If you worked in any of these countries, you could be due a Tax Refund

How to Find Cheap Accommodation in Oz

You can cut your costs dramatically while backpacking around Oz by saving on accommodation. Hotels don’t come cheap in Australia, especially in the bigger cities, but there are plenty of cheaper options.

Check out these 5 cheap places to stay during your working holiday visa:

1. Hospitality Exchanges

Kick it with the locals by renting out lodgings in someone’s home. Hospitality exchanges are a popular option for travellers who want to save money and get local advice and tips on what to see and do. This way you could save a good chunk of cash while making friends all over the country.

Here’s a list of some of our favourite websites:


A user-friendly site with over 600,000 members, couchsurfing.com will connect you with hosts offering up a couch or a bed for free. Some people will simply give you a free couch to crash on, others will go the whole hog and feed you while acting as your personal tour guide-it’s simply the luck of the draw!

Worried about staying with a stranger? Most people offering their homes are simply like-minded travellers who love their homeland and want to help you out, and there are various ways to ensure your host is legit.

Here are some tips when searching for a place:

 1. Host Profile

  • Make sure the host has a profile pic and that they put the time and effort in to filling out their bio fully, this shows they are committed.

2. Read reviews

  • The more positive reviews the better, this way you’ll know that people stayed with them and enjoyed the experience.

3. Check verification

  • Couchsurfing.com offers different levels of verification. People can be verified by other travellers, with a mailing address, or with a credit card.

Hospitality Club.org

A little more basic than Couchsurfing.com, this website offers a similar service with a much simpler design. There is a forum where members can exchange tips and it’s free to join.

Members are encouraged to check passports when they meet and usually you’ll end up emailing your host so you can get a feel for what they are like. Of course, use your own judgement and if you have any doubts then simply move on.

Global Freeloaders

This site was founded in Australia, so you’ll find plenty of hosts and fellow travellers. The profiles are basic compared to other sites, but one of its unique features lets you message a number of hosts at the same time when requesting accommodation.


This site is an exchange network where you agree to exchange your own home for a number of weeks or up to 12 months, so you must have accommodation to swap if you want to use this site. It focuses more on the accommodation than the people, as you won’t be staying with any locals on your arrival.

Once you find some decent hosts, and start doing this frequently, you could end up really enjoying yourself, getting to stay with locals while saving hundreds of dollars.

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2. Hostels

Hostels offer affordable, shared accommodation and facilities, and are a great way to meet new people. They are mostly safe, secure, and cheap. As well as shared dorm rooms, many hostels offer private rooms for solo travellers and couples with shared bathrooms and showers. Most hostels have the choice of mixed dorms or same-sex dorms, which are cheaper compared to a private room.

Hostels also offer many more amenities than hotels, such as laundry services, computers, and a shared kitchen, which can be very useful if you’re staying in one place for any length of time.

In some of the bigger hostels you’ll find employment and information services and you can book tours and trips. Many hostels also host social events so you can unwind and meet new people.

The standard of hostels varies widely in Australia but you can read reviews from other travellers before you go. Check out Hostelworld, Nomads Adventure or Base Hostels to begin your search!


3. Short-term rentals

You can choose to rent a room or an entire home on a short-term basis, which could work out cheaper than staying in local hotels, especially if you’re with friends. You’ll usually have the option of a kitchen so you can save money on food too. 

Websites offering rentals:


A comprehensive, well designed website where you can rent rooms or entire apartments and houses. The prices vary depending on where you stay and what you require. The price is per week and some hosts charge extra for a once-off cleaning fee.


Roomorama is a similar website offering short-term rentals in over 5,000 locations worldwide. Roomorama also performs identity checks, offering security to both the host and traveller.

If you’re travelling on your own, the costs for a short-term rental could end up more than double that of a hostel. However, it will offer some respite from the crowds and hosts will often give you tips the tourists guides won’t tell you about.


4. Farmstays

Wake up to the sound of a rooster and enjoy a homemade breakfast by booking a farmstay. You’ll learn what life is like on a working Australian farm and you’ll save money, with some costing as little as $15 per night.

Farmstays can range from really basic camping to luxury rooms, but it’s similar to staying at a bnb or guesthouse where you’ll meet the family and feel like part of the home. You can explore the workings of the farm and even offer to help out and learn new skills.

Websites like farmstaycampingaustralia.com and australianfarmstay.com can help you find suitable farmstays.

The average tax refund Down Under is AU$2600


5. Flat-share

If you plan on staying in one place for a while, a flat-share is a good option. It can be really expensive to rent an apartment or house on your own in Australia, so sharing with a few mates or finding like-minded travellers can save you big time.

Start your search on some of Australia’s most popular real estate and roommate finder websites:

Research ahead of time so you know exactly what the rental market is like and how much it will set you back.

Familiarise yourself with the suburbs of the area as it can be tough choosing a location, especially if you haven’t got a job yet. In the cities, it can be very expensive to live in the centre, so the surrounding suburbs can be a great cheaper alternative.

Make sure you can get to and from work easily, and that the apartment has all the facilities you’ll need. Create a shortlist of your favourite properties and meet up with prospective roommates before you make your decision.

Remember to ask lots of questions such as:

  • Do you have pets?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you have rules about cleaning?
  • How much are the bills each month?
  • Is the apartment furnished?


Make sure you have enough money to cover the deposit and a full month’s rent for your room, and that your job will cover any bills and transport required to make it to and from work!

Australia isn’t the cheapest country in the world, but there are lots of great ways to budget, and getting a cheap place to stay can be the biggest money saver!

If you have good negotiation skills, you might even be able to get accommodation for cheaper than the stated price, so don’t be afraid to bargain.

Have a great trip and don’t forget your sunnies!

About The Author

Ciara Kennedy - Digital Content Writer @ Taxback.com

Ciara is our Digital Content Writer at Taxback.com. Since graduating in Journalism and Visual media, Ciara has worked in online marketing in Ireland and Australia and loves writing in all its forms.

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