How to turn 20 days of leave into 49 days of holidays in 2019

So much to see, so little paid time off to see it with. We've hacked the 2019 calendar so you can get booking on the boss' dime!

It may not be written by astrologers or by Chinese philosophers, but we at YHA Australia have decided 2019 is the Year of the Paid Trip, and we need more than four weeks to warrant making it a years' namesake. So, we've had a good look-see at the 2019 calendar and worked out some cheeky hacks to extend those 20 precious days into...wait for it...49 days of paid leave! Ya welcome. 

 Annual Leave Calendar

Oh, and this plan only includes the most common public holidays – national holidays on Australia Day, Easter, Anzac Day and Christmas – and doesn’t even account for all of the weird and wonderful public holidays that dot the calendar in various states and territories (we’re looking at you, Northern Territory Picnic Day). Now that you know when to take your 20 days of leave, where should you spend your 49 days of holidays? Funnily enough, we've got that sorted, too. 

East Coast image

NSW North East Coast 

29 Dec 2018 to 6 Jan 2019 - 9 days off for 4 days leave (more if you have a few 2018 days up your sleeve and can take an extended Chrissy break!)

Well, well, well - how much time do you have? If you've been squirreling away those hard-earned days off, you could go the whole turkey and dismiss yourself from 22 December all the way to 6 Jan, giving you 15 glorious away-from-your-desk days, but the suggested nine is still a decent slab of time (and Chrissy ham) to explore this gorgeous part of the world. Every port is a highlight, from Coffs Harbour, the mid-point between Sydney and Byron, where you'll learn to surf and to slow down; to Bellingen YHA where you'll feel more zen and connected than an influencer coming back to Aus after finding themselves, to Yamba YHA where you'll experience the warmest hospitality (and sun!) of your life, over to Nimbin Rox YHA to sleep under the stars and with fairies, and of course ending in Byron Bay (just in time for the NYE crowd to have nursed their hangovers and toddled back home). You're going to be sunkissed, salty-toed, and happy as bloody Larry. Happy new year!

Explorer's Way image

Explorer's Way 

19 to 28 April 2019 - 10 days off for 3 days leave

You truly haven't experienced this country until you've zipped your way up her midline. Harsh, varied, otherworldly, vast, breathtaking - and that's just in the first few days! The Explorer's Way snakes all the way from the base of South Australia to the tip of the Northern Territory, passing highlights like the underground town of Cooper Pedy, our indigenous heartland Uluru, sprawling and stunning Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks and ending in our tropical top end, Darwin. Trust us, you want the whole ten days to make this trip of a lifetime - savour every minute. 

Magnetic Island Image


8 to 16 June 2019 – nine days off for four days leave

As the winter chill starts to bite Australia’s southern states, it’s time to migrate to warmer weather... but, this time we're going coastal. Book a budget getaway to sunny Queensland with YHA – and with 14 hostels sprinkled all the way up the Queensland coast, we’ve got you covered wherever your winter wanderlust may lead.

NoosaAirlie BeachCairnsPort Douglas – there’s no shortage of choice for a mid-year injection of Vitamin D, but it’s hard to go past the tropical treats of Magnetic Island. Catch the ferry to Magnetic Island for a stay at the Bungalow Bay Koala Village, the only resort in Australia with its own on-site nature reserve and just a stroll from the golden sands of Horseshoe Bay. 

Melbourne by night


4 to 8 September 2019 - 5 days off for 3 days leave 

Melbourne will forever be a magical city bathed in twilight and banging coffee, but it's extra bewitching in 2019 thanks to the arrival of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage play. We've kept this cheeky getaway stored up so you can head to Melbs whenever you nab tickets, but we reccommend going in September to break up the tail end of your year a little bit. Read here for an ode to HP we wrote, and remember that Melbourne Central YHA and Melbourne Metro YHA are offering super special deals on their beds and rooms right next to all the magic. 

Western Australia image

Western Australia

21 Dec 2019 to 6 Jan 2020 - 16 days off for 7 days leave

Get away over Christmas with an escape to the West Coast. Well, maybe ‘escape’ isn’t the right word to describe your stay at Fremantle Prison YHA – which, as you might be able to figure out from the name, is built in a former prison. If you’re travelling with the kids, book one of the beautifully restored 19th Century guards cottages overlooking the historic port city, while there are modern private and multi-share rooms in the former women’s wing of the prison itself, including twin and double ‘cells’. 

Don’t miss out on the chance to catch a ferry and cycle around the white-sand beaches of nearby Rottnest Island, or the opportunity to discover some other corners of this vast state. Margaret River, three hours’ drive south of Perth, is a compulsory stop for its world-class wineries, mouth-watering local produce, and wind-swept beaches.

We have oodles of tours on offer, ranging from day trips to 8-day adventures, so you'll be sure to see all the very best bits of our otherworldly Western coast. 

Nearby Hostels

    Magnetic Island YHA thumbnail
    From $29 per night
    Magnetic Island YHA
    This award-winning YHA hostel has all the facilities of an island resort. Set on beautiful Magnetic Island, this backpackers hostel includes open air bar, onsite wildlife sanctuary and hammocks surrounding the pool.
    Margaret River Backpackers YHA thumbnail
    From $30 per night
    Margaret River Backpackers YHA
    Margaret River is the backpacker capital of Australia’s South West, voted by Lonely Planet as one of the top ten regional destinations.
    Coffs Harbour YHA thumbnail
    From $26 per night
    Coffs Harbour YHA
    Mid way between Sydney and Brisbane, the purpose-built Coffs Harbour YHA hostel makes a great stopover for backpackers travelling the east coast.
    Port Macquarie YHA - Ozzie Pozzie Backpackers thumbnail
    From $28 per night
    Port Macquarie YHA - Ozzie Pozzie Backpackers
    Located halfway between Sydney & Byron Bay, Ozzie Pozzie backpackers is more like a resort than a hostel.
    Yamba YHA thumbnail
    From $29 per night
    Yamba YHA
    Located on the NSW north coast, Yamba is a seaside town that has fantastic beaches and the most famous surf breaks. A great stop between Sydney and Brisbane.
    Nimbin Rox YHA thumbnail
    From $26 per night
    Nimbin Rox YHA
    Have you ever wanted glamp in a tent? Well you'll enjoy the unique accommodations at Nimbin Rox YHA backpackers hostel. Situated in the lush sub-tropics of the magical Nimbin Valley.
    Melbourne Central YHA thumbnail
    From $24.5 per night
    Melbourne Central YHA
    A short walk from Southern Cross Railway Station and the Skybus Terminal, Melbourne Central YHA backpacker hostel is right in the heart of Melbourne.
    Melbourne Metro YHA thumbnail
    From $22 per night
    Melbourne Metro YHA
    Only a short free tram ride to the CBD and close to the University of Melbourne and Queen Victoria Market. Melbourne Metro YHA has everything you need for a great stay in cultural Melbourne.
    Adelaide Central YHA thumbnail
    From $26 per night
    Adelaide Central YHA
    Located right in the centre of the city, Adelaide Central YHA backpacker hostel is only a 7-minute walk to Adelaide Central Market and a short bus ride to Adelaide Festival Centre and Adelaide Zoo.
    Port Elliot YHA thumbnail
    From $30 per night
    Port Elliot YHA
    Great Port Elliot Beach Accommodation! Port Elliot Beach House YHA, on South Australia's spectacular Fleurieu Peninsula, is in a breezy, historic building.
    Darwin YHA - Melaleuca on Mitchell thumbnail
    From $27 per night
    Darwin YHA - Melaleuca on Mitchell
    We've moved to 52 Mitchell St. Darwin YHA – Melaleuca on Mitchell is located in the heart of the action and has all the facilities to keep you cool. Drink at the bar, laze by the two pools or chill out under the waterfall spa.
    Alice Springs YHA thumbnail
    From $26.5 per night
    Alice Springs YHA
    Alice Springs YHA backpacker hostel is built within the grounds of an historic outdoor cinema. Make sure you book your accommodation with us, for nightly movies under the stars!
    Perth City YHA thumbnail
    From $25 per night
    Perth City YHA
    Perth accommodation in the centre of the CBD. Perth City YHA is central to The Perth Mint, Art Gallery of Western Australia and Perth Zoo
    Dunsborough YHA thumbnail
    From $34 per night
    Dunsborough YHA
    Dunsborough Beachouse YHA is the ideal base to enjoy the attractions of the Margaret River. Close to the vineyards, amazing coastline and unspoiled national parks, you'll love it!
    Esperance YHA thumbnail
    From $28 per night
    Esperance YHA
    Esperance YHA hostel is a great base for exploring the Cape Le Grand National Park where kangaroos laze on the pristine beaches, only 15 minute walk to town.
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