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How Much To Budget For A Month In Australia (2023 Update)

Want to know how much to budget for Australia? Here’s a full breakdown of the cost of backpacking Australia – inc hostels, tours and travel

Out of all the emails I receive in regards to budgeting for travel plans backpacking Australia is without a doubt the place people are most worried about or needing information on. With their ever strengthening economy it’s not the cheap backpacker country it once was and it’ll take up a large chunk of your budget.

With most places I usually say around £1,000 per month (my monthly budget for Thailand was even less!) will leave you with plenty of cash to splash…backpacking Australia though (and I hate to be the person to break this to you!) will be nearly double that.

So here’s a break down of the main spends for backpacking Australia – accommodation, food, booze, activities and transport – so hopefully you can prepare for an amazing adventure down under…

There have been some big changes in prices and options for 2023, with things changing quite a lot, but I’ll try and keep this post as updated as possible!

(Last updated – Jan 2023, all $ prices are $AUD)


Backpacking Australia – How Much To Budget For A Month In Australia (2023 Update)


Accommodation In Australia

aquarius hostel byron bay backpackers aq

As one of the biggest destinations on the planet backpacking Australia comes with a wide variety of accommodation – whether you’re looking for hostels, hotels, boutique spas or even couch surfing there’s something for everyones taste.

I’m guessing most of you will be hitting up hostels (as they’re the most budget option) so I’ll focus on that and these are some of the stats from hostels I’ve stayed at in Australia:

Cheapest Bed – Beaches, Airlie Beach $20 (£12.50)

Most Expensive Bed – Wakeup, Sydney $40 (£25) (well worth it though!)

Favourite Hostel – Aquarius Backpackers, Byron Bay – $35 (£20)

Average nights accommodation (shared dorm) – $40 (£22)

Average nights accommodation (double/twin) – $120 (£66)

Average campsite (per tent) – $30 (£16)

Some of my top Australia hostels include;

  • YHA Central, Melbourne
  • WakeUp! Sydney
  • Aquarius, Byron Bay
  • The Surf House, Byron Bay
  • Bunk, Surfers Paradise
  • Halse Lodge, Noosa
  • Bounce, Noosa
  • Nomads, Airlie Beach
  • Jackaroo, Mission Beach
  • Nomads, Magentic Island (formerly Base Magnetic Island)
  • Bungalow Bay YHA, Magnetic Island
  • Gilligans, Cairns

Estimated accommodation costs:

$1,200 (£667)


Food and Drink Costs

Australia is pretty expensive when it come to eating out – so if you’re on a budget you’ll want to mix it up with a good bit of home cooking.

Saying that though many hostels offer some great backpacker feeds (like Sydneys “Wakeup”) for around $5 and there’s plenty of backpacker bars which do the same, so you can grab a budget feed on the go too.

If you’re going out to party again the backpacker bars are the way forward and many of them (like The Woolshed in Cairns) offer a whole host of giveaways and competitions, from surfboards to dive courses, so you make your night out well worth the money!

beach BBQ Australia backpacker
Nothing Beats a Beach BBQ!

Favourite dish – Beach BBQ’s!

Cheapest meal – 5 min noodles! – $0.50 (£0.30p!) (add some veggies to pimp it out a bit and give it some nutrition!)

Average backpacker meal – around $10 (£5.50)

Average meal (based on cooking veggie pasta) – $8 (£4.5)

Average cost of beer (stubbie of Tooheys) – $5 (£3)

Average cost of a box of goon (Golden Oaks, 4 litres) – $15 (£9)

Average cost of beer (schooner of Stone and Wood, bar) – $8 (£5)

Average cost takeaway coffee – $5  (£3.12)

Average cost fruit smoothie – $8 (£5)

Favourite place to eat – hmmmm…this is a tough one as I try to cook myself whenever possible in Australia to save my budget!

Estimated food costs (based on cooking lunch, backpacker meal for dinner):

$540 (£300)


Transport In Australia

Australia has a pretty solid travel network that’s easy to use, book and get to pretty much everywhere – from low cost airlines and campervan rentals through to backpacker hop on hop off bus passes.

For the purpose of this break down I’m going to concentrate on the East Coast route – which is the most common route for backpacking Australia and has the most option in terms of bus transport.

Unfortunately as beautiful as the West Coast is you’re limited to Campervan hire and tours on that side of the country.

backpacking east coast australia
East Coast Australia – It Has To Be Done!

Here’s a couple of the main journeys you’ll want to make and how much they’ll set you back.

Internal flight (single) – Cairns to Sydney – $150 (£95)

Internal flight (single) – Sydney to Melbourne – $50 (£31)

Internal flight (single) – Sydney to Perth – $150 (£80)

Internal flight (single) – Sydney to Brisbane – $50 (£25)

Internal flight (single) – Sydney to Ballina (Byron Bay) = $50 (£25)

Greyhound East Coast Pass – 30 day option – $399 (£222)

Greyhound WHIMit Pass (only restricted by time frame not route) – $349 (15 days), $439 (30 days) up to $639 for 90 days.

Australia Campervan hire – from $60 per day (£33 per day) but peak season expect around $110 per day (£62)

If you’re only backpacking Australia for a month I’d say Sydney – Cairns will be your route and the Greyhound Bus East Coast Pass would be the most cost effective way to achieve this.

You’d potentially add in a single flight from Cairns to Sydney for an onward flight or a brief stop in Melbourne and fly to Sydney to save time. If you’re not sure on how to travel the East Coast check out this blog post.

Estimated travel costs in Australia:

$549 (£305)

(Greyhound Pass + Sydney to Cairns Flight)




Top Activities In Australia

One of the biggest draws of backpacking Australia is the amount of epic activities on offer!

The East Coast is rammed from top to bottom with loads to do – from day trips to learning new skills you can pretty much do anything from skydive to kayak!

In fact listing them all would take agggggges, so here are some of my favourite and most popular things to do up the coast…

PADI Open Water – 3 days, Cairns – $815 (£452)

scuba great barrier reef cairns australia
Look Who I Found!

Whitsundays Tours (2 day, 2 night) – $525 (£290)

Sydney Bridge Climb – $248 (£165)

Blue Mountains Day Trip – $155 (£86)

Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife Park Combo Pass – $55 (£34)

Great Ocean Road Trip – $130 (£72)

Surf lesson – Byron Bay –  $80 (£44)

Australia Zoo – $100 (£62.50) inc return bus from Brisbane

Fraser Island 4×4 Tag Along (3 day, 2 night camping option) – $499 (£277)

Fraser Island Day Trip – $180 (£100)

Kayaking tour – $89 (£50)

Magnetic Island Package (inc return ferry, 2 nights accom & welcome drink) – $140 (£77)

Great Barrier Reef Day Trip (snorkelling) – $195 (£108)

Great Barrier Reef Day Trip (scuba dive taster) – $240 (£133)

Skydive (15,000 feet) – $359 (£199)

Cape Tribulation day trip – $189 (£105)

If I had to pull out what the average backpacking Australia trip would include over a month I’d say you’d be hoping to include:

  • Great Ocean Road Tour
  • Kayaking tour
  • Surf lesson
  • Fraser Island Overnight Tour
  • Whitsunday Island Overnight Tour
  • Magnetic Island Package
  • Barrier Reef Snorkel Tour
  • Cape Tribulation Day trip

Estimated activity cost:

$1,847 (£1,082)


So How Much Will you Need To Budget For Australia?

So based on my personal experience and what I assume the average backpacker would like to achieve on the East Coast trail I’d say you’ll be paying for the following;

  • 30 nights accommodation
  • 3 meals daily
  • 30 Day Greyhound Pass
  • Great Ocean Road Tour
  • Kayaking tour
  • Surf lesson
  • Fraser Island Overnight Tour
  • Whitsunday Island Overnight Tour
  • Magnetic Island Package
  • Barrier Reef Snorkel Tour
  • Cape Tribulation Day trip

MONTHLY TOTAL =  $4,136 (£2,297)

Daily Budget = $137 (£76) per day

Australia Budget

backpacking australia budget costs

This budget for backpacking Australia includes accommodation, meals, transport and the main activities as listed above.

I’d like to point out though that this is merely a base point for your budgeting though and it’s always best to over compensate when it comes to money as it’s very much a personal thing – and of course you’re drinking will add some dollar on top.

This 4 weeks would allow you to pretty much cover the whole East Coast Australia backpacker trail and you’d be packing in all the main sites and things to do – including spots like Byron Bay, Fraser Island, Whitsundays, and Cairns.

Some people will easily spend less than this – especially if you’re on a years working holiday visa and pacing yourself up the coast, or simply have longer to spend on your trip.

And also keep in mind the longer you’re travelling for the more spread out your bigger costs will be (like tours and bus passes) so your daily spend will obviously be lower.

But if you’re pushed for time in Australia and want to do pretty much all the bucket list ticks it’s all parcelled into the above summary and 4 weeks is the ideal amount of time to spend on that route.

You can also customise your own East Coast package to suit your personal time frame, budget and preference.


Is It Worth The Money?

Even though it cost more than places like NZ or Thailand I totally recommend you visit there. It’s an amazing place to explore and is still one of my favourite countries on the planet to travel to.

You can also save heaps with some awesome East Coast Australia Package deals which bundle in accommodation, tours and travel passes to help you save. So check these East Coast deals out – you can even tailor them even further to suit your times frames and budget.



Found this post helpful? Check out my other How Much To Budget Posts!



For more info on where to head on the East Coast check out this post.

For more info on how long to spend on the East Coast trail check out this post.

For more info on the best way to travel the East Coast of Australia check out this post.

For my sample 1 month Australia itinerary check out this post

And for the best places to visit in Australia check out this post

Or let me help plan your Aussie Adventure with my East Coast Australia Trip Planner!


Been to Oz recently?

How much did you spend backpacking Australia and what was your original Australia budget?

**PLEASE NOTE; This is to be used as a guide only – currency and cost fluctuate depending on season and exchange rates (calculated at 1.8AUD per £1GBP. Information was correct at the time of writing)**


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