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My Super Low Costs to Travel Around Australia for 2 Months

LashWorldTour dancing on Yaroonda Beach - Sunshine Coast

Lash dancing on Yaroonda Beach – Sunshine Coast

My Super Low Costs to Travel Around Australia for 2 Months 

After traveling around New Zealand on a tight budget for 3 months earlier this year and then coming back to Australia for 3 months, I’ve discovered that Australia is even more expensive than New Zealand! That quite surprised me since I’d long thought that New Zealand was exorbitantly expensive.

Indeed, NZ is expensive. But in recent years Australia has managed to surpass even NZ’s high costs. Everything in Australia is expensive: food, accommodation, petrol, public transportation, toiletries, basic medicines, clothes and all.

LashWorldTour cut costs to travel around australia by cycling at Sunshine Coast

cycling at Sunshine Coast

To give some examples: groceries cost considerably more than in USA, perhaps double price. Standard breakfasts at restaurants costs $10-15, lunches $20-25 and who knows how much dinners set you back in a decent restaurant?!

Basic pharmaceuticals and toiletries cost 2-4 times more than in USA. Petrol (gasoline) is double price. Alcohol at ‘bottle shops’ (liquor stores) is more than double price. And the list goes on.

To bring the point home, Australia is the only country I’ve been in thus far during 16 years of world travels where flying between major cities is cheaper than taking a bus or train! Ground transportation is extremely expensive here.

But despite the super high costs, I’ve still been able to travel around Australia for well under $300 US per month! And my third month will be only marginally more expensive.

 In August, 2014 my total expenses = $295.20 Aus / $281 US

In September, 2014 my total costs = $185.70 Aus / $177 US

That includes:

* All accommodation

* All meals

* All transportation

* All personal needs

* All internet and phone use

* All activities and entry fees

To top that off, I’ve managed all this while staying in a series of beautiful homes, eating plentiful & nutritious meals, meeting wonderful people and enjoying the great outdoors by cycling, hiking, hanging out on gorgeous beaches, and generally having a grand time.

Brisbane city beach on South Bank

Brisbane city beach on South Bank

During my 2 months of travels I’ve enjoyed:

* 2 Days in Brisbane

* 2 ½ months at Sunshine Coast

* 2 ½ weeks total staying with friends in Coolum on 2 separate visits

 In Brisbane, I really took full advantage of the city’s attractions with:

* A guided city tour

* A guided garden tour

* Brisbane’s cool riverside beach

* Markets

* Walks along Brisbane River

LashWorldTour hanging out with rock climbing pals at Mt Coolum

Lash hanging out with rock climbing pals at Mt Coolum

At Sunshine Coast I enjoyed:

* Cycling

* Hiking in Noosa National Park

* Climbing Mt Coolum – twice

* Suntanning & strolling various beaches

* Walking peoples’ dogs

* Weekend markets

* Visiting a Tibetan temple

* Hanging out with friends

* Spotting whales!

* Several dinner parties and lunch gatherings at peoples’ homes

* Christmas dinner in August party

 How have I managed to do all these fun activities and stay in amazing homes while keeping my costs so low?

Here’s how:

The biggest factor was cutting out accommodation expenses almost completely. I’ve done five HelpX assignments lasting 1-2 weeks each, one 2-week House Sitting gig and stayed with several friends at Sunshine Coast, Sydney and Central Coast.

LashWorldTour at Noosa House Sitting

House Sitting in Noosa – Australia

In fact, during the entire three months I paid for only two nights accommodation! That was at a small, pleasant hostel in Bribane when I first arrived from Fiji. Aside from that, I’ve been staying in peoples’ homes.

Another extremely helpful benefit of staying with locals is that I’ve always (almost) had access to free unlimited wifi. Since I earn my living online, it’s essential that I’m able to access the internet daily.

In Australia, internet access can be extremely expensive, especially if you’re using pre-paid top-up / pay as you go service, which is what I’d have to use if supplying my own internet connection. I did have to do just that at two places I stayed, for one week each time, at a cost of about $15/week. If I’d had to pay for my internet connection for 3 months, it would have cost me a few hundred dollars!

LashWorldTour in bedroom - Noosa House Sit

my lovely bedroom at my Noosa House Sit, complete with free wifi…and bicycle

Another big help was that I seriously minimized transportation expenses. Most of the time, the people I stayed with drove me wherever I needed to go. They took me shopping, to beaches and attractions, to my next home, sightseeing and to the airport. I also walked and cycled a lot to get around locally, using bikes lent to me by my hosts and friends.

As a result, the only public transportation I used during 3 months of travel amounted to a shuttle bus from the Brisbane airport into the city, a bus from Brisbane to Noosa/Sunshine Coast, a flight from Sunshine Coast to Sydney, three short train rides in/near Sydney and a couple un-avoidable taxis.

Sunshine Beach - Noosa

Sunshine Coast is full of long sweeping beaches like Sunshine Beach near Noosa

It also helped that I stayed for 2 ½ months at Sunshine Coast rather than traveling great distances (aside from a flight to Sydney) or exploring the country.

I’ve previously traveled extensively along Australia’s eastern coast, so I didn’t feel compelled to explore it all over again. And I love the Sunshine Coast, so I was perfectly happy staying there as long as possible.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to buy many personal supplies, toiletries or medications.

Finally, I took full advantage of many wonderful free activities in Australia, which I’ve written about in: 10 Free Things Brisbane and 10 Free Things Sunshine Coast.

Here’s a break down of my expenses:

August, 2014 / Month 1:

Accommodation $54 Aus / $51.40 US

Food $80 Aus / $76 US

Coffee $46.60 Aus / $44.30 US

Transportation $36.60 Aus / $35 US

Internet $15 Aus / $14 US

Phone- sim + credit $22 Aus / $21 US

Personal items $41 Aus / $39 US

Entry fees $0

TOTAL = $295.20 Aus / $281 US

 

LashWorldTour with Gypsy - Coolum Beach

with Gypsy, one of the cute dogs I looked after

September, 2014 / Month 2:

Accommodation $0 :))

Food $131.70 / $125.50 US

Coffee $25 Aus / $23 US

Transportation $0

Internet $15 Aus / $14 US

Phone $0

Personal items $14 Aus / $13.30 US

Entry fees $0

 TOTAL = $185.70 Aus / $177 US

That’s it! …well, almost…

As I explained in my posts about my low costs traveling around New Zealand earlier this year, I always include in my monthly travel costs any miscellaneous expenses incurred by visiting the country. Costs like flights to/from, visas, guidebooks, supplies and personal items I bought specifically for that trip.

In this case, I include my flight from Fiji to Australia and some work clothes I bought in order to join my HelpX assignments. I decided to not include my ongoing flight from Australia to New Zealand. I’ll tack that on my New Zealand trip tab.

 So, including those expenses, my full totals for visiting Australia have amounted to:

 

LashWorldTour marching around Coolum Beach

marching around Coolum Beach

Month 1: $281 US + $158 US = $439 US

Month 2: $177 US + $158 US = $335 US

 Average for 2 months = $387 US

I’ve just about completed my third month here in Australia. Next week I fly to New Zealand to explore the fabulous South Island for three months. It looks like my third month expenses will total about $250 Aus / $225 US. That’s $225 + $158 = $338 US, bringing my total average monthly cost in Australia to $370 US.

If you’re interested in travel costs, check out my three posts detailing my low costs to travel around New Zealand: NZ Month 1  /  NZ Month 2  /  NZ Month 3

Check out upcoming posts for my costs to travel around the South Island during the peak summer season in New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations.

I’ll also be sharing tons of photos of splendid nature, stories of adventure and useful travel tips. Stayed tuned!

Reporting from the road, Lash

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2 comments

  1. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Lash,

    Mind boggling that you cut costs to these levels in Aussie-land. Kelli and I went through like $100 USD while spending 8 hours in Sydney. The cab ride was $20, McD’s was like $20, more food, this, that, it all added up. I love what I hear about the place and heck, we can afford it, but knowing I can live in many awesome spots for a fraction of the price has prevented a trip there so far.

    With that in mind, we plan to visit one day. It is beautiful and you prove that living there need not cost an arm and a leg. I guess I’m so used to the sticker shock of returning to the US once or twice a year, and heck, living in places like Thailand has spoiled me, so I get a bit resistant when thinking about traveling to Australia.

    Either way, awesome recount here. Tweeting from Fiji ;)

    Ryan

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Ryan,

      Yes, well the main reason I was able to spend so little month in Australia is that I cut out almost all accommodation and food expenses by staying at peoples’ homes via HelpX, house sitting and friends. If you had to pay for just a dorm bed in Australia, you’d already blow a basic budget! CUtting out room costs is really the only way to travel on a tight budget in this country.

      I can see how you’d spend money so quickly by using taxis and eating at fast food joints. I never do either of those things, no matter where I’m traveling. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do occassionally have to take a taxi if that’s the only option. ANd in SE Asia that doesn’t really dent the pocket. But I never eat at fast food joints or standard expensive restaurants. THat’s a really fast way to spend a ton of money. In expensive countries I try to buy groceries and cook. In cheap countries I eat only locally. :))

      Of course every traveler has their own budget, tastes and standards. So everyone does things differently. All good.

      Thanks for stopping by, as usual.

      cheers, Lash

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