Is Backpacking in Australia's East Coast any fun if you're a Non-Drinker?
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Oct 18, 2012 2:15 AM Last Post By: benmacdui
Oct 6, 2012 11:20 PM
Is Backpacking in Australia's East Coast any fun if you're a Non-Drinker?Dear All,
After some time living and working in Sydney, I will mostly likely be between contracts and thus have time to do some actual backpacking up the Australian East Coast from Sydney to Cairns.
I have stayed in hostels in some other places before I took up my current job and during long weekends dependent on work situation during my drinking days and did enjoy it, however I recently made the decision to stop drinking for health and other reasons. I have found that I don't enjoy being in pubs half as much since I became teetotal, and would much rather stay out of them these days.
My concern is that I will be staying in hostels to keep the costs down and as a chance to meet other travellers, and since most hostels seem to be drinking and party hostels on the East Coast, and the fact that I'm already in my thirties means that I'm conspicuously older than most other backpackers, I feel that the experience could end up being a very lonely one. In my travels I have met only one other traveller who was (to my knowledge) teetotal, and from what I see of the European backpackers where I currently live in Bondi, it seems that drinking is pretty much a prerequisite to the traveller experience.
I would like to hear the experiences of others, especially those who don't or hardly ever drink. How much does it affect your travel experience? What sort of places do you stay in? Do you still meet people or was it a lonely time? Is the Australian East Coast worth the effort for a non-drinker?
Edited by: benmacdui
Oct 7, 2012 1:41 AM
1I also don't drink alcohol, for the simple reason that I don't like the stuff, and am about 10 years older than you. When I were a lad :-) even students didn't get hammered every time; there were the occasional big nights but most people would just have a few and knew their limits, and you were seen as a laughing stock or a sad case if you got regularly stinking drunk.
sadly this is no longer the case, and it now seems to be the rule that if you can remember a night out, it wasn't a good one. Apart from this being really boring for spectators, if you are in the party hostels you won't get much sleep and the mess and filth can get really nasty. You certainly don't want to be in a dorm with these types.
might be worth seeing if there are places a bit out of the way, or small hostels frequented by the more interesting tourists, the ones who regard alcohol as an accessory to a good time, not the only thing in life. Best bet with the drunken kids is to stay away.
Oct 7, 2012 2:10 AM
Oct 7, 2012 3:44 AM
3Agree with no.2----have stayed in many YHA hostels and not had any drunken hostellers spoiling my experience. The east coast has lots of scenic and exciting places and good hikes as well. You can always buy a beer and a can of lemonade ----ask for 2 glasses and shandies can be made to last you a long long time. I mostly have gone to the pubs to watch sporting events on their sports channels-----at the YHA there is usually someone interested in doing the same and I find there is quite a large mix of ages, so not everyone is a youthful drinker. Hope you have a similar experience.
Oct 7, 2012 6:03 AM
4Beer and Lemonade?....God preserve us.....what an attitude to one of lifes genuine pleasures.
That's as much an abuse of alcohol as drinking til you fall over.
Did you never hear?.....Beer is God's way of telling us he loves us, and God didn't give us Lemonade.
Wine and water is respectful though.
Oct 7, 2012 6:49 PM
5i'm in my 30's and stay in hostels to keep prices down. i just don't stay in dorms. I like my privacy which helps when it comes to places that have a party reputation. That said, usually the smaller the hostel the less party orientated it will be. Also non central hostels are often quieter as well.
Oct 7, 2012 8:43 PM
6This is actually an interesting question. My wife and I are 34 and we are no longer interested in the drinking scene. We did this trip recently and stayed only in hostels (if interested, see our hostel reviews ). Some were more party oriented then others but there is such amazing stuff to see in Aus, we didn't care about people wondering how old we were, etc. You will meet people outside the hostels as well. Another option we tried was couch surfing. There's a great couch surfing culture in Australia.
Oct 13, 2012 5:25 AM
7Agree with Justin23. I stay away from the larger hostels when I can and also, you can usually tell by the ad's what the culture there is like. A phone call to the hostel before booking can be invaluable. I'm 50 and stay in hostels regularly. I've had some wonderful experiences and met some wonderful people, of all ages. I'm certainly not into the drunken party scene and like to retire early and rise early. I've found that if I stay in the less popular hostels, you tend to avoid the 'party' crowd. Travelling during off or shoulder seasons helps, too.
Oct 14, 2012 1:28 AM
Oct 18, 2012 2:15 AM
9Thanks for the replies!
I must admit that I have mixed views about the YHA. They are usually of a high standard and much cleaner but I have noticed that they can either have as much of a party element to them as other hostels (i.e. the YHA Central in Sydney) or be full of noisy schoolkids (YHA Canberra).
I will certainly look for smaller, out-of-the-way hostels and small pubs with accommodation in them.
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