Australia Expenses: Sydney, Cairns, Gold Coast, Brisbane

Australia is a notoriously expensive country, but that didn’t stop us from keeping it on our itinerary. We actually went to Australia two separate times on this RTW trip. This post is about the first time we went, from December 13th-January 1st, when we spent time in Sydney (2 nights), Cairns (4 nights), Tugun (3 nights), Surfers Paradise (3 nights), and Brisbane (7 nights). Here’s what we spent during those 19 nights in Australia. Costs are in USD and include both of us.


AirBnb in Sydney: 112
AirBnb in Cairns: 163
AirBnb in Tugun, Gold Coast: 190
AirBnb in Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast: 123
Hotel in Brisbane: free (booked with award; see review here)

Total: 588

Food & Drink

Sydney Opera Bar: 31.52
Shahi Tandoori restaurant: 25.82
Mad Mex Sydney Airport: 15.39
McDonalds Sydney Airport: 1.18

Subway Cairns: 15.46
Groceries & Alcohol Cairns: 33.81
Subway Cairns: 14.22
Indian Restaurant Cairns: 29.45

Dominos Tugun: 19.04

Groceries & Alcohol Surfers: 91.81
Subway Surfers: 14.17
Subway Surfers: 12.22

Cloudland Brisbane: 30.26
NYE tickets: 71.05

Total: 405.40


Great Barrier Reef Tour: 215.59
Melbas Bar Surfers: 7.21
Tune Up Bar Surfers: 10.81
Lone Pine Koala: 51.75

Total: 285.36


Trains Sydney: 12.14
Flight to Cairns: 150.57 +20.33 baggage = 170.90
Flight to Gold Coast: 214.27
Tram to Surfers: 6.63
Go Cards Brisbane: 43.48
Cab to Brisbane airport: 41.13

Total: 488.55

ATM Withdraws

Total: 276.12

Total: 2,043.43

Total Per Person, Per Day: $53.77

Things to Note

Even with a bunch of alcohol purchases, we still did really well! A lot of that probably has to do with our 7 night, free stay at the Brisbane Marriott. Also, per usual, we saved money by grocery shopping and barely ever eating out at restaurants.

So, we ate Subway a lot. Don’t judge us – it’s one of the more affordable eateries in Australia!

We also listed bars under Activities. This was deliberate – going out in Surfers is basically the main attraction!

This should be proof that you can still have a pretty lavish vacation, without sparing expenses like scuba diving on the great barrier reef or seeing the koalas, for not that much money – even in an expensive country.

I’m not exactly sure what we spent all our cash on (from the ATM section), but it was probably food and transportation.

4 Comment

  1. Excellent writing, Brittany and Pete! I enjoy reading your posts.

    1. Brittany says: Reply

      Thanks so much Agness!

  2. Hello,
    Yes, Australia is an expensive country their transportation services is too much expensive, and food services are also expensive.

    1. Brittany says: Reply

      I agree – it’s definitely an expensive place to visit, but the quality of life is fantastic!

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