When the travel budget's tight, a clean and convenient address for the night - with funds left over to have fun - is all that really matters. Sydney newcomer Hotel Harry (40-44 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills, NSW, hotelharry.com.au) knows the score. Located in the prime tourist territory of Surry Hills, with city landmarks in walking distance, even the cheapest of its 20 rooms come with WiFi and espresso machines for little more than $120 a night. Room rates are even cheaper at weekends when the downstairs bar and diner gets a little rowdy and rooms are "noise-affected", as they say.
Further along Wentworth Avenue, Central Station Hotel (75 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney, NSW, centralstationhotel.com.au) is an equally convenient base for exploring the Emerald City. The revamped heritage pile houses 114 rooms with high ceilings, fast WiFi and free Foxtel. The hotel's aptly named Shoebox rooms are eight to 10 square metres in size from $129 a night.
In increasingly lively Adelaide, the bright, fun-filled Ibis Adelaide Hotel (122 Grenfell Street, Adelaide, SA, ibis.com) is an Australian benchmark for the budget brand. It has an excellent CBD location, 311 modern, practical rooms - some with views of the Adelaide Hills - and the sort of warm, attentive service associated with much higher price tags.
Perth's Pensione Hotel (3 Throssell Street, Perth, WA, 8hotels.com) is the western outpost of the affordable 8 Hotels group, with 98 small but functional rooms on central Murray Street, handy to the Swan River, Chinatown and the dining hotspot of Northbridge. WiFi, guest laundry and Foxtel are included in the tariff. The three-star Sullivans Hotel (166 Mounts Bay Road, Perth, WA, sullivans.com.au) backs onto Kings Park, faces the Swan River, and offers free WiFi and bikes for guest use.
In Melbourne, the budget-conscious can choose between the parkland surrounds of The Larwill Studio (48 Flemington Road, Parkville, Vic, artserieshotels.com.au) - 96 rooms, most with kingsize beds - or Mercure Welcome Melbourne's (265 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, Vic, mercurewelcome.com.au) exceptional Little Bourke Street position, sandwiched between department stores, opposite the GPO retail arcade, and less than a block from Chinatown's hottest kitchens.
Tryp Fortitude Valley Hotel (14-20 Constance Street, Fortitude Valley, QLD, trypbrisbane.com)in Brisbane's lively Fortitude Valley packs in plenty of street art, a rooftop bar, a ground-floor burger joint, free multi-device WiFi and Bluetooth docks - all at an affordable price. If you're feeling flush, upgrade to a balcony room, or one with an outdoor spa.
And in Hobart, we still can't go past the Fountainside Hotel (40 Brooker Avenue, Hobart, Tas, fountainside.com.au) for a no-frills stay. Its cityedge location, minibar drinks at bottle-shop prices, comfortable beds and capital views from top-floor rooms embrace the best of Tasmanian hospitality.