Best Hostels in Sydney 2021

Trying to decide on the Best Hostels in Sydney is no easy task. There are more than 85 backpacker hostels to choose from why wade through endless lists when we have done the hard work for you.

Last updated: 11 Jan. 2021

As a Sydney local who has worked with backpacking travellers for almost two decades, I have a pretty good idea of the landscape, so I have put together a list of hostels that I would recommend for different types of travellers.

All the hostels I have listed here do a great job of providing a friendly, welcoming, clean and secure environment. Read on and find out which one is perfect for you.

Things to consider when choosing your Sydney hostel

Is the hostel well located?

Location is the most important factor in my view. Is it close to transport? Not located on top of a loud venue if you like to sleep early? Will you feel safe in the area at night?

Does the hostel allow long-term residents?

When hostels allow long-term residents, we think the dynamic can change. The core group bond and can make it feel less welcoming for new arrivals; however, if you are coming over on a working or extended holiday, you might want somewhere you are welcome to stay for a month or more.

Do the hostel rules suit you?

It’s an excellent idea to check out any rules the hostel may have. If these are not published on their website, you can usually find them referred to in reviews. Not all travellers want the same things, so make sure the environment suits your needs is important.

Don’t just choose the cheapest hostel

A warning, youth hostels here are not super cheap; a hostel in Sydney offers a $25 room comes at a huge price; noisy, dirty and often very crowded. Most of the better hostels here change from $35-50 a night.

Does the hostel have a minimum booking period?

Almost all Sydney Hostels have a minimum booking period over Christmas and New Year. Each year lots of travellers contact me looking for a bed one or two months out. Finding a good hostel this late in the year is all but impossible, and you will pay dearly for it.

It would be best to look at booking a NYE hostel by August, yes August. Be sure to check the cancellation policy before you commit too much money.

Hostels in the Sydney CBD (Centre of town)

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YHA Sydney Harbour

The Best Hostel in Sydney for Solo Travellers

Located in Sydney’s oldest area Sydney Harbour YHA, also known as YHA The Rocks, is my favourite hostel in the city. Stay here, and you are just minutes from the waterfront with modern facilities that make it seem more like a budget hotel than a backpackers hostel.

Sydney Harbour YHA Lounge
Sydney Harbour YHA Communal area

The only harbourside hostel and the only hostel to offer a sun-deck overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, this 106 room property is perfect for couples or families exploring the city.

Sydney Harbour YHA roof
Sydney Harbour YHA has a great rooftop area overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

This hostel is quieter than many other Sydney hostels, with its excellent facilities and friendly staff, most people find the slightly higher prices worth it.

When I say quieter, I do not mean that it is boring. The hostel puts on BBQs, guided walks of the area and pub tours, and there are special dinners a couple of nights for under $10. Just a few minutes walk from the hostel are two great pubs, the Australian Hotel and The Glenmore Hotel.


  • Lockers with power in shared rooms
  • Family rooms and twin rooms with ensuites
  • Quieter atmosphere than other hostels in Sydney
  • Daily hostel activity to help you get to meet other guests.
  • Rooftop terrace with harbour views
  • Large communal kitchen
  • Free Internet in public areas
  • Wheelchair-accessible rooms
Sydney Hostels YHA Sydney Harbour Balcony view
It’s not often you find a hostel with a view like this one!


  • Stairs in the surrounding area might be too much for those with lots of luggage, prams or mobility issues
  • Terrace closed late at night

Best for: Families, groups and quieter travellers
Tip: Try to get up early one day and watch the sunrise over the harbour from the terrace.

Address: 110 Cumberland Street The Rocks, Sydney
Phone: (+612) 8272 0900
Nearest Station: Wynyard (flat walk) and Circular Quay are approx 600m away.

Check interior photos and current prices of the Sydney Harbour YHA

You need to book this hostel early to get the best prices and for peak season, particularly NYE

YHA Central Sydney – Rawson Place

Best hostel in Sydney for couples with great double rooms.

Sydney YHA Central CC J Brennan
Sydney YHA Rawson Place

Perhaps the largest hostel in Sydney and flagship of the Youth Hostel Association (YHA), the Rawson Place Central YHA is a heritage-listed building about a 3-minute walk from Sydney Central Station.

With its rooftop pool, on-site café and spacious public areas, it offers excellent value for money for any traveller regardless of age. It is also located close to some of the cities most popular backpacker bars and the cheap dining options in Chinatown.


  • Location – right next to Central Station and a short walk to cheap eats in China Town and Paddy’s Market
  • Lockers in rooms
  • Heated rooftop pool and sauna
  • Large Kitchen areas open till 10.30pm
  • Free luggage storage
  • Some rooms have balconies
  • Spotless – great recycling program
  • Cafe inside the hostel & a small supermarket next door.
  • Some undercover parking available
  • No long-term guests


  • Some say it lacks atmosphere and friendliness of a smaller hostel
  • Can be busy with school groups at certain times of the year
  • No TV in twin rooms
  • No power outlet in lockers
  • Rooms on lower floors may experience noise from the bar

Address: 11 Rawson Place, Corner of Pitt St and Rawson Place Sydney
Nearest Train Station: Central

Check interior photos read reviews of the YHA Central Sydney

Wake Up! Hostel Sydney

Best hostel in Sydney to meet people

Great facilities at Wake Up Hostel Pitt Street Sydney Australia

This hostel sits virtually behind the YHA Central one reviewed above. Originally a department store, Wake up is hard to miss sitting on the main intersection of George Street and Railway Square.

This hostel is perfect for those of you who are in town to have a fun time with its on-site bar and a great range of activities that include trivia nights, beach walks and parties. Consistently good reviews show they must be doing lots of things right.


  • Centrally located within 20 mins walk of the harbour
  • Clean rooms with lots of natural light
  • Café and bar/nightclub (Sidebar) onsite
  • Girls only floor
  • Bathrooms have hairdryers
  • Private rooms have TVs
  • Free beach and city tour
  • A great co-working space for digital nomads
  • Accessible rooms


  • Can be noisy
  • No free internet
  • Not available to under 18s
  • Small kitchen relative to the size of the hostel

Best for Young travellers, a bit of a party atmosphere and a great place to meet other young travellers
Tip: Plan to cook early if you want to use the kitchen

Address: 509 Pitt St, Sydney 2000, Australia
Nearest train station: Central

Check out lots of photos of the rooms and read reviews of Wake Up Sydney

YHA Railway Square

Best hostel in Sydney for a unique experience

YHA Railway Square Hostel Sydney

It does not get much easier than staying on top of the Central train station. No dramas getting from the airport, (400 bus to Mascot Station then 10 min train ride to the city if you want to save money). It’s also the city’s transport hub, so easy to get around no matter where you are heading.

Train buffs can even stay in a converted train carriage dorms on Platform Zero. Alternatively, there are rooms in the main historic building. The Railway Square YHA is an award-winning property recently renovated and offers lots of cool spaces to relax.


  • Nightly activities
  • Large kitchen
  • Easy to get to transport
  • Affordable food, free pancakes some mornings
  • 24-hour check-in


  • Train dorms can be noisy in the early morning when announcement begin
  • Some complaints about wifi at times but generally OK.
  • Large school group bookings sometimes make the hostel busy

Best for: easy transport, safe travel.
Tip: Take the 311 bus to Elizabeth Bay from just outside the hostel for a bit of local exploring.

Address: 8-10 Lee Street Central
Nearest train station: Central

Check prices and availability of YHA Railway Square.

Hostels in Sydney by the beach

Wake Up Bondi Beach

The best beachfront hostel

With a prime position on Campbell Parade opposite the world-famous Bondi Beach, Wake Up Bondi, previously Bondi Backpackers, is for me the pick of Sydney’s eastern suburbs beaches. Along with an amazing location, the hostel has a fantastic rooftop area where they host free yoga, enjoy wine and cheese nights, join in the Friday BBQs or just relax on a deckchair.

Wake Up Bondi opposite beach
Wake Up Bondi, previously Bondi Backpackers, is right opposite the beach.


  • Located opposite the beach
  • Clean rooms with lots of natural light
  • Great rooftop area
  • Generously sized lockers to fit large bags and backpacks
  • Free surfboard hire
  • Ocean views from some dorms


  • No airconditioning
  • No free internet
  • No under 18 years (some consider this a plus)
  • Small kitchen that closes at 10 pm

Best for sun worshippers and surfers
Tip: Lots of fun activities – this is a great place to meet people

Address: 110 Campbell Parade Bondi Beach
Nearest train station: Bondi Junction – Also express bus 333 to Circular Quay and city.

Read the latest reviews and check the current prices

Check out our Insiders Guide to Bondi if you decide to stay here.

If you are travelling with a few friends, you might find an Airbnb cheaper. Check out this guide to the best neighbourhoods in Sydney for holiday rentals.

We have also reviewed a range of budget hotels that you might want to check out.

Join the Sydney Expert Community

Got a question about hostels in Sydney or your trip generally? Join our Sydney Expert Facebook Group, where you can ask questions about your plans and find out what’s happening in Sydney.

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