Score a win for your wallet when you book in at one of Darwin’s top hostels and backpackers
Hostels. You either love ’em or hate ‘em. But with a finely crafted mix of relaxed vibes, a sprinkling of group barbeques and free music, and a hearty splash of cheap accommodation, this award-winning recipe will always be a winner in our eyes. So, get ready (and get social). It’s time to check out the best backpacker hotels that Darwin has to offer.
(If your dorm days are done, we suggest you check out our favourite Darwin city hotels, caravan parks and resorts instead.)
1. The Cavenagh Hotel
The Cavenagh is the top hostel option for those who want to party in the Top End. Think cocktail happy hours, frozen mango daiquiris, dinner steak specials, taco Tuesdays and live music at an air-conditioned bar come Dry Season.
To our minds, it’s the perfect blend for meeting other like-minded travellers. Just don’t spend all your time here, instead of checking out the best things to do in Darwin.
The Cavenagh is a ten-minute walk from the Darwin Wave Pool at the Waterfront, or you can choose to flop and drop at the onsite pool.
Rooms with king, twin and dorm-style beds are available. We recommend popping in your suitcase the backpackers’ holy trinity: earplugs, a heavy-duty eye mask and a sarong (handy for a spot of privacy in a shared sleeping environment).
Lounge by the poolside. (Image: The Cavenagh Hotel)
2. Gecko Lodge
Gecko Lodge is a friendly little hostel about a 20-minutes walk from the CBD. While it might be on the smaller side (a description that includes the kitchen and pool size), travellers rate the Gecko for its warm atmosphere, quiet surroundings and some of the cheaper prices you will find in Darwin.
The family-run backpackers has dorms and private rooms. If you’d rather get something in town to eat than tackle the small kitchen, expect a 15-minute walk to the city centre.
Gecko Lodge is a family-friendly accommodation in Darwin, NT.
3. MOM Darwin YHA
MOM Darwin YHA (AKA Melaleuca on Mitchell) is a cheap and cheerful hostel located in the city centre that opened in 2021.
With two pools and a deck bar, MOM has built-in space to have a relaxing day or a bit of a soirée come the famous Darwin sunset with your fellow backpackers.
It’s a sociable place to stay, with regular events in the dry season making for built-in entertainment. As always, have those earplugs handy!
Here for work, as well as play? There is also a co-working space with free wi-fi to boot. Twin, Queen, double and triple rooms are available, as well as mixed and female dorms. Parking can be booked from $5 a day.
A poolside crocodile statue matching the colourful exterior of MOM Darwin YHA.
4. Darwin Hostel
For good vibes and a party atmosphere, head to Darwin Hostel on Mitchell Street.
Darwin Hostel has shared female and mixed rooms (18 – 35’s only) and private rooms – all aimed at the young, international traveller who wants to socialise bang set in the centre of town.
Kitchens, bathrooms and barbeque facilities are shared, and there is a swimming pool to kick back and relax next to, with a BYO cold tinnie of beer, a plate from the group barbeque and your brand-new Brazilian best friend.
Darwin Hostel’s dorm-type rooms are ideal for backpackers.
5. Youth Shack
Just five minutes from the Darwin Harbour is yet another hostel on the Darwin party circuit to check out.
The sociable Youth Shack’s bar has a terrace, pool and barbeque and drinks specials to boot. Expect music most nights, but the staff switches off the stereo around 10 pm.
Budget and regular twin and double rooms are available at Youth Shack. If you’re between 18 and 35 you can also book a spot in the mixed or female dorm room (repeat after me: ear plugs, eye mask, sarong).
There is a shared laundry, kitchen and dining space, while breakfast and some dinners come for free.
Stay in Youth Shack’s backpacker rooms.
6. Cozy Motel
An eclectic and quieter guesthouse in the centre of town, the Cozy Motel is aimed squarely at the under-35 set.
Drop off your backpack in one of its air-conditioned private rooms and dormitories, before mosey-ing on down to cook up a feast in its shared kitchen space or (if you time it right), to snag a sausage at one of the barbeque nights. And – in a win for your pocket – BYO alcohol is allowed at Cozy Motel.
You will find the hostel 10 minutes walk from Crocosaurus Cove and 20 minutes from the Mindil Beach Markets.
Simple yet chic Cozy Motel in Darwin, NT.