THE only surprise backpacker Julian Bleyh saw in travelFREAK's Australia's 10 Best Backpacker Cities list was that Yamba came second to Sydney.

"I can't see Sydney in front," Julian said.

SECOND BEST: Yamba YHA owners Kellie and Melissa Henwood with some of Yamba’s many approving visitors.
SECOND BEST: Yamba YHA owners Kellie and Melissa Henwood with some of Yamba’s many approving visitors. Adam Hourigan

"I've been there as well and I enjoy here so much more. It's so much more relaxed."

Julian, 20, is a forklift driver in Bavaria, Germany and is up to his fourth month in Yamba.

He said the beaches, chilled vibe and the family feel at Yamba YHA made the town his perfect destination.

"You can join this family so easily," he said.

"The backpackers is like a family overseas for me now."

Julian also visited Byron Bay, which held his interest for four days instead of four months.

"I like Byron Bay as a town, it is quite relaxed.

"But there are way too many tourists. In Yamba you get closer to the locals.

"Byron is good for a couple of days."

One of Yamba YHA's owners Melissa Henwood said she was surprised Yamba ended up so high on the travelFREAK list.

"We just bring them here, they are staying here because of Yamba," Melissa said.

"We were number two and Byron Bay was fifth. We are proud of ourselves and of Yamba."

Melissa said despite Yamba's rising popularity she did not see the town losing its laid-back style.

"Come winter, Yamba is a ghost town," she said.

"It will never be another Byron Bay.

"Yamba started as a sleepy beach town based on fishing. The community want it to stay exactly the same."

 

TOP 10 AUSTRLIAN BACKPACKER CITIES

1) Sydney

2) Yamba

3) Melbourne

4) Adelaide

5) Byron Bay

6) Fremantle

7) Darwin

8) Airlie Beach

9) Surfers Paradise

10) Cairns



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