The Jolly Swagman Backpackers Hostel Sydney, Sydney

Kings Cross
1,348 Reviews
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The Jolly Swagman Backpackers Hostel Sydney Reviews


A hostel that existed for ages, something that shows. In the centre of Kings Cross they get away with charging oligopoly prices without having to provide much service. Actually I feel reminded of an episode of the 1980s British sitcom "yes ministers where the employees of a newly completed hospital contrive to run it "without patients as they interfere with the running of it." The kitchen is kept clean alas pots and pans must be applied for at reception, mugs are only handed out against deposit. The "free wifi" is a joke. Deliberately set to slow as to sell full access on a per day basis. Disconnects after 3 (!) Minutes of inactivity and forcibly disconnects after 45. Room cleaning is done sporadically and only superficially. Shower/toilet combinations are constructed that the floors are constantly wet with little room to hang clothes so they stay dry. Staff vary from all right to the indifferent, bordering on surely at times. Obviously nobody told them who pays there wages. This could be an okay place if the value for money was better -- to achieve this prices would have to be a quarter to a third lower!


A gem

Like seeing old friends. Warm welcome with lots of practical and local info and tips. Great fellow travelers.

Age 50 | Dutch

Fantastic and nice.

Age 32 | Sri Lanka

This hostel is a safe, friendly place where you are likely to meet other travellers usually working or looking for work in Sydney. It is quiet at night around the rooms so no problem sleeping. Many are pretty much living there so it is a bit clicky with groups that seem to all know each other well and drink or take over the TV room most nights. But still lots of chances to socialise in a good environment if you have the time/patience. Free Wi-Fi advertised is actually only 1 hour free card when you get there which we found a bit false advertising. You had to pay $8 for 5 hours after that which wasn't too bad but some days the wi-fi randomly stopped working and you lost mins if you hadn't logged out.


Handy location very close to town, we were a bit worried being in Kings Cross and hearing rumours but we had no problems. It is out the way of the main strip and security is always on hand at night with locked front door, inner door and room locks - you feel safe. Easy to find if you get the train like we did it only took us a few mins to get there.

Rooms and Bathrooms:

Dorm-rooms are clean, although we we're in a 3 bed dorm. The room contained a chair, desk, fridge, space for items, sink and fan. No in-room lockers but other rooms with more people (6/8 dorms) did contain them. Only one female shower on our floor which wasn't great as the lock kept falling off but the shower itself was always hot, had hooks and space for toiletries/clothes. One toilet didn't flush throughout the two weeks we stayed there. Washing machines and tumblr dryers on every floor which is great, right by the rooms so you can keep an eye on your clothes. The view from our room was actually into the building next doors bathroom so we kept our curtain closed a lot...

Common Spaces:

Cool brightly painted TV room, usually with a few people sleeping in for some reason. Lots of chances to socialise but quite hard with the groups who already seem to own the place. Still welcome meetings help and there is a night out planned most days as well as food deals with a nice eating area where you could meet others - although we never tried any of the food deals we preferred to find our own. Free breakfast was in fact just tea, coffee, toast and cereal that you have to wake up before 9am to get. Enjoy a long queue for a toaster and a struggle to find a cup. Kitchen was small but always kept clean - closing at 10pm and in the morning after breakfast for cleaning, so you have to plan when you want to eat incase it's shut.


Overall had a good 2 weeks in this hostel but wouldn't recommend staying longer and if looking for work and thinking this hostel would help as they make out do not expect much, their job board had only old jobs and there wasn't any help in finding work you have to find it yourselves. Printing CV's is the only help given which cost 20c a page. Value for money I think it's quite expensive for what you actually get but it is central Sydney so you can expect that. It is clean and organised and I would probably go back if I was in Sydney and had the money.

Outside View Room view Room view Window view Beds

Amazing people and great atmosphere

This hostel is a great place to stay while your in Sydney. It has the friendliest staff you will ever meet, who will go out of their way to help you. It's clean and safe and it has everything you would need. The people you meet there are friendly and outgoing, your never alone or bored. Highly recommend this hostel.



Awesome hostel! the nightlife is very great. YOu also get a lot of vouches from the hostel for free drinks and free entry in some clubs. the staff is very friendly and help you in every way they can. If you need an advise, just ask them. Also the other guests in the hostel were awesome, it is really easy to meet new friends there! just go there and enjoy!


Shabby, no aircon, so hellishly hot and stuffy.

I ruined my reputation booking this accommodation for my family, as we almost went into culture shock over the lack of everything here. I normally research very carefully with a list of requirements -- close to sights, public transport. from the minute we arrived internationally into the arrivals hall, all we had was stress and horror. first we rang the hostel and asked if they could pick us up they said nah, you're five minutes too late, find your own way, so we got stiffed A$70 for that and our $NZ has tanked a lot against the ozzie so was about $NZ100. When we got there the bus driver said this is a seedy place dont go out at night and just to make his point there was a big brawl as we got out of the bus. The same twat who denied us transfers charged my card in NZD -- didnt even ask and I'm not sure yet if that's a good thing or not, but it ended up being hideously expensive for four nights for five of us. $NZ240 per night. didnt tell us anything about the hostel, didnt tell me he'd charged me extra for key deposits, we had to haul all our bags up stairs to some hot, stuffy stinky rooms. Us and the kids weren't even on the same floor. They really didnt give a toss. I would think they would put families off staying in a place like this, but the e-mail I received from them said "we'll do everything possible to make your stay a happy pleasant experience." We left Sydney vowing never to go back and to put everyone else off from going there, as we had many unpleasant memories of this place and it was particularly about the backpackers, not necessarily about the whole Kings Cross Location.

New Zealand

Excellent and Fantastic

Very friendly staff. Nice and clean. Common area is very clean. I would recommend his place. We love this hostel so far. very welcome.


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Location and Contact




Address: 27 Orwell Street, Kings Cross, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The Jolly Swagman Backpackers Hostel Sydney is listed on the following booking sites:

Hostelworld HostelsClub


Website The Jolly Swagman Backpackers Hostel Sydney Sydney
Phone Number: +61 (2) 9358-6400, 1-800-805-870
To add or correct information for this listing, please use the Listing Correction Form.

Facilities and Amenities

Solo Traveller



Wi-Fi in Lobby/Commons

Airport Pickup

Lockers in Lobby

Luggage Storage


Air Conditioning

BBQ Grill

Board Games

Cable TV

Clothes Dryer

Concierge/Info Desk

Credit Card Payments

Currency Exchange

Evening Entertainment


Hair Dryers

Hot Showers



Lounge Area

Movie Library/Rental

Swimming Pool



Walking Tours

Max. Age: All Ages

Min. Age without Parent: 17

Checkout: 09:00 (9 AM)

Curfew: No Curfew

Lockout: No

Maximum Stay: Unlimited

Minimum Stay: 1 night

Open Dates: All Year

Reception Hours: 24 Hours

Size: Very Large (100+ beds)


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