Amber is a 15-year-old chocolate and white Border Collie, who was originally going to be sent to New Zealand as a top breeder on a working farm with sheep and cattle. Luckily, the contract fell through, much to the delight of her owner, Apollo Bay YHA Manager Gail.
Gail says: “Amber will always sit under a tree and look up if there is a koala in it before anyone has even noticed the koala. She loves treats and we have many regular customers that look forward to seeing Amber annually here at Apollo Bay YHA. Amber has a great following with all the backpackers and she receives far more postcards than John and I do. She is the most loyal companion and is well known around Apollo Bay. Her favourite walk is along the beach and swimming in the Bay. At the front desk, she sits beside me and as soon as the guests start admiring her she is up and wagging that tail ready for a treat!"
Hit the Great Ocean Road and stop off at Apollo Bay Eco YHA, and lose yourself in the gorgeous landscapes and views of this area. Amber will be there ready to help you spot some wild koalas!
Delighted guests at Bondi Beachouse YHA will often have the opportunity to meet Hank, an 8-year-old Samoyed!
Emily from Bondi Beachouse YHA says: “A rescue dog from Byron Bay, Hank was brought to Bondi when he was 4. He splits his time during the week between two different families - our manager Kati and her husband, and another family who own a local bar in Bondi, so Hank is well known around the area! His favourite past times include crab-hunting at Bondi rocks and demanding pats and cuddles from hostel guests (and staff) who willingly oblige!”
You can follow Hank on his very own Instagram @bondihank!
Abosrb yourself in the funky culture of Sydney's Bondi Beach area by staying at Sydney Bondi Beachouse YHA - if you see what looks like a fluffy cloud running around on legs, it's probably Hank!
Initially confused for a grizzly bear, guest at Port Stephens YHA are quick to learn that despite Bo's size, he is nothing but a big softie.
Jessica from Port Stephens YHA says: “Bo loves his ball and the chances of ever seeing him without it are rare. Now don’t get confused, Bo doesn’t love playing with his ball, he simply loves holding it in his mouth or demanding humans to fetch it for him so that he can lay next to it. Bo considers himself to be the resident lifeguard and although he doesn’t swim, if anyone is in the pool, he will be there, watching over you, enforcing the rule of NO DIVING! Bo loves to be on the beach and although he is not going anywhere in a hurry, he is quite happy to lay in the sand, with the wind on his face and watch the sunset. Bo’s dislikes? He is not a fan of high vis, and all delivery men are encouraged to change their shirt before entering. Oh and being ignored/not being the centre of attention, that won’t do either. He is a very special boy who adds life, laughter and joy to Port Stephens YHA and everyone who comes to visit.”
Take a scenic two-hour road trip out of Sydney and immerse yourself in the laid-back beach culture of Port Stephens. Bo will be awaiting your pats when you check in at Port Stephens YHA!
Cameron from Newcastle Beach YHA is lucky enough to bring his best friend to each of his shifts - 6-year-old Chilli!
Cameron says: “She presently has better guest reviews than myself, so I’m super jealous. She loves human interaction more than anything and is a chronic licker, eater and lover of the beach. She absolutely loves pizza night as you would have guessed, and has put on at least 5kg on at the hostel as guests get the 'poor me I’m starving look,' and she is endlessly hungry. She hangs out in reception and meets guests who arrive by poking her little head and paws over the door. She makes people smile almost every time and is a valued member of the team here!”
Just half an hour drive from Port Stephens, Newcastle is fast becoming one of the coolest mini-cities in Australia. Book your stay at Newcastle Beach YHA, and good luck resisting the puppy dog eyes from Chilli!
Lucky has been meeting guests at Rockhampton YHA for about 10 years!
Manager Auzen says: “Lucky spends most of her time hiding under the pool table and comes out wagging her tail when she hears people come up to reception to check in and waits for the courtesy bus every night hoping new guests would arrive and give her a pat. She is fluent in the universal language of patting and tail wagging. She has a half brother called Remy, a Jack Russell who mainly stays at home as he doesn't like backpackers. My wife picked her up as a stray a long time ago and we love her so!”
Explore the beef capital of Australia, Rockhampton in Central Queensland. Soak up the true-blue Aussie culture of the area, and hang out with Lucky at centrally-located Rockhampton YHA.
Frida Cha Cha was rescued at 3 months old and raised in the bush in Agnes Water! At first Mish from 1770 YHA was hesitant to have a chihuahua around the bush, but the two fell in love and Frida adapted to the life like a star!
Mish says: "Frida herds chickens - she goes to job sites in the back of a truck with Dad and is a mascot at the YHA with Mum! She's even made the news, having broken a world record for most dogs on a sup board. The backpackers love her because sometimes when they arrive, they are homesick or tired and then they see her greeting them at reception and they light up. She walks them to their dorm and generally just hangs out!"
Not far from Rockhampton, head to the secret town of 1770, located on the Southern End of the Great Barrier Reef. 1770 YHA will be waiting for you with a friendly beachy vibe, and of course, Frida will be ready to walk you to your room!