I cant really get into my month in the Cross before briefly explaining what brought me to Australia in the first place. My name is Matt, I’m 25, and I moved here from Southern California in August of last year. Finished school back home (for the most part) got into an industry I loved, and got comfortable at a job. Worked at a… I have an idea, lets skip the boring stuff and get to the meat of this topic. Long story short, I got complacent, panicked, and bought a working holiday visa and a one-way to Sydney with one of my best friends.
So that brings us to “The Cross” Back in the states, we had absolutely no direction as to what we were going to do once we landed. So naturally, we hoped on yelp, and started reviewing hostels in the area, firstly based on price. As we scrolled through the masses, we came across one which shall remain unnamed. (I don’t think its a big deal to release the name? But maybe ill do that on a later post if asked about)
This hostel had REALLY good reviews, and REALLY bad reviews stacked right on top of each other, over and over again. things like
-“if you want to do anything productive or healthy with you day and life, don’t stay here.”
-“This place is a disgusting frat house environment, everyone parties together EVERY night, and nobody sleeps. ever”
-“Don’t bother trying to read, or study, or sleep, or be sober, ever. Not going to happen”
but those types of one star reviews were sliced right between things like,
-“Ive made friends here that i will call family for the rest of my life and love every inch of this place”
-“incredible atmosphere, really welcoming family type environment, life changing stay”
So my buddy and I had a good laugh about it, and figured this kind of sounds like a place we want to check out, “at least for the first couple of days” and booked it.
This post isn’t so much about the hostel as much as it is about the fact that, upon arriving and climbing in our first Australian taxi, we told him that we needed to get to our hostel in Kings Cross, and a shy smile came over the mans face. I’m assuming that most of our readers here are pretty well-traveled, and familiar with Australia. but for those of you that aren’t, we found out very quickly that Kings Cross is a suburb just outside Sydney CBD known for being the Red Light District.
Were talking brothels and strip clubs every 15 meters, with pokies and pubs in between. The city never sleeps, and the “sleep” that does take place, is simply because you’ve blacked out. We were going out 6 and sometimes 7 nights a week, and I don’t mean a couple cheeky beers after dinner. I’m talking 5 story Clubs, underground pubs, concerts, day drinking, yacht parties, rooftop drinking games, it was aggressive and we spent an undisclosed amount of the money we came here with. It was bad.
We obviously didn’t know this at the time, we just immediately associated that level of partying with the Australian and backpacking culture!
It wasn’t until we moved up to Cairns, and then down to the Gold Coast and started speaking to other people about our travels that we realized what we had actually done. The standard exchange would always sound something like this,
“So where have you been so far?”
“Well when we landed, we lived in a hostel in the center of Kings Cross for a month or so…”
and then id try to rush the next part, about moving up to Cairns and the great barrier reef and the warmth and the..
“WAIT HOW LONG WERE YOU IN THE CROSS?!”
and then we’d always share an embarrassing laugh, which was followed by
“holy hell man, yeah usually the Cross is just like a Saturday night thing every once and a while.”
Now as I close, I do want to clarify something really important. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED my time in The Cross and would do it all the same if I had the chance. I am by no means writing this to keep people from visiting The Cross, but that was worded very specifically. VISIT Kings Cross… have a blast, go to Trademark and Soho and World Bar. Get destroyed on teapots. VISIT it, and then go back to where the nights are a touch quieter and prostitutes don’t reach for your hand as you’re walking down the sidewalk for a burger. A must do on working holiday!