Travellers Australia

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Living Costs

Australia is affordable by Western European and American standards, but certainly not a budget destination compared to say Southeast Asia. Your biggest costs will be accommodation and transport.

If you’re a midrange traveller hiring a car, seeing the sights, staying in hotels and motels, and enjoying the fabulous food and grog, budget for $110 to $160 per person per day. In cities you can push that figure up by $50 or so, but in less-touristed areas you can reduce it by around $30. Escalated petrol prices make multi-week road trips in a 4WD an expensive affair, but small, economical 2WDs are still wallet-friendly.

At the low-cost end of travel, if you camp or stay in hostels, cook your own meals, restrain your urge for entertainment and move around by public transport, you could probably eke out an existence on $70 to $80 per day; for a budget that realistically enables you to have a good time, aim for $100 per day.

The price of food is similar to the US and slightly less than most European countries. This can fluctuate when living in a city. If you plan on living in a major city such as Sydney, Melbourne, or Perth, buying groceries is highly recommended as eating out and even buying bottles of water from convenience stores is relatively high priced.

In order to view up to date prices for Australian goods, the newspaper Australian Outlook lists the price of foods in Australia’s capital cities, and a free Property Value Guide is published by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Several average costs on goods include (in Australian Dollars):

  • loaf of bread – $2.50 to $3.00;
  • milk (2 litres) – $2.20 to $2.90;
  • newspaper – $1.50 to $3.00;
  • box of breakfast cereal – $4.00 to $7.00;
  • small coffee – $4.00 to $5.00;
  • bottle of soft drink – (2 litres) – $4.00 to $5.00;
  • bar of soap – $1.50 to $2.50;
  • one apple – 70 cents to $1.00;
  • beef (500 grams) – $7.00 to $10.00;
  • chicken (600 grams) – $8.00 to $11.00
  • pack of cigarettes – $25.00
  • orange juice (1 litre) – $4.00
  • butter (250g) – $2.00
  • candy bar – $2.00 to $4.00
  • Smirnoff vodka (1 Litre) $58.00
Dining out, entrees are generally around $10 and a main course is around $25. Liquor is very expensive in Australia compared to other countries around the world, but wine is underpriced in comparison. A decent bottle of wine can be purchased for about $15.
Apartment living in the suburb areas of Sydney is around $300 to $400 per week, and other major city suburbs average around the same mark. Living in a city centre could amount to about $1000 per week. Transportation costs vary on where you are travelling to, but an Opal card in Sydney is free and can be topped up in $10 increments.