- Australian Hostels
Byron Bay has turned into a celebrity magnet since the Thor star snapped up a $7 million waterfront property in 2014 – Chris’ brother Liam and his partner Miley Cyrus spent last New Year’s in Byron, and Hollywood A-lister Matt Damon and Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa also paid him a visit this year. With miles of pristine beaches and acres of untouched hinterland to explore, the charms of Australia’s most easterly point are obvious – and they come without the hefty price tag at Byron Bay YHA, where a luxe redevelopment will be revealed this summer, and Cape Byron YHA, a backpacker hotspot just a stroll from the beach.
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom, Elton John, Kylie Minogue, Barry Humphries, Baz Luhrmann, James Packer . . . Broome’s visitors book is filled with some pretty famous signatures who’ve trekked it to the Kimberley to escape the winter chill in the southern states. The remote pearling port is famous for the sweeping stretch of white sand that is Cable Beach, a multicultural alfresco food and drink scene, and as a launching pad to explore the rugged Kimberley region . . . as well as the tropical pool and gardens of the Kimberley Travellers Lodge - Broome YHA, of course.
Captain Jack Sparrow’s time on the Gold Coast began in February 2015 shooting the umpteenth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise . . . and ended in tears two months later when Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce decided to pick a fight with Depp’s dogs, Pistol and Boo, in the name of Australia’s biosecurity laws. We guarantee that you’ll have a more pleasant time if you stay with YHA on the Goldie, at Coolangatta, beach-hopping along the coast, thrill-seeking at the theme parks, or nature-admiring in the lush hinterland.
Until she sold her 221-acre sanctuary in 2008, the Princess of Pop would retreat to a luxury cottage hidden away on French Island two hours south of Melbourne, accessible only by helicopter or boat by its 120 permanent residents. Just south in the Western Port Bay lies the rather more populous Phillip Island (home to 7000 people) – less secluded than French Island, sure, but no less scenic. And if you thought Kylie could captivate a crowd, wait until you’ve seen the Penguin Parade strut their stuff in front of hundreds of adoring admirers as they waddle ashore at sunset after a day of fishing. The stylish, modern, purpose-built Phillip Island YHA is your gateway to this natural haven.
You’d think Hanks would rather extract another abscessed tooth with an ice skate than spend any more time in a tropical paradise after being stranded on a desert island for four years in Cast Away. But he spent months in Port Douglas filming World War Two epic The Pacific with Steven Spielberg a decade ago, etching his name alongside George Clooney, John Travolta, Matthew McConaughey, and Bill Clinton on the list of celebrities who’ve sunned themselves in the tropical north Queensland resort town. Book your stay at Port Douglas YHA to follow their footsteps along the sprawling Four Mile Beach, as well as the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef.
Rusty’s 320-hectare ranch in the tiny town of Nana Glen sleeps 150 people, has its own nightclub, and contains a chapel purpose built for Crowe’s 2003 wedding. A couple of hours up the road, YHA's Byron Bay region hostels mightn’t quite match those facilities but their incredible location and unique cultural flavour are every bit as special. Located not far from the Queensland border, Byron Bay exemplifies an era of Aussie hippie culture that so many, including our short-tempered film icon, find incredibly comforting and worthy of preservation. The laid-back Coffs Harbour YHA is also just a half-hour drive away...