Building on my post about my favorite New Zealand hostels, it’s time to talk about my favorite hostels in Australia. I’ll continue doing this throughout the year, and at the end of the year, will have a “Best Hostels of 2010” edition.
Base St. Kilda (Melbourne)
I’ve said in the past that Base is like the McDonald’s of hostels. You get full, but you’re not really satisfied. Yet McDonald’s (Base) outdid themselves with their Melbourne hostel. It’s my favorite hostel in Australia. The bar is lively every night, and there are BBQs and events during the week. Moreover, the rooms and bathrooms look really nice and are clean. But people come here for the atmosphere and location. This is the premier party hostel in Australia. It’s located in St. Kilda (a great going-out area), and since people come here to party, everyone is very social and looking to interact with people. Within moments of my arrival, I had a group of friends to spend time with. I went there during my first trip to Australia and went back this year to see if it was still good. It did my memories justice.
Wake Up! (Sydney)
Wake Up! is, in many ways, like a backpacker hotel (à la many Base locations). With its eight floors, hyper trendy and clean look, and small common areas, you might think it would be hard to meet people. It seems like outside your dormmates, people here are just ships passing in the night. But that’s only half true. The large size does make it sort of hard to meet people outside the common areas or your room, but the big bar down stairs (biggest night is Monday) lets you meet all the people you see coming and going. I really liked my time there and I especially enjoyed the high water pressure in the showers and uncreaky beds.
Surf N Sun Hostel (Surfer’s Paradise, Gold Coast)
Located in the Gold Coast, you’ll get both surf and sun at this place. A converted motel, this hostel has really friendly staff, a pool, a central location, and is right across from the beach. All good things. Plus they offer a free pick up from the bus station. The owners are these old backpackers who hang out in the hostel once in awhile and are really friendly. Another plus: at the time I was there, it was the only hostel in Surfer’s Paradise that didn’t have bed bugs. They often have free drinks and BBQs for guest too. I ended up staying an extra week there simply because I was having such a good time.
This place has a great location—right across from the Brisbane train station. There’s nothing that really makes this hostel AMAZING. In fact, it’s not even on my list of favorite hostels in the world. But the was staff friendly, the location in Brisbane was great, the facilities were good, and the bar had great specials that even attracted locals. Bunk hostel is also nice, but their lack of a common room just doesn’t do it for me. Tinbilly’s is the only place I stay in Brisbane.
The Kimberly Klub (Broome)
This hostel is amazing. They have an enormous pool, a huge outdoor area, a gigantic kitchen, a great location close to the beach, and a small, cozy bar that you can order great meals from. Moreover, when the heat of Broome really gets to you, there are hammocks to lie on. They offer shuttle service to famous Cable Beach for free, and the hostel is a close walk to town. What I really love is the huge kitchen. Even during peak time cooking time, you have plenty of room to move around. I hate cooking dinner in hostels because there’s never space and you’re always bumping into other people cooking. Not here. I wish all hostel kitchens were this big.
Witch’s Hat (Perth)
The Witch’s Hat is located near the main party area in Perth, Northbridge, as well as near many good restaurants. The staff is really friendly and can really help you with any travel bookings or related questions. There’s a great kitchen and common room here, plus an outdoor BBQ area, comfortable dorms, and a very social atmosphere.
These six are my favorite hostels in Australia, but I’ve stayed in other hostels that I found good and enjoyed. Good runners up include Base Magnetic Island (ugly hostel but amazing pool, outdoor area, and location), Nomads Noosa (friendly staff, lively nightclub, big pool), and Calypso (great staff, decent pool, and good food, though a little far from town) in Cairns.
When in Australia, I highly recommend you stay at these hostels. For me, a good hostel has all the amenities a budget traveler needs, friendly staff, a good interactive environment, and comfortable beds. These hostels meet all those requirements. That’s probably why they’re always so full!
For more help planning your trip, check out my guide to Australia travel.