Australia is a backpackers paradise. The ease of getting from place to place, hostels brimming with people and activities wherever you look, the friendly locals and the beautiful scenery make it a place you MUST backpack in this lifetime. The only downside to this party paradise is the price, Australia can be very expensive. Here are our top tips to travel the Down Under without breaking the bank.
Obviously, hostels are a cheap option as a place to rest your head as well as meet a lot of new friends. Australia has some of the best party hostels in the world and we really enjoyed our time at the legendary Gilligan’s. Besides hostels you can AirBnb, which is what we did in Darwin and ended up sleeping outside in a tree house, you can couch surf or do a Workaway to meet some locals and experience their culture and stay cost free OR (and we did this three times to save money) - take an overnight bus ride on one of your longer journeys. HOT TIP: go and lay down at the back seat of the bus and look like you’re sleeping and chances are you will get that seat to yourself for the whole ride…a little cheeky but sometimes a girl has got to sleep!
Australia is HUGE into Happy Hour and considering some places charge $20 AU for a pint you may want to take advantage of this. Typically happening between 5pm - 7pm TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE DEALS. Melbourne and Sydney offer the most variety in places to party down but we also had amazing nights out on the cheap in Byron Bay and Cairns. Also, Australia is also down for a good ol’ fashioned pub crawl in any major city. It’s a great way to meet people, get some cheap pre-drinks in and make a memory or two…if you can remember them.
Travelling the coast.
The Greyhound Bus is the most efficient way to get from tip to tail of Australia and for a decent price. Depending on what kind of traveller you are there is a pass to fit your flow. Whether you know you want to go directly North or South (the traditional route is Adelaide up to Cairns, we did Darwin down to Melbourne) or you can say I HAVE NO IDEA and get the pass that lets you hop back and forth in either direction.
Australia has a couple budget airlines (Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Tiger Airways and Rex) that can easily get you to Asia and New Zealand on the cheap, but make sure you read the fine print when it comes to baggage. We missed a little line about baggage fees and it ended up costing us $120 CAD each when we arrived at the airport. So make sure you investigate further when you see a cheap price up front.
Get ready to be shocked by the outrageous price of food (both in the grocery store and at restaurants) but there are ways to survive. The grocery store affectionately referred to as Wally’s, Walgreens, is a great place to stop to get some cheap eats. Hostels that offer free breakfast and deals on dinner (which there are many) may be another reason to consider staying in one over another. Festivals, we were in Australia during February so we hit up both Chinese New Years and Valentines Day festivals which were giving out a lot of foodie freebees! Also, and we did this more times then we would like to admit, Domino’s pizza does $6 medium pizzas and we would often split one of those bad boys and be fed for half the day!
Hit the beach.
One of the best things about Australia are it’s stunning beaches and the other best thing is that these are free! Hit up Bondi in Sydney, St. Kilda in Melbourne and the coastline of Byron Bay to spend some time relaxing and saving some dough.