After our not-so-successful stay at Hump Backpackers, we decided to give somewhere else a try for our last week in Sydney, so after scouring a few hostel comparison sites, we settled upon the Sydney Central Backpackers hostel, in a great location just round the corner from the hustle and bustle of Kings Cross’ main strip, not to be confused with the Sydney Central YHA which is located in the CBD just across from Central station. Upon arrival we were greeted by a busy and vibrant place, with lots of backpackers milling about in the communal hang out/kitchen area. After a bit of a faff with the checking in process (the guy at reception refused to let us split the payment in the way we wanted and instead forced us to split it evenly three ways, even though I had already paid the deposit), we grappled with our bags up the stairs (sometimes I wish I still had a backpack – luckily we were only on the first floor) and found our room, a nice private space with 2 sets of bunk beds for just the three of us.
The room itself was VERY small, and if it wasn’t a private room it would be far too tiny to share with people you didn’t know. But aside from the size, the room was everything we needed it to be. There was a sink, a much needed fan, a fridge, and the beds were very comfy. Yes we were pretty much on top of each other and there wasn’t really any space for our bags (mine ended up on the spare top bunk), but it was perfectly fine for our purposes. Having a fridge and sink was also a MASSIVE plus – it was great not to have to go down to the kitchen to get a snack. The only down side to the room was that it was hot. Very hot. The way the hostel is laid out in a sort of square shape, means that the rooms in the middle don’t really get any fresh air flowing through them which is annoying but not a deal breaker.
Right, the kitchen. It makes up part of the communal area which you have to walk through to get in and out of the hostel, so there were always lots of people hanging about just watching TV or cooking their food. The kitchen is built in along one wall, with 2 sinks, a hot water boiler, 2 sets of ovens and stove tops, a microwave and 2 toasters. There is plenty of cutlery, crockery and pots & pans and best of all? It is clean. So clean. All the time. Other hostels take note – this is what a hostel kitchen should be like. There were signs up everywhere instructing people to wash up, dry up and put their stuff away, and I never witnessed anyone not doing just that. The smallish space and the fact that you have to go through the kitchen to get anywhere else meant that people were very respectful of the space and always tidied up after themselves.
This cleanliness spread throughout the entire hostel actually. The bathrooms were cleaned multiple times throughout the day so were always sparkling, the kitchen was always given a once over daily, so there were never dirty tables or overflowing garbage bins, and the rooms were vacuumed once a day too, giving the whole place a clean and organised feel. Each floor has about 5 rooms on it (a mixture of privates and dorms), so it feels very spacious, and there are 2 showers and 2 toilets on each floor too, meaning that you never really have to wait, which is one of my main issues when staying in hostels. I can’t speak for the dorm rooms, but our private room didn’t have any lockers in it and, while I didn’t need a locker in a private room with just my friends, it would be good if the bigger dorm rooms had lockers for your valuables, just for peace of mind. Although I did notice that there were lockers available behind the reception desk for guests to keep laptops and the like in, so you can be sure your valuables will be kept nice and safe. Speaking of safety, the whole hostel feels very well protected and I would rate it highly, due to the fact that all the doors get locked at night (you just need your front door key to get in) and there is someone on the desk pretty much 24 hours a day (really helpful when you go out and forget your front door key!).
Some final great points about Sydney Central…
Firstly there is free wifi which is always a bonus, especially for a blogger like me. The wifi is reasonably fast, although I did have a few issues with connection on my phone, and while I can’t complain at all because it is free after all, there was an unfortunate limit of 400mb per log on code. Granted, you could just go to the front desk and ask for a new code, but it was just a bit annoying that you might be in the middle of doing something and then your allowance runs out!
Secondly I want to commend the staff for being so amazing, Honestly, they were all always very happy and smiley and always looking to help you out with anything you needed. This also included putting on BBQs (with free beer) on the awesome rooftop hang-out area, as well as providing lots of information for things to do in the city and helping to book you onto any tours or attractions you might want to go to. Oh and finally, now that I’ve mentioned the rooftop, there is also a little laundry room on the roof, with 2 huge washing machines ($4) and 2 big dryers ($3) and the detergent is free (I got quite excited about that!).
So overall Sydney Central Backpackers is a fantastic place to stay and if you ever find yourself in the Sydney, or in the Kings Cross area, I urge you to go check it out! I’ll definitely be staying there again one day.
Dates stayed: 31 Jan – 09 Feb 2014
Value for Money: 85%