Famous as a backpacking destination, Australia still packs a punch as a prime place to travel. Beautiful beaches, dramatic desert outback, cool laid-back cities, plenty of surfing, plus the largest coral reef in the world – it’s got a hell of a lot going for it.
In recent years Australia’s got… well, pretty expensive. So, what do you do as a backpacker on a budget?
You can still travel to Australia relatively cheaply. I’ve scoured my insider knowledge and the web to find all the best budget spots to stay.
This is your one-stop guide for backpacker hostels in Australia! Check them out!
- Quick answer: The Best Hostels in Australia
- What to Expect from Hostels in Australia
- Best Hostels in Sydney
- Best Hostels in Melbourne
- Best Hostels in Cairns
- Best Hostels in Brisbane
- Best Hostels in Byron Bay
- Best Hostels in Surfers Paradise
- Best Hostels in Perth
- What to Pack for your Australian Hostel
- Why you should travel to Australia
- Final Thoughts on the Best Hostels in Australia
Quick answer: The Best Hostels in Australia
- The Best Hostel in Sydney – Base Sydney
- The Best Hostel in Melbourne – The Nunnery
- The Best Hostel in Cairns – Travellers Oasis
- The Best Hostel in Byron Bay – Wake Up! Byron
- The Best Hostel in Surfers Paradise – Bunk Surfers Paradise
- The Best Hostels in Perth – Spinner’s Backpackers
What to Expect from Hostels in Australia
As previously mentioned, Australia ain’t cheap friends. But, don’t lose hope. There are ways to cut some costs and still ensure that you have an EPIC adventure. Staying in hostels is just ONE of the tips I have for budget travelers. And luckily, the whole of Australia is packed with incredible places to stay!
Along with saving some bucks, hostels are some of the friendliest and most social spots to stay – ideal for solo travelers who don’t really have a clue what they’re doing. You can make new buddies, share stories, and find out which sights in the country can’t be missed.
You are going to be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the best backpacker hostels for you. From the beachfront to the desert and among the wilds, there are dorm rooms and private rooms just waiting for you to rest your head.
- Dorms: Start from USD$16
- Private Rooms: Start from USD$40
When looking for a hostel, you’ll find most hostels on HOSTELWORLD. There you can check out photos, detailed information about the place, and even reviews from previous guests. Just like other booking platforms, each hostel will have a rating, so you can easily pick out the hidden gems!
Let’s not forget, Australia is fricking huge!! You may find multiple places you want to stay on our list to really take advantage of the impressive country while keeping your hard-earned cash safe.
Whether you are backpacking Australia, taking an Australian gap year, or wanting to explore your own home country on a budget, these are the places to go!
With its sparkling beaches, shining city, and landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney is the city that attracts people to explore Australia’s East Coast.
Modern and fun – and glitzier than other cities others across Australia – Sydney has a poppin’ nightlife and a great surfing scene as well as nearby national parks packed full of interesting nature. It’s a good place to base yourself as a new arrival in Oz.
There are numerous neighborhoods and areas in the city, so be sure to find out where to stay in Sydney first before you start your travels.
Australia can be expensive, so staying in hostels really helps to keep costs down but without sacrificing any comforts. Here are my favorite hostels in Sydney.
Overall Best Hostel in Sydney – Base Sydney
Located in the heart of Sydney CBD, this hostel is close to all the main sights and attractions. With great public transport connections and easy access around town, you can hit all the best spots quickly and efficiently. Hosting party nights, and with plenty of other travelers who love to party, you can hit the Sydney nightlife with a lot of new friends! This reasonably priced spot is the overall best hostel in Sydney.
Best Party Hostel in Sydney – Mad Monkey Backpackers
Oh, here I go… Mad Monkey, Sad Monkey, Weird Monkey, whatever. Always something to do with a monkey with party hostel names, isn’t it?
But this one IS good. It’s run by a great bunch of staff who make it easy to meet new people, chat, and mingle if you’re a solo traveler in Australia. It’s great for socialising, basically.
This is our favorite hostel in Sydney for partying because it’s reaaaally close to bars and restaurants, and the other assorted nightlife of the city. There’s a complimentary breakfast too, so you can exorcise that hangover as it haunts you in the morning.
Oh, and there’s a games room with guitars, Netflix, all that sorta stuff to keep you entertained.
Best Hostel for Couples in Sydney – Bondi Backpackers
Literally (and I mean LITERALLY) seconds to Bondi Beach, this is a great place to have an epic time with your partner. Think palm trees, sand, rooftop cocktails – this is living your best life together, Bondi style.
From the rooftop of this Sydney backpackers hostel, you can see the beach. It’s an amazing view. With that and cool things like surfboard hire, and wine and cheese nights, you can rest assured that this is the best hostel for couples looking for to save money on their stay in Sydney.
Rivalling Sydney, Melbourne is like its cooler, more laid-back, slightly hippified wayward sibling. At the same time, this cosmopolitan city is crazy about sports – it’s part of what runs in the blood of the city; they’re passionate about AFL football, horse racing, and cricket, to name just a few, and have many buildings dedicated to them.
Liberal and with a number of kooky subcultures, plus packed with cool cafes and trendy eateries, this is the capital of cool and one of the best places to stay in Australia.
Overall Best Hostel in Melbourne – The Nunnery
Smack bang in a thriving, trendy suburb of the city, staying at one of the best hostels in Melbourne means being surrounded by cool places to eat, drink and shop (if your backpack space allows you the pleasure). Located right by a city tram stop, getting around and further into the centre is simple.
Another plus point is that it’s set inside a heritage building, which is pretty cool. It means this backpackers hostel has got high ceilings, whitewashed walls, sun-dappled garden – perfect for a few beers.
Best Party Hostel in Melbourne – Base St Kilda
If you wanna stay where all the nightlife happens, this is your spot. Base St Kilda comes packed with a fun atmosphere where a load of awesome people congregate to drink and make merry. And I think that sounds like fun!
As with many good hostels the world over, staff are on hand to make sure everyone has a great time. The bartender will mix you up your fav cocktails, too. Basically, it’s the best party hostel to stay at in Melbourne because, well, it’s awesome! Silent discos, foam parties, the odd comedy night – it’s literally poppin’!
Best Hostel for Couples in Melbourne – Selina Central
This cool Melbourne hostel not only has stunning views over the Yarra River, but it’s also got exceptionally well-designed rooms with comfy beds, reading lights, places to store your luggage and spread out in a dorm, you know – all the good stuff. But there are also some pretty nice double rooms on offer here: great for couples, ’cause you don’t wanna stay in a dorm, right?
Enjoy the stylish restaurant and bar with your other half every morning before taking a stroll past nearby designer boutiques, boho cafes, or vibrant bars. Also within a 2-minute walk is St Paul’s Cathedral, and Federation Square, while the Rod Laver Arena and Crown Casino are a couple of minutes away on the tram. You can see why it’s the best hostel for couples looking at where to stay in Melbourne. Sounds like a couples retreat!
Selina Central is one of our favourites in Australia but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
This city is a big ol’ holiday resort city. It’s definitely the place to go for holiday fun – and works as a very decent jumping off point to explore the islands of the Great Barrier Reef. But it’s more than that. Hot and humid, the city still has a soul; it’s a friendly and laid-back city with a slow pace.
It is decidedly geared towards tourism, however, with many souvenir shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, cafes – I mean, I’m not complaining! Again, find out where to stay in Cairns first, and the whole decision of finding a hostel will be a lot easier.
Best Overall Hostel in Cairns – Travellers Oasis
A great mix between a party hostel and a place to unwind, our top pick for one of the hostels in Cairns has a welcoming atmosphere that will make most people feel comfortable and at ease. It’s newly decorated and has tropical gardens with an outdoor pool.
Besides swinging around on a hammock all day long, this oasis for travellers puts on a couple of social nights a week and is located pretty much right next to Cairns central station. Less than 15 mins to the Lagoon (the most lively area of town), it’s smaller than most other Cairns backpackers hostels, but that just means it’s more personal.
Best Party Hostel in Cairns – Asylum Cairns
Yep, it’s called Asylum, which makes you think this place must be a lil’ bit CrAzY – and you might be right, actually. The word ‘ASYLUM’ is actually graffitied on the outside wall. You know it’s a party place when everyone’s got a T-shirt from that hostel, right?
Pub crawls, pizza parties, a relaxed bring your own alcohol policy (the only one in town, apparently), this is definitely the best party hostel in Cairns. If you want to meet other people and socialise on a budget, this is the place. If you don’t – don’t come here! (They specifically say that).
Asylum Cairns is one of our favourites in Australia but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Best Hostel for Couples in Cairns – Cairns Flashpackers
Right in the middle of everything, this top hostel in Cairns is the place to go for couples looking for something, well, a lil’ bit more upscale than other places. I mean, it’s got Flashpackers in the title. E.g. The facilities are top-notch and well looked after.
This is the best hostel for couples in Cairns, especially if you want somewhere quiet to unwind and chill out with your other half. It’s got a relaxing atmosphere and staff that really know about hospitality. And all of that is just a 2 min walk from the beach. Lovely.
Cairns Flashpackers is one of our favourites in Australia but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
South of Cairns, Brisbane is a chic and cultured city scattered with art galleries, trendy rooftop cocktail bars, and natural, unspoilt beaches. Like eating? There are some great restaurants here and a fast-growing foodie scene. Surrounding is… what’s basically a natural paradise. There are tranquil seas filled with whales, turtles, dolphins – and further south, vineyards and prime surf spots.
There are amazing areas in Brisbane to stay, each a bit different than the other. Rather stay with the young University crowds or with the central city party people?
Best Hostel for Couples in Brisbane – Brisbane Quarters Hostel
I love that this place has boutique and chic written all over it – think art deco prints, cosy communal spaces and stylish gold trimmings in the bathrooms. It’s close to all the restaurants and shops in town so you can go out for food, have a few drinks, enjoy some shopping together. You know, couple stuff.
The private rooms make this one of the most amazing hostels for couples in Brisbane, which are sleak and contemporary with enough space for the pair of you to spread out. The outdoor pool is great for sunbathing and chatting to other guests if that’s your thing. There’s also a fitness center and BBQ, plus an outdoor terrace for unwinding on.
Best Overall Hostel in Brisbane – Somewhere to Stay Backpackers
Wow. It’s really colourful and blocky – looks like some kinda regenerated containers all put together to form a cool hangout for travellers. Inside it’s all clean edges, colour pops, and graffiti art. You know the drill. Possibly one of the coolest hostels in Brisbane.
There’s a big kitchen here – like, really big, 12 cookers big – as well a rooftop complete with sunbeds and city views. Sounds pretty good right? There’s also clean comfy lounge areas that boast Netflix-ready TVs. Not right in the middle of the city, but a free ferry will sort you out. Easily the best overall hostel in Brisbane.
Somewhere to Stay Backpackers is one of our favourites in Australia but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Best Party Hostel in Brisbane – Bunk Brisbane
Very stingy with Wi-Fi (30 mins free per day then the “cheapest” in Australia), but not very stingy with a party atmosphere, this Brisbane backpackers hostel boasts a nightclub and a bar – open till late. That’s pretty cool if you’re looking to turn up.
Also helping to make this the best party hostel in Brisbane are the nightly events, drinks deals, and the fact that it’s located nice and close to bars and pubs – just a 10 min walk away.
Bunk Brisbane is one of our favourites in Australia but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
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The mainstay of the backpacker scene, Byron Bay has grown up from a tourist town. Geared towards whale watching into a bohemian, hippy-chic (if that’s a thing) sorta place.
It’s where weary travellers check-in – and then check out for a few days to stay in places in Byron Bay. Beach barbecues, sumptuous sunsets, yoga on the terrace – these are all the activities of backpacker-friendly Byron Bay.
Best Overall Hostel – Wake Up! Byron
All the free stuff on offer here, and the nature of that stuff, all is quintessentially Byron Bay. They even offer free personal training sessions at this top hostel for all you fitness fanatics out there. Then you fill yourself up on all the protein possible at the FREE BBQ night!
With so much free stuff here – and yes, that also includes a free pancake breakfast – I can’t help but say this is one of the great hostels in Byron Bay. I mean, there’s a free shuttle bus into the centre of town, too. What’s not to like about all these perks? Oh, and there’s also a bar and restaurant
Best Party Hostel in Byron Bay – Aquarius Backpackers Byron Bay
Just behind one of the big hotels in town, it’s a mere 2 min walk to the beach from this Byron Bay backpackers hostel – the same great location for a fraction of the price. And I’m all ’bout that.
Being the best party hostel in Byron Bay, you’ll never be bored. You can hang out with your own booze in the outdoor pool and meet other backpackers. Or you can enjoy happy hour at the onsite bar and restaurant or head into town to the nearby nightclubs.
Best Hostel for Couples in Byron Bay – Backpackers Inn on the Beach
You won’t find stag/hen parties and general partygoers here (they literally don’t allow it), so it makes for the ideal choice when it comes to the best hostel for couples. Set among the sand dunes alongside pristine waters, this secluded surfing spot is all about beach life.
At this top hostel in Byron Bay, they’ve got comfortable private rooms, complete with pool views, hanging chairs and hammocks for the day (and night) chilling. It’s basically just a really cool place for you and your partner to hang out. And the staff are really helpful – especially if you wanna learn to surf!
Backpackers Inn on the Beach is one of our favourites in Australia but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Best Hostels in Surfers Paradise
I mean, the clue’s in the name. Surfers Paradise is called this because it has this massive beach complete with some pretty prime waves. Not only that, but this city has a high-rise skyline with the famous SkyPoint observation deck with views across the city and sea. It’s a touristy resort town set along miles of sand, sure, but there’s regular evening markets, as well as cafes, shops and nightclubs, making it a fun place to stop.
Best Overall Hostel in Surfers Paradise – Bunk Surfers Paradise
Just 100 metres from the beach, one of the best hostels in Surfers Paradise has an ace location. Of course. It’s also shiny and new, having been recently renovated: this means new beds, new bathrooms, new just about everything. Rooms even have private balconies!
It isn’t a budget hostel in Surfers Paradise. It’s huge: there’s a hot tub here, plus a swimming pool, with a load of sunloungers spread about so you can catch some rays. Basically, it’s sorta like a resort… except with dorms… and it’s for backpackers.
Best Party Hostel in Surfers Paradise – Budds In Surfers
Very friendly staff – check. Netflix on the TV if you don’t wanna party one night – check. Cheap drinks deals – check. Yes, as you can tell, this is the best overall party hostel in Surfers Paradise.
They have themed nights and big nights out, which are always fun. It’s a casual kinda place with a party atmosphere. You’re gonna make friends if you stay at this Surfers Paradise backpackers hostel, that’s for sure.
Best Hostel for Couples in Surfers Paradise – Maxmee Resort
It’s not really a party place, but this top hostel in Surfers Paradise is located on a resort that comes with a bar and nightclub, perfect for couples who love a wild night out but want to come back to somewhere quiet to sleep.
Staying here means you have access to a ton of facilities. You can choose to stay and chill by the outdoor pool, challenge your partner to a game of tennis on a tennis court, or borrow a volleyball or bodyboard and take the nearby tram to the beaches.
I say it’s the best hostel for couples in Surfers Paradise, especially if you’re an active, sociable couple who don’t just wanna sneak around and talk to nobody.
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Perth is a very liveable city. Many expats choose to base themselves here for the long term. Particularly older ones. But don’t let that put you off. It’s famous for its great weather, unfussy lifestyle and nearby stretches of sandy bays. Perth is surrounded by natural parkland, with the Bush being just a short drive away. Back in town, there are places to eat and drink and fun activities to try out – all connected by an amazing transport system.
If you’ve never visited Perth before, make sure to inform yourself about where to stay beforehand. Each of Perth’s neighborhoods offers something different, so you’ll want to choose the perfect one for you.
Best Overall Hostel in Perth – Spinner’s Backpackers
Offering a chilled vibe and relaxed atmosphere, staying at this Perth backpackers hostel is like living in a big shared house. They’ve got welcoming common rooms and access to Netflix on the couch, an alfresco garden to enjoy a few beers in or enjoy a late arvo BBQ and a game of pool. Whatever your vibe, Spinners is a nice place to get chatting with your fellow travellers.
There’s no worrying about if the sheets have been changed, or what sort of monster has used the bathroom before you – it’s super clean. It’s not a party hostel, but… it is just a few minutes’ walk from the nightclubs and the social atmosphere means you’ll find party buddies in no time. What more could you want?
With 25 years of experience, one could argue it’s one of the best hostels in Perth.
Best Party Hostel in Perth – JJ’s Backpackers
Awesome atmosphere. That’s what you want out of the best party hostel in Perth right? It’s packed full of fun people looking to have even more fun in the city.
With free breakfast to nurse your hangover and a late check out so you can sleep in, there’s no reason why you can’t party all night long here. But yeah, the atmosphere at this backpackers hostel in Perth is really awesome. Almost like a family vibe. It’s also close to shops and the city centre.
Best Hostel for Couples in Perth – Billabong Backpackers Resort
Right on in the centre of Perth, this top Perth hostel has a central location so you can get around all the sites, but it’s quiet, chilled and is a great spot for spending time laying out in the sun with your partner.
At Billabong Backpackers hostel you’ll feel like you have a resort experience, only paying backpacker prices – with balconies in every room, movie screenings, and a huge outdoor swimming pool and terrace, you’ll have a ton of luxury here to make your stay more enjoyable. If you’re a sociable couple, you’ll love the communal area and games room with a pool table, table tennis, and daily events and activities.
So it’s my best hostel for couples in Perth – mostly because of its calm location, amazing hotel quality private rooms (complete with private rooms), and a warm atmosphere.
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What to Pack for your Australian Hostel
Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.
Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.
Hanging Laundry Bag
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Check out our definitive Hostel Packing list for our top packing tips!
Travel Insurance for Australia
Hey, I know paying for something that you hopefully won’t use isn’t fun. But paying for medical bills is much worse, believe me.
You simply can’t plan for everything when you travel to Australia. But with good travel insurance, you are prepared for everything.
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.
SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
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Why you should travel to Australia
So, that’s it – our big round-up of the best hostels in Australia. There are some properly cool places to stay in Australia aren’t there?
It’s a HUUGE country and has literally so many places to stop off and check out, so I’ve narrowed down the list for you so you aren’t too overwhelmed by the massive choice of hostels and cities on offer.
It’s a destination for many first-time backpackers looking to have rowdy nights with other travellers and spend time kicking back on beaches. But there’s a lot out there for people who wanna soak up Australia’s natural wonders as well as enjoy the metropolitan areas with their great food and drink scenes.
If you’re looking to save money or heading on a holiday with your partner, Australia and all of its fun, friendliness and fantastic scenery are waiting for you.
And, if you still can’t work out where to start and where to go, just go ahead and book a bed in our best overall hostel in Sydney – Bounce Sydney – that’s where a lot of travellers begin their adventures.
Get booking your best place to stay and enjoy the trip of a lifetime! You’ll be on the beach having a beer in no time.
Final Thoughts on the Best Hostels in Australia
So there you have it, my top hostels in Australia, suitable for every type of traveler. Whether you’re traveling by yourself, looking for a party, or with your other half, there is a hostel in every city for you.
I hope this guide has helped you choose the perfect hostel for your adventure! If you think I’ve missed anything or have any further thoughts, hit me up in the comments!
Before planning your trip, you might want to consider getting travel insurance just to play it safe. A good insurance plan doesn’t only provide peace of mind, but it also prevents small mishaps from wrecking one of the best holidays you’ll ever take.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!