Accommodation costs are probably one of the greatest expenses you’ll incur when you travel Australia.
Even hostels here can be pricey (think $30+ AUD for a dorm bed) and it’s not unknown for some caravan parks to charge up to $60 AUD for an unpowered site.
WOAH! I know right?
As such, saving money when it comes to accommodation is probably the biggest difference you can make if you’re trying to travel cheap Down Under.
Getting a pocket-friendly night’s stay therefore is a mega bonus if you haven’t got a huge holiday budget, so here are 10 awesome ways to find cheap accommodation when you travel Australia…
- 9 Easy Ways to Save Money When Travelling Australia
- 10 Things I Never Realised Before Coming to Australia
- Top 15 Spots to Snap an Aussie Sunset
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#1 Rent/Buy a Campervan
It’s a favourite of backpackers when they travel Australia, but getting your hands on a campervan is not to be sneered at.
At the lowest end of the range, vans can be hired or bought fairly cheaply and even though it might seem like a large initial outlay, you’ll soon start reaping the benefits if you commit to staying in it every night and not paying for somewhere else to stay.
If places to park up in your van seem thin on the ground, then don’t worry, any quite side street should be ok as long as you’re up early enough in the morning.
But ssshhh, I didn’t tell you that!
Learn about 7 unusual places to visit in Australia with your campervan here.
#2 Rental Properties
The most popular site is of course Airbnb, but they don’t always give the best prices, so I tend to use the website VRBO these days. Agoda also has some good options.
The real beauty of staying in a rental property is that often you can pick up rooms in the best locations for half the price of what a hotel or guesthouse would cost you – slap bang in the middle of the action for peanuts, hoorah!
Perfect for when you travel Australia as part of a group or a couple and want a bit more personal space than a hostel might give you, rental properties are your answer!
If you haven’t tried them yet I strongly suggest you do.
#3 National Parks
I’ve written before about my love for Australian National Parks and how they really are a budget travellers dream when it comes to adventuring Down Under.
If you’re looking to get off the beaten track a bit and you have access to camping gear, then I strongly suggest you check a few out.
The price of camping in a National Park varies from state to state in Australia but generally sits around $5-10 AUD per person per night.
That’s a real bargain that will get you out and about exploring the real Aussie Bush!
Learn with this list of the top 22 Australian national parks.
I’m sure many of you will have heard of this brilliant online network that connects travellers, looking for somewhere to lay their heads, with locals, who have free mattresses, couches, bedrooms or floors.
I’ve used the Couchsurf network all over the world, but particularly in Australia, and can’t rate it highly enough.
It’s led me to make some great friendships and to visit places I would never have gone without a personal recommendation.
So why not throw caution to the wind and try it too, all you have to do is simply visit the Couchsurfing website, create a profile and off you go.
It’s easy and free!
Almost every town in Australia has a showground – it’s an Aussie cultural thing that at first I found a bit hard to get my head around.
Essentially, I’ve come to realise that showgrounds are a bit like large village greens or town sporting pitches, somewhere the summer fayre might take place every year or other events and festivals are staged.
As such, showgrounds in Australia are owned by the respective municipality and many towns kindly let those passing through stay on/in them for free.
You’ll have to have your own tent or van, but normally there are some bathrooms available and even a BBQ or 2 you might be able to use.
Well worth checking out, town showgrounds are a great way to find cheap accommodation when you travel Australia.
Wwoofing stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms and is a global enterprise designed to match travellers looking for work with hosts who need jobs doing.
Work is completed on a voluntary basis, but food and accommodation is provided in exchange.
For only 4 hours work then, you can get a roof over our head and plenty to eat!
Wwoofing networks are run independently within countries, so the level of service and availability varies depending where you are in the globe.
I’m glad to say however, that the Wwoofing Australia scheme is highly organised and very well managed and I’ve used it with great success in New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory so far.
You do have to pay a membership fee of about $60 AUD to sign up, but really, it’s a small price to pay when compared to the amount of money you’ll save in accommodation later.
Learn more with these 7 great reasons why you should work and travel
Like Wwoofing, but less geared solely towards farmwork, Helpex matches people who need jobs doing with travellers who can help.
Again volunteer work in exchange for somewhere to stay, Helpex lets you rest and eat for free as you meet locals and travel in a great example of cultural exchange.
I like Helpex as the spectrum of work is broader than Wwoofing and often you can end up doing some cool stuff on sailing boats, in bed and breakfasts or on butterfly reserves!
I’m not kidding, this is stuff I’ve actually done and so can you if you’re looking to find cheap accommodation when you travel Australia!
Hostelworld is the only site I look to when trying to book more conventional accommodation in Australia.
That’s because it always finds me the best deal.
I love their cancellation policy and have found that time and time again they offer the best deals.
Sweeping the budget travel realm by storm is housesitting, which is the latest arm of the burgeoning share economy and a great way to score cheap accommodation when you travel Australia.
There are multiple websites you can sign up to either to register a house that needs sitting or to express your interest as a sitter and I really recommend Trusted Housesitters. who are a very reputable company.
Housesitting particularly suits slower, more long-term travellers and I’m very excited about trying it out on our forthcoming road trip around Australia.
#10 WikiCamps Australia
Talking about our forthcoming road trip round Australia, the discovery of the WikiCamps app has been a real game-changer for us!
Loaded with information, this cheap app (about $8 AUD) lists every single free or cheap place you can lay your head within a certain geographical radius of where you are.
Jeez the internet is clever!
Handily layered on top of google maps so you can find your way there, WikiCamps also allows you to “favourite” certain destinations so you can plan and map your route ahead of time, based on cheap accommodation availability.
5 Essential Packing Items for Australia
#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop in Australia and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous country justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!
#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Australia – from cities to national parks! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish strolling, I love mine.
#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Australia edition is well put together.
#4 Good Water Bottle – Travelling in hot old Australia can be thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because tap water is drinkable… and free!
#5 Good Sun Hat – And there’s no denying you’ll need a good sun hat for protection in Australia too. In my opinion, you can’t go past this Hello Sunshine one, which is both gorgeous and ideal for keeping the rays off your face.
Travel Insurance for Australia
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
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So there you have it, 10 awesome ways to find cheap accommodation when you travel Australia.
Well, what are you waiting for?