This spring, I spent three weeks traveling in Australia, and while there, I was surprised by the rather high costs Down Under.
But, over time, I learned how to save a few dollars from experience and from talking with locals. Here’s how you can save while exploring Sydney’s chic cityscape and bayside Melbourne with its eclectic neighborhoods.
And before you go, visit Travelzoo’s Australia website for hotel discounts and local deals.
Australia is a vast country, and so more often than not, domestic flights are the most convenient option for getting around. The national airline of Australia is Qantas, and in the country, it’s about the same price as low-cost carriers. Use Fly.com to compare intra-Australian fares before arriving.
Sights and Activities
Not all museums in Australia charge entrance fees, and many of the free ones are the most outstanding in their respective cities. In Melbourne you can visit the National Gallery of Victoria as well as The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia without a charge. Also completely free and highly recommended is the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney's oldest district, The Rocks. Not to be overlooked in the two cities are the myriad beautiful botanical gardens, most without admission fees.
Close to both cities are vibrant and accessible wine regions known for their Australian Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz: the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne and the Hunter Valley near Sydney. Many of the charming wineries offer free tastings, tours or sometimes both.
Like so many other major metropolitan cities, food costs can be very expensive. However, locals will tell you that both the Chinatowns in both Melbourne and Sydney are great places to save on meals. And here’s another tip I learned: eating dinner a little earlier than normal can be cost-efficient. Some restaurants offer early-bird specials for people dining before 7 p.m. Some restaurants allow patrons to BYOB, bringing down the total costs of the bill.