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.
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
* 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.
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
* Walks along Brisbane River
At Sunshine Coast I enjoyed:
* 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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
September, 2014 / Month 2:
Accommodation $0 :))
Food $131.70 / $125.50 US
Coffee $25 Aus / $23 US
Internet $15 Aus / $14 US
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:
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.
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