Sydney - The first stop on any self-respecting backpackers list. That first glimpse of the iconic Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge is the realisation of a dream. Famous Bondi Beach is also a must-see destination in Sydney. Over-enthusiastic sun-burnt backpackers being rescued from the surf by Bondi’s finest is a familiar sight here.
Backpacker Hostel of choice = Big Hostel
Byron Bay - With its year round balmy temperatures, beautiful beaches, and laid back lifestyle, Byron Bay is a Mecca for backpackers. Tanned, relaxed backpackers spend their days lining the beaches and hitting the surf, and their nights partying up a storm at Cheeky Monkeys and Cocomangas nightclubs. Nearby Nimbin is also a big hit for day-trippers!
Backpacker hostel of choice = The Arts Factory Lodge
Airlie Beach & The Whitsundays - Like Byron Bay, this is a small and friendly town blessed with outstanding natural beauty. Airlie Beach has a good selection of backpacker hostels, and a great nightlife with lots of cheap party nights. Backpackers get a great deal on overnight sailing trips to the must-see Whitsundays, and this trip is often a highlight of many backpackers trips round Australia.
Backpacker Hostel of choice = Beaches
Surfers Paradise– Part of the East Coast backpacker trail, Surfers Paradise offers sun, fun and a bit of glitz and glamour too. For many backpackers the Gold Coast is their first taste of Queensland, with its promise of endless beaches and days filled with sunshine. The tight backpacker budget will often be stretched here to accommodate a visit to the theme parks!
Backpacker Hostel of choice = Islander
Cairns – The capital of Tropical North Queensland is a great destination for backpackers who will often end up here at the beginning of winter after spending the summer travelling up the east coast. Often more affordable than the rest of the East Coast, many backpackers settle to work here through the winter to enjoy the winter sun and all the attractions in the area, before moving on.
Backpacker Hostel of choice = Calypso Inn
Melbourne – Stylish Melbourne is very popular with backpackers who enjoy seeing a different side of Australia from the beach culture. Backpackers can enjoy the curious spectacle of AFL as well as the great quality of restaurants and nightlife in Melbourne. St Kilda and the Great Ocean Road are favourite Aussie destinations to visit when in Melbourne.
Backpacker Hostel of choice = Base St Kilda
Hervey Bay & Fraser Island – Another firm favourite on the East Coast trail, Hervey Bay is the stop-over point for the Fraser Island trip which is a must-do for backpackers. Great deals are available for backpackers on self-drive 3-day camping trips to Fraser Island, and this is a true adventure for backpackers who enjoy swimming in the pristine fresh water lakes and four-wheel-driving through the sand. Honourable mention here = Rainbow Beach which is an up-and-coming exit point for Fraser Island, and quickly becoming a popular backpackers stop-off.
Backpacker Hostel of choice = Beaches
Perth – Your backpacking cred will sky-rocket for ‘doing’ the West Coast of Australia. Backpackers love the laid-back capital of the West Coast and also enjoy being off the main backpacker route of the East Coast. Popular places for backpackers to visit in Perth include Fremantle and Rotnest Island.
Backpacker Hostel of choice = Billabong Resort
Alice Springs & Uluru– There are a great variety of tours to Alice Springs and Uluru, including overland tours from Adelaide and Darwin. Alternatively backpackers take the bus or the train out to Alice Springs, or fly if they’re feeling flush. The Red Centre experience is a highlight for many backpackers as well as the obligatory visit to the ultimate Aussie Icon, Uluru.
Backpacker Hostel of choice = Annies Place
Darwin– Those backpackers who make the big journey out to the Top End are rewarded with a taste of ‘real Australia’. Darwin is the gateway to Kakadu National Park as well as nearby Litchfield National Park and Katherine Gorge, and backpackers can enjoy spectacular wilderness, ancient Aboriginal culture, and adventure.
Backpacker Hostel of choice = Melaleuca On Mitchell