The Best Backpacker Hostels in Cairns, Australia

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Siobhan Grogan

Cosmopolitan city living in tropical temperatures makes Cairns a must-visit tourist destination in North Queensland. It is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest and the Australian outback, while the city has plenty to tempt visitors to stay a while too, with its al fresco cafes, waterfront bars and popular markets. There’s no need to splash the cash either, as Cairns’ fantastic backpacker hostels are a great alternative to the city’s luxury resorts – and bookable with Culture Trip.


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Carvella Backpackers

It may feel like you’re lounging on a tropical resort at this central hostel but the city’s attractions and nightlife are right on your doorstep. The property, in the Esplanade, has waterfront views, plus a large pool and sun deck for soaking up the rays after a day spent sightseeing. There’s also a tour booking office, TV lounge, in-room fridges and safes, free luggage storage and a range of rooms available including mixed and female-only dorms, ensuite doubles, twins and singles.

Tropic Days Backpackers

Relax away from the city’s hustle and bustle at this hostel located in a quiet residential area of Cairns, just 20 minutes’ walk from the Esplanade. Rather not walk? The hostel provides frequent courtesy buses to town. This cosy destination, encompassing two restored homes with a landscaped tropical garden and pool, offers a mix of private rooms and dorms. Everyone can enjoy the TV and video lounge, free movies, bike hire, pool table and complimentary breakfast each day.

Dreamtime Travellers Rest Hostel

It’s difficult to find a better location in Cairns than this small independent backpacker’s haven. Located on a quiet street opposite the train station and Cairns Central Shopping Centre, the city’s attractions are within walking distance, plus guests can also relax at the hostel’s own swimming pool, lounge areas and mix of shared and private rooms. It’s easy to stay with a clean conscience, too, as the property has solar panels on the roof, composts waste and has water-pump heaters installed to save power.

Travellers Oasis

Voted the best hostel in Australia five years in a row, this laid-back property is right across the road from the train and bus station. Only 50 guests can stay in a series of delightful airy rooms including a three-, four- or six-bed dorm or single, twin or double rooms. All have fresh linen and towels, while private rooms have their own television and fridge. Guests can cook meals in two well-equipped kitchens then relax in the TV room or take it easy poolside in a hammock.

Gilligan’s Cairns

Gilligan’s has all the amenities of a hotel but at hostel prices. The property offers a mix of dorm and hotel-style private rooms, alongside a lagoon-style swimming pool, indoor beer hall, nightclub, restaurant, gaming lounge, private function spaces, basketball and volleyball courts, four kitchens and not one but three bars. There’s also live music, pool parties, talent shows and bingo nights throughout the week so you’re guaranteed a lively stay.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

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