- Reviews: 15
Highview Lodge YHA: Not Australia's Finest YHA Hostel
Deloraine itself doesn’t have a lot to recommend it, except for being well-located near a lot of the major sites in northern Tasmania. It’s got a fair bit of history by Australian standards, but nothing that was up our alley in terms of our particular interests. We checked the two bed & breakfasts listed in the guidebook, but both were either sold out or closed for the low season (both had “No Vacancy” signs up). This was not too disappointing to me, because the listed rates were a bit higher than we’d wanted to pay anyway, and there was a YHA-affiliated youth hostel in town, and up until now, those had been decent places and great values. So we drove up the hill to the Highview Lodge YHA in Deloraine.
I’ve often wished that I had a little Internet jack in my head. Then, when I was headed up to a place like the Highview Lodge, I could go to the YHA’s website and read user reviews to get the sense of a place. If I had done that, I would have read reviews like the following:
“run down and very untidy”
“The first time in 25 years I went somewhere else and los[t] my deposit.”
"Kitchen looked as not cleaned (not because of guests who did not clean their dishes) for months: greazy floor, dirty tiles, cutlery in open tray so that kitchen grease could cover it, fridge so old that one did not like to put things in, room had only a window in the roof, rope to open it did not work, lounge so badly lit that reading was almost impossible, storage boxes in the corners"
But alas, I don’t have an Internet in my head, so I only noticed that the yard had an odd combination of waste and garden implements strewn randomly about it, the “office” area behind the check-in desk was piled up with clothes, magazines, and general clutter and that there were several drying racks of clothes scattered in the main sitting area. Hadn’t looked in the kitchen yet. We rang the bell anyhow, and a grumpy, unkempt fellow with downcast eyes showed up from the basement, muttered something about the rates, and slid a sign-in book across the counter to us. I noticed that the last guest had checked in a full week before. Why did we sign in & pay, you ask? Partly because it was already night-time and the two B&Bs were not available; partly because I have a general sense of inertia, along the lines of “we’re already here so let’s just do this.”
We were put in the big room next to the kitchen, obviously the only guests there, and were given a good orientation to the place not by the owner, but by the large lists of “DON’T DO THIS” signs around the place. Helpful hand-written counter-instructions were provided on recycling (“DO NOT PUT THE FOLLOWING IN RECYCLING BINS: [list of non-recyclables followed]”), on climate control (“DO NOT START FIRE. DO NOT FEED FIRE. DO NOT PLACE ITEMS WITHIN ONE METER OF FIRE.”), and on amenities (“DO NOT PLACE ITEMS IN FRIDGE WITHOUT NAME AND DATE.”). There was also a hand-written sign telling people that the DO NOT signs were necessary, and too bad for you if they made you uncomfortable.
The signs were unintentionally ironic, though, because they inevitably described the opposite of each area’s actual state. For example, the only dates on anything in the fridge were expiration dates of the products, and a quick survey revealed that the dates had LONG passed. I also noticed several products labeled “Refrigerate after opening” up on kitchen shelves labeled “Free Food.” Interesting colors of mold and encrustations were briefly entertaining. The recycling bins had all manner of garbage in each, and where there were actual recyclable products in them, they rarely corresponded to the sign on the front (e.g "glass," "tins"). At least our host did come in to start the fire, and twice returned to add a log to it – each time with no verbal or eye contact, just a silent march to the stove with downcast eyes staring at the floor.
I’ve actually been in hostels that were messier, though. There were only a few dirty dishes in the sink, and he’d placed tubs in them – now overflowing – to catch the dripping water from the leaking taps. What was jarring about the mess wasn’t how messy it was – it was bad, but not terrible by backpacker standards – but that the last guest had been there a week ago. This meant that even if the mess had been made by guests (which, given the demeanor of the host, I strongly doubt), it had been that way for a week. Even if the guests had done this, it was like he was punishing the empty hostel – also his home – or the hostel’s future guests by not cleaning up the messes of the past guests. My suspicion that the mess was home-grown was all but confirmed when the host came up and got some cling-wrap covered leftovers from the nightmarish fridge to take downstairs, presumably for his dinner.
We didn’t even bother to look in the shower – the section of the building with the bathrooms was completed unheated, cold to the point that you could see your breath – and turned in pretty early, propping our bedroom door open so that the heat from the woodstove in the common room might trickle in. To give credit where it is due, the bedroom was plenty clean – sheets, blankets, and pillows were all just fine, and we weren’t itchy or anything. I did have a few passing thoughts about the host coming up and going Freddy Krueger on us in the night (“I killed the actual hostel owners, and now I prey on backpackers desperate enough to sleep in this filth!”), but I was tired from the hikes and driving all day and fell asleep. After we fell asleep, the “host,” who had killed the actual hostel owners, came upstairs and killed and ate us both in the night. OK, not really, but I did wake up nice and early the next morning.
Great views of the Great Western Tiers only slightly marred by indoor and outdoor clutter.
Unique instructional decor throughout common areas.
- Reviews: 230
I stayed at ayouth hostel in Deloraine, it was a steep walk to the hostel but the staff was very very friendly and helpfull! I cannot remember the name of the hostel, but if someone is interested I am willing to search for it. Deloraine is ideally situated for exploring the centre of Tasmania!
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