Tips For Backpackers On A Budget

If you want to travel but money’s tight, there are plenty of ways to backpack around Australia on a shoestring. From Free Camping Sites and Free Car and Campervan Relocations to cheap groceries, discount vouchers for petrol, movie tickets and pizza.

Follow these easy budget travel tips and you may save a penny or two on your holidays, without compromising on the good times.

Groceries & Fast Food Freebies

Try and shop at the larger supermarkets, as the smaller local corner stores and late night supermarkets tend to be more expensive.

If you treat yourself to a meal in a fast food place, make full use of your trip and stock up on all those lovely sachets of salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, jam, napkins and anything else you can get your hands on that’s free, without getting arrested of course!


Share your Costs

Share cabs, rooms and food with other travellers and you could end up paying just a fraction of the cost. Plus it’s a chance to meet new people and share travel stories.

Cheap Car Hire

Save thousands on car hire. By asking the car rental companies if they have any vehicles that need relocating, you can get them at a highly discounted price, and sometimes for free. The reason for the discount is because it saves the company on having to pay an employee to drive the vehicles and often having to fly them back. You can also hire the car for a few extra days at a discount. It is worth asking any rental company for savings like that! Transfercar is one such company worth checking out.

Discount Fuel

Supermarkets, particularly the larger ones like Coles and Woolworths offer coupons that give a discount of four to eight cents per litre. Keep these coupons in your car and use them when you need to top up.

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Foreign Exchange

Before you travel, shop around for the best rate in foreign cash and travellers cheques. Don’t exchange at airports to avoid commission or fees. You can often get a better rate in the city, where there is much more competition between banks and foreign exchange outlets.

Dockets and Vouchers

When going on holidays, check the Shop-A-Docket or Hot Dockets website  for coupons that may come in handy for the area you’re visiting. You can save a lot of money when using these coupons on food, drink and local attractions.

Local Libraries

Plan your trip with the help of your local library as most have free internet! They have all kinds of travel guides to borrow. Simply photocopy the pages relevant to your particular trip. Not only does it save money on having to buy an entire book, it also weighs much less in your luggage when you travel.

We hope that you find the following list of free camping grounds around Australia useful.  In most cases they are limited to short stays and may not have all the facilities, however they are very convenient to take a break during long journeys.

Discount Offers

Use services like Last Minute for the latest bargains up to 70% off


Book your flights well in advance rather than waiting for the peak time. The closer you get to the peak times, air fares increase substantially.

Travel by Car or Motorhome

If your travelling with a friend or even a small group, sharing the cost of car hire makes an ideal way to get around.  Buy a good map and plan your route carefully to avoid any backtracking. Want to travel for FREE or at least next to nothing. Take advantage of Standby Vehicle Relocations.

Travel on off peak times, not during Australian school holidays or public holidays is another great way to save on travel costs.

Group Discount

Large groups often get discounts so it’s well worth asking when booking accommodation etc.

Free Camping Grounds in Australia

Camping in Australia can really ease the budget and is a great way to meet friends.  Throughout Australia you can find lots of places where “Free Camping” is permitted, although often there will be limited facilities and have stay restrictions of up to 72 hours. Pick up a guidebook to free camping in and around Australia.  These are available at most local camping stores and would be particularly useful coupled with a Campervan.

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Free Camping Grounds in Queensland

BAN BAN SPRINGS (Burnett Highway)

Nice flat area opposite roadhouse. Flushing toilets, BBQs, table and benches. Reasonably priced food is available from the roadhouse located across the road.


Binjour Range Free Camp area is located 25 km east of Mundubbera on the Burnett Highway. Toilets, picnic tables, rubbish bins and BBQs.

BLACKALL (Matilda Hwy)

This large garge grassy area is located  8 km East of Blackall.  Public toilets, tap water, table and benches at nearby BBQ area.


Boyne River Free Camping area is located 20km south of Gladstone near the town of Benaraby. Toilets, rubbish bins, covered tables and benches. Max stay limited to 20 hours.


Calliope River free camping area is a pleasant, large area located about 25km south of Mount Larcom or 7km north of Calliope. Toilets and rubbish bins. Max stay of 48 hours.


Located on the eastern side of the Bruce highway and north of the town centre. Shaded picnic tables, toilets, bins and tap water.


Located 85km south of Sarina. This pleasant beach-side area is about 100mts off the Bruce Highway.  Toilets, bins, covered tables and benches, wood and electric BBQs. Max stay 24 hours.

COOYAR (New England Highway)

BBQ, picnic tables.  No water.  Power available for a fee (see Cooyar Hotel staff) . Male and female public toilets opposite Cooyar Hotel.

DUARINGA (Capricorn Hwy)

Duaringa Free Camp has large attractive grassy area near roadhouse. Toilet block with showers.

DULULU REST AREA (Burnett Highway)

Large flat grassy area provided by local progress association. Power and hot showers available for $5 a night. Shady spots. Table and benches. New toilet block near tennis courts.

EIDSVOLD (Burnett Highway)

Located north side of town on the Burnett Highway. Large flat grassy area with covered tables and benches, toilets, rubbish bins and BBQs.

EMERALD (Capricorn Hwy)

Pleasant spot adjoining Botanical Gardens at eastern entrance to town.Water tap. Shopping centre with Coles and Target a few minutes walk away.

GIN GIN (Bruce Hwy)

Large, shady area 2km north of Gin Gin. Toilets, water taps, wood barbecue, covered tables and benches. Maximum stay 20 hours.


East side of Bruce Highway, 35km south of Miriam Vale. Toilets, water, wood BBQs, rubbish bins, covered tables and benches.  Maximum stay 48 hours.

GYMPIE (Bruce Hwy)

Six Mile Creek, 1km south of town. Large grassy site, toilets, water tap, picnic tables and  Electric BBQ. Max stay 20 hours.

GYMPIE (Bruce Hwy)

Chatsworth Park, 5km north of town. Picturesque grassy area adjoining lakes. Toilets, tables and benches.

HELIDON (Warrego Hwy)

Rest area alongside the Warrego Highway at Helidon, about 40km east of Toowoomba. Very large area. Picnic shelters with tables..

JERICHO (Capricorn Hwy)

Excellent peaceful facilities on Showground. Large grassy area with concrete slabs, power, water, hot showers and toilets.


West of highway on Glass House Mountains Road. Toilets, tank water (non drinkable), tables and benches.

MITCHELL (Major Mitchell Caravan Park, Warrego Hwy)

Two nights free on spacious ensuite site with mains water and power. Short walk to artesian baths. TV reception good.

MULGILDIE (Burnett Highway about 10km south of Monto)

Adjoins local community hall in Palm Street. Clean toilets, water tap, covered table and benches, and nicely tended gardens.General store nearby. Local pub offers roast lunches between 11am and 2pm for a bargain $4.50!

TAMBO (Matilda Hwy)

Nice flat area adjoining lakes at southern entrance to town. Toilet block with cold shower, taps, BBQs, shelters with table and benches.  Maximum stay 48 hours.


Tiaro Rest area is located a few Ks north of Tiaro on the eastern side of the Bruce Highway. Large area, picnic tables and rubbish bins.


Tiaro Memorial Park free camp is a flat, shady area right in the middle of town. Park has free BBQ, water tap, table and benches and toilet block with hot shower. Excellent meals at the adjacent pub. Maximum stay 48 hours.


Wallum Reserve Rest Area is located half way between Childers and Bundaberg on the west side of the Isis Highway. Toilets, rainwater tank, covered tables and benches, wood BBQs. Maximum stay 20 hours.

WARWICK (New England Hwy)

Large exposed flat area behind Warwick Roadhouse, 6km north of Warwick. Hot showers, toilets, meals, fuel, water and even a swimming pool available at roadhouse. Maximum stay 20 hours.


About 10km south of St Lawrence between Sarina and Rockhampton. Toilets, rubbish bins, BBQs, public telephone, tables and benches and tap. Maximum stay 20 hours.

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Free Camping Grounds in New South Wales

BANGALOW (Pacific Hwy near Byron Bay)

Large flattish bitumen area alongside main highway. Toilet (composting) and, water (non drinkable),

BLACKBUTTS ROAD (Pacific Hwy near Taree)

Pleasant landscaped area with composting toilets, tables and water (non drinkable).

CELTIC COUNTRY (New England Hwy, 5km south of Glen Innis)

Exposed flattish area alongside highway. Toilets, tables and benches. Maximum stay 24 hrs.

NEW ITALY (Pacific Hwy between Ballina and Grafton)

Adjoins New Italy Museum and Aboriginal Arts and Crafts Centre. Flat dusty area offering shade, toilets, floodlit, tables and benches. Reasonably priced meals available at the museum until 5pm.

SID BURKE FOREST PARK (Pacific Hwy, 17km south of Coffs Harbour)

Busy forested area with composting toilets, water (non drinkable), tables and benches, short forest walk, information board and fitness equipment.

SLEEPY HOLLOW (Pacific Hwy, south of Murwillumbah)

On northbound side of Pacific Hwy. Nicely landscaped with dedicated areas for trucks, caravans and other travellers. Composting toilets with taps and small sinks outside (water not drinkable), covered tables and benches. Small area also on southside of highway with similar facilities.

There is no reason why you can’t have a fantastic holiday in Australia when working with a limited budget. By staying in a backpackers, cheaper motels, cabins or even camping grounds, you can really trim the budget and get the most from your Australian holiday.

Plan your holiday within your budget so it can be relaxing. You can still get out and see all the sights and meet new people. There are many free activities that you can enjoy and don’t forget to take plenty of photos so you can look back on your adventure and share the memories with family and friends.