YHA and Sustainability

YHA Australia is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and raising awareness of the benefits of low-impact travel.

What we do

Save energy

Most YHA properties use low energy light bulbs and LED lighting is now also being installed in several properties. Solar power (photo-voltaic) systems have been installed at Alice Springs, Hawkesbury Heights, Melbourne Metro, and Grampians YHAs. Many properties have solar hot water systems. Key card activated lighting and air-conditioning is present in several large city hostels with motion and sensor lighting commonplace in other properties.

Water conservation

Three to five star rated water-saving tap-ware, toilets and showers are commonplace in YHAs. Several properties use rainwater tanks to water gardens or to flush toilets. We use front loader washing machines which use less water and several properties also have grey-water recycling.


Paper. cardboard, glass bottles, plastics, aluminium and steel cans are all collected for recycling at YHAs. Many properties will also collect your batteries and unwanted clothing for recycling. Several hostels have shelves for unwanted items for guests to leave for another guest to use. Some hostels collect organic waste for composting or worm farms.


Providing an opportunity for education is a key to YHAs mission statement. We offer accommodation to school groups and at some properties even offer onsite educational opportunities such as The Big Day Archaeology Education Center at Sydney Harbour YHA. Many hostels will have opportunities for you to donate to a charity of their choice. YHA also sponsors special need groups by offering discounted stays or event opportunities. We partner with like-minded organisations to bring about positive social change.


What you can do


Did you know?

Every night you spend in a hostel creates an average of 9 kilograms of carbon emissions (certified by the Carbon Reduction Institute). YHA's Sustainable Hostels Fund assists with eco-projects in hostels, particularly solar hot water systems. Research shows this to be the area where we can reduce emissions most significantly. It will also reduce energy costs so any extra savings will go back into the scheme to purchase or generate other renewable energy sources.

How you can help

You can help YHA run more sustainable hostels by contributing $1 when you book online to the Sustainable Hostels Fund. YHA will match your contribution and use the accumulated funds to make our hostels more sustainable. Past projects funded through guest contributions include solar hot water at Byron Bay YHA and Adelaide Central YHA, and solar power at Alice Springs YHA.

When you're staying at a YHA hostel you can do you part by switching off the light when you're not in your room, recycling where you can, taking shorter showers and particpating in great initiatives like Earth Hour and Clean Up Australia Day.

Explore hostels are not part of the YHA hostel network and therefore the standard, style of accommodation and sustainability initiatives may vary from that of YHA hostels.


Hostelling International

Check out Hostelling International's Sustainability Charter to see what HI associations worldwide are doing to reduce their effects on society, ecology and the economy. Find out more

Sustainability page - Respect our Animals

Recent projects

In 2016, Sydney Harbour YHA installed a 30kW photovoltaic solar system to help power the hostel, 50% bankrolled by the Sustainable Hostels Fund. The solar panels saved almost four tonnes of carbon emissions within a month of being switched on in October. Railway Square YHA followed suit in 2017, installing a 62kW solar PV system and a solar-boosted hot water system.

Past projects

The Sustainable Hostels Fund has helped install solar hot water systems at Adelaide Central, Byron Bay, Cairns Central, Glebe Point, Pittwater, Grampians Eco Lodge and Melbourne Metro, as well as solar power in sun-baked Alice Springs (2012) and Perth (2014), reducing Perth City YHA’s carbon emissions by more than 40 tonnes a year.

YHA recognised

YHA has been promoted to a Silver Partner in the NSW Government Sustainability Advantage program. The trophy was awarded on 3 June 2011 to honour World Environment Day and is validation of the hard work and improvements which have gone into the NSW YHA hostel network over past years.

Why buy water?

Why buy water when it's free? Several YHAs ceased selling bottled water from vending machines in 2014. Instead, guests are encouraged to buy a refillable bottle which can be filled up at taps all around Australia, at no extra cost to them or the environment.

Sustainable Hostels

per person
Airlie Beach, QLD

Airlie Beach YHA hostel is located in the centre of Airlie Beach close to the swimming lagoon, restaurants, cafes and Airlie's thriving nightlife. All rooms are air-conditioned.

per person
Alice Springs, NT

Alice Springs YHA is built within the grounds of an historic outdoor movie theatre, in a great location in the centre of this atmospheric outback town.

per person
Apollo Bay, VIC

Midway along the famous Great Ocean Road, relax by the wood fire heater, and enjoy ocean views from the rooftop  at Apollo Bay Eco YHA.

per person
Brisbane , QLD

Brisbane City YHA is an award winning backpackers hostel. This Brisbane hostel is located in a cool area close to Suncorp Stadium and Roma Street Transit Centre.

per person
Byron Bay, NSW

Byron Bay YHA Backpackers Hostel is just a short walk to the city centre. Large comfortable common areas, swimming pool and BBQ make it the perfect spot to relax.

per person
Byron Bay, NSW

Cape Byron YHA is a purpose-built YHA hostel in the centre of town, just 200m to the beach and main bus stop.

per person
Cairns , QLD

Winner of the 2014 Best Backpacker Awards in the Queensland Tourism Awards, Cairns Central YHA has all a backpacker needs for a comfortable stay.

per person
Halls Gap , VIC

Grampians Eco YHA is a stylish eco-certified hostel. Watch wild kangaroos relaxing on the lawn and explore the stunning Grampians National Park.

per person
Nulkaba, NSW

Escape the city and head to the heart of the wine country for your next group trip or family get-together.

per person
Port Elliot, SA

Great Port Elliot Beach Accommodation! Port Elliot Beach House YHA, on South Australia's spectacular Fleurieu Peninsula, is in a breezy, historic building.

per person
Main Beach, QLD

Surfers Paradise YHA Hostel is your ticket to all the thrills on the Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise.

per person
The Rocks, Sydney, NSW

Stay at Sydney's only backpacker hostel in the city's historic harbourside precinct - The Rocks - and enjoy stunning views.

per person
Pittwater, NSW

An easy escape from the busy city of Sydney, Pittwater YHA hostel is nestled in Morning Bay, Ku-ring-gai National Park.