Australia Cost of Travel – What is a typical Backpacker Budget?

Australia backpacker

This post details the estimated cost of travel in Australia. We have outlined two daily travel budgets – one for shoestring travellers and one for those on a slightly more comfortable backpacking budget. Further down there are details on the local currency and sample prices for travellers in Oz.

Australia Backpacking Budget
Map of Australia from wikitravel, can be re-used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Australia Cost of Travel in 2023

Shoestring Backpacker Budget

  • US$70/day | 105 Australian Dollars

For anyone backpacking Australia on a low budget, plan on spending roughly 105 Australian Dollars per day. This should cover all your daily travel expenses including the cost of accommodation (hostel dorm bed), transport, meals (prepare some of your own) and the odd night out.

Although a very popular destination with young budget travellers, Australia is certainly not a budget travel destination. This is one of the main things to understand before heading down under. It’s at least as expensive and often more costly than almost all of Europe and North America with the cost of travel higher in only a few countries in the world. If you intend to cover large distances, which you will have to do if you want to see a large portion of the country, then transport costs are going to be pretty high while food, drink and accommodation is all pretty expensive by most standards.

However Oz does have a few saving graces as far as the budget traveller is concerned. For one, the relative ease of getting a short-term work and travel visa and abundance of seasonal or short-term jobs makes it one of the few places where travellers can easily and legally make some money to support their travels. There are also a lot of places where you can get student/youth discounts and there are plenty of special deals on bus travel designed to help out those exploring the country.

More Comfortable Australia Backpacking Budget

  • US$90/day | 135 Australian Dollars

The previous budget is by no means impossible to stick to, but if you only have a few weeks in Australia and want to really get the most out of your trip by doing lots of activities and excursions, consider upping your Oz backpacker budget to around 135 AUD per day.

Prices can rise in some locations during summer in Australia too so you may need to tweak your budget slightly according to when you visit. Adrenaline junkies and nature lovers looking for fun in the Southern Hemisphere summer may want to look at the South Africa cost of travel which is much lower.

135 Australian Dollars is quite a lot of money for a “budget traveller” to be spending every single day but if you want to really take advantage of the extreme sports and adventures that Australia has in store whilst also doing a far bit of socialising then it’s not an unrealistic budget particularly if you are doing a lot travelling around. If that’s you then consider ride-sharing to get from A to B by either using an app or checking noticeboards in hostels. It can often work out much cheaper than public transport. Renting an RV is another option if you’re with a few friends – read our RV travel tips for Australia for more.

Overall, Australia is marginally more expensive when compared to the cost of travel in New Zealand so factor that in if you’re planning to combine a stint backpacking around Australia with a hop over to NZ.

Surfing Lesson in Australia
Surfing Lessons are popular with travellers in Australia.

Australia Travel Costs

Approximate Price (in US Dollars)
Flight from Melbourne to Sydney (1 hours 35 minutes)From $50 + Baggage Fees
30 Day East Coast Bus Pass (Hop-on, Hop-off from Melbourne to Cairns)$260
Meal in an affordable local restaurant$15-20
Local beer in bar/restaurant$5-7
Dorm bed in a hostelFrom $25/night
Budget private roomFrom $50/night
Surfing Lesson (part of a group)From $10/hour
Travel insurance for backpacking AustraliaDepends on your age/circumstances – Get a quote from Heymondo in under a minute!

As you can see from the sample travel costs in Australia listed above, it’s really not cheap! These prices are many times higher when compared to the cost of travel in Sri Lanka for example, so you will need some decent savings before heading down under.

Signing up to join Worldpackers is another option if you’re looking to cut costs. They offer work exchange placements which will enable you to get free accommodation and food which is a big plus in an expensive country like Australia. Travel with Worldpackers is also a good way to move around the country as placements typically only last a matter of weeks.

Alternatively, you may want to consider actually basing yourself for several months or longer in one of the cheapest cities to live in Australia and looking for some work to help fund your travels or activities during your time off.

Money – Australian Dollars

£1 = 1.84 AUD

€1 = 1.62 AUD

US$1 = 1.49 AUD

These figures are accurate as of March 2023. Convert Pound to AUD here for the latest exchange rates. Contactless payments via mobile or credit/debit card are widely accepted.

This Australia backpacking budget was last updated in March 2023.

Australia Cost of Travel – What is a typical Backpacker Budget?

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