Sunday, 21st Nov - Monday, 31st Dec


Decades ago when university students and youths first started to travel en masse, cheap and independently, they had two choices for accommodation - a youth hostel or to sleep in their van.

A youth hostel came with some restrictions and responsibilities. Often you had to be out of the property by 9am and you couldn't come back in before 5pm. Many had midnight curfews and there were no mixed dorms! And they all had jobs for you to do. Each bed came with some assigned tasks - clean the kitchen, clean the bathroom or put out the rubbish.

Many of the original youth hostels were established under the not for profit umbrella of YHA (Youth Hostel Association) a UK-based, non-profit organization encouraging outdoor activities and cultural exchange for the young (now known as Hostelling International or HI). Hostels for travellers are sometimes called backpackers' hostels, particularly in Australia and New Zealand (often abbreviated to just "backpackers") although you will still find YHA opertaed youth hostels in every major city and tourist destination.

The old fashioned youth hostels have been modernised and adjusted to the modern traveller. No longer do you have to be less than 28 years old, and seldom is there a curfew. There are very good youth hostels in Melbourne.

In Australia the independently owned properties are more often called a backpacker. They do not restrict themselves to the youth traveller and are market oriented to service their client's needs. This might include in-house entertainment, help with finding casual jobs and a travel desk for booking tours.

Backpacker hostels in Melbourne come in variations to suit every traveller. There are the more luxurious modern backpacker hostels which are sometimes called flashpackers. These are generally easily identified as they are have high independent star ratings awarded by the independent tourist authorities and are rated highly by the guests that have stayed.

The advent of the internet allows backpacker travellers investigating their accommodation options to read many reviews written by like minded travellers. Backpackers who book their backpacker hostel accommodation in Melbourne on one of the popular backpacker web booking sites are invited by the booking site to rate their stay. Other backpackers can then read the reviews on sites such as Hostelworld, Hostelbookers and Hostelclub to assess whether the backpacker accommodation that they are considering will suit their needs.

Habitat HQ was voted by backpackers as the best backpacker in Melbourne in 2010 and was awarded the Golden Backpack Award. They were also awarded as a winner in the Backpacker category of the Victorian Tourism Awards. But still the best recommendations are the latest reviews on the backpacker booking sites - read them to understand the features and advantages of each of the backpacker hostels in Melbourne or the city that you are travelling to before you make your booking.