“ Address: 11-21 Gipps Street / Fortitude Valley / Brisbane / Australia „
Bunk is a big hostel in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Fortitude valley is about 10 minutes outside the city centre by car; I arrived on the Greyhound at the transit centre and expected a courtesy shuttle already there to meet the arrival (which was the case in most of the other hostels I'd stayed in), but I had to ring up so always take the number of the hostel with you. The shuttle didn't arrive for about 30 minutes, but I think this was just a mix up and is not usually the case. The driver said when he eventually arrived that he thought someone had already come.
Anyway, so the driver was really friendly, chatting the whole way and answering the questions I had about Brisbane. Check-in was easy and I got a bit of a tour of the hostel from the shuttle driver. My room was a pre-booked 6 bed dorm and it was really clean, tidy and modern. This is the only hostel I stayed in that had partitions and reading lights for the beds. This means you have a bit of added privacy as well as the option to read after everyone has gone to bed without disturbing them. The beds were really squeaky though. There's a separate toilet and shower in the rooms.
The kitchen is actually outside the building which is a bit of a pain when you wake up and want breakfast, but it's a big kitchen with plenty of equipment and plenty of sinks. If you want to eat out there's Birdy's right outside the hostel. It's a bar and restaurant and gets quite lively at night with lots of things to do - open mic nights and bingo were a couple of my favourites.
Fortitude valley itself has a train station connecting you to the centre of the city in two stops or it's a 25 minute walk. If I'm honest Brisbane hasn't got a whole lot going for it - it's nothing special and very similar to any other city. The Southbank Beach - an artificial beach on the river is the main attraction but when I was there the floods had destroyed it and it wasn't open to visitors. Sunpac stadium is home to the Queensland Reds and the Brisbane Broncos so if you fancy catching a game it's a great afternoon out.
But back to Fortitude Valley - the main hub of nightlife in Brisbane, but don't expect backpacker friendly prices! Most clubs charge about $15 entry at least and have strict-ish dress codes. Birdies was my favourite place for a drink, although I wasn't such a fan when I was trying to sleep and all I could here was the music.
There's an internet café in the hostel and a travel desk (Brisbane's great for visiting Australia Zoo if you're not going to Noosa) and the cheapest laundry I found in the whole of Australia. On the day I was due to get the Greyhound onto Noosa I asked at the reception about a shuttle to the station and the guy behind the desk just picked up his keys and drove me - the staff were so friendly. Bunk was great, but it's a shame Brisbane didn't wow me.
Bunk hostel is just on the very outskirts of the city centre of Brisbane (about a 10 minute walk) near the nightlife and entertainment of Fortitude Valley and directly next to Chinatown. If you arrive by bus or train into the Brisbane transit centre, the courtesy Bunk van will come and collect you.
The hostel was really lovely - clean and modern and was probably one of the best looking places we stayed in. This may be due to the fact that they not only offer hostel accommodation but stylish loft apartments too. The hostel offers a variety of rooms from singles, twins, doubles and dorms, all with stylish modern décor. We booked an 8 bed dorm costing us $28 a night per person (roughly £14). The dorm was lovely and one of the best we came across with a screen down the middle of the room with 4 sets of bunks on either side giving each bed some privacy. There were enough big lockers for everyone to use and an ensuite with separate toilet and shower rooms so we never had to wait around to use them. There was a huge window completely covering one side of the room which gave us lots of light and sun.
Now, before I go into the bad experience we had here, I really must say that we absolutely loved this hostel and, apart from this, there was no bad parts. On our side of the room (furthest away from the door and in the darkest corner of the room) we found out that we had a nest of baby cockroaches. I first came across them when I opened up a locker and there were a couple inside. At first I didn't really think anything of it and just used a different locker instead but I was quite surprised as the place didn't look like it would attract cockroaches. However, we kept seeing more and more of them - they were crawling all along the floor and wall past our beds, in the lockers, and our lower bunk as well as the girls' bunk next to ours, even had a few on. We spoke to reception about this a few times and each time they came up to our room, sprayed some bug spray and got rid of the ones they could see, but there was obviously a nest under the skirting board as they just kept crawling out. My husband and I ended up sharing the top bunk bed and the girls in the next bed also shared their top bunk because we'd seen a few on the bottom bunks. I know they can climb walls and reach the top bunk but the further away we were from them the better. We just tried as hard as possible to keep our mouths closed while we were sleeping! On our departure though, management had been told about of the situation and we each got a discount so it ended up working out that we only paid for one person each night seeing as we had only used the one bed. I was so happy with the staff and their service and they were so helpful and friendly and didn't even hesitate when we complained. They were however very shocked to see even a single cockroach in the hostel as they'd never had any before. All other guests in the hostel hadn't had any problems either. I think it was just that we were in a dark corner of the room, which was always hot with the sun shining on it, and the nest was just unfortunate for us. The place was truly spotless and this is somewhere that you just wouldn't expect any bugs to be.
Anyway, onto other parts of the hostel. The reception area is large and has a tours and activities desk where you can book up anything from local activities to other popular attractions in Australia. For local attractions, in most cases, the van will take you there for free. There is an internet café with lots of computers with speedy internet and the hostel offer cheap international phone cards which you can use on the hostel's phones. Upstairs, they have a large kitchen with plenty of room to keep your food in and you can stock up in the huge supermarket just a 10 minute walk away. The kitchen has all the equipment you could need and plenty enough to go around and lots of tables to sit at.
Another reason to stay at Bunk is due to the bar and restaurant attached to the hostel. Birdee Num Num offers some great deals at happy hour on both food and drink, a BBQ on Sundays, and even a free BBQ at happy hour for those staying in the hostel! Obviously you have to make sure you get there early though as all backpackers will be there as soon as they hear the word 'free'! The bar itself is open until late with great music and is a great place to meet other likeminded people. As well as having many people from the hostel there, there were also many locals and other travellers in the bar and we met and enjoyed the evenings with a great group of people. I will be doing a separate review on the bar soon! The hostel's pool is actually in the bar area where you can relax in the cool water at the same time as enjoying the music and a drink in a plastic cup!
This is a really fabulous modern and funky hostel which, despite our little bug problem, I'm still giving 5 stars as the hostel really does deserve it. And I hate and freak out at any bug like crazy which means that the place must have been truly fantastic! I wouldn't hesitate to stay here again and would probably be the only place I looked at in Brisbane. If you're thinking of staying here but are put off by the cockroaches, please don't be, as there are loads of rooms so it's very unlikely that you'd end up in the same one as us (plus they're probably all gone by now) and none of the other rooms had this problem anyway. Bunk was a brilliant place to stay, have fun and enjoy the sights of Brisbane.