The Cole’s Bay YHA (also known as Iluka Backpackers) is located just off the main road in Cole’s Bay, a tiny little town on the edge of Freycinet National Park. It is part of the Iluka Holiday Centre, which offers all sorts of accommodation as well as a tavern/bistro, coffee shop, fish and chips shop, and a small supermarket. Basically this is a one-stop shop for those visiting the park, as you have everything you need right there. There is not much else to the town of Cole’s Bay, which is basically just a home base for visiting Freycinet. It is just across the street from a bay and picnic area, and about a two-minute drive to the National Park.
The hostel is very clean and fairly comfortable, if a little bit dull. The rooms are a bit cramped, but there is an abundance of common areas, so it’s not really a problem. The kitchen is very spacious as hostels go, with doubles and triples of everything (you don’t need to worry about fridge space here) and a convenient “free food” shelf set aside where you can take advantage of food people have left as they moved on. There is a very large kitchen table and cozy wood stove, making the kitchen a pretty sociable place. There are tons of chairs and couches in the two common rooms and one outdoor patio, as well as a TV and tables. There were board games in one of the cupboards, (important as there is basically nothing to do in Cole’s Bay after dark), but they seemed to disappear when we needed them -- probably because reception tells the guests of the caravan park and cabins that they can come use whatever they want in the hostel. The bathrooms are clean with lots of hot water, though some of the showerheads are a bit dodgy.
This hostel knows what it is -- a place to rest and recover after long days of hiking mountains or walking beautiful beaches. It’s nothing special, but it’s more than adequate for those purposes. Everything you need in a place like Cole’s Bay, where the real attraction is the outdoors.