14th December, 2011

How to Backpack Around Australia

Australia is one of the most popular destinations for all travellers, including the hundreds of thousands of backpackers who visit every year. If you’re a keen globe trotter and you haven’t already visited, chances are Australia is on your list. With natural wonders such as Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef and modern, vibrant cities like Sydney and Melbourne, it’s no wonder that many people are keen to go Down Under. For backpackers, a little research and planning will help you make most of your Australian journey.


Depending on your budget, there are a range of accommodation options for backpackers including hostels, motel, campsites, and serviced apartments. Hostels and serviced apartments can be found in convenient locations in most major cities, and serviced apartments can offer high quality at great rates. For example, if you’re visiting the Gold Coast, you can stay at one of the Surfers Paradise apartments.

Whether it’s Surfers Paradise accommodation or accommodation in any of the major cities, backpackers won’t have problems finding somewhere to stay in the cities.


Australia is strict about visas and all visitors will need to have a visa granted before they arrive onshore.

  • Some passport holders are eligible for electronic visas that are applied for online.
  • Tourist visas are usually granted for three to six month periods. While the tourist visa doesn’t allow you to study or work, there are no restrictions on where you visit and in some cases, you may be eligible to apply for an onshore extension.
  • If you wish to work, consider applying for a working holiday or work and holiday visa. You need to be a passport holder of an eligible country and be between 18 and 30.

Food and Drink

If you’re on a tight budget, preparing your own food is a great way to save money while you’re in the country. Inexpensive beer and wine can be purchased from the large chain liquor stores while major grocery chains and local markets offer the cheapest prices for groceries.

  • Groceries cost around AUD$50 to $70 per week, per person.
  • A pint of beer costs around AUD$5 – $8.
  • A fast food meal costs around AUD$8 to $10.
  • Restaurant and café mains start at around AUD$12 to $15.
  • A three-course meal with wine at an upmarket restaurant will start at around AUD$50.

Staying Wired

You can purchase a prepaid pack for as little as AUD$30. The pack often includes a basic phone, mobile broadband, and call services. Pre-paid mobile broadband is also available as a standalone service, though internet cafés are numerous in city areas and are probably better value for money.

Getting Around on a Budget

Though Australia is a large country, getting around doesn’t have to be expensive. Check out the discount airlines for cheap interstate tickets. Also consider long distance trains and bus services if you’re not pressed for time.

Day Trips and Attractions

There are lots of inexpensive guided day trip deals available. These run from major cities and regional hubs, and the best way to get the good deals to major attractions is to keep track of deals online. Some group buying sites offer local dining and tours that are good value for money, and visitors can keep updated by signing for email alerts on deals in their current city.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is recommended but not compulsory in most cases. However, if you’re going to have a big adventure holiday, it’s a good idea to stay covered in case of an emergency. You travel insurance should cover medical, luggage loss, and personal property.