Move over, backpackers! Budget-conscious but discerning travellers are booking into the country’s hippest hostels. Here are our top picks from around the country.
FROM $26 a night – stay at Fremantle Prison YHA, Fremantle, WA
Spend the night in the slammer at this World Heritage-listed 19th-century former jail, with 200 bunks to choose from in former cells or prison wardens’ cottages. There’s a self-catering kitchen, a mess hall, wi-fi and TV rooms but, best of all, the hostel is right in the heart of all the action in Freo. Plus, you’ll get to say you stayed at the same prison that AC/DC singer Bon Scott was once locked up in, – the inspiration for their hit song Jailbreak perhaps? Book online at yha.com.au.
FROM $36 a night – stay at Samurai Beach Bungalows, Port Stevens, NSW
Set among rainforest in the seaside town of Port Stephens, Samurai Beach Bungalows offers that extra bit of comfort for an affordable price. There’s
a pool, free wi-fi and you can hire bikes to explore the area. Onsite is a bush kitchen and a huge communal firepit, perfect for toasting marshmallows. Look up during the day and you may see koalas in the trees. It’s a laid-back slice of paradise. Check it out at samuraiportstephens.com.au.
FROM $30 a night – stay at Base, Magnetic Island, QLD
Beachside, with incredible views over Nelly Bay, Base is heaven for those on
a budget – there’s a pool with a deck, and an onsite cafe for breakfast or dinner. Be warned: this does have a reputation as a bit of a party hostel – it’s on the east coast backpackers’ route after all – but if you can handle a bit of music, it’s worth checking out. Visit stayatbase.com.
FROM $38 a night – stay at Sydney Harbour YHA, Sydney, NSW
Toast Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House on this spectacular rooftop patio in The Rocks. This award-winning hostel has free wi-fi, large kitchen, and that view, so it’s a popular spot to enjoy the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Book now at yha.com.au.
FROM $75 for a private room – stay at Space Hotel, Melbourne, VIC.
It’s a hostel that’s really like a hip hotel, so it’s no wonder Tourism Victoria named Space the ‘Best Victorian Backpacker Accommodation’ two years running. Rooms range from eight-bed dorms to ensuites with balconies, and all have extra-long Posturepedic mattresses and reading lamps. There’s an in-house theatre, a gym, a MasterChef-style guest kitchen, a bar and a restaurant. The rooftop barbecue, spa and Jacuzzi are added bonuses. Visit spacehotel.com.au