One of my favourite places to stay in Western Australia in recent years has been the Baywatch Manor in Augusta. Frequently voted the best YHA hostel in Australia, it is much more than you might expect from backpacker accommodation ... and has a wonderful bakery nearby.
I began staying there soon after the purpose built two-level building was opened in 1995. What first appealed to me was the location - centrally sited in a quiet part of the small town's main street, with views over Flinders Bay (hence the Baywatch name). Just as appealing was the presence, only two minutes walk from the hostel, of the Augusta Bakery Cafe - my favourite eating place in southwest WA.
Next to impress me was the standard of the the place. Clean and comfortable are over-used words in accommodation literature, but they really do apply here. Spacious, tastefully decorated and well equipped are also accurate descriptions.
Sleeping quarters include shared dormitory rooms, twin, double and family rooms, plus the en-suite rooms which have the best views. Most rooms make use of the pleasant shared bathrooms. Downstairs are the communal dining area, kitchen, and lounge/TV room - nicer and more roomy than what most hostels provide.
The kitchen is particularly well equipped for those who like to keep costs down by self catering - something usually not possible in more expensive accommodation. Although with the bakery so close at hand, I confess I haven't used Baywatch's kitchen as much as I should have!
The original owners, Neville and Jane, provided the friendliness and good management that made good accommodation truly great. I haven't been to Augusta as much since new owners took over, but the standards at Baywatch Manor appear to be just as high. My only complaint - and it's only a small one - is that the mattresses are of the dense foam rubber variety rather than proper spring mattresses. You can't have everything in budget accommodation.
Like most coastal spots, Augusta is very busy in the summer holiday period. At other times, it is a much quieter alternative to Margaret River and other tourist towns further north, largely because it is further from Perth. For anyone looking to explore the region from a comfortable but economical base - with views and a great bakery nearby - I can recommend Baywatch Manor at Augusta.
Baywatch Manor - more information about the hostel