“ Address: 1770 Southern Cross Backpackers: 2694 Round Hill Rd, Agnes Water QLD 4677 „
I have just returned from a trip to Australia. Before I left I decided to book most of our accommodation and spend many hours researching where to stay. I wanted to experience a variety of accommodation types from camp sites to hotels. My lonely planet guide recommended Agnes water as a destination and the description appealed to me. The list of suggested accommodation options had an entry for Southern Cross tourist retreat. I really liked the sound of the place and after a look on trip advisor and the Southern Cross web site, decided to book.
Southern Cross tourist is actually a hostel; albeit an upmarket one! Having decided to book, I emailed the hostel using the form on their web site. I quickly received a friendly reply confirming my dates.
The Southern Cross tourist retreat is situated just before the small town of Agnes water in Queensland. The Greyhound bus stops in the town and the hostel offers a free pick up service. If you are coming by car, as we did, then you need to take the round hill road into Agnes water. About 3 km before the town you will see the hostel on your right. There is a large arch with the hostel name making it easy to spot. Entry is over a ditch and up the long drive. There is limited parking although it is free! Most guests seem to arrive by bus!
We stayed in early July and the weather was awful! It rained every day for the three days we stayed; apparently this is unheard of for the Australian winter in Queensland! We arrived in a particularly heavy downpour. It is a disadvantage that you have to park a few minutes walk from the reception area-we got soaked! However the greeting was warm and we were given our linen and blankets.
Our room was close to the reception area and contained 2 sets of bunk beds, a wardrobe and large table. The bunks were not very comfortable and the pillows were dirty. The room was quite large, although sparsely furnished.
The bathroom contained a shower and toilet and the smallest hand basin I have ever seen! The shower was showing its age, although the water pressure was good and the water hot. Outside there was a covered veranda with a table and a few chairs. The rooms at the Southern Cross do not have locks, the idea being that we all trust each other. This was not something I was entirely comfortable with and always took money and credit cards out with me!
We paid 100 dollars a night for our 4 bedded room. The cost for an individual is 25 dollars a night including breakfast. There are double rooms available as well as the larger dorms.
The hostel has a decent sized swimming pool with loungers surrounding it. The pool closes at 9.30 pm. We didn't use the pool due to the poor weather, but it looked clean and had lovely lights at night.
The common area is large and airy. It contains the bar and reception desk and is open until late. The staff were always very friendly and keen to help. There is also a tour booking service available. We decided to change our plans on the recommendation of another guest and the staff were really helpful in letting me use their phone to make the necessary changes. They then rebooked elsewhere for me.
The bar is fully licensed and the price of drinks is reasonable. I paid 4 Dollars for a bottle of Australian beer, less than in other places!
Although the hostel doesn't serve food, they do have various inexpensive eating options. For example when we stayed there was a BBQ on one night and a curry night on another. You need to buy tickets during the day for the evening meal and numbers are limited. The food was good and it was fun to eat with other guests. There are plenty of tables and benches both inside and outside where you can eat.
There is a large communal kitchen. Bread, spread and various jams are provided free each morning for breakfast. Everything is cleared away by 9am, although you are free to help yourself to tea and coffee all day. You will need to supply your own milk unless you don't mind powered milk! There is a large fridge where you can store your own food; make sure you name and date everything! There are limited cooking facilities and demand for the hob can be high in the evening! You are asked to help keep the kitchen clean and everyone seemed to respect this when we stayed.
Beyond the kitchen there is another eating area with more tables and benches. I really liked this area as it seemed more cosy and intimate than the larger common area.
The common area has a table tennis table and snooker table, both free for all guests to use. There is also a small film room with free DVD hire. I was surprised to discover that the hostel offers free unlimited internet use, although it was so slow it was really frustrating to use!
There is no on site laundry although there is a launderette in Agnes water.
The hostel is set in 16 acres and has its own lake. The area is well maintained and I loved the gnomes and fairy lights! There are several Buddha's and wall hangings from the East, giving the hostel that hippie feel!
The hostel runs several tours including its popular scooter roo tour. This is a tour on scooters, although it was cancelled when we stayed due to the weather. There is also a trip to Lady Musgrave Island. This is something I would have liked to have done, as the island offers some great snorkelling. However we decided against the trip as the sea was too rough.
I did book a 3 hour surfing lesson for my children with the reef to beach company. The cost for 3 hours was just 17 dollars. Although there were many other people having a lesson, my children really enjoyed themselves and did get some individual attention. The cost included wet suits and surf boards.
Agnes Water and the nearby town of 1770 are really beautiful and well worth a visit. We went to the helpful tourist information office in Agnes water to get free maps of the area. We really enjoyed a visit to the quiet, nearby beach where turtles hatch during the summer. The sandy beach stretches for miles and the surf is excellent! In the summer you will need to wear stinger suits if you want to swim due to the box jelly fish.
We really enjoyed our stay at this hostel, despite the basic room! The friendliness of the staff and other guests made the stay special!