Considering a trip down under? The land of the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House, and unique animals like koalas and kangaroos capture many travelers’ imaginations.
But, the country also has a reputation as an expensive destination. Are you destined for sticker shock if you try a trip here?
Real-life travelers have reported a range of costs for trips to Australia, with some pleasantly surprised by the rates they pay and others shocked at how much things cost.
Every traveler, of course, is different and will have different spending patterns during a trip to Australia. We’ve looked over budget examples in a range of categories to find out just what it will cost you to head to Oz.
Average Trip to Australia Islands Cost in 2023
A week in Australia costs around $5,500 for two people:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $150 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $1,500 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $100 per person, per day
- Transportation: $50 per person, per week
- Total Cost: $5,500
Of course, your expenses are going to be different from another traveler’s based on your preferences and destinations.
A backpacker who couch surfs and camps may pay around $30 a day to spend time in Australia, while someone who prefers more traditional lodgings and meals may spend up to $200 a night on hotels and $100 a day on food and activities.
Plus, you always have the option of doing a sort of hybrid vacation. You can cut down on meal costs to make room for pricier activities or stick to barebones hotel options in order to splash the cash on higher-priced meals.
Australia Trip Cost: Average by Item
How do you want to do your stay down under? If your ideal vacation is on the rough and tumble-budget side, you can find hostel rooms for as little as $25 a night.
You may spend more for in-demand spots like Melbourne and Sydney, where some hostels have private rooms in prime locations for as much as $75 a night.
If a formal hotel is more your speed. Expect to pay between $100 and $200 a night in Sydney. Options include the Holiday Inn & Suites Sydney Bondi Junction. Another option closer to the water is the Macleay Hotel.
This is about three km from Darling Harbour and convenient to the Kings Cross train station. Hotel prices in Melbourne are similar. You can find some gems at either end of the price range.
City Center Budget Hotel, for instance, has rooms for around $65 a night. Some rooms have kitchenettes, which allows you to save a bit more money by making your own food.
If you are looking for a more luxe stay, you can consider something like the Langham. This five-star hotel has an indoor pool, a hot tub, and an excellent location.
Prices run around $125 a night. Camping is also an attractive option if you’re adventurous. Basic tent sites are available for less than $10 a night in most parts of the country.
Your flight in and out of Australia from the US will take up the largest single chunk of your budget. How much you’ll spend depends on factors like the time of year and your destination in Australia.
Sydney is a popular destination. Flights from JFK in New York to Sydney Airport range from $1,200 to $1,700. Other popular destinations like Melbourne have similar costs.
At the time of this writing, you’d pay anywhere from $1,200 to $1,800 to fly there. Less common destinations will often have higher costs. A flight into Perth ranges from $1.400 to just under $5,000 round trip.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Food prices in Australia tend to be higher than what we’re used to in the US. Many people report spending $20 per person on an average meal. Even a value meal at McDonald’s runs $15 or more.
Meals in Chinatown in Sydney tend to be excellent quality with a cheaper price tag. Options at Chinatown Noodle King include Chinese braised pork burgers for around $6 a piece and seafood vegetable spring rolls for $7.50.
Beer, wine, and mixed drink prices are also higher than you may be used to. Expect to pay around $10 a beer. Backpacker oriented bars tend to have cheaper drinks ad more generous happy hours. Be on the lookout for places with those sorts of vibes to cut your costs.
Many people book harbor cruises when they are in Sydney. These cruises often include dinner, drinks and entertainment, but it all comes at a price. Costs for an average dinner cruise are around $125 to $150 a person.
One Sydney native recommended taking the Watson Bay Ferry to Manly or Circular Quay instead. You get a similar view, but pay under $10 each way.
Sydney Harbour Bridge climbs are a way to see Sydney from a high altitude. Visitors who’ve done it say it’s pricey, but worth it. Tickets can run as high as $200 per person.
There are alternatives, however, if you want to see Sydney from the sky. The Bridge Pylon Lookout is about two-thirds the height of the bridge, and only costs about $20. You can also head to the bar at the top of the Sydney Tower.
Reserve a table at sunset, and have a few drinks while you are there. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest of its kind, spanning over 2,400 km. Tour operators offer snorkeling, diving, and boat tours.
A glass bottom boat tour may cost around $75 per person. For snorkeling tours, expect to pay around $150 per person.
If kangaroo and koala sightings are part of your personal essential Australian vacation, consider a trip to the Australian Reptile Park. Animals roam free within the park, allowing you to observe them in a more natural setting.
Tickets run around $30 per person. Beach access is free in most parts of the country. Consider a day out at Port Melbourne Beach for it’s wide and sandy shoreline, or a day at St. Kilda Beach.
Australia has a range of options for getting around both the cities and the country as a whole. These include rental cars, light rail, buses, ferries, and bikes.
If you are going to use multiple forms of transportation, consider an Opal card. This cane used on all public transit around Sydney. The fares you pay are capped, with travelers never paying more than $50 a week as long as they use their Opal card.
If you’ll be traveling around the country, you can find some discounts on transportation from one place to another. Greyhound operates in Australia and offers discount multi-day passes. Expect to pay around $350 for a 15-day pass.
Renting a car is more expensive than public transit, but also gives you more freedom of movement. Expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $500 for a week-long rental depending on the car you choose and the area you pick it up.
If you want to take advantage of the outdoors, consider renting a bike to get around. Bike rentals are usually around $40 a day or $180 for a week.
Things to Consider
As with any international travel, there are a few things to consider when you are planning and budgeting a trip:
- Australia may be the smallest continent, but it’s still a pretty big country. Just traveling from Sydney to Melbourne will take almost nine hours by car.
- The exchange rate between the US and Australian dollars will make a huge difference in your cost. When the US dollar is stronger, high Australian prices hurt less. When it’s the opposite, expect to feel the pain twice over.
- Australia’s seasons are the opposite of ours. Their summer runs from December to February, while June to August is winter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions about how much you will spend for an Oz vacation? We have answers to some of the questions that are most frequently asked:
How much does an Australia trip cost?
Your costs will depend greatly on where in the country you go and what you do during your Australian vacation. Hotels range from around $50 to $250 a night.
Is Australia expensive for US tourists?
It all depends on your traveling style. A travel blogger recently reported spending an average of $100 per day during his month-long trip there. The US dollar is currently strong compared to the Australian dollar, which can help ease the bite of local costs.
How long can a US citizen visit Australia?
A person from the US can apply for an online visa that allows them to stay for up to 90 days. This visa, the Electronic Travel Authorization, can be used for either tourism or business purposes.
What documents do I need to travel to Australia?
An American going to Australia will need a few documents in order before their trip. These include a valid passport, a visa for entering Australia, and a signed Incoming Passenger card. The card will include a health and character declaration that basically say you are a safe visitor to the country.
Over to You — Book Your Trip to Australia Today!
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$150 per night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$1,500 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$100 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$50 per person, per week|
|💲 Total Cost||$5,500|
Australia is, for many, the destination of a lifetime, and comes with a price tag to match. Expect to pay around $5,500 for a week-long trip for two.
While you are on your trip, you can find a range of ways to cut costs while still enjoying a world-class adventure.
Consider options like home-cooked meals, hostel stays, and even camping to cut your costs while still enjoying one of the world’s most interesting and unique destinations.
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Australia has to offer. Happy travels!