Where to Stay in Katoomba: Blue Mountains YHA

A lot of visitors to the Blue Mountains only stay for the day — focusing on the Three Sisters at Echo Point, Scenic World, and perhaps Wentworth Falls — but if you can stretch your schedule just ever so slightly, it’s worth staying over for at least one night so you can see the sights in unhurried leisure, take in a walking trail or two, and see the sun rise over Jamison Valley. If you do intend to stay overnight but don’t want to spend too much on accommodations, I would definitely recommend booking at the Blue Mountains YHA.
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The YHA’s location alone makes it ideal:

  • It’s in Katoomba’s main street, within walking distance of the railway station where trains from Sydney Central Station arrive hourly.
  • It’s just after the intersection from the street’s numerous shops and cafes, so a nice meal is always just a short walk away but the street outside the hostel itself isn’t noisy or crowded.
  • There’s an Aldi right next door and a Woolworths just around the corner for stocking on supplies.
  • Outside Woolworths is the stop for the 686, the public bus that accepts Opal and has practically the same stops as the Hop-On Hop-Off tourist bus.
  • While Echo Point is not exactly a stone’s throw away, my 65-year-old father managed the brisk 1.8 km walk there (and back) quite easily.

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If you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, you might be forgiven for thinking that because they’re cheap, they’re bound to be seedy and ugly. The Blue Mountains YHA will definitely prove you wrong though.

The building is a beautifully restored redbrick, an Art Deco treasure listed in the National Trust. The rooms themselves are nothing to write home about but the common areas are a traveler’s delight. There’s the courtyard with the giant chess set and the west-facing balcony (with a fountain!) that’s perfect for watching the sunset skies…

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…the cheerfully-colored kitchen, huge, with more than enough sinks and stoves to ensure you won’t go hungry waiting for your turn to cook…

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…the dining area, which was thoughtfully equipped with a high chair to accommodate traveling tots…

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…and…a stage! I’ve never been in a hostel with an actual stage before. 😀 I can imagine people putting on a play to liven things up in the dead of winter, the audience ensconced in cushy chairs, drinking hot chocolate… Though I suppose a band would be more likely, all things considered… Anyway, tons of seating…

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…a pool table, a video game machine and foosball table just out of sight in the photo below, and even a small nook with toys for the children…

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…a walled-off TV room at the back there, which also leads to the luggage locker room…

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…and possibly my favorite feature: a fireplace!

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(I live in a tropical country. We don’t have these at home!)

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Plus: everything from reservation to check-in to check-out went off without a hitch. The booking confirmation actually said “You will be charged a prepayment of the first night after reservation” but they didn’t even bother; they just waited till we checked in to collect payment. After the debacle that was Lurline House, you can bet I savored just how smooth and un-upsetting was our experience with Blue Mountains YHA.

Our family room, which could accommodate six and had an ensuite bath, cost us 160 AUD a night. The hostel offered breakfast at an additional cost but we didn’t bother as there was a supermarket next door. (See: How Our Family Saved Over PHP20,000 in Dining Expenses in Sydney.) Storing your stuff at their automated luggage lockers will set you back 1 AUD for 2 hours.

We were there on a weekday in winter and there were only a few guests. I can’t say if the atmosphere would be just as great if it were peak season, say, and we had to share the space with a rowdy crowd. That said, we definitely had a pleasant experience when we were there, great value for money, and we would definitely stay there again.
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Book Blue Mountains YHA HERE.

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3 thoughts on “Where to Stay in Katoomba: Blue Mountains YHA”

  • This looks like a wonderful place. Just FYI in case you ever go back to Oz, almost all campgrounds (often called holiday parks and the like) have self-contained cabins that sleep 4 to 6 people or more and run about the same price as the room you got in the hostel. We were there years ago but I do remember staying at a campground somewhere in the Blue Mountains area – but we had a car so could travel around easily.
    Alison

    • Hi Alison! I’ve never stayed in a campground before so that would have been interesting. I’ll definitely keep that in mind for next time — thank you! (P.S. I thought of you quite a lot in Australia, as I think you mentioned living there before moving to Canada.)

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