While there’s a lot to see and do in Australia, there’s no getting around the fact that you’ll spend about a third of your Aussie adventure sleeping. You’ll need to find somewhere to lay your head each and every night, and the choice of accommodation can have a far greater effect on their Down Under experience than many backpackers realise.
Offering both discount beds and opportunities to socialise, hostels are a backpacker’s best friend. And with its established tourist infrastructure, Australia is home to some of the very best in the world. Looking for a boutique experience? The cheapest of the cheap? A place to sit back and relax? Perhaps somewhere to kick up your heels and party. No matter what your preference, there’ll be a hostel here for you.
So going state-by-state, let’s take a look at a few of the very best hostels in Australia, scattered across every part of this wide brown land.
Best Hostel in Australian Capital Territory
Canberra City YHA, Canberra
The Australian capital of Canberra is best known for politics and national museums, and after a day of cramming your head full of information, there’s no better place to lay your now-full noggin than Canberra City YHA. An awesome location right in the centre of the action means that you can see and do everything that the capital offers, while the friendly staff are always eager to make recommendations.
Best Hostels in New South Wales
A beachside resort without the beachside resort price tag; the Wake Up! Byron Bay proposition is a tempting one. This hostel is perfectly modern and minimalist, exuding the hip, beachy vibes that the area as a whole is known for. Events are held by the hostel every night, allowing backpackers to mingle, while the crisp white sands and crashing waves of Belongil Beach are just two minutes’ walk away.
Aquarius Backpackers, Byron Bay
A Byron Bay institution, Aquarius Backpackers enjoys the primest of prime locations in the middle of downtown Byron, while also being a stone’s throw from Main Beach. If you’re looking for fun, this place has it by the bucketload – guests spend all day hanging by the pool, on the sunny rooftop terrace and at the indoor bar, while spacious rooms ensure revellers get a comfortable night’s sleep.
Aussitel Backpackers, Coffs Harbour
Across the road from Coffs Creek and a short walk from Jetty Beach, Aussitel Backpackers is a fun, vibrant hostel with a real sense of community. Colourful rooms, a well-equipped kitchen and a pool surrounded by awesome graffiti are some of the in-house highlights, while the free surfboards ensure you’ll have plenty of fun outside too!
Blue Mountains Backpacker Hostel, Katoomba
Blue Mountains Backpacker Hostel is located right in the heart of the stunning mountain range that borders the west of Sydney. This is a relaxed establishment in a relaxing part of the world; a place where you’ll enjoy all the cosy comforts of home, while gazing across the blue haze rising up from the Eucalypt forests. You’ll also be hard pressed to find a hostel with staff more friendly and helpful than here!
Doing the fundamentals right. That’s what has seen Wake Up! Sydney become one of the city’s most popular hostels. Location: awesome (right next to Central Station). Staff: friendly. Facilities: brand new and plentiful. Activities: every single day. Vibe: fun. With a generous bar and on-site café, this is the perfect base to return to after a full day of sightseeing. Wake Up! Sydney is a big hostel that feels so much more intimate.
Location, location, location; one glance out your dorm window will demonstrate the quality of the land on which Sydney Harbour YHA sits. Almost every room of this incredible hostel offers views of the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge or both. But far from a one trick pony, here you’ll also be treated to super modern kitchens and bathrooms, and plenty of opportunities to socialise.
The most famous beach in Australia is where every self-respecting backpacker will head after they’ve seen the sights of the Sydney CBD, and Bondi Beach Backpackers has been servicing the traveller community for years. If you like free stuff, you’ll love this hostel: free meal and wine nights are a constant throughout the week, and surfboards, bodyboards, skateboards and snorkels are all totally free to use!
More top NSW hostels:
- Arts Factory Lodge, Byron Bay
- Nomads Byron Bay
- Backpackers HQ, Sydney
- Mad Monkey Hostel, Coogee
- Yamba YHA, Yamba
Down Under Hostel, Darwin
After undergoing a renovation in 2019, Down Under Hostel is back better than ever. Overlooking a park, and with indoor and outdoor kitchens, a small pool, an outdoor entertainment area and particularly fun-loving staff, this is the sort of place that backpackers tend to book for two days and stay for two weeks. The free breakfast and laundry services don’t hurt either!
Alice’s Secret Travellers Inn, Alice Springs
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Alice Springs, the capital of Australia’s red centre, Alice’s Secret does indeed feel hush-hush – like the sort of thing you have to hear about from a friend. This boutique hostel does absolutely everything right; the backyard (featuring a huge pool) is stunning, the kitchen areas are monstrous, the place is always sparkling, and the hosts make you feel at home from the instant you walk in the door.
More top NT hostels:
Daintree Crocodylus, Cow Bay
Sounding more like an ancient reptile than a place to rest your head, the uniqueness of Daintree Crocodylus doesn’t end at the name. Located within the world’s oldest rainforest, this is less a hostel than an experience, allowing you to get up close and personal with Australia’s tropical flora and fauna. 21 acres of pristine rainforest is yours to explore, with a luxury safari hut welcoming you back at the end of every day.
Coral Beach Lodge, Port Douglas
This hostel is the perfect encapsulation of the friendly, tropical vibes that Far North Queensland is famous for. Located in the heart of Port Douglas, Coral Beach Lodge is a stone’s throw from the beach and the reef, making it the perfect launching pad for your tropical adventures. This place is ultra-comfy, with recent renovations seeing bar fridges, lockable units, hanging spaces, private bathrooms, full-length mirrors and hair dryers added to every room.
Travellers Oasis, Cairns
It could be seen as a brave move to call yourself a ‘traveller’s oasis’, but this eclectic hostel doesn’t just meet the promise of its name, it exceeds it. A charming, boutique, cosy and clean experience is on offer here – one where socialising comes naturally; where the vibe is more share house than hostel. The pool, the hammocks and the opportunity to grill and chill outdoors all add to the homely atmosphere.
Located across the road from the sand of Airlie Beach, the gateway to the Whitsundays, Nomads offers backpackers a five star location for an excellent price. The pool lounge and bar are the obvious highlights of this hostel, and are well utilised on a daily and nightly basis. If you’re looking for a tranquil Whitsundays retreat, perhaps look elsewhere, but if you’re on the hunt for fun, you’ve found it.
Magnums Backpackers & Hostel, Airlie Beach
Walking around the Magnums site you probably wouldn’t guess that you’re right in the heart of Airlie Beach, such is the greenery. Offering the yin to Nomads’ yang, this is a far more tranquil hostel, perfect for those who want a more private and relaxed experience. That’s not to say that Magnums isn’t social and fun though; the lush common areas tend to bring travellers together, so you’ll be sharing plenty of laughs!
Backpackers @ 1770, Agnes Water
Oscar, the owner of Backpackers @ 1770, brought a healthy amount of travel experience to the table when he decided to create his own hostel. The result is a cosy, artsy, and picture-perfect establishment where travellers feel at home from the moment they arrive. Located a short walk from Agnes Water Main Beach, be sure to take advantage of the hostel’s famous Stay and Surf deal!
With Fraser Island sitting on many a backpacker’s must-see list, Hervey Bay is a common stop for the east coast traveller, and there’s no better place to rest your weary head than Flashpackers Hervey Bay. Two blocks back from beautiful Torquay Beach, Flashpackers offers affordable luxury. The price is made even better after the sun sets, when you’ll be offered free wine and cheese, free ice cream, free pancakes or, if you get there on the right night, a free barbecue!
Noosa Flashpackers, Sunshine Coast
Noose Flashpackers sets itself apart from other hostels in the area with what it doesn’t charge for. Breakfast: free. Courtesy bus: free. Surfboard and boogie board hire: free. Cheese and wine on Monday, and barbecue on Friday: free and free. The facilities are exactly as flash as the name suggests too: a swimming pool, glorious showers and relaxing communal areas make this feel more like a luxury resort than a hostel.
Found in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane’s vibrant late night district, the fun dials up to 10 at Bunk. This hostel features beautifully appointed common areas, including a spectacular pool, and Birdees, an award-winning backpacker and student bar. If you’re looking for a Brisbane hostel in the centre of it all, look no further.
Down Under Hostel, Surfers Paradise
Down Under Hostel is the perfect base from which to enjoy the fun and sun of Surfers Paradise. Two blocks from both the beach and famous Cavill Avenue, you’ll be right in the centre of the action. The hostel offers a suite of free services, including laundry, breakfast and the use of a pool table, and boasts a seven night clubbing schedule that will ensure you get the most Gold Coast experience possible.
More top QLD hostels:
- On the Wallaby Lodge, Yungaburra
- Asylum, Cairns
- Dreamtime Travellers Rest, Cairns
- Gilligan’s, Cairns
- Tropic Days Backpackers, Cairns
- Scotty’s Mission Beach YHA
- Base, Magnetic Island
- 1770 Southern Cross Backpackers, Agnes Water
- Dolphin’s Beach House, Sunshine Coast
- Beach Hostel Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast
- Brisbane City YHA
- Bunk Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
- Surf N Sun, Gold Coast
Best Hostels in South Australia
The Old Mount Gambier Gaol, Mount Gambier
While your parents might not be thrilled that you’ve spent the night in the slammer, they’ll understand why as soon as you jump on Facetime. It turns out that turning the Old Mount Gambier Gaol into a luxury backpackers was a brilliant idea, particularly the way that the owners have managed to execute it. All light, bright, airy and friendly, this is one of Australia’s finest and most unique hostel experiences.
Backpack Oz, Adelaide
A faithful servant of the backpacking community for decades, Backpack Oz is located in the middle of the Adelaide CBD, within striking distance of all the hotspots. The bar, pool table and regular roster of events makes this the perfect place to meet new people on your travels. If you’re looking for a stay that is friendly, sociable, clean and safe, Backpack Oz is the ideal choice.
More top SA hostels:
- Tequila Sunrise Hostel, Adelaide
Best Hostels in Tasmania
Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse, Hobart
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d wandered into a period drama at this boutique Hobart establishment, such is the timber finery that’ll greet your eyes. A multi-award winning hostel, this place is gorgeously appointed; whether you’re looking at the linen, the antique furnishings or the spectacular deck, everything will have you thinking that you should be paying far more than you actually are!
The Pickled Frog, Hobart
In a building older than the city of Melbourne and the entire state of South Australia, with exposed stone walls, leather bound chairs and the cosiest of atmospheres, The Pickled Frog is a Tasmanian backpacking staple. Apart from the warm, friendly and rustic vibes, perhaps the best feature of The Pickled Frog is the fact that it offers free day trips to the sights of Hobart, saving guests real cash!
More top TAS hostels:
- The Nook Backpackers, Hobart
Best Hostels in Victoria
United Backpackers, Melbourne
Boasting a prime location across the way from Flinders Street Station, United Backpackers is a fresh face on the Melbourne hostel scene, and one that’s making quite the splash. Modern, bubbly and sparkling clean, guests enjoy a large designer kitchen, a basement bar and an awesome underground chill lounge. United is the perfect place to both relax in Melbourne, and explore Australia’s cultural hub.
The Nunnery, Melbourne
Cool, funny and oh so Melbourne, the Nunnery is arguably the Victorian capital’s most famous hostel. A gorgeous old building has been appointed with equally gorgeous interior design, particularly the antique furnishings. This place doesn’t take itself too seriously; wandering the halls you’ll notice The Nunnery’s distinct brand of humour, one that caters to the quirkier guest.
Landing Pads Brunswick, Melbourne
Selling themselves as ‘Melbourne’s best little hostel’, the team at Landing Pads have cornered the market for boutique, intimate, longer term backpacker accommodation. If you’re looking for a place to settle down for a while, or to help you while you find your feet in Melbourne and search for a permanent home, you can’t do better. Landing Pads is less a hostel than it is one big family.
Space Hotel, Melbourne
If you’d like a hostel bed with a side of fun, there’s perhaps no better accommodation option in all of Melbourne than Space Hostel. Most famous for its rooftop terrace and pool – lovingly called the Space Deck – guests also enjoy an on-site gym, a huge industrial kitchen and plenty of places to rest and relax. And once you’ve lined your stomach, head down to the Blue Moon Karaoke Bar to test your voice against your fellow backpackers!
More top VIC hostels:
- The Mansion, Melbourne
Best Hostels in Western Australia
Beaches of Broome, Broome
A resort? A backpacker hostel? Why not both? Beaches of Broome, located on the coast of Australia’s remote northwest corner, offers accommodation that caters to all budgets, from dorms to private suites. Just 250m from stunning cable beach, the location is almost as spectacular as the welcome is warm. A gorgeous pool with a fully licensed bar are this establishment’s headline acts.
The Shiralee Hostel, Perth
Found right in the heart of Perth, the capital of Western Australia, The Shiralee has the best logo of any Australian hostel. The coolness doesn’t stop there; the simple black and white aesthetic, with graffiti covering many of the walls, makes this place a favourite of the Instagram crowd. And the non-decorative stuff is just as good – an industrial kitchen, a herb garden and three separate outdoor areas are just a couple of the highlights.
Fremantle Prison YHA, Fremantle
The second former prison on this list (are you okay Australia?) provides an experience far removed from that endured by its original ‘guests’. In the years since YHA have taken over Fremantle Prison they’ve converted it into a beautiful, luxurious and not at all creepy hostel that has earned rave reviews from the majority of guests. It’s not every day that you’re offered the chance to stay in UNESCO World Heritage listed accommodation, so why not take it?
1849 Backpackers, Albany
Located in the heart of Albany, overlooking the gorgeous Princess Royal Harbour, 1849 Backpackers allows you to treat yourself, without treating yourself. This place is spacious – a large courtyard, generous kitchen, and dorms with enough space to swing a cat make for a particularly comfortable stay. There’s even enough room for a small football pitch and volleyball court!
More top WA hostels: