We had the most amazing time in Surfer’s Paradise, but make no mistake, it was one of the least amazing places we visited on the East Coast. The actual town was reminiscent of Blackpool or equally flash seaside towns, but the hostel we stayed at remains one of my favourites in Australia. It really proves just how important the people you meet affect your experience of a place – they make it or break it – and how different your experiences of travelling can be as a result. I’ve been very lucky and met some amazing people on my travels – but the highest concentration of awesome people in one hostel had to be in Surfers Paradise Backpackers Resort and has only just been recently beaten by my new home at Dingo Moon Lodge in Darwin. The only difference? I’ve had over a month here to develop this family, back at Surfers it was just three days! When you’re this far away from home though, it becomes more important than ever to form these bonds with people and to create your own family on the road.I loved the hostel instantly, we had a warm welcome from the staff who were also all staying there, and were invited to join the 6pm volleyball game that took place every day – it was a great way to get everyone together and having fun. We met pretty much everyone instantly and the motel vibe of the hostel was great for providing places to hang out, with a bar, shared kitchen and seated area right by the volleyball court and a pool tucked away in the corner. Our days were spent lazing at the beach which was a ten minute walk away – although I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much for this beach, it’s definitely nothing compared to Byron Bay. And when we were there it was pretty windy and we struggled to find a sheltered spot where we wouldn’t get sand blown into our faces. But it was nice to spend a few hours down there with the gang, playing games in the sand and tanning.The nights were when the hostel came alive, everyone would cook huge dinners together, play volleyball, and then have drinks around the table. Sometimes we ended up going out in the town which was full of okay bars – but we always had a fantastic night because of the people we were with. Our best night out had to be the final one together when we all joined in the weekly pub crawl on the same night of the New South Wales vs Queensland State of Origin match. Now for someone who isn’t usually into watching sport, I was getting very over excited about State of Origin, the last match I had seen was when I was in New South Wales so naturally I had supported them and been bitterly disappointed. Now I was over the border, I decided to switch alliances and we had the whole pub crawl and the rest of Vanity bar going crazy over the game. It was a brilliant atmosphere and we had so much fun, after seeing Queensland smash New South Wales, we moved on to a series of other bars eventually ending up in Sin City. As usual, the bars were distinctly average but it was the huge gang of people we were with that made the night completely hilarious. Sadly the next day we all parted ways as Mark and I headed further up the coast to Brisbane and they moved on to new places.
Have you found the perfect hostel family? Why do you think we forge such close bonds so quickly when on the road?