Travel costs: 1 month in Australia

Find out how much money we spent in Australia in 28 days.

Australia was our second stop on our round-the-world adventure back in February 2012. We weren’t kidding when we said New Zealand and Australia would be our big spender countries. Nearly half our budget spent, it felt. Again, like New Zealand, we were not prepared for the horrendous exchange rate. This time it was $1.08 USD to $1 AUD. That’s right – Aussie dollar was stronger. Good for them, not so good for us.

 

Unlike New Zealand, we had great Aussie weather – sunny and dry, not too hot nor too humid. We purposely arrived on Australia Day and it just so happen to coincide with the Australian Open as well so the festivities were in full swing in Melbourne – a great start to a month down under.

Australia Travel Costs

Just how much damage was done? Here is our Australia expense breakdown:

Summary

Total # of Days Daily / person
$6,353 28 $113.45 USD

By Category

Accomo Transport Gas Food & Drink Activities Misc

$2,054

$874

$36

$1,735

$1,445

$210

 

airbnb-sydneygreyhound-oz eco-jetski-whitsundays
Accommodations: You would think staying with friends would help our accommodation budget. Not really, but we are both extremely grateful for our friends hosting us in Brisbane and part of our Melbourne stay. Also, we enjoyed Airbnb so much in New Zealand we decided to try it again in Melbourne & Sydney. Unfortunately, no luck couchsurfing, so we stayed in hostels and got a great deal on a nice apartment in Port Douglas.

Transport: We took the typical East Coast route, opting to take the Greyhound experience from Melbourne to Cairns for our month in Australia. We also rented a car to get us from Cairns to Port Douglas.

Food: After New Zealand, we’ve had about enough of cooking our own meals in hostels. Sushi rolls and even settled for the $6 pepperoni pizza at Domino’s (surprisingly good) were our choice for a quick fix. We splurged a bit in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane eating out with friends. We got our Asian food fix in Sydney, and surprisingly, it was affordable and delicious.

Activities: Like New Zealand, there’s just so much to do outdoors, we dabbled in them all. Jet-skiing and cruising the Whitsunday Islands, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, 3-day excursion on Fraser Island.

Stats

Duration: 28 days total: Melbourne (5) – Sydney (5) – Byron Bay (2) – Surfer’s Paradise (2) – Brisbane (3) – Hervey Bay (2) – Fraser Island (3) – Airlie Beach (3) – Cairns (1) – Port Douglas (3)

Distance traveled: 3,682 km / 2,282 mi

Total hours on the bus: 81 (that’s right… over 3 days!)

Photos taken: 2,995

Sushi rolls eaten: 17

Beaches visited: 9

Koalas hugged: 1

Additional Facts

Favorite city: Melbourne fits our style, it reminds us of San Francisco. But we were pleasantly surprised how much we liked Sydney. We figured it would be overcrowded, touristy and expensive. Sure, it turned out to be just that but we enjoyed the crowd and sightseeing and managed to find cheap fare foods to boot. We love the layout of the city – the unique neighborhoods, diverse nightlife, shopping district, multi-cultural cuisine – not to mention the Botanical Gardens, harbour and Opera House makes this city one of the prettiest big cities we’ve seen.

sydney-gq

Worst city: Hervey Bay. It’s really just a departure point for Fraser Island. There isn’t much else. Although one cool thing there is the bat migration that happens during each sunset.

Favorite part about Australia: Seeing unique animals that are native to Australia like kangaroos and more at the Australia Zoo.

Biggest regret: Not going to Noosa. The locals raved about it and we’ve heard nothing but good things from friends from home but time just did not permit.

great-barrier-reef

Must see tourist attraction: snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. It’s just like Finding Nemo – beautiful corals and fishes in many different shapes, size and color – we only wish we went more than once then maybe we could have tried diving to get a different perspective of the Reef.

Must see non-tourist attraction: Graffiti street art in Melbourne.

Best new experience: Gerard got to hug a koala at the Koala Sanctuary.

koala-lone-pine

Best deal: Sushi rolls! We got them as cheap as $2.50 AUD. 2 rolls was enough for me and quite filling too. In bigger cities like Melbourne and Sydney, you have a huge variety of different types of rolls to choose from. Further North is where it get’s more expensive and kind of blah.

Biggest rip off: $80 check-in baggage fee on our Jetstar flight because our backpacks were overweight. $160 total to check-in 2 bags?! That cost more than our flight to India! Unfortunately, we didn’t learn to shift our weight to our daypacks until after this experience but you can bet we never had to check-in or pay for any baggage fees again.

What drove me nuts: The prices.

Best meal: Mamak Malaysian food in Chinatown in Sydney has bomb-ass rotis!

Sydney

Worst meal/ food: Coming from California, we were quite offended with their Mexican food, otherwise known as OzyMex. No carne asada? What’s pico de gallo? Offended, I tell you. If you can’t do it right, just don’t do it at all. What a tease.

Biggest surprise: How big Australia actually is. Everything is so far apart and nothing in between. 12 hour bus rides to get from one city to the next is far, no?

Things we like: the accent and the laid back “yea” and “hey”, sushi rolls, George the groper, march of the penguins on Phillip Island, Byron Bay’s lighthouse hike, Greyhound Australia, Lake McKenzie, Whitehaven Beach

lake-mackenzie

Things we dislike: Paying for condiments like soy sauce and wasabi for your sushi rolls, 12 hour bus rides, OzyMex, bugs on Fraser Island

Language lesson: Many similarities to NZ like my ever favorite, heaps. Here are a few extras you may hear: rocket = arugula, mozzies = mosquitoes, thongs = slippers, hay fever = allergy, Maccas = McDonald’s, roo = kangaroo.

Worst souvenir: Mosquito bites from Fraser Island that left Q scarred to this very day.

fraser-mosquitoes

Again, not the most ideal place to go for long-term or budget travelers, what can I say, we wanted to go big off the bat. Yes Australia is expensive, yes it is a bit far for most travelers. But it’s one awesome country – great people, beautiful outdoors and arguably some of the most beautiful beaches we’ve been to. Asia’s up next and I can’t wait to share with you guys our spending in rupees, baht, dongs and more!

If you want to see more fotos from our time in Australia, visit our Facebook page!

What are some of your highlights from the land down under?


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  • camorose

    Totes agree with loving the food, the street art, the slang–and hating the prices! I’m in NYC now, and I think the only way I’m surviving the cost of living is that it’s not toooooo bad compared with Australia 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      The slang is prob my fave. Glad NYC is nicer on your wallet.. we always love a visit to the big apple.

  • camorose

    Totes agree with loving the food, the street art, the slang–and hating the prices! I’m in NYC now, and I think the only way I’m surviving the cost of living is that it’s not toooooo bad compared with Australia 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      The slang is prob my fave. Glad NYC is nicer on your wallet.. we always love a visit to the big apple.

  • http://twitter.com/georgieonthego George on the Go

    great article I think people forget how much things cost down under enjoyed your run down though xx

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Exactly. Who knew the down under could be so $$$?

  • George on the Go

    great article I think people forget how much things cost down under enjoyed your run down though xx

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Exactly. Who knew the down under could be so $$$?

  • http://www.facebook.com/april.sanmiguel April Briggs San Miguel

    This is so awesome G…makes me want to go tripping!! Thank you so much for sharing your travels

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Thanks April! We’re way behind on writing about our travels, but they’re slowly coming!

  • http://www.facebook.com/aprilmascara April

    This is so awesome G…makes me want to go tripping!! Thank you so much for sharing your travels

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Thanks April! We’re way behind on writing about our travels, but they’re slowly coming!

  • http://twitter.com/DocWends Journeys and Travels

    This is a great post G. I am perplex about that mosquito bites. Scary. I hope you are both well now.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Thanks! We’re good now, a little cold in Peru. But good. 🙂

  • Journeys & Travels

    This is a great post G. I am perplex about that mosquito bites. Scary. I hope you are both well now.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Thanks! We’re good now, a little cold in Peru. But good. 🙂

  • http://www.ourbigfattraveladventure.com/ amy&andrew

    Thanks for sharing – looks like Australia is going to be as pricey as we feared! How much was your 3-day trip to Fraser Island and where was the Koala Sanctuary (in Brisbane?). We are planning a similar route of Australia for the second month of our trip and are trying to figure out how best to travel around, we’re even considering flying from Melbourne – Sydney and Sydney – Brisbane – do you wish you’d flown to save time?

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is located in Brisbane yes. If you want to save time, fly from Melbourne to Sydney. That will save you heaps of time. If you’re short on time, then yes fly. But of course it’s going to cost you. We booked a 3-day tour from Cool Dingo Tours. Don’t have the cost on us, but sometimes they have promos on their FB page. You can do a 2-day Fraser Island tour if you want to save time & money too. 3-day is nice, but not necessary.

      • http://www.ourbigfattraveladventure.com/ amy&andrew

        Thanks for the tips – I think we’re definitely going to check out flight prices from Melbourne – Sydney.

  • http://www.ourbigfattraveladventure.com/ amy&andrew

    Thanks for sharing – looks like Australia is going to be as pricey as we feared! How much was your 3-day trip to Fraser Island and where was the Koala Sanctuary (in Brisbane?). We are planning a similar route of Australia for the second month of our trip and are trying to figure out how best to travel around, we’re even considering flying from Melbourne – Sydney and Sydney – Brisbane – do you wish you’d flown to save time?

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is located in Brisbane yes. If you want to save time, fly from Melbourne to Sydney. That will save you heaps of time. If you’re short on time, then yes fly. But of course it’s going to cost you. We booked a 3-day tour from Cool Dingo Tours. Don’t have the cost on us, but sometimes they have promos on their FB page. You can do a 2-day Fraser Island tour if you want to save time & money too. 3-day is nice, but not necessary.

      • http://www.ourbigfattraveladventure.com/ amy&andrew

        Thanks for the tips – I think we’re definitely going to check out flight prices from Melbourne – Sydney.

  • http://twitter.com/mrsoaroundworld Ana Silva O’Reilly

    thanks for sharing this! I wouldnt want to add my trips up – i’d rather not know. but really liked the split. Food seemed v interesting!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Haha.. I was nervous too but we like keeping tabs here and there. It’s quite daunting once you’re done and to see the numbers. You don’t think of the dollars when you’re having fun, right?

  • @mrsoaroundworld

    thanks for sharing this! I wouldnt want to add my trips up – i’d rather not know. but really liked the split. Food seemed v interesting!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Haha.. I was nervous too but we like keeping tabs here and there. It’s quite daunting once you’re done and to see the numbers. You don’t think of the dollars when you’re having fun, right?

  • CaptainandClark

    These are my favorite posts. I love your round up of your time there complete with faves and dislikes. Keep ’em coming. We’re addicted.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Ahh, thanks guys. India’s up next! 😉

  • CaptainandClark

    These are my favorite posts. I love your round up of your time there complete with faves and dislikes. Keep ’em coming. We’re addicted.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Ahh, thanks guys. India’s up next! 😉

  • http://www.theworldofdeej.com The World of Deej

    Sounds like a great month! Well, except for the bug bites:)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Ugh.. I was mortified. Still scared to this day. 🙁

  • http://www.theworldofdeej.com The World of Deej

    Sounds like a great month! Well, except for the bug bites:)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Ugh.. I was mortified. Still scared to this day. 🙁

  • http://twitter.com/lazytravelers Lazy Travelers

    love that you guys do these posts–super helpful. ALSO, if you go back, we’d like to make a request for a pet koala. thanks.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I don’t think Oz’s border patrol would be too happy with me carrying a koala through the airport. Lol

  • Lazy Travelers

    love that you guys do these posts–super helpful. ALSO, if you go back, we’d like to make a request for a pet koala. thanks.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I don’t think Oz’s border patrol would be too happy with me carrying a koala through the airport. Lol

  • http://twitter.com/WorkMomTravels Francesca

    I was lucky in that I got to see Australia as a college student, doing an overseas study program there. So most of my expenses – food, lodging – were rolled into the tuition bill that my parents paid 🙂 But when classes were over and I traveled on my own, I lived on PB&J, mangoes, and beer, so that I could do things like sail the Whitsundays, dive the Great Barrier Reef, and hug a koala. I totally got to relive my time in Australia through this post, thank you. I would like to go back someday; I should start saving now!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I think studying abroad there is definitely the way to go to cut down cost. Glad we got to help you relive Oz. It’s truly a great country.

  • Francesca

    I was lucky in that I got to see Australia as a college student, doing an overseas study program there. So most of my expenses – food, lodging – were rolled into the tuition bill that my parents paid 🙂 But when classes were over and I traveled on my own, I lived on PB&J, mangoes, and beer, so that I could do things like sail the Whitsundays, dive the Great Barrier Reef, and hug a koala. I totally got to relive my time in Australia through this post, thank you. I would like to go back someday; I should start saving now!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I think studying abroad there is definitely the way to go to cut down cost. Glad we got to help you relive Oz. It’s truly a great country.

  • http://www.travelrinserepeat.com/ John

    Yikes….I’d always heard Oz was a bit expensive. At least it looks like you guys really made the most of the money you spent there – you sure have some incredible experiences, memories, and photographs to show for it.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yea it surprised us too. Might even be more expensive that Japan for us but we’ll have to look at the numbers to compare. In any case, all worth it. A great place to enjoy the great outdoors. 🙂

  • http://www.travelrinserepeat.com/ John

    Yikes….I’d always heard Oz was a bit expensive. At least it looks like you guys really made the most of the money you spent there – you sure have some incredible experiences, memories, and photographs to show for it.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yea it surprised us too. Might even be more expensive that Japan for us but we’ll have to look at the numbers to compare. In any case, all worth it. A great place to enjoy the great outdoors. 🙂

  • http://twitter.com/L_e_a_h Leah Travels

    These are great posts and such a good idea. I would never keep track of all this, but I think I might do one for my Europe trip. BUT I do have to say…hahahahahhahahahahaha…at “OzyMex”? That’s just a bit off the wall. I thought I was crazy for trying Mexican in Singapore. At least there the owners were from Texas. 😉

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Haha.. yea when the person behind the counter doesn’t know what carne asada means.. I knew we were in trouble. Lol. Btw, when do you and Lola arrive in Prague? 😉

  • Leah Travels

    These are great posts and such a good idea. I would never keep track of all this, but I think I might do one for my Europe trip. BUT I do have to say…hahahahahhahahahahaha…at “OzyMex”? That’s just a bit off the wall. I thought I was crazy for trying Mexican in Singapore. At least there the owners were from Texas. 😉

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Haha.. yea when the person behind the counter doesn’t know what carne asada means.. I knew we were in trouble. Lol. Btw, when do you and Lola arrive in Prague? 😉

  • http://twitter.com/TheWrldWanderer The World Wanderer

    Aww, I loved everything about this post! I haven’t been to Australia, yet, but I spent my 21 day tour in Africa with a whole bus load of Aussies, so you can be sure I’ll be heading there soon. Love the list of Aussie terms, made me smile! 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I’d love to do Africa one day. Man those Aussies are everywhere, aren’t they?! Lol

  • The World Wanderer

    Aww, I loved everything about this post! I haven’t been to Australia, yet, but I spent my 21 day tour in Africa with a whole bus load of Aussies, so you can be sure I’ll be heading there soon. Love the list of Aussie terms, made me smile! 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I’d love to do Africa one day. Man those Aussies are everywhere, aren’t they?! Lol

  • Angie Yim

    Very timely post as I am going to Australia end of the month, will take note. As for the best food, wait till you come to Malaysia 😉 Is it in your plan?

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yup! We went to Malaysia right after Australia. Lol. Food was definitely yum! 😉

  • Angie Yim

    Very timely post as I am going to Australia end of the month, will take note. As for the best food, wait till you come to Malaysia 😉 Is it in your plan?

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yup! We went to Malaysia right after Australia. Lol. Food was definitely yum! 😉

  • https://twitter.com/#!/30HomeGames 30HomeGames

    Holy Schmolies. We are expensive!!! If we truly could access that feeling – that everything else in the world is half price now. All Australians would be globetrotting :p

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I think you already do.. we saw Aussies everywhere! lol

  • http://30homegames.blogspot.com.au/p/blog-page.html 30HomeGames

    Holy Schmolies. We are expensive!!! If we truly could access that feeling – that everything else in the world is half price now. All Australians would be globetrotting :p

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      I think you already do.. we saw Aussies everywhere! lol

  • http://twitter.com/TravellingKing1 Travelling King

    Australia is pretty expensive.. sadly.. its a lovely country…. Pity you only saw the eastern side. South Australia, NT and WA always seem to miss peoples “to do list”

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      We really wanted to see Adelaide as well. Only if there was more time and money. 🙂

  • Sam -Travelling King

    Australia is pretty expensive.. sadly.. its a lovely country…. Pity you only saw the eastern side. South Australia, NT and WA always seem to miss peoples “to do list”

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      We really wanted to see Adelaide as well. Only if there was more time and money. 🙂

  • http://theblondetravelista.com/ Kailey @ The Blonde Travelista

    I lived in Australia for a year and didn’t have Mexican food until 3 months in. Being from San Diego, I knew it wouldn’t compare. I went to MadMex and it was awful but I think I was so desperate for Mexican food that I didn’t care! haha

  • mark web

    Yikes! I thought I am the only one who thinks australia is an expensive country hehe. Melbourne is one of the great city in Australia and I probably go back I swear. There’s a lot of beautiful places and Its all worth the expense! A great experience and nice people especially the place where i spent my stay they are all awesome must recommend http://www.servicedhouses.com.au/
    What I love in Melbourne is the botanical garden, st pauls cathedral and the eureka tower such a nice place.

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