Financial questions like ‘How much does it cost to travel Australia?” are the most common topic we’re asked about from our community and readers, so we thought it might be useful to give some idea of what it could possibly cost you to do a lap around Oz.
Sadly, this question just like many others related to travelling is another “how long is a piece of string” question; one that is highly dependent on your own personal travel choices and desires. For that reason, I can’t tell you exactly how much it costs to travel Australia, but I can give some insight into the typical costs and expenses you’re likely to face on the road, and how some of your choices may help to stretch your budget or swallow it up with great speed.
The average cost we see thrown around tends to be $100 per day, lots of families spend more than this and lots spend less, it depends on your setup and how luxurious or frugal you’d like your travel to be.
If you haven’t started to plan your lap of Australia, then go here first for some insight.
The Biggest Expenses You’ll Face, Travelling Australia.
Your biggest expense on the road is usually one of three things:
For Us The Biggest Expense When Travelling Australia Is Fuel.
That’s because our chosen travel vehicle for our trip was a Nissan Patrol. It’s a great four wheel drive and will get us almost anywhere and it has a very generous tow limit (one of the best on the market), the pay-off for this, is that it is a heavy vehicle, and it likes to drink A LOT of diesel. So, for us, I think at the moment we are getting about 700kms to our 110 litre dual tanks. This can vary on how much of the time we are towing, and the terrain we are towing in. Without towing, we get over 800kms to our dual tanks, and lately, it’s been costing around $140-$160 to fill up. Of course, if we’re in smaller towns or remote areas, diesel is going to cost us a lot more and the cost of filling both tanks is likely to head to $200+.
So, this means for us, if we want or need to move long distances quickly, we’re going to pay the price with a large fuel bill. We spread this large expense out by travelling relatively slowly, and shorter distances at a time.
Free Camping Keeps Accommodation Costs Down When Doing A Lap Of Aus.
We almost always free camp or budget camp. If we aren’t free camping, we’re budget camping. By budget camping we’re aiming for $20 per night or less. If you don’t like free camping or are not set-up to be self sufficient, then the reality is you’re accommodation expenses are going to be much larger than ours, especially if you’re aiming to stay in caravan parks.
For a family of five to stay in a caravan park, we generally would be looking at paying from $35 (this would be a very cheap park) right through to $120+ per night. It’s really difficult to afford long term travel if required to pay an average of $100 per night for a family.
There is nothing wrong with caravan parks just know this option costs more: Caravan parks have their place, we were always staying in caravan parks before we chose to do some long term travel. Caravan parks are the perfect place for families to stay on holiday. Caravan parks are a wonderful way to take an enjoyable break from the rigours of free camping and enjoy wonderful facilities. Some families are able to budget to stay in caravan parks as part of their journey. For us, we just couldn’t afford it.
There is often tension between long term travellers and caravan park owners. I wish it wasn’t the case, but it occurs because there’s often a lot of pressure forced upon councils in certain areas to close free camping areas so that people stay within caravan parks only. What generally happens in this case is that families and travellers either bypass the area all together or stay only a day or two and move on instead of staying longer and spending more money in town.
There needs to be a balance, and you need to make the choice that is affordable for your family. Setting yourself up to be able to free camp before you leave, will make your travels cheaper in the long run.
Keeping Food Costs Low When Travelling Australia With Kids
The trick to keeping food costs low when travelling Australia is planning! Planning your food and meals helps you to not only cut down on the expense of the food you buy; it also helps you to minimise any food wastage. There are several points to consider when it comes to food:
- Larger towns and centres will mean cheaper food bills, it’s a good idea to stock up on non-perishables when you’re in areas with access to cheaper food prices.
- Getting creative with staples will help keep your food bills down. Things like rice, pasta, coconut cream, tinned fish, tinned tomatoes and other tinned veggies, flour, sugar and salt will help you rustle up a great meal even when other ingredients aren’t readily available.
- Take advantage of regional produce. While not everywhere in Australia is a food producing region; many of the areas you visit will provide access to beautiful fresh produce directly from the farm gate. Tasmania has an abundance of boutique food providers and food growers and our food bill there was great – unless you’re in a remote area as I mentioned already, then we had to buy smart!
- Plan your meals and DON’T overcook! You’re not going to have the storage space you’re used to in a house, and you won’t have access to a giant fridge either; this means that storage space for leftover is limited! When you do have leftovers, be sure to eat them for the next meal or at the latest the next day, often caravan and camp fridges can struggle so it’s best to eat them quickly and do be sure to re-heat thoroughly.
- Don’t Eat OUT!! Eating from cafe’s or takeaway stores will eat into your travel budget! Pack your lunch, take healthy snacks and only drink water out of a drink bottle you carry with you. This alone will save you thousands of dollars that are better spent elsewhere!
Other Tricks For Saving Money When Travelling & Keeping Costs Down
Don’t go to every attraction you come across: If you saw a zoo or a wildlife centre in the last town, really think about whether you need to visit one at your current stop. Some attractions are well worth the extra expense, some however will be a bit repetitive. Usually you will find free or gold-coin donation entry at local museums and historical centres which will often be a whole lot more beneficial for learning and understanding the region.
Keep Gas Stocked Up in Larger City Centres: We got stuck paying over $40 for a gas bottle refill in a remote area because we just didn’t realise there would be such a big price difference. We could have filled it up for $25 only 50kms before! It was a mistake we didn’t make twice.
Visit Visitor Information Centres For Discounts: Not only do visitor information centres offer a wealth of local knowledge, you’ll also find visitor booklets on display and you’ll often be nicely surprised by the number of coupon vouchers on offer! Any saving is a saving that helps you travel further!
How Much Do You Spend Travelling Australia?
There are so many variables for the cost of travelling around the country that your experience may well differ from ours. Have you got any tips for our readers on how much it costs to travel or how to save money while on the road? We’d love to hear it, just leave a comment below.
A huge hello to those who have found us via my “Blog of the Week” talk with Andrew on 2GB Radio. We’re really happy to have you here checking out the blog, and we can’t wait to talk with Andrew again in a few months to update him and talk some more about how to fulfill this crazy dream!
I thought I’d pick out a few of our previous blog posts for you to get you started and give you some idea about heading off and travelling around Australia, but, if you have any specific questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to sign up to our email newsletter over on the right hand side of our website.
If you think this travel dream is something that you will only ever dream of doing, then I want you, indeed I beg you to leave that thought where it stands, and trust me that it’s possible for ANYONE to travel Australia. I promise you we don’t have a slush fund, we weren’t and aren’t in high paying jobs, we are very budget conscious and we’ll also be working as we travel, we’re an average Aussie family.
Tips about getting ready to travel Australia:
We wrote an overview about many of the major considerations you’ll need to think about when you decide to head of on a trip around Australia, we cover the initial questions you’ll want to ask yourself to get an idea of what your dream trip will look like, so click here for our big lap of Australia starter planning.
We wrote about choosing a car to travel Australia, as well as some modifications we did to the Patrol.
We’ve written a little on income when on the road, but we’ll cover more about this soon.
The Mindset it Takes to Travel Long Term
We’ve collaborated with other bloggers to write about mindset and why you need to create your own luck to make your dreams come true.
We’ve written about how we too got bogged down into the struggles of life and had to kick ourselves to make our dreams happen.
About the struggles it takes for massive life change to get on the road, here and here and here.
What Else You’ll Find on our Site
While there’s lots about our travel that we’re struggling madly to get up on the blog, you’ll find info about many of the places we’ve visited, some of our tips about travelling Australia with a dog, and there’s so much more coming.
We have a great Facebook community, and we regularly send out our newsletter, as well as run competitions and we’re always happy to answer questions.
Whether you want to plan to explore Australia for a few months, or open ended as we are, then we’re here to help you any way we can. Feel free to comment below and we’ll get back to you!tra
It’s confession time. I’ve been known to joke that I check I have my phone on me before I check where my kids are, and I’m ashamed to say, it’s not an over-exaggeration. Luckily my kids are old enough to know not to wander far, but the fact they’ve seen me on more than one occasion have a borderline panic attack when I misplaced my phone for a millisecond probably isn’t a good example for how to use technology responsibly in our lives.
I’m aware of how technology affects our lives. I try to make a conscious effort to lower my phone when answering their questions, and look them in the eye, but here’s the horrible truth:
Perhaps even more disturbingly, when I look around the living room of an evening, the television is on, the adults are nursing iPhones, and the kids a range of iPods and iPads, I wonder if we’ve got things horribly wrong.
When it comes to your own travel vs technology, are your family holidays affected?
I’m not alone in thinking even family travel is held at ransom by tech obsession. Tourism and Events Queensland found in a recent survey that 80% of people admitted to texting while also talking to someone else, 53% of respondents admit to using their phone on the toilet, I’m guilty on both these counts as are most people I know. Somehow though, I don’t think my husband would be too happy if I was one of the 48% of respondents who admitted to their smartphone interrupting them during sex. Maintaining a sex life with three children is hard enough so our phones can bow out of that one.
When news hit my inbox this morning that the Sunshine Coast is aiming to become the world’s first destination to combat smartphone dependency by introducing phone free zones, it caught my attention. As a blogger caught up in the world of internet and social media, I’m guilty as charged for Instagramming my food, interrupting the kid’s enjoyment of a destination in order to capture the best photos and videos, and I can say I’m with the 65% of people who said they could never leave their phone for 24 hours.
My husband is forever nagging me that I’m too busy looking at my phone to see all the awesome scenery we drive through on our road trips, so I guess that adds me to the 48% of people who have argued with their partner over smartphone usage.
The Sunshine Coast is telling us, in order to really enjoy our lives; we must make time to consciously switch off. Talk to our partners and our friends, our children and loved ones with undivided attention. Stop and look around, breathe in the beauty of life that surrounds us, without being tempted to check our emails or post photos online.
British technology expert, Dr. Tom Chatfield says ‘this doesn’t mean that technology is something bad, or toxic, that we ought to try and give up. A better way of thinking about it is that we want to be gourmets of technology and if we love it and want to make the most of its wonderful possibilities, we should pick and choose and select and not just stuff our faces with it continually.’
Introducing the Smarter Smartphone Code of Conduct:
- Avoid being a search-it-all. Make the most of the moment and seek out your own special corner of the Sunshine Coast.
- Elbows and phones off the table. Make the most of the moment with great food and company.
- Kiss your phone goodnight. Make the most of your night with a restful night’s sleep or some romance.
- Look before you snap. Make the most of the moment and take in this truly breathtaking place.
- Take a phone-free day. Make the most of the moment and experience nature without distractions.
- Talk now, text later. Make the most of the moment and enjoy this precious time together.
- Taste before you upload. Make the most of the moment and savour every mouthful.
While it’s likely I’ll struggle to go phone-free, perhaps a trip to the Sunshine Coast is in order to help me, after all I could think of worse ways to try and combat tech addiction. The most important part of campaigns like this is the fact they make us think, they make us aware and mindful. I don’t think I’m alone in admitting that I’m tired. Tired of being constantly connected, tired of being ignored by my children sitting on their devices, and I can’t complain about their behaviour when it’s a mirror of my own. It’s time to take some tech time-out, join me if you dare.
We are super, super excited to be giving someone the chance to head to Taronga Zoo Sydney for an amazing day out. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Sydney with kids and we’ve made it really easy for you to enter.
All you need to do is be a liker of our facebook page, and share our photo to enter.
The winner will be drawn randomly and will be announced on Facebook.
Good luck everyone, and we can’t wait to put a smile on a lucky family’s face!
Visit our Facebook Page here.
If you’ve been following our hunt for the best family activities in Sydney, you’ll know we had a great time exploring Sydney things to do with kids, and experience things we’d never had the chance to do before. Something we hadn’t considered doing before was bike riding in Sydney with kids. We were really excited to visit the awesome people at Manly Bike Tours who provided us with the perfect bike setup, so every family member could have a great time.
I’ll be truthful, I don’t think I’d really ridden a bike since school and I felt pretty wobbly when we started out. Matt and the kids were really confident, and Byron was tucked nicely behind Matt’s bike on a tag-along bike so that he could enjoy the ride, but not get too tired or have an accident. He enjoyed being on the tag-along, but something tells me he would have been a better rider than his poor mum :).
Anyway, wobbles were soon forgotten and we headed off along the Manly Esplanade, and WOW! It was gorgeous! I soon forgot that it had been years since I’d enjoyed the freedom of bike riding and started to navigate my way amongst the walkers, joggers, couples and children scattered along the esplanade enjoying the warm, sunny afternoon. I was really surprised at how relaxing the experience was, and to be honest got totally disappointed when the couple of hours we’d allocated to spending here was coming to an end.
We chose to stick to the Esplanade, which is a safer option with the kids, rather than navigating streets and crossings. When you pick your bike up from Manly Bike Tours, it’s a short walk through the corso over to the esplanade. It’s important to note that you need to walk your bikes through the corso as no bikes are allowed to be ridden in there. Helmets are provided, and you can see by our photos that little carry packs are located on the front of the bikes that allow you to carry items such as your mobile phone etc.
The Where and How of Bike Riding with Kids in Manly
Our bikes were provided by Manly Bike Tours. They offer a huge range of bikes for adults and kids including tag-alongs and bike trailers for littlies. The team provide maps and will give you a run down on where is the best track to take based on how challenging you’d like your ride to be and the ages of your kids.
Enjoy Manly with Kids
While this wasn’t something I’d considered doing before, hiring a bike and exploring Manly was a really special way to experience the Manly Esplanade, and show the kids another side to Sydney. I totally fell in love with Manly while we were there, as it had been years since we’d visited. We stayed there the night and enjoyed an evening wander through the corso, had dinner down on the wharf and despite being exhausted by a morning at Taronga Zoo, we took the time to soak up the warm, salt filled evening, and finished up with a treat of Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream when we wandered home to our hotel and then relaxed in the spa!
Next time your looking for Sydney things to do with kids, then be sure to head over to Manly, hire a bike and explore the amazing area, we promise you won’t be disappointed, even if you start out a bit wobbly on the bike like me 🙂
If you’re looking for the best family attractions in Sydney so you can have a great day out with the kids, then we absolutely must recommend Taronga Zoo. We recently visited Taronga as part of our 2 day holiday exploring the best family activities in Sydney and wow did we have fun!
Our Family Day Out at Taronga Zoo.
The day started with excitement and suspense with an early morning start and drive down the highway to Sydney. As we approached the grand entrance, the kids couldn’t control their excitement, trying their hardest to guess what animals they might see inside. The kids spotted the sky-lift first up just outside the main gate, so we jumped aboard and did the round trip “WOW” the view was breathtaking and gave us a good idea of where we wanted to go first, with views over the harbour and over the zoo. The sky-lift is used for ferry access too and from the zoo.
After taking in the view, we headed straight for the seal show which was amazing!
Here’s an insider tip, if you’re going to sit down in the front row, you might want to bring a towel with you 🙂
The keepers are really great with these amazing animals. The seals showed off their amazing speed and acrobatic abilities whilst simulating their hunting techniques and teaching us about the man-made threats they encounter in the wild, with one of the biggest threats being ocean pollution.
Next on the list was the mountain Gorillas, who were active, especially the babies, as feed time was approaching. The overwhelming size of the male demanded respect and the way they interacted with each other was humorous and cheeky.
The keeper gave an informative talk about their natural habits and environmental dangers affecting them which shocked us when we heard that the biggest threat to these amazing animals is coltan mining, a substance that is used in all mobile phones!
This information left us with a great message to recycle our old mobiles, something we all need to remember.
A short stroll up the hill was the Giraffes exhibit where they enjoy one of the greatest views of the harbour ,the kids spotted the reptile section which was amazing then we headed down to grab some lunch at the food court which had a great variety of food and over looked the majestic elephants . After lunch we headed down to see the penguins and leopard seals , another amazing exhibit with under water viewing .
There’s just way too many animals to list but it was an a day we won’t forget .
How to Get to Taronga Zoo Sydney
Taronga Zoo is located in Mosman on the North Shore of Sydney. To add some fun to your day out, you can consider taking a ferry from the city which is a super exciting family experience, and a great way to see the harbour. Buses are also available, but will take longer, and if you prefer, there’s plenty of parking and finding your way there via car is pretty easy, using either your own GPS or maps on your phone which is what we did. The car park is an easy walk to the entrance, there is a parking fee, so remember to take your ticket with you so you can pay on your way out back to the car park.
Tips for Visiting Taronga Zoo Sydney with Kids.
- Spending the day out at the zoo with kids is a HUGE day, and we mean HUGE!! There is so much to see, that you’ll be kept busy for an entire day. Here’s our tips for making sure you have a great day out.
- Good, comfortable walking shoes are essential
- Be sure to pack a hat and sunscreen
- Pack plenty of bottled water, there are cafe’s there if you forget, but you’ll need to keep hydrated.
- Pack your own lunch and snacks if you’re on a budget. Again, there is food available, and there’s a good variety of choices for what to eat, but as any parent will know, eating out with kids can be expensive and packing your own will save money.
- For young children a stroller would be a good idea (The zoo offers them for hire if you need to borrow one).
- Download the free iphone app for a bit of extra fun.
- Buy your tickets online before you arrive to save time.
- Plan your day, but be flexible, The map provided is a great resource and the show times will all be provided, plan accordingly so not to miss the informative keeper talks.
- Allow yourselves plenty of time so you have time to stop, relax and enjoy.
Do Something for the Benefit of the Planet.
Remember, that by visiting the zoo, you’re doing great things to contribute toward research and breeding programs that support endangered animals worldwide. If you’re feeling generous and want to do something unique, think about adopting an animal. We adopted the Bilbies, and it was great to see them up close knowing our donation had helped even if just a little toward helping the zoo do great things for Bilbies.
So if you’re looking for the best family fun in Sydney, consider heading to the zoo, you won’t be disappointed.
Have you been to Taronga Zoo Sydney? What was your favourite animal?