When travellers choose Australia as a holiday destination, they soon find that it’s a vast country. In order to see and do as much as possible, it’s important to figure out a reasonable budget and itinerary. But how can you do that when everyone’s needs are different?
There’s never going to be an exact answer, but for the purpose of this exercise, we’ve calculated roughly how much (in Australian dollars) you would need to travel in Australia for 8 weeks, taking into consideration accommodation, food and transportation and its’ alternatives, like a campervan hire. This guide is to help you figure out how you can travel on a budget without sacrificing too many luxuries, so that your trip down under will be more than memorable.
How much does accommodation usually cost?
Accommodation in Australia can be fairly pricey, especially in the popular cities like Sydney and Melbourne. However, depending on how many people are in your group, you can stay at backpacker’s hostels from around $27 – $45 per night. If you decide to stay in private rooms, even the lower rated, basic motels or Bed & Breakfast accommodation can cost you from $65 – $100 per night.
Only staying in accommodation to take breaks after long-distance travel will help save you money in the long run. If you were to spend two weeks (14 days) in shared accommodation, you would expect to pay an average of $540.
How much does food usually cost?
Once again, depending on where you choose to eat and drink, restaurant prices can vary. Some hostels have kitchens, allowing you to keep costs down by cooking your own food. A good way to save is to stick with a basic cereal breakfast and save your dining out for later in the day. The two most popular supermarkets in Australia are Coles and Woolworths. The great thing is that they stock all the fresh food you’ll need, plus alcohol, and if you save the receipts, you are even entitled to many discounts, including petrol.
Price Breakdown – Dining & Drinking In
Groceries: A week’s worth of basic shopping in an Aussie supermarket would come to around $70, including soft drinks and bottled water.
Alcohol: A 5-litre cask of wine will cost from $13 – $18. A carton of beer will cost around $50. A bottle of spirits like vodka or bourbon can cost from $30 – $50.
Using the above breakdown, the total for food, drink and alcohol supplies for one week, you can expect to pay around $83 – or $12 per day.
Price Breakdown – Dining & Drinking Out
One course meal at an inexpensive restaurant $30
A meal from a fast-food outlet like McDonald’s KFC – $10
Beer or glass of wine at a bar or restaurant $5 – $10 each
Bottle of wine at a restaurant or bar $35
On average, if you were to eat out four times per week, and use your grocery supplies for the remainder, without factoring in alcohol, you could expect to spend $120 on food per week. Over 8 weeks this would amount to approximately $1,600. Bearing in mind that everyone’s alcohol requirements are vastly different, it’s too difficult to figure out even an approximation, but the above prices will act as a guide.
How much does transport usually cost?
Depending on where you want to go, and how much you want to see, travel costs in Australia will have the biggest impact on your budget.
Metropolitan Suburb & City Travel
For travel across metropolitan cities and states, one can consider using a combination of buses, trains, ferries, trams/light rail (mostly in Melbourne) and if necessary taxis. With single one-way travel train tickets across key destinations alone costing up to $10, therefore, try to aim to purchase weekly or monthly multi-modal travel passes (which include buses, trains and ferries) with the right zone for savings up to 20-30% off the original price.
Country Rail Travel
Many people like to also travel long distances by train, and there are plenty of options to buy cross-country rail passes. Websites like Rail Australia and Great Southern Rail https://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au have pre-organised trips from east to west, north to south and everything in between.
Public transport costs like trains, buses and cabs which vary from city to city, but average at $4 one way per trip for trains and buses or an average of $40/week.
Rail explorers pass which gives you unlimited, flexible travel anywhere on the continent will cost you $485 and is valid for 3 months.
For your 8 week trip, factoring in state-to-state and inner city costs, you can expect to pay $25 to $35 per day on travel costs.
When it comes to travel in Australia, one of the most popular ways for tourists to see the country is by campervan. We have a great number of campervans to choose from and can suit every budget.
First, decide on the vehicle that best suits your needs, based on how many travellers and how far you want to go. You can start with a campervan hire from only $39 per day. Of course you need to think about fuel, and in Australia, you can expect to pay up to $1.60 per litre for petrol or diesel. Our handy Road trip fuel calculator can make it super easy for you to figure out your on road travel budget.
Obviously travelling around in a campervan hire, you are not allowed to park your vehicle anywhere you like. Instead what you can do is stop by and rest up at powered/unpowered caravan park campsites, as opposed to having the additional cost of hostel accommodation.
Campervan hire – If you hired a 2-3 berth budget campervan for 4 weeks, from Sydney to travel to Darwin, where you would drop it off, you would pay around $1,260. Another thing to consider is our regular discounts from Travellers Autobarn which can save you from as little as $200 off for a one way trip or up to 50% on your overall booking.
Fuel Costs – Approximate fuel costs, based on travelling 4,000km and paying $1.55 per litre would cost around $744 (although if you spend over $30 in Woolworths or Coles, and save your receipts you can enjoy further fuel discounts of up to 8 cents per litre).
Campsites – Campsites would cost on average $15 per night. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that with Travellers Autobarn you get access to free camp grounds and discounted rates at our partner campsites.
For 4 weeks campervan hire travelling from Sydney to Darwin, including accommodation and fuel costs, you can expect to pay around $88 per day. With the advantages of being free to come and go as you please, campervan hire in Australia is a great option to consider. Also, bear in mind you will divide this cost by 3 – 5 people, depending on the amount of people travelling in one van.
How much does travel insurance cost?
With long periods of on-road travel in the great outback, it is important to protect yourself from the unexpected hence travel with piece of mind. There are many travel insurance providers out there (domestically or international), however looking for a specialist travel insurance company which can cover you across multiple countries, be flexible and change your policy during your travels whilst covering you from a range of activities and expenses is key.
For a 2 month trip to Australia World Nomads travel insurance explorer plan can cost you up $250 and includes coverage for baggage lost, sports equipment e.t.c. Click here for more information.
How much for recreational activities and things to do?
There is always a mixture of free things to do vs. quite expensive “once in a lifetime” activities that you could do when in Australia, however, the types of activities you choose comes down to the type of person you are and type of experiences and as a result memories you are looking to create during your trip.
Now we cannot go through and provide an entire list of things to do, however, we have gone through and handpicked some of the top things based on feedback from leading travel sources.
Surfing Lessons in Byron Bay – Starting from $60 for a beginners course
Great Barrier Reef Dive diving budget tour – Starting from $99
Feeding the crocs in Darwin – On average $79
Visit the Twelve Apostles on your driving on the Great Ocean Road – No admission cost
Take a Safari 4WD drive adventure in the Sand Dunes in Lancelin, Western Australia – $215 for a one day trip.
All together the above costs $453, however it is recommended to bring at least $600, to cover more key landmarks and for miscellaneous and unplanned activities.
Adding It All Up
So the two months in Australia, having summed up an estimated cost of food, drink, transport and activities with accommodation using a 3 person campervan hire can cost you around $5586 (excluding any discounts) – per person that is only $1,862, in comparison to staying in a backpacker hostel and using public transport for the full 8 week period which can cost you per person $5,404. These costs do not include any miscellaneous costs.
Needless to say, it can be a bit of a stretch if you are looking to get around Australia on-road within an 8 week period. Therefore choosing to travel to a few key destinations and focusing on making the most of your experiences will not only make your trip more enjoyable but more cost effective as well.
What are your thoughts, have we missed out anything on the list? Do you think there are other ways in which you can save money whilst travelling throughout Australia? If so, please let us know you’re thoughts below.
Looking for more Budget Travel Tips for your epic trip in Australia? We are experts on the subject!
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.