Australia / Travel Tips

How to Travel Australia’s South West on a Budget

Travelling through Australia’s South West can be as expensive or affordable as you want. There’s an endless range of options for accommodation, things to do and places to eat. This makes Australia’s South West a great destination to visit when you need to keep to a budget. Here are our top tips for travelling Australia’s South West on a budget.

Read More: Ultimate Guide to Australia’s South West

Getting Around the South West

To efficiently get around Australia’s South West you will need a vehicle. Hiring a camper van will give you the option to also use your vehicle as your accommodation while you explore. However, they type of vehicle you will need will depend on they type of trip you want to take.

Since Australia’s South West is an extensive area of land, exploring the region will require a lot of driving. Evidently, this will mean you will spend a lot of your budget on fuel.

Read More: Australia’s South West 2-Week Road Trip Itinerary

budget road trip through australia's south west

Where to Stay in Australia’s South West

One of the easiest ways to travel Australia’s South West on a budget is to travel via camper van or to go camping. Since this can double as your accommodation, this will reduce costs on one of the most expensive aspects of travelling here.

Free Campgrounds in Australia’s South West

The best way to save money on accommodation in Australia’s South West is to find places where you can camp for free. In Western Australia, “free camping” is regulated and you can only camp for free in designated spots. Here are some of our favourite:

Betty’s Beach

Located 50km east of Albany, near Two People Bay Betty’s Beach is a remote coastal campground with great fishing nearby. As a free campground you cannot book. So, sites get taken up pretty quick. It’s best to arrive earlier in the day so you can make alternative arrangements if you don’t get a site.

Sites: If you are in a tent you can camp pretty close to the beach, just make sure to get protection from the wind! You can also camp here with small camper vans.

Amenities: Drop Toilets

Location: Betty’s Beach on Google Maps

Cosy Corner

Located between Albany and Denmark, Cosy Corner is a free campground near the beach. Getting a site here can be difficult with it being popular for many travellers. Therefore, if you are planning to come here you are more likely to get a site mid-week.

Sites: Sites near the beach are great for tents and provide a lot of natural shade. If you have a camper van you will need to take a site up top.

Amenities: Drop Toilets, Bins and Dump Point

Location: Cosy Corner on Google Maps

Ironstone Gully Falls

Ironstone Gully Falls is located southeast from Capel. It is a picturesque spot with a 9m waterfall during the winter months. Wildflowers grow here between August – October. The area is pet friendly. There are also some great walking and cycling tracks too.

Sites: Sites are large enough for a caravan.

Amenities: Drop Toilets, BBQ Area, Benches, Designated Fire Pits

Location: Ironstone Gully Falls on Google Maps

Karri Gully Picnic Area

Located between Nannup and Bridgetown, Karri Gully Picnic Area is located right near the Bibbulmun Track. This free campground is surrounded by huge Karri trees and even has a 20 minute circuit walk. It is a difficult place to find, with little signage, so you will need to keep a look out as you arrive.

Sites: Rectangular area with plenty of room to park your caravan for a night.

Amenities: Drop Toilets, Designated Fire Pits, Benches

Location: Karri Gully Picnic Area on Google Maps

Cheap Campgrounds in Australia’s South West

While you can definitely camp at only free campgrounds throughout Australia’s South West, these are often very basic. Occasionally, you will need to find an alternative campground which you will need to pay for. The benefit of these is that they generally have more amenities! Here are our favourite cheap campgrounds in the region:

Conto Campground

Located between Hamelin Bay and Margaret River, Conto Campground is a great spot for travellers on a budget. Because the sites are surrounded by nature, you may even get to see kangaroos!

Cost Per Night: $15/Adult

Sites: The sites at Conoto Campground are huge and suitable for tents, caravans and camper vans.

Amenities: Basic Campers Kitchen, Flushing Toilets, Picnic Benches, Designated Fire Pits

Location: Conto Campground on Google Maps

Parry Beach Campground

Parry Beach is a stunning and affordable place to camp near Denmark. Located right next to the beach. with four-wheel drive access, its a great place for fishing and evening beach walks. Just note that you cannot book here and sites fill up fast during the school holidays and long weekends!

Cost Per Night: $15/per car (up to 2 Adults)

Sites: The sites at Parry Beach Campground are huge and suitable for tents, caravans and camper vans. There is a lot of natural shade throughout the campground.

Amenities: Solar Heated Showers, Flushing Toilets, BBQ Area

Location: Parry Beach Campground on Google Maps

Honeymoon Pool Campground

Honeymoon Pool is popular campground and swimming spot located along the Collie River. It isn’t far from the stunning Black Diamond Lake and the township of Collie. This is the ideal spot for a nature getaway!

If Honeymoon Pool Campground is booked out then you can check the neighbouring Gelcoat Rapids or Potters Gorge for a site.

Cost Per Night: $15/Adult

Sites: The campground is designed for tents only. If you have a caravan or camper van then check out Potters Gorge instead. Each site has an allocated parking space.

Amenities: Flushing Toilets, Free Gas, Picnic Tables, Designated Fire Pits

Location: Honeymoon Pool on Google Maps

Prevelly Caravan Park

Located beachside in Margaret River, Prevelly Caravan Park is a spacious and shady campground at budget prices. In addition, the campground is next door to the Sea Garden Cafe and just a short walk away is Gnarabup beach and the White Elephant Cafe.

Cost Per Night: $17-21/Adult

Sites: There are cottages and both powered and non-powered sites available here.

Amenities: BBQ Area, Playground, Laundry, Camper’s Kitchen, Toilet and Shower Block

Location: Prevelly Caravan Park on Google Maps

Non-Camping Budget Accommodation

If camping is not your style then there are still a few budget friendly accommodation options in Australia’s South West. You can easily find a holiday home to rent through Airbnb, Stayz or Downsouth Getaways. This is a great option for people travelling with kids. Staying in a house will give you the extra space and the option to save money on meals as you can cook at your accommodation.

Read More: Unique Ways for Families to Save on Accommodation

Things to Do in Australia’s South West

When visiting Australia’s South West, you will definitely not run short of things to do. There is something here for every traveller and every budget. Additionally, so many of the best things to do are also budget friendly!

Cheap Activities

Even though there are many free things to do in the region, some of the top experiences are paid. Here are some of the top cheap things to do.

Busselton Jetty

The Busselton Jetty is an iconic landmark in Australia’s South West, the longest timber jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Reaching 1.8km long, the Busselton Jetty is perfect for a walk with gorgeous ocean views. If you come after 6pm, entry is free.

Cost: $4 per adult

National Parks

Throughout Australia’s South West there are many national parks, some of which require a Park Pass to enter. You will need a Park Pass to enter the Torndirrup National Park in Albany. Here you can visit The Gap, Natural Bridge, The Blowholes, Bald Head and many incredible beaches. A Park Pass is also needed to enter the Stirling Range National Park, where you can hike Bluff Knoll.

Before you leave on your trip, check if a national park pass is needed. It is easier to purchase one prior to leaving since you are required to print and display the park pass on your car dashboard while in the national parks.

Cost: $40 per vehicle (14-Day Holiday Pass)

Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk

One of the top paid natural attractions in Australia’s South West is the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. While this is less than budget friendly, this experience gets an honourable mention for its international recognition.

It is a great family friendly activity, for kids of all ages. The 600m long walkway is accessible for both prams and wheelchairs. The trail doesn’t take long to complete so it is worth your money to go around twice!

Cost: $21 per Adult | $10.50 per child (aged 6-16)

Eat Lunch at a Brewery

Eating out is rarely a cheap activity when on a budget trip. However, when eating out is also an incredible experience that covers the cost of 2 meals it becomes worth your money. Throughout Australia’s South West there are many breweries. Some of our favourite are:

  • Boston Brewery, Denmark
  • Wild Hop Brewing Company, Yallingup
  • Colonial Brewing Co, Bramley
  • Eagle Bay Brewing Co, Naturaliste
  • Margaret River Brewhouse, Margaret River

These breweries are family-friendly and have playgrounds for your kids to enjoy. We love the relaxed atmosphere and delicious food while the kids are entertained for the afternoon.

Head to a brewery for a late lunch and it can double as an early dinner! Meal portions are large, so its unlikely you will still be hungry at dinner time.

Cost: $30-40 per person (meal & a beer)

Free Things to Do

Australia’s South West is filled with free things to do. This makes it the perfect destination for the budget traveller. You can do everything from nature experiences, adventure activities and enjoying food and drink… all for free!

I have actually written an entire blog post on free things to do in Australia’s South West. So if you are planning to stick to a budget on your holiday, make sure you go check that out!

Read More: Top Free Things to Do in Australia’s South West

Food & Drink

South West Australia is known for its amazing food scene. Therefore, incorporating it into your trip is one of the best ways to explore the region. With plenty of places to go to taste food it is easy to find a unique foodie experience on a budget. For free food tastings we love to visit:

  • Margaret River Chocolate Factory
  • The Margaret River Dairy Company
  • Providore
  • Vasse Virgin
  • Candy Cow
  • Yahava Coffee Works

Throughout the Region there are plenty of family run businesses that offer free tastings. Just keep an eye out for signage as you drive through the region! This is how we ended up tasting some delicious olives at a family run farm near Denmark.

When visiting Australia’s South West you cannot miss out on going wine tasting! The wineries here are world renowned, especially in the Margaret River Region. Most of their cellar doors offer free wine tastings if you arrive in a small group!

Just remember, while it is great to enjoy food and drink for free, it is even better to support the local businesses by making a purchase!

Read More: Easy & Healthy Meal Ideas for Your Camping Trip

Suggested Daily Budget

Your daily budget for travelling Australia’s South West will vary, depending on the style of travel you choose to take. However if you choose to go camping, cook your own food and do free activities I recommend budgeting between $35-40 (AUD) per adult, per day.

For our family of 3 we would budget $65-70 (AUD) per day.

Do you have any tips for travelling Australia’s South West on a budget? Let me know in the comments below.

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