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29 Tips To Travel Australia On A Budget


Travellers planning a trip around Australia will no doubt be aware of all the big attractions – climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, cruising the Whitsundays on a charter yacht, doing a guided scuba diving tour at the Great Barrier Reef and the many glittery attractions on the Gold Coast. Chances are you'll need to have a lot of cash in order to see and do all of these things. So, we've created a list of 29 travel hacks to help you make the most of your travel around Australia no matter how small your budget is.​

 

Campervan Hacks

These little tricks come in handy when travelling with your mighty campervan. 

1. Tic Tac containers and straws for spices - cooking in the campervan is fun and easy but sometimes camping food is quite bland. But it doesn’t have to be! Put your favourite and common spices in Tic Tac containers, this way it doesn’t take up much space and won’t spill on the drive.

2. Get rid of wasps - Wasps are attracted to food and propane. A simple trick to get rid of them is to use a dog flea collar as wasps don’t like that smell.

3. Mosquito repellent - Place bundles of sage next to your campervan or campfire to keep mosquitos away. It smells good too! If you still got bitten by one, apply some deodorant on the bite as it will stop the itching.

4. Washing detergent - Laundry services in Australia can be quite expensive. Therefore, we recommend you buy a small bottle of handwashing detergent so you can do some of the washes on the go.

5. Baby powder - When freedom camping baby powder is very convenient to quickly freshen up your unwashed hair. 

6. Buying cheaper petrol - Apparently, Tuesday and Wednesday are the cheapest days to fill up your campervan tank. This will save you between $0.05 - $0.10 per litre and up to $0.15 for city-based areas. Avoid Friday and Saturdays and the start of holidays when prices will be unfairly hiked up. Also check the bottom or back of receipts from supermarkets such as Coles, Safeway and Woolworths, as they often include fuel discount coupons.

 

Accommodation

Staying in hostels and campsites are probably the most obvious cheap places to stay overnight, but here we gathered some more ideas to save some money on accommodation:

7. Freedom Camping - Freedom camping is the ultimate outdoor experience away from the crowds and it’s also a very budget-friendly alternative to campsites. To see where in Australia you can freedom camp check out this article. Note that only self-contained campervans are allowed to freedom camp.

8. Stay in a suburb - To save money in big cities we recommend staying a bit further outside as campsites outside of the city centre often have cheap deals on and you can mostly park your mighty campervan for free.

9. thl Roadtrip App - Campermate is the most popular free camping and travel app that makes travelling in Australia easier than ever before. The app shows you everything that you need to know from amazing free campsites and unique travel trips from fellow travellers to petrol stations and free wifi points. 

 

Cheap Food & Drinks

Eating out at restaurants, pubs and bars could quickly deplete your budget. Aside from preparing your own meals, here are a few ideas for finding cheap food and drink:

10. Supermarkets - Coles and Woolworths supermarkets often have specials on. Check out what's in season as those vegetables and fruits will be significantly cheaper and use them to prepare your own meals in your Mighty campervan rather than eating out.

11. Free water refills - Refill a water bottle at a public bubbler (water fountain) instead of buying bottled water.

12. Eating out - If you want to treat yourself and eat out in Australia, go for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner as prices will be cheaper.

13. Shopping Malls - To get away with spending only a little on food you can hit the food courts in any of the shopping malls at around closing time and grab dinner for a fraction of the cost.

14. Bottle Shops (Liquor shops) - You might have noticed or heard that alcohol in Australia is very expensive. In order to save money on beer, wine and spirits buy it in Bottle Shops such as the main stores BWS, Liquorland and Dan Murphy’s.

15. Wine Tasting - Australia is full of great wine regions, and while purchasing wines will obviously cost money, sampling them usually won't. Do it even cheaper and cycle around vineyard to vineyard.

16. Shopper dockets & Groupon - Take advantage of coupons, which sometimes have meal and drink offers on the reverse of receipts issued with purchases. Sites such as Groupon, which offer discounts on certain restaurants or do special promos, are also very useful. 

17. BBQ - There are free public BBQs available in most parks and beaches around Australia. Perfect for throwing a steak and some sausages on!

18. Regional markets - Every city and area has a market and most likely a farmers market as well. That’s the best place to get local produce and cheap deals on fresh fruits, veggies and meats. But it’s also a good spot to shop for cheap clothes and souvenirs. Make sure you check out the following markets along your travels: 

  • Cairns: Rusty ’s Market
  • Sydney: Bondi Farmers Market, Paddington Market
  • Melbourne: Queen Victoria Market, Wednesday night market 
  • Adelaide: Central Market
  • Darwin: Mindil Beach Sunset Market
  • Hobart: famous Salamanca Markets
 

Free Activities in the Cities

Here are some of the lesser-known things you can do around Australia for free or next to nothing:

19. Getting Around - Download Google Maps for offline use to find your way around the cities and to save your mobile data for more important things. You can also get free tourist maps at accredited tourist information centres across the city. These info booths are set up to help with free info about things to do and see locally.

20. Free Walking Tours in Australia - I’m Free Walking Tours in Sydney and Melbourne offer free guided city tours daily. These free walking tours are held by knowledgeable local guides who show you the sights and tell interesting and witty stories of the cities. If you enjoyed the tour you can leave a tip.

21. City Parks - There are a lot of beautiful public free parks around Australia which are great for a stroll around or make a nice picnic location. Don’t miss out on the following:

  • Sydney: Royal Botanic Gardens, The Domain and Hyde Park
  • Melbourne: Botanical Gardens, Carlton Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens
  • Brisbane: Botanical Gardens
  • Perth: Kings Park

22. Museums and Galleries - Australia’s museums and galleries are usually free to enter. So in case it rains or you are up for some culture, these are our favoured spots:

  • Brisbane: Queensland Museum
  • Sydney: The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Tap Gallery in Darlinghurst
  • Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne
  • Hobart: M.O.N.A museum

23. Free Pool Tables - Some of the bars in Sydney offer pool tables free of charge. Check out Nag’s Head Hotel for free pool tables on Sunday, the Roof Bar (Tuesday until Saturday after 5pm) or the Golden Barley on Tuesdays after 7pm.

24. Festivals - Australia is a country that loves festivals, which is a great way to experience their music and culture, and fortunately a lot of them are for free. Visit at least one of these amazing festivals:

  • Sydney: Yabun Festival (culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people), Vivid Sydney
  • Canberra: Googfest, Enlighten
  • Surfers Paradise: Surfers Paradise LIVE Gold Coast: Blues on Broadbeach
  • Melbourne: St Kilda Festival, Midsumma Carnival

25. Sports Events - Australia excels at sport and it would almost be a shame to visit Australia and not go to one sporting event. Check out some of the sporting highlights that are either completely free or cheap to attend:

  • Surfing World Tour Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro - Coolangatta
  • Queensland Surfing WCT Rip Curl Pro – Iconic Bells Beach, Torquay, Victoria Manly Annual Surf Carnival – Manly, Sydney's CBD
  • Cricket – Go to a cricket game during the Australian summer.
  • AFL Aussie Rules (the hybrid Aussie sport)
  • Rugby Union – Known as 'the game they play in heaven'

 

Free Outdoor Activities

Australia is a haven for outdoor activities with stunning nature, beaches and wildlife that all comes for free.

26. Wildlife - Australia is known for its vast and extraordinary wildlife and the possibility to watch them from up close. Head to those places to encounter Australia’s most famous animals for free:

  • Kangaroos: Pebbly Beach, NSW South Coast, The Daisy Hill reserve, Brisbane and Pinaroo Memorial Park, Perth Koalas: Raymond Island, Victoria and on Magnetic Island, Queensland
  • Penguins: St Kilda Pier, Melbourne
  • Wombats and echidnas: Tasmania, Kangaroo Valley, NSW and Wilsons Promontory, Victoria
  • Fur seals and sea lions: Kangaroo Island
  • Smiling Quokka: Rottnest Island, Perth

27. National Parks - Australia has over 500 National Parks, all of them are amazing and will certainly become a highlight of your travels. Our free of charge favourites are listed below:

  • Burleigh Heads National Park – Queensland
  • The Blue Mountains - NSW
  • Royal National Park – NSW
  • Wilsons Promontory - Victoria
  • Great Otway National Park - Victoria
  • Flinders Ranges - South Australia
  • Innes National Park - South Australia
  • Kalbarri National Park - Western Australia
  • Kakadu National Park - Northern Territory
  • Litchfield National Park - Darwin

28. Beaches - It’s not a secret that Australia has some of the best beaches in the world. There are over 10,000 in total and all major cities are coastal. Soaking up the sun, listening to the waves and watching the surfers is a cheap way to spend the day.

29. Coastal Walks - Australia has a lot of beautiful coastal walks which lets you experience the cities surroundings without spending a cent. Our favourite ones are listed here:

  • Bondi to Coogee, Sydney - NSW
  • Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay - NSW
  • Great Ocean Walk, Apollo Bay - Victoria
  • Seal Bay Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island - South Australia
  • Cape to Cape Track, Margaret River - WA
  • Seven Peaks Walk, Lord Howe Island Squeaky Beach, Whisky Beach and Picnic Beach track, Wilsons Promontory National Park South Coast Track - Tasmania 
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