I have just returned to Asia after a 2 week holiday in Australia. I’d always promised myself I would not go to Australia until I was either ready to live there or had at least a couple of months to do a country as huge and varied as Australia justice. But alas, as with many promises I make to myself I broke it. Being only a short plane ride away in Indonesia, it seemed less of a mammoth journey to undertake for a brief break in the Western world.  A chance to visit long lost friends from England, who have made what could be a permanent move to the sunshine.

Christmas in the sunshine

And so I booked my flight, with the idea that I would stay with friends, meaning no accommodation costs, buy supermarket food to cook in their kitchens and travel via hitching or cheap trains or buses… there must be something like the Mega Bus in the UK right?

I had been warned of the cost of Australia but with my fool hardy, tight fisted, live off the land traveller ways I could prove everyone wrong. 2 weeks visiting friends in Australia on £300 (marginally more than my Asia budget) was sure to keep me alive and allow me to enjoy some of the sites Australia had to over … THINK AGAIN!

Looking is free - Sydney Opera House

After 4 days in Australia I had already spent most of my 2 week budget and had barely done anything. A couple of lunches out, a supermarket shop, a night out with budget pre drinking and a cheap bus from Melbourne to Canberra. Nothing particularly exotic or adventurous and still the dollars were literally running out of my wallet.

Kangaroos in Canberra

Around day 5 I had an epiphany … Australia on the cheap is IMPOSSIBLE! I am only here 2 weeks, I want to see stuff, have fun and sitting watching Neighbours and 7th Heaven in my friends living room was not going to fulfil my trip to Oz! SPENDING was the order of the trip and SPEND is what I did!

I won’t admit the final cost of my 2 weeks in Australia, but with a 3 day organised tour between Sydney and Melbourne, probably about 20 white chocolate and passion fruit scones from Bakers Delight (a new addiction), supermarket food, a couple of nights out and several café breaks I am well spent… A job, an income is top on my next list of things to do … and pronto!

So many perfect beaches!

But was it worth it? HELL YES! Australia rocked my world, seeing my amazing friends I miss dearly, breathtaking beaches, iconic buildings and western luxuries. A little piece of heaven on earth … that’s Oz for sure! I will return when my bank balance allows it!

Free sunsets

To give you an idea of costs, here are a few of the bank breakers in Australia.

Bottle of house wine in average bar – $38

Schooner (3/4ish of a pint) of light beer – $8

Greyhound bus from Melbourne to Canberra – $65

Can of coke in newsagent – $1.80

Simple pasta meal in average café/pub – $18

A white chocolate and passion fruit scone from Bakers Delight – $1.90 … and an absolute steal for such flavoursome heaven!

Approximate Exchange rate – $1 = 65p

Can anyone offer any tips on doing Australia on the cheap?

I can however offer tips for Singapore on the cheap … or budgeting in Sri Lanka to help make the pennies back 🙂

8 Comments

  1. Pingback: The best country for… | She Gets Around

    • jlowthrop Reply

      It’s so true. You think you will find a way to do it on the cheap, but it seems impossible. You can travel London cheaper than most if not all of Aus!

  2. Rude awakening isn’t it? Having been on holidays for 3 weeks before I decided to call OZ home, I knew what I was getting myself into, or so I thought I did. Holidays here are definitely not cheap and at the time the US dollar was weaker so I even lost money doing so. None the less I went forward moving anyways thinking living here would certainly be cheaper than my holiday of course. WRONG! The cost of living is ridiculously high. The minute I saw your budget I was even more interested to see how you pull it off.
    I’m working on a blog of the free and budget things I have discovered to help those budget conscience travelers get the best bang for the buck. I hope when you come back for your proper you get to experience all this beautiful country has to offer x

    • jlowthrop Reply

      Thanks Valerie,

      I definitely hope to return to Aus one day soon and will check out your tips for ‘trying’ to do things on the cheap. Shame it isn’t the same it was years ago when you go so many Aussie dollars for your pound (or US Dollar). I hope you are surviving ok and not living on beans on toast and water. You don’t want to be missing out on all those yummy brunches and BBQs 🙂 x

      • Here’s an update of your costs!

        To give you an idea of costs, here are a few of the bank breakers in Australia.

        Bottle of house wine in average bar – $38 – Still about that

        Schooner (3/4ish of a pint) of light beer – $8 – Can find them cheaper, but $7 is about average

        Greyhound bus from Melbourne to Canberra – $65

        Can of coke in newsagent – $1.80 – Now $2.20 but there’s $1 shops in Kings Cross

        Simple pasta meal in average café/pub – $18 – About $20, but why do that when everywhere does $10 steaks?!

        A white chocolate and passion fruit scone from Bakers Delight – $1.90 … and an absolute steal for such flavoursome heaven! – No idea, but will have to try!

        Approximate Exchange rate – $1 = 65p – $1 = 55p

        • Jen Lowthrop Reply

          Awesome update thanks Joe.

          Shame some things have gone up in price already, madness! Hope you are enjoying living there and earning the Aussie dollar makes these prices not seem so crazy… and GO get yourself a white chocolate and passionfruit scone, yum YUM!

  3. Pingback: 6 Places to Visit in Australia in 2018 - She Gets Around

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