You’ve been reading about Australia for years: the exotic animals, majestic desert landscapes, and the stunning coastline. Now, it’s time for some adventure travel, though that may sound redundant because when backpacking Australia everything seems like an adventure. Your Australia bucket list must be full: There’s scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, kayaking down the Katherine Gorge, and watching the sunset at Uluru. A shortage of destinations? Not at all. A shortage of cash? Possibly, as you’re looking at one of the most expensive countries in the world. However, you can still go backpacking in Australia on a budget and get the thrills you want by following these tips.
1. Use Apps to find Cheap Flights in Australia
Australia is a huge country, stretching 2,500 miles from east to west. This means that traveling by car from Brisbane to Perth will take days. To travel on a budget in Australia, save yourself time and money by flying on one of the country’s five main domestic airlines, and get the best price with an app like Skyscanner.
2. Ride the Australian Greyhound Bus
For shorter trips, the fabled bus line has got you covered with a “hop on, hop off” pass that allows you to do precisely that. To travel the 2,000 miles from Sydney to Cairns, for example, you’d pay just over $300USD, taking a break at any stop before jumping on board again.
3. Stay at Hostels while Backpacking Australia
Technically, this would save you money anywhere, but it’s particularly wise in Australia, where the average backpacker hostels are a fraction of the cost of a hotel. That’s roughly between $20USD and $30USD compared to, well, two or three times more. You’d sleep in a dorm, but the upside is you meet some interesting people while picking up travel tips to boot. Hostelworld has the largest inventory of hostels in Australia and millions of reviews from fellow travelers.
4. Use Couchsurfing throughout Australia
Australia has a large network of locals who will put you up for free after you set up a profile with the community here. It’s a great way to backpacking Australia on a budget, while meeting locals and learning about the country. Of course, if you’re worried about safety, you can check reviews by the host’s previous guests.
5. Bring the Right Gear
If you don’t have any camping gear, borrow some from a friend or find used items online. There are campsites across Australia, and some of them are even free of cost. Those, however, are often far from the major cities, so you’d probably need a vehicle to take advantage, says the experienced travel blogger behind Claire’s Footsteps.
The more versatile and comfortable your clothing is, the better. Fortunately, there are plenty of options that help to ensure you make the most of your travel wardrobe while keeping your budget, whether you’re looking for a pair of leggings, a hoodie, or relaxed-fit T-shirt.
6. Rent a Campervan to Explore Australia
Traveling Australia by campervan allows you to sleep in the back of your vehicle rather than pay the costs for a hostel or pitch a tent outside. It’s relatively easy to get through the open country, and you’ll save money by spending the night for free at rest stops when you can, says a writer with the Travel Hack. However, if you’re trying to travel on a budget in Australia, you’ll definitely want to plan your routes carefully and drive slowly, as those beasts can drink up all your cash in gasoline if you aren’t careful.
7. Get Smart About Your Meals and Drinks
Eating on a budget in Australia is possible at youth hostels, in the back of your campervan or with the gas stove that should be a part of your camping gear. One report says that Aldi is the cheapest place to get your groceries down under. Also, buy your booze from liquor stores rather than expensive bars, then share with the friends you meet at the hostel or the campsite. You should also buy a bottle of water once and refill it at water fountains (which are often called “bubblers”).
Now that you know how to go backpacking on a budget in Australia, you can focus on fun, but that won’t be too hard to find anyway. After all, fun is waiting around every corner in Australia. Enjoy your adventure!