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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 Klub YHA, of course.
Wolverine parted with $6 million for a waterfront apartment in Bondi last year – obviously his manager didn’t tell him there were beds available at Bondi Beachouse YHA for a fraction of that price. And Hugh’s luxury pad cannot possibly boast better views than YHA’s Bondi hostel, whose rooftop enjoys sweeping vistas of Tamarama beach (or ‘Glam-arama’, as the locals call it). The YHA is also just a short stroll from the sand of Australia’s most famous beach and includes free snorkelling gear and body boards plus surfboards for hire. And from just $27 a night, Jacko could’ve use that six mill to book a bed from now until the year 2626 instead (or 2651 if he took advantage of our great-value weekly special).
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, either in Surfers Paradise or 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. An hour down the road, the Belfry Guesthouse Bellingen YHA mightn’t quite match those facilities but its serene location among the lush hills and valleys of the Coffs Coast Hinterland is every bit as special. Located on the doorstep on the bohemian town of Bellingen, the balcony of the homely three-story weatherboard overlooks the tranquil Bellinger River and the unspoiled Dorrigo National Park – the perfect place to put your feet up and watch Gladiator or listen to a few tunes by 30 Odd Foot of Grunts. The beachy Coffs Harbour YHA is also just a half-hour drive away.