The Four Best Hostels In Sydney

Annisa Maher
Annisa Maher

In the planning stages for your travels around Australia and need help deciding which is the best hostel in Sydney? That's what we're here for!

Over the last decade specifically, hostels have had to evolve and change with the times. Hotels are getting cheaper, AirBnB is becoming a very solid alternative and it’s a competitive world. To top it all of, there are a lot more hostels around in general…

Hostels are a really great place to kick back and meet people from all over the world, particularly if you’re travelling. But cleanliness and location just don’t cut it anymore – we expect more. We want free wifi, breakfasts, recommendations, evening events, we want to feel special and for each place to have that individual wow factor. With that being said, here’s a list of the best hostels in Sydney that have a lot to offer. 

Looking for the best hostel in Sydney? Then look no further.

Sydney is an ICONIC and world-famous city. I don’t know if you’re aware, but one of the reasons for this is that it’s got a pretty nice harbour. Oh you haven’t heard? Well, it’s really great. It has this gigantic bridge (Sydney Harbour Bridge… Still haven’t heard of it?) and a funny shaped, majestic building (Sydney Opera House… anybody?!) set on a quaint waterfront. It’s simply lovely.

So naturally, if you’re only in Sydney for a couple of days and you know you want to spend time around the harbour and The Rocks, the city’s oldest neighbourhood, then why waste travel time when you can stay in the middle of it all?!

Where can you find such a place, do you ask? Well, the Sydney Harbour YHA is quite literally the hostel of your dreams.

There aren’t too many hostels around the world that are situated in the VERY heart of such action and in such proximity of renowned icons. Trust us, you’ll feel lucky to be there.

The hostel’s main draw is its location, yes. But what’s even more incredible is the view of EVERYTHING listed above from the hostel’s rooftop. Oh yeah, we meant it when we said this is quite possibly the best hostel in Sydney.

Yes, that really is the view from the Sydney Harbour YHA's rooftop.

We also love that they offer a Free Archaeology Tour and a Historic Pub Tour (also free!) to all guests. Throw in a guided beach walk, free pancake breakfast, $2 sausage sizzle and $7 burger night and you’ve got quite the package deal. 

One last bonus is the ease of access to nearby hotspots such as Manly, Watsons Bay (look it up, it’s beautiful!) and Taronga Zoo. You’re a hop, skip and a jump away from ferries, trains and light rail! If you’re keen to be right in the middle of the culture, history, beaches and action, then Sydney Harbour YHA is the one for you.

There are many super hostels and flashpackers right now, but I’d say WakeUp! was the first of its kind in this iconic city.

This hostel is right next to Central Station, meaning it has one of the best and most convenient locations in Sydney.

Not convinced yet? Well, they also have the VERY BEST service I’ve ever encountered in a hostel. You can tell the staff really want to help and are genuinely interested in making your stay better in any way they can.

They also have Guided City Tours and organised Group Beach Days. These added experiences are great for meeting new people, getting out of the hostel to explore and seeing more of Sydney.

Quality is what Wake Up! lives and breathe, and you can tell when you walk into Roy’s Café or Side Bar. Both of these are Wake Up! side projects – great venues with fantastic offerings. Nothing but quality here!

Roy’s does good food and is the daily coffee fix for many locals, yet is still very affordable for us backpackers. Side Bar’s prices are also affordable, making it popular with residents. It is also a Sydney institution. It’s globally recognised as the place for a good night out for backpackers and students, with DJs, theme nights and live music.

Wake Up! has many common areas and a huge welcoming lobby that has wifi, luggage storage and a professional travel desk.

It’s fair to say WakeUp! makes the cut as one of the best hostels in Sydney. That’s probably why it came 6th in the Hoscars (Oscars for Hostels!), in the category for Best Extra Large Hostel in the world! We’re impressed.

If you’re keen for Wake Up!’s vibe, but prefer to wake up to the sound of crashing waves, then you’ll be happy to know that there is a Wake Up! in Bondi Beach too!

Side Bar

Where’s the ideal place to stay when you’re in Sydney? Next to Central Station or next to the Harbour of course! And since we’ve already covered the latter, we need to make sure Sydney Central gets a shout out too. 

Something that’s incredibly impressive about the property is its open, alfresco feel, despite it being SO central and in such a busy part of town. Fun fact: it’s also located in a heritage-listed building.

This laid-back and spacious vibe is partly owed to their rooftop, which features a heated swimming pool and spectacular views of the city. 

This is what I’m talking about when I say we expect more from hostels these days. How about a morning swim before setting out to explore the city, followed by evening drinks on the rooftop? Don’t mind if I do!

Like WakeUp!, they also have a bar and a great café attached. In addition to $4 bacon and egg rolls to appeal to the masses, they also do more unique dishes, like a cracking Thai Beef Salad for example!

These guys also offer daily activities and everything else you didn’t think you needed, but you do. This includes 24h access, wifi options, air-con, a travel desk, luggage storage and even… A  CINEMA AND A SAUNA? Yeah, we probably should have started with that. 

Because it is so central, public transport is right at your doorstep – meaning you can easily venture out to Sydney’s many neighbourhoods.

Ultimate Chill Vibes

Aside from the cool name, Mad Monkey is a fantastic hostel to try on for size. 

If you’re partial to a party, then this is the best hostel for you. Located in an inner-city suburb that is recognised for being the embodiment of Sydney’s nightlife scene, you certainly won’t get bored staying in a place like this. 

With quirky artwork all along the walls inside, a real group atmosphere and tons of free activities on offer, we recommend Mad Monkey for our social butterflies who want to make the most of their time here.

What free activities, do you ask? Oh, only rooftop yoga classes, surfboard hire, gym access, plenty of events and a dedicated FIFA gaming area. Not enough for you? They also have a travel desk, free WiFi, luggage storage and a free hot breakfast in the mornings. Mic drop.

Hang out in this ultimate chill zone

So, there you have it: our humble list of the top four hostels in Sydney. Do your research, see which one suits you and the vibe you’re after best, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with a local guide or travel expert if you need help booking any nights. Hostels are the backbone of backpacking and are the ultimate place to meet people and start exploring, which makes choosing the right one that much more important. At the end of the day though, no matter what hostel you choose, you’re bound to have the time of your life in Sydney.

Annisa Maher

Annisa Maher

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