When travelling in Australia, managing the budget so that as many of the country’s incredible sights and destinations can be seen as possible, is important. Many travellers want to see as much of the country as possible and so question whether it is more cost-effective to take organised bus tours or hire a car.
Which is best?
The short answer is that advantages and limitations come with both options.
If you want to see a particular part of the country, for example: the Great Ocean Road, joining a Great Ocean Road tour is a great idea as you will be provided with access to many of the area’s most breathtaking and memorable features and will have the benefit of a guide to explain the sights and history. Such tours take a lot of the planning and organisation out of your hands, leaving you with ample opportunity to relax and enjoy the experience and the surroundings.
It is a similar situation if you are interested in winery tours, perhaps to South Australia’s Barossa Valley, the Yarra Valley in Victoria or New South Wales’ Hunter Valley. Joining an organised bus tour often represents the most cost-effective and convenient way of traveling to these wine destinations and to visit some of the most beautiful, charming and highest quality wine producers in the world.
The benefit of organised bus tours to wine regions is also that the driving is done for you, should you want to taste wine as you go and be able to relax and maximise enjoyment of the experience.
If you want freedom…
Spontaneity is of critical importance to many travellers. Some people find that the best travel experiences come when few plans have been made and few details have been sorted out.
People that like to travel in this way may find that hiring a car and doing the driving themselves is a better option. With a hire car, much freedom is afforded and travellers can not only create their own itineraries and timelines but access areas and interesting sights that bus tours miss.
Some people argue that hiring a car and ‘doing your own thing’ can deliver a truly authentic experience because you are not restricted to only visiting places on the ‘tourist trail’. Car hire and the freedom it can provide can enable some travellers to see smaller, less well known and more ‘out of the way’ places that are every bit as fascinating, educational and worthwhile.
How do these options affect the budget of the traveller?
As much as it may sound appealing, it is essential to note that this freedom comes at a cost. Although some budget and ‘backpacker-friendly’ vehicle hire companies exist in Australia, it is comparatively more expensive to hire a vehicle than to join a bus tour.
As well as the expense of the daily hire fee for the car, fuel costs must also be factored in. Some travellers are not aware (but really need to know) that insurance for hired vehicles can be exorbitant and, should there be damage to the hired car, you could be faced with paying an excess of several thousand dollars.
Bus tours are considerably more cost-effective. Those joining bus tours throughout Australia pay one ticket price and are not charged with additional costs for fuel, insurance or cleaning. With a bus tour, you know what you are going to get and, with most professional and credible bus tour operators in this country, you can feel confident that you will have a great experience.
There are advantages and drawbacks to both bus tours and car hire in Australia. However, if the two ways of travelling and exploring Australia are to be compared in terms of cost-effectiveness, there is no doubt that bus tours provide greater value for money.