It’s 2020 and hostels aren’t what they used to be, especially on the east coast of Australia. Ten years ago, travellers could expect nothing more than a re-purposed hotel room filled with bunk beds and a shared kitchen to cook pasta, but over time, the standard of hostels has changed.
On the backpacking adventure of your life, you deserve to retreat at night to a place where lifelong memories can be made. With modern decor and wall murals for your Instagram, we’ve embraced the theme of cruisy, coastal vibes, as are a lot of our friends at various hostels along the Australian east coast.
Here is our pick for the 10 coolest hostels on the east coast of Australia.
Base Hostel Magnetic Island
Image thanks to @fodmarco
If you can picture a vibey resort surrounded by palm trees where travellers bounce beach balls around in the 30-degree tropical heat, that’s Base Magnetic Island. Equipped with the best party bar on the island, the hostel is the central social hub for Maggie Island.
By day, snorkel gear can be rented for exploring nearby coral reefs. The hostel neighbours are the Magnetic Island Koala Village, and yep, you can spend an afternoon cuddling a fury native before retreating to the hostel bar for a poolside drink with views of the ocean. Talk about a tropical getaway.
WakeUp! Bondi Beach
Image thanks to @wakeuphostels
A hostel doesn’t have to be amazing when it’s situated just seconds from Australia’s most iconic beach, but that didn’t stop WakeUp from creating an awesome atmosphere with their Bondi Beach property. One of WakeUp's biggest drawcards is its rooftop BBQ area, the perfect place to head with your new hostel pals for dinner and a drink with panoramic views of Sydney's Bondi Beach. Now THAT is an Aussie travels memory you’ll savour forever.
Cape Trib Beach House, Cape Tribulation
Image thanks to @capetribbeachhouse
It doesn't get more tropical than this Far North Queensland hostel. Cape Tribulation is, as they say, where the rainforest meets the sea and the Cape Trib Beach House manages to capture this atmosphere in the coolest way possible.
A pool nestled in amongst the palm throngs of the oldest rainforest in the world, rustic decor and bonfires in the evening make this hostel an unmissable stop for your Australia adventure. There is, of course, a jungle bar and if you walk down a short trail to the beach, you’ll find that love-heart shaped swing from all the Cape Trib Instagram photos - bliss!
Image thanks to @freedomhostels
Refurbished modern facilities and comfy bedding aside, the atmosphere at Freedom Cairns has been described as one of the best in the city, known as a social but relaxed hostel with a bounty of opportunities to make friends. At Freedom Cairns, your arrival in Cairns will be complete with an event calendar that guarantees lifetime memories. Guests gather and plan at the daily free breakfasts, Wednesday balcony BBQ’s are a hoot and staff are always going out of their way to ensure all guests are loving their stay.
The Freedom Cairns balcony is a BYO alcohol area, so afternoons can be spent relaxing in the Queensland heat with a drink whilst you mingle with other guests - lovely!
Space Hotel, Melbourne
Image thanks to @hostelworld
Melbourne luxury is captured on Space Hostel’s rooftop. You can soak in their rooftop jacuzzi whilst taking in 360-degree views of what is arguably Australia’s best city (sorry Sydney). The hostel is smack-bang in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD, making it the perfect centre point for exploring the city via those free tram rides Melbourne is so famous for. You may be backpacking, but Space Hostel’s sophisticated, artistic decor will have you feeling as fancy as an inner-city street artist - a nice break from pasta and tuna!
Stoked Surf House, Manly
The dream of finding that uncrowded Sydney beach comes true at Stoke Beach House in Manly. A friendly, family-like atmosphere is complemented by brand new, modern facilities in this stylish little beach stay. Manly is that cruisy surf town that still bustles at night with cool bars, great live music and delicious street eats. The Stoked Surf House crew also run a weekly sunset boat party to Sydney Harbour so you can get that Opera House shot for Mum.
Byron Bay Beach Hostel
Image thanks to @byronbeachhostel
Hippie vibes meet Instagram-chic at the Byron Bay Beach hostel. Not only is this the most central hostel in Byron Bay, but it is also the most social. The hostel incorporates modern facilities with furnishings that pay tribute to the Arakwal people, the traditional custodians of the Byron Bay land.
It’s the perfect place to wind down after a day spent learning to surf, exploring world-renowned Nimbin or wandering around Australia’s coastal celebrity town of Byron Bay.
Freedom Rainbow Beach
Where surf shack meets luxe, friends are made, wildlife is encountered and sand dunes are surfed, Rainbow Beach really does epitomise east coast culture. You’ll be very much feeling this the minute you step into Freedom Rainbow Beach. There’s an onsite bar and pool, free pancake breakfast and a hell of a lot to do in this tiny coastal town; daily dolphin feeding opportunities, incredibly cheap surf lessons, kayaking trips - it’s all here, not to mention, Rainbow Beach is the access point to the single most unmissable experience on the east coast, Fraser Island.
Jackaroo Treehouse Mission Beach
Image thanks to @jackarootreehouse
True to its name, Jackaroo Hostel is indeed a treehouse, making it an unforgettable hostel on the east coast of Australia, in one of Australia’s best kept secrets, the town of Mission Beach. Modern facilities combined with a jungle-like atmosphere, a pool surrounded by hammocks and a palm-tree-lined beach at the doorstep make for a truly unique experience. Days spent taking on the white water rapids of the Tully River can be followed by balmy evenings relaxing in a hammock with a drink at Jackaroo Treehouse.