Byron Bay is an essential stop on any Australian backpacking trip. Think sizzling surf beaches, a thriving bar scene and a hippy vibe characterised by yoga studios and vegan eateries. With hostels near Belongil Beach to Main Beach, here are the seven best places for backpackers to stay.
Arts Factory Lodge
Courtesy of Arts Factory Lodge / Expedia
Set up by hippies in the ‘70s,Arts Factory Lodge is one of Byron Bay’s most famous backpacker haunts. It sits in a tropical garden where you can lounge by the pool, swing in a hammock or play some table tennis. Just a few minutes’ walk from town and the bay’s top surf beaches, Arts Factory Lodge offers bunk-bed dorms, jungle camping and tepees. Catch live performances at the neighbouring Byron Bay Brewery and don’t miss the free didgeridoo making, fire twirling and yoga classes.
Wake Up! is a modern backpackers hostel on Belongil Beach, just north of the town centre. Expect minimalist decor with a kitchen and spacious common areas that encourage travellers to hang out. Rooms have a seaside theme with shared bathrooms, and there is an on-site Tree House Bar and Restaurant for meals. Take advantage of the free surfboards, bikes and stand-up paddle boards.Wake Up! also runs a host of social activities including free pancake Sundays, yoga and sunrise lighthouse trips.
Stay at Aquarius Backpackers if you want to save money as the hostel provides free evening meals and a Sunday afternoon BBQ. Combine that with a killer location in the centre of town, 150 metres (500ft) from Main Beach, and you’re onto a winner. Chill out in the TV lounge or by the pool and mix with fellow backpackers in the bar, where you’ll find DJs, trivia nights, karaoke and even jelly wrestling. Each dorm room has its own en-suite bathroom, or you can pay more for private rooms and fancy suites.
Part of the worldwide YHA chain, this is one of Byron Bay’s newest hostels. Having only opened in 2018, the dorms here are sparkling and contemporary. More private travellers can book separate rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Relax with your new travel buddies by the pool and BBQ area or borrow one of the bodyboards and head a few hundred metres down to the beach. There’s a large kitchen atByron Bay YHA, as well as weekly pizza, BBQ and movie nights.
For something a bit different, check into theByron Bay Beach Hostel, which is set in a Heritage Listed council chambers building. Completed in 2017, the hotel also lies just 100 metres (330ft) from a historic meeting place for indigenous people. Inside, you’ll find a chic hostel with terraces and common spaces to mingle with other guests, four-to-six-berth dorms with privacy curtains and separate queen rooms. Byron Bay Beach Hostel is close to Main Beach and has its own rooftop bar and café serving local brews and pizza.
Whether you’re travelling on a shoestring or have a flashpacker budget,Nomads Byron Bay has a room to suit, with superior en-suite kings, private doubles and mixed or female-only dorms. This big, social hostel is just three minutes from the beach and has a stellar outdoor area with decking, hammocks and two huge hot tubs. Enjoy the free breakfast and BBQ facilities, a communal kitchen as well as pizza and live music on Saturdays. Activities include a sunset lighthouse walk and movies in the cinema lounge or outdoor courtyard.
For that real east coast experience, stay at Backpackers Inn where you can wander from your room through sand dunes directly onto the beach. This surf-shack-style hostel is set in gardens dotted with hammocks and picnic tables, yet is just 500 metres (1/3mi) from the street. Backpackers Inn has been hosting guests in dorms and private rooms since the ‘70s and has a surf camp, beach volleyball court, pool, BBQ area and outdoor cinema. One of its star attractions is the courtyard with lanterns and a huge poolside fig tree.