What’s The Cheapest Way To Get Around Australia?

Australia is a pretty massive place, so getting around it isn’t cheap either, especially for someone travelling the country on a tight budget. Transportation expenses can quickly add up, making it seem challenging to travel around the country on a budget, but fear not, as there are affordable ways to navigate this expansive nation. 

The cheapest way to get around Australia is by using public transportation and backpacker buses that will help you stretch some dollars. Train travel is also comparatively cheaper in Australia. However, if you’re looking to save even more, then we suggest you share a car by renting one. 

Below we’ll look at these methods in detail and how much money it would save you if you decided to use them instead of taking an airline, which is Australia’s most expensive form of travel. Now, let’s delve into the details.

4 Cheapest Transportation Method In Australia

Hence here are some budget-friendly ways you can explore Australia that will help you save a lot of cash:

1. Backpacker Buses For Fun And Flexibility

Backpacker buses offer an exciting option for younger travellers seeking a vibrant and adventurous experience. These buses, such as the Magic Bus, cater to the 18-35 age group, organizing trips that span several weeks.

With a focus on exploration, camping, and non-stop parties, these buses provide an opportunity to meet fellow travellers and create unforgettable memories.

The Magic BusOpens in a new tab. offers flexible itineraries, allowing passengers to vote on destinations and activities. The cost typically averages around $185 per 1,000 kilometres, depending on the route and duration of the journey.

Road2AdventureOpens in a new tab. provides a similar experience with space for eight people. Their cross-country trips range from 12 to 19 days, costing between $2,195 and $3,785 per person.

For those seeking more independence, Share BusOpens in a new tab. is an excellent choice. With this option, you share a bus with nine other travellers and handle all logistics yourself. The company provides equipment, maps, and information, allowing you to embark on a self-guided camping adventure with newfound friends.

RentalsOpens in a new tab. typically range from 10 to 21 days and cost between $569 and $1,232 per person, depending on the season and location.

2. Economical Public Buses

Public buses offer an affordable way to travel, particularly along the east coast of Australia. Companies like Greyhound AustraliaOpens in a new tab. provide competitive prices, especially when booking in advance. To give you a rough idea about how much public buses would cost you, here are the fares of two of the most popular bus routes in Australia:

Routes (One-Way)GreyhoundPremier
BrisbaneByron Bay$29 Adult$28 Adult
Brisbane – Gold Coast$31 Adult$17 Adult
CairnsAirlie Beach$114 Adult$107 Adult
Gold Coast – Byron Bay$29 Adult$28 Adult
SydneyMelbourne$120 AdultN/A
Sydney – Canberra$51 AdultN/A
Melbourne – Canberra$110 AdultN/A
DarwinAlice Springs$301 AdultN/A

Greyhound offers several bus passes known as Whimit Passes, which allow for unlimited travel within a specific timeframe. These passes grant travellers the freedom to explore over 180 stops in any direction, making them the most flexible and economical option for those without a personal vehicle. Passes range from 15 to 365 days, varying prices from $235 to $505.

3. Train Travel for Scenic Journeys

Australia’s train system provides an excellent opportunity to admire the country’s diverse landscapes. While scenic routes like the GhanOpens in a new tab. offer a luxurious and visually stunning experience, they come at a significant price. Although train lines are predominantly concentrated on the east coast, train travel in Australia tends to be costly, with only two major lines covering the north-south and east-west routes. For example, a three-day journey from Sydney to Perth can cost around $850.

Unfortunately, cheap train tickets are scarce, and booking in advance is essential for securing seats on popular routes. Train tickets usually run out quickly, so you should book your train ticket months before your trip to get the best offers that’ll help you save money.  Unless you have a particular fondness for train travel or wish to indulge in a scenic journey, exploring alternative options is advisable.

4. Car Sharing for Affordability and Flexibility

Car sharing is an ideal choice if you’re looking to save money while enjoying maximum flexibility. This option is significantly more budget-friendly compared to other modes of transportation. By joining forces with fellow travellers or renting a car or campervan, you can split the costs and have the freedom to explore at your own pace.

Finding car-sharing opportunities in Australia is relatively easy. Hostel bulletin boards, websites like Gumtree and Couchsurfing, and dedicated rideshare platforms like CoSeats and Share Ur Ride provide ample opportunities to connect with drivers or fellow travellers. The advantage of car sharing is forming new friendships while embarking on a memorable road trip across the country.

Renting your own car or campervan can also be an affordable option. Backpackers leaving the country or locals selling used vehicles often offer competitive prices. While rental services like Jucy can be more expensive, they can serve as a last resort if other options are unavailable. Used cars can typically be found for as little as $750 – $1,500, which, when shared among travellers, makes it the second most cost-effective means of transportation.

Why Flying Is Not Suitable For Transportation In Australia If You Have A Tight Budget

While flying is undoubtedly the quickest way to cover long distances within Australia, it is also the most expensive option. Limited competition among airlines has resulted in high airfare prices, especially for significant carriers like Qantas and Virgin. While there used to be budget-friendly airlines like Tiger Airways, they ceased operations in 2020, leaving travellers with limited options.

Unless you find a great deal or are in a rush, avoiding flying as a primary means of transportation in Australia is advisable. Although a new low-cost airline, Bonza, started operations in 2023, it operates with only a few planes. Consequently, ticket prices remain high, often exceeding $300 for popular routes like Sydney to Perth. 


Is It Cheaper To Rent A Car Or Use Public Transportation While Traveling In Australia?

Public transportation is generally more budget-friendly than car renting, especially for solo travellers or those visiting cities. However, if you’re travelling in a group or planning to explore remote areas with limited public transport options, renting a car might be more cost-effective.

Are There Any Special Discounts Or Travel Passes Available For Tourists Looking To Explore Multiple Regions In Australia On A Budget?

Travel passes, and discounts are available for tourists exploring multiple regions in Australia. For example, Greyhound’s “Hop-On Hop-Off” passes allow unlimited travel for a specific duration, offering flexibility and cost savings. Additionally, some regional tourism boards or transportation companies may offer special discounts or bundled packages, so it’s worth researching and comparing options before your trip is worth researching.

How Much Does Domestic Air Travel Typically Cost In Australia, And Are There Any Tips For Finding The Best Deals?

Domestic airfare prices vary depending on the distance travelled, time of booking, and airline promotions. On average, domestic flights can range from around $50 to several hundred dollars. 


To sum it all up, travelling around Australia on a budget is possible with careful planning and considering the available transportation options. While flying remains the quickest but most expensive method, alternatives such as backpacker buses, public buses, and car sharing provide affordable alternatives. Ultimately, the cheapest way to get around Australia depends on your preferences, travel style, and the amount of time you have.


We have travelled to many great places around Australia and hope to share our travel tips, hacks, and adventures with you. So come with us as we explore the great down under!

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