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When people are looking for a summer holiday in Australia, it is more common to look along the East Coast and the Islands available. Can you believe there are over 900 Queensland Islands situated just off this 2000 kilometres stretch of land? Obviously, not all these Queensland islands are habited and not that easy to visit.

Some Queensland Islands are available to visit on a day trip, whereas others have accommodation and camping facilities for the longer stays. Conveniently, most are located along the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef and are a brilliant way to explore underwater life. Today, we are bringing 10 amazing Queensland Islands to visit, which are easy to get to and the most popular.

Note that is you have a small budget in mind, there are a couple of Queensland Islands that are better to visit than others. However, as a whole with transfers and facilities available, the costs are higher than staying on mainland. Consequently, day trips and tours can be a more cost-effective way to get a taste of the Islands experiences, while keeping within a strict budget. 

The winter season in Australia runs from June to August, and the southern Queensland Islands are a touch cooler in the waters. Alternatively, the summer seasons are brilliant swimming weather, although there is more rain in the region. Therefore, it’s recommended to visit the Queensland Islands around your shoulder seasons in autumn and spring for a planned trip.

Lady Musgrave Island

Coral Reef Fish at Lady Musgrave Island

Coral Reef Fish at Lady Musgrave Island

You can day trip to Lady Musgrave Island from 1770/Agnes Water or Bundaberg. This visit to the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and a great option for those not able to visit the northern region of Queensland. Boat trips take about 2 hours to get there, and the organised tours allow you to snorkel, view through a glass-bottom boat, and a small land tour.

If you’re travelling from Bundaberg, then there are options for diving the Coral Reefs and sleeping overnight on a purpose-built pontoon. The pontoon offers more room for day-trippers and a top deck for people soaking up the sun. Alternatively, the luxury glamping huts are a big hit for those after a romantic experience.

Snorkelling the reef is beyond amazing, with thousands of different fish and a brilliant spot for finding turtles all year round. The hard and soft corals provide protection for the smaller fish. You’ll also find larger fish hanging out under the large coral bommies.

North Stradbroke Island

Point Lookout North Stradbroke Island in Queensland

Point Lookout North Stradbroke Island in Queensland

The island of North Stradbroke lies 45 mins off the coast of the Queensland capital, Brisbane. This Queensland Island can be easy enough to visit on a day trip, but with so many different things to see and do, it’s better for a few days to a week. The Ferries can take any vehicles across to the Island, along with just the visitors using public transport. It’s the second-largest sand island in the world and has a permanent population of 2000 people.

While some of North Stradbroke Island will require a four-wheel drive to access the beaches, there are plenty of sealed roads and buses to help you get around. Conveniently, accommodation styles range from Backpacker hostels, caravan sites, beach camping, motel rooms, or Luxury homes.

Plenty of different beaches or places for swimming are on offer, with variety in the amount of surf and freshwater lakes. You can wander the small district and shop for local clothes, art or crafts, or pop into the bakery or café for meals and drinks.

Hamilton Island – The Most Popular of the Queensland Islands

Hamilton island, The Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

Hamilton island, The Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

Hamilton Island is located in the Whitsunday network, has easy access from Airlie Beach, and even has its own airport. There are no cars allowed on this Queensland Island, but visitors get around in golf buggies. There are a few different resorts to choose from, or you’ll find secluded holidays home available to rent. Great for a romantic holiday, or even get married there with a purpose-built Chapel.

There are several different activities to do with paddle boarding, snorkelling, and swimming around Catseye beach. Alternatively, you can laze the days away by relaxing on the beach in a lounge chair. Other than that, you can take advantage of the Whitsunday network, which provides ferries to other areas, including the famous Whitehaven Beach or Hill Inlet.

Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island from the air, Queensland

Lady Elliot Island from the air, Queensland

Lady Elliot Island can only be accessed by plane from either Gold Coast, Brisbane, Hervey Bay, or the closest to Bundaberg. Many will visit this stunning Queensland Island on a day trip of snorkelling fun, or stay in the Eco-friendly resort, for a longer stay. Furthermore, they have a sustainability program set up to ensure the coral cay and the southern Great Barrier Reef area is preserved for many years to come.

It’s all about the water activities with snorkelling, diving, or walking through the reef at low tide. You’ll find many turtles swimming around with you, along with reef sharks and Manta Rays (in Season). On land, you can explore the local bird habitat and the long history behind Lady Elliot Island itself.

Bribie Island – The Most Accessible of the Queensland Islands

Bribie Island National Park in Queensland, Australia

Bribie Island National Park in Queensland, Australia

Bribie Island happens to be one of the easiest Queensland islands to visit, with the fact you can actually drive there. It’s located off the coast of North Brisbane and separated by the mainland by the Bribie Island Bridge. This means there is a large in-built community and a population of over 16 thousand people.

Most people will visit Bribie for the quiet laidback atmosphere, while also being the best beach so close to Brisbane City. You have the west coast facing the mainland with quiet low-key waters. On the other hand, the east coast faces the Pacific Ocean and often has the surf.

The kids will love experiencing the butterfly house, especially on a bright sunny day. There is also a large golf course, four-wheel driving areas through the National Park, or a place to hire water equipment like paddle boards. The Museum will help you learn about Bribie Island’s history, or you can just sit by the beach, watching the sunrise.

Daydream Island

Lagoon Pool At DayDream Island, Queensland

Lagoon Pool At DayDream Island, Queensland

Daydream Island can be accessed by ferry from Airlie Beach and is also part of the Whitsunday Network of Islands. It’s one of the smaller Queensland islands to visit but doesn’t disappoint with its facilities. Everywhere on this Queensland Island can be walked within 30 minutes, whether it’s along the beach or through the bushland. Their rooms offer a tranquil setting with views of gardens or oceans.

A coral lagoon has been set up and makes it easier to experience the underwater creatures, especially for young children. It’s home to over 100 species of fish, starfish, sea cucumbers, and crabs. Not only that, but there is a landscaped pool that meanders through the gardens allowing the visitors to swim in the tropical settings.

Heron Island – Turtle Nesting in the Queensland Islands

Turtle Hatchlings at Heron Island, Queensland

Turtle Hatchlings at Heron Island, Queensland

Heron Island is located in central Queensland and can be accessed by helicopter or catamaran from Gladstone. The more popular boat option leaves 5 days a week and takes about 2 hours to arrive in this island paradise. Currently, the resort will cater to several different room types, from budget to the more luxurious. They can also cater discounts for large groups, weddings, and even business conferences.  

Apart from the obvious water activities, Heron Island is known for its turtle nesting population. This means you can see Turtles all year round in the nearby coral reef waters. However, you can witness their Turtle nesting season from November to March each year.

Apart from that, Heron Island has a long history from being a turtle cannery in the 1920s and finally listed as a National Park in 1943. There is a large bird habitat on the island and many different tours help you learn about the Great Barrier Reef and its surrounding.

K’Gari/Fraser Island

Fraser Island views from Indian Head, Queensland

Fraser Island views from Indian Head, Queensland

The beautiful K’Gari or otherwise known as Fraser Island, is the largest sand island in the world. It can be accessed by a barge from either Hervey Bay or Inskip Point near Rainbow Beach. It’s hugely popular for the locals as a four-wheel drive and camping location but also loved by the tourists for its unique sites.

Conveniently, Fraser Island is easy enough to visit with one or two-day tours and staying in the resort accommodation. Others will stay for an extended weekend or longer in the many camping locations or holiday homes. Either way, you going to witness many different sites that you can’t see anywhere else in the world.

These include a rainforest growing in the sand at the highest altitude and freshwater streams flowing through the forest for swimming. Not only that but the Pinnacles Rock formation, champagne rock pools, and the SS Maheno Shipwreck that’s slowly eroding away.

Moreton Island

Tangalooma Wreck, Moreton Island Queensland

Tangalooma Wreck, Moreton Island Queensland

Moreton Island Lies 1.5 hours off the coast of Brisbane and is the third-largest sand island in the world. Most people will visit the Tangalooma Island Resort and the activities it provides. However, the biggest draw card would be the nightly dolphin visit, where you can get up close to these wild creatures.

The Resort provides many different styles of accommodation, from budget to luxury, as well as a restaurant, bar, and activities & tour booking centre. You can visit this Queensland Island for a day, but recommended at least for an overnight stay to experience most of the sites.

Obviously being a sand island, there are four-wheel-drive tours that take you tobogganing, or snorkelling/ diving tours to explore the 14 different shipwrecks. Jet skis can be hired, kayaks, paddleboards, or even Quad bikes or Helicopter tours. Consequently, at the end of the day and with the resort facing west, it’s a magnificent spot to watch a sunset.

Magnetic Island

Arthur Bay, Magnetic Island near Townsville

Arthur Bay, Magnetic Island near Townsville

It takes 30 minutes to access Magnetic Island off the coast of Townsville in North Queensland. Conveniently, you can choose to take your own vehicle to the Island or hire one when you get there. Not only that, but with a population of more than 2000 people, there is an in-built community with plenty of sealed roads.

There are luxury-style hotels with marina and beach views, a hostel with its own private beach, and lots of Airbnb options. With the multiple ferry times, you can access the Island for at least 9 hours of fun and exploration.

The beaches and water activities are always on offer with any Queensland Island you visit. However, Magnetic Island does contain a few different hiking trails and uniquely one that explores WWII remnants and sees the local koala Wildlife. Additionally, every evening the allied rock wallabies start jumping around at Geoffrey’s Bay, which makes for an exciting display to see in the wild.


I hope this helps you plan which Queensland Islands to visit when traveling Australia. I’m sure there is one suited just for you, and you won’t regret your visit.

 

10 Amazing Queensland Islands You Need to Visit

Pin 10 Amazing Queensland Islands You Need to Visit

Backpacking around Australia is an amazing experience. You get to explore natural wonders at your fingertips from white sand beaches and lagoons to natural rainforests, mountains and ranges.

With all this travelling though, it can often end up being an expensive trip. If you are backpacking in Australia, you may have come across the issue of being low on funds.

With this in mind, one of the best ways to make the most of your time in Australia and avoid running out of money is to work while you travel. If you’re not too sure where to start, we can help you out. Take a look at our top 5 backpacker jobs to earn money in Australia.

Fruit picking jobs

Discover fruit picking jobs all around Australia

Discover fruit picking jobs all around Australia

Fruit picking jobs and harvest work, in general, are highly seasonal, but they are also a fun way to earn money in Australia while backpacking. Finding fruit picking jobs in Australia is a great way to see more of the lesser travelled parts of Oz while making some lifelong friends along the way. You can travel the length and breadth of the country following the harvest seasons. From banana farms in the tropical north to blueberry picking in New South Wales through to apple and pear harvests in Tasmania.

Some great places to look for fruit and produce picking jobs in Australia include Murray River, the Queensland Coast, The Top End of the Northern Territory and Margaret River in Western Australia.

Pros

  • It’s fairly easy to pick up a position as farmers are always looking for help
  • Pay is decent at anywhere from $25.41 to $30 an hour
  • You get to spend your time outdoors away from a desk

Cons

  • Fruit picking jobs in Australia can be physically hard and tiring
  • Not as reliable long term as other industries
  • Being out in the sun all day can lead to sunburn and heat fatigue

Gig economy jobs

Find a wide range of gig economy jobs in Australia to earn money while backpacking

Find a wide range of gig economy jobs to earn money in Australia while backpacking

The gig economy is heating up, with plenty of people turning to odd jobs such as food delivery or air tasker jobs to help earn some extra cash. Like many casual positions, you get out what you put in, so if you’re willing to work, you can make a good amount of cash here. Earning money in Australia with gig economy jobs can include everything from rideshare drivers and food delivery drivers to pet sitters, furniture removalists or freelancers. The scope is wide and can be tailored to your interests, skills and talents.

A great benefit of the gig economy is that you can do it practically anywhere there is internet service. This makes it a great way to earn money in Australia while backpacking with little to no experience.

Pros

  • Flexibility and ability to travel while working
  • Huge variety of gig economy jobs available in Australia, so you shouldn’t struggle to find work
  • You can often work to your own timetable, which is perfect for those who want to spend more time sightseeing and exploring

Cons

  • Often requires you to have your own equipment or vehicle such as a bike, car, laptop etc depending on the job
  • Pay can be lower than a traditional job
  • No job security or peace of mind

Bar and hospitality jobs in Australia

Working in hospitality is a great way to earn money in Australia while backpacking. Australia has a huge hospitality industry, so you should be able to find work anywhere in the country, especially in the top tourist destinations. Many businesses will hire and train someone even if they don’t have any experience, which makes it a great option for everyone.

Hospitality jobs can be found all around Australia, simply walk into any bar or restaurant and ask to see the manager.

Pros

  • Work experience not often required
  • Easy to find work throughout Australia
  • Pay is usually reasonable, especially if penalty rates are offered

Cons

  • You will often have to give up your weekend and evenings
  • Can be harder to go exploring for more than a day or two due to shift work
  • Customer service isn’t necessarily for everyone

Fishing jobs

If you have some experience on fishing vessels or in the industry, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting a position in one of the many coastal towns in Australia. Working on a fishing vessel or charter cruises is a great way to spend some time on the water while earning some extra cash.

These jobs understandably are found in coastal locations in Australia, so might not be suitable if prefer larger metro destinations.

Pros

  • Fishing jobs in Australia offer great pay
  • If you love fishing or being on the water, you’ll have a great time while getting paid
  • You’ll learn a lot about the industry and location from your coworkers and team

Cons

  • Experience in such a position is often required
  • Limited positions depending on location and season may be available, making it a competitive job market
  • Hours of work are often long

Housekeeping work in hotels and hostels

Work in a hotel or hostel to earn money while backpacking Australia

Work in a hotel or hostel to earn money in Australia while backpacking

Housekeeping jobs are a quick and easy way to earn money in Australia while backpacking around. You will have plenty of places to find work from hotels and motels to the hostel that you are staying in. Housekeeping often has set hours that allow for plenty of time to explore your current location.

You will be able to find plenty of housekeeping jobs no matter where you are, to earn money in Australia while backpacking.

Pros

  • Housekeeping jobs in Australia are often easy to find
  • Pay rates are often quite good, with $20 – $30 an hour being standard
  • Experience is often not required to get into the industry

Cons

  • Can be a physically demanding job, with lots of walking around and picking things up
  • You may find some duties unpleasant
  • You are often expected to work swiftly and accurately, requiring attention to detail

Backpacking around Australia doesn’t mean that you have to chew through your entire travel fund and head home early if you run out of money. With some creative thinking and a bit of research on the internet, you will be able to find plenty of jobs that can help you earn money in Australia while still experiencing the best that the country has to offer.

Backpacker Job Board is a great place to start your job search. The site is free to use and has 100s of active job vacancies, all suitable for working holidaymakers.

Sydney is the backpacker hub of Australia. 

It is a world-famous city with iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, and more. And Australia, in general, is an easy country to travel around because it has good infrastructure, friendly locals, and a strong backpacker community 

The main obstacle for backpackers in Australia is usually money!

Australia is a notoriously expensive country, and Sydney is one of the more expensive places to visit Down Under. Though you’ll definitely spend more money backpacking in Australia than you would in places like Southeast Asia or Central America, it is still possible to explore cheaply. 

This guide will break down backpacking Sydney on a budget. You can stay in Sydney and have an epic time without spending a fortune. You just need to know how to use your money wisely. 

Throughout this budget travel guide, you will learn about flights, transport, accommodation, food, drinks, and activities in Sydney. And you’ll learn how to do it all on a backpacker budget!

How to Find Cheap Flights To Sydney

Don't let your budget hold you back from experiencing Sydney!

Don’t let your budget hold you back from experiencing Sydney!

Because Australia is so far away from most of the world, your flights to and from Sydney may be your biggest expense. Flying to Australia is not cheap, especially if you’re coming from the Americas or Europe. 

But it is possible to score affordable flights to Sydney. The best tips for finding cheap flights to Sydney are:

  • Fly Off Season
  • Fly Budget Airlines
  • Be Flexible 

In Sydney, Summer is peak travel season. From December to February, people are on holidays, the weather is hot and sunny, and everyone wants to hang out at the beach and have parties. Summer in Sydney is so much fun, but it’s also crowded and expensive. 

The best time to visit Australia is probably the shoulder seasons of Spring or Autumn. You’ll still get beautiful weather, but the crowds will be less intense and the flight prices will drop. For the cheapest flights to Sydney, visit in winter. Temperatures are a bit chilly, but you’ll still get lots of sunshine and you’ll find flights for as much as half of what they cost during peak season!

Also be flexible with your travel dates and times, and fly budget airlines. If you’re traveling a long distance to Australia, you’ll probably need one or two layovers. Browse websites like Skyscanner or Google Flights to compare different airlines and layover cities. 

Flights with more layovers, early or late flight times, and budget airlines will be much cheaper. Sure, a direct flight on a nice airline may be more comfortable. But if you’re backpacking Sydney on a budget, pick the cheapest flight and save money for fun activities when you arrive. 

Transport Within Sydney

Once you arrive in Sydney, public transport will become your best friend. There is pretty good public transport throughout the city, and it’s significantly cheaper than taking taxis or Ubers. 

I wouldn’t recommend renting a car in Sydney, as there is a lot of traffic and parking can be expensive and stressful. If you plan on doing any road trips around NSW, then you can rent a car for that. But for getting around in the Sydney CBD, stick to walking and public transport. 

The best form of public transport in Sydney is the train. It covers most of the CBD and Eastern Suburbs, and even goes down the NSW South Coast, up to the Central Coast, and to the Blue Mountains. 

The train is super well organized and easy to navigate. Train journeys in Sydney are capped, so you can ride unlimited journeys and the most you’ll spend is $16.30 per day or $50 per week. On weekends and public holidays, the rate is capped at $8.15 per day. 

Efficient and affordable, the train is the best way to get around Sydney on a budget

Efficient and affordable, the train is the best way to get around Sydney on a budget

You can also take buses, ferries, the metro, or the light rail around the city. The Northern Beaches don’t have trains, so bus and ferry are the best options there. 

For all Sydney public transport, use an Opal Card. You can pick one up at any convenience store and top up at the train stations. With such easy, straightforward public transport, you should never have to pay for a taxi! When possible, walk around Sydney as this is obviously free and the best way to exercise and see everything. 

Budget Accommodation in Sydney

Accommodation is not that cheap in Sydney, unfortunately. If you’re backpacking Sydney on a budget, I would avoid hotels altogether and just stick with hostels!

Hostels in Sydney

Hostels are a budget traveler’s best friend. Most of the hostels in Sydney are very nice as well, with lots of amenities, a social atmosphere, and fun events and activities. Just read traveler reviews on Hostelworld so you know what to expect at any hostels you book. 

Most hostels in Sydney cost around $20-$40 AUD per night for a bed in a mixed dorm room. Private rooms are anywhere from $80-$100 USD per night. If you’re backpacking, I highly recommend staying in dorm rooms. It’s a fun experience and you’ll meet lots of other travelers. 

Wake Up! hostel located in the heart of Sydney

Wake Up! hostel located in the heart of Sydney

Mad Monkey, Wake Up!, and Summer House are the three most popular and highly rated hostels in Australia. Each one has numerous locations around Sydney, such as Bondi Beach, Coogee Beach, Kings Cross, and other spots in the CBD. But there are many more options, so just browse Hostelworld for all the best Sydney hostels. 

How To Find Free Accommodation in Sydney

If you want to take your money saving to the next level, there are ways to get free accommodation in Sydney. 

The first is couchsurfing. This is an online platform that connects travelers with locals all over the world. You can stay on someone’s couch or in their spare room for free! Just always trust your instincts, use good street smarts, and only stay somewhere if you feel comfortable. 

Another option to save money on accommodation is doing a work exchange. This is when you work in exchange for free accommodation. The work is usually only about 20 hours per week, and popular work exchange options include working in a hostel, helping a local with housekeeping or childcare, or volunteering on a farm or eco village. 

Work exchanges offer a cool cultural experience that you may find on the usual tourist trail. You can live with locals, learn new skills, and save money. 

Eating and Drinking on a Budget in Sydney

It is possible to eat and drink in Sydney on a budget. I would recommend sticking to the following tips:

  • Cook most of your own meals
  • Shop at budget grocery stores and farmers markets
  • Dine out for lunch rather than dinner
  • Visit Happy Hours
  • Drink local stuff
  • Ask for local recommendations

If you eat out often and get cocktails in fancy bars every night, you’ll spend so much money in Sydney. The dining and nightlife in the city is really expensive, whether you’re a local or a backpacker. 

If possible, stay in a hostel with a communal kitchen. That way you can cook a lot of your own meals and prepare packed lunches for long days of exploring. Shop at local markets and budget grocery stores like ALDI for the most affordable food. 

Stay on budget in Sydney by cooking meals in your hostel's kitchen

Stay on budget in Sydney by cooking meals in your hostel’s kitchen

That being said, don’t restrict yourself too much! Sydney has lots of amazing eateries, and if you’re a real foodie, definitely treat yourself here and there. Ask any locals you meet what their favorite spots are, as they will probably be more affordable than spots in the touristy areas. 

Look up local happy hours, as you can find food and drinks that cost as little as half the normal price. Many restaurants and pubs do cheap lunch specials as well, so eating out at lunch is often cheaper than dinner. 

Drinking alcohol is also pretty expensive in Sydney, but local beers and wines are cheaper than imported. Cocktails cost around $15-$20 each, so don’t go overboard on those or you’ll spend a fortune. Even at a liquor store (known as a “Bottle-o” to the Aussies), hard alcohol is expensive, so stick to local beer and wine. 

Free Things to Do in Sydney

Strolling around Sydney's famous waterfront

Strolling around Sydney’s famous waterfront

To save money in Sydney, fill your schedule with these free activities:

  • Exploring the Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Strolling around Sydney Harbour
  • Walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Admiring the Sydney Opera House (from the outside)
  • Visiting St Mary’s Cathedral
  • Sunbathing at Bondi Beach
  • Walking the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
  • Walking the Manly to Spit Bridge Coastal Walk
  • Window Shopping in Newtown
  • Wander through the Queen Victoria Building
  • Go on a Free Walking Tour
  • Relax in Hyde Park or Centennial Park
  • Browse the Art Gallery of NSW or the Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Seeing the light installations at Vivid Sydney (If you’re there in May-June)

So there are lots of free things to do in Sydney! Just walking around the Harbour, the beaches, and the free art galleries are amazing ways to enjoy the city without spending a dime. 

Other Affordable Things To Do In Sydney

Some fun Sydney attractions cost money, but they are definitely worth it. If you balance out your free activities with some costly ones, you’ll be able to make the most of Sydney without spending heaps of money. 

There are some activities that cost a lot of money, such as a luxury harbour cruise, a Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, skydiving, or enjoying a multi-course fine dining experience. Because this is a guide to backpacking Sydney on a budget, I’ll skip going into detail, because most budget travelers aren’t looking to drop hundreds of dollars. 

However, these activities are still super fun, and they cost under $100 each. Book ahead using Get Your Guide or Viator to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

  • Touring the Sydney Opera House
  • Taking a surf lesson in Bondi
  • Going to a comedy show
  • Visiting the National Maritime Museum
  • Riding the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly
  • Kayaking or snorkeling at Shelly Beach
  • Renting a bike in the Northern Beaches
  • Enjoying the view from the top of the Sydney Tower Eye
  • Seeing the animals at Taronga Zoo
  • Visiting the historic Luna Park

Day Trips From Sydney

If you have some spare days during your day, definitely do a day trip from Sydney! There is so much natural beauty around the city, from the Royal National Park, to the Blue Mountains and more. 

Visit the Blue Mountains on a day trip from Sydney

Visit the Blue Mountains on a day trip from Sydney

The cost of Sydney day trips depends on how you do them. If you book a guided tour that includes all your transport to and from the city, they can cost around $150-$200 AUD. 

If you take public transport and explore on your own without a tour, they may only cost $50 AUD or less. For example, you can take the train directly from the Sydney CBD to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains and do a free day hike. Or take the South Coast Train line down to Wollongong or Kiama. 

You could also rent a car for day trips. Just do a bit of research about what transport is available when you choose where you want to visit. 

Here are some of the best day trips from Sydney:

  • Hiking in the Blue Mountains
  • Seeing the amazing coastal views in the Royal National Park
  • Wine tasting in the Hunter Valley
  • Road tripping down the Grand Pacific Drive and passing the Sea Cliff Bridge
  • Hiking in Dharawal National Park
  • Checking out Wollongong
  • Hiking in the Illawarra Escarpment 
  • Visiting Stanwell Park and Bald Hill
  • Touring Symbio Wildlife Park
  • Exploring Newcastle
  • See the Kiama Blowhole

Backpacking Sydney on a Budget: Final Thoughts

Although Australia is one of the world’s most expensive countries to visit, you can still explore on a budget! Sydney is an amazing city and with the right mindset and these budget travel tips, you can enjoy this city cheaply. 

Travel off season, take public transport, stay in hostels, eat and drink like the locals do, and stick to mainly free or cheap activities in Sydney. You will have no problem backpacking Sydney on a budget!

Backpacking Sydney on a Budget

Pin Backpacking Sydney on a Budget

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

Ride the Greyhound Bus to backpack on a budget in Australia

Ride the Greyhound Bus to backpack on a budget in Australia

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!