How to live big but travel cheap in Queensland

Got dreams that are bigger than your budget?

Here in Queensland, big sights and big adventures don’t always mean you need a fat wallet. In fact, some of our most memorable experiences won’t cost you a cent.

From camping on secluded islands for less than $10 a night to uncovering cheap local secrets in our cities, this is your guide to how to travel on the cheap in Queensland.

With these tips, save where you can so that you don’t have to sacrifice that adventure you’ve dreamed of, like sailing through the Whitsundays or diving to meet the coral on the Great Barrier Reef.

Go natural

A day immersing yourself in nature rarely costs a thing, and gives you back so much more.

Check out as many iconic beaches, walking tracks and mountain hikes you can. A picnic on top of a mountain overlooking the region is a perfectly cheap way to rest up before your descent.

Explore Queensland’s best national parks, or delve into these parks you’ve probably never heard of.

Pitch your tent

Camping | Cheap travel tips Queensland

Imagine setting up camp on a coral cay in the Great Barrier Reef or under the Milky Way with no light pollution in Outback Queensland. Camping opens the door to many experiences that won’t break the bank.

Did you know you can pitch your tent on some of Queensland’s most pristine islands for less than $10 a night? Wake up and enjoy a cuppa overlooking the ocean from your beach camp, or these wild campsites if you like to get really get off the grid.

Book a bed on a budget

If you’re not prepared to rough it, check yourself into a hostel or holiday park.

Queensland has some amazing hostels stretching along the coast. Even better, many offer free breakfast and have communal kitchens and BBQs, so you can stock up on groceries and cook up a cheap dinner.

If you’re travelling with a family or just prefer a little more peace and quiet, check into these budget holiday parks.

Sign up for volunteer programs

Glass House Mountains | Cheap travel tips Queensland

Learn new skills and connect with our communities. There’s plenty of reasons why you should volunteer while in Queensland.

There are a range of volunteer projects you can take part in that offer free perks, including accommodation.

Rainforestation’s Rainforest and Wildlife International Volunteer Program in Kuranda will get you all up close and personal with the local culture and wildlife of Tropical North Queensland. You’ll get accommodation in exchange for duties like preparing food for the native wildlife, maintenance and landscaping.

Volunteer projects offer diverse experiences in incredible locations such as Carnarvon Gorge and the Great Sandy National Park (campground hosting in return for free camping) or working with koalas, wombats and turtles through a range of rehabilitation programs (note: some programs require qualifications).

If you prefer life’s little luxuries, Gwinganna, a lifestyle retreat nestled in the Gold Coast Hinterland offers three to six-week packages where you can stay on-site and enjoy gourmet organic meals and access to their extensive facilities in return for 40 hours work a week. If you complete the full six-week program, the seventh week is yours to enjoy with no rostered shifts.

Do these (almost) free things

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island

The best things in life are almost free.

If you’re looking for a good time and a cheap time, check out these guides for free and very-affordable things to do in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Outback Queensland and the Whitsundays.

Take a budget road trip

Lady Musgrave Island | Cheap travel tips Queensland

Have 10 free days and a thirst for adventure? Pack your bags and hit the road for a journey along Queensland’s coast.

This itinerary will show you how to do it on a budget, with cheap camping options from Brisbane to Cairns.

Think big, then find cheaper.

Set big travel goals but look for cheaper alternatives. We all want to sail The Whitsundays on a luxury yacht but did you know you can kayak the same path on a seven-day tour for a fraction of the price?

Because why save for a lifetime for an experience you can have this year?