What accommodation is available while I’m at University?

You’re leaving home and off to University in another town or city. While trying to find the right accommodation can be daunting, it is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make because finding that right environment can lead to some of the best experiences of your life. Here are some things I had to consider from my time at University.

What are my options?

Aboriginal Hostels Limited (AHL)

AHL have a number of hostels located around the country. Some of them are specifically for University students, while others are for high school students or multi-purpose (e.g. tertiary students and short term) and short stay. My fellow Relationship Manager Andrew Olsen and I both stayed at the Durungaling Hostel in Newcastle when we studied at the University of Newcastle. Durungaling is a half hour walk from the University and very affordable with an on-site manager, cook and cleaners. We had our own rooms, but you can share with other students. There was key access security, a common room with TV and DVD player, communal fridge, washing machines and dryers, and our rooms and bed linen were cleaned once a week. All we had to bring was our clothes and personal belongings. There was a variety of students studying different degrees and I made plenty of friends while staying there.

Contact AHL to find out more about the hostels located nearest to your University.


There are colleges located on the University campus or off the University campus and have their own dorm accommodation. Some colleges will provide all meals as part of the fee, or provide some or no meals. The accommodation might consist of a room with an ensuite or shared bathroom and shared recreation rooms and kitchen. You will generally have your own room with key access security.

Some colleges will cater for different students. For example, there might be an Indigenous students college or an international students college. Prices will vary depending upon the facilities and services provided.

College accommodation is the lifestyle that comes from living on a campus, but there are rules you have to abide by. Talk to the college campus staff to find out more or check out their website. It’s also a good opportunity to find out what scholarships they might have available.

Renting, flatshare and houseshare

There are different ways to find rentals. Try, realestate.com.au, domain.com.au, or gumtree.com.au and speak to someone familiar on how to rent. To find out more about this, you are best to visit the website for the respective state you are looking to rent in on the Australia.gov.au website.

What should I consider when looking for accommodation?

What is your budget?

Where you stay and the services included will be determined by what you can afford. This is where a budget comes in handy. Don’t forget that your next major costs could be food and transport, so take these and other costs into account when deciding.

Where do you want to live?

Deciding where you want to live will be determined by your personal preferences. For example, you may want to live close to your employment or family, but these preferences could affect your travel time, mode of transport and travel costs. Will you be able to take public transport for early or late sessions? Will you need a car, or could you walk or ride a bicycle? Living on campus, near the beach or in the city may be ideal but the cost may not be affordable.


There are quite a few things to consider when renting.

  • Will you need your parents or another person to go guarantor on the lease?
  • Fully furnished or unfurnished?
  • Who is going on the lease agreement?
  • Who and how much will each pay for the bond?
  • How to share expenses.
  • What are my rights and obligations as a tenant?
  • What are the landlord’s rights and obligations?

Who do you want to live with?

Living with friends or family or both could work well for you, but you may find it an exciting experience to live with fellow students of other cultures within Australia or around the world. Consider all options first!

Do you want somewhere to live that takes care of your food and furnishings, or are you able to provide your own?

This depends on your budget. Do your research first and consider whether it is cheaper to live in a University or college campus residence that’s fully furnished and provides your meals, against the costs of living in your own rental. Don’t forget though, living in your own rental gives you freedom and you can eat whatever you want!

For further information, contact your University’s student support services or Indigenous unit on what services, assistance and guidance they can provide in finding accommodation.

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