Queenstown ViewHaving been updated for 2014, the biggest news (at the moment) is that the overvalued Australian Dollar came down about 15% last year, bringing costs for travelers down to a more reasonable level. However, the New Zealand Dollar bounced around and ended the same as last year, so as of now both places are similar in price even though Oz had always been more expensive in the past.

The good news is that both countries have a robust infrastructure for budget travelers, with more hostels (called ‘backpackers’ usually) than almost anywhere else in the world. Self-catering will cut costs in both countries since even fast-food restaurants tend to be quite expensive. Camping or going with a group in a campervan is another good way of seeing a lot while spending less money.

How the Backpacker Index works

Prices for most things are fixed and certain, but prices for a “budget lunch” or a pint of beer can vary depending on whom you ask. Still, our estimates are based on a lot of research, and should be very close if not right on.

Costs for each city

  • One night in the cheapest bunk at the least expensive hostel with a good location and good reviews
  • Two public transportation rides per day
  • One paid/famous attraction per day (Every city is loaded with free things to do for budget-conscious travelers, but here we take the average cost of a major attraction in each city for each day.)
  • Three “budget” meals per day.
  • Three cheap, local beers each day as an “entertainment fund.” Non-drinkers might have dessert and coffee or attend a local music performance instead, so this is a general benchmark that should be proportional for each city.

Australia & New Zealand Backpacker Index for 2014

1 – Auckland, New Zealand (Cheapest)

Thanks to an incredibly wide range of hostels and budget hotels, Auckland is reasonably priced in general. Most backpackers only stop in the city for a day or two on their way in or out of the country anyway, but still it’s nice that budget options are out there. Fortunately, renting a campervan or taking the backpacker bus to the holiday parks can make visiting these islands quite cheap compared to staying in the cities.

  • Currency: New Zealand dollar
  • Cheap/good hostel: Nomads Auckland Backpackers – 27.48/night
  • Transportation: 3.80
  • Meals: 27.60
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
  • Attractions: 14.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: NZD82.18 – US$69.06/day

>>>Auckland prices and weather

2 – Melbourne, Australia

While hostels might be a bit cheaper in Melbourne than in Sydney, pretty much everything else will be the same price, so there isn’t much between the cities when budgeting. Fortunately, there are plenty of free things to do in both cities, though unfortunately most of the major attractions are fairly expensive in both.

  • Currency: Australian dollar
  • Cheap/good hostel: Flinders Station Backpackers – 25.80/night
  • Transportation: 7.16
  • Meals: 28.80
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: AUD86.76 – US$78.87/day

>>>Melbourne prices and weather

3 – Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, in the heart of the South Island, is one of the most popular stops in all of New Zealand. If you are coming just to chill out the price is quite reasonable and the surroundings are stunning, but if you are coming to snowboard or bungee jump and so forth, be prepared for astronomical prices for those things in almost all cases.

  • Currency: New Zealand dollar
  • Cheap/good hostel: Absoloot Value Accommodation – 25.76/night
  • Transportation: 7.00
  • Meals: 31.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
  • Attractions: 17.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: NZD95.96 – US$80.64/day

>>>Queenstown prices and weather

4 – Sydney, Australia

All of Australia is fairly expensive, although it’s gotten better as the overvalued Aussie Dollar came down about 15% in 2013. Now Sydney (and Melbourne) costs about the same as mid-tier big cities in Europe and the US. Once you get outside the largest Australian cities the prices go down by a bit, but only by a bit.

  • Currency: Australian dollar
  • Cheap/good hostel: The Original Backpackers Hostel – 27.79/night
  • Transportation: 7.20
  • Meals: 31.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily Backpacker Index: AUD91.19 – US$82.90/day

>>>Sydney prices and weather

Also check out Backpacker Indexes from the rest of the world

One Response to “4 Australia and New Zealand cities by price: Backpacker Index for 2014”

I want to go to ALL of these cities so badly!! I’ve been watching the Australian Open, and Melbourne seems awesome!


Leave a Comment

    Name (required)
    Mail (will not be published) (required)