Freelance writer/photographer, currently living in London. Follow me on twitter @Grace_c_Harding.
Published January 13th 2012
Considering that I currently live and work full-time in Brisbane, I can't really classify myself as a backpacker. Prior to two weeks ago, I had never even glimpsed the inside of an Australian backpacker's hostel. So it was some with some degree of pessimism that I booked a private double room in Pippies Beachhouse in Rainbow Beach, thinking there was high likelihood of it being an uncomfortable weekend.
My worries certainly didn't fade when we drove up Spectrum Street, a fairly bleak road with three neighbouring hostels facing nothing but a bus stop and an undeveloped grass area. The beautiful beach I'd heard so much about, was nowhere in sight. However, as we pulled into Pippie's small car-park, I began to feel more hopeful. The relaxed atmosphere of the hostel was apparent immediately. A few people were sitting at long, wooden tables in the outdoor area, while someone else was already going full-force on the guest barbecue. There was shade everywhere, thanks to clusters of leafy trees and the reception desk was manned by an efficient and friendly girl. She told us we'd be in the Sunshine Room, at which point the last of my negativity disappeared.
Pippies is built in a rambling, beach house style, with the dorms, common rooms and two kitchens in a few little separate buildings. Our room was the on the second floor of the only double-storied building. Our bathroom , shared with the occupants of the second private room, was big and clean and when we entered the bedroom I noted the ceiling fan and air-conditioning with relief. Being from the Northern Hemisphere, my top priority is to avoid melting. As expected, the room was basic and had minimal furniture. Unexpectedly though, there were sliding doors leading onto a shared, wooden balcony. It overlooked a small, lagoon type pool at the back of the hostel and was a lovely place to end a long day.
That evening, we discovered that the hostel really was only a 200m walk to the beach. This was particularly useful on New Year's Eve, when we had to find our way in almost total darkness. It was also roughly the same distance to the main street of Rainbow Beach, so we were able to buy all the food we could carry and prepare a feast in the hostel's spacious, communal kitchen.
The atmosphere of a hostel probably largely depends on the people staying there at the time, so maybe we were lucky. Pippies Beachouse was quiet and relaxed throughout the three days we spent there and I left feeling refreshed. If you're looking for blaring music and a rowdy old time, then it might not be the place for you. If you're not, then I think it's a great choice for cheap accommodation in a beautiful area.