Australia is a not only a country, but also a continent. While it’s wilderness and spectacular nature are popular, it is also renowned as one the most economically developed countries in the world.
It offers thrills for adrenaline junkies, from shark cage diving in Port Lincoln to swimming with Crocodiles in Darwin. It also caters to lovers of multi-ethnic cities like Sydney, and beach lovers who will enjoy exploring its endless coastlines in Perth.
The distance to Australia and the high cost of living are usually the crippling factors that might scare off potential visitors to the country. It takes 24 hours flying from North America and 16 hours or more from the UK. However, from NZ it can be as little as a 3.5-hour flight from Auckland to Sydney.
What do you need to know before visiting Australia?
- Winter runs from June to August and summer from December to February, which is likely the best time to visit.
- It is a multi-cultural country with cosmopolitan cities like Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Brisbane is popular for its urban village festivals often hosted in Adelaide.
- There are strict quarantine rules visitors have to follow. All products derived from vegetables and animals must be declared. There is a fine of $220 with the judicial prosecution in some cases.
- Cars are driven on the left-hand side of the road and overseas licences are okay for three months upon arrival for those, if the permit is in English.
- Australia is a very vast country, so be prepared to fly at least once while on holiday. Compare airline pricing on consolidator sites and purchase tickets from the airlines only to avoid extra charges.
8 Steps to Keep your Budget in Check When Visiting Australia
- Getting to Australia – One of the costs that will slice off a huge chunk of your finance is the price of air ticket when flying to Australia. Airfare is usually pricey during the summer months of December to February when tourists fly in droves to visit.
- When looking to cut cost, you can visit during spring or fall when tickets are cheaper or book your flights well in advance if you’re certain of your travel time.
- Alternatively, you could use an air pass like Qantas Walkabout Air Pass, inclusive of a return ticket to Australia and several domestic flights in the country.
- Moving around Australia – Consider renting a vehicle if you are going alone or split the cost with other travellers to reduce the cost of getting around.
- You could also take the bus when visiting small regions; bus passes will fit nicely in your budget. Some cities like Sydney’s Opal card offer bus ticket discount cards that can be used to travel throughout the day.
- A train travelling within Australia is also a serene and relaxing way to view Australia’s remarkable natural environment when going longer distances. Also, some cities offer free public transport on selected routes such as Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.
- Hostels: Hostels are a popular option for young crowds of people backpacking across Australia. Others travelling on a budget use it as cheap options.
- Most hostels provide private rooms and bathrooms if you want a decent upgrade, but there are basic facilities like shared rooms, bathrooms and kitchens that are a comfortable alternative to expensive hotels.
- AirBnB: AirBnB is a great option for those who might consider staying in a home or apartment. You interact with the local people and truly experience what it’s like living in Australia. You can use the service to rent an extra room from someone resident in Australia looking to make extra income. Think of it like home away from home. Check out airbnb.co.nz/s/Australia for more information.
- A home exchange is another option. Although it requires trust from both parties, it is the cheapest way to visit Australia. Some parties could let you use their car for mobility during your stay to save transport expenses.
- Restaurants are expensive in Australia, so consider cooking your own meals if you have access to a kitchen or cooking utensils. Buy food supplies from the local store. This will cost around 100 AUD weekly and contain basic groceries like veggies, pasta, chicken and others. A meal at a fast food or grab-and-go cost 10-15 AUD and a meal at a nice restaurant will cost at least 20 AUD.
- Unlike most European countries with a tipping culture, you are not required to tip in Australia and a 10 percent tip will suffice in most restaurants.
- If you won’t be able to cook your meals, you can eat at cheap Asian and Indian restaurants under 10 AUD and get a full meal.
- Australia has a number of reciprocal arrangements with countries around the world called the Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA). If you are from one of these countries you can receive Medicare Benefits, but note that the agreements differ from country to country and you should check that you are eligible and what the agreement entails. If you are travelling from NZ and would feel more comfortable with more comprehensive insurance have a look at State Insurance New Zealand for more advice and information on travel insurance options.
Top places to visit on a Budget
- There is an overflow of art galleries, parks and museums to visit in Melbourne. Places like the Flinders St Station, Ian Potter Centre (home to the National Gallery of Victoria’s Australian art collection); Federation Square, royal botanic gardens and the beaches in Melbourne are all free to visit. It is a perfect destination when touring on a budget.
- There are a plenty of activities and places to visit in Perth. The surf beaches are popular during the summer months and attract a huge surfing crowd seeking the thrill of surfing on Perth’s beautiful waters.
- The Penguin island, free mantle markets, Lane Poole reserve, Kings Park and Botanic Garden are just a few examples of what you can get up to in Perth t a very small price.
- This multicultural city is known for its welcoming warmth and CityHopper ferries. From visiting the Koalas in their natural Habitat at the Daisy Hill Koala Park to local fire-twirling talent shows at the West End Fire Festival.
- You can explore the city with a Brisbane Greeter or ride the old lift to view the City Hall’s clock tower. Brisbane offers a wide range of free or cheap activities for you.
Plan to stretch your trip out to at least two weeks because it could take a week for you to get over the jet lag alone, travel cheap, cook your meals, stay in a hostel or family house and visit tourist attractions that cost next to nothing and you won’t have to break the bank!