Sure, you enrolled to study hard and learn lots; but we all need a break (or three!) at times. Australia is a damn huge country and we know time and money is hard to come by, so we’ve narrowed it down to five places you’ve gotta see during your time in the tippy top of Australia. Drum roll, please!
Ah, Sydney. Home to a big bridge, a bigger foodie scene, hundreds of little streets to find yourself lost in and thousands of things to do (Seriously. You’ll never be bored. Here’s 100 free things to do when you get here). Accommodation-wise, you’ve got a choice between Bondi Beachouse YHA which overlooks iconic Tamarama Beach, centre of the city with Sydney Central YHA, sleeping in a train carriage at Railway Square YHA or lap up the best view of the harbour at Sydney Harbour YHA.
Fancy climbing the Harbour Bridge, learning to surf on Bondi Beach or checking out the Aquarium and Madame Tussades in Darling Harbour? We can book them all, plus more! Have a look-see here.
Don’t forget the stunning, small-town charm and transformative air of the Blue Mountains while you’re down there! 2 hours out of Sydney lies Katoomba, the home of the NSW National Park and Blue Mountains YHA. Bushwalks, canyoning, abseiling and caving is a’plenty, plus one of the 10 best pizzerias in Australia!
All the way at the tippy-top of the country lies Cairns, the tropical wonderland that leads you to our beautiful Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest coral reef system. Sadly, global warming is causing the destruction of this stunning reef, so you’d better get in to see it this time ‘round while it’s as breathtaking as ever. We’ve got the very best tours for you, too!
If scuba diving, snorkelling and boat-tripping on the Reef isn’t enough for you, we can book you bungee jumping, overnight boat trips and all that’s in between! Have a look at all the activities Tropical North Queensland offers, and get ready for a trip of a lifetime! Of course, you’ll stay at Cairns Central YHA for some rest, relaxation and rejuvenation between all your adventuring!
Nestled just under the Queensland border lies Byron Bay, the hippy town that has to be visited to be understood. A relatively small town with gorgeous beaches, bare feet, more bars than you could ever dream of visiting and a passion for surfing, yoga and good times.
We’ve luckily got two hostels smack-bang in the middle of the city for you to choose from, the newly renovated Byron Bay YHA or the true backpacker Cape Byron YHA, both of which will feel like your home away from home.
Order a shuttle bus and sneak a night away to the fairy paradise of Nimbin Rox YHA. You can camp under the stars in a lush yurt and wonder why you’d ever want to sleep indoors. Pro tip: brave the early wake up and greet sunrise – the valley becomes coated in a technicolour fog that’ll have you wondering if it was all a dream.
The red centre is our cultural, indigenous heartland; and truly must be experienced to be understood. Whether you’re road tripping from Adelaide or flying in from any capital city, you’ll be astounded by the hundreds of kilometres of deep, red dirt – this is the Australia you’ve really gotta see.
If you time your trip right, you can join thousands of gorgeous Priscilla, Queen of the Desert fans in their celebration of the film’s 20th birthday at the Queens in the Desert Festival, or be dazzled by hundreds of football fields’-worth of twinkling lights decorating the iconic Uluru in the Field of Light exhibition.
Whether coming for an event or not, you’ll be immersed in a fascinating, ancient history of people and place; and you’ll be bloody glad you came. Bonus, Alice Springs YHA is built in an old cinema, and screens outdoor movies each and every night. Forget Netflix and chill when you’re in the Northern Territory!
Let’s be real, Australia’s East Coast is probably the reason you wanted to travel here – sea, salt and sand every day, tonnes of high-octane activities like surf lessons, skydiving, bungee jumping, boat trips, snorkelling or even scuba diving – and some pretty crazy nightlife, too. Sounds good to us!
The East Coast spans New South Wales and Queensland, from Sydney to Byron Bay to Brisbane to Cairns and all that’s in between - and we’ve got hostels in pretty much every location you’ll want to visit. Have a read of our comprehensive East Coast guide here, and make sure to leave enough time to truly experience the magic!