muso, Sydney is awash with the good stuff - you just need to know where to look.
EAT A TRUCKLOAD
On a balmy evening, nothing beats dining al fresco. But thereâ€™s no need for a prime seat on the terrace of a fancy restaurant. Just eat from the side of a truck. Sydney embraced the food-truck revolution early and converted vehicles hit the streets in 2012. They even beat their foodie rivals in Melbourne to the party. Now an eclectic, rainbow fleet of 15 trucks roams the streets in search of diners. Lovers of global cuisine, organic fare or good old-fashioned burgers are in for a treat. Cantina Mobil was a pioneer and serves a choice of three Mexican spiced meats and authentic pinto beans on tacos, burritos or nachos. Another early player, Veggie Patch, turns local produce (90 per cent sourced from New South Wales) into delicious vegetarian burgers, chips and dips. The Nighthawk Diner, named after a famous Modern Art painting from the USA, fittingly serves twists on American classics. Tuck into Cuban subs, Yankee nachos or Philly cheesesteaks and wish yourself away to Florida, New York or Philadelphia. At times the trucks gather on one site - like wagons in a cowboy movie - and itâ€™s fiesta time. Expect live music, art performances and licensed bars. Head online or download the nifty app to look for events and track the trucks 24 hours a day. sydneyfoodtrucks.com.au
Sydney Festival Destination NSW
‘CARRIAGEWORKS FARMERS MARKETS CATERS FOR THE URBAN FOODIE CROWD. IN PARTICULAR, THIS IS THE PLACE FOR ARTISAN CHEESE, CURED MEATS AND EXOTIC DIPS.
PLAY THE MARKET
Food trucks are for night owls but early risers can have their fun, too. For something more wholesome, there are now farmer’s markets across Sydney offering delicious fresh food and more. Chat with the farmer, pick up picnic supplies and eat as you go. With a bounty of samples on offer you can brunch for little more than the price of your fair-trade-bean soy decaf latte. On the site of its vibrant Sunday clothing and craft market, Bondi hosts the farmers every Saturday. In a beachside location to die for - a local public school for the luckiest kids on the planet - it serves all manner of foodie delights. Think Biltong and banana bread, corn cakes and croissants. Don’t miss the guys at Raclettes Plus, who melt the cheese to order for Sydney’s best toasted sandwiches. Expect a hip crowd of beachside fashionistas for whom dressing down is an art form. People-watching is half the fun. bondimarkets.com.au/farmers H e l d eve r y S a t u rd a y b e s i d e a re n ova te d ra i lw a y wo r k s h o p , Carriageworks Farmers Markets caters for the urban foodie crowd. In particular, this is the place for artisan cheese, cured meats and exotic dips. As a bonus, most weekends you’ll see celebrity chef Kylie Kwong personally serve her delicious handmade dumplings. Walk it all off by strolling around one of the regularly held exhibitions in the adjacent art precinct. carriageworks.com.au Too difficult rising early on a Saturday? The Friday Foodie Market in The Rocks is the place for you. It helps that the setting, under the shadows of Sydney Harbour Bridge, is picture-postcard perfect. There are delicacies to buy - but it’s more a place to feast on the spot. Meat lovers will struggle to choose between Danieli’s Skewers and the Munich Butcher. The sweet of tooth are spoilt for choice, including the Brazilian-inspired Emporium of Chocolate and 12 curious flavours of Mini Monet’s cupcakes. therocks.com Another option is the monthy Growers Market on the waterfront in Pyrmont. Held the first Saturday of the month, the water backdrop can’t be beaten. growersmarketpyrmont.com.au
Top to bottom: Carriageworks market, Pyrmont growers market, J Horan, Destination NSW & Rob Grant
Beach Road Hotel.
FACE THE MUSIC
The bragging rights of a big-name, big-venue concert are undeniable. But you can barely see the artists in the far distance and the hit to your wallet ... ouch. Be part of the action at one of Sydneyâ€™s cheap and cheerful live music venues. Curiously hidden among drab corporate offices in the heart of the city, Frankie's is the place for hard rock, indie and punk. Styled as rock'n'roll bar-meets-New York pizza parlour, this dark and edgy venue hosts live music four nights a week. Find a good spot near the vintage pinball machines and rock late into the night, Brooklyn style. frankiespizzabytheslice.com A few blocks back from the iconic Bondi Beach, the Beach Road Hotel is a landmark in itself. On gig nights - Wednesday, Friday and Saturday - electro-pop, rock acts and DJs play to a sweaty crowd of trendsetters. Recent line-ups include cutting-edge Australia acts Miami Horror, Kid Kenobi and Hermitude. beachroadbondi.com.au You can get everything from hip indie bands to rising rap stars at Goodgod Small Club. Located on the fringes of Chinatown in the CBDâ€™s north, DJ sets and live bands turn every night into a party. goodgodgoodgod.com Plug the week's gaps with free or cheap gigs at Soda Factory (Surry Hills), Camelot Lounge (Marrickville), Newtown Social Club (Newtown) and Different Drummer (Glebe).
Sydney Festival. C McCredie Destination NSW
Warm weather and festivals are like fish and chips: a perfect match. There is no shortage of events in Sydney for everyone’s taste, and not all stretch the purse strings. For fans of emerging acts, the Newtown Festival is a must. For one glorious day, Camperdown Memorial Rest Park comes alive with stalls, stages and street art … plus a hilarious take on the traditional dog show. Music buffs are spoilt for choice. The main festival stage attracts the big acts and crowds. Past performers include Sarah Blasko, Josh Pyke and the Preatures. The Essential Stage hosts the more edgy, emerging artists, while local acts play in the Newtopic village. Held this year on Sunday, 8 November. newtownfestival.org The biggest event of the summer is the Sydney Festival, which hosts a number of outdoor, free gigs. The highlight is often Sounds in the Domain, which attracts tens of thousands to groove in the park. Originally named Jazz in the Domain, it still leans towards acts with soul but now they’re easier to dance to. Recent headliners include soul superstar Chaka Khan, Brazilian hero Seu Jorge and Latino legends Los Lobos. Take a picnic blanket and arrive early for the best views. Held in early January. sydneyfestival.org.au
REVIVE & RECOVER Rich food and partying takes its toll. Thankfully Sydney has countless activities to help you recuperate and recover, in natural settings to die for. 1. Escape the masses and chill in the sun, with the local trendies, at Milk Beach, Vaucluse. 2. Hop on a Rivercat to Parramatta from Circular Quay, for the best-value harbour and river tour. 3. Grab a snorkel mask and enter an alternative underwater world at Gordonâ€™s Bay. 4. Feel the grass under your feet and enjoy ocean views as you play barefoot bowls in Clovelly. 5. Stroll the now fully connected Glebe-to-City foreshore walkway via Pyrmont and Darling Harbour. 6. Enjoy sunset (or sunrise if youâ€™re keen) overlooking the harbour at Observatory Hills, The Rocks 7. Join the paddle board craze, with kit for hire and free classes at weekends in Rose Bay 8. Explore the new Barangaroo park on the headland next to the Harbour Bridge
Pyrmont Growers Market. Destination NSW
WHERE TO STAY Choose the hostel nearest your choice of the action and book online at yha.com.au: u
H arbour and foreshores: Sydney Harbour YHA I nner West and southern CBD: Sydney Central YHA Glebe: Glebe Point YHA
Bondi Beachouse YHA
FEATURE / SOUTH ISLAND–NEW ZEALAND
NEW ZEALAND FOR ADRENALINE JUNKIES PART TWO
WHILE QUEENSTOWN IS KNOWN AS THE ADRENALINE CAPITAL, BRINDI JOY DISCOVERS THE SOUTH ISLAND'S LESSER KNOWN HOTSPOTS THAT WILL REALLY GET YOUR HEART RACING.
Drift down serene waters before hitting the rough and rocky rapids, Hanmer Springs. Thrillseekers Adventures
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MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS: MOUNTAIN BIKING
The Marlborough Sounds are best known for satisfying water-babies with watery reaches, beaches and bays. But landlubbers rejoice! For seasoned mountain bikers, the 70km, shared-use Queen Charlotte Track guarantees grunt and uncontestably beautiful coastal scenery with every wheel rotation. Digest adrenaline on skyline ridges, with sweeping downhills, challenging climbs, technical descents and other tricky sections. Begin in Picton with a boat ride to Ship Cove (there’s no road to the start of the track), have your luggage portaged to your accommodation stop each night and finish 70 hardearned-kilometres later in Anakiwa. If two - three days’ peddling doesn’t appeal, day rides for the less seasoned, but no less enthusiastic, offer flat sections and wellgraded inclines. YHAs Picton and Anakiwa await with pre and post ride accommodation. qctrack.co.nz
Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough is one of NZ’s best mountain bike rides. Mike Heydon
Take off and soar tandem. Tasman Sky Adventures
NELSON: PARAGLIDING AND HANG GLIDING
Join the seabirds in sunny Nelson (averaging over 2,400 sunshine hours per year) and tap into humanity’s universal fascination with flight. Go tandem paragliding and hang gliding with up draughts, ridges and thermals aplenty. A mix of adrenaline and serenity, paragliding and hang gliding suit the faint-of-hearts and the not-so-faint-of-hearts as both can be adrenaline fuelled or light. Here, you won’t be asked to run off a cliff, start up an engine or carry a heavy frame. Simply strap in to your trusty pilot and enjoy the bird’s-eye-views over mountains, gold sand coastlines and three National Parks. Hang up your helmet at YHA Nelson and/or YHA Motueka and sleep tight, dreaming of flight. nelsonparagliding.co.nz skyadventures.co.nz
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GOLDEN BAY: Tucked behind the hippyesque Takaka township, Takaka River has swimming holes and rope swings for channelling your best inner Tarzan. u
WESTPORT: If the idea of ghosts get your heart racing, traverse the northern reaches of the Wild West Coast and the Old Ghost Road by foot or bike where seven gold mining ghost towns populate the 160km hauntingly beautiful route. u
STAY AT YHA GOLDEN BAY
STAY AT YHA WESTPORT
Quad biking. Thrillseekers Adventures
PUNAKAIKI: On a high tide watch Mother Nature flex her muscles at the 30-millionyear-old Pancake Rocks. Surges of salt water shoot skyward through blowholes, creating geyser-like plumes that hiss, boom and thump. u
Feel the rush with speed, thrills and spins. Thrillseekers Adventures
KAIKOURA: If it’s sea life and surf you’re after, Kaikoura is The One. The 2,600m seaward Kaikoura Range backdrop world class breaks with powerful, hollow waves that aren’t for the faint-of-heart. Surfers often share the line-up with seals, dolphins, orca and whales. u
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HANMER SPRINGS: THRILLSEEKER’S PLAYGROUND
Get past the soporific façade of this alpine village and it all gets a wee bit adrenaline mad. Best known for its thermal pools rich in salts and minerals, Hanmer’s wild side is a thrill seeker’s playground with so much going on. You want jet boating? White water rafting? Bungy jumping? Quad biking? Paintball and clay bird shooting? Hanmer’s got it. And then some. And it’s all backdropped by sculpted mountains and river valleys, towering forests and braided rivers. So get ready to get your heart racing for a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat, non-stop thrills kind of day. The only downside? You might not be able to wipe that grin off your face. And if it all gets to be a bit too much, you can still soak in those thermal pools that are only a hop, skip and a jump from the YHA. welcomeaboard.co.nz/thrillseekers
STAY AT YHA PUNAKAIKI
STAY AT YHA KAIKOURA
ARTHUR’S PASS & SPRINGFIELD: Brace yourself for the meandering 594m, pitch black, upstream, hourlong Cave Stream walk in waist-deep, snow-melt water. Castle Hill is a short drive away and with limestone rock formations that make up some of the world’s best bouldering and rock climbing. It’s not a bad place for a picnic, either. u u
STAY AT YHA ARTHUR’S PASS STAY AT YHA SPRINGFIELD
Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast. Julian Apse
STAY AT YHA HOKITIKA
CHRISTCHURCH: A ferry from Christchurch’s port town to Quail Island promises harbour and Port Hills views, beaches, walks, ruins and shipwrecks. Pack a picnic and swimmers. Ferry runs October - April. STAY AT YHA CHRISTCHURCH
TAY AT YHA CHRISTCHURCH S ROLLESTON HOUSE
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New Zealand is home to over 3,000 glaciers so lace up your boots, strap on some crampons and lasso in a skilled guide, we’re going ice hiking! The West Coast is known for rainforest, wild coastal weather and two tunnel and caveladen glaciers. Fox (13km long) and Franz Josef (12km) Glaciers are relics of the last ice age and are unique in the world for their descent into, and rise above, rainforest and their extent almost to the sea. Aoraki Mt Cook National Park is 35km inland from Franz Josef as the crow flies and a 5 ½ hour drive around the Southern Alps where ice junkies can scope out the big daddy of New Zealand glaciers, the Tasman Glacier (27km). Fly past the east face of Aoraki Mount Cook to discover ice caves and spectacular glacier formations. Tag on a kayak trip for up-close-andpersonal views of icebergs and penguins before enjoying YHA Aoraki Mt Cook’s sauna. Staying in Franz Josef? Relax in the hot pools, only a short jaunt from the hostel. franzjosefglacier.com tasmanglacier.com AR
HOKITIKA: Take a treetop walk for a bird’s eye view on 20m-from-the-forest-floor steel platforms that get you up close and personal with ancient, temperate rainforest giants.
FRANZ JOSEF & MT COOK: ICE HIKING
LAKE TEKAPO: Get high, really high at 1,300m above Lake Tekapo’s glacial shores. Strap on backcountry skis and head into the Two Thumb Range’s rolling basins and snow filled valleys to unwind with a kick and a glide and a kick and a glide. u
STAY AT YHA LAKE TEKAPO
Step 1) Strap yourself to a beautiful stranger. Step 2) Throw yourself from a perfectly good aeroplane. Step 3) Freefall fast and furious at 200kph from a whopping 12,000 or 15,000 feet before pulling the chute to enjoy unrivalled views of Wanaka’s lush valleys and mountains, lakes cradled by hills and cliffs, pristine rivers, tumbling glaciers and two of New Zealand’s titanic mountains: Aoraki Mount Cook (3,724m) and Mt Aspiring (3,033m). This activity-filled, four-season alpine town and region has a bit of it all, and it’s best seen while airborne. Skydiving— been there, done that? Try jumping from a helicopter for a 12,000 foot heli-skydive. After you’ve jumped from the bluebird sky, relax at one of the nearby historic pubs, then tuck into bed for well-deserved sleep at YHA Wanaka. skydivewanaka.com
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OAMURU: Hop aboard the little vintage steam engine that could on Sundays for a half-hour ride from the Victorian Precinct (where antiquarians, penny farthing peddlers and Steampunks saunter) to the waterfront.
STAY AT YHA OAMARU
Jump from the bluebird sky. Skydive Wanaka
GLENORCHY: After high octane jet-boating up the Dart River drift back downstream in a cruisy funyak amidst Hollywood-worthy backdrops of mountains, valleys and an epic chasm with water so turquoise, so clear you’ll pinch yourself. All within Mt Aspiring National Park. u
STAY AT YHA KINLOCH, GLENORCHY
FIORDLAND: Attention anglers and aspirants! Fiordland’s lakes and rivers are home to copious brown and rainbow trout ripe for trolling. Go solo or with a guide who’ll have the local scoop on the best spots. u
STAY AT YHA TE ANAU
THIS ACTIVITY-FILLED, FOURSEASON ALPINE TOWN AND REGION HAS A BIT OF IT ALL, AND IT’S BEST SEEN WHILE AIRBORNE.
Canyoning in Queenstown. Canyoning New Zealand
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Queenstown is undoubtedly New Zealand’s adrenaline capital with bungys galore, skydiving, canyon swinging, jet boating and more. Include canyoning on that adrenaline-worthy list! Jump, slide, abseil, zip, float, plunge, scramble, leap and swim through canyons, narrow gorges with rock slide chutes, waterfalls and clear deep pools tucked beneath canopies of ancient rainforest for a most excellent downstream multisport adventure. The region’s glacial history and unique mountainous terrain lends itself to deeply eroded valleys, carved high-walled canyons and towering walls where rain, melting snow and ice create fast-flowing water and pounding cascades. Novice and advanced canyoneers take note! Pick a canyon to conquer from a National Park, picturesque valleys or a mountain peak. You can even opt in for heli canyoning. Dry out and unwind at one of two YHAs in Queenstown – on the stunning Lake Wakatipu lakefront or in the heart of the alpine village. canyoningnewzealand.co.nz
NORTH ISLAND ADRENALINE
Heading north? Check out our earlier feature here
WHERE TO STAY
Find out more about all these South Island YHAs and book online. u yha.co.nz
FOR ADRENALINE JUNKIES
PARA & HANG GLIDING MOUNTAIN BIKING THRILLSEEKER'S PLAYGROUND ICE HIKING SKYDIVE CANYONING
GOLDEN BAY ANAKIWA PICTON
MOTUEKA NELSON WESTPORT PUNAKAIKI
KAIKOURA HANMER SPRINGS
MT COOK LAKE TEKAPO GLENORCHY
QUEENSTOWN TE ANAU
It’s easy being green FEATURE / YHA'S COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY
YHA’S COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY IS MAKING ECOTRAVEL EASIER THAN EVER, REPORTS LOUISE SOUTHERDEN, WHO LOOKS AT INITIATIVES IN AUSTRALIA.
SUSTAINABLE HOSTELS FUND One of the most exciting developments is the introduction of the Sustainable Hostels Fund in Australia. This innovative program invites YHA guests to donate a dollar each time they book accommodation through yha.com.au. YHA then matches these contributions dollar-for-dollar and the resulting Sustainable Hostels Fund (SHF) is used for environmental initiatives, most commonly solar hot water systems because research has shown this to be where accommodation providers can reduce carbon emissions most significantly. Last year a third of all YHA guests booking online contributed to the fund, raising $43,000 for new and upgraded solar hot water systems at Cairns Central YHA, Glebe Point YHA and Pittwater YHA in Sydney, Grampians Eco YHA and Melbourne Metro YHA. The SHF has also funded solar hot water systems at Adelaide Central YHA and Byron Bay YHA and large-scale solar projects at Perth City YHA (145 rooftop panels that promise to reduce the hostelâ€™s carbon emissions by 42 tonnes a year) and in the sun-baked Red Centre at Alice Springs YHA (it covers the entire roof of the main building, making it the second largest solar project in the city).
Hostel chooks at Grampians Eco YHA
ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS IS THE INTRODUCTION OF THE SUSTAINABLE HOSTELS FUND IN AUSTRALIA
SYDNEY HARBOUR YHA Leading the way in urban eco-design is Sydney Harbour YHA. When it opened in 2009, it was Australia’s first purpose-built environmentally sustainable YHA in a central city location (it’s in the historic Rocks area, across the water from Sydney Opera House – you can’t get more central than that). Last year it became the first hostel in Australia and one of the first in the world to be certified by Hostelling International’s new Quality and Sustainability program. Designed by a sustainability consultant, it has a swag of sustainability features worth more than $1 million, including solar hot water, a lowimpact gas-powered generator that supplies up to 70 per cent of the hostel’s peak electricity, motion-sensor lighting, rainwater tanks, waterless urinals, air-conditioning that works only when windows are closed and key-card activated power; it was also built using environmentally accredited and recycled materials. As a result, guests use 37 per cent less electricity and 31 per cent less gas per night than they would at a comparable city hostel. But the real value of eco-conscious hostels such as Sydney Harbour YHA is that they are vanguards of the new normal. One day, perhaps sooner than we think, every YHA could be like this.
BOTTLED WATER NO MORE Did you know it takes seven litres of water and one litre of oil to produce a litre of bottled water? Not only is bottled water resource-hungry, it creates big waste problems and generates enormous emissions through transporting and refrigerating it from source to point of sale. That’s why, in June 2014, despite bottled water being a big-selling item, all larger YHAs around Australia removed bottled water from their vending machines and stopped supplying bottled water in group lunches. Guests can now buy reusable water bottles to refill at new chilled water bubblers – or at any tap. Part of the motivation for banning bottled water, in fact, was to communicate to international travellers that drinking Australian tap water is perfectly safe, and helps the environment.
...IN JUNE 2014, DESPITE BOTTLED WATER BEING A BIG-SELLING ITEM, ALL LARGER YHSs AROUND AUSTRALIA REMOVED BOTTLED WATER FROM THEIR VENDING MACHINES...
ABOVE & BEYOND Most YHAs have standardised eco-features such as low-energy light bulbs, water-saving devices on taps, front-loading washing machines, recycling bins (some have compost bins too) and food-swap shelves in communal kitchens. Some have gone even further with their eco-measures. S eve ra l l a rg e c i t y h o ste l s u s e keyca rd - a c t i va te d l i g h t i n g a n d air-conditioning in guest rooms. Others have installed LED lights, motionsensor lighting and rainwater tanks. There are older hostels that have been retrofitted, such as Melbourne Metro YHA. Port Elliot Beach House YHA on South Australiaâ€™s Fleurieu Peninsula grows organic vegetables for guests to use. And Pittwater YHA in Sydneyâ€™s Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park receives government grants to run regular bush regeneration weekends that guests can participate in. Then there are the three purpose-built eco-YHAs: the architect-designed Apollo Bay Eco YHA, the beautiful rammed earth Grampians Eco YHA, both in Victoria, and Hawkesbury Heights YHA in the Blue Mountains, which generates enough solar electricity to feed some back into the grid.
Apollo Bay YHA
SEVERAL LARGE CITY HOSTELS USE KEYCARD-ACTIVATED LIGHTING AND AIR-CONDITIONING IN GUEST ROOMS.
8 WAYS TO GREEN-UP YOUR NEXT YHA STAY 1. Give a dollar: Contribute $1 to the Sustainable Hostels Fund when booking online. 2. Use less water: Take shorter showers, turn off taps while brushing your teeth or shaving and reuse your towels. 3. Wash less: When staying in remote, natural places, consider having fewer showers or washing your hair less often, to reduce your impact. 4. Save electricity: Turn off the lights, TVs and air-conditioners when you leave your room, open the windows for natural cooling, and don’t leave electronic devices such as phones charging longer than necessary. 5. Swap & share: When leaving a hostel, leave food, books and other things you don’t want to take with you, for others to use. 6. Use the kitchen: Cooking is a great way to keep costs down, make new friends and reduce waste. Some YHAs also grow vegetables and herbs for guests to use. 7. Reduce & recycle: Use the recycling and compost bins provided, and take home rubbish that can be recycled more easily in urban areas than in regional or remote locations. 8. Join in: Staying at a YHA during an earth-friendly event such as Earth Hour or Clean Up Australia Day, makes it easy, and fun, to get involved. ◆G reen up! Share your tips for more sustainable stays at
https://www.facebook.com/YHAhostels (#sustainability #BackpackingTips).
◆M ore information: https://www.yha.com.au/about/
Louise Southerden is an award-winning travel writer dedicated to reducing her eco-impact at home and away. Follow her adventures in sustainability at noimpactgirl.com
(Below) The Apollo Bay YHA herb garden
10 TIPS FOR GREENER TRAVEL 1. Hop on a train. Trains produce far fewer emissions than planes. 2. Fly direct whenever you can. Taking-off and landing generate the most carbon emissions from flying. 3. Travel light. Less luggage not only makes travelling easier for you, it reduces the need for motorised transport at your destination. 4. Shop wisely. Travel with a reusable bag to avoid plastic bags and buy locally made souvenirs. 5. Go vegetarian. Vegetarian diets use less land, water and oil, and generate fewer emissions than meat-based ones. 6. Eat local, seasonal food. Eating close to the source reduces packaging and emissions. 7. Do an eco-tour. When natural environments become more economically valuable, governments and communities work harder to protect them. 8. Be aware. Reading up on environmental issues affecting your destination helps you make informed choices. 9. Go low-carbon. There are all sorts of low-impact activities, from trekking and snorkelling to open-air concerts and cooking classes. 10. Leave every place you visit better than you found it. Pick up rubbish, plant a tree, volunteer but above all respect people, animals and places wherever you go.
WHAT'S ON HERE’S OUR PICK OF EVENTS COMING UP IN YOUR REGION
GOOD FOOD MONTH 1 - 31 October 2015 The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Month is back again! Right across NSW for the month of October, NSW’s vibrant food scene is celebrated. From Sydney venues to regional restaurants, cafes and bars, take advantage of all the great food venues on offer. The Night Noodle Markets are also back in Sydney’s Hyde Park with more than 40 food stalls, bars and entertainment. Make sure you don’t miss it! sydney.goodfoodmonth.com.
Good Food Month: 1 - 31 October 2015 Night Noodle Markets: 8 - 25 October 2015
Sydney Central YHA
+61 2 9218 9000
OKTOBERFEST BRISBANE 9 - 11 & 16 - 18 October 2015
Get ready, you’re in for an Oktoberfest experience like no other! Embrace your inner German at Australia’s biggest German Festival. Get into the spirit by donning traditional dress, delight in traditional fare and traditional beer, handcrafted and specially made for Oktoberfest Brisbane. Oktoberfest is an extravaganza of sights, sounds, food, fashion, and fun for the whole family. oktoberfestbrisbane.com.au.
MELBOURNE CUP CARNIVAL 31 October 7 November 2015
Experience the excitement of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Australia’s most renowned horseracing event! The carnival features four amazing races including the world’s richest race that “stops the nation”, the Emirates Melbourne Cup. The Melbourne Cup Carnival is much more than just a racing event, it is an annual celebration combining the very best of what Melbourne has to offer - food, wine, sport, business, social interaction and fashion! flemington.com.au.
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Brisbane City YHA +61 7 3236 1004 firstname.lastname@example.org
GORGEOUS FESTIVAL 27 - 28 November 2015
Check out the annual Gorgeous Festival – set in the beautiful McLaren Vale wine region on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. Celebrating the approaching summer with boutique music, food, wine and fun! This year, the festival will include performances from Kate Miller-Heidke, Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Stonefield, Falls, Dylan Joel, Montaigne, Jesse Davidson, Rin McArdle + more! gorgeousfestival.com.
gorgeousfestival.com.au Visions of Victoria u u u
Melbourne Central YHA +61 3 9621 2523 email@example.com
u u u
Adelaide Central YHA +61 8 8414 3010 firstname.lastname@example.org
SCULPTURE BY THE SEA, BONDI
22 October - 8 November 2015
For the nineteenth year, the famous Sculpture by the Sea will again stun imaginations along the Sydney iconic coastal walk from Bondi to Tamarama. You’ll see over 100 sculptures by local and international artists along the spectacular 2km clifftop path. sculpturebythesea.com.
MARGARET RIVER GOURMET ESCAPE 20 - 22 November 2015
Margaret River Gourmet Escape is back - and is not to be missed for all the wine and food connoisseurs. Chefs from across the world travel to the Margaret River Wine Region to display their culinary talents and combine to make global food and wine history. gourmetescape.com.au
u u u
Bondi Beachouse YHA +61 2 9365 2088 email@example.com
YHA New Zealand +0800 278 299 (NZ) +1800 242 191 (Aus) firstname.lastname@example.org
GUY FAWKES DAY 5 November 2015
There’s no better way to celebrate a 400-yearold foiled plot to blow up the House of Lords in England than with the annual hiss and roar of fireworks. Guy Fawkes’ failed 1605 “Gunpowder Plot” heralded a celebration that’s made its way to New Zealand for a much-loved harbinger of summer fun and fireworks and heed these top tips: The masses emerge for these events so get there early; catch public transport or walk in so you can secure the best spot; take your rubbish away with you and don’t bring your own fireworks.
Margaret River YHA +61 8 9757 9572 email@example.com
YOUR GUY FAWKES GUIDE Waiuku - Tamakae Reserve
24 October 2015 6pm entertainment, 8.45pm fireworks Auckland - Messey Park
6 November 2015 7pm entertainment, 9pm fireworks Wellington - Wellington Waterfront
7 November 2015 9pm fireworks Christchurch - New Brighton Pier
5 November 2015 6pm entertainment, 9pm fireworks
OAMARU VICTORIAN HERITAGE CELEBRATIONS 11 - 15 November 2015
Follow the white rabbit to Oamaru’s Victorian precinct for the annual Heritage Celebrations. This year proffers an Alice in Wonderland theme and promises a penchant for penny farthings, garden parties and flamingo croquet. Dance with lords and ladies, hunt the Snark or take a Grand House tour and oh, much more from yesteryear. The celebrations culminate in a Victorian fête where guests test their strength and skill and rub shoulders with street performers. Don’t be late for this very important date. vhc.co.nz.
AIRLIE BEACH FESTIVAL OF MUSIC 2015 5 - 8 November 2015
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 for one long weekend 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 musicians, you’ll be up close and personal at the many lively bars and beachside venues around Airlie Beach. airliebeachfestivalofmusic.com.au.
u u u
Airlie Beach YHA +61 7 4946 6312 firstname.lastname@example.org
BOOK NOW u u u
YHA Oamaru +0800 278 299 (NZ) +1800 242 191 (Aus) email@example.com
BEAUFORT STREET FESTIVAL 14 November 2015
The Beaufort Street Festival is an annual community street festival in Perth that buzzes with food, music and fashion. By day, wander the shops and stalls and by night relax by one of the six stages for some fresh entertainment. beaufortstreetfestival.com.au.
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Perth City YHA +61 8 9287 333 firstname.lastname@example.org
WELLINGTON FOR THE LITERARY-MINDED 14 November 2015
Choose your own adventure at Wellington’s second annual LitCrawl. Fifteen venues and fifteen events to choose from over threeand-a-half hours in this fast-paced evening of poets, novelists, professors, comedians, presenters, actors, journalists and musicians all performing the written word in Wellington’s bars, cafés, galleries and bookshops. LitCrawl is a celebration of art, literature and spoken word performances by some of New Zealand’s most successful writers (and some from further afield). Pick up or download a map and hit the town for this literary mission. LitCrawl is free with entry by koha (donation). litcrawl.co.nz
YHA Wellington +0800 278 299 (NZ) +1800 242 191 (Aus) email@example.com
MORE EVENTS REEF FEAST FESTIVAL 8 - 11 October 2015 Stay Port Douglas YHA
SOULFEST: AUCKLAND 26 October 2015 Stay YHA Auckland City & YHA Auckland International
MELBOURNE MUSIC WEEK 13 - 20 November 2015 Stay Melbourne Metro YHA
Ferret Bookshop uniquegeek.co.nz
MELBOURNE FESTIVAL 8 - 25 October 2015 Celebrate the Melbourne Festival with a feast of world-class performances from local and international artists to mark their 30th anniversary! The Melbourne Festival is one of the major multiart festivals of the world and promises again to bring a jampacked program of dance, theatre, music, visual arts, multimedia and outdoor events including 8 world and 17 Australian premieres and 15 events exclusive to Melbourne Festival. festival.melbourne for.
Melbourne Art Trams festival.melbourne.com
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Melbourne Metro YHA +61 3 9329 8599 firstname.lastname@example.org
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YHA.COM.AU YHA.CO.NZ NEXT ISSUE AVAILABLE 3 DECEMBER 2015
In this issue, get excited for summer with our guide to the best in Sydney during our favourite season, get your heart pumping with part two...
Published on Oct 6, 2015
In this issue, get excited for summer with our guide to the best in Sydney during our favourite season, get your heart pumping with part two...