Sydney Harbour YHA review

Staying at Sydney’s flagship youth hostel, Sydney Harbour YHA means to check in “on the rocks” (literally) and only a stone’s throw away from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The Sydney Harbour YHA strikes a balance which at least we as young urban explorers in our late 20s and early 30s found very alluring:

A perfect symbiosis between a hotel – thinking of size, comfort, professionalism of staff – and a hostel, distinguishable by the friendly atmosphere, welcome feel, huge communal areas, spacious kitchen – and the fact that you might even get to talk to other human beings over breakfast, rather than swiping away on your smart phone…

To get you situated, some of the key facts: Sydney Harbour YHA, which is purpose-built on top (or around?) an important archeological site, was opened in 2009, and sits right in the middle of The Rocks, one of Sydney’s premier tourist precincts.

It is, of course, a sustainable hostel with state-of-the art facilities, a AU$25 million development with 106 bedrooms accommodating 354 guests (both private and shared rooms are available, all with en suite bathrooms).

Eco friendly double rooms at Sydney Harbour YHA

There is also the The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre, housing two classrooms. For obvious reasons, the YHA does not own the site, but has a long-term lease, so enough for our all kids and grandchildren to check it out.

At this stage, standard rates are from $49 per person and night in multi share rooms, or $176 per room and night in double or twins, with a discount offered to YHA members.

30+ awards: Sydney Harbour YHA is among the most awarded hostels in the world.

In case you haven’t heard of YHA before, think of it as a network of more than 4,000 budget accommodation providers located all around the world. A membership based, not for profit organisation, YHA serves the purpose to provide you with quality accommodation and the opportunity for personal growth through travel, fostering cross cultural understanding and environmental responsibility.

Ross Lardner, the hostel manager, explains:

Sydney Harbour YHA exterier

“The vision for Sydney Harbour YHA has always been for this property to raise the bar for backpacking accommodation, not just in terms of facilities and standards, but also by reducing the environmental footprint and by combining the conservation and interpretation of a significant cultural heritage site.”

“Our results show the environmental features of the property have contributed to it running on considerably less energy and water than other comparable Sydney YHA properties.”

“The unique combination of budget accommodation on an archaeology site has been very well received by guests, visitors and the tourism and heritage communities with this property being globally recognised as an example of best practice adaptive re-use of an archaeology site, including an award from UNESCO.”


Ready to go? Check availability and rates at Sydney Harbour YHA


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Review of Sydney Harbour YHA, Youth Hostel in The Rocks
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