Looking for the coolest and best budget place to stay in Sydney, Australia? I don't think you can beat the stunning Sydney Harbor YHA Hostel that is located in the heart of "The Rocks", one of Sydney's premier tourist precincts. The award winning Sydney Harbor YHA has an ideal location just minutes walking distance away from the harbor, the city center, Botanical Gardens and the Opera House. It's new, green, unique, and the best price lodging one can find in this area. You can also easily visit other parts of Sydney by foot, bus, train, tram or ferry, but here you are at the center of it all which was important to us on our first trip to Australia with only a week to drink it all in.
The spectacular rooftop terrace at this YHA hostel has 360 degree views of this amazing city, one of the most beautiful we have visited and like many rooms here, ours had views of the harbor and the iconic Sydney Opera House. After a bit of rain at first and a thrilling lightening storm one night, it was perfect sunny weather when we were there which made it divine, but I thought how magical it must be to stay here also on New Year's Eve when they do spectacular fire works in the harbor.
They have have regular bi-weekly Aussie style BBQ's at sunset on the roof at budget prices and we all loved trying out kangaroo and burgers that were scrumptious. It was funny to find out beets are common on hamburgers here which seems odd to an American palate. We even did a "tweet up" there one night that I will write about and met Brooke Schoenman, ( and her boyfriend) and Cyberetto who we have known for a long time online through our blog and social media channels.
LUXURY ON A BUDGET
Sydney Harbour YHA seemed more like a luxury hotel to us in many ways rather than a hostel, although the style is simple and modern. Wow! " said Mozart when she saw our large room with the spectacular view of the harbor, Sydney Opera House and the famous Harbour Bridge and we agreed. It's an ideal place for families visiting Sydney and we met lots of folks of every age there from twenty somethings to retired types, so felt very comfortable and loved the budget benefits that their wonderful kitchen adds, especially since we were in very expensive central Sydney for almost a week.
They do have family rooms, but we decided to stay in a double room and added a trundle bed for Mozart because it was plenty of room for our needs and we liked the view from our beds! We found it a very comfortable, clean and quiet room, loved the wifi in our room ( we were dealing with a family funeral on the road during our stay) and the bathroom was large enough that all three of us could have taken a shower together. It's a very busy place, but we found the staff very friendly and extremely helpful.
LOVE THE AWARD WINNING GREEN AND EDUCATIONAL ASPECTS
Sydney Harbour YHA opened in late 2009, the first budget accommodation option in this elite part of Sydney ( right by the Four Seasons and Shangri-La hotels). We love the fact that YHA is committed to a policy of environmental sustainability and that it built this special place on an archaeological site in a unique, educational and ecologically responsible way. We did a free tour of the archaeological site that was fascinating and I will tell you more about that in another post soon.
It's not as cheap as some hostels, ( nor is wifi free) but Sydney is a very expensive city, this is prime historic real estate and I talked to many of the guests who all said it was well worth the price. Shared rooms start at $37.50 ( with YHA membership) which is amazing and a steal in this location which is the ultimate "location, location, location" in Sydney. Just look at the room prices at neighboring hotels.
BENEFITS OF STAYING IN HOSTELS
In our five years of non-stop travel as a family to 39 countries on 5 continents, we have not stayed in many hostels, although we use many different types of lodging. We travel on just 23 dollars a day per person, so costs always enters into our decision and dorm rooms do not fit our style. We did stay in a hostel that we enjoyed in Norway and this YHA hostel experience makes us want to go back to Australia to explore more, possibly via hostels. I can see why they are so popular with young travelers, seniors and some families.
The benefits of this Sydney Harbor YHA are many like full kitchen, pool, laundry services, mini-theater, tour desk, bike storage, education center with 2 classrooms, all rooms have en suite bathrooms and more. Hostels are also a great way to meet other travelers very easily. Mozart loved that we could cheaply rent a movie to watch in our room at night. We saved a lot of money in Sydney by being able to cook many of our own meals there, buy food at markets and love how those kind of rituals ground and enrich us as a family whose home is in motion.
"Traveling in the company of those we love is home in motion" Hunt
We actually had planned to do couch surfing in Sydney as we had done in Bora Bora and Moorea, but with the sudden death in our family, we changed our plans at the last minute when we met the amazing Janet McGarry. We are really grateful that we got to experience this hostel so we could tell you all about this gem and we appreciate their sponsorship of our stay.
YHA has other hostels in Sydney and nearby New South Wales area, but I can't imagine them topping this one even if it is a bit more for the primo location. If you are headed to Sydney, I'd definitely put this place at the top of your list!