Wallaby at Featherdale Wildlife Park

Cost of Travelling in Australia for Five Weeks

Our second stop on our travel adventure was Australia; check out how much we spent during five weeks of travelling in Oz. We use the Trail Wallet app to track our spending, see what we spent for a month in New Zealand here.

Australia Activity/Attraction Costs

Like New Zealand, travelling Australia on a budget can be difficult. Luckily we had done many of the expensive things we wanted to do, like skydiving, in New Zealand so we knew we’d spend a lot less on activities in Australia. We also have family near Sydney and staying with them for a week kept some costs down too. Even though we were trying to save money we did manage a few unique Australian activities, like going on a Neighbours tour, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef and sailing around the Whitsundays.

Wallaby at Featherdale Wildlife Park

Wallaby at Featherdale Wildlife Park

There are so many things you can do all along the East Coast of Australia, however, it certainly is worth researching the different tours online to find one suited to your tastes and budget before buying. Ask you hostel if they can get you any discounts on trips; we received ten percent off our Great Barrier Reef trip by doing this. Here’s what we did activity-wise while in Australia, we managed to get our Whitsunday trip discounted by agreeing to review it on the blog, but the rest we paid full price for. Some of the most enjoyable things we did were free, like cycling around Hervey Bay or visiting the Blue Mountains.

Activity/Cost Cost Cost per person
Melbourne Museum £13.70 £6.85
Neighbours Tour £70.50 £35.25
Neighbours Night £54.70 £27.35
Featherdale Wildlife Park £19.20 £9.60
Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling Tour £242.20 (reduced price, normal price is £266.20) £121.10
Tall Ships Eco Sailing Whitsundays (we received this trip at half price in return for a review on our blog) £121.70 (reduced price, normal price is £243.40) £60.85
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary £54.50 £27.25
Total £576.50 £288.25

Australia Accommodation Costs

As with New Zealand, we mostly kept to private rooms in hostels with shared bathrooms. The average cost of hostels in Australia was a bit higher than in New Zealand though, closer to £40 per night for two people compared to £29. Luckily we were able to spend a cheap week just outside Sydney while staying with some of my relatives. Unlike in New Zealand, we played Australia a bit more by ear and didn’t go booking all our accommodation before we got there. We did organise a few rooms in advance but generally we’d just turn up and never had a problem finding somewhere to stay.

Campfire in 1770

Campfire in 1770

We used AirBnB three times in Australia, which proved to be cheaper than hostels. Again (apart from with the week we spent with relatives) we found the AirBnB places to be the nicest accommodation – if you haven’t already signed up to Airbnb, use this link to get £25 off your first booking. We had a couple of problems with some hostels; such as bedbugs and poor internet but overall the accommodation in Australia was of a decent standard.

Expense Total Per Person Per day
Accommodation £1,170 £585 £40.35

*The costs above are based on 29 days’ accommodation; we stayed in Australia for 35 days but six of those were spent with my relatives.



Booking.com

Australia Food Costs

Food prices in Australia are much the same as in the UK, so we weren’t expecting to save much money there. We mostly cooked in hostels, made sandwiches for lunch and rarely ate out; when we did go to restaurants we took advantage of two for one deals or just ate the cheapest thing on the menu. Alcohol was incredibly expensive in Australia – around $10 for a pint of Peroni compared to around $6.50 in London – so we made sure to avoid drinking most of the time. The one occasion we did have a few drinks was on the Neighbours Night; fortunately Amy won $30 to pay for part of our bar tab. There were however some ‘happy hour’ deals offering half-price drinks.

Our food on the Derwent Hunter

Our food on the Derwent Hunter

Expense Total Per Person Per day
Food £576.50 £288.25 £19.88

*These costs are based on 29 days due to staying with my relatives and being constantly fed for free for six days.

Australia Transport Costs

There are a number of ways of travelling around Australia as a tourist if you stick to the main, well-travelled paths. However we did find transport quite expensive; it was quite hard to find cheap car hire in Australia. We did find a good deal for car hire insurance online though; a 12 month policy to cover our excess on any hire car, costing £55 (It would be really annoying to have £3,000 taken from you and not be able to get it back!).
We used quite a combination of transport options, including hiring cars, flying and catching trains, trams and ferries. To drive the Great Ocean Road we decided that hiring a car was best rather than jumping on a tour bus and trying to see it all in one day – we used Wicked Campers for this (£166).

Our Wicked 'Camper' in Australia

Our Wicked ‘Camper’

We got around Melbourne by train and tram, using the Myki card (like London’s Oyster). We found a couple of cheap flights in Australia, from Melbourne to Sydney and used trains and ferries to get about as well as being driven around by my relatives. We also got a day ticket for about £15 each in Sydney that allowed us to get from Penrith, which is an hour away from central Sydney into the city by train; this ticket also allowed us to get a ferry out to Manly Beach and all the way back again. Our other cheap Australian flight took us to Cairns where we hired a car again to get down to the Gold Coast with Europcar (£345). Incidentaly, buying the car hire online saved us about £100 over buying at the airport or city office.

Expense Total Per Person Per day
Car   Hire (22 days) £576.60 £283.80 £25.80
Fuel (22 days) £210 £105 £9.55
Sydney Trains & Ferries (seven days) £51.50 £25.75 £7.35
Car Ferry to Cape Tribulation (return) £15.90 N/A N/A
Melbourne Myki costs (six days) £49.50 £24.75 £8.25
Melbourne Skybus (return Airport to city) £46.50 £23.25 N/A
Sydney to Airport Shuttle £20.50 £10.25 N/A
Melbourne to Sydney flights £60 £30 N/A
Sydney to Cairns flights £87.50 £43.75 N/A
Total £1,117 £559 £31.95

Total Costs of Travelling in Australia for Five Weeks

We hoped to spend about £3,000 during our five weeks down-under, as you can see we were slightly over by nearly £500. We could have done some activities cheaper but this would probably have meant a lesser experience. For example, we could have spent less money on a Great Barrier Reef Tour but this would have meant a compromise on the quality of the snorkelling equipment and number of people aboard. My parents recently booked a six-week package holiday to Australia that included many of the activities we did, which is another option if you don’t want to organise everything yourself.

The living costs in Australia are quite high and accommodation in particular was more expensive than we had hoped; the only way we could have kept those costs down would have been to compromise on quality or stay in dorms, which we weren’t desperate enough to do. We were fairly frugal when it came to food, eating out a few times but not very often, mostly cooking our pasta and veg. The accommodation and food costs below are based on 29 days rather than 35 as we spent six days with relatives being treated with such amazing food we barely spent anything.

What's the cost of travelling in Australia-

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Expenses Total Per Person Per day
Accommodation £1,170 £585 £40.35
Transport £1,118 £559 £32
Food £576.50 £288.25 £19.88
Entertainment £576.50 £288.25 £16.50
Miscellaneous £26 £13 £0.75
Total £3,467 £1,733.50 £99

Now we’ve got the expensive countries out of the way, we’re off to Indonesia and hoping we can keep costs as low as possible; with two months in this new country we should be able to take things slower and save a bit, wish us luck!

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36 Comments
  • The Guy
    Posted at 11:40h, 06 June Reply

    Australia certainly is an expensive place. I think you’ve crammed a lot in here for the price you’ve paid and had a very memorable trip.

    As a frequent visitor to Melbourne I am very familiar with the Skybus and Myki card (I need to top mine up before going out again next month).

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:49h, 07 June Reply

      Yes, we were pretty pleased with how much we packed in considering the fairly low amount we spent. We’d love to go back to Melbourne one day; using the Myki really made me feel like I was back in London!

  • Mig
    Posted at 15:03h, 06 June Reply

    I’ve heard Australia was quite pricey. I might try to CouchSurf and stay with friends to cut down on accommodations. Good job with sticking around your budget!

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:47h, 07 June Reply

      That is a very good idea Mig, take advantage of any connections you might have in Australia to get some cheap accommodation, it’ll really help keep costs down.

  • Heidi Wagoner
    Posted at 12:46h, 11 June Reply

    I love these cost break downs and you have inspired me to keep a good log for our upcoming Summer in Europe, so I can share later. It is amazing what you can manage to fit in and experience. I know Australia can be expensive, so I think you did a great job with your expenses. We have 2 kids, so it goes up slightly, but not as much as 4 adults. Thanks for sharing!

    • Amy
      Posted at 08:52h, 12 June Reply

      Hi Heidi, I’d definitely recommend using the trail wallet app(if you have a smart phone) to monitor your spending, it really helps. I’m glad we don’t have the extra kids to pay for too, things must really stack up cost-wise.

  • Alyson
    Posted at 14:12h, 11 June Reply

    As a UK/Australia resident, I’d say food costs are much higher in Oz than the UK. Certainly in my part, Far North Qld, they are, I guess it’s cheaper down south where transport costs are less. You did a lot, it would be stupid to fly all that way and have to penny pinch, so many backpackers do themselves out of a great trip by not having enough cash.

    • Amy
      Posted at 08:59h, 12 June Reply

      I agree, as backpackers we can sometimes focus a bit too much on saving cash at the expense of experiencing some of the very things we travel to experience. With regards to Australia though, I think we did all the things we were burning to do on this trip and tried to balance out the cost of those activities by eating loads of boring pasta!

  • Talon
    Posted at 14:34h, 11 June Reply

    Ouch! We’re heading there next week. Thankfully, we have a housesit so it will be more tolerable, but I’m still not looking forward to grocery prices, etc. Friends already advised me to get alcohol at the duty free shop. Sigh

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:02h, 12 June Reply

      Good idea using Duty Free for alcohol; you’re really lucky to have a house sit lined up too, that should save you plenty of cash. What part of the country are you staying in? I hope you have a great time.

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  • Chloe Kemp
    Posted at 09:02h, 01 November Reply

    Hi, found this soo resourceful so thank you for taking the time to write this. I am slightly panicking about my budget for Oz; have been in Asia for the last few weeks and heading to Indonesia for three weeks next week. I’ve budgeted a max of £800 for that, and will have £4300 left for 8 weeks in Oz. I know it is slightly like asking how long a piece of string it, but do you think based on a similar (ish) itinerary to yours, plus staying in dorms, this will be ok? We will also need to fork out for a greyhound package of some sort as well. Luckily, I have a vision coming out for two weeks of my trip who will more than likely fork out for some luxuries for me. Any help would be massively appreciated! Thanks, Chloe

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:14h, 01 November Reply

      Hi Chloe, I’m glad you found this post useful. You can definitely get by in Indonesia on not a lot of money and perhaps save a bit extra for your time in Oz. We did stay mostly in private rooms while we were in Australia so I imagine you can save quite a bit more than we did by just staying in dorm rooms; eat from supermarkets, cook your own meals and try to avoid too much drinking too much as alcohol is crazy-expensive out there! I hope this helps a bit, if you have any more specific questions about where to stay/which tours to take just let me know. Have fun!

  • sue
    Posted at 15:20h, 08 November Reply

    i am going to warwick near toowomba for 5 weeks next year plus camping in a friends back garden near brisbane so i have eier access to visit the gold coast. while in toowomba i will be staying with family so the entire trip i have free accomodations and food except for the week in brisbane. alot of the activitys i plan to do are free ( my family knows lovely areas what a good to visit thats free) will around $2000 be enough do you think. i am traveling alone. the paid for activitys i know im definately doing so far is to visit australia zoo, a koala sanctuary again my family do now a free one where you can put in a donation. i also plan on going to sea world. i do not drink alot, my main purpose of the visit is to see family, but will take advantage of the gold coast ect whilst im staying near brisbane for the week

    • Amy
      Posted at 04:55h, 09 November Reply

      Hi Sue, thanks for reading and commenting. I think you have more than enough money; accommodation and food costs really drained our budget in Australia so if you’ve got those mostly covered you’ll be fine. Add in some free activities and I think you’re money will go far. Have a great trip!

      • dannyd
        Posted at 18:14h, 17 November Reply

        Yes I went to a travel expo where we learnt how expensive Australia is, I did not know that even alcohol is not very cheap there as I thought it would be..

        • Amy
          Posted at 11:36h, 18 November Reply

          Alcohol was really surprisingly expensive in Australia, we avoided it as much as possible!

          • dannyd
            Posted at 13:24h, 18 November

            Looks like I am going to have to stick to Indonesia and other SE Asia places for now. Australia definitely out and NZ hopefully at some point in my life. Good job Amy.

          • Amy
            Posted at 05:32h, 20 November

            Sounds like a good plan, I’m sure you’ll get to OZ and NZ one day.

  • louisa klimentos
    Posted at 13:34h, 01 December Reply

    Unfortunately tourist areas in Australia are more expensive than the non tourist’s areas.I live in Mount Pritchard Sydney ,food alcahol etc are cheaper.The pub near my house serves chicken snitzel,chips and salad,on a Tuesday ,Wenesday night for nine dollars.You will never pay that in the tourist areas of Sydney.

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:10h, 02 December Reply

      Good point Louisa.

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  • Sanjay kumar singh
    Posted at 05:16h, 22 June Reply

    Planning to tour Australia with my famiky of 6 people in January or February 2017.please advice.

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:07h, 23 June Reply

      Hi, it’s going to be a pricey trip I expect with a family in tow. I would take a look at http://www.worldtravelfamily.com, they have lots of information about family travel in Australia since they used to live there. Have a great trip!

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  • Bob Brandt
    Posted at 19:32h, 31 October Reply

    This website is really great for other travelers and helping us all to understand exactly what you spent. Thank you for your fine efforts, we are using it to plan trip to Australia and NZ soon. Best of Luck.

    • Amy
      Posted at 02:14h, 01 November Reply

      Hi Bob, thanks for reading and commenting, I’m glad you’ve found our site useful. It sounds like you have an exciting trip ahead, enjoy!

  • Martin Turner
    Posted at 11:16h, 22 June Reply

    Hi,

    I know this post was posted a few years ago.

    I am looking to go to Oz for 5 weeks in 2020. I know its a way off yet but I am looking to plan/budget for it now.
    There would be 2 adults and 2 children (Aged 13/10)

    Any idea roughly how much we might need!?

    Wed have one week of accomodation nr canberra
    We would be going in the Oz winter, not sure if that changes the prices.
    Ideally wed like to see a bit of NZ too!

    Any tips greatly appreciated.

    Mart

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:19h, 24 June Reply

      Hi Martin, thanks for commenting. Yes, it was a few years ago that we were in Australia and it was definitely expensive, even though we did everything as cheaply as possible. Accommodation might be a bit cheaper because you’re travelling in winter. Have you thought about hiring a car? That could be a good option or look at budget flights far in advance to get the best deals. I’m not sure how much you’d need altogether but I’d start with perhaps £5,000 and have some in reserve. Happy Travel Planning!

  • Timbo
    Posted at 13:26h, 10 April Reply

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for writing about costs. So few bloggers take the time to log it and then write about it. Trying to budget when visiting a foreign takes ages so I am glad you guys break it down so well. Of course everyone is on a different budget but this this really quite helpful. I noticed you went in a Wicked car – balsy. Those things have a reputation of breaking down a lot. But there is also this article that compares campervan hire costs in Australia

    • Andrew Wyatt
      Posted at 22:00h, 10 April Reply

      Thanks Timbo, glad you found it useful. Our Wicked car was great, we had no problems 🙂

  • Andy Bridges
    Posted at 00:00h, 14 January Reply

    Our average costs for 53 days in Australia were similar to yours – around $200 per day for a couple (although we spend more on booze than you do). We also use Trail Wallet.

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:42h, 15 January Reply

      Hi Andy, that’s really interesting, thanks for commenting.

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