Alice Springs is the closest town to the infamous red rock and it has a surprising amount to offer.
Our Hostelgeeks writer Kelly has spent substantial amount of time in the area and knows it like the back of her hand.
This guide is perfect for YOU, when …
- tired of bad and crappy hostels
- want to avoid the “young party kids”
- happy to spend 1-2€ for a better experience
We condensed it all to the 3 coolest hostels in Alice Springs; handpicked.
Update: read our guide to the best things to do in Alice Springs
All of them?! Yep. There are only 5 Alice Springs hostels.
Forget Alice Springs hotels; these hostels are seriously inviting for backpackers travelling the area.
You’re about to discover palm trees, a hidden oasis and beautiful artwork. Not to mention refreshing swimming pool in EVERY hostel!
But that’s not all! Also included in this article:
- 3 best hostels in Alice Springs
- Safety Information
- Getting to/from Alice Springs
- Budget Accommodation Uluru
- Finding work
- Flights to Alice Springs
- Awesome map with all backpacker hostels Alice Springs
Quick Introduction to Hostels in Alice Springs
Average price for a bed: A bed in a dorm can be as cheap as 15€ up to 19€ per night. A private room starts from 40€ even up to 80€ per night. This is a rough average to give you an idea. Prices always depend on season and holidays.
Check-In and Check Out: The average check-in time is from 15:00 (3pm), while the Check Out time is before 11:00 (11am). Hostels usually offer luggage storage in case you arrive earlier or leave later. Make sure you check if luggage storage is free or if there is an extra cost.
Alice Springs to Uluru: Many, if not most, people head to Alice Springs to join a tour to Uluru. This means you need to be prepared for early risers in shared dorms. The major tour companies leave between 05:30am and 06:00am.
Tip: pack earplugs if you’re sleeping in. Those of you going on tour: pack your bag the night before and respect your roommates by keeping quiet in the morning.
New to Hostels? Read our full hostel starter guide here. We especially recommend to read:
- How to book hostels (and websites to use)
- 23 items for the hostel packing list
- Are hostels safe? 13 safety tips for hostels
3 Best Hostels in Alice Springs
It’s time to discover – in detail gained from personal experience – 3 cool hostels in Alice Springs.
- Alice’s Secret Travellers Inn – perfect for backpackers
- Jump Inn – top choice for female solo travellers
- Alice Lodge Backpackers – great for solo travellers
1. Alice’s Secret Travellers Inn (a hidden desert oasis)
Reaching the number one spot is Alice’s Secret Travellers Inn; the smallest, quietest and friendliest backpacker hostel in Alice Springs.
This little desert oasis is family run by Seb and Miriam; a travelling duo that live and work on-site.
Brand new 2018 renovations of the kitchen, bedrooms and social areas have modernised this hostel, whilst still maintaining strong character.
This place is for Alice Springs Backpackers looking for a little home on the road.
For the animal lovers out there, you’re in luck.
Occasionally the hostel cats, Lady Lucy and Fickle Fred, will hang around reception to welcome you. It’s up to you to say hello to the chickens on your way in, too!
The centrepiece of this hostel is the lush, spacious garden.
There is an unfenced swimming pool, hammocks and adorable detail decorated in the smallest of places.
It’s this detail that magnifies the love and passion put into this family home. A home designed to be shared!
The unique rooms circle the garden so it’s impossible not to get to know faces quickly.
Choose between 3-6 bed mixed dorms, a female dorm and private rooms.
But hang on a minute; so far the rooms sound pretty standard. But trust us when we say you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Each room has its own painted theme and the female dorm is actually a caravan!
Depending on which one you’re allocated, you could be ‘under the sea’, ‘down under’ or sleeping in a tree in the ‘rainforest room’.
Have the ultimate experience and upgrade to one of the Private Plus rooms. There are two choices: the Betty Boop Bus or Seb’s Alpine Hut.
And yes, they are as fun as they sound!
Good to know: Office hours are from 10am-2pm and 4pm-7pm. Shoot this hostel an email to warn them of your late check in.
What else makes Alice’s Secret an ideal choice?
- BBQ area
- Bike rental
- TV room w/ 300+ films
- Book room w/ instruments
- Fully fitted kitchen
- Super fast FREE WiFi
- Off-road parking
Seb has been here for 5 years. Let him and his partner Miriam offer their expertise in tour bookings across the Northern Territory and beyond.
Important: this is strictly a no party hostel which means no visitors at any time.
Support and enjoy the relaxed, family environment by respecting others and staying quiet after 10pm. The silence of the desert is spectacular.
There are no arranged activities here but the owners have fantastic local knowledge. Ask them anything!
Coolest thing about this hostel in Alice Springs: the garden at night lights up and becomes a truly beautiful spectacle. It makes running to the toilet at 2am actually enjoyable!
Room for improvement: the bathrooms are a little outdated. But no worries; Seb has big plans for transformation soon.
Todd Mall, the centre of Alice Springs, is a 5-minute walk away. This is also the closest hostel to the beautiful Olive Pink Botanical Gardens – a perfect spot for wallaby watching.
Alice’s Secret Travellers Inn is one of the best hostels in Alice Springs for:
- Older travellers
- Peace seekers
2. Jump Inn (social hub)
Number two on our list for where to stay in Alice Springs comes in Jump Inn.
Previously known as Annie’s Place, Jump Inn re-opened under new management in August 2017.
A lot of refurbishment has taken place, but many details of Annie’s Place still remain intact including quirky decor and art work.
Smiling faces of enthusiastic staff are ready to welcome you through a quick and easy check in process.
Centred amongst the surrounding 28 rooms is a large swimming pool hidden under lush trees – the natural shade is welcomed in the garden. A great Alice Springs Accommodation to kick back and relax.
This is a perfect option for travellers that love a good old fashioned social dorm room!
Stick with a small 4-bed or branch out and sleep in a 6, 8 or 10-bed. The 4-bed and 6-bed option also comes in ladies only size.
Private double, twin and family rooms are also available set away from the bar.
Although the decor is simplistic, the thick mattress, soft duvet and plump pillow will ensure you have a beautiful night’s sleep.
And your bed will be ready made on your arrival, no matter what time of day/night!
During the day relax outside on the benches or by the pool with a complimentary hot drink.
By night however, the social vibes really take off as the on-site bar and restaurant opens its doors at 5pm.
Guests and locals alike are welcome here to enjoy the Asian styled food and craft beer selection.
Jump Inn is the only place in town offering such an exciting collection of beers, including the exclusive locally brewed Alice Springs ale!
I tried the recommended Pad Thai which was washed down perfectly by one of their sour beers.
Good to know: gluten free and vegan options are available.
Every Tuesday Jump Inn hosts a Jam Session which has proved very popular.
Don’t worry though; this isn’t technically a party hostel and the bar strictly closes at 11 pm every night.
In the future, the staff hopes to arrange regular events including a pool party that would be open to locals too.
What else makes this a super cool hostel?
- Free and reliable WiFi
- Fully fitted kitchen
- En-suite in ALL dorms + family rooms
- Tour booking service
- Free luggage storage
The kitchen is closed overnight, but it re-opens at 5am for a basic free breakfast of cereal and toast.
Why so early? Most tours to Uluru set off from 05:30am.
Coolest thing about this hostel in Alice Springs: there is a no straw policy in the bar and restaurant!
Room for improvement: the kitchen is open throughout the day. In the winter it can get very cold and in the summer bugs are free to enter. The solution? Pack a jumper and clean up after yourself!
Once again, Alice Springs central is all but a 10-minute walk from here where you’ll find everything you need.
Jump Inn is one of the coolest hostels in Alice Springs for:
- Female Solo Travellers
3. Alice Lodge Backpackers (simplistic and homely)
Alice Lodge Backpackers is the third and final independent hostel in Alice Springs.
If it wasn’t for the big sign out front welcoming you, you may think you’re entering somebody’s home.
This hostel is set in a quiet residential area just 5 minutes from the centre, and opposite a lovely big public park.
Not that you’ll need to leave: there is a large grassy area next to a sparkling pool on the premises here.
Although the rooms are basic in design, they come with ready-made beds, lockers and a fridge. The under-the-bed storage is also really handy.
Room types include:
- 3, 4 or 6-bed mixed dorm
- 3 or 4-bed female dorm
- Twin room (single beds)
- 3 share room
- Family room
- Double private
This is a wonderful choice for small families as the atmosphere is relaxed and there is plenty of space for kids to run around.
Note: reception is open from 08:30am-2pm and 4:30pm-7pm.
There is a fully fitted kitchen with plenty of fridge space and this is also where you can find a free simple breakfast of cereal and toast in the morning.
What else makes this a great choice?
- TV room w/ book swap + computers
- Beautiful artwork dotted around
- Friendly, helpful staff
- BBQ area
- Luggage storage
The staff is also pretty clued up on the tour companies heading to Uluru. Head to reception and book your tour with ease.
Travelling with a car? There is off-road parking at a first come, first serve basis.
Coolest thing about this hostel in Alice Springs: people staying in private rooms have their own decking and seating area overlooking the garden.
Room for improvement: there is a smoking area slap bang in the middle of the garden. The only seating to enjoy dinner is also next to this area.
It’s an easy walk to town that will take less than 10-minutes. A handy IGA convenience store is also just around the corner.
Alice Lodge Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Alice Springs for:
- Solo travellers
More Hostels worth to mention
Now that we have covered the 3 top hostels in Alice Springs, you are set to have an amazing time in this desert town.
But obviously, there are more hostels. In the introduction we already promised this is a guide to ALL hostels in Alice Springs.
Why do we usually only share 3 BEST hostels?
We think you only need one fantastic place to have a good time. We do the legwork for you and actually sort out all the others so you have an easy time to pick. Simple as that!
In fact, it’s super simple as there are only 2 more hostels for backpacking Alice Springs!
Haven Resort is a much larger hostel that boasts 198 beds, two kitchens and free car parking for all their guests.
Enjoy the beer garden and swimming pool or relax in one of the many social spaces.
They host theme nights every few weeks including ‘Aussie BBQ nights’, trivia nights, bingo and super cool reptile nights, where the Alice Springs Reptile centre visit with a few of their beauties and offer free talks and cuddles.
Note: Alice Haven Resort is located the furthest from town, yet still only a 10-minute stroll.
Alice Springs YHA
Built within the grounds of a historic outdoor movie theatre, Alice Springs YHA is the best located backpackers in town.
So how about staying in a former cinema in Alice Springs? Doesn’t sound too bad, right?!
There is a free indigenous movie screening every night and an outdoor area with swimming pool to relax in. A pool is always a really good idea!
Great for groups: YHA Alice Springs Backpackers can accommodate for groups of 10-50 people.
What about cheapest hostels in Alice Springs?
Of course, there are always cheap hostels and cheap accommodation in Alice Springs and around.
We think, it’s not worth it to go with the cheapest hostel out there.
The difference is usually 1-2€ ($1-2) per night, and a lot of amenities are not included. This can be breakfast or linen.
However, if you are backpacker on a shoe-string budget and you wanna save every penny, there are ways to find the cheapest backpacker hostels in Alice Springs.
- Open Hostelworld with full list of accommodations in Alice Springs
- Order the listing by price
Simple as that. Here’s our guide on how to book hostels with Hostelworld.
Very good to know: Alice’s Secret Inn Backpackers is usually the cheapest hostel in Alice Springs.
Alice Springs to Uluru
Firstly, you need to be aware that Alice Springs and Uluru are not exactly neighbours.
It’s actually a 6 hour drive each way from Alice to The Red Rock!
Now you know you can avoid looking a fool by turning up and expecting to visit the very next day. Trust me, this happens a lot and 9 times out of 10 ends in huge disappointment.
So then what is the best way to get from Alice Springs to Uluru? By joining a 3 day/2 night tour.
Whatever you do, do not leave booking ‘til the last minute!
It should go without saying that these tours are incredibly popular and sell out quickly.
Did you know: The local Anangu indigenous people do not want you to climb Uluru. It is incredibly sacred and by climbing you are disrespecting them. The climb will be officially closed in October 2019.
The major tour companies offering backpacker friendly tours are:
- Muglas Adventures (#1 tripadvisor)
- The Rock Tour (budget backpackers)
- Emu Run (added comforts)
- Way Outback (4×4 truck adventure)
Do something great: support your chosen hostel and book the tour through them.
Many of the staff has personally experienced at least one of the companies, so they can offer honest feedback and detailed information. Most offer rewards in return such as a free return night!
Is there a ‘Hostel Uluru’ for the Independent traveller?
Not exactly. There are a couple of options for those looking for budget accommodation Uluru, but there is no dedicated hostel in Ayers Rock.
The two good options for backpackers in Ayers Rock not keen to take a tour are:
- Outback Pioneer Lodge – an affordable hotel with large dorm rooms available and shared facilities.
- Ayers Rock Campground – budget non-powered and powered sites & 2-bedroom cabins available.
Note that both of these options are 15-20km from Uluru. There is a free shuttle that circulates the resort but DOES NOT take you to Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park.
There is a dedicated Uluru hop-on hop-off bus with either 1, 2 or 3 day pass options. This is the best way to visit Uluru and Kata Tjuta without a car.
Here’s a reliable coach transfer from Alice Springs to Uluru.
King’s Canyon is a further 4 hour drive from Uluru. It’s a must see!
Again, if you decide against taking a tour or renting a car, your only option is to take the Uluru to King’s Canyon bus transfer.
Is it Safe in Alice Springs?
Unfortunately Alice Springs crime is often reported in the media.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean it poses a threat to travellers.
During the summer months, children are out of school and struggle with finding enough entertainment.
This boredom results in an increase of car crime in particular.
It’s no secret that Australia has a very big drinking culture. Binge drinking is an issue in Alice Springs and it has resulted in conflicts, though usually between families and friends.
Like anywhere else on this planet, bad things can happen if you’re not vigilant.
During my time in Alice I’ve never come up against any dangerous encounter.
Here are a few tips to staying safe in Alice Springs:
- Park your car off-road where possible
- Stay in groups after dark
- Follow lit main roads to/from your accommodation
Read: our safety guide with 39 tips on how stay safe while traveling – online and offline
Getting To and From Alice Springs
For the budget conscious traveller, there are a few alternatives to taking a flight to Alice Springs Australia.
Rent/buy a car
As long as you can fill all of the seats, this becomes a relatively cheap way of travel. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to check out the sights along the way.
As long as you’re heading back to a major city in Australia, you won’t have much trouble selling your car to another backpacker.
Tip: split the fuel and camp on route to keep costs down. Download the WikiCamps app for free camping locations across the country.
Alternatively be that person who fills a seat in someone else’s car. Coseats.com is a wonderful tool for finding your ideal ride.
Remember: always offer to pay for fuel and split the driving to make the journey safer.
Camper van Relocation
This is a great way to save money if you can find a good deal.
Many companies need your help to relocate camper vans from one place to another. More often than not, vans get stuck in Alice Springs.
This means excellent rental offers of $1 per day (usually with a 5 day limit) plus fuel is possible.
Take a Tour
Believe it or not, it’s possible to take a tour in and out of Alice Springs.
The tours aren’t exactly budget friendly, but as a return flight to Alice is around $500, spending that little extra will go a long way in terms of experience.
- Groovy Grape Tours do a tour from Adelaide to Alice Springs
- Way Outback offer a tour from Alice Springs to Darwin
The Greyhound Australia bus is a backpacker friendly service that covers all of the major places in the country.
The service provides comfortable long distance travel at a reasonable price with a hop-on hop-off option.
When to Visit Alice Springs
Being in the very heart of the Australian desert, Alice Springs is an all year round kind of destination.
It just depends how hot you like it!
Winter (May – September)
- Temperatures around 25 degrees daytime, down to -5 at night
- Tons of events + festivals
- Busy season for hostels + Uluru tours
This is THE time to visit if you like to keep busy and meet tons of other travellers. It’s also a good time to visit Uluru as the temperatures are comfortable and there are no pesky flies.
Make sure you prepare for the very cold evenings by packing a jacket. Yes, the desert gets cold too!
Summer (November – March)
- Temperatures ranging from 30-45 degrees
- Flies + mosquitoes come out to play
- Heavy rains likely
- Quiet season for hostel + Uluru tours
A beautiful time to be in the desert as the grass turns green and Kangaroos give birth to Joey’s. Alice Springs quietens down so hostel prices are reduced.
Don’t underestimate the heat! Give in and buy yourself a famous Akubra hat from Outbush in town.
Good to know: most cafes and restaurants close for 4-6 weeks over the Christmas period.
As we just briefly mentioned flies in the summertime, let us elaborate a little.
Yes there are many many flies between November and March and yes, they are very annoying!
So what to do. Consider investing in a fly net that goes over your head and pulls down over your face. It’s the only way to keep the little black critters from your eyes, nose and ears.
This is especially important if you’re spending time in the bush or going further afield to Uluru.
Jobs in Alice Springs
Thinking of spending a few months in the red centre?
You’re in luck – there are plenty of Backpacker jobs in Alice Springs Australia.
It is what you’d call a transitory town. Travellers often visit, fall in love and get stuck for some time. Heck, some never leave.
This constant fluctuation of people means jobs are popping up all over the place, all of the time.
Wait until you’re here, print off some CV’s and personally drop them in. A friendly smile and a hard-working attitude go a long way in Alice.
And guess what? It’s possible to stay long term for reasonable weekly rates at the following hostels:
Map of Alice Springs Hostels + TOP Sights
Right then, let’s place your favourite hostel on a map so you can get planning!
Contrary to popular belief, there are SO many things to do in Alice Springs including:
- ANZAC hill
- Alice Springs reptile centre
- Telegraph station
- Alice Springs desert park
- Red Kangaroo books
- Araluen arts centre
- Royal Flying Doctor Service Alice Springs
- Olive Pink Botanic Garden
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out our guide to 37 awesome things to do in Alice Springs.
You can open this map of Australia Alice Springs in a new tab too.
Currently, we have no special hostel discounts for the backpackers in Alice Springs.
You can subscribe to our newsletter to receive our newest hostel discounts always to your inbox.
We do also have a 35€ discount for Airbnb here.
Flights to Alice Springs
As mentioned previously, flights to Alice Springs are more on the expensive side. I paid $500 return from Cairns and $300 one way from Sydney.
The airport is around 15km outside of the town centre. There is a shuttle service that continuously runs and costs $16.50 each way.
There’s no need to book in advance; buy a ticket at the luggage kiosk and ask your hostel to arrange a return at no extra cost.
Alternatively you can fly straight to Yulara which is the small resort next to Uluru and around a 6 hour drive from Alice Springs.
We enjoy Kiwi.com to find cheap flights all over Australia including Alice Springs and Sydney.
This new website has super cool features like a so-called radius search. Just draw a circle over Australia and find the cheapest rates for the area.
Here is our review of Kiwi.
Over to you
There you have it; all 5 hostels in Alice Springs.
Do you have any questions, doubts?
Then please please leave us a comment. This list of awesome Alice Springs hostels should be as informative and useful as possible.
Your question(s) will help me to understand what I have missed to mention. I’ve spent a lot of time in this area so I should be able to answer most of your queries!
Therefore, do not be shy, drop us a comment, we are keen to help you!
Last note: Our commitment
This is a genuine article to help you travel a bit smarter and find the best place on a budget! We ONLY recommend places we know you will enjoy, no matter what.
We will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by. We only share with you places we also recommend to our best friends and family!
Enjoy this fine hostel selection and all 5 Star Hostels.
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Your Smart Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality hostel, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.The most important things to pack are:
- eye mask
- key chain flashlight
- the right backpack, the Nomatic (our review of Nomatic here) or Lowe Alpine Lightflite 45 Pack
- packing cubes
- generic padlock (fitting all locker types)
- quick-dry travel towel
- universal power adapter
- travel-sized toiletries