The Big Six: Backpacker beds
From rainforests to Uluru and from Melbourne to Magnetic Island
Saturday 21 September 2013
Minima stands at the northern end of South Australia's verdant "Garden City", sandwiched between the cafés and boutiques of Melbourne Street. Open since 2008, the hotel has recently undergone something of a transformation, after handing over a batch of its rooms to a group of emerging regional artists. Each transports you to somewhere new, from Gary Seaman's childlike figurines on the walls of Room Five to Seb Humphreys's cool water-like waves that ripple across Room Seven.
Minima, Adelaide, South Australia (00 61 8 8334 7780; majestichotels.com.au). Doubles from A$110 (£69), room only.
Base, Magnetic Island
Magnetic Island lies offshore from the city of Townsville in Queensland's tropical north. It's home to a national park, a bird sanctuary and the Base hostel, which offers beachside doubles and dorms, raised above granite boulders and a golden crescent of sand. This is the place to relax for a few days before heading to Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef. Spend time sinking a cocktail at the Island Bar, chilling out beside the palm-shaded pool or scuba diving in the coral reefs offshore.
Base, Magnetic Island, Queensland (00 61 7 47785 777; stayatbase.com). Doubles from A$100 (£63), room only; dorms from A$27 (£17).
The first property in Australia by low-cost hotel chain Tune opens in Melbourne on 1 November. If you're familiar with the brand's outposts in Asia – or indeed its four hotels in London – you'll know the the onus is on keeping costs down. But that doesn't mean the end result is left lacking. At the new property, you get the benefit of a central location in Carlton, known for its Victorian architecture and garden squares, with 225 basic-but-functional rooms, a lounge, café and on-site store.
Tune, Melbourne, Victoria (Bookings via tunehotels.com). Doubles from A$65 (£41), room only.
PK's Jungle Village, Daintree
Daintree is the largest rainforest on mainland Australia, extending up Queensland's coast from the Mossman Gorge to the Bloomfield River. In the centre, where Cape Tribulation juts out into the Coral Sea, stands PK's Jungle Village. It offers a fuss-free base amid the wilderness, with cabin, dorm and campsite accommodation, plus a long a list of low-cost tours. By night, sink a drink at the bar as a symphony of animals sounds out across the night.
PK's Jungle Village, Daintree, Queensland (00 61 7 4098 0040; pksjunglevillage.com.au). Doubles from A$96 (£60), room only; dorms from A$25 (£16).
Outback Pioneer, Uluru
This lodge is the more-affordable sister to luxury camp Longitude 131° – which stands just across the road. Instead of high prices and upmarket rooms, Outback Pioneer promises authentic Aussie hospitality, with hearty barbecues each night and simple digs in which to crash afterwards. This is the ideal base for those who'd rather splash the cash on a sunrise camel trek (A$119) or perhaps even take to the skies to spy the dramatic sandstone bluff of Uluru on a helicopter ride (A$140pp).
Outback Pioneer, Northern Territory (00 61 2 8296 8010; ayersrockresort.com.au). Doubles from A$198 (£124), room only.
Beaches of Broome, Broome
Broome is the jumping off point for Western Australia's vast, untamed Kimberley region. Here, set back from the near-flat sweep of Cable Beach, guests can check in to Beaches of Broome for cool, contemporary accommodation at accessible prices. As well as standard dorms and doubles, there's also a pool, cinema room and communal kitchen for rustling up meals, plus bike hire and a tour desk for venturing off site.
Beaches of Broome, Broome, Western Australia (00 61 8 9192 6665; beachesof broome.com.au). Doubles from A$140 (£88), B&B; dorms from A$24 (£15).
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