CAMPSITE # 167 - Southern Cross Backpackers, 1770 QLD

Naming a town after a year, now there’s an interesting approach. Was it just laziness that drew Cook to give it its name? Perhaps he was so fed up with trying to be creative when naming his discoveries? Or maybe there was some sort of insight into its naming – either way, the town name of “1770” surely is a difficult one to forget.  It got me thinking about strange names of places that we’ve come across on during our journey –

Deadman Creek, NSW - was a body lying in a gully the result of its name?
Alligator River - Kakadu, NT – Now this one was named after sighting prehistoric reptiles in the water that they assumed to be an alligators but then later discovered to be crocodiles.
Chinaman’s Knob, VIC – Does it speak for itself?
Dismal Swamp, TAS – Which contrary to its name, was far from dismal.
Murder Point Rifle Range, QLD – Yep! Actually exists, don’t think we’ll be going there in a hurry.
The End of the World, TAS – Really does feel like the point at the end of the world. If you were to travel directly west from “The End of the World” the next continent you would reach is South America.
Useless Loop, WA – Just off from Monkey Mia, we didn’t take that road.

I'd been to 1770 just once before, as a quick stopover during a road trip to Airlie Beach. I remembered it to be a quiet coastal town just at the beginning of a major tourist boom. Aside from a few dozen modern mansions erected in the last 4 years, it was still the 1770 I remembered it to be. Last time I went there, it was during the peak season so to no great surprise we had a very rough time trying to find accommodation due to our lack of pre-planning. I was distraught four years ago when we tried to check into the Southern Cross Backpackers and were turned away because they were fully booked. I desperately wanted to stay there. Second time round, I was determined to not set myself up once again for disappointment.

Southern Cross Backpackers in 1770 is without a doubt the BEST backpackers both Tom & I have ever seen. It's located 2km out of town, and seemed to me to feel more like a rustic bush retreat with a touch of funk. Let me paint a picture for you of our first 2minutes of our arrival.

Take the turn off at the blue VW combi parked out the front - always a sign of some happy hippies in residence.

Follow the long driveway into a paddock of luscious green grass meeting an man made dam covered in white water lillies.

 Park up next to the golden fern palm trees and colourful Bali flags blowing in the wind.

Walk alongside the sparkling blue backyard pool and gaze over towards the good looking people (insert gender preference here) lazing about in there togs under the glow of hot summer sunshine.

Enter a glorified shed decorated in foreign flags, comfy lounges while listening to funky music you've never heard but already want to jump straight onto itunes and download a copy for yourself.

Find yourself increasing your intended one night stay to three nights when you learn you can setup camp on the grass out the back and use all of their facilities for just $13 per person per night.

Finally! Somewhere we could camp with people that we were closer to their age of than their own grandchildrens'. People we could relate to and share stories of our world travels. Finally, somewhere to drink in public at seriously reasonable prices. 

We broke out the damper, and sat around the campfire socialising and sharing our Aussie bread...

And then, it was time to do as the backpackers do, get really cheap deals on all of the local attractions. Would you believe, that there is still a place in the whole of a Australia that you can join a small group of other beginners for a 3 hour Learn To Surf lesson for $17 per person at Reef 2 Beach Surf!! Holy moly that is CHEAP!! That includes board and wet suit hire. We had an absolutely fantastic time, to a point where we were so disappointed we hadn't learnt to surf at the START of the trip!!!

Meet Patrick, he's our new friend that suggested we all went surfing together. We have Patrick to thank for our full day of awesomeness!! Patrick is from Ireland and has taken a year off to see as much of the world as humanly possible. He also has a blog you can check out at 

Perfect learn-to-surf conditions resulted in Tommy and I riding those waves like we were the next Mick Fanning...

And then Tom decided to start showing off by surfing backwards...

And then the man and his dog decided to start showing off...

By the completion of three days in the life of a backpacker, I was ready to return to our old life. 72 hours of funky music blaring through the shed that no longer felt glorified was beginning to give me a headache. Cooking three dinners amongst the pig sty left behind by grubs that wouldn't wash their own dishes made me concerned for our hygiene. Standing in the kitchen watching three youths 'meditating' to the water on the stove to make it boil faster just made me roll my eyes. Showering in a unisex bathroom while an American in the cubicle next door was busy trying to suss me out in the hopes of sharing one cubicle to 'save water' and I had just about had enough.
Time to return to our old life, just the three of us - Tom, the Troopie and I. At least for the next very small handful of campsites remaining.

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