Finnish backpackers' "holiday of a lifetime" turned into an Outback nightmare.

On a dusty highway somewhere between Perth and Western Australia’s largest gold mines lies Coolgardie, a tiny outback town with with pub and, seemingly, not a whole lot else.

When Finnish backpackers Lina and Stephie decided to head to Australia for the “trip of a lifetime” it’s not quite where they expected to end up.

Hoping to recoup travel funds and have an “authentic” Aussie experience, the women landed a gig working as bartenders at the Hotel Coolgardie, which, admittedly, they’d never heard of.

They quickly discovered they were just the latest in a long line of young female employees at the pub where they were used by their boss and abused by the piss-addled patronage.

The locals eagerly anticipating the arrival Lina and Stephie's arrival. Source: Hot Docs

All the drama of their Outback stint was captured on camera and is the subject of Hotel Coolgardie, a documentary currently showing at the Sydney Film Festival.

Labelled "fresh meat" by locals, Lina and Stephie fast learn to deflect the near-constant pick up attempts from pub-goers who make a game out of trying to sleep with them.

"If we have sex it will be bad but it will be very quick," one bar-fly proffers.

At one point the girls are shown a photo album full of naked former-bartenders— the pub has a three-month staff turnover, by the way.

They endure some truly impressive (if occasionally amusing) sexism with just a sprinkle of casual racism.


"What do you eat in Finland? You eat seals and sh*t don't you? Reindeer? Dolphins, seals?" their boss asks one night.

Stephie, unimpressed. Source: Hot Docs

"If we had been in a better economic situation, we would have left the same day we arrived in Coolgardie," Lina told The Brag.

"We were in need of money and had to suck it up and try to keep face so that we could keep our job."

She added the same situation would never happen in Finland, which made it "even harder to try to accept it and to be quiet".

"It felt like we were being objectified, rather than being valued for who we were outside of just being women. Every day we got [told] that we were stupid or dumb as a horse. Little did they know that I have a master’s degree in economics."


A Coolgardie local. Source: Hot Docs

It wasn't all bad, apparently, but Lina said watching the film back was emotional for her.

"I hope that the movie is an eye-opener. I hope that people will understand they … affect other people," she said.

"It was difficult to be in a foreign country, with no money, no family and without any support system. The people we were supposed to rely on were the ones who treated us the worst."

The documentary was filmed several years ago and the pub is now under new management.

It also no longer hires every three months, but that didn't stop Lina giving the Coolgardie Hotel zero stars.

We're guessing Lina won't be making a return visit. Source: Hot Docs