Many Outback destinations tend to be on the expensive side due to their remoteness and isolation. And the travel itself doesn’t come cheap – fuel alone can send you to the cleaners. The most common way to save money on the trip is to stay in caravan parks or camp (see below). But if you’re after a little more comfort without falling into debt, then here are our Top 9 picks for relatively affordable Outback breaks. 1. McAlpine House, Broome, WA
Part of the Pinctada group, this eight-bedroom house in Broome is a converted master pearler’s house and takes you back to the original days of coastal Kimberley. The Garden Suite is great value at $180 per room with a minimum two-night stay.
2. Home Valley, Kimberley, WA
In the same neck of the woods as El Questro (around the Cockburn Ranges), Home Valley is an affordable gem. Its Grass Castles are the more deluxe option, but for true value go for the Homestead Guesthouse Rooms ($240 per night) or Eco Tents ($190 per night).
3. Curtin Springs, Red Centre, NT
The greatest criticism of the Ayers Rock Resort – perhaps an unfair one – is that it’s so expensive. The more affordable (and basic) option is to stay at Curtin Springs Wayside Inn, just 85km from Uluru. You may get to meet a legendary Outback family, the Severins. Double rooms with ensuites cost from $150 per night.
4. Kings Creek Station, Red Centre, NT
Run by the Conway family, Kings Creek Station is an authentic camel station with permanent tented accommodation. $75.50 per person per night includes breakfast.
5. Prairie Hotel, Parachilna, SA
This iconic Outback pub has a high standard of accommodation. Most famous for its exotic grill – think camel sausages and emu steaks – many of the rooms are the original pub accommodation, refurbished. New rooms have been added, too. It’s a great affordable base for the Flinders, from $175 per room per night.
6. Wilpena Pound Resort, Flinders Ranges, SA
On the other side of the Pound from Rawnsley Park, Wilpena’s hotel-style standard rooms
are reasonably upmarket for the price bracket and would meet most people’s needs.
From $216 per room per night.
7. Comfort Inn, Coober Pedy, SA
You have to stay underground when you’re in Coober Pedy and the best-value option is the Comfort Inn. $185 per double.
8. Emaroo Argent Cottages, Broken Hill, NSW
The three-bedroom cottages are surprisingly good here, with nice décor and excellent bathrooms and lounging areas. Perfect for families. $160 per night for two, using one room. $40 per extra adult per night;
$25 per child; $30 per pet.
9. Birdsville Hotel, QLD
Our most famous Outback pub actually has decent and affordable accommodation. Don’t expect to be able to rock up and get a room around the races in early September, but any other time it should be OK. It’s the iconic Outback experience. $160 a room per night.
How to save even more pennies
Caravan parks are always a great option; these days, most have on-site cabins and campsites too. Search the following websites for overnight stops along the route of your next road trip: