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Getting Around Australia (Cheapest and Best Ways)

4WD car in the Uluru Australia with the text Getting Around Australia - Best Ways

Australia is a huge country, there are so many great things to do and places to explore but there is no avoiding the fact that the distances between places here in Australia are quite far. 

There are so many great ways you can travel around Australia, having a good idea of how you are going to arrive at the location and what transport options are available will definitely help your planning.

In this article, I will share with you the best tips and information to get around Australia easily and make the most of your travels.

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1. Travel Options in Australia

There are a number of different transport options you can use to move around in Australia. The most common are:

If you are travelling around Australia on a budget, I suggest you watch this video. It sums up all the points in this article.

Australia is a huge country, if you are traveling from cities or larger towns this can be done quite easily using public transport. However, If you intend to travel to rural areas you will need your own transport as public transport won’t reach these areas. We cover the best and cheapest ways to use each travel method below.

Let’s go through the above transport options in more detail as well as highlight the benefits and disadvantages of each.

2. Traveling By Bus in Australia

Buses in Australia are one of the most common ways that backpackers get from one place to another.

The Greyhound bus of Australia

Buses have good connections (within reason) to most places you want to travel and can be used to get around towns and cities.

The Greyhound bus, the largest bus company, therefore has the most number of routes and frequency of schedule. The bus rides in Australia are slightly slower than driving because they make stops, however, they are comfortable with all Greyhound Buses offering air-conditioning, toilets, Wifi, and decent leg space.

Bus rides in Australia can be long, for example, a journey from Melbourne to Sydney on a Greyhound bus is around 10-12 hours.


Bus travel in Australia can be relatively cheap and there are plenty of ways to save money. However, the further you are away from major cities, like in central or western Australia, then the more expensive a Greyhound bus journey will become.

If you are planning on traveling to a few places in Australia the Greyhound Bus offers a Whimit travel pass which allows you unlimited travel through Australia. You can catch as many buses as you like and hop on and off at any point.

The Greyhound Whimit Travel Pass has the following options:

If you want to make your own travel plan, you can create a customised Whimit Travel Pass starting at $329 AUD.

Within Cities:

Bus travel within the city or town varies between states by is generally between $2 – $10 AUD for a 2 hour period. You are usually allowed to transfer buses as many times as you like within this 2 hour period.

2.1 Advantages of Buses in Australia

There are many advantages of catching the bus in Australia:

2.2 Disadvantages of Buses in Australia

3. Traveling by Train in Australia


Train travel is often overlooked in Australia and many backpackers don’t even consider it, however, it can definitely be a viable option.

Trains are a lot more comfortable than buses and in some cases, it can be easier to get a train than a bus. For example, if you wanted to travel from Sydney to some parts of rural NSW, such as Moree, it would actually be more convenient to get a train.

Riding a train across parts of Australia, particularly in the outback, can be a great travel experience in itself and routes like The Ghan, The Overland, and The Indian Pacific are popular tourist attractions.


Train travel is usually more expensive than bus travel, but you can buy rail passes, which can work out cheaper. A Discovery Rail Pass costs $298 for 3 months and $420 for 6 months.



4. Traveling in Australia by Plane

If you’re traveling from one large city to another, it can be easier, and certainly faster, to travel by plane. Because Australia is so large, flying may be the only viable option if you are traveling long distances. For example, if you want to travel from Melbourne to Cairns it would take you 32 hours if driving (even longer on a bus) compared to a 3-hour flight.

When looking for flights the main domestic airlines in Australia include:

There are also smaller regional carriers to more remote areas and islands.


Australia is not like Europe where you have many budget airlines providing dirt-cheap travel, however, air travel in Australia is still reasonably affordable. Airlines often run promotions and you can get good deals on flights. You would expect to pay less than $100 AUD for most domestic flights in Australia to the major cities if you do your research and book in Advance.



5. Vehicle Rentals

Australia is huge and public transport can’t get you everywhere, so driving from one destination to the next may be the only option. It’s also a great way to see parts of the country that you normally wouldn’t on public transport. You also have the benefit that you can stop anywhere.

Driving yourself can be the cheapest way to travel especially if you share the fuel costs with other travelers.

If you want to travel by yourself in Australia there are a few options. Let’s go through them

5.1 Renting a Car or Campervan

Renting a car or campervan is a great way to see Australia if you are planning a short trip however, it is one of the most expensive options. When renting a car you need to consider the type of vehicle that will suit your trip.

Things to consider are:


The costs of hiring a car or campervan in Australia vary greatly, depending on where you are and what type of vehicle you want. To bring costs down you can always share your rental vehicle with friends or fellow backpackers.

Renting a car is a viable option if you are planning a shorter trip of less than one month. Otherwise, it is generally more affordable to purchase a vehicle, see our next section for more information on this.




Be aware of the terms of your rental agreement. If you are traveling in more remote areas at night you have the risk of kangaroos, cows, and wildlife crossing the road in front of your car. Some companies state on their rental agreement you cannot drive between certain hours during the night, so if you hit something you are not covered.

5.2 Relocation Rentals

rental campervan for relocation or backpackers

This is something that not many backpackers have heard of before arriving in Australia but is a very popular and one of the cheapest ways for many people to travel. Because Australia is such a huge country people often rent vehicles to travel around and drop them off at a different location than when they picked the vehicle up.

This means the rental companies need someone to bring the vehicle back, rather than pay a worker to drive the car back they let customers rent the vehicles for free and as long as they return them to the rental office on a specific date.


The cost of relocation rentals varies. Some are free but most have a small cost per day between $1-20 dollars. The free rental period varies but is usually around 5-14 days. You can sometimes pay more to extend the rental period for a few days.



6. Buy Your Own Vehicle

Buying your own vehicle is highly recommended if you are staying long-term in Australia. There are so many places in Australia that you cannot reach with public transport and some towns also offer very poor public transport options. It definitely makes things a lot easier when you are trying to look and get your eligible visa days in rural locations

Buying a car in Australia will probably be one of the biggest purchases and can be a tricky process. That said, you can sometimes get most your money back and if you are smart and a bit lucky even make some money. Not to worry we’ve got you covered. we have created a great article on how to buy a car, wagon, or campervan.


Depends on what type of vehicle you buy and where you buy it but as a rough idea you can purchase a reliable second-hand car for anywhere between $3,000 – $10,000 AUD. Of course you can pay a lot more and for vans and 4x4s you may want to.



7. Final Thoughts

No matter which travelling method you choose you will have an epic time travelling around Australia. As you can see in this article there is a wide range of travel options you can use throughout Australia. Be sure to check out our other articles on Jobaroo for more great travel and backpacker guides. We have done the research and put it all together in simple and easy-to-follow guides so you can spend more time enjoying Australia.

It depends on your destination and the length of stay. Flying is the easiest way to travel to large cities. However, some areas have limited public transport, so driving is the best option.

Public buses are affordable, but they don’t reach some amazing places. If you plan to stay in Australia for a long time, driving yourself is the cheapest option.

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