The Golden Backpack Award ceremony, held last Friday, the 8th of November was the culmination of months worth of vote tallying and organisation. 

During an nine-week online campaign, backpackers voted for their favourite Hostel and Tour/Activity in every state and territory in Australia and across the Tasman for the New Zealand awards.

Almost 94,000 votes were recorded from 23,000 individual voters with one award category receiving a whopping 2,400 votes alone.

The night itself was a great success, with the beautiful Sofitel Sydney Wentworth’s grand ballroom proving the perfect venue to hold this increasingly prestigious event and the only one of its kind in the backpacker and adventure tourism industry. 

The event was compered wonderfully by the incomparable former footballer, turned television personality and Aussie lamb spokesperson, Sam Kekovic, who masterfully kept the room in-check with his hilarious anecdotes and snappy one-liners. 

Now, without further ado, the winners and all finalists from the 2013 Golden Backpack Awards. 

All the finalists are written as normal, the category winners are written in bold italics and, as a result of being hyperlinked, appear in red

State Awards

Queensland Awards:

Best hostel finalists: Gilligan’s, Bunk Backpackers, Halse Lodge, Base Magnetic Nomads Airlee 

Best tour/activity finalists: AJ Hacket Cairns, Passions of Paradise, Skydive Australia, Cairns and Mission Beach, Atlantic Clipper Drop Bear Adventures

New South Wales Awards:

Best hostel finalists: Wakeup!, Bounce Sydney, Base Sydney, Nomads Byron Bay Sydney Harbour YHA

Best tour/activity finalists: Skydive Australia, Byron Bay, Ozintro, Ultimate OZ, Downunder Adventures Mojo.

Tasmania Awards: 

Best hostel finalists: Central City, The Pickled Frog Backpackers, Bicheno Backpackers, YHA Hobart Arthouse Launceston

Best tour/activity finalists: Adventure Tours, Taste of Tasmania, Jump Tours, Under Downunder, Wayoutback Cradle Mountain Canyon Tours. 

Northern Territory awards: 

Best hostel finalists: Toddy’s Backpackers, Annie’s Place, Melalueca on Mitchell, YHA Darwin Haven Resort.

Best tour/activity finalists: Wayoutback, The Rock Tour, Mulga’s, Groovy Grape Adventure Tours.

Western Australia Awards: 

Best hostel finalists: Billabong Resort, Old Swan Barracks, Perth YHA, Emperors Crown Witch’s Hat.

Best tour/activity finalists: Western Xposure, Aussie Wanderer, Nullabor Traveller, Adventure Tours: Perth to Broome Ningaloo Whale Shark Swim.

Victoria Awards:

Best hostel finalists:  Habitat HQ, Base St Kilda, Melbourne Metro YHA, Nomads Melbourne Urban Central.

Best tour/activity finalists: Autopia Tours Great Ocean Road, Wildlife Tours, Bunyip Tours, Groovy grape, Adventure Tours: Melb-Syd-Adl

South Australia Awards:

Best hostel finalists: Port Lincoln YHA, Adelaide Central YHA, Backpack OZ, Shakespeare Backpackers Traveller Inn Backpackers. 

Best tour/activity finalists: Groovy Grape: Barrossa, Nullabor Traveller, Calypso Star Charters, Swim with the Tuna Kangaroo Island Adventure Tours.


Australian National Awards

Best Backpacker Night: Australia finalists: Birdees, Scubar, Gilligan’s, Full Moon Downunder, The Woolshed

Best Transport Company Finalists: Firefly, Queensland Rail, Great Southern Rail, Premier Way , Greyhound.

Best Tour Company Finalists: Adventure Tours Australia, Wildlife Tours, Drop Bear Adventures, Autopia Tours Mojo. 

Best Car/Campervan Rental finalists: Spaceships, Traveller Autobarn, Might Campers, Jucy Rentals Hippie Camper. 

Best Backpacker City/Region finalists: Sydney, Cairns, Gold Coast, Noosa, Byron Bay. 

Best Hostel Australia: Halse Lodge, Noosa.

New Zealand National Awards

Best Hostel – New Zealand: Base Wanaka, Base Queenstown, Nomads Queenstown, Jucy Hotel Haka Lodge, Christchurch.

Best Tour/Transport Company – New Zealand: Stray, Haka Tours, Kiwi Experience, Topdeck Naked Bus.

Best Activity – New Zealand: Black Water Rafting, Shotover Canyon Swing, Jucy Cruize, Tamaki Maori Village AJ Hacket Bungy.

Best Backpacker Night – New Zealand: Blend Bar, Altitude Bar, Globe Bar, Camel Bar Big Night Out, Queenstown.

Best Car/Camper Rental – New Zealand: Jucy Rentals, Mighty Campers, Spaceships, Escape Rentals Wicked Campers NZ.


General Awards

Best large travel agent: Peterpans Adventure Travel, Backpacker World Travel, Base Travel, Mad Travel, Tribal Travel Adventure Travel Bugs

Best small travel agent:, Travel Bugs – Urban Central, TravelUp!, Gilligan’s Travel Duck Travel.

Best Recruitment Service: Job Shack Darwin, Travellers At Work, Happy Travels, Job Search Australia Australian Backpacker Jobs.

Best Indigenous Cultural Experience: Tamaki Maori Village, Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, Kakadu Dreamtime Safari Daintree Dreaming.

Best Online Only Booking Website:,, HostelZoo, Hostel World

Congratulations to all the winners as well as the nominees! Keep your eyes peeled for a big album of photographs from the night which will soon be posted on the Backpacker Trade News Facebook page