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Posted by on Aug 12, 2013

How Much Does is Cost to Travel in Australia?

 

We cover our time in Australia in this next installment of our ongoing travel costs series. Because the country is often cited as one of the most expensive places for RTW travelers, our expectations were appropriately set before we touched down in Oz. We tried to stay as close to our daily budget of $125 as possible, but as you will see, the dollars did not stretch very far.

We found many things in Australia cheaper than in New Zealand – particularly petrol and food in the supermarkets. What wasn’t cheaper was the cost of transportation (our campervan was double the cost from our time in NZ) and that one factor is what put us over budget in the end. Oh, and our addiction to good wine. Traveling on a budget is the thing we really dislike most about our trip. We try not to let it impact us, but we have to say no to things we would normally do on a regular two-week vacation. I just like to think that we are visiting these countries to get a glimpse into them, in the hopes to be back one day again with more money in our pockets.

Hanging out with Kangaroos? Who wouldn't want to come back here?

Hanging out with Kangaroos? Who wouldn’t want to come back here?

By the Numbers

We spent $6,356 for 47 days in Australia at an average per day cost of $135. We knew traveling in Australia for such an extended period of time would dent our overall budget, but we don’t regret it one bit. The country is beautiful, fun and a place we would love to spend much more time given the chance.

Item Cost
Lodging $1,553
Food & Drinks $2,217
Ground Transportation $2,247
Misc. $137
Sightseeing $118
Inter-country long distance travel $51
Visas $40

 

Lodging

After five weeks in a campervan in New Zealand, the last thing I wanted to do was spend three more confined to one in Australia. But, alas, accommodations and transportation in Australia is expensive and a campervan is the most economical way to see the country.

In six weeks, we spent:

9 nights at a friend’s house
17 nights in a campervan and holiday parks
1 night in an actual hotel
2 nights in a winery guesthouse
14 nights in a rented beachside studio
2 nights in a stranger’s house through Airbnb

We were fortunate to have hosts for nine nights and be a guest at a winery for two, which saved on accommodation costs. Holiday parks in Australia are very affordable with most of our nights averaging $25 for a powered site.

Our best move was renting a small house for two weeks in Western Australia at the end of our trip. We negotiated a fantastic rate since it was off-season and we were staying for an extended period of time. The house was two blocks from the most amazing Indian Ocean beaches and was situated in the quaint Margaret River area. We thought we had died and gone to heaven. For anyone traveling long-term, plan ahead to put down roots somewhere for a few weeks. It does wonders for the soul.

Our studio apartment rental in Prevelly, near Margaret River.

Our studio apartment rental in Prevelly, near Margaret River.

Our most expensive night was in a hotel in Melbourne to catch an early morning flight out. It was bizarre to stay in a real hotel and we savored the little bit of our old travel lives.

Meals

Besides the graciousness of our friend’s home cooking, we self-catered nearly every meal we ate in Australia. Eating in restaurants here is as expensive as it was in New Zealand and the value for the amount we would have spent just was not worth it.  We found local farmer’s markets with amazing food and great prices and spent way too many days roaming the isles of the local Cole’s and Woolworth’s for the next night’s meal. The real upside is that we ate healthy almost everyday and kept off the pounds we had lost while traveling in Asia. Not a bad way to live besides slaving over a hot plate every night.

Most of our dining experiences were in the campervan. But, we always drank good wine.

Most of our dining experiences were in the campervan. But, we always drank good wine.

Transportation

We traveled through three states and three major cities in our six weeks. Our first four weeks were spent between Victoria and South Australia, including Melbourne and Adelaide, and our last two weeks we basked in the splendor of Western Australia, including Perth. Australia is a vast country and getting from coast to coast is expensive – similar to flying from New York to Los Angeles – so we chose to limit the number of big trips we made.

Between Melbourne and Adelaide, we rented another budget campervan, but this time at a cost of $38 a day. It was expensive given the winter months, but we were traveling during the local school holiday break. We took one flight from Melbourne to Perth using frequent flier miles and rented another car for two weeks in Western Australia. We did okay transportation-wise, but wish we could have relied less on driving ourselves. Buses and trains do exist for longer travel in Australia, but when we priced out the options versus having complete flexibility on our own, renting our own transportation won out.

Our Australia campervan along the Great Ocean Road.

Our Australia campervan along the Great Ocean Road.

RTW Costs to Date

We have spent $21,667 in 210 days of travel for an average per day cost of $103. This does not include our major flight, long-haul transportation and visas costs, which are outside of the daily budget. These costs add another $2,133 to our overall spend so far. We had anticipated having spent at least $30,000 by the half-way point of our trip, but our time in Southeast Asia was a bargain and we still have yet to pay for significant air travel given our frequent flier miles.

Item Cost
Lodging $7,269
Food & Drinks $7,563
Ground Transportation $4,130
Misc. $1,574
Sightseeing $781
Inter-country travel
(flights, ferries, long-distance trains)
$1,357
Visas $236
International flights $540

 

I would love to say that we have put the expensive countries behind us and we can go back to a life of eating meals in restaurants and drinking pints in pubs, but alas, we are headed to England, Norway and other parts of Western Europe next. Good thing we saved so many frequent flier miles and continue to accumulate them through our credit card. If you want to travel more but aren’t sure how, signing up for a credit card that accumulates points that can be transferred to your frequent flier accounts is a great start. We use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and have been very happy with it so far.