I booked the Ibis Sydney Airport Hotel for a night. It is 1km. from the airport–very convenient to catch our 7am flight the next day. It is more of a business hotel with decent facilities. But what I liked most about our room is the uber comfy bed and pillows. Too bad, I forgot to snap some photos from this hotel.
In Alice Springs, we stayed at Toddy’s Backpackers which was recommended by The Rock Tour and Lost in Australia. Lost in Australia, the tour agency that booked us for The Rock Tour, gave us a free accommodation at Toddy’s for one night. The night after the tour, we stayed in a 4-bed mixed dorm for AU$26 each.
During the tour, we slept in swags and sleeping bags on campgrounds with bonfires and decent toilet facilities (except for the first night).
Although meals were included in the tour, we bought our lunch on the third day. In Alice Springs, we bought vegetarian meals at Asian Noodle House for AU$11 per dish.
Travel Tip: To save up, buy bottled water and snacks at a supermarket like Woolworths located in Alice Springs city centre’s Todd Mall. You will need extra food or snacks during the tour.
Travel Tip: The Rock Tour requires each and everyone to bring 3L of water. If you have water containers, bring it with you and refill them at the hostel or rest stations. This will cut down your costs as bottled water in the area is really expensive.
Without promotions, the tickets we had are the cheapest we could possibly get. You can also fly from Sydney or other parts of Australia to Yulara Airport and skip Alice Springs. But I highly suggest to start your trip in Alice Springs and experience the ride along the desert highways.
Travel Tip: Keep the airport transfer ticket from Alice Springs domestic airport to your hotel and avail of 20% discount for the return trip. I recommend taking the shuttle instead of renting a taxi. Most likely you will pay the same amount or even a little more when you rent a taxi with a group of 4-5 people.
Travel Tip: It is cheaper to buy souvenirs from rest stations during the tour than at the airport. The magnet I bought was 1 dollar more expensive at the airport.
This is the largest slice of the pie. The Rock Tour normally costs AU$355 per pax but because we booked with Lost in Australia, it was only AU$349 per pax. I believe that some tour agencies may arrange discounts if you book with them.
The Rock Tour is the most famous tour, I believe. But Emu Run Tours have the same package for only AU$350 and no extra costs. They provide sleeping bags and even drinks (beer/cider) for dinners, I heard.
Bring a sleeping bag if you have one to avoid the AU$15 rental fee. YOU WILL NEED A SLEEPING BAG whatever the temperature is. Initially, I thought we could do away with swags but when we saw them, we decided to rent sleeping bags.
Travel Tip: Book with Lost in Australia and avail of a 20% discount in exchange of your photos and videos. Check this link for details.