Australian Vacation: Costs for a Two Week Travel Holiday

By Josh •  Updated: 04/08/21 •  13 min read

Choosing to take a trip to Australia is a big-time commitment in both vacation time and in cost. A long vacation tends to lead people to ask, how much does it cost to go to Australia for 2 weeks?

On average, American travelers should expect to budget for approximately $1,250 per person, per week, or $2,500 for two visitors. For a couple choosing to stay for two weeks look for costs at least around $5,000. With children, this cost will drop to more around 2/3 so I would budget around $1,000 per child.

Let’s take a look at how this budget works out and where it all goes so that you can make sure if your trip will run higher or lower and you can adjust your trip as needed to ensure no budget-busting occurs!

Australia – A Different World

Australia has long been a popular travel destination for Americans itching to experience the “Land Down Under”.

Whether visitors visit to take in the majestic scenery and wildlife or want to venture out on an adventurous Outback expedition, proper planning is necessary to take full advantage of both time and budget.

Traveling with the Budget in Mind

Travelers venturing to Australia on their own, with a travel partner, or with a family, can find ways to keep expenses down depending on the travel.

Many Americans are itching to travel after over a year of Covid-19 lockdowns and travel bans. However, once possibilities for travel start opening back up, many will be taking to the skies to experience their dream vacation… and many have dreams of a trip. So, what can travelers from the U.S. expect to pay for a two-week trip to Australia?

First, let’s take a look at the costs that should be considered before booking your trip. Many discount travel websites All price ranges listed below are per person, so travelers should plan accordingly.

Transportation

Flights to Australia are long. Flights, depending on what part of the country you are flying from, range from 15 to 22 hours or more, depending on any stops you may take, or layovers.

Prices can also range drastically, based on the amounts of flights available, as well as the time of the year. The winter in the U.S. is the summer in Australia, so prices inch higher November-January.

Round-trip flights between the United States and Australia can be found online ranging from $1,100 to over $5,000 (during non-Covid travel periods). Currently, round-trip flights to Australia found on several travel sites range from $1,700 to well over $5,000.

Flights to Australia are not cheap, no matter the time of year, or the current travel restrictions. Many credit card travel point or mile programs can help offset the cost, but it still should be a major budget consideration when planning travel.

Note: As of this writing, Australia has extended its travel ban on travel from outside countries, to June 17, 2021.

Accommodations

There is a wide range of accommodations available for travelers to Australia. Lodgings range from budget digs to the finest luxurious resorts. Backpackers, students, and travelers on a strict budget can find less expensive hostels or hotels with a bit of research.

An online search found lower-cost hostels and backpacker hotels ranging from $35-to over $100 per night. For example, the top-rated backpacker hostel in Australia, Maxmee Resort, formerly Surfers Paradise Backpackers Resort in Gold Coast, has rooms available beginning at $69 per night.

The resort offers shared dormitory rooms as well as 2-bedroom apartments. Amenities include wi-fi, an outdoor pool, and a tennis court. Breakfast is included. The resort is a short five-minute walk to Surfers Paradise Beach.

For a mid-range price point, Little National Hotel Sydney offers rooms that are given top marks from travelers in cleanliness, location, value, and service. It is comprised of 12 stories and 230 rooms.

Prices are mid-range for visitors to Australia and can be found ranging from $150-230. It offers amenities including air conditioning, a bar, a fitness center, and free Wi-Fi.

When budgeting, travelers should budget for at least $150 per night if staying at mid-price hotels.

High-end accommodations can be found throughout the country, with a wide range of hotels, boutique hotels, or resorts available.

The Jamala Wildlife Lodge in Canberra is expensive…no bones about it. The cheapest stay found was over $1,200 per night, but the amenities and location can’t be beaten. The lodge is located inside The National Zoo & Aquarium and is a 15-minute drive to the Canberra airport.

When staying at the lodge, some tours and animal experiences are included, as are all meals. Rooms range from bungalow suites built inside animal enclosures, main lodge suites, to treehouses. All have views of zoo resident enclosures, including hyenas, tigers, lions, and even sharks.

Vacation rentals, either a whole house or apartment or a room in a residence can be found for a wide range of price points, ranging from $20 to hundreds, even thousands, per night.

A quick check of a vacation rental site found listings ranging from studios to luxurious whole-home rentals, ranging from less than $100 to over $1000 per night. All rentals were located in proximity to the beach and near local amenities.

Food

Meal prices in Australia can vary dramatically depending on what you order, where you eat, what city or town you are in, and other factors. That said, the average cost of meals for one day is around $35-50.

Breakfast tends to be the least expensive meal of the day when traveling around the country and can get a boost if your hotel or hostel includes a free breakfast.

Lunch and dinner tend to be a higher price tag. An average lunch or dinner will cost between $15-25. A fast-food meal can range between $10-20.

A meal at a nicer restaurant will range between $35-50 but can go much higher depending on the restaurant, what is ordered, and the location. For example, dinner in downtown Sydney will cost more than a meal in a different location or part of the country.

Helpful tip: To save money, visitors should try to eat meals earlier in the day. For example, less expensive meals can be found before 4 p.m. The earlier in the day, the more specials and discounts can be found.

The cost of drinks should also be taken into consideration when budgeting for your Australia adventure. Whether you have a Guinness (properly poured, of course), a glass of wine, or a few cocktails, drinks are a part of the budget not to be ignored.

The average cost of a Guinness costs between $7-8 at most Australian establishments. A glass of wine will run around $6.75-7.50. Cocktails at a bar may cost an average of $12-20 based on what is ordered, and the location of the bar. If an evening at the bar is in store, costs can range from $20-$30. 

Entertainment

As with lodging and food costs, prices for activities run the gamut. From surf lessons to wildlife tours, to diving in the clear, warm waters, Australia has a little something for everyone.

Stoked Surf School offers surf lessons in beautiful Byron Bay. For $52, participants will be taught all the techniques and safety measures to have an enjoyable, safe surfing experience. They also have photographers available to catch the perfect picture of your Australian surf adventure.

The Great Barrier Reef is a must-see for many travelers to Australia. Deep-Sea Divers Den has snorkeling packages ranging from $150 to over $250.

They also offer all-inclusive scuba diving boat trips. These overnight trips include all meals, several dives (including a night dive), and overnight accommodations. These overnight trips are several hundred dollars.

Group Tours vs. Independent Travel

Many tour companies offer tours ranging from one or two-day trips around the country. There are also tour group companies that offer longer tours. Tours are available that can last a week or even two weeks. The choice is yours.

These tours can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. There are tours available to Tasmania, the Great Barrier Reef, the Outback, and numerous other areas.

Travelers should be sure to research any tours that pique the interest. They fill up quickly, and spots are limited. With the present uncertainties in the world of travel, purchasing travel insurance ahead of time is a wise choice.

Independent-minded travelers can safely travel around Australia but may choose to take day tours. One highly rated website where tours of all lengths, and at all price points are listed is getyourguide.com.

This site has reviews and descriptions of tours not only in Australia but around the world as well. Getyourguide.com offers mobile vouchers and free cancellations. If you choose to book a tour after you arrive in Australia, they are more expensive when purchased at hotels, or from local travel agencies.

Transportation Around Australia — Planes, Trains, and Automobiles…and Buses!

Australia is a large country—over 7 million kilometers in size. Since the country is extremely large, it takes days, actually weeks to get around the whole island. There are easier ways to get around, but they may prove costly.

Helpful tip: Many activities can be experienced in Australia including beaches, public gardens and parks, shopping centers, and some museums and galleries are free to the public. Many of these locations showcase plants and artwork that are native.

Plane Travel

One way to travel around Australia is by plane. A few major carriers service Australia including Virgin and Qantas. There are a few budget airlines that service the more out-of-the-way locations around Australia. The top-budget airline in Australia is Jetstar.

Since there are very few airlines to choose from, flights from one spot to another are convenient and time-saving, but can be costly. Early reservations are recommended, so travelers should book far ahead of time. Last-minute flights can be even more costly.

Travel by Bus

Another mode of transportation to be considered when traveling around Australia is by bus. Buses on the east coast are less expensive than buses on the west coast.

This is due to the small number of bus services available in Western Australia. Plane flights are frequently the better option when visiting Western Australia.

Conversely, on the east coast, bus transportation can be found relatively inexpensively. As with flights and tours, reservations should be made well in advance of the journey.

Greyhound Australia is the largest and busiest of the bus companies, and often offers deals and sale prices. They also offer Whimit passes. These passes allow riders to travel any route that Greyhound Australia travels. Booking can be done online for convenience.

Each coach is equipped with free wi-fi and USB chargers at each seat. Whimit offers passes in increments of 15, 30, 60, and 90-days. Traveling by bus using a Whimit pass is simple and convenient. There are over 180 stops around Australia, to both tourist hot spots, as well as locations off the beaten track.

Helpful tip: For travel in city centers, buses may be the better option. Public transportation is far less expensive than calling an Uber or a taxi. Adventurous travelers can also rent a bicycle to venture out through the streets of Sydney, Melbourne, or Cairns.

Train Travel Tutorial

Traveling by train around Australia is another option. Australia has a train system that is an option that travelers may want to explore. There are commuter trains, city lines, and trains that offer trans-continental rides and long-distance routes.

There are more routes available on the east coast, with another line running north to south, and a final one running east to west.

Train travel isn’t a widespread, popular choice for visitors to Australia. This may be due in part to its price tag.

A look at the various routes, travel locations, and sleeping preferences found prices ranging from around $100 for the Melbourne to Adelaide route, to several thousand for premium sleeper compartments.

The Ghan train is a popular choice for travelers who wish to see the expansive and scenic center of Australia. It travels between Adelaide, Alice Springs, and Darwin and travels through parts of the Outback that otherwise may not be seen.

On this route, travelers can get a good look at Ayers Rock. Ticket prices ranged from $1,100 to over $2,400 per person.

There are very few options for lower-cost tickets. If you are considering traveling by train in Australia, it is highly recommended that tickets for train routes book out several months in advance.

Travel by Vehicle

There are many car rental companies where travelers can be rented in Australia. The most convenient and least expensive way to rent a car in the country is by reserving one on the internet.

By using travel websites, good deals can be found. However, as with other modes of transportation, travelers should book early.

In general, rental car drivers need to be 21 or older. When searching a couple of travel websites, rental cars were found ranging from $17 to close to $100 per day.

Shopping around, and reserving when a great deal is found, can save travelers money, which can then be used for other travel expenses.

Tips

Tipping in Australia is not expected. Tourism industry workers are well-paid and generally are not dependent on tips they receive from travelers. However, if you do want to recognize an employee who provided outstanding service, a tip will be appreciated.

With the losses the tourism and service industries experienced in 2020, gratuity for excellent care and service would be welcome.

This tipping etiquette is standard for other services in Australia as well, whether it is for spa services, hairstyling, tour guides, drivers, or wait staff.

Sites Not to Be Missed

When making the trip of a lifetime to Australia, there are a few must-see locations.

  1. Diving or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is part of the world’s largest reef system. The biodiversity of the reef is legendary, and travelers shouldn’t miss out on it.
  2. Learning to surf is also on many Australian traveler’s bucket lists. There is no shortage of surf schools lining the shores, and any visitor would be proud to proclaim that they learned to surf in Australia.
  3. A visit to Sydney Harbor is a sight that should be seen by every visitor to Australia. Many would argue that Sydney Harbor is one of the most beautiful harbors in the world.
  4. Exploring the fascinating and beautiful Outback is another must-see. The expansive, vast Outback comprises about 80% of Australia but is only sparsely populated. It is estimated that 1-2% of Australians reside in the Outback.
  5. A visit with Australia’s notable wildlife is an experience not-to-be-missed. Animals including koalas, wallabies, dingoes, kangaroos, and opossums are just a few of the animals that can be seen up close and personal on a visit Down Under.
  6. Speaking of wildlife, the Australia Zoo is home to numerous varieties of flora and fauna. Numerous animals, both native and exotic, including birds, mammals, and reptiles are well-cared for and reflect the zoo’s mission of ‘protecting wildlife’. This was the life mission of Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, and is now being carried out by his wife and children. An adult admission is $59, or $87 for a two-day pass.

Conclusion

A trip of a lifetime to Australia can be costly, but oh so worth it. The wildlife, the beaches, the big cities, the Outback—are all huge draws for travelers to visit. Trips to Australia can be found at all price points, from budget travel to high-end.

As of this writing, the exchange rate is $1 US dollar to $1.31 Australian.

Josh

Josh is a loving dad and husband, writer, business owner, and someone who loves to explore the world. He last travelled to Australia to visit Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns and am looking to head back soon to see more! He is a huge fan of hiking, drawing, and so much more!

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