If the best things in life are free, then the second-best things must cost around ten bucks. To that end, budget travel hound Sarah Tierney has come up with some great ideas for saving money on travel in these lean times.
1. Explore Adelaide on a bike. If you don’t have one, don’t panic: Adelaide is the only city in Australia (for now) to have free bikes available for unlimited use per day. They can be checked out from Bicycling SA, Adelaide Traveller’s Inn, Wild Thyme Café and Rundle Street Market. www.cityofadelaide.com.au

2. Cruise the Torrens Lake with Popeye Motor Launches. The 40min trip includes commentary and, at the end of the trip, you can explore the Botanic Gardens. Adults $10, children $5 www.southaustralia.com

3. You can’t go to Adelaide without having a frog cake – it’s an institution. The buttercream-smothered sponge cake was the height of fashion in the 1920s and its popularity hasn’t dimmed. In fact, it has been placed on the Bank SA Heritage icon list. www.balfours.com.au  

4. Rhino Room on Frome St in Adelaide has a high reputation of producing the Australia’s best comics – six of the past eight winners of the Triple J’s Raw comedy show came from Adelaide. Thursday night is for amateurs and up-and-comers, while Friday is for more established comedians. Entry used to be just $10, but has recently gone up to $12. But we like ‘em so much they’re on the list anyway. www.rhinoroom.com.au  

5. Take the Glenelg Tram to the seaside town and spend the day exploring. Go to the Bay Discovery Centre which has a museum and gallery, take a self-guided walking tour such as the Proclamation trail which shows the sight of the “first landing” in 1836, to other 19th Century buildings or the sculpture walk by the beach. Tram, Bay Discovery Centre and the walking tours are all free. www.glenelgsa.com.au  

6. Take a free tour of the Haigh’s Chocolate factory to learn all about chocolate making. You get a free chocolate, tea and coffee and the end and get the chance to buy factory seconds or freshly made choccies. We dare you to leave without buying a famous Haigh’s chocolate frog. www.haighschocolates.com.au

7. Five hours southeast of Adelaide is Mt Gambier, a place full of sinkholes, craters and lakes. The most famous attraction is the Umpherston Sinkhole, a beautiful sunken garden created in 1886. Also there’s the Blue Lake and the oddly named Leg of Mutton Lake, which is actually dry, and the cave gardens, which is famous for its roses. All gardens and parks are free. www.mountgambier.com.au  

8. Warrawong is an animal sanctury that has free entry. Renowned as one of the best places in the country to see a platypus, Warrawong lets you interact with native animals. To view the animals at their very best, take a guided nocturnal walk (bookings essential). Entry is free from 9am to 4pm for families (last entry 3.20pm for self-guided walks). www.warrawong.com  

9. Check out the famous Stansbury Seaside Markets on the Yorke Peninsula. Held right on the pretty foreshore, entry is free and they’re chocked with local handcrafted goods, food and fashion. Call the Southern Yorke Peninsula Visitor Centre on 08 8852 4577 for more info or check out www.yorkepeninsula.com.au  

10. Visit the Morialta Conservation Park, just 10km from Adelaide. There are heaps of walks to do through the park, including ones to waterfalls, the Morialta Gorge and Giants Cave. If you can handle it, the steep climb to Deep View offers amazing views of the bush, city and coastline. Parking fees are $5. www.environment.sa.gov.au