The fact that you’re reading this means you probably know that YHA is a hostel organisation. Well, duh – it’s true we have a huge network of A grade hostels across the country, bursting with awesome activities, drool-worthy free food shelves, and staff and guests scuttling around from all kinds of backgrounds. But YHA isn’t just a place to rest your sleepy head – it’s an organisation that really focuses on how to improve the lives of those who visit, as well as the greater world around us.
To achieve this, we operate as a not-for-profit, membership-based organisation. No, that doesn’t mean we don’t make any money – it simply means we re-invest any surplus back into our network of hostels to improve them for you, our guests, as well as fund sustainability efforts to do better for the world. Choice.
Now that we’ve got all this talk about ‘profit’ out of the periphery, what on Earth else could we have to push us along every day? Well, it’s our guests, and our mission to throw you all into a wild mix of people who you might have never had the chance to meet before. We believe in learning through travel, and creating a more tolerant world, because it's a damn precious place.
Let's have a look at some things we’ve recently amped up in our hostels.
As you now know, YHA re-invests a bulk of its surplus of cash into making our hostels better. That means re-decorating to improve the vibe, installing new air conditioning to keep you cool, opening in-house cafes, and adding more beds to bustling hostels.
Here's what we've been up to.
Last year Sydney Central YHA celebrated its 20th anniversary. As a birthday present, renovations were ordered to glam it up big style! A sparkly new colour scheme has taken over the hostel, making it bright and interactive for guests, with freshened up dining and chillaxing areas.
Over an 18-month build, the Byron Bay YHA welcomed guests to a brand new wing and fresh look in March this year. Before the new wing, Byron Bay YHA had 107 beds, and now it has a whopping 199! With a flash new outdoor kitchen and BBQ area, all kinds of new chill-out spots, a lush paradise-like pool and a jaw-dropping reception, this one's gone above and beyond.
The hostel high up on the hill has had a lot going for it – brand new bathrooms, an in-house café offering more-than-decent dinner deals, and more murals you could poke a stick at.
We know it ain’t super sexy, but man does it make a difference – Canberra City YHA had an ENTIRE new air conditioning system installed recently, which makes your night’s sleep in summer hella better, and it’s also way more energy efficient.
YHA puts a gigantic effort into sustainability, which is made possible by our committment as a not-for-profit, as well as by the many green guests who donate to our Sustainable Hostels Fund, which you can do when making a booking.
Here’s some of our hostels' latest efforts.
This hostel is killing it at the game, so much so that it recycled a whole parcels shed from 1904 and turned it into the hostel it is today. With a solar-powered hot water system, rainwater flushing toilets, and a ‘Green Wall’ vertical garden made out of old railway luggage racks, the hostel is doing some damn good things for the world. Props.
Sustainability efforts aren’t just environmental, and Brisbane City YHA is showing us how it’s done when it comes to social sustainability. In partnership with OzHarvest, guests are learning to cook restaurant quality meals at the hostel, packaging them up and personally delivering them to a local homeless shelter. If this isn’t education by personal development, we don’t know what is!
Adelaide Central YHA has recently been lit up with newly installed LED lighting for enhanced energy efficiency. They're also operating an ace new recycling program, as well as running a regular clothing drive, where staff and guests put together a haul of pre-loved clothing and run it down to a homeless shelter nearby.
So sustainable it has ‘eco’ in its name. The hostel nestled amongst Grampians National Park has a helluva lot going on for it – a rebuilt chicken coop, a re-established worm farm, compost recycling, a herb garden for guests, re-established native gardens to bring in the local wildlife, and even an orchard and grape vine hanging ‘round. Just to name a few.