Most people that have traveled or road-tripped through Australia will tell you about the many awesome places without mentioning the country’s price tag… Let’s keep the price tag down, shall we?
Sleep under the stars.
Camping’s a great way to connect with nature while saving some money. This won’t work for everyone, of course, since there’s a sizable investment of gear, and camping isn’t necessarily free or legal everywhere you go.
Get the city cards.
iVenture’s cards for Sydney, Gold Coast, Melbourne, and Tasmania offer some great discounts. These work a bit differently than the European city cards I’ve covered in the past — iVenture’s cards don’t cover public transportation (get around via hop-on-hop-off buses instead), and look to come in several more flavors. The ‘Flexi Attractions Pass’ covers a handful of destinations, while the Unlimited Attractions is more like the European cards (e.g. the pass lets you in all of them, so get to as many of them as you can in the alloted time). Learn more at https://www.iventurecard.com.
Bus, ferry, train or plane?
It’s going to depend on when you’re traveling, but it’s worth checking all forms of transportation to see which one’s best for you. Rome2rio.com and Australia.com offers some great comparison.
Go your own way.
If you want your own wheels, you’ll want a reliable 4×4 to get you into — and out of — wherever you decide to go. Gumtree has literally tens of thousands of ads for ‘cars, vans, and utes’ — a two-door ‘utility vehicle’ with a passenger car in the front and a pick-up truck bed in the back. Don’t bother renting unless you get some great insurance.
Australia only looks small because of its location on a globe.
Whatever period of time you were thinking of giving Australia, double it — it’s that big a country.
Get your cash cheaper.
Standard advice, perhaps, but a reminder: exchange office rates suck. ATM’s on arrival work, but each transaction can see a fee from the ATM, your bank, and (potentially) an intermediary bank. In a word, ick. Get money out in as few and as large transactions as you can get, and convert any major currencies you have into Australian dollar
Free museums and attractions rule.
A short list:
- Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in The Rocks – one of the biggest collections on the continent
- The walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and around the Sydney Opera House – beautiful and iconic
- Birds Australia Discovery Centre – be one with nature’s singers
- Red Hands Cave Walking Track – Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park (a famous Aboriginal heritage site)
- North Head Sanctuary – 10 kilometers of walking trails, Sydney’s secret getaway.
- Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens – your feet will wear out before you see it all.
- Explore Brisbane’s River with the Red City Hopper Ferry
- Southbank Markets – selling a bit of everything
- National Gallery Of Victoria – the oldest, largest and most popular art museum in Australia.
- State Library of Victoria.- Australia’s oldest public library
- The 94-acre Royal Botanic Gardens
- Shine of Remembrance – remembering Australians that served in World War I
- R.M Williams Outback Heritage Museum – if you’ve wondered what a kangaroo skin bushman’s belt looked like
- The Bradman Collection inside the Adelaide Oval – a great collection of cricket history
- South Australian Museum – one of the world’s largest collections of Aboriginal artifacts
- Art Gallery of South Australia – dates from 1881, tons of art from around the world
- The Jam Factory – meander around artist’s studios
It’s not the cheapest continent out there, but with a bit of work and planning, Australia becomes a cheaper-than-expected place to enjoy.
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Also published on Medium.