Travel costs in Australia

Australia Costs

Australia is known to be an expensive place and is in terms of living and travel costs significantly above those of Germany and most other countries. Especially as a backpacker you often have a limited budget and have to turn over every cent twice. The possibilities to earn money with the working holiday visa in Australia make it possible to afford a longer stay on the red continent despite the high costs. Without this visa probably only a fraction of the backpackers in Australia would be on the road as it is currently the case.

In order not to get a price shock when you arrive, you should still have a look at how expensive life in Australia really is and what travel costs you have to expect before you start your trip.

Food prices in Australia

Food costs much more in Australia and your budget should definitely not be too tight for that. Eating healthy and cheap will be difficult, but not impossible. Cheap fruits and vegetables can often be found on markets and you can definitely save money compared to the supermarket. You can also save a dollar or two if you go shopping together in a group. Here are some examples of how expensive food is

  • 1 liter of milk = 1$
  • 100g salami = 3$
  • Pack of eggs (12) = 3.20$
  • Chicken breast fillet (650g) = 8$
  • Packet of cornflakes = 5$
  • Apples (1kg supermarket) = 4$
  • One avocado (supermarket) = 3$
  • package of cheese (cheap) = 6$
  • yogurt (4 x 125g) = 5$
  • Good bread = 4$
  • Toast = 0.60 – 3 $
  • Small bottle of Coca Cola = 2$
  • 1L apple juice = 2$
  • 1 beer (supermarket) = 3$
  • 1 beer (pub/bar) = 10$
  • 1 pack of cigarettes (40pcs) = 28$
  • 1 pack of tobacco (25g) = 20$

I personally was always between 60 and 100$ per week. I did pay attention to prices, but I also treated myself to something tasty from time to time. For food I would estimate a flat rate of 80$ per week. If you want to go somewhere to eat or celebrate accordingly more. Super cheap are always asian food stalls where you can fill up your plate yourself. You can really fill them up and pay 6-12$ per plate.

Fast food tip: With the free app from Hungry Jack's (Burger King) you can get burgers, fries and co. every 24 hours. win for free and redeem it in the store.

Hostel prices in Australia

Hostel prices

If you sleep in hostels like most backpackers, your stay in Australia will be relatively expensive. Hostels cost on average between $20 and $30 per night and will probably account for the majority of your expenses. A good way to reduce these costs is to work in the hostels where you want to stay a little longer. Many offer so called "work for accommodation", where you work a few hours per day in the hostel and sleep there for free. If that doesn't work out you can also ask for weekly discounts. The longer you stay, the more likely you are to get a discount.

Other ways to reduce your travel costs in Australia are couchsurfing, wwoofing, camping, Airbnb and of course your own campervan.

Bus and plane tickets


To get from A to B in Australia there are two possibilities. Either you take the plane and be there within a few hours, or you go by bus, train, own car and co, which can take a long time.

Bus prices:

  • Cairns – Airlie Beach = 85$
  • Darwin – Katherine = 90$
  • Sydney – Byron Bay = 100$
  • Melbourne – Sydney = 115$

All these prices refer to the Greyhound bus, which has the best developed route network in Australia. Other bus companies are Premier Bus (east coast) and Integrity Coach Lines (west coast).


Airfares in Australia are actually quite reasonable if you book early enough. For example you can fly from Sydney to Melbourne for 40$ or from Cairns to Brisbane for 40$. The disadvantage is that you are not flexible at all and have fixed departure times that you have to follow.

Cheap airlines are Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Tiger Airways.

Prices for activities


In addition to the cost of living, as a backpacker you will of course also have to deal with expenses for activities and excursions. These are also very high in Australia and should not be underestimated. Nothing is worse than having to skip something even though you really want to, just because it costs a few dollars more. I speak from my own experience and still bite myself in the ass not to have gone swimming with whale sharks in Western Australia!

Example prices for activities:

  • 3 days Fraser Island tour with 4WD = 350$
  • 3 days Fraser Island on your own (rental car) = 200$
  • 2 days sailing tour through the Whitsundays = 250$
  • day trip Atherton Tablelands near Cairns = 70$
  • 2 hrs stand up paddle board rental = 20$
  • 3 hrs surf course in Agnes Water = $17
  • Kayak rental Katherine Gorge = 60$
  • Skydive Mission Beach = 300$
  • Open Water Diving Course Magnetic Island = 400$

Travel costs Australia – daily budget

As you can see Australia is not the cheapest travel destination. I had to find this out the hard way and arrived with completely different expectations. The first night in the hostel for 27$ and the following sixpack of beer for 17$ really blew me away.

In order to travel around Australia well and comfortably, I recommend a daily budget of around 60$ (about 40 €). This way you will always find a nice hostel, have enough to eat and you can book cool tours and activities every now and then. But of course it can also be done more cheaply, e.g.B if you buy your own car like I did and spend most of the night in it. With this you can reduce your travel costs in Australia significantly, because the biggest cost factor "accommodation" is omitted and you get from A to B also much cheaper.

In addition, as mentioned above, you can earn real money with the working holiday visa and finance your entire stay with odd jobs.

And if you are short of time, you can work in the hostel, go couchsurfing, or use the Hungry Jack's app! No worries mate! 😉

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