In my opinion, the money you need to bring to Australia during your initial entry greatly depends on your lifestyle and the places you are planning to visit. To give you a real life example, my family brought around AUD 5,000 for our 10-day vacation. It is our budget for the whole 10-day stay in Sydney and Melbourne.
We have not spent all of those money, only around $2000 we spent during our 10 days in Australia. We did not buy expensive souvenirs and stuffs only refrigerator magnets for our friends.
We’ll be returning again here so we didn’t buy plenty of items. Also, our baggage allowance returning back to Korea is only 20 kilos. Some of our clothes were left behind to my friend Joemar who are living near Melbourne.
Food prices in Australia are not cheap. The normal price of bottled water (350 ml) is around $4 to $6 depending on the brand and where did you buy it. In our experience, it is a lot cheaper to buy in big supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles. In Melbourne, I have also noticed few Asian stores spread around the CBD. If you want to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, I would suggest to buy in traditional markets like Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne or farmer’s market near your place.
I would say price of fruits and vegetables is way cheaper in public markets and you have many choices of the fruits you can buy. For example, a bunch of bananas can be $1 to $2 cheaper here than in supermarkets.
The cost of a meal in Hungry Jacks consisting of one cheese burger, french fries and regular-sized cola is around $4. When you eat at most restaurants, the normal prices is around $20 to $30. We normally like rice with viands (we’re Filipinos) so we go to Asian restaurants when we visited Sydney and Melbourne. The price of one meal consisting of 2 viands and rice is around $10 to $15 excluding drinks or bottled water.
We spent 4 days in Sydney and then 6 days in Melbourne. Our family is composed of 4 members: me, my wife, son and daughter. The bulk of our expenses went to buying food during our stay. Food prices in Australia are not cheap especially if you will eat in restaurants.
For example, when we ate at a Chinese restaurant near the Sydney Opera house, we spent around $100 for only three of us. We ordered half fried chicken, sauteed vegetables and fried rice, that’s it. It’s expensive but the taste is delicious and worth the price.
If you can cook at your accommodation, it will lessen your expenses for food. Rice can be bought in any supermarkets so you will have no problem of where to find it.
If you will go to Sydney, it is very recommendable to always ride the train because almost all tourist spots can be reached by train. You need an Opal card in order to board the train. You can buy it any convenience stores like 7-Eleven or any train stations. There’s an Opal Card for adult and children and the fare price is different from each other. Children, senior citizens and people with disabilities (concessions) have lower fare than adults.
Opal card is free but you need to top up it with money to be able to use it. For me and my wife’s card, the sales lady suggested to add only $40 for our 4-day stay in Sydney. For my son, the card value is only $20. My daughter is still free because she’s only 3 years old.
In our experience, it is a lot easier and more convenient to ride a train than bus or taxi because there’s a regulation about pram usage when riding a bus. It is strict regulation that all buses must follow.
If you are planning to visit tourist spots in Sydney such as Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, you don’t need to pay any entrance fee. However, you must ride the train to go there. In this part, you need to have an Opal card which you can use to ride the train, bus or ferry. There are many shops and restaurants around the Opera House and the surrounding area called Circular Quay.
Once you are around the Circular Quay, you can do many things like guided tour for climbing the Harbour Bridge (which we did not try because of the kids), strolling around the Royal Botanical Garden, taking picture with the Opera House, riding the ferry to see the Opera House from the sea and shopping around for souvenirs.
From the Botanical Garden, you can have a good view of Opera House and Harbour Bridge. You can also see the Sydney Tower from there. If you have infants with you, I suggest you bring your pram (stroller) to get around the area.
If you have kids travelling with you going to Australia, most probably, you’ll be visiting some of the zoos such as the Taronga Zoo in Sydney or the Melbourne Zoo. The entrance fee is not cheap if you are planning to visit these places. Normally, the fee is around $30 for adults and for the kids is around $20. You can check the exact fees and the attractions in these zoos by visiting their websites below.
One way to save on your accommodation expenses is to rent flat or house via AirBnB. It is a lot cheaper compared to hotel prices. If you can get a house with complete appliances, it will be better because you can wash your clothes and do the laundry. It is one of the advantages of getting a house because you cannot do laundry in hotels. Another option is booked a serviced-apartment just like what we do when we stayed in Sydney.
The normal price of a good flat near CBD in Melbourne is around $120-$150. The one we get near Southern Cross Station in Melbourne is at $125 per night with complete appliances like washing machine, dryer, fridge, TV, dish washer, electric kettle and wardrobes.
In conclusion, the money or budget you need to bring during your vacation to Australia will depend on your plans, what places you want to visit and the activities you want to do. You must also consider the length of your stay because it is proportional to the expenses, the longer your stay, the higher the expenses will be.