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28 October 2018

Adventure Down Under: Traveling Australia on a Budget

by Catherine Workman
Australia has become one of the world’s most popular travel destinations, especially for individuals who love roughing it, getting into the wild, and turning their vacation into an adventure. There are several ways to see what you want to see “down under” up close and personal without staying in pricey hotels or blowing your vacation budget on expensive restaurants. It’s the trip of a lifetime, especially if you’re an outdoors person. Australia is full of affordable, accessible and comfortable hostels, as well as camping facilities, which may be the best way to see the true natural beauty of Australia.

Cook Your Own Grub

If you’re roughing it, there will be plenty of opportunities to cook your own meals, which will save you a bundle on restaurants. If you’re hostel hopping or pitching a tent every night, take along a little Hibachi or some other kind of compact grill and toss some shrimp on the barbie (or steak if you’re not into seafood). Your best bet for inexpensive grocery shopping is ALDI, Coles, and Woolworth (but don’t expect to have a full selection of groceries wherever you go).

Camping

Camping is another inexpensive way to experience Australia. Camping in Victorian National Parks, for instance, is free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Mid-level camping facilities cost $38, with some of the nicer ones costing upward of $70 a night (sites that charge a fee should always be booked in advance).
In South Australia, you can visit some of the region’s most beautiful parks with a Holiday Park Pass for $80, which can be purchased online. Noah Beach, Diamond Head, and Mungo Brush campgrounds offer some of the country’s most beautiful camping landscapes, from the beaches to the Outback. Of course, you’ll need to pick up a high-quality canopy tent, sleeping bags, and durable cooking equipment before you set out.

Do Package Tours

If it’s your first trip to Australia, you may want to take advantage of tours to learn about the country and get a feel for what you’d like to see. However, booking a tour individually can be expensive, especially if you’re looking at booking more than one. Consider booking through your hostel or a tourist agency, which can maximize your travel budget.

Earning Your Keep

If you’re going the hostel route with limited funds, be aware that many of them will allow you bed and board in exchange for a few hours of work (mostly cleaning). It’s not a bad way to go if you’re in good condition and don’t mind a little physical work in exchange for a place to sleep. It’s a good idea to do your homework well ahead of time if this option interests you. Be aware, however, that these hostels will generally ask that you stay for a week at minimum.

WWOOF

Hostels aren’t the only pay-for-your-keep opportunity in Australia. WWOOF is a nationwide program by which you can do work at organic farms for free room and board. If your intention is to stay more than a couple of weeks, this is an excellent way to do it. Don’t worry if your agricultural knowledge and experience are minimal or non-existent; the farms are looking for people to pick produce out of the fields. You’ll meet some great people, see a beautiful country firsthand, and leave in the best shape of your life.

Couchsurf

It’s not quite like Airbnb, but couchsurfing is a great way to see Australia while staying with local hosts who are affiliated with the program. There’s the benefit of staying with a certified Couchsurf host and the added benefit of having the knowledge, experience, and expertise of a local who knows the best sites to visit and places to eat. You never know — you might just end up making a new best friend for life.
A little online research can set you up for an Australian adventure you’ll never forget. There are many ways to go if you’re looking for doing it on a budget. Whether it’s hostels, local hosting, work for boarding, or camping, you can enjoy the country’s incredible natural beauty close-up for a relatively minimal amount of money.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
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