Cairns Central YHA Hostel


Swimming Pool Night
Dining Area
Dining Area
6 Share Dorm
Double Room



The Review

Cairns Central YHA Hostel is situated in Cairns, the main tourist hub for the Great Barrier Reef and one of Australia's most popular tourist attractions. It’s part of the YHA (Youth Hostel Association) of Australia chain, and therefore the facilities are of a high standard and well maintained. The mood is friendly and upbeat, and the hostel offers not only accommodation but also plenty of helpful tourist information and the opportunity to book local tours and reef cruises.

The Location

Situated in the city centre, just a few blocks away from its beautiful foreshore, Cairns Central YHA is close to shops, restaurants, local attractions, and public transport. For those arriving in the city by train, Cairns Railway Station is located just across the road, while buses from other cities and interstate stop ten minutes’ walk away.

Directly opposite the hostel and adjacent to the station is Cairns Central Shopping Centre, which offers a great assortment of retail outlets. The hostel is also a short stroll from popular tourist attractions such as the Cairns Night Markets, Rusty’s Bazaar, and the Esplanade.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The hostel building is fairly new and the rooms and bathrooms are of a high standard. There are various types of accommodation available -- dorms (male, female, and mixed, with the choice of a four-, six-, or ten-bed format) as well as single, twin, double, and family rooms, some of which have en suite. These are simple but spotless -- they’re thoroughly cleaned daily. Security is good and the key-card to your room will not only get you into your room, but also give you access to the hostel in the evening. There are lockers in the dorms for valuables, although you’ll need your own padlock for these. The only downside is that some of the downstairs rooms have just one small window and therefore they can get a bit stuffy in hot weather. Also, since these rooms open up to the communal area near the pool, when the window is open they can get rather noisy and cigarette smoke can waft in.

There are bathrooms on either level -- upstairs and downstairs -- and these are also well-maintained and thoroughly cleaned each day. However, they can get a bit grotty towards the evening during the tourist season, when the hostel is packed with guests. Like the dorms, the hostel’s shower-cubicles are simple but adequate, with plenty of hooks for hanging clothes and enough room in which to easily get changed.

Common Spaces

Cairns Central YHA is a friendly place with plenty of common areas where guests can chill out and connect with other travelers. There is a big, open-plan kitchen that’s very conducive to socialising, and attached to this there’s an indoor dining room. If you prefer to eat al fresco, there are also plenty of tables and chairs outside. Situated in the hostel’s courtyard, there’s a terrific swimming pool, surrounded by tropical plants and sun beds. Alternatively, if you prefer relaxing in the shade, there’s a sheltered deck area upstairs with nice hammocks, and a games room downstairs. There’s also a small reading and television room, complete with a book exchange, if you need some peace and quiet. The hostel doesn’t have computers for guests to use, but those with their own devices can access free Wi-Fi in the foyer area, or purchase an affordable Wi-Fi plan so they can use the internet throughout the hostel.


In a nutshell, Cairns Central YHA is highly recommended, with first-rate facilities, great location, and friendly vibe. As part of YHA Australia, we feel it is a very safe place to stay, especially for women traveling alone or first-time backpackers. Unlike some hostels in Cairns (where some rather dodgy characters can be found), most of the guests are international backpackers and therefore the vibe is upbeat, friendly, and adventurous. At times, the happy holiday mood could make the hostel a little noisy, but this never gets out of hand, so we didn’t find it a problem.
by Carsani Staff Reviewer
Photos taken by the reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Street view of Cairns Central YHA
Outdoor games and dining area
Pool area
Pool area
Communal kitchen
Dining room
Ladies' dorm
Ladies' dorm
Ladies bathroom
Shower cubicle


(Location is approximate. You may need to pan/move to find "Cairns Central YHA Hostel" at 20-26 McLeod Street.)


20-26 McLeod Street, Cairns North, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
-16.924980, 145.773280 (accuracy not guaranteed)
+61 (7) 4051-0772
+61 (7) 4031-3158
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How is Cairns Central YHA Hostel rated on other websites?

  Cleanliness Location Atmosphere Overall
(280 ratings)
(18 ratings)
Not listed on HostelsClub.
No reviews yet.
HI Hostels
(18 ratings)
(69 ratings)
83% Guest Reviews

Clean and tidy but ...
The staff are rude, foul mouthed and not concerned about the amount of theft. Too far from the Esplanade.
Liked it
One of the few hostels I actually liked in Australia! Clean bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen. We stayed in a twelve-bed dorm (which was the biggest we'd stayed in) and were expecting it to be a nightmare, but actually it was fine. Nice pool area. Kitchen is massive and has loads of cooking utensils (which isnt the case in most places). Staff were brilliant, really friendly and helpful. On site travel desk where you can book barrier reef trips, and we got discounts and free stuff for being YHA members. Internet room was airconditioned, which was lovely! Across the road from a supermarket and shopping centre. Short walk from the greyhound stop and centre of Cairns. Shuttle bus to airport will pick you up direct from the hostel if you book at the main desk.
Top place. Clean rooms and plenty of showers. Great swimming pool. Pool table. Dorms are a little on the large side (twelve people) but people there were considerate. Kitchens have plenty of room and utensils. Lively atmosphere as people eat and drink by the pool into the evening. Reception and activity staff were fantastic and very helpful. Gave good banter too. Ideally situated. Would recommend.
this hostel is very nice, rooms are clean though it does feel a little bit like a prison cell with the brick walls. Pool area is nice, only bad thing is that it's full of screaming teenagers. One block behind hostel you'll find a great fruit/vegetable market and a nice little breakfast shop. It's ok located, although Cairns does feel like a industrial area with the flat houses and all, so try to get out to the reef and the islands.
The cleaning people lock the kitchen's door every day and eat food from backpackers bags. Nice pool and garden, helpful staff at front desk, good location.
The hostel to stay in when you're in Cairns!
I stayed in this hostel in April 2008. This hostel is simply superb! It's clean, facilities are great, staff are helpful. The hostel is just across from the mall so that makes shopping convenient. My only complaint is the blaring music that goes on till 11 at night. If you want peace and quiet, remember to ask for a room away from the pool. That's where all the noise and action is.
  Very nice, welcoming staff at front desk, but the cleaning staff shouldn't eat food of travelers (nor take it home either).
Lovely -- clean and tidy, central location
This is a great YHA hostel, just over the road from Cairns Central. Best of all it is quiet with real travelers passing through. Set around a central courtyard, there is a great pool with a jacuzzi, a large (and very clean) kitchen at the far end, and some (very expensive!) internet computers ($8 an hour!). The Global Gossip cafe down the road is half the price. Rooms are ok, if spartan, but at least all come with air con. The place is open until 11p.m. -- after that point you need you card to get in through the front door (and there aren't any staff around if it doesn't work). My only real complaint is that the reception staff were pretty unhelpful both in booking tours (they read the brochure in front of me, and then told me what it said, rather than going on their own experience!) and in sorting out the problems I had with my door card, which continually failed.

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