When I visited central west NSW, Orange and Cowra in particular, I found that there were plenty of motels, pubs (which offer rooms) and caravan parks and campsites, but no youth hostels. This surprised me, as it's fairly close to Sydney - less than the width of two European countries.

What kind of places in Australia, given that they have at least some form of accommodation, tend to have youth hostels?

Wikivoyage doesn't give any information, and the 18th edition of Lonely Planet merely says

Backpacker hostels are exceedingly popular in Australian cities and along the coast, but in the outback and rural areas you'll be hard-pressed to see one.

I've come across youth hostels in Albury-Wodonga and Cairns, and I wouldn't classify the former as a city or along the coast.

In the case of central NSW, is it being the kind of the place families would go, and being "boring" to backpackers, and also lacking seasonal farming work, factors in it not having youth hostels?

  • Albury-Wodonga is actually two cities on the border between NSW and VIC - Australian cities can be a lot smaller compared to what is called a city in UK or Europe.
    – HorusKol
    Jan 5, 2018 at 7:46
  • @HorusKol in the UK city status is an official thing. This means you get weird outliers like the city of St. David's in Wales (2011 population 1,841).
    – origimbo
    Jan 5, 2018 at 11:14
  • @origimbo historically, a British city was a city because it had a cathedral. More recently, cityship is granted on application after considering multiple factors. But you ask your typical British resident what they consider to be a city and they'll answer with Manchester (and conflate the conurbation of Manchester, Salford and Trafford and surrounds as one city despite these being three separate ones), or York.
    – HorusKol
    Jan 5, 2018 at 17:25

2 Answers 2


The short answer is that hostels exist primarily where people who stay in hostels would want to stay. Proximity is only one consideration; for example, a location adjacent to a rapid transit line but a distance away from the center might be more desirable than one which is closer as the crow flies but inconvenient without a car. As to the Wikivoyage commentary, the fact that hostels are scarce in one area or another does not mean that they are nonexistent.

A quick-and-dirty proxy for hostel availability is to use the maps on the booking site of your choice. While not every property is listed, of course, we are only looking for a rough approximation of where such properties could be found, and in a rich country like Australia I would think the correlation to be adequate for such purposes. If you click down to the state level and use the "show map" feature, all the communities with at least one property listed will show.

Victoria hostels from Hostelz.com Google Map of Hostelz.com listings in Victoria

Victoria hostels from Hostels.com Google Map of Hostels.com listings in Victoria

  • 4
    Hostels.com is now owned by Hostelworld and only lists hostels in their booking system, which is only used by around half of the hostels in Australia. Hostelz.com (with a "z") is a complete directory of hostels like what Hostels.com once was. Still, there are only a small number of hostels in central west NSW (see hostelz.com/hostels-in/Australia/New-South-Wales). [Disclosure: I help run Hostelz.com.]
    – traveld
    Jan 5, 2018 at 4:44
  • @traveld Again, the larger point is not that the map is comprehensive, but that it can be used to identify areas where hostel accommodations are concentrated. I will add a Hostelz.com map.
    – choster
    Jan 5, 2018 at 15:00

In addition to choster's answer, it should be noted that Working Holiday visa holders can get a 1-year extension to their visa if they work in certain jobs (mainly agricultural ones such as fruit-picking) in a regional area for 3 months. Therefore you will also find youth hostels in major agricultural centres such as Mildura, shown in top left-hand corner of the map included in choster's answer.

  • I stayed in a few hostels that mostly housed workers in Darwin, Perth and Sydney, from the stories I heard there hostels are all over where people go to work.
    – Willeke
    Jan 5, 2018 at 22:25

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