Everyone has sticker shock when they get to Australia. They see how much things cost and their jaws drop. Heck, even Australians get sticker shock — and they live there. Travelers blow through their budget quickly here because no one ever expects the country to cost as much as it does.

When I first traveled to Australia a few years ago, I grossly underestimated how much I needed. It cost me double what I thought because of a strong Australian dollar and poor planning. This time around I was better prepared, but I still overspent because I wasn’t prepared for such dramatic inflation.

However, on my most recent trip to Australia, I spent $3,400 USD in 33 days. That total includes all my day-to-day expenses, flights, transport, tours, and anything I bought. Averaging roughly $100 USD a day, it would have been a lot more had I not been able to stay with friends and get discounted tours. I ate a lot at expensive restaurants, flew a few places, and spent a lot of money using the Internet on my phone. If it wasn’t for my friends and the discounts I got, I would have spent about $150 USD per day.

Here’s a breakdown of where my money went, typical costs, and how you can save money while you’re here.

Typical Costs in Australia

When you travel to Australia, your typical costs tend to look like this:

  • Hostels: Hostels cost 15-20 AUD ($12-15USD) in smaller cities and 20-40 AUD ($15-30 USD) per night in places like Sydney or Melbourne. As always, the smaller the dorm, the higher the cost. Private rooms are 80–110 AUD ($62-85 USD) per night.
  • Food: Your average meal in Australia will run you about 20 AUD ($15 USD). A good meal at a nice restaurant will run you about 45 AUD ($35 USD). Even McDonald’s is expensive—a value meal is about 12 AUD ($9 USD).
  • Drinking: For a country of drinkers, they make it very difficult to do. Beers cost around 9 AUD ($7 USD). Happy hours and backpacker bars tend to have cheap drinks, usually for around 50% off.
  • Tours: A typical multi-day tour will cost around 400-540 AUD ($308-416 USD). Most day trips can be found for 50-300 AUD ($39-231 USD).
  • Transportation: You can find cheap transportation in Australia if you look hard enough. But outside of the heavily populated and highly competitive east coast, it’s not always that easy. On the east coast, Greyhound offers many good-value passes ranging from 15-365 days. Expect to pay 329 AUD ($254 USD) for the 15-day pass, 399 AUD ($308 USD) for the 30-day pass, and 449 AUD ($346 USD) for the 60-day pass.