The Cost of Traveling Australia

sydney city viewEveryone has sticker shock when they get to Australia. They see how much things cost, and their jaws drop. Heck, even Australians get sticker shock, and they live there. Travelers go through their budget quickly because no one ever expects the country to cost as much as it does. When I first traveled to Australia a few years ago, I grossly underestimated how much I needed. It cost me double what I thought because of a strong Australian dollar and poor planning. This time around I was better prepared, but I still overspent because I wasn’t prepared for such dramatic inflation.

Moreover, Australia’s strong dollar means you don’t even get any advantage when exchanging money. It’s virtually on par with the American dollar, and the weak euro and pound have even given Europeans less value for their money.

While I was in Australia this year, I spent $3,400 USD in 33 days. That total includes all my day-to-day expenses, flights, transport, tours, and anything I bought. Averaging roughly $100 dollars a day, it would have been a lot more had I not been able to stay with friends and get discounted tours. I ate a lot at expensive restaurants, flew a few places, and spent a lot of money using the Internet on my phone. If it wasn’t for my friends and the discounts I got, I would have spent about $150 USD per day.

sailing in the whitsundays

When you travel Australia, your typical costs tend to look like this:

  • Hostels: In northern Queensland, you can find hostel prices for about $20 per night. On the west coast, it’s about $24, but from Noosa down to Melbourne (the densely populated east coast), expect to pay $27–35 per night. The smaller the dorm, the higher the cost. Private rooms are $65–100 per night.
  • Food: Your average meal in Australia will run you about $15–20. A good meal at a nice restaurant will run you about $40. Even McDonald’s is expensive—a value meal is about $8.
  • Drinking: For a country of drinkers, they make it very difficult to do. Beers cost around $8. Happy hours and backpacker bars tend to have cheap drinks, and you can usually find a pint of something for $4–5.
  • Tours: Tours in Australia are a lot cheaper than tours in New Zealand, and there’s also a lot less of them to spend your money on. A typical multi-day tour will cost around $200. Most day trips can be found for $100.
  • Transportation: You can find cheap transportation in Australia if you look hard enough. But outside of the heavily populated and highly competitive east coast, it’s not always that easy. Because of limited competition, flying is very expensive except on the west coast. It’s often cheaper to fly than get a bus out there. If you can get a deal on a tourist bus, that can be cheaper than either Greyhound or flying. On the east coast, Greyhound offers many good-value passes. I’d take them over any other transportation. The Cairns to Melbourne pass is $485.

How to save money in Australia:

  • Cook. Cooking your meals can save you a lot of money. I cooked for a week with pasta, a few meats, and ready meals, and I only spent $60 dollars.
  • Drink Less. Alcohol causes all good budgets to die. A six-pack of beer is $14. If you want to save money, drink less. Or drink goon (boxed wine). Goon is the perennial favorite of travelers. It’s $16 dollars for four liters of wine. Actually, it’s not wine. It’s fish, dairy, and milk products—no grapes here. It gives you a killer hangover but also the most bang for your buck.
  • Couchsurf. Couchsurf with locals, stay at their place, and save on accommodation. Every night out of the hostel is more money for activities. This is also a great way to meet locals and get involved with the local culture.
  • Buy Packages. Buying tours together can save you money. In Australia, it’s cheaper to go to a hostel tour desk or a place like Tribal and book your activities all together. You’ll save more money than booking on your own. Surprising, I know.

sunset in uluru

On the absolute minimum budget, I think a traveler could get by on $77 per day. Most people travel Australia for about a month. If you did the Melbourne to Cairns route, your costs would be $810 for hostels (average price of $27 per night), $500 for food (mixing cooking and eating out), $500 for tours, and $500 for your bus ticket. That budget doesn’t cover any drinking or additional expenses that might occur. If you Couchsurfed for five nights and bought all your own food, you could (in theory) lower your budget to $64 per day. (Excluding drinking or other random expenses.)

However, we all know budgets, no matter how well we plan, get broken. So to cover all your costs and have a little extra, I’d budget $100 per day. You never know what might happen. Maybe you’ll have a big night out or maybe you’ll break your camera. It’s always better to leave a country with extra money than overspend.

For more information on Australia, visit my guide to Australia travel.

Note: all prices are in AUD unless noted otherwise.

  1. Margaret

    Thanks…this really helped. I’m going to be backpacking in Oz starting May and was really starting to wonder how much i would need to get by without working for while. This came in handy!

  2. Susan

    While my friend and I were there, we became devotees of the vodka & cranberry. Cosmos were 12 dollars, vodka & cranberry was only 6. We didnt miss the Cointreau and saved money.

    I think it was the price of bottled water that gave me the most sticker shock.

  3. Adri

    I’ll add my thanks for this post! I’m moving to Australia (Brisbane) in 7 weeks and will definitely be using some of your tips to conserve cash.

  4. Sofia

    “For country of drinkers, they make it very difficult to do it.”
    Haha, imagine if it was easy, I don’t know if I’d like to see that.. 😛

    We found that the australian gumtree site was quite helpful in finding cheap accommodation and cheaper vans and stuff like that.

  5. Awesome – I’m glad you wrote on this and broke it down a bit. It is a freaking expensive place to travel (or live)… which is why I don’t do much at the moment!

  6. Budget secrets, I love it.

    In 2004 my splurge was all-you-can-eat pizza at Pizza Hut.

    In my opinion, the real choice is Oz or NZ. I pick NZ any day.

  7. i’m returning home to oz soon & all i keep reading about is how expensive everything is getting! i’m saving up my pounds to afford to live there – crazy!

  8. Craig Ford

    When you talk about the high cost of drinks this even includes non-alcholic drinks too. Coke is so expensive.
    When our family travels through Australia we do our best to get a condo so we can cook our own food.

  9. Catherine

    It’s interesting to hear that travellers find Australia so expensive. As Aussies we have put up with ridiculous exchange rates to Europe and the US (among other places) for years. This used to virtually cut your savings in half before you even started. I’m rapt that our dollar is now getting us a better deal overseas, however, I am alarmed that our cost of living appears so exorbitant. I guess you don’t notice these things so much when you are a resident, but prices here are cheap compared to the UK and much of Europe. A tip on drinking – buy beer on tap it’s heaps cheaper (certainly less than $5 in most places). Happy boozing!

  10. Okay, if McD is expensive I’d say we have a problem. Just sayin’. :) Luckily Australia has never lured me or held my attention for very long. One day I’ll go, but lower down on the bucket list.

  11. Great money saving tips Matt. I definitely think those tips could apply to any trip, which is great.

    One tip that I’d like to offer:

    Make a detailed itinerary before you go. If you can get on the Internet before you leave for your destination, find a few things you’d like to do and plan ahead. When you plan ahead, you can avoid stress, and wasting time and money. Think about WHY you are traveling to your destination. Is it because you want to experience that particular culture? Have you always wanted to visit one of that destination’s World Heritage Sites? When you know why you are going to a particular destination, you can better plan around your budget and put your money into things that you really want to do.

    • Nicola

      Thanks, I think this is helpful, I just hope I know what I want to see and do once I get there, I’m doing the WHV with my boyfriend for a year, i’m really looking forward to the experience but not the panic of finding a job fast so we do not run out of money and have to come home back to rainy England!

    • Nick

      Those are actually some great tips to rely on. Visiting a place for adventure costs you a lot more than what you have already thought, as told by our travel guru Matt (Thanks for that!). Use as much of public transport as possible, that is the best way to save on conveyance.

  12. Josh

    Nice post Matt. It’s great to get an idea of expenses from someone who’s on the ground in Oz- much more helpful than a guidebook’s last year (at best) prices.
    As an aside: If there’s an upside to massive cost of living in NYC, it’s that you’ll never again experience sticker shock when abroad – 7 bucks for a beer (unfortunately) seems about right to this New Yorker!

  13. Stephen W. Weiss

    This is more of a general comment after looking at your posts, but where haven’t you been?! Your life seems extremely interesting/exciting.

    Australia has been a dream of mine to go to, and after reading this I may have to hold off on going there for a bit, considering I don’t have a job.

  14. I’m an Aussie who’s been living and traveling overseas for over 10 years. I returned home a few years ago and was stunned by how expensive everything had gotten- ridiculously high inflation. it wasn’t long before we got on the road again and haven’t been back for 18 months.
    I’m shocked that the price of a beer will now set you back about $8, you are right to a country of drinkers that is scandolous!!!!
    Really informative post Matt which I’m sure will help prepared people when they go to this amazing yet expensive home of mine!

  15. Cheska

    What about using traveller cards like YHA or MAD Cards, you get a lot of discounts with those not only on accommodation but also drinks, food and activities. Can you recommend any budget places to eat in Oz for real backpackers on a budget or did you only eat in expensive places?

  16. Australia is shockingly expensive, but you’re doing a very typical backpacker mistake Matt in the way you have budgetted it.

    The people I’ve met over the last 9 months of being here (and I’ve certainly not spent $100 a day, more like $15 a day on average) seem to be divided into the year long working holiday’ers and those staying a month on holiday (who over spend like yourself).

    Australia is certainly not a budget destination, I’d say it is more expensive than the USA and most of Europe on average and to think otherwise is a budget killing mistake (I know I did it too, almost falling over at the price of beer ‘Only $8!’.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it keeps dropping off the backpacking radar (it certainly kills most peoples budgets passing through) and is more of a luxury hotel dwelling place (just go to Surfers Paradise – it’s nothing but hotels).

    I wrote a guide here on my site. Although didn’t discover goon at time of writing. Which I’ve managed to pick up 4.4litres for $10 in many places. Although as you mentioned in this article – can lead to stonking hangovers.

  17. Not sure what sort of traveling style you have (budget? luxury? something in between? short trip or working holiday visa? outdoor or city and sightseeing?), but you can do australia fur much less than that, especially if you explore places further away from the civilization. find some travel buddy with a car, then make your own food instead of eating out all the time, sleep in the car or tent 2 days and in a hostel/campside/caravan park one day to take a shower and restock your water supplies and repeat that cycle as long and often as you can. you avoid paying fir dirty hostel dorms or tours and you get to decide who sleeps and snores in your tent/stationwagon.
    there are a lot of great places or experiences in australia who are not featured by any tour or guidebook – like sleeping under the stars somewhere in the desert, driving for hours without seeing any other car passing by or cooking some tea on the campfire.
    However, people who don’t wear a hat like indiana jones or crocodile dundee wouldn’ t enjoy this sort of adventure :)

  18. Most people wouldn’t dream of trying to see all of Canada, Russia or the States in three weeks, but feel they must cross Australia or at least head to Uluru aka Ayers Rock in the middle.

    Not only are they wasting money, they are wasting time and missing many worthwhile places not so far away.

  19. im currently on a working holiday in sydney, taking a break from 3 years on the road and ur rite, Oz is bloody expensive :s went to melbourne last weekend and was paying $11 vodka redbulls arrrrrgh! but if u do it on a budget i reckon u could shave a fair bit off the $100 a day, perhaps even as far down as $60 per day BUT that means exclusively drinking goon – ur wallet will love you but your liver wont :S

  20. As an Aussie that used to work in the hotel and pub business it seems you’ve overlooked a lot of advantages of the local pub. If you are looking for a way to save money on beer consider going to a “drive thru” bottle shop (don’t worry you can walk through them too). You can buy a “slab” (24 cans) of most beers for a pretty good price and if you are not too fussy and shop that weeks special you can save more.

    Most slabs are around the AUD$30 to $40 (and that is with sales tax) mark which works out to less than $2.00 a can. Considering the price of soft drinks that can work out cheaper than a can of coke depending on where you shop.

    For cheap private accommodation you can try pubs. Lots of pubs, especially those in country towns still have over the pub accommodation even if they don’t advertise it just ask. I’ve stayed in a few of them and they are not glamorous and you usually have a share shower/toilet down the hall. They usually are clean, though as you are sleeping above a pub don’t expect an early night. They average around $50+ a night for a double and you get to meet the locals downstairs in the front bar.

    Pubs are usually also good places for food, from a filling but basic counter meal to a full blown restaurant out the back where you can have a top class dinner made with local ingredients. I’ve eaten some great meals in pubs, some very scarily bad ones too so make sure you go to one where you see the locals eating and you should be set.

    Just a note I’m from South Australia so prices might be a bit more on the East Coast.

    Also a lot of people traveling to SA save money by combining travel and accommodation expenses in a small campervan usually no bigger than a minibus. You can get a wide range of those and I saw one adventurous group down the local beach manage to squeeze 6 guys into one. I have no idea how they slept but they had their boards strapped to the roof and seemed to be having fun traveling around surfing.

  21. Steve N

    Australia sure has become an expensive place to live and travel. Overcharging seems to have become a national religion. My advice, as an Australian, is to give it a wide berth. If you want beaches and rainforest go to Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. If you want desert go to Morocco. If you want great Alpine scenery go to Europe, Nepal or New Zealand because Australia doesn’t have it anyway. For great food, just try any of the afforementioned destinations. If you want culture you will find more elsewhere – sorry Aussies but it is true. And our beer really isn’t worth the journey. I’ve tasted better generic brand in Germany.

    Travel for the majority of us will always be an effort/reward relationship. The point is, Australia is too much effort(and dollars) for too little reward. Why travel like bums sleeping in cars, showering every second night and drinking chateau-de-cardboard wine when you could be enjoying the beaches and food in Thailand, watching the sun set over the Mediterranean in Croatia or trekking the Tatry Mountains in Poland. Twice the fun for half the price.
    Great article Nomadic Matt!

  22. This is very true, I was shocked to discover how fast my money disappeared, but then I came here with just £1000! Luckily for me I worked as a stripper and made decent money to get by, but yeh, backpacking costs on average $700 a week.

  23. I like Steve N’s post – Oz isn’t overly worth the effort for the things mentioned. The thing I think I enjoyed the most though was none of that, it was appreciating things like the wildlife which is on a different evolutionary branch to the rest of the world, and doing a road trip; although you can do a road trip on any other continent – it is rather easy in Australia due to the amount of beaches, free BBQs and stopping destinations along all major roads.

    But as he mentioned, I really didn’t enjoy having to think about budget a lot more, having another beer means another 2 days of rice rather than better food.

  24. All great tips!..I agree with Sandy when she says: make a detailled itinerary, that’s absolutely true: accurate planning will help you saving time and money. I personally dont’ find Australia expensive, expect maybe for drinking and eating out…Europe is far more an expensive place for living and making holidays though. And think about: the enchanting places of the 5th continent will reward you limitless :)

  25. Katey

    On the plus side, if you are working in Oz, you do tend to get paid more here. My comparison is between Scotland and Perth (Oz). I beleive that Perth is known to be the most expensive area to live in Australia though so not sure how it would be elsewhere. I am working a temp admin job at the moment and I am getting paid more than a very good professional job I was doing at home. For the same job I am doing now I would be getting paid heaps less in Scotland. So, although my rent is expensive, food is more expensive than home (even cooking yourself) and beer is more expensive I can still save more per month than I could at home in a good job. Heaps more. So if you are working in Oz as well as travelling then it all equals out.

  26. fetu

    A cheap place to eat in Aussie is Subway Sandwiches…..nice fresh food and filling. Get the full size and it will last 2 meals. They also offer breakfast….an egg, ham sandwich with a juice for something like $4.
    Another place to eat is buffet dinners at club rooms….eg…outdoor bowling clubs or RSA (veterans) club rooms. You may need to sign in as a guest but they are cheap meals…..see all the retirees there!

  27. I am happy to say that my boyfriend and I did OZ (about one month) for an average of $35 USD/pp/day. But we owe it all to couchsurfing, cooking in every day and rock climbing. There is so much to see and do that is free in Australia and I hope people don’t overlook that when deciding to tour around. (Our daily expenses even included a couple weeks of car rental!) As our primary activity is rock climbing, we got to trek into national parks, state reserves, mountain ranges and other places with mind blowing scenery that we otherwise wouldn’t see. Most of the time we only had to pay for our transport there. Our photo and memories definitely aren’t your “typical” Aussie tourist ones, but they are super special to us.

    While we sacrificed eating out, couchsurfing and cooking in our host’s kitchens gave us many great moments, deelish food and much laughter….in a way that our wallet truly appreciated.

    Know that traveling cheap in OZ can be done!

  28. I appreciate the write-up about costs. This is helpful. Our one year RTW budget is looking perilous, and with Australia at the end and being so expensive, it is not looking good for us to visit this time around.

  29. Nichola

    One thing people miss in Australia is the good old camping and caravan parks. THIS is how Australian’s travel. Thats why you find hostels very expensive here…, the ausssies dont use them so they cater soley to the tourist market. Hell you can find camping and caravan [arks 15 minutes at most from most major cities in oz, and public transport in the big cities is pretty damn easy.

    But you are talking about going from one side of Oz to the other and wonder why the hell its expensive DURRRR. SEriously people say dont do more than 1 or 2 countries in europe in a month cos it is too spread out then complain about the travel costs in Oz. Think of each australia state as a COUNTRY then you have it close to how you should be travelling.

    Hire a car, get out of the cities and check out those caravan parks. THAT is australia folks…

  30. Claire

    Ah, Australia. Yes, we are an expensive country. The key is DYI – do everything yourself. Camp, cook… but do NOT try to make your own alcohol, that will just end in tears.

    If you buy a slab of beer over a six-pack, you will get much better value. Also I hate to say it, but alcohol and groceries are much cheaper in the bigger, blood-sucking grocery chains like Woolworths and Coles. Aldi has come to Australia and is doing nicely.

    Definitely check out the RSLs – but only the really old looking ones in small towns – a lot of the nicer ones have jacked the prices right up. The Asian restaurants in country towns (left over from the gold rush days) are also a good place to get a cheap eat.

    Transport does cost a lot. If you are doing a lot of travelling and have a lot of time, I would suggest looking into buying a car – especially if you’re travelling with three others. Rather than paying 4 fares, you split the cost of fuel and the price of the car 4 ways and save heaps.

    I know we are expensive but don’t pass us by! We are worth it, we promise!!

  31. Danielle

    Would just like to say the only beer in australia that costs around $8 is imported bottled beer (and why would tourists be buying imported products?) if you buy local tap beer its usually around $4-5 depending on the type. Also with food you can get cheap meals if you look around, obviously the really nice restaurants are expensive but smaller businesses usually offer great delas. Also agree that other countries are more expensive than Aus, i paid approx $7 for an orange juice in Venice!

  32. Siddharth Maheshwari

    Hi, I am a student and travelling to Australia for an internship of two and a half months. I am actually going to a place called Geelong near Melbourne. I want to take a tour to New Zealand. Can someone suggests me some good tours and travel website for it plus an rough guess about how much would it costs for 3 days travel to New Zealand.

  33. hi everyone, I am a student in Sydney and I’ve been reading for everyone’s comments about how expensive living here, etc –

    At first, I agree with you, but living here since the inflation for almost a year, its actually depends on what you do for your trip. If you like expensive stuff, etc, then it will cost you more.

    For public transport, everything is really easy in here. You just need to get travel ten adults, its 10 trips by bus cost about $28 – you can use it up to 10 times – or you can get those tourists pass available at sydney tourism office. ALso, they have free shuttle bus running in the CBD.

    For food, my big advices is to NOT eat in the restaurants. It will cost you $20 just for ONE meal. It’s really expensive I agree. But living as student here, you learn how to saving up your budget for food. My big tips for you, find a food court. Knowing what time is the food court close, they normally sells out a $5 food pack, 1 hour prior to their closing. Find out LUNCH SPECIALS – it will normally cost you for $7-10 bucks with good food. Thats what I do. I bought a few of those $5 food pack and save it on my fridge.

    Talk to locals – this is the best way to find awesome good deals!

    go to – to find the best deals restaurants in town! the price is unbeatable !

    Cook. its the best option – go to woolworths or coles to find their deals – they normally have a meal or something like that –

    Mcdonalds, don;t go for their value meal, its too much – they have this loose change meal for $2 chicken burger or beef n cheese burger – and $1 small french fries –

    Pizza hut, they do have PIZZA MIA – where it cost for about $6 – sometimes they have deals –

    Tourist attraction is really expensive I’m afraid, but if you love theatre they do have cheap tickets etc –

    if you are a student – pass your student card to ask around if you can get a good deal!

    – so again, it depends on your schedule and to do list in australia – if you are doing budgeting – considering also what you will do once you got here –

    For mobile network, I recommend Optus – for IPHONE, get the $70 plan credit one, you got $1000 credit to call overseas and locals! and for blackberry prepaid they also have one – the only one!

    best of luck

    • Patricia Pattison

      Excellent advice, we are Seniors 75 & 77 years old Australia
      New Zealand on our bucket list. We travel a lot and find The British Isles
      our most expensive so far, Canadian dollars only half the value in England etc.

  34. We spent $203/day for two people and 26 days in Australia. We had one break in Melbourne where we stayed for six nights with a friend, but besides that it was all on us. One tip you mentioned above that helped us a lot was cooking our own meals. We were really surprised (as everyone is) how much going out to eat costs in Australia!!

  35. Hi Mett!
    Great post! Australia is definitely on my bucket list, i’m especialy interested in going to Uluru, it looks magical.
    I have a thing for mountains 😉

  36. Andy

    Hi Everyone… I’m visiting Sydney for about 2 weeks…I have a budget of 100 AUD a day, this is exculding stay… will that be enough? Also, i plan to buy an all access transport card for 60 dollars a week, which includes all modes, including ferry and train and bus… just want to check if 100 AUD is enough for food, drinks and souvenier shopping… nothing too fancy a living, basic cafe’s and fast food kinda eating!

    Also, I plan to visit gold coast for 2 nights… what should be my ideal budget for spending lavishly there ( not much drinking, just 2 beers a night) … again, stay is taken care off… just want to know living and food costs! Thanks everyone!

  37. Linda

    On the good side – supermarket Milk and Bread are 1 dollar a litre and loaf

    We have 30c icecream cones at Maccas and 1 and 2 dollar deals there as well

    Bananas are usually only around 2 dollars a kilo – a great meal a RTW backpacker had regulary was a bread roll from the Bakery, 70c, 1 banana 50c, and 250ml milk – lunch for about 2 dollars

    Jucy have great campervans, probably better than those others that have a bad reputation, starting with W

    Petrol atm is 1.59 per litre, country price, cheaper in the city and more up north

    Having travelled through Japan and New York, we always found eating from supermarkets and supplement food like above, and cheap food stalls, we could do a day on 10 dollars for foo
    You can get a cheap Club meal for 6 dollars or a food mall meal, like we often have, 2 sorts of Chinese, eg Fried Rice plus Honey Chicken and Beef in Black Bean, toss in a can of Coke for 10 dollars

    Free cold showers at all beaches so you can ‘free camp’ there, not that it is really legal, but nobody really tells you to ‘move on’ – waking up to sunrise over some of the most beautiful beaches. Lots of ‘rest stops’ beside the highways etc with drop toilets and water for a free camp

    North West WA, eg Broome and surrounds and Darwin, are expensive for accommodation, as they are isolated and surrounded by a lot of Mining, which brings big wages. Cairns is pretty OK and has a lot of competition

    We now have Tiger Airways, budget budget airlines, almost like EasyJet – flown with them 6 times and never had a problem – also Virgin and Jetstar – big sales quite a few times a year

    Email me – if you would like any further info – hope this helps anyone coming to Oz or thinking to

  38. Linda

    Just to add – that hostel dorm accommodation in Sydney, lowest end is 23 dollars a night, hey a bed is a bed – using and there are a lot of free tourist sights in Sydney all within eyesight of each other eg… Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour bridge, The Rocks, Botannical Gardens and all the ferries that cross the Harbour and onto Manly, a great day out or to Taronga Park Zoo, another fabulous place – you really would not need to spend very much on touring Sydney

    A day rail ticket will take you west to The Blue Mountains – a whole day out

    Of course, buses go east to the famous Bondi Beach, The Gap at Watsons Bay etc and north to Palm Beach, which is about as far north of Sydney you can go – famous for Home and Away programme off TV – beautiful scenery

    We have a terrific free Coastal Walk near the city and right along all the famous beaches, Google it

  39. Jeremy Gutridge

    Hi, I would like some tips on how much living expenses would cost me me and my fiancé were wondering how much it would cost too live in Adelaide, Australia but also trying too get a student visa so we can research much of the area that we will be living in we are in the process. Do you have any tips for both me and my fiancé so we can plan and save some money for expenses for travel cost and so on…

  40. Matt Astolfi

    I live in sydney and sadly agree that everything Nomadic Matt says about prices is true.
    A few money saving tips for Sydney at least:

    – sushi rolls ($2.50+) and Vietnamese chilli rolls ($3+) from many food outlets in malls etc are a good cheap filler and absolutely delicious.
    – some food outlets particularly Asian ones in the CBD near train stations discount any leftover packaged meals after 3pm. For under $5 I sometimes get them for a cheap dinner.
    – for supermarket shopping look for Aldi supermarkets. Groceries and alcohol are about a third of the cost of major supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths and IGA).
    – Goons may be cheap but many Aussies on a wine budget opt for “cleanskins” which is wine made from grapes blended from different wineries. You can still select if you want Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet etc. they are around $5/bottle and more acceptable at parties.
    – in major tourist areas (Bondi beach/Manly beach/Darling Harbour) there are taps of filtered water where you can refill bottles for free. Having said that the normal tap water is safe and highly quality controlled. I never buy water.
    – compared to other pubs the Retired Servicemans Leagues clubs (RSLs) or Diggers clubs have cheaper food and alcohol than elsewhere. Bring ID as they make you sign in to visit.

    – airbnb, Stayz, and gumtree ( are all also good places to check out. Matt already mentioned the other options.

    – it’s expensive whether you go by bus train or taxi.
    Uber is taking off here for taxis. Or a weekly travel card may help reduce costs.
    -Tiger airways is the cheapest airline.

    As for Australia vs New Zealand debate, apart from speaking similarly and having a relaxed outlook on life, a love of sport, and incredible indiginous cultures, the two countries couldnt be more different. To me Oz = beaches, bigger cities and the desert; NZ = volcanoes, skiing and adventure.

    Hope this helps!

    • Patricia Pattison

      Your comments were a fantastic help. My husband was a Canadian
      Government employee our retirees are none as FSNA members, I’m
      told we have a club connection in Australia, do you know of this?
      As retirees we need to also keep costs down our only requirement or
      the most important one is a comfortable bed so hostels may be out.
      Maybe a campervan.

  41. We are going to Australia for 6 weeks, and are house sitting for 4 weeks, the flight is super expensive for Canadians, however, it will be exciting.

    we have had house sitters, but have never been house sitters, we want to travel more and like to stay put for awhile.

    The info on the posts are great, and I will use this info.

    has anyone been to KANGAROO ISLAND, here it is interesting.

    • Hi Marianne you are going to love Australia and you are going to love the warmth after you cold snap over there. Kangaroo Island can get a bit windy the penguins are adorable but there are many wonderful places that you can go from there Like The Great Ocean road is a MUST Do

  42. hey I live in Sydney and the one thing I recommend to do these days is if in a group is air BnB. Places for under a 100 a night. So if two people 50 each and you have a kitchen. What I do to save money on food is I buy a kilo of chicken breast ( about ten dollars ) a pack of wraps, cheese, bag of onions and rice and some salsa ( total cost around 25 ) and that gets me breakfast and lunch for 5-6 days. For dinner buy another kilo of chicken and cut in half each breast ( sometimes they are so big ya get about 6 slices out of it) and buy some buns and Potatoes total cost around 20 dollars. This way I find you get about a weeks worth of food for 50 dollars. I do this when saving for a holiday. Throw in some fruit I spend 50-60 dollars a week tops here in Sydney. Not the most exciting meals but if you want 3 meals a day for 50 dollars a week this works for me!

    Also if you are with a group of people, get an uber taxi it works out to be cheaper then getting on train or bus.

    Also for eating out stick to pubs. You can find meals for 10-12 dollars if you know where to look. For instance, don’t be in darling harbour you won’t anywhere cheap.. Walk up to pyrmont which is only a short walk. The pyrmont bridge hotel has a lot of meals for under 13 dollars and they are huge and further up the road the Dunkirk has meals for ten dollars depending on which day it is plus a pint of beer there is 6.50. Cheapest in Sydney!

    Hope this info helps!

  43. Philip

    Many thanks for the advice! This, and a good word from a freidn regarding Australia (“skip it”) have convinced me to reroute my flights. Now, I’m going to Borneo, then NZ instead!

  44. swanny

    Hey I live in Perth, the most expensive city in the most expensive country in the world!
    Everything costs heaps here especially eating out! Good luck finding dinner for less than $20 anywhere in Perth unless you cook yourself or head to Maccas or HJ’s (The Australian Burger King).
    Transport also kills your budget, I have family that lives in Queensland and Canberra and it costs around $400 just for flights to get over there on a good day. It is ridiculously expensive.

    Basically Matt is right, if you come to Aus with anything less than $100 a day your stuffed.
    Also don’t expect to cross the country in 2 weeks, u need a year to explore this country properly. Take a look at a map, everything is a long way away from each other. I live in the most isolated city in the world so I am used to it, tourists are not! It takes hours of driving to get anywhere and you might not pass through a single town!
    People who pack to much in to an Aussie trip will spend too much time travelling and not enough time sightseeing.

    My advice is, CHOOSE A STATE! not the entire country and spend 2 weeks plus in each state and please leave the capital cities and explore the countryside there is more to Aus than Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast!

    My favourite place in the whole of Australia is actually Tasmania, it is completely forgotten by everyone but is the most beautiful place. Do the Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair and you will see the most amazing landscape Australia has to offer.

    Also catch an AFL game while your in Aus. The best game is the Grand Final in September but the atmosphere is electric at many games especially in Melbourne.

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