Cairns Central YHA Eco friendly budget backpacker accommodation

It is mid-August and peak holiday season when we stay at Cairns Central YHA backpacker hostel in the capital of Tropical North Queensland, Australia. The place is buzzing with backpackers, retirees, families and groups at the same time.

We chose YHA Central Cairns not only for its location and ambience, but also because YHA Australia already got our attention last year when we stayed at Sydney Harbour YHA for our Sustainability Leaders Project interview with hostel manager Ross Lardner. Over the years, this vast network of budget accommodation has implemented many environmental practices.

While not a flashpackers and probably not the first choice for discerning city travellers (though definitely for groups, families and those on a tight budget), YHA Cairns Central offers all the amenities of a budget-friendly accommodation, including a large tour desk from where you can book your onward trips, often at a discount.

The swimming pool in the court-yard is popular – a treat for anyone in often hot and humid Tropical North Queensland. The free pancakes in the morning are a great idea and just enough to get the machine running.

YHA Cairns is very well situated, right next to tranquil Cairns Central train station, from where the scenic Kuranda railway starts/ends. A large supermarket is across the road and many bars and eateries just around the corner. A ten minute walk will get you down to Cairns Esplanade and night markets.

Cairns Central YHA Backpackers Pool

Room check

Our private en-suite room (403) is functional, reasonably quiet and has a very comfortable mattress. Just like with any hostel, we suggest you bring ear plugs. YHA Cairns Central accommodates groups of teenagers – among other – and with excitement in the air, things can get a bit loud.

The quality/price ratio is very good, especially considering Australian prices. For 51 Euros you can have your own double bed, for 40 Euros you get your own single bed, or for 20 Euros you can get a bed in a 4-bed dormitory room.


Building and maintaining an eco-friendly, sustainable hostel, backpackers or budget accommodation generally is a challenge, and even more so in the Tropics. Over the last years, YHA hostel Cairns Central has undertaken various initiatives to lower its environmental and carbon footprint.

Despite the various challenges and small available budget, Courtney, YHA Cairns Central’s lovely manager, is doing whatever she can to make your stay not just fun but also environmentally friendly. Having full support from her bosses at YHA headquarters helps, of course, and guests can do their bit by paying a little extra which goes into YHA Australia’s sustainability fund.

Sustainability initiatives at Cairns Central YHA include the collection of rainwater for the (water efficient) toilets, solar panels for hot water heating and smart use of electric devices. Here’s a list of all the environmental initiatives at Cairns Central YHA.

Green city destination Cairns, Australia
View of Cairns in Australia

Ready to go? Check availability and rates at YHA Cairns Central

Things to do in and around Cairns

While friendly, comfortable and central accommodation such as YHA Cairns Central is key to any successful city trip, chances are you’ll spend most of your time out and about. The best way to get to know a new city is to explore it by foot, and Cairns is small enough to take in all the main attractions within a few hours.

Here’s a list of recommended things to do in Cairns.

Eco-smart travel with Greyhound Bus AustraliaTip: If traveling South to Brisbane, buy a Hop on Hop off Pass with Greyhound Bus, by far the most comfortable way to travel and to explore Queensland’s unique destinations along the way. Book through YHA front desk and save 5% off standard rate! Learn more.

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Review of YHA Cairns Central Youth Hostel and Backpacker
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