SYDNEY, Australia — There's good news for young travelers heading for Australia this fall. A motel-style youth hostel is being opened in the Sydney area; a revised edition of a booklet listing independent resort-style hostel lodgings will be available, and Australia has a new magazine that concentrates on low-budget adventure travel within the country.
Sydney's new motel-style youth hostel is 2 1/2 kilometers from the city at Glebe Point, near Sydney Harbor. The building was built as a hotel in the 1960s and accommodates up to 96 young travelers in 50 rooms at a rate of $12 Australian (about $8 U.S.) per night. You can reach the hostel, at 262-264 Glebe Road, by taking Bus 431 or 433 from George Street and Railway Square in the city center. It will be open all day but it's best to call before heading out: 692-8418.
There now are 12 services in the Sydney area that provide low-cost accommodations for young travelers. You can get a list of the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) hostels and independent hostels from the New South Wales tourist information office at 16 Spring St., in the city center, phone 231-4444.
Resort Hostel Guide
At one of Sydney's independent youth hostels I was able to locate a copy of a free 62-page resort hostel guide that lists budget accommodations on Australia's east coast. Backpackers hostel at 162 Victoria St., Kings Cross (phone 356-3232) offers double rooms for $7.50 and dormitory accommodations for $6 per night. Staff members expect the revised resort hostel handbook will be available this month, and there may be a small charge for this edition.
Another independent youth hostel that you should know about is Coogee Backpackers at 94 Beach St., Coogee. Coogee is a beach suburb of Sydney. This hostel offers budget lodging for 70 visitors in rooms accommodating two to six people, for $6.50 per night. Although it doesn't have a city location it does offer the advantage of a pickup service from the airport, phone 665-7735.
It was through the hostel that I was able to obtain a copy of another helpful Australian publication, the new Backpackers Travel and Accommodation Magazine. It's a shame it's not a little easier for the visitor to find copies because the 64-page color magazine is filled with information about services for adventurous travelers on tight budgets.
Maps and Addresses
For example, you'll find maps and addresses that will help you locate low-cost lodging, diving services in the Barrier Reef area and you'll get details on how to join a three-day Cape Tribulation safari, which includes accommodations at a jungle lodge with swimming pool. It costs $38 (about $26 U.S.). Bush walks, riding and diving trips are optional.
The magazine concentrates on Australia's east coast and includes a few details on the Outback areas such as Alice Springs and Ayres Rock. Copies can be ordered from Australian Backpackers Travel Magazine, Box 1696, Cairns NQ 4870, Australia. It cost $2.95 (Australian) plus $1.60 postage. American Express, Visa and MasterCard are accepted.
Two other helpful addresses in the Sydney area are the travel services of the Youth Hostel Association and student association. If you need to make travel arrangements after you arrive in Sydney it would be a good idea to contact both and compare rates.
At YHA Travel, 355 Kent St., Sydney (phone 29-8072) you can pick up a copy of a 96-page handbook that lists IYHF hostels. You can also get information on IYHF memberships, buy discounted transportation tickets and arrange to join budget tours.
For example, at YHA Travel members of the IYHF can obtain a 10% discount on the point-to-point bus fares of Deluxe Coachline (a trip from Sydney to Brisbane would cost about $21 U.S.). You could also get a 10% discount on Greyhound's unlimited travel passes (a 14-day ticket would cost about $166 U.S.; a 21-day ticket would be about $226 U.S.).
Details on Trips
At YHA Travel you can also get details on guided budget trips such as Rob's Outback Tours. This company offers IYHF members a special price on their 14-day camping trips, which depart from Dulwich Hill youth hostel in Sydney. The member's rate of $280 Australian (about $187 U.S.) includes all transport, entrance and accommodation fees. You must provide or rent a sleeping bag, and a shared food kitty is available for $5 per day.
At STA travel services at 1A Lee St. in Sydney students from overseas can get a 5% discount on the Deluxe Coachline's unlimited travel Koalapasses. Passes range from 10 to 90 days. A 15-day discounted pass would cost about $153 (U.S.). The 32-day ticket would be about $286 (U.S.). STA also sells discounted point-to-point bus and domestic air fares.
Remember, tuck a little money aside for the end of your visit. Before you leave Australia there is a hefty $20 (Australian) departure tax that you must be prepared to pay at the airport.