The best hostels & backpackers' in NSW

In NSW, budget accommodation doesn’t equal boring. Stay beachside from $25, book a night with free yoga from $58 or enjoy panoramic Sydney Harbour views from $35. Here’s a look at NSW’s best cheap stays.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Jun 2023 -
min read

YHA Newcastle Beach, Newcastle  

The low down: This oceanside hostel, set in a heritage building across from Newcastle Beach, is a great option for solo travellers and families alike. Its free surfboard and bodyboard hire and central location in Newcastle are the highlights, but the YHA also offers crowd favourites like free wi-fi, a self-catering kitchen and laundry. 

The best bit: Cosy up next to the hostel’s open fire with a book and cup of tea in the cooler months. 

How much? From $25 per night.  

Loungeroom area at YHA Newcastle Beach, Newcastle

YHA Newcastle Beach, Newcastle - Credit: YHA Newcastle Beach

Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers, Boat Harbour  

The low down: Find this backpackers in the lush bushland of Port Stephens, just a five-minute walk from One Mile Beach. This boutique-style accommodation harmonises with its surroundings using timber and glass to maximise light and synergy. There are cabins, dorms and campsites available, plus a main building housing all the necessities such as a kitchen, TV, lounge room and barbecues.  

The best bit: Melaleuca is a Land for Wildlife property meaning no domestic animals are allowed. As a result, there’s a high chance you’ll see local wildlife wandering the property.  

How much? From $25 per night. 

Cabin accommodation at Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers, Boat Harbour

Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers, Boat Harbour - Credit: Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers

Woopi Backpackers, Woolgoolga 

The low down: This family-run Woolgoolga hostel is just a five-minute walk from Woolgoolga Beach and a short drive from Coffs Harbour. Book in here and be treated to a range of room styles plus complimentary breakfast. There’s also a focus on sustainability – the North Coast hostel uses solar-powered energy, has a paperless ethos and a regimented waste system.  

The best bit: The on-site bar, Sam’s Place, provides guests a fun, super-close night-out option.  

How much? From $30 per night. 

Woopi Backpackers, Woolgoolga

Woopi Backpackers, Woolgoolga - Credit: Woopi Backpackers

YHA Blue Mountains, Katoomba

The low down: If you’re keen to stay in the heart of Katoomba (the centre of the Blue Mountains region), booking into its YHA is a great option for groups of all sizes on a budget. While it may be visually basic, it offers cosy shared dorms, private rooms and even exclusive use of the whole joint. There's a toasty log fire, a necessary comfort for winter visits, plus a bookable co-working space if you’re heading to the Mountains for work or a creative retreat. 

The best bit: The highly central location of this hostel is hard to beat. It's on Katoomba’s main street and is just a short walk to the train station. It’s also just down the hill from Mountains’ favourite, Black Cockatoo Bakery.  

How much? From $30 per night.

Couple enjoying a coffee on the balcony of YHA Blue Mountains, Katoomba

YHA Blue Mountains, Katoomba - Credit: YHA Blue Mountains

Mungo Shearers’ Quarters, Mungo 

The low down: Set in the Mungo National Park, these Shearers’ Quarters provide a great-value place to stay when exploring the otherworldly landscapes of Outback NSW. There are five rooms available to book, including rooms with double and single beds, and rooms with multiple bunks. Each has access to shared facilities including a fully functional kitchen, a dining room with a fireplace, an outdoor fire pit, picnic tables, gas barbecues and an amenities block with hot showers and flush toilets.  

The best bit: While the accommodation is basic, the Quarters offer a glimpse of the past, when the area would have been a functioning sheep station before it became part of a national park.  

How much? From $70 for two people a night. 

Exterior view of Mungo Shearers’ Quarters, Mungo

Mungo Shearers’ Quarters, Mungo - Credit: Corey Brown/DPE

YHA Thredbo, Thredbo  

The low down: A snow trip on a budget? It can be done. This hostel is set in the heart of Thredbo village, at the foot of Mount Kosciuszko. It offers great value for money, especially in the ski season, across both shared and private rooms – there's even a private studio. Enjoy incredible views, free wi-fi, a fully equipped kitchen and shared dining room during your stay here.  

The best bit: Take advantage of the free Thredbo Village shuttle available from village carparks to chairlift terminals and village accommodation. 

How much? From $35 per night.  

Exterior view of accommodation, YHA Thredbo

YHA Thredbo, Thredbo - Credit: YHA Thredbo

Wake Up!, Byron Bay  

The low down: This modern, bright and bohemian hostel is one of the most affordable spots to stay at when visiting top tourist town, Byron Bay. Opposite Belongil Beach, just a 15-minute walk from the town centre, it offers a variety of options including shared dorms and private rooms. There’s an on-site restaurant and bar, beachy courtyard, air-conditioned rooms plus all the other hostel mainstays such as shared bathroom facilities and free wi-fi.  

The best bit: Take advantage of the free surfboard hire, daily yoga classes and shuttle bus into town when staying at this hostel.  

How much? From $40 per night.  

Wake Up Byron Bay, Byron Bay

Wake Up Byron Bay, Byron Bay - Credit: Wake Up Byron Bay

The Belfry Guesthouse, Bellingen  

The low down: While it’s not quite a backpacker hostel, this nine-bedroom, lofty guesthouse is an affordable place to stay for groups or couples in the heart of much-loved North Coast village, Bellingen. It offers double and family rooms, plus wide wrapping verandahs, lush gardens, a library and the occasional hammock for reading and relaxing. Be sure to take advantage of the treehouse yoga and meditation studio when staying at this peaceful retreat. 

The best bit: There’s also a bookable infrared sauna that’s $20 for a 45-minute session.  

How much? From $85 for two people a night.  

Exterior view of The Belfry Guesthouse, Bellingen

The Belfry Guesthouse, Bellingen - Credit: The Belfry Guesthouse

YHA Sydney Harbour, The Rocks 

The low down: A stay at this centrally located hostel in The Rocks offers prime access to its rooftop, which boasts uninterrupted panoramic views of the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Here you’ll find a range of private rooms and dorms (all have ensuites), an on-site cafe, bike storage and more. 

The best bit: Sustainability and eco travel is front of mind here. Energy comes from solar power, lights are timed, there are recycling stations across the hostel and there are no plastic bags or bottles on site. Plus, there’s a dedicated space to donate second-hand clothes, food and other goods.  

How much? From $45 per night.  

Guests on the rooftop at YHA Sydney Harbour, The Rocks

YHA Sydney Harbour, The Rocks - Credit: YHA Sydney Harbour

Samurai Beach Bungalows Port Stephens YHA, Anna Bay  

The low down: This comfortable hostel is set in lush rainforest and native bushland on NSW’s Mid-North Coast. Offering shared-room accommodation, deluxe double rooms and family options, it’s a great wallet-friendly option when visiting the Port Stephens area. Find the usual hostel amenities along with a pit-style fire; an outdoor, fully equipped ‘bush kitchen’; and a proper Aussie-style ‘shed’ fit with a pool table, dart board, video games, board games and more. 

The best bit: The 11-metre, lagoon-style saltwater pool makes for great sun soaking and relaxed swimming in the warmer months.  

How much? From $50 per night, closed during winter.  

Guests by the pool with dog Bo at Samurai Beach Bungalows Port Stephens YHA, Port Stephens

Samurai Beach Bungalows Port Stephens YHA, Port Stephens - Credit: Samurai Beach Bungalows Port Stephens YHA

Stoke Beach House, Manly 

The low down: At just 200 metres from Manly Beach, this refurbished spot offers near beachfront access to one of Sydney’s best spots to swim. Here you’ll find a ‘five-star hostel experience’ with lush, pod-style dorms with lock-up storage; a fully functional communal kitchen with a Breville coffee machine; free surfboards, bikes and snorkels to borrow; and bookable dive and surf lessons.   

The best bit: Complimentary healthy breakfasts, daily morning yoga sessions and local deals offer great value at this seaside option.  

How much? From $58 per night.  

Exterior view of accommodation at Stoke Beach House, Manly

Stoke Beach House, Manly - Credit: Stoke Beach House

Kimo Estate Shearer’s Quarters, Gundagai 

The low down: If you’re travelling with a group and are hoping to keep accommodation costs down, consider a stay on this beautiful estate in Gundagai. Kimo Estate’s Shearer’s Quarters sleep up to 12 people in exclusive-use, private luxury. The quarters boast three double and three twin bedrooms, a ‘mess hall’ that’s perfect for big dinners and a large kitchen for group cooking.  

The best bit: Opt in for a Riverina produce pack to cook on the barbecue. They can be ordered 10 days out from your stay. 

How much? From $450 per night for up to six people. For booking of more than six people, there is an additional fee of $75 per person per night.  

Exterior view of accommodation at Kimo Estate, Gundagai

Kimo Estate Shearers’ Quarters, Gundagai - Credit: Kimo Estate

Keiraleagh House, Wollongong  

The low down: A self-proclaimed “bohemian treasure”, Wollongong’s Keiraleagh House offers a range of rooms for a range of budgets. Set among lush green palms, this bright blue heritage abode is a 10-minute walk from Wollongong Beach and 15 minutes from Wollongong train station. The hostel is also a 10-minute walk from WIN Stadium, home of the NRL’s St George Illawarra Dragons and host of many music acts, conventions and exhibitions. 

The best bit: Apart from the excellent central location, Keiraleagh offers daily room cleaning. 

How much? From $40 per night.  

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