Contos Beach Margaret River

How much do I need to budget for backpacking in Australia?

Contos Beach Margaret River

Australia is one of the most popular backpacking destinations in the world. The superb beaches, sunny weather and stunning national parks are all definitely things to write home about, and with the pound to aud exchange rate being

In order to make sure you see and do all the things you want to Down Under, it’s wise to have a good idea of how much things cost, and check the pound to aud exchange rate, so you can plan accordingly.

If you are heading to Australia, here is a guide to how much things cost and how much you should aim to put away before you jump on the plane.


From hostels and motels to couch surfing and camping – there’s plenty of accommodation options available.

Hostels are one of the best options for backpackers, but costs vary from city to city.

It’s realistic to try and budget around $35-$50 per night for budget hostel accommodation. Bear in mind that if you are planning to travel over peak seasons, such as Christmas, or if you want to stay in a prime location like Bondi Beach, then you may need to allocate a little more. Basic motels can cost anywhere upwards of $70 a night.

Daily Budget: $35+ a day

Food and Drink

Depending on how strong the Aussie dollar is against your currency, food and drink can seem expensive in Australia. But with a little effort it can be easy to find good grub at a backpacker-friendly price in most cities.

A single traveller under the age of 35 spends $104 a week on food and drink. Supermarket shopping can be a little more expensive than you will find back home, with a loaf of bread costing 53% more in Sydney than London and 1 litre of milk costing an extra 22%.

If you want to grab food on the move then food courts, found in all major Australian cities, can be a great place to lunch for around $10 – $15, and a cup of coffee will set you back $3 – $4. A schooner of beer (just less than a pint) is normally priced at around $7 – $8, and a good cocktail will set you back $15 – $20.

However, shop around you will find decent happy-hour deals – where a schooner of beer or a glass of wine will set you back as little as $5.

Daily Budget: $15+ (scale this cost up if you are planning on eating out or going out for drinks regularly)


Hitting the open road in a second-hand campervan is pretty much a right of passage when you’re backpacking around Aus. Used campervans for sale at a decent price are pretty easy to come by in most major towns and cities, and you can easily find them for sale on Gumtree. Or if you want something shorter term, there are lots of campervan rental options that start from as little as $35 a day (don’t forget to add in the cost of fuel).

If you don’t fancy doing the driving yourself, then you can hop on/off a Greyhound Coach. Passes start from $329 and allow you to travel from destinations such as Brisbane to Cairns for $329.

Air travel is also popular between the main cities in Australia, as it is quick and relatively hassle free. Tiger Air and Jetstar are popular and cheap carriers. Flights between Sydney to Melbourne typically start at around $80 one way.

Daily Budget: This is dependent on when and where you want to travel in Australia


There are countless trips and tours available in Australia. Below is a list of prices for visiting some of Australia’s most popular attractions:

  • Full day tour of the Barrier Reef – anywhere upwards of $99
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb – between $148 – $158
  • A three-day trip to Uluru (Ayres Rock) – starts from $350
  • Australia Zoo – $59
  • Wet ‘n’ Wild Water Park Gold Coast – $69
  • Surfing lesson in Byron Bay – From $60

The choices you make in regards to where you visit, how you travel and where you stay will determine how far your budget will stretch.

If you plan carefully, do your research and make some savvy choices – you can easily have the backpacking experience you’ve always dreamed of in Australia.

Victoria Brewood

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

  • Fabiana
    Posted at 00:10h, 28 February Reply

    I thought it would be more expensive!

  • TheEightHours
    Posted at 12:46h, 16 March Reply

    We have been in Australia for over a year now. Originally from London now in Melbourne and everyone always asks how price compares to back home.
    And the situation is very similar, you can always find stuff like cheap food. It’s alcohol that is slightly more expensive but then again it’s always happy hour somewhere.
    A cheaper option for travelling around is to drive campers around the country for companies who need them transported. You get a free ride and bed and all you cover is petrol. Easy way to explore and they’re is always forums of people looking to carshare.

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