Spend in Australia

In one of my posts, I wrote that Australia was the most stupidly expensive place I have ever been. Here’s what I wrote…

“Australia is the most stupidly expensive place I have been on the planet.

“Some examples…

“$4 for a small cup of bad, black coffee is the norm…and that’s without refills.

“$190 for a “budget” hotel room is a good deal in Perth. When we tried to book a hotel in the city after returning from the Bibbulmun Track, the least expensive available rooms we could find started at $500 a night.

“In the tiny rural town of Williams, we spent $50 a night (discounted from a standard $65 rate) to stay in a poorly-maintained worksite trailer with six tiny rooms and a shared bath.

“A breakfast of two eggs on a slab of bread runs $8 or more. We have been given menus listing two pieces of toast with some jam for $3.50.

“Good luck getting dinner for two for under $60. In one popular Perth restaurant, we had three pints of beer, a crappy risotto and mushroom dish, and a stack of grilled vegetables for a cost of $82 Australian dollars – that’s about $86 US dollars, before the tip.

“Oh, and an order of lousy French fries will run about $7 or $8.

“And my favorite gauge of costs…A pint of draft beer will run you $8 or more in any bar or restaurant. In a store, a bottle of beer will run you $3 or more.

“Transportation is also expensive. Two bus tickets to go a couple hours down the road cost us $47.50. For a conversion van rental to go car camping, the company wanted a $7,500 security deposit (I could almost buy the damned thing in the States for that amount).

“And Internet? Well, when you can get it, it ain’t free. The Community Center in a rural town charged $6 per hour, and a hotel charged $25 a day. By the way, the Internet seems like a new kinda thing here, like it’s still 1990.

“It is very, very easy to spend $400 a day without doing anything more than eating two small meals, drinking a couple beers, breathing air, and sleeping.

“The above prices are in Australian dollars, which are worth about US $1.07 right now. So it’s even a bit more expensive than I have stated.

“Another anecdote…Jen bought a new lens for her camera. It cost her half as much to buy it from a company in New York, and have it two-day shipped to Australia, than it would have cost her to buy it at a store in Perth.

“We have run into more than one once-was-a-tourist with the same story: ran outta money, so had to get a job. I don’t think Jen and I will end up in that situation, but I often do feel violated, and in need of counseling and a shower.

“In general, you can expect things in Australia to cost you two to four times as much as they would in the States.

“That might be justifiable if you got something in return for your money, but what we have gotten so far is poor-to-marginal accommodations, crappy food, and bad beer. Meanwhile, we have found nothing particularly remarkable or interesting about Australia to recommend it over other places that cost much, much less (the United States included).”

Now that the trip to Australia is finished, let’s see if that still holds true.

Our average cost per day, for forty-seven days, was AUD $209 dollars. That does not include the cost of getting to and from Australia.

Think that sounds OK? Well, bear in mind that twelve days of that were spent hiking on the Bibbulmun Track, during which we only incurred AUD $124 in costs. Also, bear in mind that twenty-seven of those days were spent in a tiny campervan, sleeping in roadside parks and caravan sites. Not exactly luxury accommodations.

Some more stats…

For the pleasure of sleeping in a conversion van, at road side camp sites, while swatting flies, we paid an average of AUD $287 a day. That’s a lot to pay for sweating and avoiding bugs.

During our stay in Perth, we paid an average of AUD $437 a day, to do nothing more than sleep, eat shitty food, and collect things for the hike. That is painful no matter how you cut it.

So, for what we spent to live in a tent and a campervan in Australia for forty-seven days, we could have lived in luxury in Southeast Asia for eight months.

No wonder that Australians flee their own country for vacations.