Australia is not a cheap destination and finding affordable accommodation around the country can be a real challenge. So it’s no wonder that many travelers, not just backpackers, are finding themselves looking into hostels for their accommodation in Australia.
Planning a Trip in the time of COVID?Keep in mind that information found in this article may have been impacted by travel restrictions and other closures. Double check opening hours, tour providers and hotel status before you go. And don't leave your home without travel insurance! If you are looking for an insurance provider that covers COVID-19, we recommend SafetyWing. Get Medical and Travel Insurance starting at just $40/month and you can sign up even if your trip has already started!
Over the years of travels in Australia, we have stayed in a number of hostels across the country, but it wasn’t until our recent trip that we discovered the best hostel chain in the country – YHA Australia
About YHA Hostels
YHA Australia is a well-known hostel chain in Australia that provides affordable and sustainable accommodation options. There are over 70 different YHA hostel locations across Australia and their parent organization, Hostelling International, boasts more than 3,500 hostels worldwide.
YHA is membership-based, meaning that after your first stay in one of the YHA hostels in Australia, you will automatically become a member and have access to special discounts on things like tours, travel items, and insurance.
Sustainability at YHA
One of our favourite things about YHA Australia and the reason why we think the YHA is the best hostel chain in Australia is their commitment to sustainability.
The hostels are committed to reducing their impact on the environment and raising awareness of the benefits of low-impact travel, so it’s a chain we can definitely get behind!
YHA Australia has been recognized as a Silver Partner in the NSW Government Sustainability Advantage program. They work on a number of sustainable projects in the areas of water and energy conservation, recycling, and waste management. In addition, they contribute to the Sustainable Hostels Fund and match donations from their guests.
Each hostel in the YHA network has its own sustainability agenda, with many working on a number of conservation and sustainability initiatives.
Benefits of Staying in a YHA Hostel
Not Just For Backpackers
Hostels have a reputation for being party centers reserved exclusively for young people, but our experience staying in YHA hostels across Australia proved that this doesn’t have to be the case.
YHA hostels host guests of all ages, some even allow children, and offer many comforts that non-backpackers will appreciate such as fully equipt kitchens, inviting common areas, and above all, clean bedrooms and bathrooms.
We have bumped into travelers of all ages and walks of life during our time staying in YHA hostels and were happy to see that the crowd isn’t just limited to young backpackers.
Private Rooms in YHA Australia hostels are perfectly set up for couples looking for a comfortable yet affordable accommodation option!
Few hostels in Australia have better locations than YHA hostels! There are multiple YHA hostel locations in every major city in Australia as well as in other lesser known destinations across the country.
You’ll often find them right in city centers, next to railway stations, next to main attractions, or right by the ocean! For us, central location is one of the main draws to staying in a hostel vs a hotel!
Hostels have a reputation of being dirty and chaotic, but YHA hostels surpass all expectations when it comes to cleanliness and facilities.
The bathrooms are spotless, the kitchens are well equipped, and there are even laundry machines where you can wash your clothes on site. Best of all, many of the hostels also have beautiful pools.
While many hostels organize events such as walking tours or pub crawls, YHA really goes above and beyond with the tours they offer.
They have hundreds of different activities to choose from that range from free things to do in the city to full week expeditions. There are food tours, hiking adventures, road trips, surf lessons, and even the chance to climb up the Syndey Harbor Bridge.
The activities are usually well priced and are guaranteed to be a good time, so you can see all of Australia by hopping from one YHA Australia location to another and joining YHA activities and tour along the way.
Part of the YHA Australia mission is to foster community and friendships and the comfortable common rooms and outdoor areas at the YHA provide the perfect places for that.
There is always a lot going on in the hostels including events, tours, and meetups. And even when there is nothing going on, it’s easy to meet a fellow traveler in one of the common areas.
Our Experience Staying in YHA Hostels
On our recent trip to Australia, we had an opportunity to stay in 5 different YHA Australia locations across the country and to experience all that the YHA Australia chain has to offer.
Sydney Central YHA
The Sydney Central YHA hostel has an excellent location right across the street from the main train station.
The hostel has an underground bar, bright and inviting common room, and even their own cinema room inside. The pool is a big highlight, offering an awesome place to cool off with new friends. Prices are as low as $22 USD ($32 AUD) for a dorm room and private rooms from $80 USD ($115 AUD) per night.
Sydney Harbour YHA
The views at the Sydney Harbour YHA were perhaps the most impressive of all the hostels we stayed at. The rooftop deck overlooks the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, making it one of the best spots in the city to watch fireworks or just admire the views!
Built in a historic region of the city, this hostel keeps its colonial charm while offering comfortable and modern accommodations.
Its sunny roof deck serves as a common space and a favourite gathering spot for travelers staying at the Sydney Harbour YHA.
The hostel has won a number of awards in hospitality excellence and is one of the most sustainable hostels in Australia due to its diligent environmental efforts. Rates begin at $24 USD ($35 AUD) per night for dorms and $103 USD ($149 AUD) per night for private rooms.
Brisbane City YHA
If you’re looking for comfort on a budget, look no further than the award-winning Brisbane City YHA hostel. During your stay, you’ll have the chance to enjoy a beautiful rooftop pool and patio as well as cook in a huge, modern kitchen.
This hostel is centrally located right next to Roma Station and is close to attractions such as the Suncorp Stadium and the South Bank. Dorms start at $15 USD ($22 AUD) per night while private rooms are as cheap as $51 USD ($73 AUD) per night.
Adelaide Central YHA
The Adelaide YHA hostel is a cozy local oasis right in the middle of the city. Its perfect location makes it a short walk away from attractions such as the Adelaide Oval, central market, and many bars and restaurants.
Major highlights include the free pancake breakfasts and $5 hostel dinners every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Guests at the Adelaide YHA also have access to free city bikes as well as the comfy common areas.
Rates start at $17 USD ($25 AUD) for a dorm and $48 USD ($69 AUD) for a private room.
Cairns Central YHA
Right between the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, Cairns should be on every traveler’s list. At the Cairns Central YHA, you’ll be just one block away from the center of town and all the fun that this adventure mecca has to offer.
Along with free pancakes at this hostel too, you’ll find that the best thing about Cairns Central YHA is the dreamy courtyard pool surrounded by tall palm trees. You can also look forward to air conditioning for hot and steamy nights. Dorms start at $14 USD ($20 AUD) per night while private rooms can be as cheap as $52 USD ($75 AUD) per night.
Even if you normally stay in hotels or AirBnBs while traveling, we’d highly suggest staying in one of these YHA hostels in Australia. You’ll save a lot of money, meet some amazing people, and won’t have to sacrifice comfort. What’s more, you’ll enjoy city views, activities, and facilities that even outshine some of Australia’s well-known hotels. YHA hostels in Australia are a great choice for all ages and all types of travelers, and we would not hesitate to stay in a YHA hostel again in the future.
Have you ever stayed in a YHA Australia hostel? What was your experience like?
Disclaimer: Our stay at YHA Hostels in Australia was provided courtesy of YHA Australia, but as always all opinions expressed in this article are our own. This post also contains affiliate links which means that we receive a small commission on your bookings at no additional cost to you.