For those who have decided to rough it and drive up the east coast, Rockhampton is the best place to rest between Brisbane and Airlie Beach. There is nothing to see once you leave Brisbane, unless you decide to diverge way off the highway. Therefore, it makes the most sense just to take a break half-way through your long drive. Rockhampton itself is entirely unexciting and the hostel is extremely quiet. However, this is exactly what you will want after a long day (or night) of driving! It was easy to find, even late at night. There is a large shopping center nearby where you can load up on groceries and petrol. If you're looking for work, most of the long term guests at YHA Rockhampton do some sort of farm work. They are early to bed and early to rise, but are super friendly and there's definitely a sense of community.
They are used to late arrivals and have a safety box that holds your key. Make sure to call the day you plan to arrive late and they will give you the code. It was difficult finding the box in the dark and I ended up walking around the hostel in circles.
The rooms are clean and spacious. The beds are already made when you arrive, which is a relief when you are tired from driving. You are provided with a pillow, two sheets, and a blanket. The mattress is comfy and long enough to fit those of us who are tall. There is a fan and an air conditioner in the room. There is only one bathroom for each sex, but each have multiple toilets/showers and centrally located. The only downside is that when you shower, you either need to get changed there or run outside back to your room in a wet towel.
Since I was only in Rockhampton for one night, I only paid attention to the kitchen, which was well equipped and clean. There is free parking right in front of the hostel. Go to reception for help with directions and to get suggestions for where to stop along the next leg of your trip.
Overall, this hostel has a homey feel and if you need anything, I'm sure you can get help from someone. I highly suggest staying here if you are a weary traveller.