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

The cost of travel around Australia can be pretty high. There’s no point sugar coating it. If you’re planning a trip here, prepare to save quite a bit for your stay. That being said, it 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 have compiled this giant, comprehensive list of what every day things cost in Australia. Whether you’re staying for a week, 4 weeks or a year, you’ll more than likely need/want to know this information! Are you a wine lover like I am? Keep reading to find the best places to score a decently priced but tasty bottle of white or red. Heading off on a road trip? You’ll learn where to find some cheap every-day staple items for the road. Are you a public transport or domestic flight kinda person? I’ve included rough costs for all popular modes of transport within Australia!

Cost of Travel Around Australia: Food, Alcohol, Data, Transport & More! | Rhiannon Travels

So keep reading, for the most in-depth, useful and comprehensive post, all about the cost of travel around Australia. I mean, not to toot my own horn or anything…

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

Food & Beverage

Alcohol – Takeaway (Liquor Stores) & Restaurants/Pubs/Clubs

I’m just gonna put this out there: alcohol in Australia is expensive. Whether you purchase from a takeaway liquor store, 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 options. You just have to be willing to sacrifice that top notch, high-quality taste! Which is fine by me. Spoiler alert: I drink $8 litre bottles of white wine, and they’re delicious.

Cask wine is a budget traveler’s best friend. Throughout Australia (except certain areas, but more on that in a bit!) you’ll be able t purchase 4L or 5L boxes of wine for a very, very cheap price. Quite often, liquor stores have sales where you can get three 5L casks for around $35. 15 litres of wine for under $40? Yeah, us Aussies love alcohol.


Australia is known for our wine. We have an endless amount of vineyards and wineries throughout the country, it’s a wonder the entire population isn’t always drinking wine. I live in South Australia, which is home to quite a few wine regions: The Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Eden Valley, Coonawarra and Clare Valley. Not to mention various smaller wineries throughout the Adelaide Hills. I’ll be writing an entire post about South Australia’s wine regions once summer hits, so keep an eye out for that!

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

In the meantime, I’m sure you’re wondering what the deal is with our super expensive alcohol?
Well, here’s a quick lesson on alcoholic beverage prices in Australia:

Takeaway (Liquor Store):

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

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 liquor store, 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 people visiting Alice Springs/rural Northern Territory:
Alcohol is very highly restricted in Alice Springs. Cask wine 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 ID card scanned at time of purchase, and alcohol can only be bought once per day. Keep that in mind if you’re traveling through rural Northern Territory, or making your way to Uluru (where alcohol is about 10 times more pricey than Alice Springs!)

Alcohol is expensive in Australia. Here are some rough guides to help you budget a bit extra… Click To Tweet

Groceries & Staple Items

If you’re a budget traveler, it is possible to go grocery shopping on the cheap in Australia. You’ll find 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! Awesome!

In each individual city around Australia, you’ll come across local supermarkets as well as Coles and Woolworths. These can sometimes be a bit pricier than the bigger chains, so keep that in mind.
Here are the costs of some basic, every day food 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.
  • Bread – I purchase 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 – This depends on the time of year. Australia’s summer is between December and February, so if you love your summer fruits, it’s best to visit during that time of year. 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 2 for $5.
  • Cashews, peanuts & other nuts – Another special request! You can find supermarket brand bags of nuts from around $5. If you’re a regular eater, purchase the bigger bags as opposed to ‘snack bags’ you will find in service stations or liquor stores.
  • Snacks (chocolate, potato chips etc) – There are always great deals on snacks, no matter where you shop. If one supermarket doesn’t have something on special, it’s almost a guarantee their competitor will. So shop around, especially if you’re heading 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 personally much of a meat eater. When it comes to chicken, we normally purchase a pack of pack of 2 (chicken breasts) for around AUD $7. A pack of 4 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 me why it took 25 years to start drinking coffee, but let’s just say I’m 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, some are super expensive but totally worth it. My favourite instant coffee is Moccona. You can purchase a jar or tin in varying sizes of instant coffee, for anywhere between $8 to $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!



Eating Out (Restaurants, Cafes, Coffee Shops)

No matter which city you visit, you’ll 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, salad etc) for anywhere between $10 and $30 (this is the middle of the price scale). Side meals such as a bowl of chips or wedges, are generally around $5 to $8.

Note: If you’re wiling to spend a bit more, there are of course high-class restaurants around, where you’ll pay an arm and a leg for the same meal you’d find in a mid range restaurant.

In Australia, you’ll come across an abundance of places called fish and chip shops. These are especially popular in beachside towns, but can also be found throughout main city centres and suburbs. This is the perfect option for someone on a budget, as you can get quite a large serving of fresh, hot chips for under $10. Not to mention burgers, fish and chicken for a very reasonable price. Fish and chip shops (or chicken shops) are popular for family gatherings, as it’s a cheap but delicious takeaway option!


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 head to a very touristy location such as the Gold Coast in Queensland, you may notice you’re paying a little more than you did 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’d pay at a supermarket, but for convenience and laziness, it’s generally worth it!

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

Domestic Travel & Transport

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! For inter-city travel, public transport is the best way to go. Read on for more information on bus, train and tram travel.

Bus, Tram & Train

Australia’s public transport system is different from state to state. Here’s an outline about each state and its public transport:

  • Adelaide (Adelaide Metro) – If you plan to stay in Adelaide for longer than a day, and will use 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 just over $5 (off-peak ticket will cost around $3.50). However, if you have a Metro Card, your peak hour trip will only be $3.50 (off-peak costing just $2). For more information about the Metro Card, click here.
  • 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 type of way as Adelaide’s 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! If you’re planning a trip to Melbourne, you can check out the free tram zone map, here! This tram takes you to a lot of the major sights and attractions around Melbourne’s CBD, which is an awesome (and free!) way to see the city.
  • Sydney – 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) – Grab 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 a good thing to consider if you are hoping to spend some time exploring the CBD.
  • Queensland (TransLink) – Purchase yourself a Go Explore Card if you plan to spend time on the Gold Coast (why wouldn’t you? It’s Queensland’s most well-known and popular location!). For only $10 per day ($5 for children), you’ll 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! Click here for more about the Go Explore card.



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 expensive, but 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.

Public transport is generally one of the best ways to explore Australia's capital cities. Here… Click To Tweet

Taxi & Uber (The best option for getting to and from the airport)

Honestly, unless you’re desperate, I would steer away from using a Taxi. Generally speaking 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, opt for 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!

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

Domestic Flights

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!

Keep an eye out for some great deals when it comes to domestic flights within Australia! The… Click To Tweet

Cost of Petrol (gas, fuel) around Australia

Petrol (or gas) prices vary depending on the time of year, and whether or not there’s a long weekend or holiday. It also depends on where you are, 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!

Car Hire

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 unsure or uncomfortable with driving in Australia but still want to hire a car to explore more of the country, I definitely suggest spending a bit extra and purchasing more comprehensive car insurance. This can cost anywhere from $100 on top of the cost of the car hire itself, depending on the type of cover you choose.

There are a few car hire companies in Australia to choose from: Avis, Thrifty (who we went with!), 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. Drive on the left!

Thinking of hiring a car for your trip around Australia? Here are some tips and information! Click To Tweet

Clothing, Toiletries, Medicine & Beauty Products

Clothing

Everyone has different tastes when it comes to clothing and fashion. If you’re a traveler on a budget, the best place to go is Kmart. I’ll be honest: Kmart is my favourite store. If I ever won or made a lot of money, I’d buy a house and decorate the crap out of it in Kmart homewares. Their clothes are also very decently priced, and pretty good quality. They won’t last forever, but they’ll get you through your stay in Australia, at the very least.

Essentials like shoes, underwear, basic shirts and pants can set you back less than $5 each. It’s the perfect one-stop-shop for almost anything you need. Kmart stores are Australia wide, so simply head over to their website for a store located near you!


Note: If you browse through Kmart and aren’t as impressed as I am, there’s always Target. Our Target is nowhere near as good as the United States version, but it’s still a good option for some decently priced essentials.

Sunscreen

I had another particular request to include the cost of sunscreen in Australia, which makes sense! We are a very beachy country, with a lot of sunshine and a ton of outdoor activities. Sunscreen is important no matter where you travel, but it’s especially important in Australia.

Your best bet for budget friendly (but still A grade quality) sunscreen, is to find your nearest Chemist Warehouse. They have a wide range of brands, at very decent prices. You can get a small tube of SPF 50 sunscreen for under $10, which is very good for Australian standards! If you plan to stay longer than say, a week, spend a little bit extra and buy a larger tube. You’ll end up saving more this way, than if you were to purchase multiple small tubes.

Sunscreen is a MUST when visiting Australia. Here is the best place to purchase budget… Click To Tweet

Pain Killers

The most popular brands of pain killers in Australia are Nurofen and Panadol. Again, Chemist Warehouse is the best place to go for these, as you can generally buy in bulk for incredible prices. The other day, I restocked our Nurofen and bought 96 pack for under AUD $15.


If you suffer from hayfever, Chemist Warehouse is also a great place to go for antihistamines. Again, you can purchase these in bulk, for under $30. That might seem like a lot of money, but if you’re a regular sufferer of hayfever, 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.

Purchasing a prepaid SIM card from @Optus or @Telstra is your best bet! Click for more… Click To Tweet

Housing

This is a difficult topic to cover, because there is such a broad range when it comes to renting and housing in Australia. Some states are going to be extremely overpriced (think the Northern Territory – Alice Springs in particular) and Sydney. I will write a seperate post dedicated to the cost of living in Australia, as opposed to information for temporary visitors, which is who this post is aimed for! Stay tuned, you future expats to Australia!


So there you have it. One of the most in-depth and comprehensive posts I’ve ever written. Hopefully I’ve answered some of your questions about the cost of travel around Australia!

Related: Click here to read my 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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The Cost of Traveling to Australia: Food, Alcohol, Data, Transport & More! The Cost of Traveling to Australia: Food, Alcohol, Data, Transport & More!

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  • 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!

  • 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 😉

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

  • Tara Clifford

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

  • 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!

  • 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!

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

  • 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 :).

  • 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!!

  • 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!

  • Great travel tips! Gonna save it for my trip to Aussie in March <3

    Carmelatte

  • 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.