When I first arrived in Australia for my Working Holiday Visa, it was a stressful time, in the sense that I had little money. I understood the need to save dollars for my ultimate road trip as the cost to travel Australia is substantial.
I noted all my expenses during my roadtrip around Australia and have broken them down in this post. Here was my journey in brief:
Cost to travel Australia in brief
- Duration: 2.5 Months
- Kilometres: 15,000KM
- People: 2
- Method: Nissan X-Trail 4×4 AWD (not as thirsty as your LandCruiser or Pajero)
- Travel Style: Budget travel when possible, but happy to spend sometimes on Maccas and a Pizza
- Alcohol: Not Much
- Road Route: Melbourne – Hotham – Sydney and NSW East Coast – Cairns – Tennant Creek – Alice Springs – Adelaide – Great Ocean Road – Melbourne
Our Cost Breakdown
The following is in $AU:
This is our personal cost to travel Australia for 2 people, equating to around $3,400 per person for 2.5 months and $1,360 per person per month.
This will be your biggest cost to travel Australia, via a road trip. It will also get more expensive the further into the outback you get. In some areas of Northern Territory we breached the $2 a litre mark! This was painful, but you have no alternative. Fill up whenever you can, especially if it’s cheap. Download the Gas Buddy or Australia Fuel Map to find the cheapest. It tends to be very cheap in the city. If you have a Jerry Can, you can fill up before getting to NT, to save a few dollars.
On our Australia road trip we cooked ourselves most days. We went to the local supermarket and brought some meat, Veg and then had it with some rice or pasta most days. It didn’t cost us too much. The stats above show $13 per day for two people, but this will also include other junk food, drinks and random supermarket things we bought too. You need those road snacks during those 7 hour drives! I think we ate for around $6-$8 per day for two people, 3 meals a day.
I didn’t receive any items leftover from other backpackers, as I purchased my car from a car dealership. Read about my tips on buying a backpacker car here.
Because of this the costs are quite high. I bought many things including, cooker, fishing rods, tables, boxes, fuel & water cans, Esky, torches, and cooking utensils
There are some things, that when you are in Australia, you simply have to do. They piled onto our cost to travel Australia, but it was so worth it. For us, they were all in the Barrier Reef, these included:
- Flight over the Great Barrier Reef, which I hugely recommend
- 3 Day Whitsunday Island Cruise
- Snorkelling Cruise to the Outer Barrier Reef
You should be able to get most of your camping for free on your Australia road trip. However, every so often we paid for camping to get a shower, use a flush toilet and wash our clothes. We paid to camp 14 times on our trip.
Paid campsites are very nice and facilities are generally of a high standard. Use the WikiCamps app, to find the best sites.
When we arrived in Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane, we stayed in AirBnB. As the cost for two people in a Sydney hostel is so high, we opted for AirBnB for the duration. In the other cities, we just felt like sleeping in a bed and treating ourselves, as we’d been roughing it for so long. AirBnB will cost you in the range of $40 – $60 per night, for a decent room.
Many backpackers decide to camp in their cars in the suburbs, but this can be a nuisance for residents etc. and leaves a bad rep for us backpackers. Therefore, we chose to do everything above board.
The $400 in the table relates to the sleeping frame and mattress that I built in the car. Many backpacker cars will already have one made, but as I bought my car from a dealership, I had to build my own. It’s quite simple though and a lot of fun. Check out the picture below of the completed frame built in the Bunnings Carpark!
Top Tips to minimise the cost to travel Australia
Of course, you can do it more or less expensive. It purely depends on how you like to travel. We travelled comfortably but didn’t indulge too much. My top tips to save money would be:
- Use Wikicamps – to find those free quality campsites
- Limit the Alcohol – alcohol is expensive and a hangover can kill half of your next day
- Get a decent Car – meaning no repair costs
- Get an efficient car – Using a LandCruiser/Pajero can almost double your fuel costs
- Arrange Couch Surfing for the cities before hand – Free Accommodation from a kind community
Other things to mention are that I bought my car, so no renting costs. However I did lose $900 when I sold my car. This was mainly because I needed to leave Australia relatively quickly so got rid of it in a hurry. I did not include this in my expenses.
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