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What Is A Hostel In Australia


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Alicia Pegues




Welcome to the world of hostels in Australia! When it comes to budget-friendly accommodation options, hostels have become increasingly popular among travelers from all over the globe. Whether you’re a backpacker on a tight budget, a solo traveler looking to meet new people, or a group of friends seeking affordable lodging, hostels offer a unique and vibrant experience.


By choosing to stay in a hostel, you not only save money on accommodation but also get the opportunity to immerse yourself in a diverse and lively community. Australia, known for its stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and friendly locals, is home to a wide range of hostels that cater to different traveler preferences and budgets.


In this article, we will explore what exactly a hostel is, the various types of accommodation options you can expect, the facilities and amenities available, pricing and affordability, the social environment, safety measures, popular hostel chains in Australia, and some handy tips for choosing a hostel for your stay.


So, if you’re planning a trip to Australia, grab your backpack and get ready to discover the world of hostels that awaits you!


Definition of a Hostel


At its core, a hostel is a budget-friendly accommodation option that offers individuals or groups the opportunity to rent a bed (usually in a dormitory-style room) for a short period of time. Unlike hotels or resorts, hostels prioritize affordability and a sense of community over luxury amenities.


Hostels provide shared spaces for sleeping, such as dormitories, where guests have their own bed but share the room with other travelers. This communal living arrangement creates a unique social environment, making hostels a popular choice for solo travelers or those seeking to meet fellow explorers.


While dormitories are a common feature, many hostels also offer private rooms for those who prefer more privacy. These private rooms often have shared bathrooms, but some upscale hostels may provide ensuite facilities.


In addition to sleeping areas, hostels typically provide communal spaces such as lounges, kitchens, and dining areas. These spaces encourage interaction and camaraderie among guests, fostering a sense of community and cultural exchange.


Another distinguishing feature of hostels is the availability of shared facilities. These may include laundry facilities, lockers or storage areas, common bathrooms, and sometimes even communal activities like movie nights or group outings organized by the hostel staff.


Hostels are also known for their welcoming and laid-back atmosphere. Hostel staff are often friendly and knowledgeable about the local area, providing tips and recommendations to make your trip more enjoyable. It is not uncommon to find common areas decorated with cozy couches, vibrant artwork, and a selection of board games or books for guests to enjoy.


In summary, hostels are affordable accommodations that offer a sociable environment, communal living spaces, and shared facilities. They provide travelers with the opportunity to make new friends, experience local culture, and create unforgettable memories.


Accommodation Options


When it comes to accommodation options, hostels offer a variety of choices to suit different traveler preferences and needs.


The most common type of accommodation in hostels is the dormitory. Dormitories typically consist of bunk beds, with multiple beds in a room that is shared among several travelers. Dormitories can vary in size, ranging from small rooms with only a few beds to larger rooms that can accommodate a dozen or more people. Some hostels offer female-only or mixed-gender dormitories, allowing guests to choose the option they feel most comfortable with.


For those who prefer more privacy, many hostels also offer private rooms. These rooms can range from basic single or double rooms to larger family rooms with multiple beds. While private rooms may be more expensive than dormitory beds, they still provide a cost-effective alternative to traditional hotels.


Shared bathrooms are a common feature in hostels. These bathrooms are typically located in a central area and are shared among multiple guests. Some hostels may have ensuite private rooms with their own bathrooms, but these tend to be in higher-end or boutique hostels.


It’s worth noting that while hostels focus on affordability, they strive to provide comfort and cleanliness as well. Beds are usually equipped with comfortable mattresses, clean bedding, and individual reading lights or charging points. Hostels also have cleaning staff who maintain the common areas and ensure that bathrooms and facilities are regularly cleaned.


Overall, hostels offer a range of accommodation options to cater to various budgets and preferences. Whether you prefer the social atmosphere of a dormitory or the privacy of a private room, there’s an option for everyone in the world of hostels.


Facilities and Amenities


Hostels in Australia are well-equipped with a range of facilities and amenities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay for guests.


One of the main facilities you can expect to find in hostels is a communal kitchen. These kitchens are equipped with cooking appliances, utensils, and dining areas where guests can prepare and enjoy their own meals. This is not only a cost-saving option but also provides an opportunity for socializing and exchanging culinary experiences with other travelers.


In addition to the kitchen, common areas such as lounges or outdoor spaces are available in most hostels. These areas are ideal for relaxing, reading a book, or engaging in conversations with fellow guests. Some hostels also provide entertainment options such as board games, pool tables, or television for guests to enjoy during their downtime.


To cater to the needs of the digital age, many hostels offer free Wi-Fi access in common areas or even in rooms. This allows guests to stay connected with friends and family, plan their itinerary, or catch up on work while on the go.


Storage facilities are also commonly available in hostels. These can take the form of lockers in dormitory rooms or designated luggage storage areas where guests can securely store their belongings. It’s always a good practice to bring your own padlock to ensure the safety of your personal items.


Clean and well-maintained bathrooms and showers are essential in hostels. Depending on the size and type of hostel, these facilities can be shared or ensuite. Some hostels may even provide separate male and female bathrooms to ensure convenience and privacy.


Lastly, some hostels go the extra mile to provide additional amenities such as laundry facilities, luggage scales, communal computers, or even bike rental services, enhancing the overall guest experience.


It’s important to keep in mind that the range and quality of facilities and amenities can vary from hostel to hostel. It’s always a good idea to check the specific amenities offered by the hostel you are considering before making a booking.


Price and Affordability


One of the primary reasons travelers choose to stay in hostels is due to their affordability. Hostels offer a cost-effective accommodation option compared to traditional hotels or resorts, making them attractive to budget-conscious travelers.


The prices of hostel accommodations in Australia vary depending on several factors such as location, facilities, room type, and season. In general, dormitory beds are the most budget-friendly option, with prices starting as low as $15 AUD per night. Private rooms are generally more expensive but still offer significant savings compared to hotel rooms.


It’s important to note that while hostels are often associated with dormitory-style accommodations, many hostels now offer a range of room options to cater to different budgets. This allows travelers to select a room type that suits their financial preferences and personal comfort levels.


Another cost-saving aspect of staying in hostels is the availability of communal kitchens. By preparing your own meals, you can significantly reduce dining expenses, especially in a country like Australia where eating out can be relatively expensive. This flexibility in cooking your own meals not only saves money but also gives you the chance to try local ingredients and flavors.


It’s also worth mentioning that some hostels offer discounts or promotions for longer stays. If you plan to spend a considerable amount of time in a particular location, it may be worth exploring options for extended stays at discounted rates.


While hostels may not provide the same level of luxury as hotels, they offer great value for money, especially for travelers who prioritize exploring their surroundings rather than lavish accommodations. Despite being budget-friendly, hostels strive to maintain cleanliness, comfort, and a positive guest experience.


Ultimately, the affordability of hostels opens up opportunities for more people to travel and experience the wonders of Australia without breaking the bank. It allows travelers to allocate their budget to other aspects of their journey such as activities, sightseeing, and indulging in local experiences.


Social Environment


One of the most appealing aspects of staying in a hostel is the vibrant social environment it offers. Hostels provide a unique opportunity to connect with fellow travelers from around the world and forge lifelong friendships.


Hostels naturally foster a sense of community by bringing together like-minded individuals who share a passion for exploration and adventure. The communal living spaces, such as lounges and kitchens, provide a conducive environment for interaction and socializing.


Many hostels organize social activities or events to facilitate connections among guests. This can range from group outings to local attractions, movie nights, pub crawls, or even organized communal dinners. These activities not only bring people together but also create meaningful experiences and lasting memories.


The social environment in a hostel is also beneficial for solo travelers who may be seeking companionship or a sense of security. It’s easy to strike up conversations with fellow guests and form impromptu travel companions, making the journey more enjoyable and less lonely.


Hostels often attract a diverse range of travelers of different ages, nationalities, and backgrounds. This diverse mix enhances cultural exchange and provides an opportunity to learn about different customs, traditions, and perspectives. It’s not uncommon to hear interesting travel stories, share tips and recommendations, or even plan future journeys together.


However, it’s important to note that the social atmosphere in a hostel can vary depending on the size and location of the hostel, as well as the time of year. Some hostels may be livelier, with a constant buzz of activity and events, while others may have a more relaxed or laid-back atmosphere.


Whether you’re a social butterfly or someone who prefers a quieter setting, hostels offer a flexible social environment that allows you to engage with others at your own pace. You can choose to join in on group activities or simply enjoy the company of other travelers while sharing stories and experiences.


Overall, the social environment in hostels fosters a sense of camaraderie and allows travelers to connect with people from all walks of life, creating friendships and memories that can last a lifetime.


Location and Accessibility


The location of a hostel can significantly impact your overall travel experience. Hostels in Australia can be found in various locations, ranging from bustling cities to idyllic coastal towns and scenic countryside settings.


In cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, hostels are typically situated in or near the city center, making it convenient for travelers to explore popular attractions, restaurants, and entertainment options. These centrally located hostels provide easy access to public transportation, allowing guests to navigate the city with ease.


For those seeking a beach getaway, coastal hostels offer the perfect base for sun, sand, and surf. Popular beach destinations such as Bondi Beach in Sydney, Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast, and Byron Bay in New South Wales are home to hostels that provide stunning ocean views and a laid-back atmosphere.


If you’re looking for an escape to nature, hostels can be found near national parks and scenic spots. These hostels offer a tranquil setting with opportunities for hiking, wildlife encounters, and exploring the great outdoors. Locations like the Great Barrier Reef, the Blue Mountains, and the Great Ocean Road are often accompanied by hostels that cater to adventurous travelers.


When considering the location of a hostel, it’s essential to take into account its proximity to public transportation. Access to buses, trains, and trams can make it easier to explore the surrounding area and venture beyond the immediate vicinity of the hostel.


Additionally, hostels located near airports or major transportation hubs provide added convenience for those arriving or departing from Australia. These strategically placed hostels help minimize travel time and ensure a smooth transition for guests.


Hostels in Australia, like in many other countries, often have online platforms that allow guests to view the location on a map, explore nearby attractions, and read reviews from previous travelers. This information can help you make an informed decision when choosing a hostel based on location and accessibility.


Remember, selecting a hostel that aligns with your preferred location and accessibility can enhance your travel experiences, save you time and money on transportation, and provide convenient access to the places and activities that interest you the most.


Safety and Security Measures


Ensuring the safety and security of guests is a top priority for hostels in Australia. While hostels are generally safe environments, it’s important to be aware of the safety and security measures in place to protect guests and their belongings.


Many hostels have secure entry systems, requiring guests to use key cards or codes to access the building or specific areas within the hostel. This helps to prevent unauthorized individuals from entering the premises.


Additionally, some hostels have lockers or storage facilities where guests can securely store their valuables. It is advisable to bring your own padlock to ensure the safety of your belongings. It’s always a good practice to keep your valuables locked away and not leave them unattended in common areas.


Hostels often have cameras installed in common areas and corridors to monitor activity and provide an additional layer of security. These cameras can deter potential thieves and help identify any suspicious incidents that may occur.


The presence of staff, either at the front desk or on-site security personnel, further contributes to the safety and security of the hostel. Staff members are trained to handle emergencies and ensure the well-being of the guests. They can provide assistance, address any concerns, and offer recommendations for safe travel in the local area.


Fire safety is also a priority in hostels. They are equipped with fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, and evacuation plans to ensure the safety of guests in the event of an emergency. It is important to familiarize yourself with the location of emergency exits and follow any instructions provided by the hostel staff.


Additionally, it’s worth noting that hostels in Australia are subject to regulations and standards set by the local authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of guests. This includes adhering to fire safety codes, building regulations, and health and hygiene standards.


While hostels take measures to maintain a safe environment, it is always important for guests to exercise personal responsibility for their own safety. Basic precautions like using lockers, not sharing sensitive personal information, and being aware of your surroundings can go a long way in ensuring a secure and enjoyable stay.


In summary, hostels in Australia prioritize the safety and security of their guests through measures such as secure entry systems, lockers, surveillance cameras, and well-trained staff. By being mindful of personal safety and following the guidelines provided by the hostel, you can have a safe and worry-free experience during your stay.


Popular Hostel Chains in Australia


Australia is home to several popular hostel chains that offer consistent quality, excellent service, and a network of hostels across the country. These hostel chains provide a reliable and trusted option for travelers seeking budget-friendly accommodations.


One of the most well-known hostel chains in Australia is YHA (Youth Hostels Australia). YHA has a presence in various cities and regions, offering a range of dormitory and private room options. YHA hostels are known for their cleanliness, comfortable facilities, and social atmosphere. With a focus on sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices, YHA hostels often incorporate eco-friendly initiatives into their operations.


Nomads and Base Backpackers are another popular chain of hostels in Australia. These two chains have merged to become a formidable force in the budget accommodation sector. Nomads and Base Backpackers hostels can be found in major cities and popular backpacker destinations, providing a fun and lively atmosphere with a range of facilities, including bars, communal kitchens, and organized activities for guests.


Another notable chain is the Base Backpackers Group, which operates a network of hostels primarily targeting backpackers and budget travelers. The Base Backpackers Group is known for its vibrant social scene, lively party atmosphere, and central locations in cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Cairns. Their hostels often feature on-site bars, nightclubs, and entertainment facilities.


The Mad Monkey Hostel chain is also gaining popularity among travelers. With a focus on providing a friendly and social experience, Mad Monkey hostels offer modern and stylish accommodations, comfortable beds, and a range of facilities to ensure an enjoyable stay. They have hostels in various destinations, including Sydney, Cairns, and Melbourne.


In addition to the chains mentioned above, there are numerous independent hostels throughout Australia that are highly regarded by travelers. These independent hostels often have unique and personalized touches, offering a more intimate and local experience.


When choosing a hostel chain, it’s important to consider factors such as location, facilities, and the atmosphere that suits your preferences. Each chain has its own unique features and target audience, so it’s worth doing some research to find the one that best aligns with your travel style and interests.


Regardless of the hostel chain you choose, you can expect affordable rates, comfortable accommodations, and a social environment that encourages interaction and camaraderie among travelers.


Tips for Choosing a Hostel


Choosing the right hostel for your stay can greatly impact your travel experience. Here are some tips to consider when selecting a hostel:

  1. Location: Determine the location that best suits your travel plans and preferences. Consider proximity to attractions, public transportation, and the atmosphere of the surrounding area.
  2. Reviews and Ratings: Read reviews from fellow travelers to get an idea of the hostel’s cleanliness, staff friendliness, and overall guest experience. Websites like TripAdvisor and Hostelworld are valuable resources for finding reliable reviews.
  3. Facilities and Amenities: Consider the facilities that are important to you, such as Wi-Fi, communal kitchens, laundry facilities, or social spaces. Make sure the hostel offers the amenities you need for a comfortable stay.
  4. Price and Value: Set a budget and compare prices among different hostels. Keep in mind that while cost is important, don’t solely base your decision on price. Consider factors like location, cleanliness, and facilities to determine the overall value of the hostel.
  5. Room Type: Decide whether you prefer a dormitory or a private room. If you value privacy, check if the hostel offers private rooms or female-only dormitories.
  6. Atmosphere: Consider the hostel’s atmosphere and whether it aligns with your travel style. Some hostels are known for their party atmosphere, while others are more relaxed and cater to families or quieter travelers.
  7. Safety and Security: Look for hostels that have secure entry systems, lockers, and surveillance cameras. Ensure that the hostel has measures in place to protect your belongings and personal safety.
  8. Staff Friendliness and Knowledge: Research the hostel’s staff reputation, as they can greatly enhance your experience. Friendly and knowledgeable staff can provide recommendations, assist with travel plans, and make your stay more enjoyable.
  9. Booking Flexibility: Check the hostel’s cancellation policy and booking flexibility in case your plans change. It’s always good to have the option to modify or cancel your reservation without incurring hefty fees.
  10. Recommendations and Referrals: Seek recommendations from fellow travelers or friends who have visited the destination before. Personal experiences and referrals can provide valuable insights into the best hostels to consider.

By considering these tips, you can make an informed decision when choosing a hostel. Remember, selecting the right hostel can enhance your travel experience and create lasting memories of your time in Australia.




Hostels in Australia offer a unique and affordable accommodation option for travelers from all walks of life. With their budget-friendly prices, social environments, and wide range of facilities, hostels have become a popular choice for those looking to explore the beauty and diversity of the country.


From dormitory-style rooms to private accommodations, hostels cater to different traveler preferences and budgets. The communal living spaces, such as kitchens and lounges, foster a sense of community and provide opportunities for cultural exchange and friendship.


Hostels in Australia prioritize the safety and security of their guests, with measures such as secure access systems, lockers for personal belongings, and trained staff to assist in any situation. Additionally, the affordability of hostels allows travelers to allocate more of their budget to experiencing the sights, sounds, and activities that make Australia a desired destination.


When choosing a hostel, it’s important to consider factors such as location, reviews and ratings, facilities, and price. By doing so, you can find a hostel that suits your needs and enhances your overall travel experience.


Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking new connections, a group of friends looking for an adventure, or a budget-conscious traveler wanting to explore Australia, hostels provide the perfect accommodation option. They combine affordability, comfort, and a vibrant atmosphere to create a memorable stay.


So, grab your backpack, pack your sense of adventure, and embrace the world of hostels in Australia. Discover the incredible sights, meet fellow travelers from around the globe, and create unforgettable memories in this beautiful country.