Why pay a fortune to stay in the world's best city? Here are the ten best YHA and backpacker hostels.
If you’re a single traveller who is more private than claustrophobic, and are looking for accommodation at dorm-room prices, then the Capsule Hotel is your silver bullet. All sleeping pods have Netflix-enabled TV screens, and there’s free, fast Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. The Capsule Hotel is located bang in the centre of town and a short walk downhill from Darling Harbour.
Travelling up and down the wide, brown land can be a lonely and exhausting experience. It's times like those when you need a no-frills hostel experience, with clean rooms and plenty of people in the same boat to share experiences and get really drunk with. Big Hostel is centrally located, reasonably priced and has all the facilities you require to transform all you travel blues into hazy and hungover memories.
The Cambridge Lodge provides everything you need to have a grown-up hostel experience. The unique location provides access to the super-cool trend centres Newtown and Enmore, while also being close to some of the city's best outlying dining districts like the Petersham and Leichhardt. The hostel itself is housed in a big old building that has the feel of a country manor. Having all this only a speedy train ride away from Sydney’s CBD means that the Cambridge Lodge is perfect for those who want to see Sydney in a new and different light.
Established in 1980, this sprawling hostel in a Victorian mansion may look a little on the lived-in side, but it has plenty of character – not to mention lots of extras such as a lovely spacious courtyard, free bed linen and towels, 24-hour check-in and $10 airport pick-up (very welcome after spending a day on an aeroplane). There are single, double and family rooms as well as ten-person dorms, which are mixed or female only. Most bathroom facilities are shared but all well maintained. There’s usually something going on in the courtyard, whether it’s karaoke or an Aussie barbie. The kitchen is big and modern, with food lockers, and there are laundry facilities available as well.
The largest of the YHA properties in Sydney, this place has it all. Deep breath: kitchen, laundry, separate games, dining and TV rooms, high-speed internet terminals, mini supermarket, café, underground bar and a rooftop pool, sauna and barbecue area with panoramic city views. Popular activities include pub crawls, big-screen movie nights and walking tours. All of this is housed in an imposing, heritage-listed building opposite Central Station. There are around 50 twin rooms, some en suite, and dorms that sleep up to eight. There are also disabled-adapted rooms, 24-hour access, arking ($14), indoor pool, restaurant, TV rooms and easy connection to the lightrail.
Nestled comfortably in the middle of Sydney's historic district, the Rocks, Sydney Harbour YHA is fitted with airconditioning, barbecue and internet. The thing to really write home about, however, is the view from the rooftop terrace of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House – wow barely covers it. The hostel is surrounded by colonial pubs and is only a short trip via public transport to the city's premier nightlife areas.
This YHA hostel, built in a former parcels shed, is very near its Central counterpart the Sydney Central YHA. The design incorporates a real disused railway platform, with some dorms housed in replicas of train carriages (very Harry Potter) with bathrooms in the main building adjacent. Most dorms have between four and eight beds, and there are a couple of en-suite double rooms. It’s clean and bright, with a large open-plan communal area dotted with sofas, a sizeable kitchen, laundry facilities and an internet café. Mod cons include a fun small spa pool and airconditioning. It’s very popular, so book ahead.
No one would disagree when we say that Surry Hills is Sydney's core of cool. That's why Bounce Hostel's location in the Surry foothills, is perfection for the discerning glampacker (glamorous backpacker). Wander up to Crown Street for some vintage shopping and a peerless café latte or make your way to Oxford Street to see and be seen as you're cutting a rug or two. All this and more is within sauntering distance from Bounce's charming decor and agreeable room rates. The hostel is opposite Central Station so getting anywhere in Sydney or NSW is simplicity.
With so much of Sydney’s backpacker accommodation squeezed into one or two inner-city suburbs, choosing a place to stay can feel a little arbitrary. The Glebe Village offers a whole new experience to those who are a little jaded the same-old, same-old approach of other hostels. Only a short distance from the centre of town, Glebe, with its cafés, bars and vintage markets, offers travellers the perfect opportunity to live and breath like a local. With all the comforts of your average hostel and the added benefits of a boutique B’n’B, the Glebe Village makes for a truly different backpacking experience.