The Best Backpacker Hostels in Cairns, Australia

The hostel's tropical pool area | © Cairns Central YHA
The hostel's tropical pool area | © Cairns Central YHA
Photo of Hayley Simpson
Writer25 February 2018

Cairns is the premier tourist destination in North Queensland. With access to the Australian outback, the Daintree Rainforest, and the Great Barrier Reef, it’s easy to see why. Although there are plenty of luxurious hotels in Cairns, there are fortunately just as many hostels for budget-minded travellers. Here are the best backpacker hostels in Cairns.

Hostel - Cairns Beaches Flashpackers, Palm Cove

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Hostel - Cairns Beaches Flashpackers, Cairns
Hostel - Cairns Beaches Flashpackers, Cairns | © Cairns Beaches Flashpackers

Cairns Beaches Flashpackers is located in Palm Cove, one of Cairns’ northernmost suburbs. Palm Cove is known for its day spas and beautiful beach, which is fortunately only one block from this boutique hostel. Family-owned and operated, Cairns Beaches Flashpackers has a chilled atmosphere and only five rooms — none of which include bunk beds. There’s twin, double, female, and mixed dorm rooms available. The hostel is equipped with a pool, lounge area, modern kitchen, and bicycle and scooter hire, too.

Calypso Inn Backpackers Resort, Cairns

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Calypso Inn is a great place to base yourself in Cairns. It has well-priced single, double, twin, and dorm rooms available. Zanzibar is Calypso Inn’s on-site bar, which has nightly entertainment, food and drink specials, open mic nights, and regular prize giveaways. There is also a pool with large poolside hammocks, free city and airport transfers, and free WiFi.

Cairns Central YHA, Cairns

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The hostel's tropical pool area
The hostel's tropical pool area | © Cairns Central YHA

YHA is a very reputable company, with hostels located across Australia. Cairns Central YHA has a 91% customer rating, and is only a short stroll from the Esplanade. There are 59 rooms available at the hostel, which include dorm, twin, double, and family rooms. Other facilities at Cairns Central YHA include a free pancake breakfast every day, a swimming pool, two spas, an outdoor games room, a fully-equipped kitchen, and a TV screen over the pool for movie nights. There’s also a discounted airport shuttle bus service for guests.

Mad Monkey Backpackers Cairns, Cairns

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Fully renovated in late-2017 (including new beds and bedding), Mad Monkey Backpackers is owned and operated by two Australian best friends. Guests at Mad Monkey gets access to complimentary WiFi, free hot breakfast, free gym passes, and free bicycle hire. Mad Monkey is home to a FIFA games area, an outdoor cinema, and a pool. There are also nightly events, including pool parties, Trivia Tuesday, and karaoke and poker nights. If travelling onwards from Cairns to New South Wales, there are three Mad Monkey hostels in Sydney.

Travellers Oasis, Cairns

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Chill at the Oasis
Chill at the Oasis | © Travellers Oasis

Travellers Oasis is a top-rated Cairns hostel on Hostelworld, TripAdvisor, and Trivago. So what puts this hostel ahead of the rest? Well, there are single, twin, double, deluxe double, and dorm rooms available at Travellers Oasis; with a maximum of 50 guests. There is also a pool, a hammock area under the swaying palm trees, barbecue facilities, two kitchens, and a TV room. Let the team at the tour desk help you plan the perfect Cairns day trip, too.

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  • Globetrotters International Backpackers, Cairns

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    Globetrotters International is known for its location, freebies, and amenities. Located a 10-minute walk from the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, Globetrotters International is a family-run hostel surrounded by five-star properties. It offers free WiFi, free breakfast every morning (pancakes included), a free city shuttle bus service, and free barbecues on Wednesday and Sunday nights. If those aren’t enough, there’s also a lounge area, laundry facilities, a swimming pool with sundeck, and discounted tour options available.

    Gilligan's, Cairns

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    Gilligan's Grafton Street
    Gilligan's Grafton Street | © marlen.w

    Gilligan’s is “Australia’s ultimate experience in budget backpacker hostel accommodation”. It offers both dorm and private hotel-style rooms. Gilligan’s also has a free airport shuttle, four kitchens, a lagoon swimming pool, cheap nightly meal deals, and multiple entertainment options. Gilligan’s Bar offers nightly entertainment on the back deck; The Attic Lounge Bar is a more luxurious venue; and then there’s Gilligan’s Nightclub. It really is the leading hostel resort in Australia. Gilligan’s offers accommodation deals as well, so make sure to check out the website’s specials page.

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    Northern Greenhouse Backpacker, Cairns

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    Northern Greenhouse is a resort-style backpackers’ hostel located in the heart of Cairns, so guests don’t have to go far to experience the city’s top attractions. It offers both dorm rooms and self-contained apartments. Guests will love the free daily breakfast, private balconies, free tea and coffee-making facilities, the large outdoor deck with pool tables, and of course the swimming pool. The award-winning property has a sister hostel in Melbourne too; coincidentally called Greenhouse Backpackers.