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“Expensive camping trip!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers

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Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers
2 Koala Place | One Mile Beach, Port Stephens, New South Wales 2316, Australia   |  
Hotel amenities
Sydney, Australia
1 review
“Expensive camping trip!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2011

We used to go camping at Melaleuca all the time when before we were married and had kids. Due to the location and the use of the shared cooking facilities we used to ignore the car noise from the road that goes along the camp site.This was our first trip to try out camping again with our 3 month old baby. And we were very surprised to be charged $18 per night for our baby - the full adult rate!!! So for the three of us to go camping for 2 nights it cost us $108!!! Our friends came along and a couple with a three month old baby (one night), and another friend who had a two year old (two nights). So in total as a group we spent $234 for a weekend camping trip. We could have hired a cabin at that price and saved ourselves the set up and pull down of tents. We were also late checking out and were reminded that check out was 10:30am. On past camping trips at Melaleuca we were told it was ok to stay longer in off peak times as there was no one waiting for our spot. And on Sunday when we were packing up the place was empty. We were very disappointed and won't be going back.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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43 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    24
    11
    5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Newcastle, Australia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2011

Stayed here for a weekend to do a scuba course in Nelson Bay. This place is great. Stayed in one of the six person dorms - comfy bed, room had a good fridge too. Location is brilliant: feels isolated from the rest of the world, surrounded by beautiful bush, two minutes from One Mile. Wish I'd had some more time during the day here to fully appreciate it! Slept well both nights. Definitely isn't a party place, atmosphere is very laid-back and chilled, although many beers and conversation can be had in the main building of an evening. Owners are very friendly and helpful, ran a trip for the others staying there to go sandboarding in the dunes which everyone seemed to have enjoyed.

There is also heaps of wildlife in and around the hostel grounds. There's a resident kangaroo and wallaby as well as lorikeets and other nice birds (and possums, naturally). Saw two koalas just outside grounds, first time I've ever seen ANY in the wild.

For Australians: this is a beautiful, relaxing palce to stay in an awesome location.

For INTERNATIONAL travellers: I think with the whole wildlife thing there should be no doubt in your minds that you should stay here.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Singapore, Singapore
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2011

Hostel with a natural sanctuary setting. Owners Mike and Michelle were very friendly and they briefed us on Port Stephens and the activities that we could do before checking us in.

The place was utterly clean and quiet, and I'm a sucker for wild animals. We often saw wild furry creatures crawling and birds flying (or talking) to us while we were showering. Definitely a unique experience. From what I know, Mike and Michelle also do animal rescue and that's how they adopted the baby kangaroo, Josephine. And there are also wild koalas perched sleepily on Melaleuca trees.

As we were from Singapore, we were quite uncomfortable when we came to know that we cannot lock our doors. It was only a sliding door. Michelle assured us that there has not been any theft committed in their hostel before. For the first night, all of us had to deal with the fear of people opening our doors. Throughout the 2 nights stay, it was all peaceful and one of the best Australia's experiences.

The houses were built with logs and wooden planks. Very sturdy and there wasn't much shrieking sounds coming from the planks. Surprisingly, it was very cosy and only 1 small heater was required. Quilts were sufficient to keep us warm thru the night.

Kitchen was very clean with all the necessary cooking items and utensils required.

Night time at the sanctuary was a little dark for me as the place was only lit by orange bulbs. I have a bit of phobia for darkness so I always kept a touch light with me. But for those who have been though National Service especially guys, would not find it a problem at all.

It was a very unique experience for city-dwellers like me who has seemed to lose touch with nature. I loved this place and hope to return again.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Sydney, Australia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2011

Thats what I can say about the people at Melaleuca, I was with a group of friend and was only able to stay just 1 night, definently not enough time to explore all what is on offer in the area.
The accommodation at Melaleuca was well worth the money, situated in beautiful surroundings and only a 5min walk to the beach.Will definently be back for a much longer time..soon I hope.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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Melbourne, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2011

AMBIANCE: Backpackers/camp sites set amongst bush, with delightful raised wooden pathways between buildings. Tame, resident kangaroo. Lots of birds and crickets and possums. Lovely. //STAFF: Friendly managers. //OVERCROWDING: It felt overcrowded when we were there - difficult to find a car park, had to wait to use single female shower in our block, tiny lounge always packed, noisey at night (past midnight every night), hard to find an available table at dinner time: we ate outside on the covered deck, next to chain smokers. However there were always sufficient kitchen implements, cook tops etc //HYGEINE: Cleanliness of communal toilets, showers & kitchens left alot to be desired, probably because of the number of people. Shower often muddy, sinks scummy, bad smell from sanitary disposal system drifted to our room! Two sinks in kitchen blocked on one night. Stench of rotting food came from over-crowded communal fridge, which barely kept food chilled. // NO FRILLS: Pretty sparse facilities - eg only 1 female toilet in our block, no soap at toilet sinks so we noticed that many hands didn't get washed, no power point for hair dryer in ladies toilet (never mind actual dryers), no chairs inside cabins...// ROOMS: Deluxe Tents came with double air mattress (pretty comfortable), bedding, outside table & chairs and lantern. $70 per night. We were very comfortable there.// Cabin came with bedding, fridge/freezer (useful as main kitchen fridge was full), fan, light, power points (great for charging phones etc), deck with table & chairs and two bunks - one with a double bed on the bottom. Hubby smacked his head on the top bunk several times and it was claustrophobic. As there was a bunk on top, you couldn't sit up in bed to read. Lighting in the room was too dim to do so anyway. There was lots of empty space in the room - the single bed/top bunk would have been better off placed separately. AU$100 a night. // LOCATION: Beautiful grounds, 5 min walk across road & down lane to a patrolled surf beach. Nice. A bit isolated from amenities though. Without a car I'm not sure how we would have gotten to the supermarket on the first night. Apparently there were push bikes for use // PORT STEPHENS: Recommend this area to the max. It was gorgeous and there were many many things to do! My highlight - we took a little boat out for a few hours and wild dolphins swam around us. Main beach/shop areas were crowded with tourists and restaurants very very pricey, so it was good that we could buy and cook our own food - a real benefit of staying in a backpackers. Had a lovely holiday and overall were happy with our picturesque choice of accom. If it had been less busy the same problems may not have been encountered.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2011

I've covered the length and breadth of Australia both as a backpacker and now as a occasional holidaymaker, and this place takes the gold medal for this type of accommodation.

Superb facilities, superb staff and superb surroundings. Didn't meet all 4 owners, but Mick and Michelle are truly the nicest, warmest hosts who are there if you need them, but not in the slightest over-bearing. Lots of respect too for Michelle for the awesome work she does with injured and displaced native wildlife. Only chatted with her briefly on a couple of occasions, but suffice to say the wild animals of Port Stephens have their very own Florence Nightingale on hand, should they ever need her.

Josie the resident kangaroo is gorgeous, and keep an eye out for the wild koalas who live in and all around the grounds - especially the big fella who say by my tent in the moonlight on my last night there, grunting like a beast possessed!

Oh, and it really is just a 5 minute walk from One Mile Beach, and you've got some of the finest other beaches in NSW within 15 minutes in various directions, including the amazing vistas of Stockton Beach to the south and the lovely Shoal Bay to the north.

Go here.

PS - Blokes, watch out for the baby possums who spy on you from the rafters when you're in the shower. Perverts.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Grenoble, France
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2010

Great surroundings, friendly and helpful staff, fantastic place !!!
We stayed only two nights, but will remember the place for ever.
If you plan a visit to Nelson Bay, don't miss that place; they've got everything you need.
You remember the film "Out of Africa"! Here it's "Out of Australia" !!!!
Thanks to the fantastic staff.
Nad & John, the Frenchies

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers

Address: 2 Koala Place | One Mile Beach, Port Stephens, New South Wales 2316, Australia
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Greater Newcastle > Port Stephens
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 30 Specialty Lodging in Port Stephens
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Melaleuca is an architecturally designed adult backpackers retreat set upon 6 acres of natural Australian bushland and located five minutes’ walk from the sparkling waters of One Mile Beach in Port Stephens.The boutique style accommodation has been created using wood and glass to maximise light, space and harmony with nature. Sliding walls open to balconies with views to the stars, stay in a cabin or camp out in bushland with the local wildlife.A tranquil property in a natural bush setting with accommodation ranging from cabins, dormitory rooms, car free camp ground, tent hire (Dec-Apr)and Kombi van sites.For our guests the magnificent main building houses double kitchens, with all crockery and cutlery, a lounge area with Wi-Fi and internet access, television and DVD. Decked areas surround with tables, chairs and free barbecues. A laundry and clothes line is available for guests.If you’re looking for some fun try one of the Melaleuca tours; including a sand boarding adventure or relax on the winery and brewery tour.Only 3 minutes drive to the village of Anna Bay and the amazing Stockton Bight sand system in Worimi Conservation Lands; the largest moving Sand mass in the Southern hemisphere; or 7 minutes drive to beautiful Nelson Bay, we are the only hostel to operate an animal rehabilitation facility on site. We are also home to a large variety of native wildlife including Koala's, birds, sugar gliders and possums. Plenty to see and do, don't forget your camera. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers South Pacific/Port Stephens, Australia

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