When we first began to plan our whistle stop tour of Australia, one thing became abundantly clear… it was going to be *very* expensive.
Straight away we shifted our search from Airbnb’s to budget backpacker hostels, knowing that if we found the right ones, we had a good chance of meeting like-minded travellers. Hostels tend to have a reputation for being noisy and uncomfortable, but if you book a private room with an en-suite, it’s *usually no different to staying in a budget hotel.
Being in my mid-twenties, and needing a quite space and strong wifi connection to get my work done each day (read my tips on balancing work and travels on the Nomads blog here), I was admittedly worried we would find ourselves in party hostels surrounded by 19 year old gap-year backpackers who only wanted to get boozy. We did a lot of research and thankfully found some great hostels to suit our needs. I’ve shared our favourite hostels on the East Coast of Australia below, for anybody else looking to travel on a budget but not compromise on comfort and privacy.
Before I get into that, a quick note on our route. We had just three weeks to see as much of Australia as we could, and so decided to fly where we could to maximise our time in each destination. Our route went like this…
Sydney > Fly to Melbourne > Fly to Cairns > Bus to Magnetic Island > Bus to Airlie Beach > Bus to Noosa > Trip to Fraser Island > Bus to Brisbane > Bus to Byron Bay > Fly to Sydney
The Best Hostels on the East Coast of Australia
Sydney – Base Backpackers
This hostel is in a really great location near the CBD, just behind the Town Hall. The private rooms are fairly priced for such a central hostel, and the kitchen is huge and well equipped. It’s not the most stylish hostel, but what it lacks in design it makes up for in practicality. Just a 25 minute walk away from Sydney Opera House, and a three minute walk from the Town Hall metro station, you can easily get to everywhere you want to go from this Base. Free breakfasts, free pasta nights and lots of activities you can opt in to make this a great option if you’re keen to mingle with other travellers. You can buy wifi to use in your private room if you’re in need of some quiet time.
Melbourne – United Backpackers
Probably my favourite hostel of the trip, this gem is located immediately next to Degraves Street, the most photographed street in Melbourne, and directly opposite the beautiful Flinders Street Station. We really, really loved Melbourne and highly recommend the modern and stylish private rooms in this hostel. The kitchen was well-equipped, clean and we enjoyed hanging out in there.
Magnetic Island – Base Backpackers
It was a lovely surprise to stay in these cute beach huts. The hostel itself is spread out, with a pool, a bar/restaurant and separate kitchen. I don’t rate the kitchen at this hostel, but the bar food was well-priced and there were good options.
Byron Bay – Nomads
My second favourite hostel of the whole trip was Nomads at Byron Bay. I loved everything about this hostel from the free breakfast, the open airy reception area, the hot tubs on the terrace, and the friendly, welcoming staff. We spent 5 nights here in total and didn’t want to leave. The private rooms were modern and spotlessly clean, and the hostel is located just a five minute stroll from Byron Bay beach. I loved being right in the thick of it here, and fell completely for Byron.
Do comment below with any other hostels you would recommend for other readers.
Huge thanks to Base and Nomads hostels who we worked with on this trip. We received some complimentary nights accommodation, however I am not obliged to write about anything. I have only recommended the hostels that I would be happy to recommend to a friend.