The Land Down Under, full of beautiful beaches and untouched wilderness. A paradise to many but due to its price and remoteness not one many get to experience.
With more than 50,000 kilometres (31,000 miles) of coastline and some of the world’s best beaches, Australia has no shortage of coast for you to check out.
Whether looking for pristine untouched beaches, unbeatable surf, huge modern cities or charming country towns, in a part of the world this large, it truly does have something for everyone.
So follow along with out travel guide as we show you how to save money and travel Australia for Cheap(ish…).
Currency: 1.38 AUD = 1USD
Our Top 5 Must-Do's
SCUBA DIVE THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
The world-famous Great Barrier Reef is considered one of the most iconic reef systems on the planet. Unfortunately, in recent years it has been making headlines for less than ideal reasons. Don’t be deterred though, there is still 100’s of miles of pristine reef to check out!
SEE ULURU & THE OUTBACK
In the heart of Australia lies Alice Springs, the Red Centre and home to Uluru (or Ayers Rock). Uluru is as tall as the Eiffel Tower and is a very popular tourist attraction for Australia. It is one of many natural landmarks that can be found in the red centre of Australia.
VISIT WHITEHAVEN BEACH
Sink your toes into some of the world’s whitest sand. This beach is considered by many as the most beautiful beach on the earth. Whitehaven is located in the Whitsundays and is visited mostly by people staying in the town of Airlie Beach.
ROADTRIP THE EAST COAST
MEET THE LOCAL WILDLIFE
Australia is home to some of the most well maintained and ethical Zoos on the planet. So if you are at all intrigued by the whacky and odd animals from the Land Down Under check out one of the zoos, we recommend Taronga, Australia Zoo or Melbourne Zoo.
**Note: You can’t hold Koalas in New South Wales
Claiming to have the best coffee in the world Melbourne is the ‘hipster’ capital of Australia.
Its impressive performing arts scene, buzzing nightlife and variety of food available make this a city that definitely lives up to the hype.
Fraser is known as the world’s largest sand island. This is a magical land of rainforests, sand dunes and humpback-whale-spotting. Located about 310 kilometres (185 miles) north of Brisbane and 16 kilometres (9 miles) off the coast of Hervey Bay. With few roads on the island the majority of driving is done on the beach and a 4WD is needed to get around.
Located on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, Noosa is first and foremost a surfer town. Stunning beaches are very common here, so what better place to rent a board and figure out how to surf!
Every country seems to have it’s own dedicated ‘hippie town’ for lack of a better word. Where life moves a little bit slower, things seem to matter a whole lot less and your worries just fade away. Byron Bay is a melting pot of surf culture, alternative lifestyles and hedonistic pursuits. Take it slow and enjoy your time here, grab a surf lesson, try the local food and end your night dancing on the tables at Cheeky Monkeys. You’ll have a blast.
By far Australia’s ‘prettiest’ city, Sydney has all the benefits of a large city while still offering gorgeous white sandy beaches around its outer suburbs. Jam-packed with some of Australia’s most iconic landmarks, from Bondi to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge (which you can climb by the way) there is no shortage of sights to be had.
Take a guided tour or zipline through the jungle canopies. Located in Australia’s North (2 hours drive from Cairns) lies The Daintree Rainforest. Its ancient ferns, emerald green vines and lush canopy provide refuge for animals that can be found nowhere else on the planet. Described by David Attenborough himself as ‘the most extraordinary place on earth’, if you’re into nature and wildlife be sure to check this one out.
Budget & Costs
Hostels are easy to find in any of the ‘Touristy’ towns but are very rare outside of them. Expect to pay $18 – $30 a night for a bed in a shared dorm.
If you are doing the whole road trip thing we recommend investing in a tent and trying to camp as much as possible. If not you can easily pay $100 a night for a private room.
The best way, as always, is to make friends or know someone that you can couch surf with! So pull some strings find out which distant relatives you have living in Australia and see which ones would be willing to host you for a night or two, if you’re lucky you might even get your own tour guide!
While Australia isn’t really known for a particular cuisine, it does have a couple of food items that you simply have to try during your time in Australia.
Expect a lot of ‘Pub Food’, some of the backpacker towns have extremely well-priced meals. $5 for a Steak and Beer isn’t unheard of, so try to make the most of these.
Definitely try to be invited to at least one Australian Barbeque or ‘Aussie Barbie’ as it’s known locally if you want a real taste of Australian Culture. Also, it’d be a shame to leave Australia without trying a Meat Pie or Sausage Roll from the Bakery.
Greyhound Buses are the most common long-distance transportation option. Uber, Grab & Lyft are all available depending on your preference.
Public Buses are a little more complicated, but if you can figure them out they are definitely helpful and worth it. Grab a GoCard (Green) from any News Agency for a much smoother experience and to save a little cash.
If you are one of the 3 people on the planet that has still never used Uber. You can use this link for $15 off your first ride.
$60-80 AUD / 43-57 USD
(Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. This also depends greatly on the number of tours you do! Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, you can expect this to be higher!)
Money Saving Tips
1. Drink ‘Goon’
If you’re coming from the US or Europe the first thing that you’ll notice is just how damn expensive alcohol is!! Coming from someone that has survived an entire 3 years of ‘University style’ drinking without going broke; just get used to ‘goon’. Known to other cultures as ‘boxed wine’ and referred to as ‘goon’ in Australia, this rather harsh tasting alcohol is by far the cheapest drink you can purchase in Aus. So if you can get used to the taste prepare to have 10’s of extra dollars at your disposal.
2. Use the Bus System
Greyhound Buses are the most common long-distance transportation option.
Public Buses are a little more complicated, but if you can figure them out they are definitely helpful and worth it. Grab a GoCard (Green) from any News Agency for a much smoother experience and to save a little cash. Google Maps has all the roots/times available and can calculate your trip for you.
3. Save Money with Water.
The perks of travelling through first world countries are that you do get to experience a lot of the benefits that come with them. Save a ton of money by just sticking to water and filling up at any fountain, tap or bathroom that you find. Just make sure you’ve got a reliable water bottle and you’re good to go!
4. Save Money with your Phone.
We are living in the 21st century so it’s time to start travelling like it. In your pocket, you have access to the powers of Group Sharing apps like Couch Surfing, Rideshare, Uber, Grab & Lyft. I would definitely recommend getting a phone chip for your time in Australia, as for some reason the WiFi situation is still non-existent (make sure data-hungry apps have cellular data turned off though).
$39 Coupon for AirBnB here.
5. Travel with Friends
Whether they be new friends or old, having friends to travel with and more importantly, split costs with is going to save you a lot of money in Australia. As a lot of your expenses are going to be Accommodation and Travel related your ability to cut costs with ridesharing and splitting accommodation costs are going to be really important. With a group of 5 you may be able to split a very nice apartment rental for the cost of a hostel bed for a night.
6. Cook For Yourself
If you are staying at hostels (which you should be if you’re trying to save money!!) then always try to find one with a kitchen available. When you’re travelling it can be tiring but this single habit will save you the most money if you can adopt it. Shop at a supermarket (Woolworths & Coles are the locals) and cook your favorite meals for a fraction of the cost of eating out, especially in Australia!