Sunday, December 28, 2014

Almost 3 months in Australia on $23.50/person/day. (WE KNOW, RIGHT??)

Thanks to five awesome WWOOF experiences (where meals and lodging are included), transportation was our biggest cost in Australia.  This kind of voluntourism travel is definitely not for everyone but if you're willing to give back to the earth in exchange for food/lodging you can totally make it work for you.  We happen to enjoy it, and we were thrilled to cross (more) organic vineyards, a little beekeeping, and some exposure to permaculture off our "WWOOF wish list" during our time down under.  Our housesitting gig was a bit of a lucky fluke but that certainly helped us keep costs down too.

Here's the lowdown...

Initial budget: Canada's cost/person/day (aka $25/person/day)
Actual cost: 89 days at $4181 ($47/day, $23.50/person/day)

Aussie for "we're cheap!"
  • Lodging: $167 - a whopping 2 hotel nights on Tasmania... otherwise we spent 58 nights WWOOFing, 14 nights housesitting, 4 nights couchsurfing, 6 nights on the train, 1 night on the ferry, and 3 nights in a "sponsored" hotel in Adelaide
  • Transportation: $2610 - includes our flights from Kathmandu to Perth, our train pass, our ferry ride to/plane ride from Tasmania, car rentals in Tasmania and Melbourne, and various public transit costs around Australia (which are more expensive than you might think)
  • Groceries: $593 - train snacks and housesitting meals
  • Meals: $243 - we avoided dining out at all costs but we did enjoy some street food and a few celebratory dinners over those three months
  • Tours: $88 - almost all museums (the most pricey was the MONA in Hobart @ $25/person)
  • Alcohol: $203 - beer prices are ridiculous but Australian wine is both cheap and good
  • Gear: $23 - most importantly, a used-but-in-excellent-condition thermos and two travel coffee mugs purchased for $10 at a Perth op shop (AKA "opportunity shop" AKA "thrift shop"), which seriously saved us on those long train rides and continue to make us happy; otherwise random replacement clothing from other op shops
  • Miscellaneous: $136 - mostly gifts for our various hosts
  • Border: $71 (umm.... it's probably free if you do it prior to arriving at the Nepal airport the day of your Australia flight...?)

Other fun Australia facts...
  • Cities visited: 5 (Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne) but we also saw a lot of surrounding countryside (Chittering Valley, Swan Valley, Mt Barker, Humpty Doo, Lorinna, Premaydena) as well as gorgeous coastlines in eastern Tasmania and the Great Ocean Road
  • Awesome botanic gardens visited: 5 (Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne)
  • Meat pies consumed: exactly three
  • Kangaroos, wallabies, rabbits and echindas seen: a gazillion
  • Dingos seen: ZERO (maybe the babies ate your dingo, Australia?)
  • National parks visited: Cradle Mountain and Freycinet for sure, the rest of the list is quite confusing so we aren't sure, exactly
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited: 0.5 (skirting around Port Arthur counts, right?)

Verrrrrry mixed emotions about getting back to US soil...  But on the plus side, we won't need our spreadsheet currency conversion tool anymore.  Aloha!


  1. I can see we should have WOOF'd across Australia because our budget far, FAR exceeded yours! Good for you. Hope you had a great time.

    1. We really did. By WWOOFing, we met some really awesome people and saw places we never would've seen. Couchsurfing and housesitting were great in those regards too! Without them our budget would've lasted about a week. :)

  2. Seems like I've written hundreds of posts about budgeting for travel. If you use the "Search this blog" field on type in a key word like expenses or budget or cost you will see a multi-page list of all of my posts on that topic. We kept an elaborate spreadsheet on Google Drive for our entire one year RTW trip. It's really awesome to look at! :) My husband & I track every penny we spend, even when we're not traveling. It's a good habit for everyone and really helps keep you in line, whether or not you're on a budget!

    1. Thanks Alethea! Yep, the internet was invaluable when we were planning our budget for our trip. I'm hoping our cost posts will be helpful to someone someday. My biggest fear is that we'll lose our 625-day line-by-line spreadsheet, we back it up in the cloud and in other places but still...

      I agree about doing a regular budget tracker too - especially if you're trying to save for your next trip. :)

  3. your omission of Cane Toad-related expenses is glaring