It was hard picking a hostel in Sydney. Of course there are hostels that has the worst reviews, but there’s also plenty that get raves from both hostel booking sites and guidebooks. I ended up picking the hostel that has a great location, free breakfast, free luggage storage and female dorms: Big Hostel.
The main event of my Sydney trip was the Mardi Gras. After carefully studying the parade route map and Big Hostel’s location map, it became pretty evident that I am making the right choice in picking this hostel: Oxford Street, where the parade will be passing through is just a short walk away. There would be no problems walking to the parade route in the afternoon; my concern was walking back to the hostel after the parade. By choosing Big Hostel, I wouldn’t have to worry too much about getting back to the hostel so late at night and in the midst of a huge crowd.
Another consideration regarding location is the hostel’s proximity to public transportation. Big Hostel is a comfortable walking distance to and from the Central Station, where you can ride the rain going to the airport, around the city and even out of state. What’s even better is that you pass through the Belmore park, which can be quite relaxing.
Also within comfortable walking distance is a number of shops like Market City (where there’s a weekend market) and Chinatown. If you venture further, you can reach the Chinese Friendship Garden, Darling Harbour and the Town Hall.
Rooms & Facilities
Big Hostel gives you lots of accomodation options depending on your budget. There are 8-, 6-, and 4- bed dorms with shared toilets and 4- bed dorms with ensuite toilets. Those who wants some privacy also have a wide array of rooms: single, twin, double, triple and family, all of which have ensuite toilets. They have both nightly and weekly rates.
Linens and blankets are provided, and lockers as well as ample shelf space are available in every room. There is a big common room where you can watch TV or videos. There are plenty of comfy couches and side tables for your food and drinks. The kitchen is off the side, and half of one wall is a bank of refrigerators, the other half is the sink. One wall is where the stove is, while the opposite wall are shelves filled with personal grocery stash of each person staying there. Tableware, utensils and cooking equipment are provided, so if you want to save on meals, you can opt to cook instead.
Breakfast is served every morning between 7 – 9am. It’s a buffet, featuring 2-3 kinds of bread, 3 kinds of cereal, oats, muesli, milk, coffee, and a whole load of preserves, peanut butter, and of course, Vegemite.
Washing machines and dryers are available for a small fee. There’s a computer that has Internet access that’s free of charge, but users are advised to limit their use to 10 minutes. There’s a bulletin board filled with job opportunities, cars/vans for sale and even ride offered by other travellers. There’s also one wall filled with tour brochures, so you’re never at loss as to what to do while in Australia.
The Big Hostel crew are a friendly bunch, always armed with a smile and ready to answer questions they’ve no doubt answered a million times. On my first day, I asked the guy in the reception on where should I go first, and he whipped out a map, and marked a route for me. The reception is open until 10pm. Upon check in, guests are given two keys on a lanyard: one for the room, the other for their side entrance, if you stay out late.
Big Hostel definitely deserves all the raves and mentions it got. Facilities are in pretty good shape, common areas are clean and the crew efficient and friendly.