21st-century hostelling in Sydney

Still hanging around in youth hostels… isn’t it pathetic at his age?

Nuts.  HI hostels like Railway Square in downtown Sydney, where I crashed on my way home from Africa, still cater to travellers of all ages, shapes and sizes.  Of course the overall ambience is young, hip and easy-going, but as well as legions of blonde backpackers I spied grey heads, collars-and-ties,  party animals and tech-heads glued to their notebooks.  OK, I might have been tempted to shell out for a private room rather than a dorm bed, but others had beaten me to them.

Railway Square Hostel,  Sydney

Railway Square Hostel, Sydney

Some things have changed over the years.  It hardly matters any more whether or not you’re a card-carrying member, and the old everyone-pitches-in ethos just doesn’t work with such high turnover.

If you didn’t bring your notebook along, there’s a bank of broadband-enabled terminals running down one wall of the lounge.

The hostel occupies the shell of a former railways parcel depot attached to Sydney’s Central Station, and the city lies just outside the door.  This is the Chinatown district but the city authorities have apparently decided that multiculturalism still needs a boost hereabouts, so they have adorned the streets with huge banners bearing images of happy, smiling (or just bemused) people of various ethnicities.  Bizarre.


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