Cost of Travel Around Australia For First Time Visitors

Australia may be one of the most beautiful countries in the world (in my very un-biased opinion), but the cost of travel around Australia can be pretty high. If you’re planning a trip here, you’ll have to save quite a bit for your stay. That being said, visiting Australia can be done on a budget. There are some ways around all of the high costs, and if you’re a regular budget traveler, it won’t be too difficult.

I’ve created this guide with the cost of every day items in Australia. Whether you’re staying for one week, four weeks or even an entire year, you will definitely need to know this information before arriving.

Are you a wine drinker like I am? Keep reading to find the best places to score a decently priced bottle of white or red. Heading off on a road trip? I’ll tell you where to find some cheap, every day staple items for life on the road. You’ll also find the rough costs for popular modes of transport throughout Australia.

The Cost of Travel Around Australia: Food, Alcohol, Data, Transport & More

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!


Ahh alcohol, my favourite topic. Well, one of. That doesn’t make me sound too good does it?

I’m just gonna put this out there, and say that alcohol in Australia is expensive. Whether you purchase from a takeaway bottle shop or indulge in a few drinks at the local pub or restaurant, there is a huge tax on alcohol Australia wide, so prepare to pay up.

That being said, there are some cheaper option, you just have to be willing to sacrifice that top notch, high quality taste. This is probably shameful to admit, but I’m not too fussed about the taste. As long as it gets me tipsy, I’m happy! I drink $8 litre bottles of white wine, and they taste good to me.

Cask wine, also known as goon, is a budget traveler’s best friend. Throughout Australia (except certain areas, but more on that soon) you can purchase 4 litre or 5 litre boxes of wine for under $20 each. Bottle shops have sales quite often where you can get three 5 litre casks for around $35. That’s fifteen litres of wine for less than $40. Yeah, us Australian’s love our alcohol.

We are known for our wine here in Australia. There are an endless amount of vineyards and wineries all over the country, and it’s a wonder the entire population (who are over 18 years of age, of course) isn’t always drunk.

I live in South Australia, which is home to quite a few wine regions. From the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Eden Valley, Coonawarra and Clare Valley; not to mention various smaller wineries throughout the Adelaide Hills.

Here’s a quick guide with some general alcohol prices both from a bottle shop and a restaurant or pub and club.

Cost of Alcohol in Australia – Bottle Shop

Wine (White, Red & Sparkling) – From $3+ (average around $10 a bottle)
Beer (6 pack) – From $12 to $30
Beer (Carton) – From $30 to $70
Beer (Pint/Bottle/Can) – From $4 to $10
Vodka & Gin – 700ml bottle between $28 and $50
Bourbon – 700ml bottle between $40 and $60
Malt & Blended Whisky – 700ml bottle between $30 and $200
Premixed Light & Dark Spirits (Single Bottle/Can) – From $5 to $10
Premixed Light & Dark Spirits (4 & 6 Packs) – From $15 to $30
Cask Wine – Between $10 and $15 for a 4L or 5L box

Cost of Alcohol in Australia – Restaurant/Pub/Club

Wine (White, Red & Sparkling) – From $5+ (average around $7 a glass)
Beer (6 pack) – N/A
Beer (Carton) – N/A
Beer (Pint/Bottle/Can) – Average around $8 to $10
Vodka & Gin – Cocktails average between $8 to $10
Bourbon – Average between $8 and $10
Malt & Blended Whisky – Average between $8 to $15
Premixed Light & Dark Spirits (Single Bottle/Can) – Average between $10 to $15
Premixed Light & Dark Spirits (4 & 6 Packs) – N/A
Cask Wine – Around $5 a glass (house wine)

Note: These prices are a rough guide. The cost will vary between cities and the particular bottle shop, restaurant, pub, club or bar that you visit. As a general rule, budget a bit more for alcohol if that’s what you are happy to spend money on. We are a lot more expensive than most of the world.

Note for anyone visiting the Northern Territory

Alcohol is very heavily restricted in Alice Springs. Cask wine (goon) isn’t available, and on average everything is more expensive than what you’d pay in the rest of the country. You are required to have a valid identification card scanned at the time of purchase, and alcohol can only be bought once per day. Keep this in mind if you’re traveling through rural Northern Territory, or making your way to Uluru (where alcohol is about ten times more expensive than Alice Springs).

Cost of Travel Around Australia For First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Food: Groceries and Staple Items

If you’re a budget traveler, it is possible to purchase groceries without spending hundreds of dollars. There are two major shopping brands throughout the country: Coles and Woolworths. Both are great in their own way, but we are loyal to Coles. Each company also has a loyalty card, which allows you to bank up points which can then be converted into dollars. This means that once you’ve collected enough points, you’ll essentially be able to buy groceries for free.

Along with Coles and Woolworths, there are local supermarkets in each individual city around Australia. These can sometimes be a bit more expensive than the bigger chains, so keep that in mind. Here are some of the costs of every day staples, based on a home-brand Coles or Woolworths shop.

Milk – A 2L home-brand carton of milk costs around $2. Of course you can purchase better quality milk for up to $5 for a 2L carton. We also have a good variety of soy and almond milks.

Bread – I buy a $2 loaf of home-brand multigrain bread from Coles. I’ve been buying the same bread for years, have toast every morning for breakfast, and I still look forward to it each day!

Fruits & Vegetables – The cost of fruit and vegetables in Australia depends on the time of year. Summer in Australia is between December and February, so if you love your summer fruits, it’s best to visit during the summer months. Off season fruit can be pretty expensive in Australia. I had a specific request to mention the cost of avocados. The last time I purchased avocados, they were two for $5.

Cashews, Peanuts & Other Nuts – You can purchase supermarket brand bags of nuts from around $5. If you’re a regular eater, buy the bigger bags as opposed to smaller snack bags that you can find in service stations or bottle shops. These will obviously last longer and are much better value for money.

Snacks – Chocolate, Potato Chips etc – There are always great deals on snacks, no matter where you shop. If one supermarket doesn’t have something for a good price, it’s almost a guarantee their competitor will. So shop around, especially if you’re heading out on a road trip. Generally you can score a share size bag of chips for a couple of dollars, and a block of chocolate for around $3. Again, shop around especially if you’re buying in bulk.

Meat – It’s hard to compare the cost of meat to other countries, because I’m not much of a meat eater. When it comes to chicken, we normally purchase a pack of pack of two (chicken breasts) for around AUD $7. A pack of four chicken breasts is usually around $11. Red meat can cost anywhere from $5 upwards, but it depends on your preferences and which type of meat you enjoy.

Coffee – I had my first ever cup of coffee back in March at a Starbucks in Osaka, Japan. From that moment, I was hooked. Don’t ask why it took me 25 years to start drinking coffee, but I’m definitely making up for it now. Australia is well-known for having incredible coffee. No matter which supermarket you decide to shop at, you’ll find a huge range of instant coffee. Some are cheap and nasty, and some are super expensive but totally worth it. My favourite instant coffee is Moccona.

You can purchase a jar or tin in various sizes of instant coffee for anywhere between $8 and $30. It all depends on how picky you are, and whether or not you’re willing to budget when it comes to your morning (and mid morning, late morning, then early afternoon….) cup of coffee.

Cost of Travel Around Australia For First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Food: Restaurants, Cafes, Coffee Shops

No matter which city you visit, you can easily come across some mid-range restaurants and cafes for a quick bite to eat. All it takes is a bit of Google searching to find one near you. On average, you can get a pub meal (pizza, schnitzel, burger and salad etc) for anywhere between $10 and $30, which is the middle of the range price. Side meals such as a bowl of chips or wedges are generally between $5 and $8.

If you’re willing to spend a bit more, there are tons of high class and fancier restaurants around where you’ll more than likely pay an arm and a leg for the same meal you would find in a middle range restaurant. The quality will probably be better, but if you’re looking for budget friendly dining, stick to the meals that don’t cost an entire month’s rent.

Fish and Chip Shops

In Australia you will come across an abundance of places called fish and chip shops. These are especially popular in beachside towns, but can also be found throughout major cities and suburbs. This is the perfect option for someone on a budget, as you will get quite a large serving of fresh, hot chips (just think fries, but bigger) for under $10. You can also get burgers, fish and chicken for a very reasonable price.

Fish and chip shops (also known as chicken shops) are popular for family gatherings, as it’s a cheap but delicious take away option.

Coffee Shops and Cafe’s

Coffee is very popular and extremely delicious here in Australia. There are tons of coffee shops around, and the price will vary depending on the location. On average, though, you’re looking at between $3 and $5 for a takeaway cup of coffee. If you were to visit a more tourist heavy location such as the Gold Coast in Queensland, you might have to pay a little bit more than you would in the suburbs of Melbourne.

A lot of coffee shops – especially big chain ones – also sell lunch and light snacks. These are probably going to be more expensive than what you would pay at a supermarket, but for convenience and laziness, it’s generally worth it.

Bus, Tram & Train Travel in Australia

Once you’re in Australia, traveling around cities and from state to state is pretty easy. There are always awesome domestic flight deals, it’s just a matter of keeping an eye out for them! However, for inter-city travel, public transport is the best way to go (in most states). Keep reading for more information about the bus, train and tram system in Australia, and which states have the most reliable public transport system.

Adelaide (Adelaide Metro)

If you plan to stay in Adelaide for longer than a day, and will be using public transport as your means of getting around the city, I recommend purchasing a Metro Card. These cost $5 and will get you cheaper fares than a regular ticket. Using the Adelaide Metro is pretty pricey, with a regular single-trip peak hour ticket costing between $3 and $5. If you have a Metro Card, though, you’ll only need to pay between $2 and $3.

Melbourne (Public Transport Victoria)

Melbourne has a similar system to Adelaide with their myki card. You can purchase one of these for around $6, which works the same way as an Adelaide Metro Card. If you’re looking for free transport, keep an eye out for the Free Tram Zone. This is a service that allows passengers to travel around Melbourne’s general CBD for free. This tram takes you to a lot of the major sights and attractions throughout Melbourne’s CBD, which is an awesome (and free) way to see the city.


If you plan to spend some time in Sydney’s CBD, get yourself an Opal Card. This will allow you to travel around the city a lot easier (much like using Adelaide’s Metro Card or Melbourne’s myki card). Adult Opal Card fares depend on the distance you travel and type of transport you choose, but will generally cost between $2 and $8.50.

Perth (Transperth)

Get yourself a SmartRider Card if you’re going to spend some time exploring Perth. Again, very similar to other states’ public transport cards, it will get you around the city a bit cheaper. The initial cost of a SmartRider card is a little more expensive at $10, but it’s still something to consider if you plan to spend some time exploring the CBD.

Queensland (TransLink)

Get yourself a Go Explore Card if you plan to spend time on the Gold Coast. For only $10 per day ($5 for children), you will get unlimited bus and tram travel around the Gold Coast. This is an awesome option for travelers and tourists, as the Go Explore Card will take you to the best Gold Coast destinations.

Note: All prices are in Australian Dollars. If you’re reading this and thinking wow, that sounds super expensive you’re right. Public transport in Australia is pretty pricey, but in some states it’s the most convenient way to travel around major cities. Click here to convert these prices into your own currency, for a better understanding on pricing.

Cost of Travel Around Australia For First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Uber and Taxi (Best for Airport Transfer)

Honestly, unless you’re desperate, I would avoid using a Taxi. They’re very overpriced, and you’re better off using Uber if you choose not to catch public transport. Uber will cost almost half the price of a taxi, and is usually going to be much more reliable. If you have an early or late flight, book an Uber to take you to the airport. Depending on where your hotel is, an Uber will rarely set you back any more than $50. I can’t say the same for a Taxi, however.

Domestic Flights to and From Australia

Once you arrive in Australia, flying between states is generally pretty easy and can be cheap, depending on the time of year.
For example, flying one-way from Melbourne to Sydney in the middle of Australia’s summer season (December through to February) can cost around AUD $100 per person with Virgin Australia.

However, an off-season flight in June from Sydney to Brisbane, will generally cost around AUD $90. It’s pretty easy to score domestic Australia flight deals, though. Keep an eye out for some sales on Webjet. They’re a great source for last minute, spontaneous trips once you’re in Australia.

[bctt tweet=”Keep an eye out for some great deals when it comes to domestic flights within Australia! The most convenient and fastest way to travel around the country!” username=”rhiannontravels”]

Car Hire in Australia

We recently hired a car for our upcoming trip to Queensland in October. For an SUV over 10 days, it cost us around $400. That price included basic insurance and a pretty sweet ride. If you’re interested in hiring a car but are a bit nervous about driving in Australia, consider purchasing comprehensive car insurance. This can cost anywhere from $100 extra on top of the cost of the car hire itself, depending on the type of cover you choose. But it’s definitely worth it for that extra piece of mind.

There are a few car hire companies in Australia to choose from: Avis, Thrifty (we hired our car with these guys), Hertz and Budget. You can also use a comparison website like VroomVroomVroom or DriveNow to compare prices amongst all companies. This is a good way to find the best deal, and find a car that works for you.

Note: Remember that in Australia, we drive on the left hand side of the road. While living in Alice Springs, I witnessed someone casually driving on the right hand side of the road, through the centre of town, as if it were no-one’s business. Don’t be that person, and please drive on the correct side!

[bctt tweet=”Thinking of hiring a car for your trip around Australia? Here are some tips and information! ” username=”rhiannontravels”]

Cost of Petrol in Australia

Petrol (or gas) prices vary, depending on the time of year and whether there’s a long weekend or holiday. It also depends on where you are located, as the more rurally you travel, the more expensive petrol will be. On a good day, you can find petrol for around $1.25 a litre. On a bad day, it can be anywhere up to $1.50 a litre. Most cars use unleaded petrol, which is the cheapest option. If you’re hiring a car, make sure you check the type of petrol that the car uses, before filling up.

Affordable Clothing in Australia

Of course everyone has different tastes when it comes to clothing and fashion. But if you’re a budget traveler, the best place to go is Kmart. I’ll be honest, Kmart is my favourite store. I shop there for almost everything, and if Russell and I ever buy our own house, I’m going to decorate the crap out of it in Kmart homewares.

Their clothes are also very decently priced and fairly good quality. They won’t last forever, but they will get you through your stay in Australia at the very least. Essentials like shoes, underwear, basic shirts and pants will generally cost less than $5. Kmart is the perfect one-stop-shop for almost everything you need. There are stores Australia wide, so jump on their website to find one near you.

Medicine, Sunscreen and Toiletries

Given that Australia is a very beach heavy country with a lot of sunshine and outdoor activities, sunscreen is important. If you are planning to spend any amount of time outside, especially during summer, be sure to purchase a high quality SPF 50 sunscreen. If you plan to stay for an extended period of time, purchase a larger bottle of sunscreen. You’ll save more money compared to purchasing multiple smaller tubes.

Cost of Travel Around Australia For First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Pain killers are another common query, especially for people prone to headaches. I personally suffer from quite a few headaches during summer, so if this sounds like you, keep reading. There are a couple of major pain killer brands in Australia, which are Nurofen and Panadol. Chemist Warehouse is great for buying in bulk, where you can find 96 packs for under $20.

If you suffer from hay fever, Chemist Warehouse is also a great places to go for antihistamines. Again, you can purchase these in bulk for under $30. That may seem like a lot of money, but if you suffer regularly from hay fever, you’ll happily pay the $26 for an 80 pack of those bad boys. Anything to stop the sneezing and itchy eyes.

Phone Data & Wifi

The best option for phone data while in Australia, is to purchase a prepaid SIM card. This will obviously require your phone to be unlocked, in order for the international SIM card to work. Optus have a $40 prepaid SIM card, which gives you 7GB of data and unlimited standard national calls and texts within Australia. You’ll also have unlimited international calls from Australia to: mainland China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, UK and the United States.

Telstra is another big brand phone company in Australia, and you can purchase a $50 prepaid SIM card that will give you 7.5GB of data, unlimited calls and texts within Australia, and unlimited international calls.

Australia may be expensive, but it’s a country that I think everybody should visit at least once. With photo opportunities at every turn, I can guarantee you won’t want to leave. I hope you found this guide useful, and hopefully I’ve answered some of your questions about the cost of travel around Australia. If I’ve missed something though, don’t forget you can reach out to me by email or head over to Facebook and send me a message.

Related: Click here to read our Australia archives

Tell me in the comments below: Have you visited Australia before? Were you surprised at the cost of certain things and places? I’d love to know your thoughts!  

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Cost of Travel Around Australia For First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels Cost of Travel Around Australia For First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!



  1. October 7, 2017 / 10:29 am

    I loved reading this Rhiannon! This has to be the most comprehensive guide to traveling costs for Australia. I especially thought it was helpful listing the prices. And YESS totally agree with Taxis – I took one home from the airport once, and let’s just say I will never be taking a taxi again!

  2. October 7, 2017 / 6:51 pm

    Wow this post is very useful! You really covered everything! I was looking for some information about phone data and public transportation in Australia. Good to know that Uber also operates in Australia, and that there are many car rental companies. I will try to drive on the left haha 😉

  3. October 7, 2017 / 7:04 pm

    Oz can definitely be a pricey place but there are some great ways of saving money if you’re savvy! Great post xx

  4. Tara Clifford
    October 7, 2017 / 8:07 pm

    Living in London now, I always get people asking me “how expensive is Australia?” – this is a great guide!

  5. October 7, 2017 / 9:04 pm

    Sydneysider here, all of this is spot on! 😉 The one thing I would add is re: taxis to/from airports (or anywhere, for that matter). Bear in mind that taxi drivers will often sting you additional fees if you pay by EFTPOS (regardless of the type of card, whether you tap/insert, etc.). The fees are always very vaguely defined, and taxi drivers will take offense if you call them up on it. If you absolutely *must* catch a cab, pay with cash! The fee you get stung for withdrawing cash at a foreign ATM will likely be less than the fee you pay the cabbie 😉

    Thank you for sharing!

  6. October 7, 2017 / 10:54 pm

    This is a great guide Rhiannon. We house sit long term and it’s always good to know what costs we might be up against in a new location. We’re headed to Oz in December, so very timely. Last time we were there I became a fan of the Op Shops for clothing (charity shops), there are so many and as I travel carry-on, it’s a good way to supplement the wardrobe inexpensively, and give back when you move on!

  7. October 8, 2017 / 1:46 am

    Wow such a comprehensive guide for Australia! I will go to Australia soon, so this is very useful thank you 🙂

  8. October 8, 2017 / 2:30 pm

    Great info for anyone planning a trip to Oz. And having an idea of costs is always helpful, especially in an expensive place like Australia. You’re absolutely right about the coffee – love Aussie coffee :).

  9. October 8, 2017 / 2:59 pm

    I LOVE this extensive guide and how you really break down the pricing. I studied abroad in Sydney but that was twelve years ago and I know a lot has changed. And I might be going back soon, so this really helps!!

  10. October 8, 2017 / 3:43 pm

    This is so so so useful!! I really want to do a road trip around Aus which we are trying to work into our savings now – but it was such a minefield (you know its expensive but no real gauge of how). Definitely seems more expensive than our home country Scotland! Thanks for being so comprehensive!

  11. October 8, 2017 / 8:55 pm

    I have a lot of resident Indian friends who keep saying that Australia is extremely expensive. The worst being not allowed to take spices or food items on the flight which makes it even expensive affair. And now you have compiled this amazing comprehensive list which proves how. I am definitely saving this as Aus is on my travel bucket list 🙂

  12. October 9, 2017 / 12:11 am

    I’m going to Australia in a few months time so this is perfect! Lots of useful informstion

  13. October 9, 2017 / 3:30 am

    Good to know! I knew that alcohol was expensive. Taxis are the same here, that’s why I also like to use Uber 🙂

  14. October 9, 2017 / 4:58 am

    Brilliant guide! I have a similar post on my blog actually lol, but this goes into so much detail! Definitely useful for anyone travelling to Oz. 🙂

  15. October 9, 2017 / 11:24 am

    Wow, this is so detailed!!! It must have taken yiu forever to write it so thank you! I haven’t lived at home in Aus for a few years and I couldn’t remember how much things were so this is super helpful in preparing me for how much I need!

  16. October 9, 2017 / 6:33 pm

    Uluru is probably one of the places I would head to in Australia, and basically more of the Natural Outback. Interesting that they are so strict with Alcohol rules in the country. I guess a glass of house wine is still fairly reasonable though, and it’s probably what’d I’d drink in the country. Great advice for someone who knows quite little about costs in Australia.

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