Australia on a Budget – Three Days Two People for Under $500

One of the biggest misconceptions about international travel is that its expensive, and therefore most people believe they can’t afford it unless they’re sporting a sweet six-figure salary. Don’t get me wrong traveling can be costly especially in a western country such as Australia, but a lot of nifty travelers have gotten away for a long weekend spending less than $500NZD for on-the-ground expenses including transport, accommodation, activities, and meals (flights not included) for two people.

Here’s how you and a friend can explore Sydney Australia for 3 days for less than $500NZD.

TRANSPORT

Public Transport in Sydney Australia

When traveling in any western country transport is a big expense, and getting taxis everywhere like you would in South East Asia is totally unrealistic. But lucky for us Sydney has a frequent and reliable public transport system and with the use of their free Opal card  you can cap your daily transport cost to $15AUD ($17NZD). Awesome right $15AUD for the use of trains, light-trains, trams, buses and ferries! If you thought transport within Sydney couldn’t get any better you are mistaken, after taking eight rides your transport is free for the rest of the week and on Sundays it will only cost you $2.50AUD for the whole day. Now doesn’t that just make travel a whole lot cheaper?

For our three days in Sydney myself and my partner each topped up our Opal cards $40AUD ($42.78NZD). To save ourselves from being charged the $11AUD airport fee for catching the train directly from the terminal to City Center we caught the 400 bus from outside the departures gate to Mascott Station then got the City Circuit train to Central Station. This route was extremely easy even with the short two minute walk from the bus stop into the train station and only took approximately 15 minutes longer than taking the train direct.

ACCOMMODATION

lifewithaleisha travel blog australia sydney landscape view

The next big expense while travelling is accommodation, unless you plan on bunking with the homeless or get intimate with the sidewalk this is a cost you’ll have to front. Depending on your budget Sydney has a variety of accommodation ranging from 5 star hotels to hostels, there is something to suit everyone’s comfort level and budget. We chose to stay at Sydney City Hostels which cost $85AUD ($93NZD) a night and was easily booked through Booking.com. Our hostel was located on George Street in the CBD so everything from shopping malls to restaurants were right at our doorstep and Central Station was a eight-minute walk away which made it easy to explore more of Sydney.

ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS

Shot of the Syndey Opera House Australia

In my eyes one of the best things about traveling is exploring and experiencing all the amazing things a new country has to offer. Meeting the local wildlife, admiring the architecture of the buildings and structures and getting active by the beach can all be done in Sydney for nothing more than the price of transport. Let’s hear it for FREE activities!

Here are my top 5 free activities & attractions in Sydney:

  1. Bondi to Coogee walk –  This coastal walk is located between the Famous Bondi beach and Coogee, the walk features breathtaking sea views, rock pools, bays, cliff top lookout points and amazing beaches  that reward hot walkers with refreshing swims. The walk is 6km and takes about two hours to complete. The walk is relatively easy going  as there is a pathway stretching the entire length, although there are a few staircases and steep hills which can be daunting in the heat, but its well worth the effort.
  2. St James Cathedral – There is truly nothing more relaxing than taking a picnic rug and sitting under the trees in the park admiring the beauty of St James Cathedral. Native birds and small lizards can be spotted in the colorful flower beds doubling this activity as both picnic and a trip to a wildlife park (if you have the patience to hunt around…) On weekends a local man blows bubbles for the children making the sight even more picturesque.
  3. Fireworks over Darling Harbor – Every Friday night at 9pm a fireworks display is let off over Darling Harbor. The magical event is signaled by the sound of a boat fog horn and lasts approximately 30 minutes. For the best view, walk to the middle of the bridge over Cockles bay!
  4. The Rocks – If your a fiend for history then The Rocks will give you your next hit. Nestled amongst beautiful 1780s sandstone buildings (from which the area gets its name) is the The Rocks Discovery Museum  an exciting free gem where you can explore the history of Sydney.
  5. Circular Quay – If your looking to see ‘iconic Sydney’ then Circular Quay is your one stop shop. The Harbor is located at the base of the CBD and has a walkway on the south side that leads you to the Sydney Opera House and Royal Botanic Gardens where you can relax in the tranquil park and snap that quintessential picture of the Opera House with the Harbor Bridge in the background.

MEALS

lifewithaleisha travel blog budget food australia

You can travel cheap but you still have to eat! I’m honestly a big foodie and love trying new food from different cultures, but since Australian and New Zealand cuisine is so similar my partner and I decided to share a light lunch and only eat out for dinner. For breakfast we went to the local Countdown and took advantage of the cheap and delicious summer fruit and brought a few snacks for when we were exploring Sydney and got a bit peckish.

TRAVEL HINT: Food can be an expensive part of travel, especially when you over eat or indulge in fine dining and cafe lunches. To save money and your waistline buy food you can take on day trips at grocery stores and local markets.

BREAKDOWN OF DAILY COSTS (NZD)

Accommodation $270 ($90 per night)
Transport $84
Food $110
Average Daily Cost $154.66
Total Spent $464

Aleisha xx