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costs

Not surprisingly long distance cycle tours can be achieved economically. You save on the petrol and if there isn’t any paid accommodation around you save on that too.

Once you are set up with your bike and equipment there’s three main areas for day to day spending: food, a place to sleep and everything else.

Laying down the cash for food is hard to avoid, ya gotta eat. And you do tend to eat a lot to power those legs through the day.

Don’t expect bargains once you leave the main cities with the large supermarket chains and nation wide pricing policies. Once you leave the big towns options for cheap food can be few and far between: eg, from Clare, SA, the next Woolworths is at Alice Springs, NT, 1400km, and after that Katherine, another 1040km. The small town IGAs, smaller locally owned supermarkets, tend to be about 1/3 more expensive but are usually reasonably well stocked. In really small places the local community store can be more than twice the big supermarket prices, $4.50 for a packet of biscuits, $7 for a loaf of frozen white spongy bread. Best to stock up on the expensive stuff, like coffee etc in the towns.

Accommodation can be half your daily budget. $15 per person is a reasonable average for an unpowered tent site in a caravan park but it can be more than $30 in well populated areas, then again, you are hauling around a tent and you don’t necessarily have to pay to stay somewhere. Just for those days where you finally need to do the washing when you can cruise in at 10 am and have a rest day doing those chores.

It’s the Everything Else category where the money can evaporate. Alcohol is pricey. $5 for a can of beer, but it will be cold. A steak sandwich can set you back the entire day’s food budget. Any drink of the non-alcoholic species out of a main town will be hugely expensive, a 1.25l bottle of almost chilled Coke can be $4.50.

With a total austerity campaign, ie, avoiding most even budget accommodation costs, preparing your own food and drinking bore water it is possible to get by on about $12 a day, or say $400 a month, at least for a while. Eventually you need an occasional bed. Stretching to $18 allows a treat every second day.

But if you feel the need to stay in a paid accommodation corral with the Grey Nomads suddenly that’s $30 a night, $1000 a month. Add a few beers a day and it’s no longer so cheap.

Really it’s up to you.