COVID-19: Safe stay measures are in in place at all properties. YHA are following all state-based travel restrictions.

YHA and Environmental Sustainability

We are passionate about initiatives and practices that assist in energy reduction, water conservation, waste minimisation and giving back to the community. When you stay with YHA, you are choosing one of the most environmentally sustainable modes of travel, with an emphasis on sharing and co-living, thereby minimising your carbon footprint whilst travelling!
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  • Energy reduction and water conservation: Every night you spend in a hostel creates an average of 9 kilograms of carbon emissions and the average daily water consumption is 340 litres per person in Australia. We do everything we can to reduce our impact, with initiatives as small as energy-saving light bulbs and as large as solar hot water systems.
  • Waste minimisation: We believe in the afterlife. Besides recycling stations and swap shelves at every hostel, we’re always looking for other things to recycle – from composting to recycling whole buildings!
  • Social sustainability: Doing our part doesn’t stop with the natural environment. We give back to the communities that have welcomed us, by being actively involved in local events and fundraising for various charities dedicated to reducing social inequalities.
  • Sustainable Hostels Fund: When you book your next stay at YHA, consider donating $1 to the Sustainable Hostels Fund, and we will match your donation. The SHF has helped fund major projects such as solar hot water systems, LED lighting upgrades and more. 

Check out sustainable projects throughout the network and which locations are our sustainability superstars -who are fully devoted to earth-friendly initiatives and practices, both small and large. Implementing these practices has had a visible impact in reducing the footprint our hostels leave on the environment. 

sustainable projects

Sustainable Hostels

Airlie Beach YHA, Whitsundays tile image)
Airlie Beach, QLD

This sunny hostel at the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands is committed to reducing its impact on the environment through low-energy lighting, water-efficient bathrooms and recycling.

Alice Springs YHA tile image)
Alice Springs, NT

Converting a historic outdoor cinema, this Red Centre hostel has installed a solar power system that caters to as much as half of the property’s needs, partly funded by YHA’s Sustainable Hostels Fund.

Apollo Bay Eco YHA tile image)
Apollo Bay, VIC

This scenic stop on the Great Ocean Road was purpose-built with sustainability in mind, boasting ECO Certification for its commitment to solar energy, power-saving devices and rainwater tanks.

Brisbane City YHA tile image)
Brisbane, QLD

This award-winning hostel located smack-bang in the middle of the Queensland capital doesn’t skimp on sustainability, with its impressive 80,000L rainwater tank and solar hot water system.

Byron Bay - Byron Bay YHA tile image)
Byron Bay, NSW

This recently renovated property is brimming with all the usual eco-friendly features, as well as a lush internal courtyard surrounding the pool made up of water-efficient native plants.

Byron Bay - Cape Byron YHA tile image)
Byron Bay, NSW

The centrepiece of this Byron backpackers is the huge pool at the heart of it, and the roof-mounted solar heating system powers the swimming spot as efficiently as possible.

Cairns Central YHA tile image)
Cairns, QLD

Let’s face it – if you don’t have air-con in Cairns, you’ll go troppo. But Cairns Central YHA’s air-conditioning system is controlled by a building management system to reduce energy waste.

Halls Gap - Grampians Eco YHA tile image)
Halls Gap, VIC

Perched at the doorstep of the Grampians National Park and crawling with kangaroos and emus hopping all over the place, this ECO Certified YHA was custom built to be kind on the planet.

Melbourne Metro YHA tile image)
North Melbourne, VIC

Located in leafy North Melbourne, Melbourne Metro YHA is your perfect base for exploring off-the-beaten-path Melbourne. This hostel is totally committed to sustainable initiatives and practices, so you can rest easy each night knowing you’ve chosen one of the most earth-friendly accommodation options in the city.

Port Elliot YHA tile image)
Port Elliot, SA

This gorgeous sandstone beach house enjoys panoramic views of Horseshoe Bay, and assists the serene environment of SA’s Fleurieu Peninsula with a veggie garden and a composting site.

Stradbroke Island YHA tile image)
Point Lookout, QLD

Stradbroke Island YHA is reducing their carbon footprint with solar powered electricity and recycling stations, while also giving back to the local community through fundraising and offering work experience.

Sydney Central YHA tile image)
Sydney, NSW

Sydney Central YHA is a big hostel with an even bigger heart for sustainability. Right in the heart of Sydney, you might spot some solar panels if you’re looking from above, and from participating in Earth Hour to being a proud member of the local tourism body – sustainability is more than recycling!

Sydney Harbour YHA - The Rocks tile image)
Sydney, The Rocks, NSW

You could hardly squeeze any more sustainability features into this harbourside hostel, from solar cells on the roof to the recycled rubber flooring and pin boards made from nasty plastic bottles.

Sydney, Pittwater Eco YHA tile image)
Pittwater, NSW

This leafy bush lodge hosts two bush regeneration weekends a year, when an army of volunteers helps protect the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park by tackling outbreaks of weeds.

Sydney Railway Square YHA tile image)
Sydney, NSW

The hostel so green it recycled a whole building! The property that was one a mailhouse is now a buzzing hostel where guests enjoy an upcycled dining table as well as a internal green herb wall, and recycling is cycled to a local Citizen Blue depot on a regular basis.

Fremantle Prison YHA tile image)
Fremantle, WA

What's more impressive than actually recycling an entire building? So we did! Built in the 1850's Fremantle Prison YHA is the only accommodation in Western Australia with UNESCO World Heritage Status.



We aim to implement The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals when we plan our sustainability initiatives. That’s why we are part of a wide range of major projects across Australia, such as the ECO certification program, NSW Government Sustainability Advantage Program, Sydney single use plastic pledge, Sustainable Destination Partnership and many more.


Simply choosing to stay in YHAs helps make our sustainable hostels possible. But if you want to go a step further - you can help YHA’s sustainability projects by contributing $1 to the Sustainable Hostels Fund when you book your next adventure. YHA will match your contribution and use the accumulated funds to make our hostels cleaner, greener and better. Past projects funded with your help (thank you!) include a gas boosted solar hot water system at Brisbane City YHA in 2015, a 32kw Photovoltaic array at Sydney Harbour YHA in 2016 and many more.

There are also little things you can do throughout your travels to be a more world-friendly traveller – from swapping plastic travel bottles for shampoo and soap bars to learning a few words of the local language to be respectful. Find out more here.


YHA Australia is part of Hostelling International (HI) – the world’s largest network of hostels. HI is also dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism practices, governed by the HI Sustainability Charter and implemented at both grass-roots and on a major scale. Find out more

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YHA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We acknowledge and pay our respects to Elders past, present, emerging and the extended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community.