Byron backpacker hostel in top 10
By PATRIZIA REIMER
FOR 19-year-old visitor Ruben van Duijn it's all about the atmosphere.
That was the main reason the Dutch backpacker came back to the Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge in Byron Bay for seconds.
The same quality also helped to get the hostel listed as one of the 10 best affordable accommodations in Australia in the under $100 price range by Australian Traveller magazine.
"I like the atmosphere. I've been to many hostels before and this one is unique," Ruben said. "Every little backpackers has its own unique features, but with this one it's crazy how much."
Ruben stayed at the Arts Factory for six months when he first arrived in Australia in May last year.
He then travelled the country and South-East Asia, staying in about 15 other hostels, only to find his way back to Byron Bay last month.
"If people asked me where to go in Australia, this backpackers is for sure the place I would tell them to go," he said.
Hostel manager Peggy O'Neill said in her two years there she had seen at least 100 travellers make a return visit.
"It's a unique experience, that's what brings them back," she said. "People like the laid back experience that Byron's reknowned for."
Australian Traveller editor Greg Barton said his magazine was not aimed at the young market, but he wanted to present a range of holiday options.
"It was based on feel. We wanted to present cheap options for people staying around the country," he said.
"The atmosphere they produce at the Arts Factory makes it the best place to stay in Byron. I know of people that have returned to that place again and again."
The Arts Factory was listed, in no particular order, with hostels such as the award-winning Blue Mountains YHA at Katoomba and Glenferrie Lodge at Kirribilli in Sydney.