English Français Español Italiano Deutsch 日本語 Português

Cellblock Backpackers

Check all of the
booking sites at once!
 
Special Note from Hostelz.com: Cellblock Backpackers is no longer listed in any of the hostel booking systems. There is a good chance they may have closed down. If you have any information about it, please let us know with the Listing Update Form.

For alternative options in Bundaberg, see the Bundaberg Hostels list.
Description & Photos

Hostelz.com's Review
Billing itself as the only "themed backpackers" in Queensland, Cellblock Backpackers quickly disappoints, which is a shame because the building itself is comfortable and relatively clean. The owner lets the place down immensely; John is hostile and can get aggressive, and can be found at the bar, choosing the next frightened female victim to play beer pong with him. If you refuse, you may as well leave because you will not be given work.

The Location

Bundaberg isn't a town you'd want to visit; it's more one that you visit for work -- there are very good working opportunities here, be it cherry tomato picking, weeding, packing fruit, pulling plastic, and cutting wire. But there are better hostels in which to stay! Cellblock is situated opposite the river, which is nice for an escape at the end of a working day, but as Bundaberg can have occurrences of crime, it is best explored in a group.

There is a shopping centre five or ten minutes' walk from the hostel, which has a K-Mart, Coles, Woolworths, and BWS (not that there is any tolerance of alcohol within the hostel itself!). There is a bar/club, which often has live music and is always full of backpackers -- this is a nice place to go on a Friday or Saturday night to unwind. There is a bar in the hostel, but the expense and the presence of the hostel owner may make you want to drink elsewhere. Most will head to another backpackers that's cheaper and has a much friendlier atmosphere.

Rooms and Bathrooms

There are lots of different rooms in this hostel, from the cheapest ten-bed, non-air-conditioned room to the private, air-conditioned double rooms (the cells). It is hard to sleep in the ten-bed -- or even the six-bed -- dorms because of the heat; everybody buys fans to have next to them in the night, and this helps a little, but it is boiling! Many rooms have mice and cockroaches, which will eat anything and everything left out. Rooms are cleaned every Thursday and anything on spare beds or the floor is thrown out -- even shoes! There have been many times where people's entire bags have been thrown out, which is beyond unfair, completely unnecessary, and upsets many people.

The male bathroom is usually closed for some reason or another, so everybody uses the female bathroom. The showers are very good, and considering the number of dirty people coming back from farm work everyday, the hostel is kept relatively clean.

Common Spaces

One of the few good points about Cellblock is its common spaces -- there is an outside bar with plenty of seating, which is where most of the backpackers gather. There is also a TV room with a couple of DVDs. There is a lovely pool, if you don't mind the sometimes-unpleasant presence of John. The kitchen is tiny but everyone knows everyone in this hostel, so it is easily shared. There are spaces to leave your dirty work shoes outside.

Summary

As to the deposits -- when you hand your money over, don't expect to see it again! They make money any way they can. You have to give three days' notice to be taken off the work list, despite the fact that people are without work. We were put on cherry tomato picking, which is sneaky because you get paid cash in hand for this job, and they knew we wouldn't be around to collect the money -- so that ends up in John's pocket as well!

You'll come by work very easily here -- we started the day after we arrived; however, this can depend on your relationship with John. Some guests say if you want work, you have to get friendly with him; some find avoiding him completely works best. Additionally, his children run riot in the hostel. John's wife seems lovely and is often helping people with injuries (she's a nurse). In any case, we highly recommend you don't check into Cellblock, especially if you are female. This is a very uncomfortable place to stay. Don't go to Cellblock.

by Graceland
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
February 2014
Map
Location/Contact
How is Cellblock Backpackers rated on other websites?
Hostelworld  
Not listed on Hostelworld.
Hostels.com  
Not listed on Hostels.com.
HostelBookers  
Not listed on HostelBookers.
HostelsClub  
Not listed on HostelsClub.
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
1   Disgusting I'm now staying in cellblock and I HATE IT!!!! Staff are so rude and there's so stupid rules and staff are sneaking in our room and touch our luggages. What a f***???? Kitchen is so disgusting and rooms are freezing and of course you have to pay for a blanket because you can't have your own or they steal it!! We we're so stupid that we trusted a guidebook and booked this sh*thole for a week, oh my god. We are leaving tomorrow after 3 nights and surprise we don't get the money back!  , age 26 ()
1   It's the worst hostel worldwide Me and my friends arrived at this hostel expecting farm work with reasonable pay, think again the work is like 12 years a slave you pretty much get raped by the farmers for your money! You could be working hard for a week straight and still not be able to afford rent it's complete bullsh*t, the owners are like 50 years old with family's yet they still decide to pressurise the guest especially women to get drunk and play beer pong, complete perverts. The pictures and facilities are all lies, it's a complete scam and in my eyes I would not dream of advising anybody about my terrible time here!  , age 24, England ()
5   Best experience in Australia I stayed in cellblock for six months and I had the time of my life! I will be sad to hear that it has closed down. As for John, yes he comes across as arrogant and not caring, yes he does drink and swear alot! YOU'RE IN A SMALL FARMING TOWN IN AUSTRALIA! Find me someone who doesn't! When I first started there I got fired from job to job. Some by John, some he told me I was fired from but actually wasn't and some that I was thankful for, now I'm not afraid of hard work but working for the sweet potatoes well the money was good but, fck that! However, I got to know John and he did me, I didn't complain about any work I got, intact I loved picking tomatoes for 6dollars a bucket! And when. There were good jobs coming back in (the whether was shot) he would always do his best to get me a good job! Now the hostel was cleaned everyday! I know because I helped if I wasn't working, and have you ever thought of how the hostel gets messy? Take a look. In the mirror darlings! Yes there is no food in your rooms or outside the kitchen unless it is in concealed boxes -- you would rather eat the leftovers of a cockroach would you? I know I wouldn't! Nothing left on the floor, BE CLEAN! This is not your home, and it is a fire hazard, imagine running out the rooms and tripping over your own filthy habits or better yet someone else? With deposits you are told to keep the cards which is not hard, then you get your refund. Now I like to drink and I loved the beer pong and pool parties and the crazy tv room parties -- then again I have a sense of humour! I didn't save any money as I drank it all hut I actually wouldn't change a thing. I got my second year which is the only reason anyone goes to Bundaberg!  , age 22, British ()
1   CELLBLOCK = JAIL; worst hostel ever guys Never found in Australia a place so unfriendly, uncomfortable and dirty like the Cell block guys. I know that it's not easy to find a place to sleep in Bundaberg. But I advise you to choose to sleep in a park instead of there. The staff is disgusting -- one is never smiling, never saying "hello", never at the reception (which is supposed to be his place) and in short, is completely useless. The other one... Drunk disgusting owner always swearing and annoying. The kitchen is useless, the rules are unbelievable -- 100$ of deposit to work, 20$ for the key, 20$ for the kitchen stuff, nothing on the floor in your room or it will be thrown (it doesn't matter if it's a passport or anything important), no alcohol inside the hostel, no food in the room or even outside your box in the cold room ... I never met that much people disgusted by a hostel. I did 8 backpackers in Australia and never found a place like that. I don't even understand how they can reach a 4.5/10. For the work, don't think about get one if you're not an English, and even if you are you will have to wait a lot (not as they say "1 week if you are not lucky" but more like 4 weeks).  , age 24, Italy ()
5   Best time of my life 5 years ago i stayed in cellblock and i dont know why ive took so long to post. i was just looking for the old place to see if it was still going. By far the best days of my life and the best part of being in Australia, Yeah john can be a c*nt he was to me sometimes but he also helped me out big time, the big man obviously has his problems as we all do, if u want a good laugh, party and still manage to go to work then go there, if your a big blouse dont bother, the people u meet there will be friends for life, i done fake time at cellblock and real time at maryborough and i f**ckin loved it!  , age 28, scotland ()
1   Sh*thole, John has stolen my backpack Absolute worst hostel I've seen in Australia. The aggressive owner has stolen my backpack!!  , age 19, germany ()
1   Wont save any money here. Also, owner is a thicko Very expensive hostel by Oz standards -- without the quality to match. Everything in the other reviews about paying for everything is true, with no chance of getting it back. As for the owner, John, haha WOW where did it all go wrong for him?? he's extremely unpopular. He hangs around the place 24/7, I dunno if he's hiding there or if all the locals hate him or what, but it would make sense as he is an dumb ignorant alcoholic sociopath redneck. If he didn't have this kip of a hostel it would be the gutter for that c***. The bar is fairly good for a night's drinking but it's right in the middle of the site so you can't avoid it even when you need to steer clear and save up on money and sleep. for whatever reason we couldn't get more than 3-4 days work here and overall we saved nothing and were actually down some dollars over the course of a month even though we tried to spend as little as possible.  , Ireland ()
1   The exact opposite of anything nice. Well everything's kind of dingy and crap, and for example the men's restroom is entirely shut down so everyone uses the womens at the moment, but what really puts the hostel over the edge into the category or "remarkably bad" is the owner. I tried to talk to him when he was at the front desk and he just kind of mumbled incoherently about what I believe was something entirely unrelated that was on his mind. Fortunately the girl that also works there then came up and I was able to communicate with a sentient being. I wasn't looking for work but I heard from a number of the people staying there longer that if you want work, or to just stay on John's good side, you HAVE to order at least a jug of beer a night from the hostel bar and/or play beer pong with him. I was working on my laptop in the common area and the girl that works there came up to me and asked if I was writing a review. I said I wasn't (I wasn't), and she said "well, even if you were, we don't care!" ... wtf? Also it is a jail, in the literal sense, which is depressing.  , USA ()
1   Absolutely cr@p! Planned our trip and booked in 3 months in advance. Got an email back from the owner confirming our booking and even offering to pick us up from the train station if we wanted. We drove 5 hours to get there only to be greeted by the rudest bi*ch I have ever met! After being ignored for 20min she finally came over and said that they were full. I told her that the four of us had booked ahead and confirmed the booking (twice) she told me that I hadn't booked in and walked off. She was absolutely no help at all! No apology, no help suggesting other places to stay. We then spent the next hour going around Bundy trying to find somewhere to stay. Worst backpackers I've encountered in many years of traveling the world. STAY CLEAR!  ()
1   Dont believe anything good about this place I just wanted to enjoy myself, get my farming done with no messing about. John is a twat, had many of us in tears. I was keen to work hard get up and do the job, it is not enough. I cant even be bothered to waste my time writing this but all i am saying is STAY CLEAR OF THIS PLACE. Its a trap, you dont save, and you can end up being there for 6 months and still not have all your days!!  , British ()

Have you visited this Hostel? Rate it and post your review here.