6 best hostels in Cairns

Published by: BouncePosted Updated

Cairns is a city located in Queensland, Australia, and is mainly known for its outstanding natural landscapes. Many travelers come here from around the globe to explore the beautiful Wet Tropics World Heritage Rainforest and the Cairns Botanic Gardens, or to swim by the incredible Great Barrier Reef. The city itself has plenty to offer as well, and the town of Cairns is full of lively markets and charming cafes, and just on the edge of the city, there are plenty of lovely beaches where you can relax in the hot Australian sun.

There is so much that you can do in Cairns and traveling can be expensive, which is why you should try to save money where you can during your trip. A great way to do just that is to stay in a hostel in Cairns instead of booking an expensive hotel or Airbnb. There are quite a few cheap hostels that provide very nice accommodations for an affordable price, and they are also a good way for solo travelers to meet new travel buddies. With so many hostels to choose from it can be overwhelming but there is no need to worry, we will introduce some of the top ones below.

If you don't feel comfortable leaving your bags unattended at the hostel you can take advantage of the numerous Bounce luggage storage locations in Cairns. We even partner with many hostels around the world to provide guests with safe storage right where they are staying.

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YHA Cairns Central

You can enjoy affordable accommodation with all of the same perks as a resort here at YHA Cairns Central. This Cairns hostel is situated right in the heart of the city just a few steps away from the Cairns Central Shopping Centre. With a train station just a block away, you'll have easy access to the rest of town as well, and there is plenty to do within the hostel itself.

Cairns Central YHA has mixed or female-only co-living rooms, family rooms, as well as private rooms that are perfect for solo travelers looking for a bit more privacy. Other amenities include air conditioning, free wifi, linen, and individual lockers in the dorm rooms. Since YHA Cairns Central partners with Bounce luggage storage, they'll store your bags for you.

What makes YHA Cairns Central unique

Cairns Central YHA is the best hostel for every kind of traveler with a social BBQ area, cozy common rooms and even an outdoor swimming pool on site. Take some time to hang out, you might make some new hostel buddies while you're here.

YHA Cairns Central pricing

The cost for a bed in their 10 person dormitory is about A$46.80 per night. A private double room is priced at around A$187.00.

Mad Monkey Waterfront

Mad Monkey is a hostel business that has several locations in Cairns aside from this one; Mad Monkey Central and Mad Monkey Village. Check them out if you'd rather stay elsewhere in Cairns, although the waterfront hostel has an unbeatable location right on the Esplanade. Here, you can take advantage of all the nearby bars, restaurants and cafes, and you'll definitely want to visit the stunning Esplanade Lagoon just across the street.

They have great facilities including free wifi, air conditioning, a laundry room and a designer kitchen where you can cook yourself some food. Sleeping accommodations include mixed and gendered dorms, which is a nice touch for female solo travelers, as well as ensuite dorms and private rooms.

What makes Mad Monkey Waterfront unique

The clean and comfortable chill out areas, beer garden and outdoor BBQ zone make it the perfect hostel for making friends. They even have a FIFA video gaming TV room and offer free access to a nearby local gym for those who don't want to miss a workout. On top of that, they serve a delicious, hot free breakfast every morning and also offer free bike rentals.

Mad Monkey Waterfront pricing

Considering Mad Monkey as your place to stay? The price for reserving a 14 bed dorm at Mad Monkey Waterfront is about A$60.00. The average nightly price for a private double bed room is still affordable at A$90.00.

Cairns City Backpackers

Although this location isn't very fancy compared to some of the other resort styled Cairns hostels, it does offer some of the most affordable accommodation options in the city. Guests will be able to enjoy free wifi and nice self-catering facilities like their guest kitchen, laundry area, BBQ, and computers. The hostel also has a super friendly staff that is available to help you with any issues or to recommend things to do. If you're staying in Cairns for a while and want to make some money they even have a useful job board.

There is a range of accommodations between shared dorms and private spaces. The location is great too, and you'll be just a 25 minute walk away from the Cairns Esplanade waterfront.

What makes Cairns City Backpackers unique

Have your own car with you? This hostel offers free parking. They also have a swimming pool that guests can use to cool off and lush tropical gardens for relaxing outside.

Cairns City Backpackers pricing

This is a top hostel for budget travelers and definitely one of the most affordable backpacker hostels in the city. A bed in the standard 6 person dorm starts at just A$30.00, and a deluxe double private room with a shared bathroom is approximately A$80.00.

Mumma's Hostel Cairns

The friendly and energetic team in charge of this location makes it one of the best backpacker hostels in Cairns. With a fantastic location in the heart of town, you'll be right in the center of all the action, and the nearby buses and trains at the Cairns railway station will allow you to explore as far as you'd like. Nearby there are attractions like the Cairns Museum, the Cairns Night Markets and the Cairns Art Gallery.

Their overnight spaces can accommodate between 2 to 12 guests per room so you can decide if you want to stay with others or stick to your own private space. There are female only rooms available as well as great amenities like free wifi, air conditioners, and a kitchen with tea and coffee.

What makes Mumma's Hostel Cairns unique

This hostel offers complimentary coffee and a yummy free breakfast every single day that you stay with them. This means you can get out and start exploring as soon as you get up, and the outdoor swimming pool and movie theatre lounge area are waiting for you when you return.

Mumma's Hostel Cairns pricing

This hostel prices their dorm beds starting at A$42.00 for a spot in the large 12 person room but you can also rent a private queen room for upwards of A$90.00.

Gilligan's Backpacker Hotel & Resort Cairns

Looking for the best party hostel in Cairns? Gilligan's Backpacker is one of the coolest hostels in the city that all young and energetic adventure seekers love. The property is very big and has mixed or female only dorm rooms that sleep 6, 8 or 10 guests, plus more private ensuite rooms like the twin and double deluxe rooms that are a good choice for solo travelers or couples.

Some perks include free wifi and linen, a common kitchen and a lounge area. Staying here you'll be just a few streets away from the Cairns Central Shopping Centre and the Cairns Museum. Other attractions like the Cairns Night Markets and waterfront are accessible as well, so you can go on Great Barrier Reef cruises and hit all of the other main attractions with ease.

What makes Gilligan's Backpacker Hotel & Resort Cairns unique

If you're someone who is always on the go looking for something fun to do, this is a great hostel for you. They put on exciting events almost every night like beer pong, pizza and beer nights, jelly wrestling, club nights and more. They also have an open deck bar, fitness center, sports arena, nightclubs, outdoor pool and an outdoor pub screen. Look for lots of TVs so you can entertain yourself with movies, sports or shows.

Gilligan's Backpacker Hotel & Resort Cairns pricing

Their cheapest accommodation is in a 10 bed dorm room which will cost you approximately A$41.00 per night. If you want to treat yourself to luxurious accommodations, stay in their king deluxe hotel room for around A$219.00.

The Jack Backpackers

This brilliant budget hostel offers dorms for 4,6 or 8 guests and private rooms for 2. There is also a dorm reserved for the ladies which is an added bonus for a female solo traveler. This popular spot is located just 5 minutes away from the Great Barrier Reef Terminal and close to the Cairns Esplanade Lagood, Cairns Aquarium, Cairns Central Shopping Center and Night Markets.

Each room has much to offer every guest including free wifi, access to a shared kitchen and BBQ area, plus air conditioning. The hostel is located on top of a bar meaning that it can get a bit loud, but you won't have to go anywhere for drinks and entertainment.

What makes The Jack Backpackers unique

The Jack seems to have it all with a Jackpot Gaming Room with pokie machines and poker night on Wednesdays, three bars with indoor and outdoor seating, TVs for watching sports and a covered beer garden. Enjoy a tasty meal at the on site restaurant.

The Jack Backpackers pricing

This is one of the most affordable Cairns backpacker hostels with bunk beds in the 8 person mixed dorm starting at just A$29.00. Their private double and twin ensuite rooms are also quite cheap at only A$55.00 per night.

Staying in Cairns on a budget

With a friendly, social atmosphere and added perks like pools, bars and events, hostels are the perfect place for a big group or solo traveler alike. Staying in these accommodations is not only more budget friendly but lots more fun, too! There are plenty more epic hostels in Cairns that you can choose from and since each one is a little bit different you can find an option that has everything that you need, whether you want to chill with fellow travelers or be right next to all of the city's most famous landmarks.

Cairns is a traveler's dream with quite a lot of tourist attractions to offer. As you land at Cairns Airport and before you choose your hostel you might want to become more familiar with the city. Our guide on Cairns on a budget will start you on the right track.

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