A good source of detailed information about budget services is the new third edition of the "Australia and New Zealand Backpackers Guide." The 248-page book, which focuses on the types of services young travelers need, covers where to stay, what to see, getting around, where to eat, nightlife and entertainment.
A new feature of this edition is advice on finding work in Australia. It includes suggestions for where and when to find seasonal employment.
There are two drawbacks to this book, however. One is its size, which is similar to a thin telephone directory, making it fine for pre-trip research but impractical for carrying on the road. The other is that only nine of its 248 pages focus on New Zealand.
For a copy, write Thomson Media Group Pty, Suite 3, 2nd Floor, 575 Pacific Highway, St. Leonards, Sydney, New South Wales 2065, Australia. Cost is $4, plus $8 for air mail postage. Funds should be sent by postal money order.
American Youth Hostels officially opened its first youth hostel on the Big Island of Hawaii on Aug. 25. A 48-bed facility, the hostel provides dormitory-style accommodations for $12 per person per night.
Couples and family rooms are also available. The Hilo Bay Hostel is about two miles from the downtown district and offers a view of the 13,800-foot Mauna Kea volcano. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is 30 miles south.
For details, contact Hilo Bay AYH-Hostel, 311 Kalanianaole Ave., Hilo, Hawaii 96720-4740, (808) 935-1383.
The only other AYH youth hostels in Hawaii are both located on Oahu.
The Honolulu International AYH-Hostel is at 2323A Sea View Ave., Honolulu, (808) 946-0591. It's a 15-minute bus ride from Waikiki. The rate is $8.50 per night; unpaid reservations are held until 5:30 p.m.
The Hale Aloha AYH-Hostel is at 2417 Prince Edward St., two blocks from Waikiki Beach. Call (808) 926-8313. Dormitory accommodations are $11.50 per night, and unpaid reservations are held until 6 p.m.
Although there are no age restrictions at AYH hostels, most guests are in their late teens and early 20s. Lodgers may be required to rent or supply a sheet sleeping bag, and to contribute to the hostel upkeep by doing a small chore.
Those who are not AYH members can purchase an introductory membership card for $3, good for one night at most hostels. This charge can be applied toward purchase of a full membership.
Elsewhere in the Pacific, although Fiji doesn't have any AYH-affiliated youth hostels, a few resorts reserve small dormitories for rental to young backpackers.
The way to find out about such facilities is by word of mouth from other travelers, through guidebooks such as "Fiji--A Travel Survival Kit" by Rob Kay (Lonely Planet, $11.95), and through the annual handbook issued by the New Zealand Youth Hostel Assn.
Each year, the New Zealand group researches and recommends about five resorts, which offer special dormitory rooms, on the island of Viti Levu--where international flights land.
Fiji recommendations are listed at the end of the New Zealand Youth Hostel Handbook, which is available at youth hostels in New Zealand, or at the YHA Travel Centers at 36 Customs St. in Auckland.