Australia doesn’t have a reputation as a budget destination but independent cyclists can get by as cheaply here as anywhere.
The key is that you’ll have to enjoy camping and cooking for yourself.
For a couple, we found about A$40 (€18-20 a day) in daily running expenses was sufficient – less than what we spent in some parts of Southeast Asia.
Keen cooks can eat well on very little money in Australia. How about a camper’s paella? Lentil stew? Or even a vegetable curry for a buck. Recipes for all these and more are revealed on The Cyclist’s Kitchen page of the Bicycle Fish – Adelaide site. An inspiring read that will make your mouth water and keep your wallet happy.
This is surprising on the surface but our budget rose in Southeast Asia because we gave in to a lot of little temptations that were cheap individually but added up over the days and weeks. We lived a more spartan lifestyle in Australia.
In Australia, we rarely took hotels and cooked a lot of cheap meals. Porridge for breakfast and pasta with mixed vegetables and perhaps a little ground beef from the butcher were our two staples. We did treat ourselves to a box of wine about once a week.
We visited very few tourist attractions with admission fees and always tried to access the internet for free at libraries (not always possible) or limit our paid use to about 1 hour every week. Where possible, we took advantage of Australia’s free camping sites.
Some typical costs are:
Box of wine – A$15
Hour of internet – A$6
Caravan park – A$15-30 (depending on services)
National Park campsite – A$6.50/per person
Cappuccino in a cafe – A$3.50
Loaf of bread – A$4
Pasta (500g) – A$2
Tin of tomatoes – A$1
Block of cheese (250g) – A$4
Pepperoni stick (250g) – A$4-6
17th March 2013 at 1:04 am #
I absolutely agree with this information. We spend just a little more in Australia than in SE Asia. Our budget (for 2) is around $20 per day (most all of that goes towards food.)
We managed to spend 3 months in Australia without spending anything on lodging. There are many free “24 hour Stopping” rest areas/campgrounds. Some roadhouses even offer free showers to everyone. Some towns also have free shower facilities.
Freedom camping is widely accepted in Australia (unlike in NZ.)
There are also lots of couchsurfing and Warm Showers hosts.
Food is more expensive than in Europe and North America.
It pays to stock up in larger towns that have a Coles or Woolworths supermarket. Roadhouses are insanely expensive.
Surprisingly, many libraries in Australia do not offer free internet access.
In larger towns you can use the free WiFI at McDonalds (buy an ice cream cone, they’re just 30 cents.)
19th August 2015 at 5:29 am #
I hope you won’t mind aiding me here. I am looking at riding from Cairns to Melbourne at the beginning of November. I have no experience but WILL make this happen. Please can you give me any advice or perhaps what equipment I will be able to manage as a solo rider? Thank you for your time
30th October 2016 at 10:44 pm #
Probably too late for you by about 12 months Jordan, but may be of use to others. The beginning of November is also just into the ‘Wet Season’. Cairns is in the Tropics and far more likely to see severe storms and cyclones. You will at least be riding South and moving away from the tropics as you go. It’s still a long bloody ride to get out of the tropics/sub tropics though.
Carry plenty of water, as some areas are a bit short on civilisation and creeks and other natural water sources may well harbour a crocodile or two all the way down to around Bundaberg. The main route north and south from Cairns to the border is a rather busy highway that can be narrow and with little shoulder for cyclists to ride on to avoid the large trucks.
Camping at least can be had for free off the road for the most part. I would recommend circumnavigating Brisbane. The highway in and out is do-able but best avoided to save stress.
GPS is your friend, especially when it comes to finding the nice quiet back roads.
30th October 2016 at 10:56 pm #
A box of wine, as referred to in the article, could well mean a dozen 750ml bottles, however the price quoted suggests to me they meant to say a ‘Flagon’ or ‘Cask wine’. Also known colloquially as ‘Goon’. Some goon is cheap, and some is not. It sounds like the writers of the article went down the middle of the price range. It comes in a two litre box, and when finished, the box can be ripped open to extract the inner wine bladder, this makes for a serviceable cushion shaped pillow if needs be. You can have any colour so long as it’s silver.
As a survival tip, with a little ingenuity, and leaving the empty cask intact if possible, they can be put back into service as a water container. You just need to figure the best way to get the water in, depending on your situation and items available to you.
26th September 2022 at 9:41 pm #
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