Budget for 2 weeks

Old Feb 4th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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Budget for 2 weeks

I am planning to travel to Australia from the US in mid July for 2 weeks and would like to estimate how much to budget. Our airfare will be about $1400 USD and will include flights within Australia. We'll definitely go to Sydney, Cairns, and one out of Melbourne/Adelaide/Brisbane.

There are 4 of us traveling together, 2 couples, and we'd like to be budget-conscious, without being bare-bones-student-travelers-in-hostels. But I'd also like to avoid package deals that will keep us in generic, big hotels on the outskirts of town. It's be great to stay in B&B's and other more "local" accomodations.

We plan to see most of the major sights in Sydney and Cairns, and hopefully do sidetrips to the Blue Mountains and Kuranda.

Does it seem reasonable to expect to do this for less than $100 AUD per day per person? I haven't worked out what will be better uses of time and money: renting a car, taking a tour bus, where to stay, etc.

Any help is much appreciated!
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Old Feb 4th, 2005, 04:08 PM
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Reasonable costs per person per day for a modest (but not backpacker) style of travel, IMO:

50 AUD - accommodation (maybe you could reduce this to 40 AUD if you made careful use of the Priceline and Wotif websites)

40 AUD - food (doing some self-catering helps the cause)

25 AUD - ground transportation (on the days that you rent a car, you can save some money by using locally owned companies rather than multinationals)

Now you're already over 100 AUD, and you haven't yet gone out to the Great Barrier Reef, taken any other kind of day tour, paid admission to an attraction, bought a roll of film, bought a souvenir, or anything else.

If you were careful and thought twice about which guided activities to do and which not to do, you might be able to do it on 150 AUD pppd.

If you wanted to relax and not think about money too much, it would be easy to get up to 200 AUD pppd.

Sydney and Melbourne both are places where you would need fewer guided tours. If you had done your research ahead of time and/or if you had a guidebook, you would be able to do many activities (including out of town day trips) independently. Still, if you wanted to enjoy what the cities had to offer, you would need to pay entry fees to a few attractions.

The place where you particularly need guided tours is in FNQ, IMO. First of all, you can't get out to the GBR on your own, and that is absolutely the #1, must do, priority thing, IMO. In theory you can visit the Daintree Forest as a self-drive exercise, but in practice it is so much more interesting if you have a guide. When it comes to Kuranda, you can drive yourself there, but it is such fun to go up on the SkyRail and come back on a conventional train.

Also keep in mind that the Australian winter school holidays take place for 2 weeks in July. That is a time when a lot of families from the southern states of Australia flee their winter and head for the tropics. So accommodation in Cairns and its surroundings is at a premium during that period.

Hope that helps.
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Old Feb 4th, 2005, 05:07 PM
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By the way, fakemark, for the very reason that people from Victoria and South Australia are heading up to Queensland in July, perhaps Brisbane would be a good choice for your 3rd destination.

Brisbane is a pleasant city, and is good for a day or two. I've only been to the city itself but, from what I hear, an important part of its attraction is not what's inside it, but what's accessible in the way of short trips from there.

The Sunshine Coast to the north of Brisbane and the Gold Coast to the south of it are said to have some lovely national parks, etc. (Actually I think I've heard that the national parks are in the hinterland, but a quick drive from the coast.)

People with experience in those areas have posted many messages about them, which a word search would bring to the fore.

Sorry, I usually try to avoid using abbrevations in the first conversation with a new arrival on a given forum. FNQ = Far North Queensland, just in case you haven't already stumbled on the term.
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Old Feb 5th, 2005, 06:20 PM
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Hi fakemark - Gilligans Hostel & Backpackers in the heart of Cairns city is a very new, smart establishment which actually offers more facilities than many far more expensive hotels and is very reasonably priced. It has dorm or private room accommodation and is built over the famous Rusty's market so you have access the the best tropical fruit/veg in the area, 3 days a week, anyway. Of course, main clientele is young and mostly do like to party. You can save money at B&B's - all offer breakfast in tariff, most are continental, but some include a full cooked breakfast which will keep you going for most of day, with just maybe a snack at lunch. Have a look at www.bnbnq.com.au

The least expensive reef trip out of Cairns is AU$60 - Sea Star to Michaelmas Cay on outer reef. It's not a flash boat, but its well maintained and not at all commercial - won't even try to sell you a T-Shirt.

The cheapest way to Kuranda is with White Cars Coaches which leave from Cairns - AU$2.00 one way. However the major appeal of this trip is scenery from Kuranda Train or Skyrail - but you could almost halve the cost by going one way bus and one way train or Skyrail -both are AU$35 one way without transfers from accommodation.
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Old Feb 7th, 2005, 03:35 PM
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You guys are so great! Thanks for the tips.

So it looks like it will probably be $150 AUD per person per day, which works out to about $1700 USD + $1400 airfare = over $6000 USD for a couple. Yikes! Maybe those hostels aren't looking so bad anymore.
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Old Feb 7th, 2005, 06:26 PM
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fakemark
Don't forget that Australia is about the same size as mainland USA, but without the population. $200 one way is a good fare to Cairns - it's a fair distance.

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Old Feb 7th, 2005, 07:24 PM
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You're not wrong Margo - for a 3 hour flight $200 is a bargain compared with fares of a few years ago when Qantas had monopoly. $800-$900 was more the norm.
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