Travel Australia On A Budget: My $5000 Year (5049km)

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Want to travel Australia on a budget or with no money? I did, and you can too!

See ‘down under’ for one year for only $5000 (AUD) ≈$3300 (USD) £2750 (GBP)! Yes, you read that correctly. For the price of 12 days in a 5-star hotel, I travelled for 12 months. Let me show you how.

travel australia on a budget
In 2022, I travelled around Australia for 12 months on a $5000 (AUD) budget (≈$3300USD/$2750GBP). Image © Kate Zarb

‘Travelling to Australia’ is one of the most popular traveller bucket list items, and for good reason. Australia is a huge and diverse country; with everything from the sparkling white beaches of K’gari (Fraser Island) to the graffiti-lined city alleyways of uber-everything, Melbourne.

If you want to travel Aus/Oz on a tight budget, you’re not going to get very far without creativity. Australia has recently ranked as the country with the 11th highest cost of living. The rising prices of energy and food are real. So, while it’s an unforgettable place, costs can add up rapidly. Unless you’re a frugal travel blogger.

All prices are in Australian dollars (AUD). Currency converter.

How Much To Travel Australia For 12 Months (Average)?

There are many factors involved in an exact figure. The more luxurious your tastes, the more you’ll spend.

Most budget travel guides suggest $150 or more per day. Bloggers that I researched travelled around Australia for between $3200 – $6600 per month (or ≈$38,000 – $80,000 per year). Twelve months ‘down under’ might cost as much as a house deposit.

But… is there a cheaper way?

What Was MY Travel Australia Budget?

I set out in November 2021 to travel around Australia for the smallest amount possible.


Well, for a few reasons:

  1. As an experienced Aussie traveller effectively ‘quarantined’ in my own country and unable to go overseas during the pandemic, I decided to travel locally instead, but;
  2. I also wanted to find a fun way to save money for my next international trip;
  3. And, if I’m honest…I just enjoy setting myself strange challenges and then blogging the results.

When I set out, I had no idea how much I was going to spend. I knew only that I was going to use all of my budget travel knowledge gathered from over a decade ‘on the road’ and supercharge it.

That expensive energy drink that I was addicted to? Out.
Streaming subscription? Cancelled.
Thrifty meals of rice and beans. Cooked.

It wasn’t as luxurious as 12 nights at the Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park, but at times, it came close.

During the 12 months that I travelled Australia: I enjoyed ocean views from the private lap pool of my modern shorefront accommodation. I drove down the highway in my car while the sun set across the Australian outback. I picked fresh pawpaw and blueberries from the garden, while a wallaby looked on.

All this for $5291.73 Australian Dollars (≈$440/month. ≈$110/week. ≈$14/day).

Photo by Max on Unsplash

How To Travel Australia On A Budget: A Caveat

My costs don’t include travel to and from Australia, so you’ll have to add flights to your total price. Having flown back to the country a few times, here are my top tips for cheap flights to Australia:

  • Arrive/Depart in the ‘Off/Low/Winter’ Season (June to August) for cheaper fares. Australia has mild winters with average temperatures between “11°C (52°F) in the south to 30°C (86°F) in the north“.
  • Subscribe to the newsletters of discount Australian airlines (Jetstar, Virgin and Tiger Airways), as well the discount airlines in your country. This is often where sales are advertised.
  • Plan well ahead. Sale fares to Australia are often promoted a year to six months ahead of departure.

Now, let’s talk numbers…

My ‘Travel Australia On A Budget’ Yearly Breakdown ($5291.73)


As I discussed in detail in “Australia For Digital Nomads“, you have many transport options ‘down under’, and your choice will depend on how long and far you’re travelling (and your upfront budget).

  • Hiring is usually the most expensive long-term option.
  • Buying an RV/Campervan may be best for couples and/or those who plan on sleeping in their vehicle/camping for the majority of their trip, but registration, insurance and fuel prices increase with the size of the vehicle.
  • If you’re staying in the major cities, you can use a combination of public transport and Greyhound buses.
  • Ridesharing between popular backpacker destinations is another low-cost option.
  • If you’re foolhardy, you can hitchhike (but, please stay safe).

Car ($2005.72)

For me, buying a small used 2002 hatchback car was the cheapest and most efficient way to cover long distances on a budget. I then sold this car at the end of the journey.

With only a $100 folding camping mattress and a borrowed pillow and sleeping bag, I also had an emergency bed. Having such a small vehicle meant that I spent a relatively low amount on fuel/petrol for the distance that I covered. This was one of the main benefits of the Mitsubishi hatchback, and I’m glad that I made that decision.

One major takeaway from my experience: If you buy a car in Australia, learning how to maintain your vehicle and basic repair is the best way to save money. I learned to change my own oil and checked the fluid levels regularly. A cheap toolkit goes a long way.

Roadside Assist was also a life-saver, as they will help 24/7 in emergencies. Look for unlimited breakdown assistance/towing. I purchased mid-tier RACQ Roadside Assistance in Queensland. Members of the AMA (Australian Motoring Association) have reciprocal relationships, so membership in one state should cover you in others, but please confirm before purchasing.

While I was lucky overall, I did call for assistance twice – once to help change a particularly stubborn flat tyre. The mechanic who attended was able to recommend a cheap local repair place that helped patch the tyre for only $25. Another time, due to a very flat battery, he jumped started the car and a quick google suggested a $40 charger from Bunnings would save me around $200 on a new battery. I used this charger a number of times.

You might notice that I have not included the price of the car. As long as you pay a reasonable price, have comprehensive car insurance and maintain the vehicle well – you should be able to sell it at the end of your holiday and recoup your costs. Insuring the car for slightly more than you pay for it ensures that in the case of an unrepairable accident, you’ll make your money back (less any ‘excess’ and maintenance costs).

A pre-purchase inspection will confirm that the car is mechanically sound. Check that the car has recently passed a roadworthy inspection before purchasing. Buying from a used car dealer is more expensive, but may come with an optional warranty that gives you further certainty if you plan to re-sell. Some will even guarantee to buy the car back from you (although, often, for less).

For reference, I paid $3750 for a used 2002 Mitsubishi Mirage from a private dealer, which I then re-sold. Just be aware that older and poorly-maintained vehicles are less fuel efficient than modern equivalents, so it can actually be cheaper overall to pay more for a better car upfront and pay less for fuel and maintenance during ownership.

Tips to save money on your car:

  • Get a few comprehensive car insurance quotes online and then wait. In the next few days, the insurance companies will send you incentives like gift cards and discounts to encourage your purchase. You can save quite a bit of money this way. If you are confident, call the company and negotiate.
  • Insuring your car with a regional/rural address will often be cheaper than an address in a capital city.
  • If you need to repair something that is relatively straightforward, try and repair it yourself. Used parts online are a fraction of the price of new ones. Otherwise, compare a few different mechanics’ quotes for repair first. Watch a few online tutorials and follow the instructions closely. If you’re not sure, ask a mechanical friend/family member.
  • Use fuel comparison apps to find the cheapest fuel/petrol in the area.
  • Buy extra fuel/petrol when cheap/discounted and fill up a Jerry Can for later.
  • My RACQ membership gave me 4c/L off at Puma convenience stores. Look for fuel discounts, but check first as there may be an independent provider selling cheaper fuel/petrol elsewhere.
While she wasn’t glamorous, my Mitsubishi was highly fuel and cost-efficient. Image © Kate Zarb

Food ($1809.26)

To travel Australia on a budget, the second highest cost that I had was food.

At $1809.26 for the year, my weekly food bill averaged $34.79/wk.

Now, before you say to yourself, “Wow, that sounds cheap“; it is!

With the average single Australian spending $98/wk, to eat this cheaply, you might have to skip that Big Mac.

Instead of listing everything that I ate, it might help to start with what I didn’t.

During my $5000 year, I ate in a restaurant or cafe only four times and prepared food 99.99% of the time. These were almost always hot drinks purchased when very tired and without other options.

For many people, travelling is inherently linked with eating, and the idea of travelling to Australia (even on a budget) includes semi-regular visits to restaurants.

If so, you may replace another section of your budget with this.

For me, to travel Australia on the smallest budget possible, takeaway and restaurant food had to go.

I bought $16.70 worth of supermarket vegetables for $5.29 in the reduced section of my local fruit and vegetable store. Image © Kate Zarb

There were also a number of other factors in my budget:

  • I’m a vegetarian;
  • I don’t drink alcohol;
  • I try to live a zero-waste/low-plastic lifestyle.

For that reason, a weekly shopping list may not be helpful.

Instead, I want to share with you:
1) My general shopping strategy, and then;
2) all of the money-saving tips that I learned during the year.

Hopefully, you can then pick and choose the ones that will work for you.

P.S: I’m a VERY ordinary and lazy cook who tries to make the most nutritious and delicious food in the shortest time possible. So, while there may be preparation involved (soaking dried beans in water overnight, for example), my favourite meals are ones that you can do cheaply, quickly and easily.

My budget food shopping strategy

In the past, I would find recipes that looked easy and inexpensive, and then shop for everything. For example: On the Woolworths website, under ‘budget recipes’, is “Speedy Green Vegetable Couscous with Beetroot Hummus“.

1/3 cup flaked almonds
2 cups wholemeal couscous
250g frozen broccoli & cauliflower rice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground dried coriander
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup frozen baby peas
420g no-added-salt chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1/4 bunch coriander
200g beetroot hummus
100g Danish feta, crumbled
60g baby rocket
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

If I add all the ingredients of this recipe to my cart, it totals $30.50 – almost the entirety of my weekly budget on only one meal! Instead, now, I use recipes as inspiration only as I shop. Couscous is a budget staple, so I buy a $2 box. Chickpeas are also good value, but instead of a 420g can ($1), I buy 375g of dried ($1.90). Those chickpeas will, after cooking, turn into 937g. So, for the same unit price, I get more than double. In the discount/Asian/Indian/bulk food store nearby, I’ll get even more by buying in bulk.

To save, consider the unit price first. Pay more to buy more. That is, how much are you paying per g/kg. You can see this on the price on the shelf. It takes a while to get used to, but I ignore the price tag entirely now. I see how much I am getting for my money, not the overall cost… BUT ONLY if I use the item frequently.

If it’s a once-off, the cheapest item overall or buying just a small portion makes sense, but if I want to use an item regularly – I go for value not cost.

I use frozen peas regularly, so buy a 1kg bag for $2.70. It costs more upfront, but the price per /kg is much better.

I buy 100g of Danish Feta cheese from the deli for 82c (on special – ask for a reusable container) and 68c of almonds from the bulk dispenser. I have many of the other herbs and spices already.

This was one of the first things that I did – I spent $10 and bought my most commonly used 5 dried spices to make up a ‘spice kit’ in the car. I have fresh coriander in my DIY herb garden in pots from the supermarket to use when needed.

The vegetables are a bit expensive here, so I walk across to the fruit and vegetable store. I buy a bag of broccoli in the reduced section for $1.20. Often, I go to the reduced section first and depending on what I find, let that guide me. Things here are often wrapped in plastic though, which is a downside. Reuse/recycle, if possible.

I have garlic in the fridge and I can pick baby spinach leaves from the garden (and a few tomatoes too).

Ok, so it may not be exactly the same as the recipe, but it still tastes delicious. Instead of $30.50, I spent $8.30 and have enough regular meal staples like couscous, chickpeas and frozen peas for at least 2-3 other meals.

Tips to save money on food while travelling Australia:

  • Learn to plan ahead and meal prep.
  • For food that you use regularly, buy in bulk whenever possible.
  • Use expensive ingredients wisely; consider them a garnish. Reduce the amount required in recipes slightly and buy in small amounts (if possible). This includes meat – use it as a side, not the main element.
  • Focus on cheaper staples: flour, bread, pasta, rice, lentils and beans (pulses).
  • Cheap vegetable staples include potatoes, carrots, cabbage and seasonal produce. Buy in season.
  • For vegetarians: tofu, TVP (texturised vegetable protein) and pulses are your cheapest protein source.
  • A few budget flavourings I like to ‘have on hand’ are salt, pepper, dried herbs, tomato paste, minced garlic, soy sauce, french onion soup, coconut milk, vegetable stock powder and lemon/lime juice.
  • Learn to make basic bread like flatbreads, focaccia and pancakes. These are cheap and filling.
  • Tea, coffee, milk powder, hot chocolate powder and sugar will save you $1000s. Just add hot water.
  • Grow any herbs or vegetables that you can. A few pots of herbs from the store in a box is all you need.
  • You can re-grow lots of vegetables from the supermarket: Spring onions just need a glass of water.
  • Consider sprouts. They can be grown anywhere and don’t need soil or a garden.
  • Learn to forage in public spaces and with permission. Lemons, rosemary and mulberries are common.
You can occasionally find incredible deals at independent supermarkets and retailers, but they are expensive overall. Image © Kate Zarb

Finally, a word about supermarkets…

  • Broadly speaking, IGA and Foodworks (especially in regional areas) are the most expensive overall. Occasionally, you’ll find a good value independent supermarket, but they are rare. Boutique/organic grocers can be very pricey.
  • Coles and Woolworths are everywhere, but rarely the cheapest, being somewhere in the middle.
  • Aldi can be great for bulk buying, and it is probably the cheapest overall but…’s the REAL secret: supermarkets are convenient, not cheap.

I will generally only do about 20% of my shopping in the supermarket (mainly reduced/sale items), 30% in discount/Asian/Indian/bulk food stores and 50% in fruit and vegetable stores, local markets/providers.

Tips to save money on food while in Australian supermarkets:

  • Have a shopping list AND STICK TO IT.
  • See something fresh in bulk on special? Plan how to use it, or you may just waste it (and your money).
  • Buy regular items on sale, but don’t buy things just because they are on sale. Often, we just don’t use it.
  • Have a list of food in the cupboard/fridge/esky for reference.
  • Buy ‘Odd/misshapen’ food whenever possible. Looks weird, but tastes great.

Local businesses (bakeries/butchers/fruit and veg) are trying to compete in any way they can and often have a few items massively discounted to get customers ‘in the door’. Buy more when you see these specials on your regular items and then go to their reduced section. They are more aware of waste, so you can often buy huge bags of food that they want to get rid of for a very small amount. Some of it may need to be thrown out/washed but it can be of great value.

  • Rescue that bag of grapes with one bad one at the bottom, save money and support a local business!
  • Visit markets just before closing for ‘end-of-day’ bargains.
  • Haggle, if appropriate, but be respectful about it. Have fun with it and you’ll get a better result. Smile.

If you’re going to be in one place for a while, plant some fast-growing vegetables like lettuce, rocket, Asian greens (boy choi, choi sum), zucchini, radish, baby carrots, silverbeet or kale. Sprouts are even faster!

Buy expensive ingredients in small amounts at a bulk food store to save on waste. You can often also buy things like soap powder, washing liquid, oil, peanut butter, nuts, spices and in small amounts – perfect for travelling.

Go around the back of the store and check out the skip (dumpster)?

Yes, it takes a few hours longer each week to plan, compare prices, and shop around. You also have to be creative and flexible with your ingredients and substituting. It may not be worth it for you, but this is how I travelled Australia on such a tight budget. Even if you only use a few of these ideas while you travel, you’ll save!

If you have time or space, grow as much food as you can. Image © Kate Zarb

Health & Beauty ($746)

Medical ($147.50)

As an Australian citizen – although I didn’t require it – I was lucky to be covered for any potential medical costs in our free public medical system (Medicare).

“If you are an overseas visitor from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, the Republic of Ireland, Norway and New Zealand, you generally have access to Medicare under your country’s reciprocal health care agreement with Australia. This means you can receive emergency treatment in the public health system free of charge, which you would not otherwise be entitled to.

[Other] overseas visitors who hold temporary visas are not generally eligible to use Medicare. This means that if you need medical attention while you are visiting Australia you could find yourself substantially out of pocket. Even in a public hospital you could be charged more than $1,000 a day in hospital fees alone.

For this reason, before you travel to Australia, research Overseas Visitors’ Health Cover and/or Travel Medical Insurance. I’ve heard good things about the budget-conscious SafetyWing but have not used it myself, so please do your due diligence. For reference: A 35-year-old from the USA will spend ≈$800/year (AUD) for SafetyWing Travel Medical Insurance in Australia. Prices will change based on your age.

In QLD, I do not pay ambulance coverage and as a resident, I am also covered for interstate costs. Tasmanian residents also receive free ambulance coverage within QLD. Residents of all other states (and countries) will need either private ambulance cover or to pay for a membership to their state ambulance service. Check with your Medical Insurance provider that you are covered for the costs of ambulances.

I have asthma, so did purchase medication during the year, but due to being relatively healthy and fit my costs for health were luckily pretty low overall. I spent $147.50 on prescriptions and a once-yearly flu shot (vaccination).

Please consult the authorities in your passport country for the most up-to-date health insurance information.

Exercise ($0)

I love walking and don’t like gyms, so I walk 5-10km day. It’s free and a form of meditation. Exercising regularly can lead to huge reductions in healthcare costs in the long term. Consider Yoga and a regular stretch routine.

There are many free and low-cost exercise programs run at a federal, state and community level in Australia. The Heart Foundation has walking groups throughout the country, Park Run has free, weekly, community events.

Saturday morning events are 5k and take place in parks and open spaces. On Sunday mornings, there are 2k junior parkruns for children aged four to 14… Simply complete the registration form, print your barcode and head down to your local event.

Look for free alternatives to gyms like outdoor exercise equipment in parks here: Adelaide (City of Mitcham, City of Charles Sturt); Brisbane City Council; City of Darwin; Melbourne and Regional Victoria (via Melbourne Playgrounds); City of Sydney.

A search for “outdoor exercise equipment + town” often brings up locations on the local council website.

Dental ($218)

Another health-related area I paid extra for is dental. Dental cover, while theoretically free, can come with months-long waiting periods in Australia. I bought private dental-only health coverage ($79 from Smile Dental) for the year. This entitled me to reduced-cost dental consultations and procedures (if necessary). Luckily I didn’t need any major treatment but the membership entitled me to discounted six-monthly cleans and checkups. In my experience, keeping your teeth healthy is a lot cheaper than costly dental work.

Tips to save money on dental while in Australia:

  • Dentists often have an ‘introductory’ (discounted) price for new clients, especially ‘clean and check-up’ packages. This is perfect for those travelling through. Call a few dentists in the area and compare prices.
  • Ask for a few of those sample tubes of toothpaste at the dentist.
  • Many people swear by baking soda as a cheaper/eco alternative to toothpaste.

Toiletries ($158.80)

Now, I’ve stayed in a few people’s homes over the $5000 year and people seem to buy A LOT of hygiene and beauty products. I’ve seen 20-step skincare routine videos, and find them perplexing. If that’s you, then, my list might seem rather short. If you’re a male, it probably seems rather reasonable.

Either way, this is the minimum amount of products that I felt comfortable using without compromising my appearance or health. Here’s an example of the bulk purchase I made at the beginning of the year (and which lasted me for the entire 12 months):

For less than $100, I bought almost all of my toiletries for a year. Image © Kate Zarb

The only product that I couldn’t find online when I put that shopping list together was Rid Ultimate Antiseptic Insect Repellent Antiseptic 500ml Lotion.

Like other bulk products on this list, it is INCREDIBLE value compared to the small-sized products.

Spending a lot of time in subtropical Queensland meant that cost-efficient insect repellent was a non-negotiable item. The 500ml size is very popular, so you might have to look in a number of stores to find it.

Three bottles of that took my entire spend to $158.80.

Now, being a woman, there may be some obvious omissions:

1) Make-up. I don’t wear it. I’m lucky to work from home and my work doesn’t require it of me.
2) Hair care products. I don’t use them as I have a short, easy-to-maintain hairstyle.
3) Menstrual products. I already owned them, but a combination of menstrual cups, reusable pads and period underwear has been the most cost-efficient (and environmentally friendly) way to manage menstruation.

I already owned a stainless steel safety razor and blades, nail clippers, tweezers and a nail file. These are all very budget eco options. I regularly use coconut oil for dry skin (elbows, feet and cuticles) and a DIY sugar scrub.

What’s important is that I am clean, well-groomed (neat hair, teeth and nails) and my clothes are well cared for. This can be a challenge ‘on the road’ sometimes but doesn’t take a lot of money to achieve. Sunscreen applications and sun-smart clothing are essential in Australia. Buy your sunscreen in bulk, especially in summer.

Haircuts ($222)

Although I don’t wear makeup or use many ‘beauty’ products, I am a working professional. For me, that involves regular hair trims to the short style that I wear. For me, regular trims every 8-10 weeks were essential. If you’re travelling on a budget around Australia, you might embrace the wandering hippie aesthetic.

Another option is to become a hair model. Offer your hair to a trainee hairdresser or a hair stylist who wants to put a certain look in their portfolio. You may not get to choose the style, cut and colour so make sure you know what they are looking for before you sign up. Look for “Hair Models [Insert City]” with groups in every major city.

For the cheapest option, buy clippers and shave your head.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash.

Clothing & Footwear ($299.45)

Whenever I see backpackers, I can tell how long they have been travelling by the size of their backpacks. The first-timers are struggling with huge, overstuffed bags. It’s often because they’ve got too many clothes and shoes! I laugh when I see house-sized wardrobes worth of clothing spilling out in every direction from dorms.

Those who have been on the road for a while usually have a much more streamlined setup.

I began many years ago with an 80L pack, which grew smaller (60L) and smaller (50L) until I settled on my current 40L PacSafe Vibe.

I can now travel so lightly because of two main ideas that I wish I’d known about much earlier: capsule wardrobes and layering.

A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of items that can be mixed and matched to form multiple combinations. Many people stick to a colour scheme or palette like neutrals or just a few colours that work well together. Personally, I wear a lot of earth tones and everything I own can be paired with everything else. I only buy new items that I can wear with what I already own.

If you’ve already got a lot of clothes, consider laying out what you’re going to take to Australia and building a capsule wardrobe around these items. Remember Australia is a warm-hot country in general, and depending on what time you’ll visit, you may not need very many clothes at all!

If you are arriving in winter and/or travelling to cooler and alpine areas, consider layering.

This may involve buying wool or polyester clothing from outdoor/camping/hiking stores and adding/removing clothing as needed. It can be expensive upfront, but a few quality garments can get you through an entire season for only a few hundred dollars of good, well-insulated clothing in natural fibres (or polyester blends).

Tips to save money on clothes and shoes while in Australia:

  • If you’ve got time, look for specials/sales or buy off-season. Winter clothing can be bought for a massive discount at the end of winter and summer clothing at the end of summer;
  • Look for outlet stores that sell clothing for reduced prices and ‘Big box’ stores like Target and Kmart sell low-cost basic clothing items where I buy an entire season in one shop ;
  • Consider op-shops (thrift/second-hand/used clothing stores). They usually have new/unworn items. In tourist towns, outdoor and hiking clothes/shoes can be bought – at a big discount – when visitors sell;
  • Plan ahead. Like food shopping, planning out your wardrobe ahead of time will save you a lot of money.
  • Consider lightweight walking/trail shoes instead of more expensive hiking boots.
  • If you need hiking/outdoor gear, look on gumtree and facebook marketplace for used goods.
I stayed in a lot of beautiful accommodation for very little money by house-sitting. Image © Kate Zarb

Accommodation ($238)

For many readers, this is likely to be the section that you were most surprised by. Accommodation in Australia is expensive, and for many, my annual expenses are the average cost of an AirBNB for one night in the city.

So, how did I do it?

House Sitting

What is house sitting? Well, when you go away on holiday, there is a lot of risk of leaving your home empty.

If you are away for more than 60 days, your home insurance provider may consider your house “unoccupied” and you could possibly lose your cover. Without the normal comings and goings of people in the home, a letterbox with mail piling up and lights off at night, the house can become a target for robbery.

If you have a beloved pet that you can’t take with you and a garden that needs regular watering, the costs of a boarding kennel and the pressure on a neighbour to keep it under control can be high.

Plus, wouldn’t you rather have your dog and/or cat happily at home? That’s why people hire house sitters.

You stay in people’s homes for the duration of their holiday, keep their pets fed/walked/loved, and maintain their garden, pool and house. In return, you can live rent (and utility bill) free. It’s a great arrangement and I loved it. In fact, I plan on continuing house-sitting full-time long into the future. You generally do not receive payment for your services, but you will exchange your time and care for free accommodation, no utility bills and other potential perks. That’s how I keep my accommodation expenses so low.

I did three ‘house sits’ during the 12 months of travelling (7 months + 3 months + 2 months), but to be transparent, this may be difficult to replicate for beginners. I was already an experienced house sitter with a strong online profile, website and lots of good references. It is possible but takes organisation and flexibility.

The websites that I recommend joining are Aussie House Sitters ($79/year) and Mindahome ($59/year). By using these two websites, setting up daily alerts and watching the site closely – I was able to schedule house sitting with few gaps. For more info on how to find long-term house-sitting gigs, check out my house-sitting guides.

I purchased a tri-fold foam camping mattress and free camped in my car for less than seven nights in the year, mainly at National Parks. I enjoyed the quietness and access to hiking trails, but if you’re not keen on camping in your vehicle, read my post: Australia For Digital Nomads for budget-friendly options.

Communication ($120)

Thankfully, due to house sitting, I didn’t need to pay for wifi or internet during my $5000 year.

I purchased a Pre-Paid Mobile Plan from Woolworths Mobile for $20/month (Enter code 6CA66C for a $10 Gift Card!).

This included enough mobile internet data for checking emails and using Google Maps.

Read my post: Australia For Digital Nomads for all of your free and low-cost communication options.

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash.

Shopping ($73)

Finally, a word about shopping.

You may notice that I didn’t buy much other than the basics in the year and that’s true to a point.

Whenever I ‘needed’ something, I first thought about whether I could repurpose something that I already owned to do the same job. If not, I wrote it on a list in my car. I would stop at Op Shops with this list. Eventually, I got most items. More often than not, the longer that the item sat on my list, I knew that I didn’t really need it.

Is Travelling Around Australia With No Money Fun?

I recently saw an “extreme” budget traveller post on reddit with a similar budget to mine and comments focused on the lack of spending on ‘fun’ activities.

I had A LOT of fun in the $5000 year!

The things that are fun for me are:

  • Exploring new places;
  • Reading a book in the sunshine;
  • Hiking through lush green forests;
  • Swimming at the beach;
  • Visiting art galleries and museums;
  • Drawing;
  • Learning new skills via online courses.

Like with other areas of spending, use this as a guide only and spend money on the things that will make your Australian adventure a memorable one.

Want to take a whale-watching tour? Do it.
A comfy bed in a hotel? Do it.
A bottle of Chardonnay from the Barossa Valley? Do it.

You can travel Australia on a budget (a very tight one!) and if you follow my tips throughout this post you’ll save a lot of money. Have fun and enjoy ‘down under’ in your own way. You just don’t have to break the bank to do it!

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