Aussie Money Savers

Aussie Money Savers

Adjusting to the prices of Australia coming from Asia, as we did, can be quite a shock.  However, fretting over every penny spent is no way to enjoy travel.  Don’t skip the things that make Australia unique just for the sake of your savings; koalas, kangaroos, the great ocean road and the great barrier reef are why you came! Instead check out the math below and make a few tweaks to your itinerary while down under to help your bottom line.

We got up close and personal with kangaroos in the Grampians National Park


The kangaroo is one of Australia’s most iconic animals, I would argue that a trip to Aussie wouldn’t be complete without spotting a boomer (male kangaroo), flyer (female kangaroo) and a joey (baby kangaroo). While a trip to Kangaroo Island will set you back a pretty penny if you make a detour to Grampians National Park instead you can see all the kangaroos you want for free.  A great place to stay right inside the National Park is Tim’s Place, in the back yard of this quiet, clean and well-run hostel is where the kangaroos have dinner every night.

Math Breakdown:

1. A Kangaroo Island all-inclusive package through Intrepid Travel will set you back about $1000 AUS

2. A do-it-yourself trip with transport (a ferry alone is $92 AUS)and a night of lodging will set you back at least $200 AUS

3. A trip to the Grampians National Park and a night at Tim’s Place will be about $50 AUS and all you have to do is plan a short detour off the Great Ocean Road by car.

The Bay of Fires in Tasmania is something you wouldn't want to miss because you took the bus.


Tasmania was my favorite place in Australia and Hobart was one of the first places on the trip that I felt I could call home.  If you want to see Tassie, the best way to take it all in is rent a car.  The tiny island can easily be seen in a week or enjoyed for much longer, but if you choose to see it by bus you’re not only going to pay more, your travel will be much more restricted.

Math Breakdown:

1. A bus tour from Hobart to Launceston, Devonport and Strahan back to Hobart would be roughly $194.50 AUS

2. Renting a car will allow you flexibility and a quick search for a rental car came up as only 180.00 AUS for 5 days, if you add in fuel costs you will be paying more than the bus, but with free camping you don’t have to pay for lodging as you can pack a tent or sleep in the car.

We saw a koala hanging out in it's natural environment on Magnetic Island for no cost at all.


I know you want the picture of you holding a koala for your facebook page, but if you’re willing to settle for seeing these guys up close and personal in their natural habitat instead seeing a koala won’t cost you a thing.

Math Breakdown:

1. You are guaranteed to see a koala at Australia’s first and largest sanctuary in Brisbane, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, however it will cost you $32 AUS to visit and another fee on top of that for your koala hug picture.

2. If you plan your trip with a visit to Magnetic Island, which I highly recommend, you can see koalas on a leisurely nature walk while you take in the stunning views of Radical Bay.  Or if you are headed to the Great Ocean Road, between the cities of Lorne and Apollo Bay is a sign for the Kennet River, turn off here and take a stroll down Grey River Road where your bound to see koalas.

Luna Park is one of the stops on the Sydney walking tour and offers great views of Circular Quay.


Sydney is a walking friendly city and can easily be seen on foot.  In fact I would recommend it, the slower pace of travel allows for you to soak in the views and stop at the sidewalk cafes or take advantage of happy hour specials as you see fit.

Math Breakdown:

1. Take a hop on hop off bus tour of Sydney for about $40 AUS

2. Take a Sydney guided walk, which will cost you about $40 AUS

2. The “do it yourself Sydney walking tour” comes to you at no cost at all and is easy to follow with the wikitravel link here.

Flinders Street Station in Melbourne is just one of the many attractions you can see on a free tour of Melbourne.


The beautiful city of Melbourne should not be missed and what better way to see it than with free transport. Melbourne was made for money-savers with a couple options to see the city for a wallet friendly price.  Here are a couple options to consider and their cost.

Math Breakdown:

1. Take the free Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle, which has 13 stops including: the arts precinct, Federation Square, sports precinct, Chinatown, Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Museum and the Carlton Gardens.  You can hop on at any of these locations between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm.

2. To have access to all the trams throughout the city of Melbourne you can purchase a daily ticket for under $15 AUD from the automated machine when you board any tram.

From Melbourne to Sydney, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to explore the best Australia has to offer. Use the above tips to make an itinerary that won’t leave you penniless upon your departure and enjoy the surf, sand, sun and fun of Australia.

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» Bka :
Mar 18, 2012

Erica’s dad here…..we recently retired and spent 7 plus weeks in Aus. and NZ with E and M…while they couch surfed we spent 50 nights in youth hostels….old news to many of you, but we were virgins……at the risk of ruining this incredible opportunity for the kids, I can say without exception, staying with the kids and sharing meals, world views, travel tips far exceeded any Hilton chain stay, all at 1/5 the cost… was special…..think cheap B and B’s… have concerns with geeezers impacting experience of youth… was special for us……peace….bka

LOCAVORista Reply:

Dad, I wouldn’t have traded having you and Mom at the hostels for anything…loved the geezer effect and miss you guys!

» cottages scotland :
Mar 26, 2012

A budget traveler would love your post and I loved it too. These are some great ways to make your trip cheaper.

» Mom A :
Mar 27, 2012

Here are some deals we found that we thought were great!
At the airport we found we could purchase a multi pass for getting around on Sydney’s bus/train/ferry system. A 7 day pass came with a round trip Airport Link Train ticket for half price. So, for 7 days you can take unlimited trips on train, bus or ferry. We purchased zone one, which gets you around Sydney. I think we paid a couple of additional dollars each to get back from Bondi beach. So, for a one week, zone one multi pass and round trip airport train we paid $48 per person. The round trip airport train would ordinarily be about $36. We really enjoyed taking the ferry whenever we wanted to, for transportation and just for fun! And it was great to get to the farthest point of the walking tour and take a train back to the hostel! We stayed right near Museum Station in a hostel with free breakfast.

For dinner go to Maymak, a Malaysian restaurant that was a 2011 restaurant of the year. Don’t let the line in front turn you off, it goes fast. You won’t believe how little your dinner will cost. The two of us ate well for a total of $15.00!

All prices listed are Australian dollars.

Free Walking Tours
There are free walking tours that you can find info. on at hostels and i Sites (info centers). Yes, they ask for a contribution at the end, but we really enjoyed our evening walking tour of The Rocks, Sydney’s oldest area, and were happy to make a reasonable contribution.

Shopping and Didgeridoos
The building with the iSite in The Rocks also has some shops with merchandise made in Australia. And I really must recommend the shop selling didgeridoos. The young man on staff was a musician and he answered all my questions and played a variety of the didgeridoos for me, knowing I wasn’t going to be taking one home with me. I was tempted , though, when I found out how they are played. It is like the spoken word of musical instruments. My own concert – a real treat!

Groupon Sydney
While it was the highest priced item we purchased, we paid less than half price to Sail Sydney. We had a 2 1/2 hr sail on an Americas Cup yacht for a total of $137 for the two of us. While there was a crew, they instructed us on steering and “grinding” to trim the sails. It was a glorious day and the worth full price, which we did not pay. We saw far more of the whole of Sydney harbor than we did on the ferries, which were great, too.

Don’t worry about where the deals are, if they sound good for a good price, try it! It will get you around to different parts of the city!

We also had a great lunch very close to Sydney harbour and a great chocolate treat, thanks to Groupon Sydney.

Harry’s Cafe de Wheels
For a VERY reasonable lunch, or dinner, or late night, go to Harry’s – the original Harry’s not the one or two by train stations. It is on the walking tour you will find from the link in the article above. And yes, although it is typically Australian, you CAN get something WITHOUT mashed peas.

Wow! We had a great time in Sydney!

LOCAVORista Reply:

Mom, thanks for the excellent money saving add-on tips! Groupon is a great one to remember to sign up for a few weeks or even months before you leave as it gets you excited for the trip too! Thanks again for all the advice!

» public transport :
Sep 9, 2013

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LOCAVORista Reply:

Glad to hear the information was helpful, enjoy your upcoming trip to Australia!

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.


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