On our family’s first experience staying in a youth hostel (Sydney Harbour YHA) we had many preconceived ideas about hostels challenged. While Hubby and I had done some hostel hopping around Europe before children, we’d never considered it as an option for us as a family. Firstly, I didn’t anticipate there would be good accessible accommodation and I wasn’t sure if the atmosphere would be family friendly. It turns out I was wrong on both counts and the kids really loved the social atmosphere.
Sydney Harbour YHA is fully wheelchair accessible but due to the heritage nature of Alice Springs YHA it won’t suit everyone’s accessibility needs. We noticed several guests with disabilities staying at the hostel so I’m sharing plenty of photos and information so you can decide if it’s right for you.
On my recent mother-daughter trip to Central Australia with AJ we stayed at the Alice Springs YHA. Although I’m a five-star loving girl, I believe travel should be about varied experiences. To only travel in one style is not really experiencing the world. And given AJ is 17, I think it’s important she has an expanded view of travel.
Alice Springs YHA is a cool quirky hostel in a terrific central location. It’s just a short walk to the Todd Street Mall for shopping and dining. The hostel offers a range of accommodation including shared rooms, private rooms and family rooms.
AJ and I stayed in a family room which had a double bed and single bunk beds. Given we had plans to be out exploring the MacDonnell Ranges during our stay we only needed it to be a comfortable place to sleep. And it ticked that box. I was surprised the bed was so comfortable to be honest.
Bedding, towels, soap and free WIFI is provided. All rooms are air conditioned which was a welcome relief given temperatures during our stay in summer were around 38 degrees (100F) each day.
ALICE SPRINGS YHA ACCESSIBILITY
Ramp access is available to the ground floor accommodation including the family room we stayed in.
All bathroom facilities are shared with multiple shower and toilet cubicles in one bathroom facility and individual bathroom facilities in another location.
The bathroom accessibility is the greatest challenge at the Alice Springs YHA. A bathroom facility with multiple cubicles is located next door to the family room we stayed in but I chose to shower in the individual bathrooms located a little further away. These bathrooms have easier access but for those with accessibility needs please note the doors are no wider, the shower is enclosed by glass and has a lip around it and a fixed shower head.
Ramp access is provided to the kitchen and dining area.
A large open plan dining area connects via a gentle internal ramp to the fridge and food storage area in the kitchen. The kitchen is well equipped with everything you could need to self-cater. Some lovely aromas were wafting through the kitchen but given our stay was only two nights we chose to eat out.
Guests are provided with labels to place on food items in the fridge and containers are provided for non-perishable items. The sense of community in hostels is something I really love. There’s always a place to leave unwanted food or personal items so they can be used by other travellers. We usually have left over fruit and food items and it pleases me to know they may help someone with a tighter budget than ourselves.
The lounge area can only be accessed via the three steps pictured so for some guests this area will be off limits.
We always appreciate having a laundry when we are travelling and the majority of the machines are accessible here.
Given the summer heat the pool was a hive of activity but with a curfew noisy pool parties weren’t a problem. Our room was near the pool so we were thankful for this rule.
When the Pioneer Movie Theatre was purchased by the YHA they embraced the building’s history and every evening a movie is screened on their big outdoor movie screen.
Sitting outside under the stars on a balmy Northern Territory evening is the best. Guests can select a DVD from an extensive library.
Street parking is available near the Alice Springs YHA but we brought our car in each night for added security. There’s parking for two cars in the courtyard of the hostel.
Youth may be in the title of YHA Australia, but it’s certainly not only for the backpacking market. Although there was a group of young German backpackers staying at the same time as us, there were families, single women, single men and we found the mix made it all the more interesting. I love hearing people’s travel stories and the communal areas are great for getting to know fellow travellers. I’m also a huge sticky beak and youth hostel life definitely satisfies my curiosity. Even sharing a bathroom facility proved interesting. Some people brush their teeth for an incredibly long time and with a ferocity I’ve never seen before. It made me double think my own technique!
The Alice Springs YHA is in a central location and is a really unique property in the budget category. Please think about your access needs when considering this property and make further enquiries if you’re unsure.
We were hosted for our stay at Alice Springs YHA but as always my opinions are my own.
This was my third visit to Alice Springs and we love the town for the variety of activities easily accessed by using it as a base.
You can read our extensive list of accessible activity suggestions in this post.