I've been hearing it forever - travelling though Australia is pricey. Yet I've also found some things here in Australia that were completely affordable, and some were even free. Try going to see a museum in Amsterdam or anywhere in Europe for free. Here all state museums are free.
So here's a list of some of my favourite ways to keeping costs down without affecting the fun of travelling:
Yes I hear you, who wants to stay at a backpackers? I've done enough of that in Europe in my twenties and its just no longer my scene. If you are looking to save money backpackers are the best solution, however there are even some other options.
Couch surfing: An amazingly cool experience, it is hard to find a place to stay in the hipper central spots, so you might need to look a little further out. Do make sure you try to hook up with someone with similar interests and write a personal request rather than a mass one – I've mainly hosted on this site, but for those that are happy to crash on a sofa while meeting the locals this is a great option.
Photo courtesy of the Workaway, hard work some play
Workstay: I do admit there is a small membership fee, and the downside is you might have to actually work but this for me was a small price to pay. I was lucky enough to stay at an amazing place on French Island. While it was hard yakka, it was also without a shadow of a doubt some of the most enjoyable work I've ever done, and I learnt about comfrey (which I've integrated into some amazing magical healing ointments that I now swear by), permaculture gardening, companion planting and so much more. I had a fantastic week there and am really looking forward to going back.
There is all sorts of work - out in the country, babysitting, looking after someone or their animals, there are places everywhere. So whatever might rock your boat, have a look and give it a go.
House-sitting: I did join a few sites. You really need to be flexible on time and place, most places are way out in the country, and everyone needs people around the holidays and long weekends. It's best if you have a car, which I don't so not so great. If you have flexible dates, transport and love animals then this is for you.
AirBnB: This is my favourite option as I am not much of a couch person, and the house sitting/workstay wasn't always available so I travelled and stayed at quite a few places thanks to this site and meet some of the most amazing people at the same time. You get a really local perspective and have a super range of options. Again I personally like to look for somewhere to stay that that suits me and who I am, and I personally prefer to stay with real people other than those that run those that run it as a pure business. That choice is luckily up to you though. The choices are endless and it's usually more affordable and homely than a hotel.
And there is always camping. Australia is still one of the countries where you can park your tent in the most odd places. For a full listing check out Environment SA for more information.
So now what to do now that you've found the ideal place to stay and you're looking for something entertaining? Top low-cost to free options:
Museums: Most Australian museums are free and there are some great ones here in SA. Both the State Art Gallery and Museum are recommendable.
Picnic in the Botanic Gardens or Park lands: Adelaide is surrounded by some of the most amazing nature so buy some bread, chips, butter and ketchup and a some drinks, and make yourself and friends some uber native chip sandwiches. Enjoy the greenery and beauty of nature without any entrance fees or even having to leave the city. They even have free guided walks at 10.30AM daily.
Beach: Glenelg (get there by tram), Semaphore (train or bus), and Henley Beach are all top spots for hitting the beach, strolling along the jetty, walking the dunes and finishing the perfect afternoon watching the sunset with a native gourmet dinner of fish n chips. And all for just a few dollars.
Hiking in some of the best nature reserves: Morialta Falls, Belair National Park (train), Mt Lofty (bus), and Kuipto Forrest are just a hop skip and a jump out of town and don't take long to get to at all. These amazing walking trails are just stunning, and if you take along a picnic you're able to have an affordable, lovely healthy day out.
Even bikes are free now days in town, ideal for heading up the Torrens river or a quicker way to go around the city and its parklands.
* Victor Harbor is also an amazing day out. You can go out to Granite Island, and even stop in at the Urimbirra Wildlife Park on the way down there. We used to go here when I was young, and to be honest it hasn't changed too much. If you are really wanting to be a local, get a surf board and go surfing.
Check out the libraries which sometimes do talks (and are free to join) and events, and the community centers are always offering affordable courses.
These are just a few ideas to show you that travel is what you make of it. All in all it's a great city with a lot going for any budget. I still go off and do these things, it's nice to be able to pop into the museum whenever you like or to go and listen to a free talk or event. There is so much going, all we need to do is look.