Updated: 3/23/22 | March 23rd, 2022
I love Australia. It’s one of my favorite countries in the world. I’ve been going there for over a decade and have crossed the country more times than I’ve crisscrossed my own country. I’ve stayed in countless hostels throughout Australia. Some of them were great, some of them were terrible, some of them were just OK.
I’ve been visiting Australia for a decade and have stayed in dozens upon dozens of hostels around the country. There are a lot of things to consider when selecting a hostel. The top four when picking the best hostel in Australia are:
- Location – Cities here are big and they 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 Australia, 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 – Pretty much every hostel in the country 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 Australia 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 Hostels in Australia
Best Hostel for Budget Travelers: Gilligan’s
Best Hostel for Solo Female Travelers: Wake Up!
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads: Kimberly Travelers Lodge
Best Hostel for Partying: Gilligan’s
Best Overall Hostel: Base St. Kilda
Want the specifics of each hostel? Here’s my comprehensive list of the best hostels in Australia:
Price Legend (per night)
- $ = Under 25 AUD
- $$ = 25-35 AUD
- $$$ = Over 35 AUD
1. Base St. Kilda (Melbourne)
Base, an Australian hostel chain, is like the McDonald’s of hostels. You get full but you’re not really satisfied. Yet they outdid themselves with their Melbourne hostel, which is 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 are really nice and always clean. The bar is open 7 nights a week, with rotating daily drink and food specials.
They also have a travel desk, recruitment and jobs desk, and free daily activities. Since people come here to party, everyone is very social and looking to interact. 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.
Base St. Kilda at a glance:
- Lively bar for hanging out and mingling
- Organizes lots of events and activities
- Great place for meeting people
Beds from 32 AUD, private rooms from 95 AUD.
2. Wake Up! (Sydney)
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 uncreaky beds.
The hostel is located just next to the Central Station in Sydney, so it’s easy to get to and from the airport. The only downside is that it’s more expensive than the cheaper options in King’s Cross so you might want to “splash” out for this one because it’s not cheap!
Wake Up! at a glance:
- Great bar for socializing and meeting people
- Convenient location near central station
- Discounts for booking direct
Beds from 38 AUD, private rooms from 100 AUD.
3. Aquarius Backpackers (Byron Bay)
I stayed at this place one Christmas and fell in love with it. They do such a good job at getting people to talk to each other, with plenty of games to play, and in general just a really friendly atmosphere.
There’s a free (small) meal every night and they organize a huge BBQ lunch on Sundays. It’s close to the beach and the center of town, and there’s free Wi-Fi in communal areas (not the rooms though). The dorms are cleaned often but the beds won’t win any major awards.
Aquarius Backpackers at a glance:
- Fun, social atmosphere
- Organizes of activities (communal meals, BBQs)
- Pool for hanging out and relaxing
Beds from 28 AUD, private rooms from 70 AUD.
4. Gilligan’s Backpacker Hostel and Resort (Cairns)
This giant hotel/hostel is where you go if you want to party in Cairns. The rooms are OK. They have aircon and the beds are comfy but I was less than impressed. But what I did love was the many state-of-the-art kitchens, free airport pick-up, Wi-Fi, and swimming pool with an open deck bar and massive outdoor pub screens!
I had a lot of fun here. Maybe too much. Hard to remember! This is probably the best party hostel in Australia.
Gilligan’s Backpacker Hostel and Resort at a glance:
- Party vibe makes it easy to have fun and meet people
- Free airport pickup
- Pool and huge outdoor terrace for hanging out
Beds from 18 AUD, privates from 99 AUD.
5. Nomads Noosa (Noosa)
A cool little hostel that is only 900 meters from the beach. All rooms are spacious and come with their own bathroom. There’s a nice tropical garden, communal kitchen, bar, swimming pool, and even a volleyball court. It’s one of the most chill, laid-back places I stayed in and the staff was very helpful and friendly!
Nomads Noosa at a glance:
- Amazing location right near the beach
- Bar, pool, and volleyball court on-site
- Laid-back atmosphere so it’s easy to relax and meet people
Beds from 29 AUD, privates from 125 AUD.
6. BUNK Surfers Paradise (Gold Coast)
This BUNK location is in Surfers Paradise, a seaside resort town on Australia’s Gold Coast. At just a couple of blocks from the beach and near the bars and restaurants, you’re right in the middle of the action. Back at the hostel, there are plenty of common areas to hang out in and meet people, including a pool, hot tub, and sundeck.
The bunk beds are almost like separate pods, with privacy curtains, reading lights, and 2 power sockets, so you have individual amenities even in a dorm room. All rooms (including dorms) have ensuite bathrooms and balconies, and there’s a massive guest kitchen to use as well.
BUNK Surfers Paradise at a glance:
- Hot tub, pool, and sundeck
- Modern pod bunks with privacy curtains
- Guest kitchen facilities
Beds from 28 AUD.
7. City Backpackers HQ (Brisbane)
City Backpackers HQ is right in the heart of Brisbane, near the river, the main train/bus station, and downtown. The city views from the massive rooftop terrace are spectacular, and there’s a rooftop pool as well.
The rooms themselves are pretty basic, but they’ve got everything you need. There’s a guest kitchen for cooking your own meals and an indoor cinema lounge for when you need some chill out time to sit back and watch something.
City Backpackers HQ at a glance:
- Swimming pool
- Lots of common space including rooftop terrace and movie lounge
- Guest kitchen
Beds from 22 AUD, private rooms from 75 AUD.
When you visit Australia, I highly recommend you stay at these incredible hostels. For me, a good hostel has all about the amenities, staff, environment, and comfortable beds. These hostels meet all those requirements (which is why they are usually all full – book in advance) so consider booking one on your next trip to the land down under!
Book Your Trip to Australia: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
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. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- Safety Wing (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
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 to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Australia?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Australia for even more planning tips!