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Is Australia Expensive To Travel + 20 Tips for Travelling Australia on a Budget

Dreaming of the vast landscapes, stunning beaches, and unique wildlife that Australia has to offer? The land Down Under is undoubtedly a destination that sits high on the bucket list of many avid travelers. But you’re left wondering, is Australia expensive to travel to, or is there a way to experience its wonders without emptying your wallet?

In this comprehensive guide, we’re diving deep into the realm of Australian travel expenses to separate fact from fiction. Whether you’re a backpacker on a tight budget, a couple seeking adventure, or a solo traveler ready to embrace new experiences, I’ve got you covered.

As an Aussie who has lived here my whole life, I have gathered loads of great tips over the years for exploring the country without splashing out tonnes of cash.

I have thoroughly travelled my own backyard, including some of my favorite spots: Queensland, Sydney, and Kangaroo Island, need I go on?

Join me as we debunk myths, unveil the real cost of traveling in Australia, and equip you with 20 invaluable tips and tricks to make the most of your journey without compromising your bank account.

From budget-friendly accommodations to wallet-conscious dining options and awe-inspiring free attractions, this guide will empower you to create unforgettable memories while exploring the beauty and diversity of Australia on a budget.

Let’s discover how you can make your Australian travel dreams a thrifty and unforgettable reality.

From where to stay to how to get around and anything in between, below are my 20 tips for travelling Australia on a budget.

DO YOU HAVE THESE ITEMS FOR YOUR TRIP?

✔️ Flights: Book your flights on Skyscanner 

➡️ Car rental: Rent your car on Discovercars

✔️ Travel insurance: I recommend World Nomads

➡️ Accommodations: Book your stay at booking.com

✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours

Is Australia Expensive To Travel?
Is Australia Expensive To Travel?

Is Australia Expensive To Travel?

Alright, let’s tackle the big question that’s been buzzing around – is Australia expensive to travel when you’re itching to explore its shores?

Well, grab a coffee, and let’s chat about the real deal when it comes to the cost of gallivanting around this sun-soaked land.

First things first, yeah, Australia isn’t exactly a stone’s throw away from most places. Those plane tickets are on the pricier side. And sure, if you’re eyeing those trendy hotels with opera house views in Sydney, they might come with a shiny price tag.

But guess what? There’s a whole lot more to this story.

Australia’s got pockets of budget-friendly gems waiting to be uncovered. Think about it – beaches that don’t charge a dime, stunning national parks where Mother Nature’s the star, and local eats that won’t send your bank account into a tailspin.

We’re not here to burst any bubbles – some things might cost ya. But, don’t worry! This is your insider’s guide, your roadmap to doing Australia without burning a hole in your wallet from an actual Aussie

Whether you’re the type who rolls with a backpack or wants a taste of luxury without the jaw-dropping bill, we’ve got your back.

So buckle up, fellow adventurers.

We’re about to dive into the nitty-gritty of Australia’s spending scene.

Time to uncover those tips, tricks, and sneaky hacks that’ll have you living your best Aussie life without sweating the small stuff.

Let’s get this show on the road and unravel the truth about whether Australia’s really the budget-buster it’s made out to be!

How Much Does a Trip to Australia Cost?

The cost of a trip to Australia can vary widely depending on several factors, including your travel style, duration of stay, activities, accommodation preferences, and where you’re travelling from.

As a rough estimate, a budget backpacker traveller might spend around $80 to $110 AUD per day, a mid-range traveller should budget for around $150-$200 AUD while a more luxurious trip could easily exceed $400 AUD per day or more.

Keep in mind that these are just general estimates, and your actual expenses could vary. It’s a good idea to create your own budget,

Is Australia expensive to travel? Not if you stick to free activities like hitting the beach

Typical Costs in Australia – Is Australia Expensive To Travel?

Let’s now break down some of the costs you can expect to budget for on your trip to Australia to help unpack the question – Is Australia expensvie to travel?

Flights

The cost of flights can vary significantly based on your departure city, time of booking, and whether you’re flying economy or towards the front of the plane.

On average, a round-trip flight from the United States or Europe to Australia could range from $1500 to $2500 AUD or more.

Accommodation

Accommodation costs can vary greatly depending on the type you choose

Budget travellers might find hostels or budget hotels for around $30 to $100 per night.

Mid-range hotels could cost around $120 to $300 per night, and luxury options can go beyond $300 per night.

Food

Dining expenses vary depending on where you eat.

On average, a meal at a mid-range restaurant could cost around $20 to $50.

If you opt for budget options like takeaway or cooking your meals, you can significantly reduce your food expenses to around $10 per meal.

Transport

Getting around within Australia can involve expenses for domestic flights, trains, buses, and rental cars.

Domestic flights aren’t as cheap as flights in Europe, (sad face), expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $500 AUD depending on where you’re headed and when you book. Remember Australia is a huge country so flying from the east to the west coast can cost a pretty penny.

I often recommend renting a car when travelling Australia as it will give you the most flexibility and will allow you to venture out on day trips beyond the city.

An economy compact car will cost around $50 per day on Rentalcars.com.

➡️ Car rental: Rent your car on Rentalcars.com 

Public transport costs vary by city, but you can budget around $20-$50 for weekly transport.

Ubers are your best bet for saving pennies over catching a taxi and are a good option for getting home safely late at night. You can estimate fares here.

Alcohol

For a country that loves to get on the piss, they sure don’t keep the price of booze down.

Beers cost around $10 AUD and a glass of house wine is usually around $11-13 AUD.

Happy hours and backpacker bars tend to have cheap drinks, usually for around 50% off. But drinks add up fast here!

Tours

Most day trips bookable on Viator will set you back around 60-450 AUD depending on what type of tour we’re talking.

That being said, tours can be a great way to get the most value out of your money as they often include transport, food, guides, and more.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is always recommended for any destination to cover unexpected medical expenses, trip cancellations, or other unforeseen events.

The cost of travel insurance varies based on coverage and duration but here’s a rough estimate if you opt for WorldNomads, my recommended insurance provider.

  • 25 year old
  • From the United Kingdom
  • Travelling to Australia for 1 week
  • Total: $110AUD

Note: Currency exchange rates, seasonal variations, inflation and unforeseen circumstances can impact the overall cost of your trip. It’s recommended to do thorough research, create a budget, and plan ahead to ensure an enjoyable and financially manageable trip to Australia.

20 Tips for Travelling Australia on a Budget

Is Australia expensive to travel? Sorry to stay, but yes, Australia can be pretty expensive to travel.

But these 20 tips will allow you to travel Australia on a budget!

1. Create a budget

The first and most obvious step for travelling Australia on a budget is to create a realistic budget. 

Budgets can easily be created in excel, they don’t need to look fancy they just need to track your expenses and spending habits.

There are loads of free templates online, a great starting tool is the budget planner tool created by the Australian government. But let me know in the comments if you would like me to share my personal template. 

By reviewing your spending you can determine an achievable weekly or monthly saving goal. Then, simply set up auto payments to your savings accounts to hold you accountable for your goal.

Is Australia expensive to travel? Not if you opt for hostels or even cabins.

2. Be flexible

Be flexible with your travel dates as adjusting your days and times of travel can sometimes dramatically alter the prices.

The more flexible you are the more money you can save. And the great thing about Australia is that you can enjoy warm beach weather for most of the year, particularly if you head to Queensland. Winters in Australia are pretty mild.

Avoid peak time including public holidays, school holidays and the summer time (December – February)

3. Book cheap flights

I always use Skyscanner to book my flights and shop for the best rates. 

Why? 

Because I can see prices and promotions from over 1200 travel companies in one spot.

Plus it’s easy to filter for my airlines of choice so I can collect or use points.

Pink salt lake in Adelaide is one of the many incredible natural attractions in Australia that are free
Bumbunga Lake

4. Save, save save!

Do whatever you can to save as much money as possible before you head off. 

5. Don’t over pack

It’s time to pack now! When packing your luggage and carry on make sure to check the baggage allowance of ALL airlines you are travelling with. The last thing you want is a hefty fee when you get to the airport as your baggage is overweight. 

For peace of mind, I also like to weigh my bag. You can get a small baggage scale from Amazon, Target or other department stores for cheap and if you’re a big traveller it will always come in handy. 

Try and pack as much as you can so you aren’t tempted to go shopping on your trip and won’t need to purchase necessities when you arrive. 

Kangaroos and wallabies at an expensive resort in Queensland
Wallabies in Twin Waters

6. Pick your accommodation wisely 

One of the most costly expenses when travelling to Australia on a budget is accommodation. Choosing your accommodation wisely can save you hundreds of dollars. 

As with other countries around the world, the cost of hotels and even hostels is rising rapidly.

The following options, although not the most glamorous, are your best bets for travelling Australia on a budget. 

Hostels

Unfortunately, hostels in Australia are no match for Thailand or Vietnam, particularly during the summertime.

Hostel dorm beds in Australia can range anywhere from  $40-65 AUD per night depending on where you are staying and what time of year it is. 

Couch surfing 

Although I can’t speak from personal experience there are a range of fellow solo female travellers who I’ve heard have had both great and not-so-great experiences.

Check out couchsurfing.com to see if there are any suitable options for you, even if it’s just a night here and there. 

Work exchanges

Skip paying for accommodation together by volunteering/working in exchange for a bed.

Sites such as workaway and worldpackers connect hosts looking for services such as childcare, language tutoring, gardening, cleaning, charity work, art projects, animal care, farm stay help and more.

This is a better option for those on longer stays wanting to really experience the local way of living. 

Try working remote when travelling australia to pick up some extra cash
Work and travel in Australia

7. Pick up extra work

To create more wiggle room in your budget, pick up a little extra work when you’re travelling Australia on a budget.

My favourite way to make extra income while travelling is online, as it gives me the flexibility to work wherever and whenever.

For me, it’s working on this blog, which is not a quick way to make money so if you’re in a pinch I would explore options such as freelancing, virtual assistant roles, surveys, digital products, affiliate marketing or dropshipping. 

Alternatively, there are plenty of backpacker jobs you can pick up as you go including but not limited to: hospitality, farm work, tour guiding, tutoring, babysitting and more. 

Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Byron Bay
Stand up paddle boarding Byron Bay

8. Combine accommodation with transport

This next tip for travelling Australia on a budget is to combine accommodation with transport. 

Get a safe night’s sleep and maximise your time in a destination by opting for red-eye flights, sleeper trains or night buses. Plus, overnight transport often has cheaper fares. 

WIN, WIN, WIN!

Book your budget overnight flights with Skyscanner for the best fares guaranteed! 

Another common way to get around Australia for cheap is to rent or purchase a van. With some DIY you can transform the van into a comfortable place to sleep and make simple meals. 

Camping Double Island Queensland is an affordable way to see Australia
Double Island Point, Queensland

9. Go camping 

Can an Aussie adventure really be complete without camping? 

It’s not for everyone but why not give it a go for a couple of nights by the beach to not only save cash but to get amongst Aussie nature? 

Just be wary of snakes, spiders and other native animals you are sharing the campsite with…

A road trip around Australia can be a great way to save money
Kangaroo Island

10. Take a road trip

A solo road trip is a great way to see lots of places around Australia in a short amount of time. It gives you the ultimate flexibility to plan your ideal adventure. Leave all the logistical nightmares and time-wasting involved with arranging public transport behind. 

It is a great way for travelling Australia on a budget as you can skip splurging on plane tickets.

Check out my 20 tips to road trip solo! 

Pennington Bay on Kangaroo Island is a great destination for a budget road trip
Pennington Bay

11. Take a tour

Often times taking a bus tour will not only save you the stress of planning your trip but will also make budgeting a lot simpler. 

Tour companies such as Topdeck and Contiki are a great way to meet other travellers, see the best sights in a short amount of time and have meals and accommodation arranged for you.

Tours will also give you access to exclusively negotiated prices on hostels and attractions, excellent value for your buck.

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12. Make use of the Free Wi-fi

Australia’s Wi-fi infrastructure has come a long way. Nowadays you can find free Wi-fi in most major cafes, restaurants, shopping centres, hotels and major tourist hubs. 

Due to security concerns and limiting Wi-Fi to customers only, it is often password protected. You will need to ask the server for the password and purchase something small like a sandwich or drink. 

Using free Wi-Fi will save you from being charged international roaming charges and having to purchase a large amount of data. 

For safety reasons, I do recommend you purchase a sim card, especially if you are travelling in the outback or through more remote areas. 

I recommend you check out OneSimCard Expedition International 3-in-one Travel SIM Card as you can use in 200+ countries and can pay as you go.  

13. No tipping

You’ll be pleased to know that in Australia the price you see on the menu is the price you pay. 

Tipping is not common and not expected of you. 

Here in Australia, hospitality workers are paid a higher wage thanks to high minimum wage standards set by the government.

14. Skip buying coffee out

When you’re jet-lagged, hungover or just plain exhausted, hot barista-made coffee is sometimes all you can think about. And yes sometimes they are justified… 3 am flights I think it’s more of a necessity than a nicety! 

Not to mention the coffee in Australia is some of the tastiest brews in the world. 

But buying coffee out is another silent assassin that will add up fast, especially in this economy. 

Now I’m not saying don’t drink coffee, cause that would be torture. The coffee culture in Australia is an experience in itself.

I would just try to limit buying coffee out but substituting instant coffee. 

Pack a small number of instant coffee sachets that only require hot water to get you through your morning.

15. Buy drinks at a bottle shop

One of my top tips for travelling Australia on a budget is to buy your drinks at a bottle shop.

By bottle shop that’s what we call a liquor store here. Also, note that Australia does not sell alcohol in supermarkets.

These days in Australia buying drinks at a bar, club or restaurant is very expensive. 

So if you’re after a fun night out in Australia’s nightclub scene, have a few pre-drinks before you head out. A $12 bottle of wine is a better value than a $12 glass!

And make sure to bring your ID anywhere you go! Australia is very strict on checking ID of anyone who looks under 25! 

16. Travel Insurance

Now you may be thinking, isn’t travel insurance an extra cost?

Travel insurance is a small price to pay that can save you thousands of dollars if you fall ill, get injured, lose your luggage, get delayed at the airport are in an accident. 

It’s a no-brainer!

I always recommend World Nomads for affordable travel insurance options perfect for world travellers needing flexible options and adventure cover. 

Exploring museums and art galleries are low cost activities
The Cube, South Australia

17. Explore museums and art galleries 

The next tip for travelling Australia on a budget is to visit museums and art galleries. 

Here in Australia general admission is often free!

Learn how about Australian history and culture, plus it’s a great way to escape the heat for a couple of hours. 

Having a picnic in the park is a great way to budget travel
Have a picnic

18. Make food

Skip dining out and instead head to the supermarket to grab some fixings for cereal, a sandwich and spaghetti. 

Eating out adds up fast so try and limit it to only a few restaurants you are dying to try.

Supermarkets and bakeries will be your best friend when travelling Australia on a budget...

Grab a loaf of bread, some spreads, cold meats and salad to make toast and sandwiches. I love bakery stops to grab a pie, pastry or sandwich when on the go.

Other staples that are great for sticking to your budget include simple pasta dishes, microwave meals and noodles.

Tip

Opt for a hostel that has a good kitchen or even better a hostel where breakfast and/or dinner are included. 

19. Travel card / no fee ATM card

Planning to use your local bank card when travelling to Australia? Think again.

International transaction fees of 3%, flat $3 or worse add up really fast.

I also wouldn’t recommend taking out loads of cash either because if you lose it or your baggage is stolen it’s all gone. 

So where does this leave us?

Travel cards and no fee ATM cards! 

One of if not the best travel cards on the market is Wise. 

If you go for a travel card like Wise you will save 85% compared to using your everyday debit card. 

Wise has over 50 currencies and can be used in hundreds of countries, sparing you the hassle of juggling multiple cards. And you can withdraw up to $350 AUD per month with no fees! And you can add it to your Apple wallet for easy payment from your iPhone or Apple watch.

Another great all-rounder card to check out is Travelx. Travelex has no Eftpos fees, ATM fees, or currency conversion fees. And you can order it online and have it delivered to you pronto!

And lastly, if you prefer to stick with your trusted bank, they likely will have the option to reduce your international transaction fees so reach out or do your research. 

Sunshine Coast Australia is an expensive destination in Queensland
Sunshine Coast, Queensland

20. Spend lots of time in nature

Australia is home to world-class beaches, gorgeous lakes, mountains, rainforests, and waterfalls you name it. 

When travelling Australia on a budget, spending most of your time in nature will help you cut the costs down. 

Trade walking around the shopping centre for a scenic hike and dining at a fancy restaurant for fish and chips on the beach. 

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Guaranteed ways to make money travelling check out my blog post! 

Is Australia expensive to travel? Let's just say it really depends on the activities you do

FAQs: Is Australia Expensive To Travel?

Is Australia expensive to travel? Let’s break down some commonly asked questions.

How expensive is it to visit Australia?

The cost of visiting Australia can vary widely, but to provide you with a general idea, here are some rough figures.

A round-trip flight from the United States or Europe to Australia can range from $1500 to $2000 AUD or more.

Accommodation costs per night can vary greatly: budget options like hostels might range from $30 to $100, mid-range hotels from $120 to $300, and luxury options beyond $300.

Dining at a mid-range restaurant could cost around $20 to $50 per meal, while public transport will set you back around $20-50 per week.

Taking these factors into consideration, a budget traveller might spend $80-110 per day, a mid-range traveller around $150 to $200 per day, while a more luxurious trip could exceed $400 per day or more.

It’s important to note that these figures are approximate and can vary based on individual preferences and circumstances.

Why is Australia expensive to travel to?

Several factors contribute to the relatively high cost of travelling to Australia:

  • Geographic Isolation: Australia’s location makes it a relatively distant destination for many travellers, which means higher airfare costs.

  • Long Travel Distances: Australia is a vast country, and getting from one destination to another often involves long distances. Domestic flights, ground transport, and the infrastructure needed to connect remote areas can all contribute to higher travel costs.

  • High Standard of Living: Australia has a high standard of living, which affects the overall cost of goods and services. Accommodation, dining, transportation, and other amenities reflect this standard, leading to higher prices compared to some other destinations.

  • Labour Costs: Australia’s labour costs are relatively high, which can impact service industries such as hospitality and tourism.

  • Stringent Regulations and Quality Standards: Australia places a strong emphasis on safety and quality standards in various industries, including tourism. This can result in increased operating costs for businesses, which are then reflected in the prices charged to consumers.

  • Currency Exchange Rates: Currency exchange rates can affect the cost of travelling to Australia for international visitors. Fluctuations in exchange rates can impact the purchasing power of foreign currencies, potentially making the trip more expensive.

  • Limited Competition in Some Areas: In remote or less densely populated areas of Australia, there might be limited competition among service providers, leading to higher prices for goods and services.

  • Natural Attractions and Unique Experiences: Australia is known for its stunning natural landscapes, unique wildlife, and diverse experiences. The demand for these attractions can contribute to higher prices, as tourists are often willing to pay more for these one-of-a-kind experiences.

While Australia might be relatively expensive to visit, it’s also important to note that there are ways to manage costs.

Budget travellers can find more affordable accommodation options, make the most of public transport, cook their own meals, and focus on free or low-cost activities.

How much is a 2 week trip to Australia?

The cost of a 2-week trip to Australia can vary widely based on destinations within Australia, activities, accommodation preferences, and personal spending habits. However, in the spirit of transparency, here is a rough estimate, for a mid-range traveller on a 2-week trip:

  • Flights: Round-trip flights from North America or Europe to Australia can range from $1500 to $2500 or more, depending on factors such as departure city and booking time.
  • Accommodation: Mid-range hotel options could cost around $120 to $300 per night.
  • Food: Dining expenses can vary. On average, a meal at a mid-range restaurant could cost around $20 to $50.
  • Transportation: Domestic flights or other transportation within Australia could add several hundred dollars to your budget, depending on the distance and mode of travel.
  • Activities and Sightseeing: Entrance fees to popular attractions, tours, and activities could cost around $20 to $100 or more per activity.
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: This category includes shopping, souvenirs, tips, and other discretionary spending. The amount you spend on these items can vary greatly.

Taking these estimates into account, a mid-range traveller might spend around:

  • Flights: $800 – $1500
  • Accommodation (14 nights): $280 – $420 (budget) to $1400 – $4200 (mid-range)
  • Food: $40 – $100 per day x 14 days = $560 – $1400
  • Transportation: $200 – $500 (domestic flights or other transportation)
  • Activities: $300 – $700
  • Miscellaneous: $200 – $400

Total: Approximately $2140 – $8600 (excluding international flights) for 2 weeks

Keep in mind that these figures are approximate and can vary based on your specific choices and circumstances!

Hope that helps!

Is 5000 AUD enough for a month in Australia?

Whether 5000 AUD is enough for a month in Australia depends on your travel style, spending habits, and the specific locations you plan to visit.

Is Australia expensive to travel to? Yes, Australia can be relatively expensive, but with careful budgeting, it’s possible to make the most of your trip within this budget.

A mid-ranger traveler can expect to spend at least $4280 (excluding international flights) for a month.

So $5000 is doable but you will need to be very tight with your budgeting, opting for hostels over hotels and reducing your dining out.

Is it worth going to Australia for 1 week?

While a week is relatively short, a trip to Australia for one week can still be worth it if you plan strategically and focus on a specific region or city.

Australia’s diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and unique attractions offer a glimpse into its beauty and culture, even within a limited timeframe.

Prioritizing key activities, choosing efficient travel options, and selecting a destination that aligns with your interests can help you make the most of your short visit.

Whether it’s exploring iconic urban landmarks, experiencing natural wonders, or engaging in adventure activities, a well-planned one-week trip can provide a memorable and rewarding Australian experience.

But of course, there is so much to see, I highly recommend you stay for at least 2 weeks so you can really scratch the surface of this incredible country.

The Wrap Up: Is Australia Expensive To Travel?

To wrap things up, let’s chat about Is Australia expensive to travel or can you visit sticking to your tight budget?

Well, the truth is, it can be a bit of a wallet workout, but don’t chuck your plans out the window just yet!

The Land Down Under has heaps to offer, from stunning coastlines to bushland wonders, and yeah, some parts can be a tad pricey.

But don’t stress, mate. With some crafty budgeting, like bunking in budget hostels or enjoying a snag on a picnic, you can stretch your dollars and still soak up the good vibes.

Sure, you might have to skip the facny dining, but trading those for genuine Aussie experiences – like a dip in our crystal-clear waters or a stroll through our epic national parks – well, that’s like money in the memory bank, isn’t it?

So, whether you’re rollin’ in cash or watching your cents, Australia’s got the goods to make your journey ripper without emptying your wallet completely.

Go on, give it a crack and make some lifelong memories Down Under!

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