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How much money will I need to travel in Australasia for three months?

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.

Sound like a lot? Has it made your bank balance shed a little tear? Why not check out our working holiday options in Australia and New Zealand, and earn some cash while you travel. If you spent more, or less money, or have any tips or thoughts about spending money Down Under let us know in the little comment box below.
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Showing 28 Comments

  1. Gina

    This is fab as is the asia estimate – really helpful! Try do all of the continents and I will love you forever!

    1664 days ago
  2. Gemma

    Having just come back from a trip to Australia including some time in dorms I reckon some of these estimates are a bit low – we saw shared 10 bed dorms (not nice ones) for $40 a night in byron bay (not peak season) and food is definitely more expensive than in the UK, both supermarkets and eating out. And don’t get me started on the booze! Having said that, Australia’s amazing and definitely go :)

    1661 days ago
    • Somya

      You are bang on. I live in Australia currently, and have traveled around Europe. The prices are definitely more than what are mentioned here. Australia is more expensive than the U.K.
      From accommodation to food to drinks (that one puts a hole in the pocket). Sigh.

      1520 days ago
    • Aly

      hey gemma come back to Australia and i will provide u accommodation and i will take u place which u never seen before. i born here my dad has his own house and few cars if u wanna come back just let me know by email or call me my number is 0414218542

      348 days ago
  3. Jo

    I am a New Zealander living in the UK and I traveled around the North Island for a couple weeks at Christmas 2012. I would so recommend a hire car (they can get pretty cheap if you’re prepared to drive a 12 year old car – which is young for NZ cars anyway) – buses in NZ take forever and ain’t that cheap. I also wouldn’t compare the price of food in Australia and NZ to the UK – Australia and NZ are way more expensive and very seasonal. I spoke to some people in one hostel in Taupo about why you couldn’t buy orange juice that wasn’t concentrate in NZ – I said you could if you were prepared to pay £3-4 a bottle.

    1661 days ago
  4. Another excellent budget article!

    Although I would say the Australia figures still feel a bit lower than what we experienced, particularly on dorm rooms and food and drink.

    Australia is EXPENSIVE, and if it wasn’t for staying with friends, we would have seriously considered cutting our time their short!

    1656 days ago
  5. traveller

    Your NZ prices are a little off.

    Meal at inexpensive restaurant: £6. (food courts are great for cheap meals).
    Sit down meal for 2: 30 pounds
    Beer: £4 – 5

    (i live in Auckland, from the UK).

    1645 days ago
  6. Madelyn

    I am from Melbourne, Australia and have travelled all over Australia. This is a great article that highlights some great activities and budget saving tips! I am currently living in England for the past six months and i can say without a doubt that food, clubbing, alcohol and cigarettes are MUCH cheaper in England ( and the entire UK) than back home. Australia is amazing and i would recommend it to everyone, however be aware that nightlife, groceries and take away food are expensive, especially in Melbourne :) Happy travels everyone!

    1643 days ago
  7. Chris

    Would love to see something like this for South and Central America. Does one exist?

    I’m from New Zealand and the prices are a little off – more expensive. My recommendation for people travelling to NZ from other countries is familiarise yourself with supermarkets, fruit shops and butchers. If you can cook your own meals, they will work out better quality and cheaper. Supermarkets are also a great place to get some good NZ wine for cheap cheap cheap!

    Enjoy.

    1643 days ago
  8. Callum

    Great article! My experience… for anyone who cares

    I did a 7 week trip in Aus. Albeit we had a unique opportunity with a local friend in cairns who had 4×4 already which we used to tour from cairns along the sav. way and all the way down to perth.. Whole trip costed me (inc. flights) around £3000… This did include fuel in expensive remote areas (up to $2.5 a litre!!), new off road tyres and some repair costs and flights to cairns at around £900total….

    Unofficially, we didn’t pay for a single camp site, sleeping on the side of the road in truck stops, but not strictly legal so can’t recommend…

    We also cooked all our own food… its much more expensive than the UK!! Main flaw of this article!

    Still, between 5 of us, if you stick to a diet of rice/pasta/noodles and a sauce (plus canned veg n tuna) your looking at £5 a day for food :)

    Hostels were around $30 a night when we did use them (about 3 nights)

    And booze is A LOT more pricey…. beers in clubs are up to 10$ each, cheapest pint was $5 in happy hours, and anything other than goon in shops is PRICEY!!! (60$ a crate of beer, $40 bottle of spirits) wine is def the way to go….!

    Last thing would be to say that if your planning on Aus as a trip, seems like the most feesible way to do it is to get a year work visa and travel for 3 months of that!!

    your gonna be working at home, realistically, for the most part of a year to save for the trip… but the difference is that jobs in Aus pay a hell of a lot which significantly makes up for the price differences! 3 of the girls we traveled with had done this and it was a lot easier for them!

    just my two cents…

    1642 days ago
  9. Thomas

    Since when was a neighbours tour an adrenaline sport….

    1641 days ago
  10. Andy

    Could someone possibly make this list again but in aus$ as I would liketosee how much prices have changed since I was there in 06. I hope to emigrate back to oz in the near future and would like an idea of prices. it’s a different ball game when you are earning $ as wages are higher

    1641 days ago
  11. Simon

    I’m budgeting about £8k for 4 months for both Aus and NZ and I plan on getting a job in Aus to help with expenses!

    1516 days ago
  12. lauren

    I think you’re pretty spot on! I have just spent 2 months in Australia and 2 months in New Zealand and I spent around £6000. I didn’t spend a crazy amount of money on alcohol but I got to do all the trips and adrenaline junkie stuff I wanted to do! Both countries are incredible and I can’t wait to go back!

    1306 days ago
  13. Jess

    I know you have said about the camper van in Australia! Any ideas how much it costs to hire one in New Zealand? Anyone done this and know which company is the best for it???? Also – what have been peoples itineriea when they went to either Aus or NZ?! It would be interesting to know! I’m planning g on going with my bf and would be a good to know where people went and how much they took with them!!! :) thank you! :)

    1217 days ago
  14. Marie

    There so no way you would only spend 40 pounds on a weeks shopping, food shopping is so expensive especially veg and fruit if you stuck to buy frozen veg, no fruit and stables like bread, pasta you could spend $80 AUS …I have been living in Brisbane now for four months and the price of food still shocks me !!

    1205 days ago
  15. PETER KING

    IV JUST COME BACK FROM AUSTRALIA AND SPENT 3 WEEKS THERE WE WRE BASED IN BRISBANE AT A FAMILY MEMBERS HOUSE SO WE TRAVELLED TO SYDNEY FOR 2 NIGHTS SPENT 5 NIGHTS IN CAIRNS AND SPENT TIME AT THE AMAZING BEACHES WATER PARKS AND OTHER ATTRACTIONS. THE PRICES QUOTED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE VERY WIDE OF THE MARK ID SAY FOR FOOD DRINK YOU WILL SPEND $130 PER PERSON PER DAY AND IF YOU DRINK ALCOHOL YOU CAN ADD ANOTHER $100 ONTO THAT SO THATS AROUND $130-$230 PER DAY PER PERSON HOTELS COST AROUND $150 PER NIGHT AND THAT WOULD GET YOU THE UK VERSION OF PREMIER INN. AUSTRALIA IS A VERY COSTLY COUNTRY TO VISIT AND WHEN I GO AGAIN NEXT YEAR I WILL GO WITH A BUDGET OF $1500 PER PERSON PER WEEK. TRUST ME IT GREAT WHEN YOU HAVE A POCKET FULL OF MONEY BUT ID HATE TO RUN OUT OVER THERE. GREAT COUNTRY TO VISIT BUT ITS DOUBLE THE COST OF LIVING OVER HERE IN THE UK

    1122 days ago
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