Your auntie’s next door neighbour’s son spent £2000; your best mate’s older sister spent £5000; and the guy in the coffee shop said you’d only need £3000. So how much money do you need to travel Australia and New Zealand, for three months?
There’s never going to be a firm answer. Some people will eat more, drink less, give hitch-hiking a go, refuse to share a dorm, hire a campervan. Everyone will have their own — and very different — expectations of what they want from a trip to Australia and New Zealand, but we believe it’s possible to calculate a rough budget guide.
I’ve broken down the three months into eight weeks in Australia, including two weeks in a campervan, and four weeks in New Zealand. Remember, this is just a rough guide, and prices can (and do) fluctuate though they were correct at the time of printing. If you have some information on the cost of travel in this region, add to the conversation via the comment thread below this post.
How much does accommodation cost in Australia
Compared to other traveller hot-spots, such as Southeast Asia, accommodation Down Under doesn’t come cheap. Dorm prices range from around £16-27 per night, depending on how many people you share with. The more popular cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne, and others along the east coast, will sit at the higher end of the scale.
Private rooms in hostels will cost at least £10 more than dorms, and hotels start from £60 per person. Our advice ― stick to the dorms!
So if you’re spending six weeks in shared hostel accommodation, which is on average about £20 per night, then you’re looking at a bill for around £672.
How much does food and drink cost in Australia
The cost of food and drink is quite similar to the UK. And let’s be honest, this isn’t that friendly on the pocket. Most of us would struggle to buy three meals a day and hit the clubs every night, so it’s advisable to have a few nights off from the booze, and enjoy a hearty hostel-cooked meal every now and again.
There are two main supermarkets in Australia ― Coles and Woolworths ― and they’re perfect for picking up the basics. Stocking up on a week’s worth of food shopping would cost around £40, which works out to £5 a day.
Price breakdown of food and drink in Australia
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: £6
Sit down meal for 2: £50
McDonalds meal: £5.30
Bottle of 500ml water: £1.33 (Australian tap water is safe to drink)
Can of coke: £1.99
Beer: £4.50 – £7.50
Goon bag (2 litres of cheap, hangover inducing wine): £7
So if we’re looking at £5 per day from your weekly shop, at least one beer a day, one goon bag a week, about 7 ‘meals on the go’, and a can of coke or a bottle of water a day, your daily food and drink spend comes to around £20, which equates to £1120 over the 8 weeks.
Cost of getting around Australia
Australia’s a big old country, so this have an effect on the cost of your trip, and is likely to devour your budget like a ravenous Tassie Devil. One of the most cost effective ways of getting around would be a campervan (more on that later) but you can also get some very reasonable domestic flights.
A one-way flight from Sydney to Melbourne, for example, will cost around £35, or if you’re looking at heading from the East Coast to West Coast, Melbourne to Perth one-way starts from around £69.
Rail travel is also a great shout, and there are loads of cross country passes available that are valid for three months.
The Rail Explorer Pass would set you back £325 and gives you the opportunity to explore both coastal and outback Australia including Darwin, Alice Springs, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth.
Riding the Greyhound bus is another popular choice, with Kilometre Travel Passes ranging from £64 for 500km to £1514 for 25,000km.
If you get the Rail Explorer Pass, a 500km Greyhound pass, and book at least one flight for £35, you’ll part with £424. You’re likely base yourself in some of Australia’s cities on more than one occasion, so be sure to set aside some cash for the public transport. A train fare in Melbourne starts from £2.30 and taxis in Sydney will set you back £7 for 3km.
Taking all the above into account, a budget of about £15-£20 per day should cover you for state to state, and inner-city transport over 6 weeks.
What Will It Cost to Enjoy Two Weeks in a Campervan
Travelling by campervan is a hugely popular, accessible, and fun option to see the great land of Oz. Doubling up as your transport and accommodation in one, it can be a very economical way of getting around.
Remember, you can’t just ‘camp’ anywhere in your van ― you’ll usually need to pay to pitch up in an official spot for the night. Park anywhere, and you’ll risk an early and unwelcome wake-up call from the police and a hefty fine.
Estimated cost per person of a two week trip from Brisbane to Cairns (1065 miles) in a 3-berth camper:
Campervan fr £177 each (based on a 3-berth camper fr £38 per day)
Petrol cost fr £47 each
Camping ground hire fr £98 (roughly £20 per night per campervan)
Total cost to hire a campervan for two weeks equals £322
Cost of Travelling Around in New Zealand
Your eight weeks in Australia is over, and you’ve landed in the adventure capital of the world, New Zealand. Although tiny in comparison to the beast that is Australia, this place is still packing in the land mass stakes.
Domestic flights are cheap as chips here ― a one-way flight from Auckland in the North Island, to Christchurch in the South Island will cost you around £35.
But it’s the hop-on hop-off bus passes that are the most favoured way of hitting all the must-see hot spots. If you’re spending a month here, grab yourself a Kiwi Experience pass ― most passes will take you around both islands, and although you could probably save some money arranging your own transport, you’ll miss out on some awesome experiences, and some awesome people.
The Kitchen Sink Pass costs £559 and requires at least 22 days to complete. Perfect if you’re spending a month in New Zealand.
How much does accommodation cost in New Zealand
Kiwi Experience passes don’t include accommodation, and you’re free to book up wherever you want in each stop. Dorm rooms are a little cheaper than Australia and average around £16 per night. For a private room you’re looking at £23.
28 nights at £16 per night totals £448.
Cost of food and drink in New Zealand
If you’ve ever met anyone that’s been to New Zealand, chances are they’ve mentioned Fergburger and Hells Pizza. Fast food here is #FirstClass, so be prepared to part with a little more cash than in Australia.
Kiwi Experience is known for its party nights, so take a dose of willpower and try not to blow your budget entirely on alcohol!
Price breakdown of food and drink in New Zealand:
Meal at inexpensive restaurant: £8.50
Sit down meal for 2: £44
McDonalds meal: £5.50
Bottle of 500ml water: £1.41 (New Zealand tap water is safe to drink)
Can of coke: £1.55
Beer: £4.50 – £7.00
Roughly £19 per day is a realistic amount, and would keep you covered for grabbing food on the go, and stocking up on essentials. Keep the costs down by testing your sandwich making skills to the test in hostel kitchens.
Total food and drink costs for four weeks totals £532.
Cost of Adrenaline Sports in Australia and New Zealand
You can’t always put a price on fun, and although there’s lots of free fun to be had in Australasia, there’s also a lot that’ll burn a very deep hole in your pocket.
The type of activities you chose depend on the person you are, so it’s impossible to estimate how much you’ll spend. What I will do, is list six of our top selling activities in Australia and New Zealand, so you can get a rough idea of how much the good times could set you back.
1. Learn to dive on the Great Barrier Reef fr £526
2. Byron Bay surf lesson fr £47
3. Official neighbours tour fr £34
4. Skydive in Taupo, New Zealand fr £148
5. Bungy jump and bungy swing, Queenstown fr £81
6. Hike the Fox Glacier fr £62
This all adds up to £898, but I’d recommend rounding this up to £1000 for activities.
So there you have it, three months in Australasia. Which totals around £5,493.
This is just for accommodation, transport, food, drink and activities, and doesn’t include money for miscellaneous items. Remember, this isn’t a stab at getting by on a minimum budget, it’s a realistic and general estimate.