Where to eat and sleep, and socialise on a budget.
Melbourne is one of the most popular backpacker destinations in all of Australia because of its eclectic mix of city life, live music, art, and great food. St. Kilda has long been the chosen suburb for many backpackers to find their temporary place in this city because of its exciting nightlife, proximity to the beach, and welcoming attitude to travellers. If you’re thinking of visiting St. Kilda, get started with this guide for backpackers and make the most of your budget and your stay in this superb suburb of Melbourne.
Places to stay as a Backpacker in St. Kilda
One of the most important parts about travelling, is figuring out where to stay. As a backpacker, it’s important that accommodation is easy to get to, has great facilities, is affordable, and most importantly, will provide fun opportunities to meet other travellers. Check out some of the favored backpackers hostels in St. Kilda.
Nomads St. Kilda
24 Grey Street, St. Kilda 3182 map it
Freephone: 1800 666 237
Phone: +61 (03) 9534-5283
This hotel is known for its revolutionary pod beds with USB chargers and power points and a shelf, personal reading lights, and the much-loved privacy curtain.
There is also an equipped kitchen, communal area, rooftop hang out space, TV room, game room, travel shop. They also have a Job Club where you can get help finding work in the area to fund the rest of your trip.
There is 24 hour reception, a bar, luggage storage, free wifi, and laundry facilities.
They also hold events and group outings of some sort every night of the week including family dinner, penguin sighting, and movie & pizza night to name a few.
Previous backpackers loved the friendly reception staff, the rooftop bar, meeting other backpackers, and the close proximity to the beach. They also enjoyed free breakfast pancakes and the option to book a private room as a couple or group of friends. Many backpacker’s planned to stay for a few days and ended up staying for a couple of months! There is always music playing and good vibes all around. This is a great place to socialise and meet other travel buddies.
Base Backpackers St. Kilda
17 Carlisle St., St. Kilda 3182 map it
Phone: 1800 242273
Dorm rooms with individual lockers, heating and air con, wardrobes, ensuite bathrooms with option for private double rooms as well and female only rooms. There are both daytime and nighttime events and activities as well which change weekly and include things like live music, walk to the Brighton beach boxes, trivia night, dance parties, and food and drink deals.
There is a friendly reception staff, a TV and hang out area, the popular Red Eye bar, communal kitchen and dining room, atrium, travel desk to help you make plans and find work. Wifi is free in the bar and lobby and you can pay extra to have it in your room. There is also a free luggage storage service if you go on a tour.
The best part is that its a 2-minute walk from St. Kilda beach!
Backpackers love the fun bar and restaurant and the friendly staff. This hostel definitely caters to those who like a bit of a party so it may not be the right fit if you like to sleep early, but it’s the perfect place to come for a boogie and a fun night (or several).
333 St. Kilda Road, St. Kilda 3182 map it
Phone: +613 9537 3777 or 1800 202 500
Rooms include dorms, dorm ensuites, or private rooms, all of which can be female only. There is free wifi, tea and coffee, communal areas, 24 hour reception staff, and plenty of games. There are also group activities every night of the week including barbeques, trivia nights, pub crawls, game nights, and more. Backpackers love staying here because of its cleanliness, great facilities, and warm and welcoming staff.
This hostel didn’t choose its name arbitrarily. Their mission is to provide a greener way to travel by providing a carbon neutral accommodation option with efforts to promote sustainable choices for anyone who stays with them. They follow Earth Check standards on emissions and energy efficiency, are certified Climate Action leaders, and are recognised by the Stay Wyse Green Initiative Award. They have partnered with the Port Phillip Ecocentre and Baykeeper program to help protect Port Phillip bay a well as provide activities for their guests like looking after the penguin colony and cleaning up rubbish on the beautiful beach. There is also a bushtucker experience for anyone who is interested in learning about medicinal and culinary properties of native foods in the area.
Some additional green features include:
A free food shelf to prevent food waste and provide for anyone low on cash, compost bin for all food scraps, recycling bins in several areas of the hostel, bulk buying of goods to reduce pollution and packaging.
The hostel purchases carbon offsets through certified programs, use 40% Greenpower, selects appliances based on energy efficiency ratings, and educates guests on water and power savings practices.
Possibly the most unique aspect to this hotel is that they keep their very own beehives! The initiative is in place to help out with the rapidly declining bee population. This means that guests of Habitat HQ also enjoy fresh local honey with their breakfast and tea.
These are only a few of the wonderful accommodation options for backpackers looking for places to stay in St. Kilda. Check out the Ritz for Backpackers or Barkly Backpackers as well if you’d like more options!
Where to eat on a budget in St. Kilda
Lentil As Anything
41 Blessington St., St. Kilda 3182
Hours: 12-5pm lunch, 5:30-9pm dinner.
Lentil As Anything, known fondly as simply ‘Lentils”, is a haven for backpackers or anyone who needs to eat without blowing their whole travel budget. The restaurants and grocery stores run by Lentils provide food without any set price. The idea is that customers can choose how much they pay based on what they’re able to afford so that no one is left without the option to go eat amongst their community. It may seem like a crazy business model, but so far it’s working very well. In fact, many people happily sign up to volunteer in the kitchen or leave a donation in one of the boxes in the restaurant.
By supporting lentils, not only do you get delicious food at an affordable price, but you also support their endeavours in creating an inclusive community environment and opportunities for many disenfranchised populations. Many of the volunteer staff members are refugees or asylum seekers working their way through a barista course, improving their english, or getting hospitality skills so they can land a paid job and support their families.
Some may assume that the food must be cheap or basic under a model like Lentil has, but it is quite the contrary! Some favourite dishes at the St. Kilda location are the Japanese Okonomiyaki cabbage pancakes, the grilled polenta with corn and salsa, the yellow chickpea curry, and the chocolate chia pudding at lunch time. For dinner you can choose from risotto with seasonal vegetables, quinoa salad, marinated tofu burgers and much more. Next time you’re looking for something to do and something to eat in St. Kilda, head to Lentils and get involved in the community.
If you need a bit more variety, Broadsheet and the Urban list wrote some helpful articles on where to find meals under $10 in the area! It’s not so hard being a backpacker in St. Kilda.
Getting around in St. Kilda
If you’re a backpacker without a vehicle, getting around in St. Kilda is a total breeze. St. Kilda is serviced by buses and trams and can also be enjoyed on foot or bicycle.
Trams: If you’re looking for ways to get back to St. Kilda from the city, you can take the 96 from Bourke street, the 16 or the 13 from Swanston street, or the 12 from Collins street. Depending where exactly you’re heading, it will take roughly 25 minutes. If you miss a tram don’t worry, they tend to run every ten minutes or so.
To get to St. Kilda by bus, you can hop on the Sky Bus from the airport, or grab the 246, 606, or 623 from various locations and connections. If you’re not sure where to get off, stop 138 (Luna Park/ The Esplanade) will land you six minutes walk from St. Kilda beach while stop 135 (The esplanade) and Alfred Square stop are both an eleven minute walk. Check timetables and plan your journey here. The closest train station is in Sandringham, you can check timetables here.
St. Kilda is part of Melbourne’s popular, bustling metropolis, and is a sought after destination for Australian and foreign travellers. While living in a fast-expanding city like Melbourne can get pricey, there are certainly ways to travel here on a budget and enjoy all of its unique quirks and sights. Book in somewhere affordable, get a meal in your belly, and start meeting some fellow travellers!