It’s no secret that Australia is expensive, and it’s such a huge country that it’s easy for costs to stack up on transportation, but there are plenty of ways to lower the costs of a trip.
Here are some tips for travelling around Oz on a budget:
Australia is such a vast country and if you’re limited for time, you may have no choice but to take a flight. With a little research, you should be able to find reasonable prices with the main airlines.
Virgin and Jetstar are on the cheaper end of airlines in Australia offering domestic flights. Jetstar Airline runs sales every Friday from 4pm until 8pm as part of its Friday Frenzy deals, however, these deals can go quickly so you have to get in there fast!
If you book early, and are flexible with your dates, you might be able to get good deals with Quantas and Virgin. The Quantas Airpass lets you book flights to over 80 domestic airports; great if you plan on doing a lot of flying.
Rex airlines, Virgin Skywest and QuantasLink fly to regional parts of Australia like Townsville, Wagga Wagga, and Kangaroo Island. Use Webjet’s dealfinder to find sales and special offers on Rex flights.
Tips for flying cheaper:
- Start your search as early as possible.
- Search on flight aggregate sites such as:
- Be flexible with your flight dates and times.
- Very early morning flights and red-eye flights will be cheaper.
- Set up price alerts, and choose off-peak times.
- Fly with less baggage.
- Look out for sales, which can start from around 6 weeks before the flight date.
- If it looks like a flight is booked out online, ring the airline, you might get lucky!
Apply for your Australian tax refund
Backpacker buses can be a fun way to meet people while you hop on and off along the way at various sites and places. There are two main companies that do this, The Oz Experience, which glides along the east and centre of Oz, and Easyrider Backpacker Tours, which will run you up the west coast from Perth to Exmouth, and from Broom to Darwin.
They are more expensive than the public buses, but you’ll be introduced to like-minded travellers and enjoy some fun activities along the way.
Greyhound is the biggest bus company in Australia and offers relatively cheap fares along the east coast, although it's more expensive in the west due to lack of competition. The buses are comfortable and spacious, and will save you the hassle of going to an airport!
Premier and McCafferty also operate buses across the country, and you can find cheap fares if you do a bit of research, especially if you buy tickets in advance.
Fares usually average at around $30, but on occasion, they’ll even sell tickets for as little as $1.
For long trips you can buy different types of passes, such as Greyhound flexible tickets that let you travel up to 1000 km anywhere for 12 months for $189.
Long-distance travel by train can work out very expensive, but it’s a relaxing and enjoyable way to see the country.
You can buy rail passes for long journeys or invest in a holiday package with Great Southern Rail. Rail Australia offers services around Australia including a Discovery Pass with unlimited economy travel to 365 destinations in regional Australia.
The holiday packages with Great Southern Rail can be expensive, but they are really more about a ‘train holiday’ rather than just getting from A to B and will let you appreciate the beauty of some of Australia’s most breathtaking scenery in style.
This is probably the cheapest way to get around Oz, especially if you plan on staying a while. You can buy, rent, or share a car or campervan as you travel across Australia.
Check noticeboards in hostels for people who want to join a road trip so you can share the cost of fuel. If you buy a campervan, you’ll also have somewhere to sleep!
Search for cars on websites such as:
- Make sure any vehicle you buy has got a valid roadworthiness certificate, as you’ll be taken off the road otherwise.
- Car insurance will become especially important if you take long trips - crashing into a large Kangaroo could completely total your car!
- When it comes time to selling your car or campervan, if it’s possible, sell it in the north or west as you’ll get a higher price for it.
The average tax refund Down Under is AU$2600
Renting a car
You could hire a car instead which can be a great option for short trips. Look in your area for car rental shops or you can try these websites to search for a rental:
As with buying a car, make sure you opt in for insurance, and remember to check exactly what’s covered and what the excess is. If you damage a rental car without insurance, the cost for repairs could run up to thousands of dollars.
Before your road trip:
- Make sure you have a spare tyre.
- Take plenty of water and snacks.
- Fuel up! Australia is a BIG country and you could drive for miles without passing a gas station or town.
- Watch out for fire warnings in the bush.
- Buy a GPS (if you can, as your phone might go out of range).
- Research free and cheap campsites or bring a guide with a list of accommodation.
- Do most of your driving when it’s bright to avoid hitting kangaroos and other animals.
- Have fun! Bring some entertainment as you might be in that car for a long time.
- Be aware of hefty road fines for driving too fast (or too slow!).
The average tax refund Down Under is AU$2600
As you can see, with a little planning, you can save a lot of money on getting around Australia. Now buckle up, and enjoy your trip!