Outrageous food prices in Australia!

Nov 10th, 2010, 09:12 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Kriol: Steak was at Cargo (Cockle Bay) http://www.cargobar.com.au/cargolounge_whats.html

Thai Beef salad was in Manly.
The breakfast omlette in Bondi.

Can't get much more tourist oriented than that.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 09:36 PM
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Me either, but I get the impression just about everything in Perth is more expensive anyway. I don't think I've seen a steak with chips and salad anywhere in OZ for $10. Heck, you can pay that much for a side of chips here!

$9-11 will get you a good sized bowl of soup in a cafe
$12-14 will get you a lunch sized Greek salad in a cafe
$8-12 will get you two slices of Bruschetta
$12-17 will get you a smallish order of eggs Benedict or an order of pancakes, a full breakfast can set you back as much as $24
A latte or flat white runs 3.50-4.00 (no refills of course)

Lunch mains at wineries will set you back $28-48 per person. We can easily spend $140 for two with a bottle of wine.

Mains at my local Indian restaurant run between $19-29. By the time you add rice, naan and corkage, it's close to $60 for two people.

We can't seem to get out of a cafe/restaurant in Perth for less than $50, and we're not particularly big eaters.

By comparison, my most expensive meal during a three week visit to the US last month was $48. That included an entree, a main (which I couldn't finish), two glasses of wine, tax and tip. And that was at an upmarket restaurant. Unlimited freshly baked bread and butter were free.

My other meals ranged from $7-11, inclusive of tax and beverage at the equlivant of an Aussie cafe - a pay at the counter type of place. These meals were of good quality and big enough to share.

At the risk of getting harassed, I'll even admit to popping into a Taco Bell in a moment of extreme weakness (I was literally shaking from lack of food) where I had my cheapest meal of the trip - $1.06 with tax for a bean burrito. And you know what? It was pretty darn good.
Melnq8 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 04:24 PM
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I think this is very useful for anyone planning a trip - we too found food prices a bit of a shock, but following a discussion like this can help you plan your holiday budget.

When we arrived in Perth we headed for the beach even before we checked into the hotel (we were too early) and had breakfast in a beach cafe - $38 dollars later (2 coffees, 1 egg on toast, one croissant and 2 fruit juices) and we were wondering if we'd mis-calculated the exchange rate! More re-planning when we found the hotel dinner buffet was $50 per person. Yes we found cheaper places later - but all I'm saying is 'be prepared' if you are on a budget.

Since we were there for 5 weeks we realised we had to budget more carefully, ($38 x 35 days = $1,330 on breakfast?!) and it wasn't so hard since we were mostly self-catering, but a coffee and cake 'out' became a real treat.

I am embarrassed about not posting a trip report (driving Broome to Perth) after all the help everyone gave me when planning the trip - it's in draft form and I promise to post shortly when I have some time to finish it. (But Melnq8 might think I'm a bit of a cyber-stalker since we followed many of her sleeping/eating recommendations to the letter!)
tockoloshe is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 05:48 PM
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Welcome back tockoloshe! I hope you enjoyed your trip.

I very much look forward to reading your report. No worries about cyberstalking, I just hope I didn't lead you astray!
Melnq8 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 10:26 PM
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Hi Mel,
I was in the States earlier in the year and my boys were on a bit of a junk food mission and I was amazed how cheap it is there. When we were in Universal Studios it only cost $17 for the four of us for lunch - drinks, burgers, fries etc - I was completely stunned.

I guess it explains why perhaps, junk food is popular over there.

We didn't do any fine dining I must say - but I have to agree food is very much cheaper in the States. $38 for the breakfast above is seriously a rip off - what a shame. Our local IGA supermarket has a small cafe attached and they offer a $6 breakfast of egg, bacon, juice and coffee but I guess these little gems are hidden in our suburbs.
stormbird is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 12:22 AM
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Interesting Stormbird, because Universal Studios is probably at the expensive end of the scale!

Unfortuntately, fast food is definitely cheap and plentiful in the US, but you can get healthy food for a song too - nice salads for $5-8, grilled chicken breast sandwiches for $3-4, etc.

I discovered Panera Bread and Pei Wei on my lastest trip home and I was really impressed with the healthy options. Maybe we're finally making a step in the right direction.



I'm not a fan of fast food in general, but I just have to note here that even fast food outlets are considerably more expensive in Australia....and it's the same crap!

So it goes...
Melnq8 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 01:59 PM
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While visiting relatives in Queensland last Fall (from the US), I was surprised by the prices in the grocery stores. This was in a medium-sized town. I was told that a lot of the cost had to do with the cost of transportation, as there are many miles between cities, and it is expensive to bring the food in by truck. We went to a local restaurant with the entire extended family for an "inexpensive" lunch - which was $18-27 per person. It's just the way it is, and perhaps Australians don't waste their money on a lot of frivolous items like we do here in the US, and that is not a bad thing at all.
elnap29 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 10:40 PM
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I totally agree!

We used to travel Australia regularly in the 90s/early 20s.

We also were shocked by the restaurant bills. No we are staying at a holiday home and prepare te meals mostly ourselves. But still - supermarket prices are outragous compared to earlier days.

A simple joghurt is 1$, a bund of basil is 3$, butter is 3$ for 250Gr, bread rolls 60 cents, cheese breaks the bank.

Yes - Australia has become extremely expensive - no matter which style of holiday one chooses.

But still - Australia is a great destination! Onre just has to be prepared.....

spassvogel is offline  
Nov 13th, 2010, 01:41 PM
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Mel, we love Panera Bread in the US too! We have been to various stores and love the choices and the service is always good too. Often we just want something simple at lunchtime (but not a burger) so soup or a sandwich is ideal. Plus it's clean and airy, usually with an outdoor area and free toilets! Perfect.

KayF is offline  
Nov 15th, 2010, 02:38 AM
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Dotty, if you're still reading this - as a New Zealander you didn't find the restaurant prices in remote Alice Springs excessive, how would you compare restaurant prices in Brisbane with Wellington? Probably a more valid comparison. Admittedly its a few years since I've been to New Zealand but at that time we found Auckland restaurants in Parnell (which were excellent) at least as expensive as counterparts in Sydney.

I was in Turkey earlier this year, whilst it is still considered a cheap country to visit, and in many ways it is, the cost of petrol there is astronomical, as is wine. Fortunately their beer is good, cheap and I quickly learned to drink it. Not so with meat and fresh fish, although chicken was fairly cheap, we paid $24 for four tiny spicy beef (I think) sausages from a supermarket.

Thanks for the offer Alan, I can still scrape up $7.50 for a proper hamburger with salad locally, and look forward to hearing from you re the get to together. Next time you come down the hill pick up a hamburger or the best fish and chips at Davina's, in the butcher's shop on Kamerunga Rd, almost opposite the Freshwater station for Kuranda train.
pat_woolford is offline  
Nov 15th, 2010, 02:36 PM
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Last Friday was a public holiday in Christchurch, so we took the opportunity to take Monday off work as well and enjoy a long weekend in Sydney. We were booked to go to the ballet at the Opera House on Saturday night (Wonderful show) and wanted to have dinner somewhere close in the Circular Quay area. I can endorse obonnie's view on the restaurant prices there, especially when a "food and beverage cover charge" of $3.00 or $3.50 per person is added for weekend dining.

Having overcome my initial reaction of "I'd rather see them in Hell before I'd pay that sort of price", we had an ok meal at The Oyster Bar. Grilled barramundi - $38.00 with a little bit of salad; grilled WA blue cod - $42.00 with the same little bit of salad. Some of the prices on the menus on display were pushing $50.00 and, yes, there was a burger and chips on offer for $24.00 (plus the cover charge) for sit-down consumption.

kiwi_rob is offline  
Nov 17th, 2010, 01:08 AM
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All the press now is about how Perth and other WA cities are awfully expensive because of our mining boom which has had the flow-oneffect of escalatingg rent and labor costs which are reflected in increased costs eg a cup of coffee is said to routinely be higher - $4 - $4.50 in Perth as against $3- 3.50 in Melbourne .

You can eat out well and reasonably in Melbourne ,you just need to know where to go . For instance we ate at a Thai place in Victoria Street North Melb.last Saturday night and the food was of a very high standard and lots of it , a la carte for $35 each .And it was BYO grog at $4 corkage .
JohnFitz is offline  
Nov 17th, 2010, 02:46 AM
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I just about fell over when I popped into the corner green grocer in a Perth suburb this afternoon to pick up a red capiscum - $5.17 for a pepper the size of an apple. $14.99 a kilo! That's insane - they're grown locally!

Yep, a cup of coffee in Perth will set you back $3.60-4.50.

Met a friend at a cafe yesterday - cheapest thing on the lunch menu was soup at $9.50. Other items were $14 and up. I won't be going back there either.
Melnq8 is offline  
Nov 17th, 2010, 03:56 PM
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I noticed red capsicums were $14 at the market in Melbourne so I bought green-have never seen them that price!! sounds like the banana prices of the hurricane year!!!
northie is offline  
Nov 17th, 2010, 05:58 PM
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Maybe there's a red capiscum shortage? I must google.
Melnq8 is offline  
Nov 20th, 2010, 08:37 PM
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Had to add my 2 cents here (inflated to $2). ;-)

We're in Melbourne now, just finishing a 4-week trip round Australia. On our first night in Australia we were in Sydney, and despite a lot of research beforehand we were very surprised by the cost of eating out. We did learn how to maximize our budget by strategies like eating coffee shop breakfasts, but even so we were still paying about $30 for egg and bacon sandwiches, one juice, two small coffees (no refills). In my favorite diner near home in the US, that would cost about $14 -- with as much coffee as you care to drink. Not just one cup each. Even in NYC you can get inexpensive breakfasts at a diner, or a bagel and schmear for a few dollars.

We self catered in a couple of places, and were equally surprised by the costs in the local IGA, especially for meat or fish. If I lived here in Melbourne, I'd be in the QV market every week!

The lesson is, if you want fine dining in Oz, take a generous budget with you... We like fish and chips as much as the next person, but you can't live on that all the time!

That said, we wouldn't exchange the wonderful time we've had, and all the great people we have met. Tuesday, we fly to NZ: it will be interesting to compare.
SB_Travlr is offline  
Nov 20th, 2010, 11:22 PM
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No one seems to read previous posts on this, or many other subjects. I do not know how many times I have answered this same question before and for that matter so did Niel Oz more times than I can remember and all I can say is that no one seems to take a jot of notice so in future I think I will not bother with ideas and suggestions.
How many times has it been suggested that Bowls Clubs, League Clubs, Football Clubs and the like serve wonderful meals at very low costs. My local take-a-way makes breakfast for about $7.
It just seems to me that Americans expect to go into similiar places as they have at home and eat the exact same things when in fact if they did follow help on this forum we could show them how to eat, and eat darn well for a fraction of the cost of eating in the USA. My son's favourite "French" cafe in Alexandria in Sydney serves the most beautiful breakfasts for great prices ( much less than the same sort of thing in the USA I might add - and yes I was in the USA this year and last year so things cannot have changed that much in such a short time)
As the previous poster suggested in NYC you can get a bagel and schmear for a few dollars - whatever either of those might be. So there is the crux of the matter, if you want schmear you will have to pay for it - cause most of us have no idea what it is and also for bagels because most of us would not been seen dead eating one. Give me our beautiful bread any day to some boiled, dry and tasteless thing. Try eating Australian food, you all may get a surprise how nice it is.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Nov 20th, 2010, 11:47 PM
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Sorry, ivenotbeen -- on behalf of New Yorkers (I'm not one) I have to say please don't malign a bagel unless you've tried the Real Deal. Oh, and a schmear is the cream cheese that goes with. I recommend you try them if you are in NYC!

And yes, we have enjoyed the food here.
SB_Travlr is offline  
Nov 20th, 2010, 11:58 PM
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Ivenotbeeneverywhere how do you find the places like the league clubs, and the bowling clubs, and wouldn't you have to be a member to get the cheap prices. Are these clubs easy to get too if you don't have a car? I have heard about the RSL clubs, but if they are similar to the RSA clubs and workingmenclubs in New Zealand, you have to pay an annual fee to get the discounted food and alcohol.
nelsonian is offline  
Nov 21st, 2010, 01:34 AM
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Nelsonian, anyone can turn up at RSL or similar club anywhere in the country, you do not have to be a member, just sign in as a visitor. They can be an absolute saviour, especially in regional areas, a few years ago I had to spend a week in Ballina, NSW, ate at the RSL every night, fabulous seafood at about a quarter the price of nearby tourist eateries. And a far better view, right on the Richmond River.
pat_woolford is offline  

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