Alright, yes, Australia is quite an expensive country, especially when you compare it to Asia, which is very close. But, Australia really doesn’t need to be as expensive as a lot of people claim! So, how much does it cost to travel around in Australia and what kind of budget do you need?
In this blog post, we cover all kinds of costs, for accommodation, transportation, daily costs, tours, activities, and even more. With this information, you can set your own budget and enjoy Australia the way you want to experience it!
Preparation costs to travel to Australia
When you plan on going to Australia there are a couple of things you need to arrange. You need a ticket to get there, a visa to be able to enter Australia, and you need insurance. What do all these things cost you?
The price of your ticket totally depends on where you are coming from. A ticket from Amsterdam will vary between €800 and €2000 and a ticket from New York will vary between US$1000 and US$2500. Prices fluctuate a lot throughout the year and also depend on the season and the place you are flying to and from.
It is known that the tickets from Asia to Australia are normally very affordable. So, if you have a bit more time to sort things out, it might be cheaper to buy two tickets. One ticket from your home country to a destination in Asia and one ticket from Asia to Australia.
Tip: Use Skyscanner to find the best prices for your tickets to and from Australia. You can search the cheapest month or the cheapest destination from Australia. In this way you might find a cheap transfer destination.
Everyone that wants to go to Australia needs a valid visa. A tourist visa, which allows you to travel around Australia for 30 days, is free of charge. If you want to go to Australia for a longer period of time, you might want to look into a Work & Holiday visa.
Which visa you need and how much it costs, you can find on the website of the Australian Government. They provide a visa finder which makes it very easy to check what kind of visa you need, how much it will cost you, and how you can apply for one.
You might also like: 8 things you need to arrange when you want to work in Australia
Nothing is as annoying as feeling sick in a foreign country. Nevertheless, it is this something you can’t always prevent. An accident can happen at any time, like a sprained ankle during a hike or food poisoning from a restaurant.
You better visit a doctor when you don’t feel well. Just think of how nice is it to be insured and not having to worry if x-rays need to be taken or you need to buy medicine?
Always check your current health insurance if they cover any costs for medical help abroad. Also, check if you are insured with travel insurance if your stuff gets stolen or your luggage doesn’t arrive.
Tip: For long-term travelers, Safety Wing is a very good travel health insurance. For only US$37 per 4 weeks, you don’t have to worry about anything. They cover health issues as well as basic travel issues, like a stolen passport or expenses for a flight delay.
If you want to learn more about this insurance click here and read our full review about Safety Wing after years of using it during our travels.
Transportation costs to get around in Australia
To get around Australia you have a couple of options. Rent a car or camper or buy one. You can also choose to get around with public transportation or take domestic flights to fly from one to another city.
Car rental Australia
You can rent a car in Australia from US$25 a day. This is a small car, which will drive you from A to B. During high season prices can go up a lot and the same car might cost you around US$80 a day!
Renting a camper Van will cost you between US$70 and US$250 per day. It is a bit more expensive than a car, but keep in mind that this will cover a big part of your accommodation costs as well.
The price also depends on where you rent the car and if you want to return it to the same place or in another place. Returning it in another place means you have to pay extra one-way costs. These costs depend on the distance between the pick-up and drop-off location.
Buy a car or van
It is also possible to buy a used car or Van in Australia. This is probably your best option if you stay for a longer time in Australia. The costs of renting can be high and prices for a used car are normally quite good.
You can buy a used small car from AU$1000, a basic Van from AU$2500 and a 4×4 from AU$3000.
Obviously, you also need to pay for insurance, which will cost you between AU$30 and AU$50 per month. And once a year you need to pay for the Rego, which is to extend the registration of your car and also includes very basic insurance.
Keep in mind that, when you leave Australia, you can sell your car or van again and part of your expenses will be made back.
Don’t forget to check: 9 Things You Need to Know as a Backpack When you Buy a Car in Australia
To keep your car going you have to fuel up every now and then. Petrol isn’t very expensive in Australia and for a liter of gasoline, you pay between AU$1.20 and AU$1.50. In the outback, you might need to pay a bit more, but in the cities sometimes even less. Check here the actual petrol prices in Australia.
Getting around by bus
It is possible to get around Australia with public transport. The busses and trains won’t bring you in every small settlement, but they will definitely bring you to all the corners of the country.
Greyhound is the largest coach company. You can simply buy a ticket from A to B, but they also offer travel passes.
- Whimit travel pass: This is the ultimate travel pass, allowing you to travel to and from any destination in their extensive coach network, and in any direction. This pass costs AU$399 for 30 days and AU$1699 for 365 days!
- Hop-on-hop-off travel pass: Hop on and hop off on a certain route in one direction as often as you want. The pass is valid for 90 days and available on different routes. The pass will cost you AU$469 on the route from Sydney to Cairns (or the other way around).
Getting around by train
Trains will transport you along the East-Coast or between North and South or between East and West. Long-distance train travel can be expensive but there are several rail passes available on the train network across Australia. Rail Passes start at $298.
One of the most famous train routes in Australia is the Ghan. It brings you all the way from Darwin to Adelaide, passing Alice Springs in the red center. Tickets can be very pricy, but off-season there are often deals!
In the bigger cities, like Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, and Perth you can find public transport. The networks might include buses, trams, and trains. On average a ticket will cost you around AU$2.50 per ticket.
Domestic flights are very common in Australia. It is a big country and distances are sometimes simply too long to drive. For example, a flight from Perth to Sydney takes over 5 hours!
If you have some time to search for reasonably priced tickets, you can find tickets between AU$80 and AU$150 for a 3 hours flight. Tickets to Uluru (Red Center) will cost you more as it is so remote and not a lot of companies fly there.
Accommodation costs for staying in Australia
There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to accommodation in Australia. It is well-developed and you will find hotels, hostels, Airbnb, and campsites everywhere throughout the country.
You can find a hotel in every price range. But it will cost you at least AU$80 per night. It doesn’t include breakfast for this price! Do you want more luxury, like a swimming pool or a place in the middle of the city center? The price will go up at least to AU$150 per night.
Backpacker hostels are everywhere in Australia. Obviously in the bigger cities, but also in smaller settlements and in national parks. A dorm room will cost you between AU$20 and AU$40 for a bed and you can stay in a private room, with a shared bathroom from AU$55.
If you travel with a bigger group (from 4 people on) Airbnb might definitely be something you want to check out. It is often cheaper to rent an apartment via this network than to pay for two separate hotel rooms or a family room in a hotel.
Love being outdoors? Then I’ve got some good news for you! Australia is full of camping! This is often way cheaper than hotels and hostels. For a luxury campsite (with a swimming pool and kids-play-area), you pay around AU$35 per night for 2 people.
And it even gets better! You can camp in Australia for free! There are thousands of campsites you can use totally free of charge, which is why they are called free camps. Some are situated in really nice areas that are next to a lake where you can swim. Others are as simple as a gravel pit.
Don’t miss out: Free Camping in Australia: The Ultimate Backpackers Guide
Costs for food and drinks in Australia
When it comes to food and drinks you can make a lot of choices. Do you want to eat in a restaurant every meal or do you not mind cooking for yourself? Eating out can be expensive, but often there are some nice deals. But going to the supermarket to buy your own food will always be cheaper!
There are four main supermarkets in Australia, which include Aldi, Woolworths, Coles, and IGA. Aldi is often cheapest, but some items are not available and their product range is limited. Woolworths and Coles are supposed to be equal when it comes to price and assortment, but in our experience, Woolworths is slightly cheaper. IGA is the most expensive.
I will give you some examples of Australian supermarket prices:
- Tomatoes: AU$3 to AU$5 per kilo
- Apples: AU$2 to AU$5 per kilo
- Chocolate bar: AU$3 to AU$5
- Bag of 500gr Pasta: <AU$1
Eating dinner in restaurants can add up. Where you can prepare a lovely pasta for AU$5 to AU$7.50 for 2 people, it will cost you around AU$15 to AU$25 per person in a restaurant.
In cities, you often find restaurants that offer day-meals for a good price. In smaller settlements, it is worth having a look in local pubs. They often have good food for good prices.
Yes, alcohol is expensive. And there is no way to get around it. At the bar, you pay between AU$8 and AU$12 for half a liter of beer. In the bottle shop, you pay between AU$30 and AU$50 for 24 cans or bottles. (Depends a lot on the brand).
Other alcoholic beverages, like wines, spirits and rums are even more expensive.
If you thought alcohol was expensive, you might not want to read this part. Tobacco is really expensive. For cigarettes, you pay between AU$15 and AU$25 for a small package. So, if you want to travel low-budget to Australia, you better stop smoking!
Tours and activities to explore Australia
Going on a day tour or a multiple-day tour is always fun. People take care of you and lead you around to the most beautiful places. Some places in Australia you can only explore with a tour and that makes it special, but sometimes also expensive.
A regular day tour will cost you between AU$50 and AU$150 per person. Depending on the size of the group, the activity, and the place. A multiple-day tour will cost you between AU$150 and AU$450 per person, depending on the same circumstances.
Entrance fee parks
For some national parks, you have to pay an entrance fee. Especially in Tasmania, this is very common. An average entrance fee for a national park is AU$15 per person.
In Tasmania, you can get a national parks pass. This pass is AU$60 per vehicle which allows up to 8 persons to enter all the national parks and is valid for 8 weeks.
Must Read: Brisbane to Cairns: The complete route guide
Traveling in Australia, how much does it cost?
With all the above information you can figure out a bit what you like to do in Australia, how you want to get around and where you want to stay and eat to decide on a budget. Further down I listed up some budgets you can use as a guide. But first, I’ll give you a little insight into our budget.
An insight into our budget
Our total budget is around AU$1500 for 2 people. A lot of other people traveling in Australia will say this is impossible, but I tell you it is possible! This is because we save a lot on the biggest expenses other backpackers often splurge on: Alcohol, tobacco, and accommodation.
For transport, we pay AU$35 per month for our car insurance and between AU$70 and AU$150 per week for fuel.
When it comes to accommodation, we usually do a bit of everything. As we have a camper van, we use free camps a lot. On average we sleep 1 and very occasionally 2 nights per week in paid accommodation. Sometimes this is a paid campsite, sometimes this is a hostel or a hotel. On average we pay AU$15 to AU$50 per week on accommodation.
For foods and drinks, we pay on average between AU$100 and AU$150 per week for groceries. We don’t smoke, kind of never drink, and barely go out for dinner (maybe just once a month). Cooking is something we both like and we don’t really cut our grocery costs. We just buy whatever we like to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
We like to do activities and tours, but we have a lot of time to spend in Australia, some months we don’t do any tours at all, other months we do 4 tours. On average we do 1 or 2 tours a month which costs us around AU$200 to AU$400 per month.
I’ll add it up for you one more time:
- Transport: AU$70 – AU$150 a week (AU$450 a month)
- Groceries: AU$ 100 – AU$150 a week (AU$500 a month)
- Accommodation: AU$15 – AU$50 a week (AU$100 a month)
- Tours and activities: AU$200 – AU$400 a month (AU$300 a month)
- Other expenses: AU$100 a month
- Total: AU$1450 per month.
Yes, some months it might be AU$2000 but another month it will be only AU$1250.
That is why I told you at the beginning of this post that it all depends on what you want to do in Australia. It also depends if you travel solo or in a group. Solo traveling is most likely to cost you a bit more, as you have to pay the same amount for fuel or a hotel room as when you would be with 2 or more persons.
Below are some budgets you should be able to maintain for your trip around Australia. Decide whether you want to go for a really low budget or if you are more the partying type. Maybe you want a bit of it all, or you just want to go on a luxury tour. Have a look below and see what kind of budget you need for Australia.
- Real backpackers budget: This means you have your own transport and you mainly use free camps for overnight stays. Just party every now and then and do a tour only when you really really want it. You should be able to travel around Australia for AU$30 – AU$50 per day
- Party animal budget: This means you party at least 2 times a week until you are totally wasted. Consuming a lot of alcohol, mainly traveling in the cities, which means you have to stay in backpackers hostels. You should be able to travel around Australia for AU$60 – AU$100 per day
- Explorer budget: This means you love to explore Australia a bit more. Drive some more kilometers, do some more tours and activities and go out for dinner every now and then. But you don’t mind staying on free camps, although twice a week you grant yourself a bit more luxury stay. You should be able to travel around Australia for AU$80 – AU$130 per day
- Luxury budget: You just want it all. Do a lot of tours, eat out at least 3 to 4 times a week, rent a car because that is just easiest and you only stay in hotels. You should be able to travel around Australia forAU$175 – AU$300 per day
Whatever your budget is going to be, always make sure to have a little extra. This way you can afford that awesome tour you came across and you can cover some unexpected expenses.
We love to hear from you
I hope, after reading this post, you have a little better idea of how much your budget should be for Australia. It is not the cheapest country to travel to, but believe me, it is definitely also not the most expensive one. Did you travel around Australia and do you want to share your budget? Do you have a question? Please leave a comment below.
Are you ready to discover more about Australia? Check out our Australia page to read all our Australia articles.