Backpacker beach resort a childhood dream realised
FIVE years ago, Shane Henwood's childhood dream came true. He opened the doors to the Yamba YHA Backpacker Beach Resort, and at the same time, opened the doors to a whole new lifestyle.
After a lot of convincing, Shane managed to persuade his siblings and parents into going into business partnership with him.
"I talked my whole family into selling everything and putting the money towards a block of land. Then we took out a loan to build the place," he said.
"I started the backpackers because, when I was 16, I was sailing in Sydney and stayed at a hostel. I had such a good time and thought that one day I'd love to build a hostel," he said. "It's been my dream since I was a teen."
It seems that the Henwood family's enthusiasm has been paying off, with recognition coming from all directions.
"We've won the best YHA backpackers in Australia over the last few years. Now we're in the top two YHA's in Australia," said Shane, who said they owed their successes to the Yamba community.
"The biggest attraction is what our town has to offer. The backpackers love going to the freshwater pools, going swimming at the blue and green pools, and surfing at our beaches."
Shane runs a tour where he takes the backpackers out and around the town.
"I basically just promote Yamba to the backpackers," he said.
"I'll show them which beaches are safe and the good food spots around town. We're just spreading the love,"
"The backpackers usually come here for two days and end up staying for months," Shane said.