Australia is not the cheapest country to travel to. The flight alone can be expansive, a large chunk of money even before you land down under. But be reassured – you can find ways to travel in Australia on a budget. See below our tips on how to save money when traveling in the land of kangaroos.
Travel in Australia on a Budget
So you don’t have to break the bank to travel to and in Australia. With a few of these tips and some flexibility, you should be able to have a trip of a lifetime, even with a limited budget.
See our road trip itineraries for ideas and travel suggestions in Australia: how we spent 3 weeks in Australia, 3 days on Kangaroo Island, exploring Kakadu from Darwin, and diving the Great Barrier Reef.
When to Travel to Australia
Summer in Australia (December to February) is usually the most expensive time, especially in the main cities that are Sydney, Melbourne, and Cairns. Plan to visit in the shoulder months in the Fall and Springs for more affordable prices to travel to Australia on a budget.
Search for Deals on Kayak, Expedia, Skyscanner, or Book with Qantas to get access to their Walkabout Air Pass, which includes the roundtrip flight to Australia and internal flights. An excellent way to budget travel to Australia!
Air Asia regularly beats most airlines with low prices from Asia. Do watch their add-ons costs through, primarily as the checked luggage fees apply for each section of your flights when you have a stop before your final destination.
Check the Jetstar Friday Frenzy sale, which happens every week. Tiger Air also offers special prices, and Virgin Australia has Featured Sales and Happy Hour listed on their website every Thursday 4 pm-11 pm local time.
Gone are the days where hostels were age-limited and for young people only. These hostels are open to all ages, and many offer private rooms, sometimes ensuite with their private bathrooms. As an alternative to eating in restaurants, some hostels also give access to a kitchen where you can cook your meals.
By the beach, in the forest, in the outback – you can camp (almost) everywhere, and most of the time, with a million-dollar view for only a few dollars. What’s not to like?
Download the app “Wikicamp” (US$7.99), which gives info on rest areas, amenities, etc.
If you don’t have the required camping equipment (tent, mattress, sleeping bag, cooking stove, kitchenware), investing in second-hand gear should save you money if you plan on traveling for a while.
Staying for free at people’s houses is possible when you use Couchsurfing. Meet locals, stay in their house (couch, spare room, living rooms). Why would people offer their homes for free? For the opportunity of meeting travelers from around the world and share their local experience.
Internet & Electronics
Some hotels and restaurants, or fast food shops like McDonald’s, offer free wifi, so ask around. Some libraries sometimes have one room with free internet access.
Buy a SIM Card
You can also buy a local SIM card to avoid roaming charges. SIM cards are usually free, and providers tend to offer different prepaid plans depending on need.
Shop at supermarkets or local markets
Skip the restaurant and buy your food. Buy some bread, honey, or sweet spread for breakfast. Get a can of tuna, some tomatoes, and onions, and prepare your sandwich for lunch. Throw some cheese, fruits, a few drinks, and you can make it a special moment while watching the sunset!
If you buy at the leading supermarket chains like Coles and Woolworths, keep your receipts as you might be able to get some discounts on your next purchase.
Cook your food
Make good use of some campground or rest area facilities, which can provide a barbecue setup. Grilling meat and vegetables are not only good for your health but also for your budget! Bring your bottle of wine to make it a fully memorable dinner.
Create your Tours
Get a map for a hiking trip in the Kuta Tjuta, take the Sydney public ferry, grab the free bike from your hostel, go swimming in a waterhole or the beach (get knowledgeable about the potential presence of alligators, crocodiles, or box jellyfish)
Free Tours and Entrances
Cities are increasingly offering free walking tours, like Sydney and Melbourne, in addition to free access to some exhibits or events at museums like The Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Depending on the city, parks and other attractions might also be free. So if you want to budget travel in Australia, make sure to check these cards!
Free Things to Do in: Sydney / Melbourne / Cairns / Perth / Darwin / Adelaide
Buy a Local Sightseeing Pass
Sightseeing passes as the iVenture Card gets you free or special discounts on many attractions. So if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing, these discount passes are a good option.
Click here to see the latest deals on iVenture Cards in Sydney / Melbourne / Gold Coast / Tasmania
Perth also offers a Sightseeing Pass.
Outdoors, Wildlife, and National Parks
Given how beautiful Australia is, simply walking outdoors is the perfect time-off. Australia National Parks are as diverse as they are stunning: watch the waves crashing at the Great Ocean Road, admire ancient rainforest in Daintree, learn about Aboriginal Culture at Uluru, watch alligators and Rock Art in Kakadu, observe Koalas in Flinders Chase, and swim with sharks and clownfish in the Great Barrier Reef. If you plan to visit several Australian parks during your stay, you might want to consider getting a national park pass, which costs from AU$65 and will be quickly covered after a few visits.
Free or Discounted Transportation
Several cities offer free public transportation within a specific area of the town like Brisbane and Perth do. Other times, they have a discount card like the Opal Card in Sydney, the SmartRider in Perth, the Go Card TransLink in Brisbane and Cairns, the myki in Melbourne, Tap and Ride in Darwin, and Metrocard in Adelaide.
Rent a Car
If you are a group of people, a family, or know you might go to remote areas with no local transportation, renting a car would be cheaper than going on an organized tour.
Buy a Car or a Campervan
If you plan on staying for a while, buying a used car or campervan might be a good investment as you will save money in the long run. And you can sell it back at the end of your trip. Check Gumtree, the reference for finding used goods online, from used campervans to camping gear and more. Indeed, Gumtree is the equivalent of Craigslist in the US, and Le Bon Coin in France. More stuff for your bucks!
Budget Travel Australia Travel Tips?
So that’s our tips to save money while traveling in Australia! Have you been traveling Australia on a budget? Do you have other tips to share? Please share; we would love to hear from you!
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January 11, 2021 at 4:14 am
I totally agree with that if you want to travel to Australia on a budget than avoid peak season.
April 22, 2020 at 6:51 pm
Your site looks great Mani! Good luck with everything.
Thank you for the wonderful links and resources
April 23, 2020 at 5:02 am
Glad you like our travel tips!
May 7, 2019 at 9:38 pm
Thank you so much for your work.It’s very helping to me.give me some advice.I will wait for your reply
May 17, 2019 at 1:10 am
Could you elaborate on the types of information you are looking for?
March 12, 2019 at 9:41 pm
Hope you can help,
We are visiting Aus this May for a family reunion and have rented a motorhome for 3 weeks, i have no idea of the cost for the trip, my boys 6, 4, and my wife will be driving from brisbane to melbourne via sydney. The van is paid for, just hope i have enough money to enjoy all ausvhas to offer
April 16, 2019 at 11:47 pm
Australia is an expensive country to explore, but renting a motorhome will help to save on lodging and meals for sure. Gas will be probably one of the bigger items, especially if you are driving long distances. Then it depends on how many activities or tours you do to explore. I would probably say plan $100 for groceries per person per week, around $80-$100 per activity per person per activity day. On and all, probably $100/day/person on a budget. Most of the costs for us were for activities like diving in the Great Barrier Reef. So pasta in the evening and toast in the morning, but diving with large cod fish as a trade-off. Enjoy your family reunion and time in Australia!