5 weeks ago, I embarked on an adventure of a lifetime, and now that adventure is sadly coming to a close, I have decided to write about my time in Australia, until you are sick of it! When I arrived in Sydney, I was met by a friend that I had talked to online for about 3 years, and we got on really well, but that's not what this opinion is about, so I'll move swiftly on. Sydney is a BIG city, and as with all big Cities, accommodation doesn't tend to come cheap, so I was pretty worried about how much it was going to cost me. As I was intending to back pack along the east coast of Australia (well as much as you can in 4 weeks), I decided that staying in Youth Hostels was the best way to go. After much searching online and consultation with the student travel office, I came upon Hotel Bakpak in Sydney. This is a chain of youth hostels, which are quite popular, and as I was traveling alone I decided for the big cities that I wanted a single room. Hotel Bakpak CB is situated right in the heart of Sydney, on Pitt Street, a brilliant place to do lots of shopping. It's close to the harbour and to all the main sights in Sydney. From the outside, it looks really grotty, and all I could do was groan, "What kind of place have I booked!?". I immediately cut down my stay from 6 nights to 4 and the girl at reception was really helpful about this. For the single room, the cost was $45 per night. At this stage I didn't think that was so bad, but as I traveled further around Australia, I began to realize how ridiculously expensive this actually was. When I asked about staying in a dorm room, I was told that I could only stay in a dorm if I was with a group of people - this is totally different from other youth hostels where you can be put in a dorm room with any old Tom, Dick or Harry - you don't have to know them. The web site boasts about how there are friendly get togethers and t
hat there is this wonderful atmosphere amongst backpackers, well from this experience I didn't think that backpackers were that friendly a bunch. Thankfully in other places this didn't prove to be the case! So what did I get for my $45? Well, not very much if the truth be told. In some Youth Hostels that cost a little more, there will usually be some form of breakfast included in the price - not here. All I got for my money was an extremely tiny room, that was badly lit. It contained one bed, with sheets that didn't look very clean (so I used my sleeping bag), a musty smelling wardrobe where you would never dream of putting clean clothes and a small bedside table. I was really not impressed. The lack of a fridge and a wash hand basin in each room was duly noted - these are standard features in many youth hostels. Because it was so central, the hostel was situated on a busy road. No one in Sydney seems to sleep, and so there's lot's of traffic, which means that residents of this hostel can't sleep either. On 3 occasions I was woken by a pneumatic drill at 4am. Whatever possesses people to be up at 4am, never mind using a pneumatic drill, is completely beyond me. The bathrooms are shared in Hotel Bakpak, and each floor has separate male and female bathrooms, each with 3 toilets and 4 showers. The cleanliness varied from day to day, but overall they weren't too bad considering the number of people that were using them. Each shower was self contained and had it's own separate changing area, allowing a lot of privacy. The hostel has a TV room and a kitchen. I never used the TV room, because it's also a walk through area for people who are staying on the far side of hotel. The kitchen was clean, but there was a severe lack of storage space for food, and no one wants to leave it sitting around incase someone else pinches it! I may seem as though I am being really picky, after all I g
ot reasonably priced accommodation in a big city, but when compared to the other youth hostels that I have been in, Hotel bakpak gets a big thumbs down. You would have thought that being in a city and paying so much that you would get the best of everything. Sadly Hotel Bakpak is somewhere that I would never go again. It has so much potential, it is ideally situated, but as with most things is big cities it lacks the personal touches of a smaller hostel and it seemed that some of the staff were of the attitude, "sure they are only backpackers" - yes, so we are living on a tight budget but that doesn't mean that the facilities should be appalling! There are many other Youth Hostels in Sydney, I'd suggest that you give them a go first before trying this place!