I went to do my 3 months farming at the One Big Family Backpackers in Merbein just outside of Mildura. I checked their website and saw some lovely pictures of the place and was told that “Larry” would be the one running the place. I arrived to see that the place was run down and nothing like the photographs had described it to be. There were holes in the walls, loads of the showers and toilets were broken and the rooms had a serious bedbug infestation.
When I went into the kitchen one of the main fridges were broken and there was only 8 forks which is definitely not enough for 50 people! I was introduced to the place by another backpacker and they explained that the place had been like that for weeks and that Larry always promised to fix it but never did. When I went to do my farm work I was picked up by a man named Pops who was lovely. He himself said that Larry had stopped caring about the place.
The work was awful. We were driven 1 and a half hours to a place where we were pulling on vines covering them with plastic sheets to protect them. Despite working from 6.30 to midday and beyond sometimes I was only paid about 15c a vine which barely covered my rent ($150 a week) and food. Larry wasn’t an unkind or horrible man, however he just doesn’t seem to are about the place he’s running. After staying for a week I decided to leave and I saw many others do the same. I would avoid that hostel at all costs.