Airlie Beach Backpackers By The Bay, Airlie Beach

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Airlie Beach Backpackers By The Bay Reviews

There's no escaping it -- Airlie Beach is a party town, but you don't have to stay at a major party hostel right next to the bars to have a good time -- Backpackers by the Bay is a great alternative to the party scene! Since everyone does a sailing trip to the Whitsundays, most people are only in Airlie Beach for a night or two before and after their boat trip.

The Location

Backpackers by the Bay is located right on the edge of town. Airlie Beach itself is quite small, with only one or two major roads, and it's about a five-minute walk from the hostel to town where there's a major supermarket, bars, restaurants, and tourist shops. This is the only hostel that has a shuttle bus meet the Greyhound buses; it's nice not to have to worry about finding the hostel on your own. It is a quick drive though -- and unnecessary, if it weren't for luggage. As it's located up on a hill, there's a nice view of the water from the hostel, and there's always sulfur-crested cockatoos flying about!

Rooms and Bathrooms

Rooms are nice and clean. There's a shelf at the foot of each bed where you can put your things, so clothes and bags don't have to be spread out all over the floor. There's air conditioning in the rooms for when it's warmer, or there's good blankets on the beds for when it's colder. Most rooms have a sliding glass door too, and the bunk beds are comfy.

There are female bathrooms as well as unisex bathrooms, and these are both checked frequently to see if they need cleaning. The showers are great, but it would be nice if there were a shelf where you could put your things.

Common Spaces

There's lots of places to hang out at the hostel. There's a pool table and chairs right next to reception. Plenty of tables can be found next to the kitchen and just outside as well, with some under cover if it happens to be raining. The kitchen is on the small side, and unfortunately there tends to be flies because the windows are open and not everyone washes up right away. But the kitchen is cleaned frequently and there's plenty of room in the refrigerator to store food, as well as shelves in the kitchen. As all the plates and everything are already in the kitchen, there's no need for a deposit and keeping track of your own dishes! The hostel offers breakfast for a small price, and it's a good value, with not only cereal and toast, but also fresh fruit! There's also a clean pool outside, as well as hammocks, a BBQ, and lawn chairs.

Depending on how many guests are at the hostel, there's a free trivia quiz most nights, with the winning team receiving a bottle of champagne. Occasionally there's an outdoor movie too. This all seems to depend on the guests, staff, and if anyone requests it. Reception is very helpful, and they are willing to help you book anything necessary, whether it's a boat for the Whitsundays or a future hostel, and you can store your bags at the hostel while you're out sailing the Whitsundays, or just for the day if you have a late bus.


The staff are absolutely amazing here -- never too busy to say hello and chat, they keep the place clean and friendly! Without being surrounded by other hostels and bars, it's a quiet place to sleep, but close enough to the action that you don't miss out on all that Airlie Beach has to offer.

Bunk beds with shelves Local company By the pool Outside patio Hammocks Between buildings

Rooms smell like piss + Expensive + Far from everything

The note on the bunk bed I slept on said it all "I would rather get AIDS than smell this place ever again". I can't say I disagree. Also, their internet is an outrageous $5/hr and you have to use their 1 sh*tty computer (even though the staff has wireless internet of course). Can't un-recommend this place enough.


Response from the accommodation:

l'm not sure what was going on back in 2010 but none of of these comments are relevant since we started managing in 2011 - please check our reviews on any other site

Fun and friendly

I stayed at this hostel in October 2009 for a few weeks. I found the staff great and the general atmosphere was relaxed, fun, sociable and friendly. A great place to meet other travelers! Recommend it!


Worst hostel in Airlie Beach

Stayed here for two nights in july 2009. Planned on staying longer but could not put up with the poor conditions. First of all, the hostel is a twelve-minute walk uphill from the town itself so be prepared. The hostel is dirty, not well kept, and smells at night. The air conditioning shuts off automatically at 8 p.m., so the heat combined with everyone sweating, the heat from the kitchen, and all the open windows makes every smell mix together and it really is unbearable. The manager was very unprofessional and the staff seemed annoyed whenever anybody asked them for anything. There's only one computer with internet access and the staff locks it away when reception closes at 7 p.m. The other hostel we switched to was friendly, helpful, and located directly in town. Avoid this hostel and avoid the drama.


Response from the accommodation:

while we do only have one computor for guests to use we do offer an hour of free wifi on arrival to everyone.We are located less than 500 meters to town so l can't really explain why it would take 12 mins for anyone to get there(we also have a courtesy bus drop off in town 8 times a day).The airconditioning automatically comes on at 6pm and turns off at 8.30am which most guests find acceptable.l'm not sure who the manager was in 2009 but i apologise for him and can assure all that guests are treated with the utmost repect at all times - please refer to any other sites recent reviews

Overall, pretty good

We just stayed one night here as we made our way up the coast. Reception was helpful, and let us leave our car in their lot while we went on an ocean rafting tour the next day. Our four-share room had a patio door to the outside and luggage racks, which I think are essential in hostels to allow airflow and to keep the floors clear (sadly most hostels don't have these simple little things!). Our room was quite musty smelling, but I suppose that's common in the high humidity. The air conditioning in the room is automatic and only on from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., so we all sat around sweating and watching the clock count down after a long hot day. It was especially hot in the kitchen when everyone was cooking, but I guess that can't be helped. The kitchen was well-equipped, and there were lots of tables and chairs to sit at, as well as additional common areas outside. The bathrooms were roomy enough and had counter space, another thing I've taken for granted in the past. I liked that the location was away from the main street, as it was schoolies week and very noisy! Unfortunately the "great view of the bay" that my guidebook promised was deleted by the construction going on in front, but we can always hope they are making another lagoon instead of condos!


Nice and clean, could be a bit better maintained though!

We stayed here for six nights in August 2008. It is quite a quiet hostel, kept very clean. We stayed in a double room, with French windows (nice touch) which are rated as some of the best around in a guidebook. I have to disagree, as the room was very basic. Other than the bed, there was nothing in it! Kitchen was small but sufficient. Staff were ok, but as they worked twelve-hour shifts they were often grumpy. The reception shut at 7 which was not ideal, as we arrived at 8 on the first night, so had to find everything ourselves. Nice area out the front, with hammocks, loungers, and a pool. However this was spoilt by some construction happening right out the front, which made it very noisy here. (A member of staff later told us they are obliged to tell guests about the construction at the time of booking, but they failed to mention it. This makes me think this hostel is more about the money than anything else.) The showers in the ladies were consistently cold, and despite telling the reception, it took them five days to work out that the hot water tank had gone. We also had some food stolen from the fridge (perhaps it was misplaced on the communal shelf, but still, clearly labeled) and the staff took no interest. Decor a bit shabby (picture superglued shells on the bathroom walls!) but overall it was very clean and that's all that matters I suppose.

Jon & Amy

Stayed here for two nights, wanted to stay a third however the Manager of the hostel was so rude and unprofessional in his manner that we decided to move onto another hostel. This was a shame as we had met some lovely people there, however as experienced European travelers we do not expect to be treated this way. I cannot recommend this hostel.


I stayed here for longer than originally planned -- and really liked it. Ok, the decor may be a bit tired but the place was clean (I saw the cleaner every day). Locationwise it's a short walk into Airlie and out of the main street with all the bars -- so at least you can get some sleep. There is a cheaper supermarket than the one in the centre of town about ten minutes walk from the hostel away from town (so you're much closer to it than other hostels). It's a really friendly place and easy to meet people in the seating area and little bar outside. There is also a pool and the use of a bbq if you want it. Staff were great and really helpful.


More reviews...

Airlie Beach Backpackers By The Bay Reviews from the Web

Lovely hostel. Friendliest atmosphere that we experienced at any hostel on the east coast. Nice clean communal bathrooms and kitchen. Hot water tap and free tea was a bonus! The only con was that it was a little further out from the marina and restaurants than the other hostels but still only a 15 minute walk!


The hostel rooms were very small, I felt there wasnt much room to move. The bathrooms were great as they had several toilets plus showers. The staff were brilliant and very helpful. But on my occasion, I found the friendly vibe from other backpackers wasnt there. I tried to engage in conversations and no one smiled or spoke back. I preferred Nomads.


Great place me and my children loved staying there and the people were incredibly supportive and nice.


Good hostel. Walking distance to everywhere. It's near the greyhound bus which is handy.

We stayed in a double room which was clean and had a fan and Aircon. Showers were good.

Overall a nice vibe although there seemed to be a large group living and working there so it could be hard to break into their group!


my accomodation was cancelled after my booking


Messy hostel.


Very nice and helpful staff. Close from shops and restaurants. Solid and good quality bunkbed, mattress was okay. Kitchen needs a little bit of love; cockroaches inside cupboards and around.


Peter gave me a friendly welcoming when I arrived in the morning and allowed me to check into my room early. My Whitsundays cruise got cancelled and Peter looked up the cruises that are running on the same day, provided me with brochures to choose and then booked the cruise for me. Darcie (hopefully I used the correct spelling) from reception was lovely and ensured I was checked into my room as quickly as possible after returning from a two night cruise. Friendly atmosphere amongst the guests.


Amazing hostel with a really great vibe, everyone was really friendly and welcoming. The pool and outdoor area was great. Absolutely loved my time here and the staff were so helpful and accommodating


I went to Backpackers by the bay because of the positive reviews about the social atmosphere. I wasn't disappointed as I was welcomed with open arms, the staff and guests all being super friendly. While it was a 5-minute walk from town, I wouldn't stay anywhere else.


Loved it. Amazing place to stay. Will be back


Loved the place! Staff went above and beyond to get a Whitsunday day tour for me. Had a nice vibe and facilities. Wish there were proper lockers in the room though.


It's rare to find such a homey good vibe hostel! Staff were so lovely, facilities were well maintained, and the culture was welcoming and chill. 10/10 recommend!

Thanks for everything


Lovely hostel, very homely and chilled. Great atmosphere, really nice people and staff were helpful and friendly.


Amena is the best front of house staffer I have met in a long time, delightful. Nice friendly vibe at the hostel, clean, great views. Small hostels like this are always better, easier to meet people.


Overall a really nice hostel. The lady on reception was so friendly and helpful throughout my stay, the hostel was quite busy so the atmosphere was good and although the facilities were quite small, they were always kept clean.


Really fun hostel, super conveniently located a short few minutes walk from the centre of town with decent facilities. The vibe of the hostel is the best part, its a super social hostel with lots of really fun people hanging around, highly recommend


Enjoyed our stay. Beds were comfy and rooms weren't too cramped. Staff were very friendly and helpful. Facilities were clean and there was a nice atmosphere


This hostel is amazing! The owner and staff are very kind, its small so easy to get to know people but also enough time for solo space. Would recommend


Great Hostel, Great people.

Clean, lots of things within walking distance, has a pool table and a makeup gym out the back.

Definitely worth staying if you are coming to Airlie Beach.



Backpackers By The Bay is a clean, safe and quiet alternative to the 'party scene' in Airlie Beach. Located 400 metres from the main street, we are on a small hill, overlooking the ocean, and have awesome water views.

Accommodation is provided in double, twin and four share rooms. All rooms are air conditioned and have ceiling fans. Linen is provided at no charge, and the rooms are serviced each day.

Facilities include: a saltwater swimming pool with sun lounges, hammocks, and a large sunbaking deck; a covered outdoor BBQ area; a communal kitchen with all crockery, cutlery, pots and pans provided at no charge; a fully equipped laundry; a games room with internet access, a telephone for incoming calls, gold phone, fax and pool table; communal lounge/dining area where latest release videos are shown; small outdoor bar where nightly social activities - music quizzes, team trivia competitions etc are held for guests to meet each other and maybe win a bottle of champagne; tour desk; courtesy bus pick up and drop off; free lending library and off street car parking.

Location and Contact


We are 400 metres from the main street, up on a small hill overlooking the ocean. To get to the hostel, drive through the main street, continue on for 400 metres and you will see the hostel on the right. Drive PAST the hostel and take the first street on the right - Hermitage Drive. This will lead you into our off-street car park.



Address: 12 Hermitage Drive, Airlie Beach (Whitsundays Coast), Queensland, Australia

Airlie Beach Backpackers By The Bay is listed on the following booking sites:

Hostelworld Not listed at HostelsClub


Website Airlie Beach Backpackers By The Bay Airlie Beach
Phone Number: +61 (7) 4946-7267, 1-800-646-994
To add or correct information for this listing, please use the Listing Correction Form.

Facilities and Amenities

Digital Nomads

Party Hostel

Solo Traveller



Wi-Fi in Lobby/Commons

City Tours

Lockers in Lobby

Luggage Storage


Air Conditioning

BBQ Grill


Board Games

Clothes Dryer

Concierge/Info Desk

Credit Card Payments


Evening Entertainment


Gym/Fitness Room

Hair Dryers

Hot Showers



Lounge Area

Movie Library/Rental

Pool Table

Swimming Pool


Checkout: 10:00 (10 AM)

Curfew: No Curfew

Lockout: No

Maximum Stay: Unlimited

Minimum Stay: 1 night

Open Dates: All Year

Reception Hours: 7am - 7.30pm

Size: Large (60-100 beds)


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