Cellblock Backpackers


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The Hostelz.com 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
2014-02-25
Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.

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Hostelz.com Guest Reviews

 
Please do not go
This is a fucking shit, the worst experience ever, i wish i could go there to spit in their face. They deserve the worst but theres something called law of attraction, all what you gives, comes back to you! The same with the owners of the farms, they know that this is happening and they dont do anything, just thinking about the money. This is just slavery.
Mauricio
Age 30, Uruguay
2017-02-08
 
Dirtiest place on earth
Kitchen -- disgusting how dirty it is. Bedroom for 10 people -- Dirty, Never cleaned and people will have coitus in their beds while other people are around. The mattress -- bed sheets and pillow case were dirty and at Night the room was lit like it was day. Staff were somewhat ok-ish; refunded me my money when I wanted to leave earlier (After 1 night -- but i told them right After seeing the mess that the room and the beds were).
Anonymous
Age 22, German(y)
2016-12-16
 
Can't even rate the hostel because it doesn't deserve even 1 star.
Myself and a friend stayed here for one night. We were given dirty bed sheets, we went into the bar to have a drink and everyone stares at you because you're new. We heard one boy tell someone the room we was in is where people go for "one night." the toilets and showers are disgusting -- we didn't even shower. We went out to eat and was even worried about drinking the water because the living conditions where so bad. We was up from 10pm until 7.30 a.m. with noise, these people where shouting and doing it on purpose knowing people where in bed they then turned the music on full blast and were also taking drugs outside our bedroom door. We woke in the morning to find out there was no staff to speak to. We returned to check out and get our luggage and asked to speak to a member of staff she walked off from us and said she didn't want to listen to what we had to say, then a man was laughing in our faces. We told him the place was a joke and left. Never ever been treated like this before in a hostel and this is the most we have ever spent to stay one night -- I would have rather stayed on the streets in the rain than pay them my money. Don't go here!
Anonymous
Age 26, English
2016-06-04
 
Disgusting! Should be shut down
I wouldn't normally write a review, but coming away from there after one night I really feel I have to! From check in to check out the whole experience was piss poor! The bed sheets we were provided with to put on what appeared to be the mattresses used back when it was a jail were vile! Stained, worn and stinking! The sign on the bathroom door stated that they had experienced a lot of sickness in the past week, so please wash your hands! I don't think hands were the problem ... The shower looked as if it had never been cleaned (I did not use it) and the toilets had shit on the outside of them! The kitchen was also in a complete state, we didn't use this either! The whole place is hanging! We had to make do as no other hostels would check us in after 6pm! We got to bed and had no sleep, the long term workers were up all night, blaring music, taking drugs outside our door until 7.30am! There was no one on sight to report this to! Who doesn't have a night porter! Is that even legal? When we came to check out as we couldn't get out quick enough, at 10am we were told from another girl who obviously lived there that there wouldn't be any staff until 4pm! Disgraceful! We went out for the day and left our bags in the room as there was also no luggage room! When we came to check out at 4, we wanted to raise our concerns and I spoke to a very rude (supposed lady) who laughed in my face, picked up her mobile phone, walked off and said to her obvious male friend, "Do u want to listen to this cos I don't"! I have never been so insulted in my life! He laughed and we were made to feel obliged to leave! Absolutely fuming!! So not only is the place disgusting the staff attitude is as well! We are all backpackers trying to get by and at $38 for the night, I would have rather slept on a bench! No f***s were given!
Anonymous
Age 25, English
2016-06-04
 
Dirty, Rude, Unhelpful Staff; Misleading. Avoid.
I recently stayed at this hostel. Avoid it. I checked in and paid 190 dollars and didn't get any work there. You also share a dormitory with nine others. It's a working hostel. Staff are also very rude their too. It should be called RIP off Block. Terrible experience. Waste of time and waste of money. Arrogant people. Avoid it and other backpacker hostels in Bundaberg. The toilets are also dirty there too along with the showers. They take so much money from us yet cant provide a cleaner for the bathrooms. Also the swimming pool was very dirty. Will never ever return again. Wifi is not free and you have to pay a big price for it. Terrible Experience in Bundaberg.
Patrick
Age 30, Ireland
2015-10-09
 
Last three weeks, no pay -- stay away!
If you like to be rewarded for your long hours, slave like work by this thing most people call money, don't expect it here! Apparently some Korean women from DSH Labour a company that normally pays us ran off with $200k, perfect timing if you ask me as the manadrin season was just coming to an end. The people of IRIS 7 and the hostel may seem nice up-front but really con artists behind the scenes. Loyalty is a lost art here, smile to your face whilst stabbing you in the back!
Tom
Age 26, England
2015-05-07
 
Run away!!!
This hostel is the worse ever! No work! And when you get work you will never get paid! Trust me even if the place is nice, this hostel is a mafia! You have to give a 2 weeks advise to be able to live the hostel with your 150$ deposit. If not they keep it!
Hubert
Age 22, France
2015-05-05
 
Don't go!!!
Worst place ever, there are no jobs! Only one is lemon that is always on day off cause of rain. At the farm (lemon) they treat you like sh*t, make you waste a lot of time before start and always complaining about the way you pick. Also 180$ a bin is bullsh*t! Consider that it takes a day to do a bin working with someone else so it's 90$ each than minus 15 of money that they keep for fees than the 13% of taxes than 8$ transport than 20-25 $ dollars of rent you have nothing. owners just care about money. Also they ask you 150$ to work and if you leave before telling them 2 week before they are gonna keep the money. Blanket cost 8$ if you want clean ones, kitchen does not have any grill place to cook, the fridge does not work so you have to trow away your food every 2 days. guys don't go! And I could keep going and going!
arrapaho
Age 29, indiano pelle rossa
2015-02-06

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