Though Australia is a big country and it takes time to travel from one destination to another, with a little careful planning and some local knowledge, it is easy to fit other worthwhile destinations into your itinerary with little or no extra demands on your budget or time. We have suggestions on minimising travel time, ways to travel that will end up costing you nothing or very little, how to keep your days free for sightseeing and visit more places by utilising night travel, and reveal the journeys that are as rewarding and enjoyable as the destinations they take you to.
If you are an overseas visitor, there are a number of rail passes available that allow you to travel across Australia by train at low cost. Most passes give you unlimited travel on certain railway networks over a set period of time for a set price, thus, the more you use it, the cheaper each journey becomes.
One of the most popular - the Ausrail Pass - offers you 6 months of unlimited travel right across Australia between Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Brisbane and Canberra, plus travel along the east coast all the way up to Cairns.
The Rail Explorer Pass provides unlimited travel on Great Southern Rail's trains (The Ghan, Indian Pacific and The Overland) to International visitors to Australia during a six month period.
Note: All rail passes are only available to persons travelling on an overseas passport and not Australian citizens.
Purchasing a used vehicle is a viable option to renting one, thanks to websites like Cars 4 Backbackers and Travellers Auto Barn which provide a useful service for travellers wishing to take up this travel option. Travellers can purchase a cheap car, campervan, station wagon or 4wd through the website, and when they have finished with it when they are ready to leave Australia, they simply sell it back to the company they bought it from, or advertise it on the website designed specifically for travellers to on-sell their vehicle to another traveller.
Many travellers put their car up for sale immediately they buy it, meaning their vehicle is listed weeks or months in advance. Past experience has shown that often the date and location that one person intends to end their trip, coincides with the date and location of another traveller who will be just beginning their travel experiences. This makes it possible to have your vehicle sold well before you are ready to dispose of it.
Free Vehicle Hire
Online motor vehicle relocation services provide really cheap rental cars, motorhome and campervan hire. Amazing but true, some cost only a dollar a day, though most times they are free. Here is how it works. Because of the large distances involved, many people who hire cars for long distance drives tend to pick up at one point and drop off at another, then move on for their to their next destination using another form of transport. This leaves car hire companies with the problem of how to get their cars back to their points of origin where they have mord customers wanting to hire cars.
Traditionally, they hire transport companies to move vehicles around from one location to another but many are now utilising a much cheaper way in which everybody wins - hiring them out to travellers wishing to make the return journey, but for a small fee or no fee at all. The disadvantage for the hirer is that there is no guarantee a vehicle will be available to be driven between Point A and Point B, and if there is, it has to go back to its place of origin, and not somewhere else. You also have a set time in which to return the vehicle to its place of origin.
Essentially it is normal car hire in reverse - the car rental company dictates where the car has to go and how much time you have to get there (they are usually generous with their time limits) - the benefit to the driver is the low cost or no cost at all. Some include a credit towards the cost of fuel, others include insurance free - it's very much a case of "you scratch my back, and I'm scratch yours". Motor vehicle relocation services have a website where you can see what vehicles are available either immediately or in the coming weeks, To hire a vehicle, you simply sign up online, pay the small fee if there is one, head to the pick-up location and off you go. Click the button below for the current list of available vehicles.
There's no cheaper way of getting around, particularly if the place you are attempting to get around is a capital city. If you aim towards commencing your city and suburban journeys between 9am and 4.30pm, you'll find public transport easy to use, relatively stress free and unbeatable in terms of value for money.
There are many destinations beyond Sydney that are easy to reach and relatively inexpensive to travel to from Sydney. By planning wisely and travelling overnight, some of these destinations can end up costing you nothing to visit because you pay for your travel with the money you saved on that night's accommodation. Brisbane and Melbourne both have overnight rail services to and from Sydney, so you can leave Sydney in the evening, use the train as your overnight accommodation and wake up in Melbourne of Brisbane the next morning.
Were you to use the money you would otherwise pay for two consecutive night's accommodation in Sydney on a return rail ticket to Melbourne, you would get a day in Melbourne without having to spend an extra dollar! There are other destinations where your journey can be your overnight accommodation, allowing you to see a lot more of Australia for the same cost - or possibly less - and with only marginal impact on your itinerary.