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The Cost of Traveling in Australia: Tours and Activities
During my #active trips to #Australia, I've learned that it can be just about as expensive as you make it. Some experiences are worth it, like #bungeejumping, but some things you can still enjoy on a #budget. There are days during the month where the museums are free, and there are even free wine tastings around town!
This is the fourth post in a series about the cost of traveling in Australia. This week we focus on the cost of tours and other activities. Keep reading next week for the budget guide to everything else, including but not limited to living expenses, transportation and shopping.
BUNGY JUMPING AT AJ HACKETT
Budget Open Water Dive Course in Cairns
Helicopter Cascade Flight Over Cairns
When you’re considering the cost of traveling in Australia, you might think you won’t spend as much on sightseeing as you will in reality. You pay a premium for such unique experiences, like camping in the Outback or scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef.
While I didn’t do the Great Ocean Road as a tour, tour packages average at $400. Alternatively, you can hire a campervan, which starts at $50 per day. Skydiving is another popular activity I didn’t partake in, but costs $280 and up.
Do the costs add up quickly? Yes. But can I do this independently without a tour? Absolutely. Is it cheaper? I doubt it. You have to factor in the costs of transportation, entrance into national parks, campground fees and food.
Museums are typically free with the exception of special exhibits, which shouldn’t cost more than $20 AUD. The attractions that are not free often offer a student discount if you have a student ID. They also have one day per month when they offer free admission. Take advantage of local parks and spaces, like Sydney’s Hyde Park, Brisbane’s Roma Street Parkland and Melbourne’s Federation Square. Many of these have free WiFi, public restrooms and barbecues for public use. Other free attractions include Canberra’s Australian War Memorial and all other national museums, Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria and Sydney’s Bondi to Coogee Walk.
There are a number of free activities to keep your costs low, including free walking tours of Sydney and Melbourne. In Adelaide you can tour the Haigh’s chocolate factory for free, which ends with free samples. Urban Adventures offers reasonably priced day tours of destinations throughout Australia.
If you know you want to do tours of Fraser Island and the Whitsundays, it can actually be cheaper to book with a travel agency like Adventure Travel Bugs. They usually throw in a free night’s accommodation here and there, as well as food vouchers and free WiFi or computers at all of their offices.
When visiting wine country, like Hunter Valley outside Sydney, Yarra Valley outside Melbourne and Margaret River Valley outside of Perth, be sure to drive up to vineyards and cellar doors, which always have free tastings and cheap “clean skin” bottles.
Keeping It Cheap
Sign up for deal sites like Cudo.com.au that can get you the experiences you want at half the price. Take advantage of free festivals and events. I went to dozens in Sydney, like the Newtown Festival, Sydney Aroma Festival, Vivid Sydney and dozens more. They often have free entertainment with food and craft booths set up.
At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you had these experiences, despite the costs. But you can cut corners to avoid bankrupting your savings.