Updated: 03/03/20 | March 3rd, 2020
Hostels in Sydney are expensive.
Since I started visiting the city, I’ve seen hostel prices skyrocket as just the cost of living in Australia has gone up. Even when you factor in the favorable exchange rate right now, it’s just expensive to get a bed here, especially at some of the larger, more upscale hostels.
However, with a little planning, you can make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
The cheapest hostels in Sydney are found in the King’s Cross area. An eight-bed dorm starts around AU$26, while a four-bed dorm starts around AU$33. Private rooms range between AU$80-120 per night, depending on things such as location and whether the bathroom is shared or private.
(Pro Tip: Avoid the Jolly Swagman! It’s a horrible place to stay.)
I’ve been visiting Sydney for a decade and have stayed in dozens upon dozens of places. There are a lot of things to consider when selecting a hostel. The top four when picking the best hostel in Sydney are:
- Location – Sydney is huge and it can take some time to get around. Pick a place that is central to the sites and nightlife you want to see. All the hostels listed here are in central locations.
- Price – In Sydney, you really get what you pay for, so if you go with a really cheap one, you’re probably going to get a hostel that is small, cramped, and doesn’t offer great service.
- Amenities – Every hostel in the city offers free Wi-Fi, and most have a free breakfast, but if you want more than that, be sure to do your research to find the hostel that best meets your needs!
- Staff – All the hostels listed here have amazing staff! They are super friendly and knowledgeable. Even if you don’t end up staying at one of the places listed below, be sure to look up reviews to ensure you end up somewhere where the staff is helpful and friendly! They can make or break a hostel!
To help you plan your trip, here is my list of the hostels in Sydney that I like the most. If you don’t want to read the longer list below, the following hostels are the best in each category:
Best Hostel for Budget Travelers: Hump Backpackers
Best Hostel for Families: Sydney Harbor YHA
Best Hostel for Solo Female Travelers: Wake Up! Sydney Central
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads: Big Hostel
Best Hostel for Partying: Kings Cross Backpackers
Best Overall Hostel: Sydney Harbor YHA or Mad Monkey Backpackers
Want the specifics of each hostel? Here’s my comprehensive list of the best hostels in Sydney:
Price Legend (per night)
- $ = Under $25 USD
- $$ = $25-35 USD
- $$$ = Over $35 USD
1. Hump Backpackers
I like this hostel because it’s social. The staff hosts plenty of activities (beer pong, BBQs, pancake breakfasts). There’s free breakfast, all-day coffee and tea, and different activities every night. The beds are comfy and soft, showers are kept clean, and the room lockers are huge. Hump Backpackers is in the Kings Cross area, surrounded by restaurants, shops, and bars so there’s a bunch of things to do in the area. Heads up: you have to be 18-35 years old to stay here.
Hump Backpackers at a glance:
- Great place to meet people
- Organizes lots of activities (BBQs, beer pong)
- Lots of free perks (free breakfast, free coffee/tea all day)
Beds from 27 AUD ($19 USD).
2. Lord Wolseley
This hostel is located on the upper floors of a historic bar and restaurant that has been around since 1881 (which, for Australia, is damn old!). There’s no real common space, and the kitchen is basically a toaster but you’re very near Chinatown so there are cheap eats nearby. The downstairs bar is always lively and they play incredible blues music on Saturday nights. The rooms themselves are pretty small with simple finishings. Its location near Chinatown and Central Station makes it one of the cheaper places to stay in town. Darling Harbour is just a five minute walk.
Lord Wolseley at a glance:
- Bar has great live music
- Convenient location near lots of cheap restaurants
- Quiet and laid-back atmosphere
Beds from 32 AUD ($23 USD).
3. Asylum Sydney Backpackers Hostel
The staff at this hostel are the absolute best! They are always the most friendly and helpful I encounter in the city. Asylum is close to Kings Cross station, and it’s just a 30-minute walk to the Opera House and the Botanic Gardens. Security is first rate, with two locked front doors and security cameras. The dorms are huge (but they fit maximum eight people) and all have their own ensuite bathroom. There are common areas inside and outside and free breakfast each day. Look for the hostel’s rescue dog, Bella. She’s a cutie.
Asylum Sydney Backpackers Hostel at a glance:
- Lots of common areas make it easy to meet people
- Super safe and secure
- Free breakfast
Beds from 33 AUD ($24 USD).
4. Kings Cross Backpackers
This is another fun hostel, with a very lively social scene! There’s a party every night, a movie room, yoga classes, and a rooftop BBQ. Take the spiral staircase to the basement, and you’ll find a fully-equipped chill out zone with pool tables and even a Playstation center. You get a free hot breakfast at the Mad Monkey Restaurant (which is delicious) each morning. Honestly, there’s so much to do at this hostel you might find it difficult to leave — but just beyond the front door is some of Sydney’s best bars, clubs, and restaurants. (The hostel itself is on a quiet street, though.) You have to be 18 to 35 to stay here.
Kings Cross Backpackers at a glance:
- Party vibe makes it easy to meet people
- Organizes lots of activities (movie nights, BBQs, yoga classes)
- Lots of great bars and clubs nearby
Beds from 35 AUD ($25 USD).
5. Sydney Harbor YHA
This is the only hostel in city’s historic harbourside area (The Rocks), and it has unreal rooftop panoramic views over the city and the famous Opera House. Sydney Harbor Bridge, Sydney Harbor, and Luna Park are also within walking distance. The rooms are incredibly spacious, and each bed comes with its own reading light. There’s also a large kitchen, several communal areas (including the excellent rooftop terrace), and even a grocery store on-site. To me, this is the best hostel in Sydney!
Sydney Harbor YHA at a glance:
- Rooftop terrace makes it easy to meet people
- Grocery store on-site
- Close to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge
Beds from 42 AUD ($28 USD).
6. Big Hostel
A budget, “boutique” spot in Surry Hills, Big Hostel is centrally located and I love the roof terrace with its super views over the city. They also have sundeck with a beautiful garden. You can BBQ up there as well. There’s 24/7 free coffee and tea, and breakfast is included. The kitchen has lots of space for your groceries. The rooms are are huge and the pillows are super cozy but there’s no lockers and metal frames creak a bit.
Big Hostel at a glance:
- Rooftop terrace offers amazing views of the city
- Lots of free perks (free breakfast, free coffee/tea)
- Great place to meet people
Beds from 35 AUD ($25 USD).
7. Blue Parrot Backpackers
This hostel in Potts Point (a happening neighborhood) is run by two sisters, Effie and Sasha. The rooms are pretty standard without a lot of ammenities but the hostel is super homey and feels like you’re staying with family. The hostel has a trivia and pancake night too. Potts Point is one of the most cosmopolitan parts of Sydney. I really dig staying here. It’s a lot more relaxed than most of the other hostels in the city.
Blue Parrot Backpackers at a glance:
- Organizes lots of activities (pancake nights, trivia contests)
- Quiet and relaxed atmosphere
- Super homey vibe
Beds from 35 AUD ($25 AUD).
8. Mad Monkey Backpackers on Broadway
Soft beds, clean showers with great water pressure, and free breakfasts make Mad Monkey Backpackers awesome. I also like the yoga classes on Wednesdays and access to a local gym you get. The staff organizes activities and nights out (including a traditional Australian BBQ). One of the downsides is that the common areas and kitchen are small. It’s nearly impossible to cook while others are around. But the central location, friendly staff, and awesome ammentities make this one of my favorite places to stay.
Mad Monkey Backpackers on Broadway at a glance:
- Free access to the nearby gym
- Organizes lots of activities (BBQs, yoga)
- Free breakfast
Beds from 37 AUD ($26 USD).
9. Wake Up! Sydney Central
Wake Up! is, in many ways, like a backpacker hotel. With its eight floors, hyper-trendy and clean look, and small common areas, you might think it would be hard to meet people. The large size does make it sort of hard to meet people outside the common areas or your room, but the big bar downstairs (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 un-creaky beds. The hostel is located just next to the Central Station so it’s easy to get to and from the airport. Book directly to save some money as they often have deals.
Wake Up! Sydney at a glance:
- Bar on-site makes it easy to meet people
- Convenient location near the central station
- Discounts for booking direct
Beds from 40 AUD ($28 USD).
10. Bondi Backpackers
If you love the beach, you can’t beat this place – it is just seconds from the sand! There’s an awesome rooftop space overlooking Bondi Beach. The hostel offers free surfboards. There are also free yoga classes, walking tours, and other fitness activities. If you’re there Friday night, don’t miss the BBQ party on the rooftop! The rooms are comfy and the showers just fine.
Bondi Backpackers at a glance:
- Amazing location on the beach
- Tons of free perks (free yoga, free surfboards, free tours)
- Awesome rooftop lounge with great views
Beds from 44 AUD ($31 USD).
There are a lot of amazing hostels in Sydney, but to me, these places above are the best hostels in the city. They offer all the things that I think are important when picking a great hostel. If you stay in any of these hostels while in Sydney, you won’t go wrong!
If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments!
Book Your Trip to Sydney: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines, because they search websites and airlines around the globe, so you always know no stone is being left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the largest inventory. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Here’s a list of the best neighborhoods in Sydney too so you can pick the right area for your visit.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it, as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use — and I think they will help you too!
Looking for more information on visiting Sydney?
Check out my in-depth destination guide to Sydney with more tips on what to see and do, costs, ways to save, and much, much more!