In an attempt to reduce costs I stayed at several backpackers. That’s the name Aussies give to (youth) hostels. As you can imagine, comfort and hygiene vary… a lot.
I feared Haven Backpackers in Alice Springs the most. I was wrong. There was a shower in the 8-bed dorm, the kitchen was decently clean, there is a tv room and the staff is upmost friendly and helpful. You feel they do it with enthousiasm.
Base Backpackers at Brisbane Central is located in a former workers’ accommodation. I had a private room, or cell. I felt like in a monastery. The shower was elsewhere on the level and not so great. The staff wasn’t as kind as in Alice. Plus, there was a fire alarm at 2AM. But that’s not their fault I guess.
Foreign Exchange in Townsville is nice, quiet and cosy with decent showers, a very well equipped kitchen and all is very clean. The staff is friendly but often not available. Base personnel is there 24/7 and the people at Haven almost as well. The main drawback for Foreign Exchange is its location outside the Townsville CBD. But other backpackers in town get real bad reviews. This was confirmed by a guy who went on the snorkelling trip.
In Canberra I stayed at the almost corporate Youth Hostels of Australia (YHA). Clean, modern, 24/7 friendly (and cute) staff. But you had to put your bag in a safe every day. A bit annoying. Still, good service.
Finally, Home Backpackers near Sydney‘s Central Station, was totally unimpressive. Yes, I had a double bed for myself, but staff were quite unavailable, the kitchen was visited by pigeons and the showers was ok but not great. But it was very well located near the gay action on Oxford St and even not too far from the harbours.