Hostel Review: Brisbane City YHA

Brisbane Southbank
Brisbane Southbank

I think I’ve been putting off writing this hostel recommendation, purely because I’ve spent so much time in the Brisbane City YHA that I can’t see it with fresh eyes… But I’ll give it a go.

Here’s the deal – I flew from Broome to Brisbane, pretty much on a whim, with the idea of getting a job and being in the city for a while. I was completely unprepared, pottered around a bit, made friends in the YHA and ended up living there for 3 months. In retrospect I should’ve rented a room and saved myself a heap of money, but I was comfortable and didn’t really know what I was doing so ended up staying.

The majority of hostels in Brisbane are on Upper Roma Street, a short walk up the hill from the train station, which feels a lot longer with a heavy backpack in tow. The YHA is right at the top. It’s also the most expensive in this row, but only by a dollar a night or something. But that extra dollar gives you a spotless dorm, clean bathrooms and more security. I think that’s why YHA’s are so popular with the Working Holiday Visa crowd. When you’re going to work, you don’t want to worry about hiding your valuables and having to deal with gross bathrooms in the mornings.

Brisbane YHA - View from the roof
Brisbane YHA – View from the roof

My favourite thing about this hostel is how easy everything is. The basics are completely covered. The kitchen is absolutely massive and there are loads of pots and pans and cubby holes for your food, so you’re never waiting around to cook your dinner. The TV room is full of bean bags and sofas so you always get a seat. And if you don’t there’s a top secret TV room in the basement that they don’t really advertise so I spent a lot of time down there drinking goon with my friends and we were rarely interrupted.

Brisbane YHA TV Room
An awful photo of me but a good representation of my time here – drinking goon from a mug in the TV room with my pals.

Whatever you need is right there. That Queensland sun getting you hot and bothered? Just take a dip in the rooftop pool. You’re hungry but don’t want to venture too far? There’s a little restaurant/bar attached to the side of the hostel – Drifters – where you can get a stubbie and a top notch risotto to sort you out. Need to top up your stash of ramen noodles? Coles is a 5 minute walk away. Want to make some new travelling pals? You’ll find a group of Canadians playing flip-cup on the roof terrace most nights. Trust me, I was there 3 months and even though the Canadians changed they were always there!

My goon of choice - San Bernadino...
My goon of choice – San Bernadino…

Location-wise, you’re a 15 minute walk into town where you’ll find shops, the sights of Brisvegas and most likely your place of work if you’re WHV-ing it. You’re also right near the station for trains and Greyhound buses for access to the rest of Queensland. However, you’ll have to get a cab to the clubs and bars of Fortitude Valley, but you really wouldn’t want to be staying near there anyway!

The Brisbane CBD, 15 minute walk from the YHA
The Brisbane CBD, 15 minute walk from the YHA

The bad points? Because the YHA is so easy and clean, you get school groups every now and then that tend to take over bathrooms. You don’t want to be on their floor. Also, I would often pay for a week ahead but then before I had a chance to book the following week, my room would’ve been booked up and I would have to move rooms. This happened every week for the 3 months I stayed there. Yeah I definitely stayed too long. But when it’s so easy and comfortable, it’s easily done.

A giant map in the games room of the YHA Brisbane
A giant map in the games room of the YHA Brisbane

Even though I was sick of this place after 3 months, it was pretty much because I was sick of hostel life in general. Working a 9-5 and living in a hostel is hard. But I still really rate this place. The Brisbane City YHA is everything you need, it’s clean and safe and full of easy-going people. Worth the extra couple of dollars a night if you ask me.

Oh wait, I totally forgot I took a video of this place! My mum wanted to see where I was living so I made this video for her. It’s a bit shaky but gives you an idea… Enjoy!

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