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Barossa Backpackers
Reviewed 26 April 2012 via mobile

Stayed at the Barossa Backpackers for just under 2 months after coming after being lured in with an advertisement on his website "15-20 needed for grape picking late Jan/Feb", they may claim to not be in the business of "work placement" but that is as blatent as it gets, plus he always said he just puts you in contact with the contractors but as far as I'm aware that isn't a placement of any sorts.

During my time there I witnessed quite a few things I had never seen in any hostels around the world such as management swearing and shouting at guests, increasing the rent and telling people to deal with it if they don't like, trying to create a witchhunt when someone posted a negative review with this caption under a photo of the review "would the person who wrote this review please see reception or I will track you done with your ip address". All these issues made me feel really uncomfortable at the hostel.

The positives of my stay were I did meet some really good people and I guess I did enjoy playing the PS3 whilst there. But by far the negatives outweigh the positives. The kitchen was far too small for capacity of guests so the managements solution to the problem was to increase the capacity of guests by putting 3 tents out the back and charging for them. There was no ventilation in the kitchen so the fire alarm was always going off and then he tried to charge guests for setting it off. There is no air conditioning in any of the rooms so during the quite hot SA summers it gets roasting inside them.

But the worst thing about the hostel was the manager/owners attitude. In my opinion the man is a bully who is seriously intimidating to other guests. One instance was the infamous weekend when he disappeared leaving no one on reception which meant that I couldn't buy internet time, couldn't hire his beloved bikes and most importantly he couldn't answer the phone to a contractor who was trying to contact him about needing workers but instead of coming back and explaining his actions to his paying guests he treated everyone like scum and put the rent up and told everyone that if they didn't like it there was 5 people waiting to take there beds. Not a sign of a professional or somebody with any level of decorum.

After two months I left to go to a more suitable place as I still had a job I had found through a friend, there were sadly a lot more people in the hostel who had been promised the world in terms of jobs and none of them picked up more than a weeks work.

  • Stayed: January 2012
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18  Thank frodo_91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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18 - 24 of 38 reviews

Reviewed 17 April 2012

What seems as a nice place to stay, clean, new building and verry welcoming management turns out to be a big disaster in a view weeks.

I arrived in the verry beginning somewhere end of january, because the manager/ owner told me that the work / picking season was going to start and the hostel really full was.

me and a friens hurried from melbourne to this hostel and arrived in a really new and clean hostel. however a bit deserted( just a handfull of people..)

the owner told us that the work would start, any day now so we waited, and waited and yes waited even longer.

my friend gave up after 2 weeks and left the hostel to a other place.

i stayed and after 3 weeks the work finally came in. but where was the owner? gone?! ofcourse the staff left for the weekend without telling and we had to figure it out ourselves.

thats not really what i call a "work providing hostel" so the backpackers arranged the work after a week the contracters where pretty pist..

then the hostels roomrates went up you have to pay for clean sheets and every dish you forget to clean cause suddenly the citchen closes really early you have to pay 7 dollars. nice ? are we running a hostel or a prison?

people who had a bad expirience with this hostel and wrote a review without telling there name where chased down at the noticeboard in the hostel. with even a reward for them who knew who it was..

the hostel kept putting false information on in hostels in adelaide with messages as " work place left" " lot of work" when there was no work.. and people made the journey for nothing!

What i really dont like, getting people to a hostel that are desperate for work,money and are willing to do a lot and got expectations. and then like kaboom no work no money nothing just the hostel. thats not how you should treat backpackers.

So beware of this hostel!

  • Stayed: February 2012
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15  Thank bass1731
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Derek H, Manager at Barossa Backpackers, responded to this reviewResponded 20 April 2012

Dear Sebastian,

Thank you for your email review.

I am glad you enjoyed the new facilities the Backpackers had to offer you.

As for work we explained to you that Vintage was delayed for 2 weeks due to weather conditions I am sorry that you feel that we are accountable for that.

When you say the manager was no where to be seen he went away for 4 days to a conference in Melbourne which unfortunately occurred during the start of the delayed vintage. It was just bad timing and we apologies for that.

The kitchen was closed from 10pm - 6am to reduce the impact of fire alarms being sent off by guest cooking at 2:30am intoxicated which has happened before. This caused other guests to complain (see other reviews) so this is why we locked the kitchen at night.

Its a shame that you refer our Backpackers as a "Prison" our records show that you were here for 12 weeks (which you worked 10) so the place can't of been that bad if you stayed for such a long time.

We enjoyed having your here at the backpacker (but not engraving our tables with "BAS 2012")

Our policies are clear on our work placement see our website for further details.

We are looking forward helping more Backpackers find work in 2012

Kind Regards

Management

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Reviewed 10 April 2012

I stayed a couple of nights in March to experience more of the Barossa Valley than a day trip can offer, and it was lovely. The staff were friendly and helpful especially with local information and wonderful stories I really enjoyed talking with Sam and Derry. I loved the freedom of hiring the bikes and really experiencing all the beautiful winieries and scenery for myself. I think if you're not wanting a fun and occasionally loud backpacker crowd then don't stay at a backpackers. I've travelled across Australia and really wished i could have stayed here longer, I can't wait to visit again!!!!!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled solo
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Thank Sybil S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2012

My friend and I were going to stay here in March of 2012. We arrived and lasted about an hour. We had opted for a shared dorm. I have stayed in mixed backpacker dorms quite a bit, including 12 different backpackers in the last month, both here in Australia and New Zealand, including mixed gender dorms, and as a lone traveller. This was the first place that I was genuinely shocked by.

The room was unbelievably messy. Worse than I have seen before. We're talking half empty jars of food, bottles, and a weird mass of purple, crumpled toilet paper on the floor. The bins were overflowing. But I can take that in my stride. What gave my friend and I cause for concern was the large pornographic poster on the wall. On showing us the room (when we were first made aware of the poster) I commented, and Management (I guess from other reviews this must be Derry?) assured us that the owner of the poster was a 'Really nice guy'. After he left we considered this situation. Neither of us are prudish people, I'm all for a little free love. But we were much more uncomfortable with management's attitude than the poster itself. Where is displaying degrading images of women, in a place where women will sleep overnight, appropriate or fun? What else is acceptable here? Why wasn't the poster removed when he was clearly aware of it?

After a quick search for alternative accommodation, and after meeting the owner of the poster, we went to the front desk and cancelled our stay, explaining that we did not feel safe or comfortable. We were offered a different room, but by this stage we had read some reviews (and responses) and knew that if we complained, we could expect our stay to be particularly uncomfortable. The behaviour of the owner of the poster when we met him, also left us quite sure we did not want to be in the same building. We were firmly refused a refund for either of the two nights we had paid for. Management was geniunely shocked we had a problem with this. He said it came 'right out of left field' and he had no idea it was a problem for us. Surprising, because we had only been there an hour. He also said he was 'upfront about it', by which I guess he means that as he opened the door to the room (after we had paid) he had said 'Its a bit of a mess.'

In any case, we left out of pocket but felt it was the best call. Not a nice place, quite frankly.

Oh. Wait. I did get my key deposit back.

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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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11  Thank Zoe C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Derek H, Manager at Barossa Backpackers, responded to this reviewResponded 20 April 2012

Dear Zoe,

I must say how disappointed I am with your experience of the Barossa Backpackers in March 2012.

When we offered you to change rooms you forgot to mention that we offered to upgrade your room which was double the value of the dorm bed you wished to stay in.

I was as surprised as you were on entering the room, and I can assure you the minute you left the offending poster was taken down. We have never had an incident on any woman within our Backpackers accommodation, and 50% of our guests are women.

I think it is only honest to say we have been learning a lot of lessons as we progress through our first year of trading, however we accept total responsibility for your experience.

Your review has made it clear that our systems need changing and in addition to banning any such posters from the Backpackers as a whole, we have instructed our cleaner to remove any such forbidden items from walls.

Our apologies once again.

Barossa Backpackers Management

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Reviewed 29 March 2012

I've stayed at hostels around the world, from Paris, Munich, Naples, London, Chicago, Toronto etc. I know what to expect from a hostel, some hostels you have to pick up the shower door and hold it in place, while pressing a button that shoots water out for 10 seconds - initially freezing cold, and then burning hot! I've stayed at hostels where the walls were moldy and the building looked like it was about to collapse. Backpackers are always a lucky dip in my opinion.
It was a breath of fresh air when I arrived at Barossa Backpackers. The place was clean, with modern facilities and an awesome kitchen. The backpackers also had some great services like bike hire (Which I hadn't seen at a backpackers before), however I didn't need to use the bikes.
I see there are a few bad reviews regarding the owner/manager. I personally didn't have an issue with him, he actually seemed like a good bloke who was genuinely interested in my experiences. I had a conversation with him regarding a few issues with work placements and complaints he has had with other guests. He isn't in the business of work placement, but accommodation, and can act as an intermediary between guests and employers. Guests should be proactive and do their own homework and find their own work, but obviously seek out help if needed. When it comes to work, I never rely on the goodwill of others to find it for me.
If I ever come back to the Barossa, I'd be happy to stay at Barossa Backpackers again, and would recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled solo
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2  Thank Ash V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2012

I recently stayeastor a few nights at Barossa backpackers. As a first timer to Adelaide I found both Derry and Sam to be really helpful and knowledeable in providing information and activities around town. Highlights included hiring bikes and seeing the town (turned out the be the cheapest daily rate) and surrounding vineyards. The facilities and amenities met all our needs and was great value for the budget traveller. Having Chateau Tanunda in the background made for a really enjoyable stay. Definitely recommend for anyone looking for decent accommodation at a reasonable price.

  • Stayed: March 2012
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Thank Picto82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2012

Lets start at the beginning, when I called the owner if he has beds available and if there is workplacement, as well. He told me that he is almost booked out because the work will start soon. So I and some friends went straight away to Tanunda... I
Because of very short receptionhours it was already a problem to find somebody to check-in. It would be just acceptable if there would be at least somebody there during these times. So, a lot people need to wait for check-in, Internet, change for the laundry....
Despite that first impression is the building good. It is very new, clean and nice situated. The beds are comfy and a nice TV-room is there, as well. But the problem is, that there are only fans in the rooms (one fan for a 10 bed-room?) and not enough place to store food, that is why you can never open a fridge without cleaning the floor after that.
During the next days we found out, that there are only 10 others in the hostel (booked out?) and work is far away...
When the first work came in, the owner decided that his hostel is no working Hostel anymore and that we can organise everything by ourselves (although he said after that to new people that he is so busy with organising work...). Luckily, we were such a good group that we were able to organise everything and we could keep the contractors happy and everybody had work at least after three weeks (work starts soon?). Unfortunately, for the next generation there will not be many contacts for them because most of the contractors and farmer know about the owner, that he does not really care about work and if they try to call him they will just get to the answeringmachine. So if you do not have your own contacts for work, you should avoid this place.
The owner was never really concerned about telling the truth and to keep promises. He promised us BBQ (which we organised by ourselves ( he was just there to take pictures for the website), to buy a Minibus for transport (our biggest problem).... You can never trust in what he says!
The biggest Problem, except the work, was the kitchen. If you try to cook your dinner you maybe pay 500$ for it because the fans do not work properly and there is no window. If you are the causer you will see the owner yelling and screaming to you. After that he just diappears for some days.
Especially, for people who just learn English is the communication very easy. As you never see the owner you will just get informed by notes. For example after he gave up his idea to be a working hostel and disappeared for some days we received a note about a rent increase or another example : "...please change your sheets." (which costs you now 4$)
During my stay in this Hostel the situation got worse. At the end he threatened people to kick them out if they talk bad about the hostel. So in general, you were not allowed to say your own opinion.
All in all, this hostel is a nice building and was mostly clean (depends on the cleaner) but the owner knows almost nothing about his business and every suggestion was unwelcome. This was definitly the first hostel where I was afraid to cook my dinner, to ask for something, or just to breathe because that could be the reason for a yelling owner who will kick you out of his hostel!
I never experienced something like that and ,although I was happy to had one of the best hostelcommunity, I never want to be again in such a Hostel!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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8  Thank European92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Barossa Backpackers

Address: 9 Basedow Rd, Tanunda, South Australia 5352, Australia
Region: Australia > South Australia > Barossa Valley > Tanunda
Amenities:
Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 10 Speciality Lodging in Tanunda
Hotel Class:3 star — Barossa Backpackers 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Also Known As:
Barossa Backpackers Barossa Valley/Tanunda, Australia

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