Australia like New Zealand can be very expensive to travel on a budget but there are ways to reduce your costs. It is fair to say it is one of the most expensive countries to travel in even amongst the first world countries. The working visa allows you to claw this money back and more to go travelling again as the wages are incredible even for temporary workers, like I did in 2013/14. For more about how to find out how and where I got jobs visit my travel page for Australia but for travel budget tips have a read below.
Accommodation – Hostel dorms throughout the country will be round the £18-£22 a night mark and there is no way getting around it for hostels. There are a lot of hostel chains such as Nomads, Base and YHA who will have the same price in every town/city in Australia and you know what you are getting. The rent for my apartment in Melbourne which was a 15min drive from the CBD was $190 per week which is roughly the same as a hostel. University accommodation during the holidays can be cheap for a 2/3-week holiday. We did this in Sydney and paid around £130 for the week, they were 2 beds in a room and very comfortable. Cheap hotels are going to be getting on for £35 a night and that’s for multiple people in a room.
Travel – For our main travel along the east coast we booked a Greyhound bus pass which started in Cairns and was available all the way to Melbourne. The ticket was easy to use and you can book your bus rides online for any dates and any times as long as they were available. The price for our ticket was £325 and I would highly recommend getting one for cheap travel along the east coast. Internal flights are quite cheap, for example I booked a flight from Sydney to Melbourne for £30. Obviously the longer the distance the more expensive and we booked a flight from Perth to Adelaide for around £200. Cars are a great way of travelling around Australia due to you having insurance when you are the owner of the vehicle. I bought a car in Perth for $500 which was a 1985 Honda Civic and it saw me through 6 months in Western Australia (just) and I managed to sell it for $400. Petrol is cheap which is great and when you couple this with no insurance or tax to buy, a car is a great way of travelling for not too much money. Public transport is best in Melbourne with its trams and trains and the cost is your usual price of £2-£3 each way.
Flights – As part of our multi ticket our flight to Cairns was from Fiji via Auckland and we didn’t pay for it separately. Flights from Bali to Perth can be as cheap as £60/£70 and flights from KL or Singapore can be as cheap as £100 when going to the east coast if booked in advance and on a cheap airline. Flights across to NZ can be £150/£200 one way depending on how far in advance they are booked and which part of the year.
Food and drink – The best way to eat and drink cheaply in Australia is to go to the supermarket and avoid eating out too many times. Meals out will be Western prices so around £10-£15 for a main meal and alcohol will be around the £5/£6 for a pint. Fruit and veg can be cheap from Coles or Woolworths supermarket as a lot of it is locally produced. £20 a week could probably get you a lot of pasta, soup, in season vegetables/fruit, bread, eggs, beans and rice. Fast food joints such as McDonalds, KFC, Wendy’s, Burger King and Subway will be within the budget for cheap fast food options. Little tips like casinos who offer free hot drinks and cheap meals within the establishment. Crown Casino in Melbourne has a lot of cheap restaurants where you can get a big meal for £7/8 including a drink. Coffees will cost around £2/£3 but that’s pretty much standard anywhere.
Activities – When we arrived in Cairns we went to Peter Pans Travel and booked all our activities in one go and got some money off. This package normally included some free nights’ accommodation as well the occasional activity for a day. I can’t quite remember the exact price for our 4-week trip down the east coast but it included The Uncle Brian’s Tour, Magnetic Island, Fraser Island, The Clipper Boat Tour, Noosa, Scooteroo and Narooba. These are all highly recommended and worth booking through Peter Pans as they offer cheap deals and a safety net of customer service if you need it. Sport is massive in Australia and a ticket to the Boxing Day test cricket match will cost £30 day, maybe cheaper if you book in advance or through some Australians who are part for the MCG club. AFL is massive in Victoria and a game is cheap at £20 at the MCG. When based in Margaret River we went to a lot of vineyards to do wine tours and these are pretty cheap at £20 with offers on wine.
Misc – Setting up a bank account is easy and free but you will need to withdraw from your bank’s atms otherwise you will be charged. I banked with Commonwealth and you can withdraw from 7/11 shops who have cash machines for Commonwealth and also this bank is widely seen as the national bank. They have a great travel card linked with your current account which I used in the Americas with no problems. I bought a phone in Australia unlocked which was an iPhone 5C and cost around £300 new which lasted for three years and is a great phone to travel with. I bought a sim card with Optus for £6 who had great coverage around Australia and good plans for your 4G and call time.
Summary – Cost per week
Accommodation – £110
Travel – £50
Food – £50
Activities – £125 (average)
Misc – £25
Total weekly budget – £360