Yamba YHA number one
YAMBA’s YHA has been voted overall best hostel in Australia in 2009, according to an online poll of 12,700 guests of the national organisation.
The announcement comes less than 16 months after the hostel opened in the middle of the Yamba CBD.
The hostel is owned and run by the extended Henwood family headed by Christine and Steve who have spent years in the Clarence Valley between Grafton and Yamba.
The couple’s sons Justin and Shane and their wives, Kelly and Melissa respectively, all play a role in the day-to-day running of the trendy backpackers and six of the extended family, including three kids and a dog, live onsite.
Renowned for its bar/cafe The Block, the Yamba YHA has gained a reputation for genuine family service, a fun atmosphere and Shane’s Lonely Planet-rated $10 tour of Yamba – not to mention the three-storey elevated rooftop pool.
Kelly said guests were made to feel a part of the Henwood family and were taken surfing and shown around by ‘the boys’.
“It’s not a monetary thing, it’s a lifestyle ... you meet so many interesting people.”
Asked if she tired of the commitment, Kelly said a wide variety of guests and a great sense of fun kept everyone’s interest high.
“The family put everything on the line for this, so this achievement is quite surreal.”
YHA CEO, Julian Ledger, said the best hostel ratings were hotly contested, and considering the ratings were based on customers’ votes, were widely respected.
“To achieve best in a category, a hostel needs to combine excellence in customer service with great quality facilities and a high attention to detail,” Ms Ledger said.