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Billabong Gardens

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Hostelz.com's Review
Billabong Gardens is a pretty standard Aussie hostel set in a good location in Newtown, Sydney. It's set just back from King Street so street noise is not bothersome, but it is still close to the action. The Newtown train station is a five- to ten-minute walk away, which is really convenient for getting around town. Other than its location, Billabong Gardens' main highlight is its common room, which includes a number of comfy couches, a huge big screen TV (with N64!), and three computers with free internet access for guests. It should be mentioned, however, that those three computers are almost always in use and often one of three is down. Still, for free access the speed is fast and the computers are good.

Many past guests have complained about the noise level at Billabong, and it is true that the walls between the rooms and the courtyard/pool area are paper thin, but as long as your fellow guests are considerate it shouldn't be an issue. The pool is not big enough for lap swimming, but it is a nice touch if you want to have a dip to cool off from the hot Sydney sun. The atmosphere here is relaxed and friendly, though without much of a party vibe (which is a good thing with the thin walls). The pool and palm trees provide a bit of a tropical feel, which is fun to indulge in if you've just arrived in Australia.

The biggest downside to Billabong Gardens is the lack of cleaning of the dorm rooms. Although cleaning staff are seen every morning, presumably cleaning the private double rooms, the dorm rooms do not receive much attention. The ensuite bathroom is especially rough for Australian hostel standards, although the communal bathrooms are in pretty decent shape. Paying extra money for the ensuite bathroom dorms is not recommended. Every other aspect of the hostel is clean, including the kitchen and the common room.

A warning to future guests -- the front desk does not open very early, so if you have to check out to catch an early flight or train, be sure to arrange everything the night before or you might be forced to leave without your key deposit. If your train/plane is scheduled for later in the day, however, Billabong Gardens offers a reasonably secure, though unsupervised, luggage storage area. When getting to Billabong Gardens, be aware that the hostel is set in a one-way alley, which you can't directly turn down from King Street. If you're driving, you might want to park your car and walk to the hostel, then drive to the door once you've figured out where you're going.

Exclusive Hostelz.com Review
December 2006

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Billabong Gardens Reviews from the Web
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
1   TERRIBLE The worst, terrible in all the aspects! Go here only if you are a dirty, rude and mean. Terrible people at the reception, the staff is really bad, racist, snob and they don't care about you. THE MATTRESS WERE FULL OF BEDBUGS INSECTS! FULL! not only mine, but many others. everyone there is gay and they use to flirt and have sex in the room ... light open until 5 am in the rooms, the people lives there for months, they are unfriendly with you -- you're not welcomed. I've seen girls coming after drugs, alcohol and gay sex in the same room where you are. the guest are absolutely the worst dirty and rude people. I've been there for 1 week -- terrible. but the worst is the staff at the reception -- rude and mean, really racist and bad people. be careful. Very dirty, I repeat, with BEDBUGS IN THE MATTRESS (I've seen them and there were many girls complaining about the red things on their skin due to the insects). WIfi doesn't work properly. TERRIBLE people, worst staff, dirty and full of insects. do not book!!!!!!!!  , age 29, - ()
1   Racist/xenophobic experience ever in my life Billabong Gardens was a nightmare -- to start of the room smelt of mold, the drains were rusty, and amenities were next to nothing. The worst part was that when we (my Uncle and I -- who are both ethnically Asian), we immediately sensed a xenophobic/racist vibe and proceeded to arrange alternate accommodation via UNSW (which we did). Given the situation, we had chosen the weekly payment option and politely asked for a refund, even offering to pay half the week. He did not budge at all either because of his anti-Asian/racist sentiments, his lack of business ethics, simple greed or a combination, to this day I still don't know. But I can tell you is that I strongly advise against anybody visiting this sham of an establishment unless you want to be ripped off.  , Canadian ()
3   A bag of positives and negatives we stayed in a triple en-suite room for four nights in Nov 2007 and both the room and bathroom were both very clean and in good condition, although one of the shared bathrooms looked a bit dirty and old. The location of this hostel is a good or bad thing depending on your point of view. It's in Newtown which is about five kilometers (three miles) from central Sydney. However, we really liked the area as it had a positive buzz to it. The best way I can describe it is like London's Camden Town but without the dirt and litter. This hostel offers free Wi-Fi internet which should be a bonus, but it didn't work on about half the occasions I tried to connect! And the strict 10 a.m. check-out is a real pain, especially if you're the kind of person who's likely to want to take advantage of Sydney or Newtown's excellent nightlife.  , UK ()
5  This is a good and clean hostel. Great atmosphere and helpful staff. Newtown is a great area. Only hostel we stayed that had wireless internet -- and it was free!  ()
5  Stayed one night in a dorm and then two nights in a private room in the building next door. The rooms are clean and very comfortable, simply the best value we encountered during our holiday. The staff are great and really helpful. The free wireless internet is a real bonus, the only hostel during our trip that offered this service. Recommended!  ()
1  Very bad very bad hostel. Imagine all your stuff was removed when you go out without telling you. And when you come back, the guy who is a manager said he was in charge of everything on one hand but he couldn't do anything on the other hand. Even said that's not his fault, there should be someone had told me to move to another room. Very rude staff, very bad management, very insecurity. Preparing you will be moved to some other room one day and your stuff will be some where you need to pick them up if you want to stay!  ()
4  I really can recommend this hostel. Located in a very silend sidestreet in newtown nearby the kingsstr. Nice staff, nice tv room, free internet and wlan for people with their own laptop and a pool (!)  ()
5  I lived here for 2 months last winter and this place rocks - it's budget backpacker accommodation. You get what you pay for but the atmosphere, the people and the staff are just awesome. Rodney is a legend.  ()

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