We arrived a quarter to six. In a few minutes, the hostel would open, but instead of calling the staff to accommodate us, we chose to just stay outside and wait for the right time. That July morning was cooler than we expected, and we didn’t mind killing time by watching passersby, some evidently had a drink (or seemed like it). Darwin just before dawn was quiet.
The first stop in our six-city tour across the Northern Territory and Queensland, Darwin would give us our initial impression of the Australian continent.
Right on the dot, one of the staff opened the door and welcomed us. “G’day,” she said. If it was any indication, we had nothing to worry about. Aussies would prove to be friendly, and their work ethic, reliably on point.
Room and Rates
Darwin YHA is also called Globetrotters Lodge. Check in was not until noon, but one room was available so they checked us in immediately. We were given a couple of keys, linens, and directions to our room on the second level (first floor in Australia) of the building. Darwin YHA is a small complex; its facilities are easily accessible from any room.
I booked an ensuite room. To be honest, I was expecting it to be cramped, but what greeted us was more spacious than I imagined. There were a bunk bed and a double bed lying across each other, a table with chairs, and a small refrigerator. A ceiling fan spins overhead, but an air-conditioning unit is also installed right above the door. The ensuite toilet-and-bath is small but functional, providing just the basic bathroom needs. There was nothing spectacularly grand about the room, but everything was comfortable and satisfactory.
Rates start at AUD27 per bed for YHA members and around AUD33 for non-members. There are 4-bed and 6-bed rooms for male and female guests. Double rooms with private bath are also available.
It is always a good sign when the taxi driver is familiar with where you would be staying. Just ten minutes and 28 dollars from the airport, Darwin YHA’s best asset is probably its strategic location. Lying along the ever active Mitchell Street, it is close to many key attractions and establishments in the city including budget and mid-range restaurants, convenience stores, and malls. The cinema and the famous Crocosaurus Cove are just a couple of blocks away. Even Bicentennial Park runs just a few meters away.
Amenities and Service
Kitchen. If you’ve traveled around Australia on a budget, you would know that a hostel’s must-have facility is a clean kitchen. (Eating out is too expensive. Shopping for ingredients and preparing meals yourself is the wise way.) YHA has it covered, of course. A supermarket, Coles, is just a short walk from here, too.
Wi-fi. Staff would tell you that there is free wi-fi at the TV Room. Thankfully, although our room was at the very end of the site, we actually had a good reception. One thing I had noticed in many Australian establishments is that free wi-fi is considerably slow to persuade you to avail of the premium, much faster, connection. Free wi-fi was sufficient most of the time (I was just browsing and checking my social media accounts anyway), except one night when I had to send a big file to a friend.
Security. Guests are given a code, which they should enter at the gate if coming in beyond the regular operating hours. Outsiders are not allowed within the vicinity.
Tours and Staff. The walls of the common areas are covered with brochures for tours in the Top End and even in farther corners of Australia. The staff were generous with information and eagerly assisted us, which made our stay easy and hassle-free.
How to get to Darwin YHA: From Darwin Airport, you may take a cab or airport shuttle. It is only 15 kilometers away from the airport. We paid AUD 28 for the cab.
Disclosure: While this is an honest review, let it be known that YHA invited us to stay at this hostel at no charge so we could experience their services firsthand.