Living in Oz can sometimes be pricey so it's worth sussing out the places to go where you can get cheap eats.
Eating out in Oz can be expensive, with the average restaurant charging about $15-$20 for a main meal, but there are definitely a few gems where you can get a decent feed without killing your wallet.
You’ll have to avoid some of the snazzier restaurants, for example, a slice of Wagyu beef for two people at Sydney’s steak restaurant, GPO, could set you back a whopping $295!
Here are 10 tips on eating your way around Oz on a shoestring:
1. Special offers
Some restaurants offer mid-week specials and cheaper degustation offers, so look out for these. You can search the big daily deal sites such as Groupon.com.au for local deals in all the big cities.
2. Go Asian
If you like Asian food, you’re in luck; cities like Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney are full of great authentic, Asian restaurants for both dining in and take out. Many of these restaurants offer the option of bringing your own wine with corkage of $1-$2. Australians love their sushi and dumplings, and you can grab a bag of fresh dumplings for as little as $5 at lunchtime.
Embrace tradition and eat for less at the food markets where you’ll find everything from fresh fruit and veg to wood-fired oven pizzas.
The Queen Victoria Market is the biggest market in Melbourne and has been operating since 1854. You can dig into a hot seafood paella while relaxing in the sunshine to the sound of the market musicians.
In Sydney, Paddy’s markets take place Wednesdays to Sundays with plenty of tasty produce or you can check out the fresh seafood at the Sydney fish markets in Pyrmont.
In Brisbane, you can inhale the aromas of the home grown veggies, herbs, and spices at the Powers Farmers markets in Michelton or sample tasty delights at the Southbank Lifestyle markets on the weekend.
Click here to find out about markets in Tasmania, Perth, Adelaide and more.
4. Pub grub
Pull up a stool at the bar and chomp down on some cheap, local pub food. Look out for mixed-grill deals and two-for-one Parma nights. A lot of pubs in Australia offer mid-week specials and the no-frills meals can be much cheaper than at restaurants. The backpacker bars in hostels are also a popular choice for cheap food and drink.
5. Cheap Chains
There are plenty of cheap chain and budget restaurants all over Australia, including Hungry Jacks, Pie Face, Go Sushi, and many international fast food chains you’ll recognise. These can be great for a quick bite on the go.
Many hostels offer meals for as little as $6, and there’s also plenty of backpacker bars where you’ll find some great deals on food and drink. Some hostels offer free breakfast; it won’t be anything fancy, just cereal or pancakes, but it’s probably worth getting up for if you want to save cash.
If you’re staying in a hostel you’ll also have access to a shared kitchen, so cooking your own food will be much cheaper than dining out. When people leave hostels, they will often put what leftovers they have on the ‘free food shelf’, take advantage of this, but don’t forget to leave any leftover items behind for the next person to enjoy!
7. Drink Goon
Sometimes referred to as ‘Goon Juice’ or a ‘Goon Bag’, Goon is a much cheaper form of wine sold in a box and a favourite among backpackers. Don’t expect amazing quality and the taste can vary, but the common denominator is that it’s cheap! The bottle shop will be the cheapest place to source your Goon.
8. Cook from scratch
Convenience foods are often much more expensive and more processed in comparison to fresh produce. So hit the local supermarket or farmers’ market and get yourself enough fresh food to cook a meal for every day of the week. You’ll make a huge saving this way and it’s a much healthier way to eat.
Meat can be expensive, so going vegetarian a few days per week will help your wallet too. You’ll find plenty of cheap, simple recipes on this Australian website here.
American-style food vans sell food all over Australia and are very popular in Sydney and Melbourne. It’s a booming industry and gives you the option of eating out for less while enjoying the sunshine.
You’ll find everything from burgers and gourmet sandwiches to ice-creams and crème brulees. If it’s a food type-they’ll have a truck for it. The scene has exploded and if you follow your favourites on social media, you’ll get updates on their locations throughout the day.
10. Takeaways and BBQs
Eating food you take away is much cheaper than dining in a restaurant, and Australia has tonnes of options for Indian, Greek, Italian, and Asian food. You’ll find lots of great deals on Menu Log.
Having a BBQ is a great way to save cash and socialise with friends, and many of the bigger Australian parks have BBQ facilities. You simply bring the food and start cookin’. It’s BYO and you can get everyone to pitch in with the food.
It’s a classic way for Aussies to enjoy the outdoors so you must try it at least once! The meatinapark website will help you find bbq locations near you.
The average tax refund Down Under is AU$2600