According to the March 2013 results of the quarterly International Visitors Survey conducted by Tourism Research Australia*, the average backpacker spends $69 per day on food, drink and accommodation. With contributing factors including the rising living costs and unrewarding exchange rates, as a result, more and more travellers are skipping Australia altogether, instead opting for South East Asian destinations. Those who do journey down under are tending to remain in major cities, anxious that extensive expeditions might be overwhelming on the pocket.
However, it’s difficult to contend that an Australian road trip is not one of the world’s most thrilling adventures. The country’s sweeping scenery offers a wildness and startling beauty that simply cannot be found anywhere else. Hence, Travellers Autobarn has put together an itinerary (excluding food & drink) proving that backpackers can make the iconic Cairns to Brisbane road trip without breaking the bank, demonstrating that Australia is still a backpacker’s paradise - geographically, socially, culturally and financially.
The suggested itinerary covers 1795.4 kilometres over 27 days (with 22 days in a Chubby van at a 50% discounted rate) at a total cost of $1861. This translates to $69 per day, with the average state price of petrol estimated at $1.48 per litre. Pricing for camping site accommodation, campervan hire and travel insurance is included, but not food or drink costs.
Including many of Queensland’s most popular and interesting tourist attractions, the itinerary incorporates cultural, social and nature-based activities, in rural, coastal and urban environments. It is divided into six legs, each of which offers a dynamic adventure. Highlights include a tour of the Great Barrier Reef, a visit to Magnetic Island involving five stunning beaches (Horseshoe Bay, Balding Bay and Arthur Bay among them), whale watching, a day at the races and the Story Bridge Climb in Brisbane.
““There have been several mentions online that the backpacker industry has been in decline, so we wanted to show that backpackers can still travel on the cheap,”” a company spokesperson explained. ““We have provided a 27-day itinerary (including campervan hire and petrol costs, at an average of $1.48 per litre) for a campervan holiday throughout Queensland. What the quarterly survey didn’t include is travel costs which also contribute to a large part of the backpacker budget”“.
Prominent backpacker Chris Stevens from Backpacker Banter agrees that Australia is somewhat expensive, but nonetheless agrees with Australia offering a great travel experience. ““Sure Australia is a bit more expensive than say SE Asia but that’s what backpacking and travel is all about - dealing with real life, adjusting your plans, budgeting it in and working around it. Make a list of things you REALLY want to do (like dive on the barrier reef) and cut down on the partying and invest your money into experiences.”“
As stated in recent media mention in the Sydney Morning Herald by Geoff Dixon of Tourism Australia** ““Alan Joyce said last week that the value of the dollar was the new norm and that we as a country have to come to terms with that fact. I totally agree with Alan, which might surprise people at times, but certainly as an industry tourism needs to move on and deal with the situation as it is, not as it was.”“
Travellers Autobarn believes that it is important to remind backpackers that finding alternative routes and things to do for the great campervan hire Australian road trip is not only as enticing as ever, but also perpetually affordable.