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YHA Sydney Central
Photograph: Ted Sealey

You can stay in the heart of Sydney for less than 100 bucks a night

Hostels are no longer the domain of 19-year-old backpackers

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Written by
Cassidy Knowlton
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With the future of international travel murky at best, it's all about the staycation right now in Sydney. But while it is occasionally nice to really blow the budget on somewhere ultra-luxe, more often you just want a clean, comfortable place to lay your head within cooee of all of Sydney's best bits. 

That's where the YHA comes in. There are two different YHAs within a four-minute walk of each other, and both are adjacent to Central Station. Yes, we know what you're thinking. YHA stands for Youth Hostels Association, but they are no longer the domain of 18-year-old Frenchmen with questionable hygiene. We recently stayed at YHA Railway Square, and most guests were in their 30s and older, taking advantage the free wi-fi to catch up on emails and join work Zooms. And you certainly don't need to share a dorm – both the Railway Square venue and sister property YHA Sydney Central have private rooms, some with en suite bathrooms, so you needn't pretend that you're still schlepping a guitar around Europe in secondhand boots. In fact, the room we stayed in not only had its own private bathroom, but a Dyson hairdryer to boot. And en suite private rooms are under $100 a night. 

And what fun things can you do from such a central location? Staying so centrally means Sydney is your oyster, with trendy Surry Hills a five-minute walk or less. You’ll find one of Sydney’s best Japanese eateries, the small but mighty Izakaya Fujiyama, on a quiet backstreet just off Devonshire. Some of the most beautiful dishes you’ll ever clap eyes on can be found at kick-ass Korean Sáng, but then again, mighty Melbourne import  Chin Chin is no stranger to plates that look as good as they taste. We're huge fans of Wyno x Bodega for its huge selection of very special wines by the glass, as well as the bar staff's impeccable service. Or if you'd rather cocktails than wine, try the Wild Rover – you have to try the Penicillin.

You can also walk easily to Chinatown, Haymarket, Spice Alley, Belvoir St Theatre, White Rabbit Gallery and other jewels of the Emerald City. Stay and play in your own city and use the cash you're saving on accommodation on making the most of this gorgeous place we get to share. No Birkenstocks necessary.

Rather go further afield? Here are some quirky getaways in NSW

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