Kangaroo on beach

East Coast Australia travel budget

Planning to venture out of the larger cities and explore the East Coast of Australia? Living in coastal NSW, we are able to  provide some “insider” information on actual costs that can help you to plan your travel budget to the east coast of Australia.

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Planning your East Coast Australia travel budget.

Planning to venture out of the larger cities and explore the East Coast of Australia? Living in coastal NSW, we are able to  provide some “insider” information on actual costs that can help you to plan your travel budget to the east coast of Australia.

We have provided some links to transport and accommodation sites to provide general information to help you plan your trip, but they are not necessarily an endorsement of the operators. The prices have been provided in Australian dollars (AUD)

Lonely Planet East Coast Australia (Travel Guide) from Amazon may be helpful in planning your trip

Food and drink

Our major cities are renowned for being costly. In regional Australia, prices can be even higher due to freight costs. Below I have outlined some average prices based upon our own weekly expenses and our travel costs within Australia. If you are planning a trip to more remote areas, these costs will be higher.

Self catering is of course the cheapest option, however our hotels and local sporting and services clubs offer great value bistro meals.

  • Counter meal at a pub or club for two people $60
  • Meal at a reasonable restaurant for two  $100
  • Motel breakfast for two  $30
  • Cafe Breakfast for two  $25
  • Coffee and cake at a cafe $15
  • Lunch at a cafe $20 pp
  • Meat pie from a bakery $5
  • Take away coffee $3-$4
  • Take away fish n chips for two $20
  • Schooner of beer at a pub or club $5
  • Glass of wine at a pub or club $5
  • Bottle of wine at a pub or club $25
  • Bottle of wine from a bottle shop $7 to $15
  • Six pack of beer from a bottle shop $15
  • Loaf of bread at supermarket $2
  • Litre of milk at a supermarket $2
  • Kilo of sausages at a supermarket $10
  • Kilo of lamb chops at a supermarket $15

On average, our weekly grocery shop for two people including meat and vegetables is  $125

South Coast Accommodation

There are a range of accommodation options available, depending upon your budget and tastes. There are many budget motels which provide convenient, low cost accommodation.

A self catering holiday home is also a great value accommodation option if you are planning a longer stay .Get away from the daily grind. Get HomeAway” to research your holiday rental.

Caravan parks offer not only powered sites for motorhomes and caravans, but also self contained cabins which provide comfortable budget accommodation.

Prices will vary according to the season and you may need to book for a minimum of one week during peak holiday times. Bookings may only be accepted from Saturday to Saturday during these peak times.

  • One night for two at a  motel  $120
  • Holiday rental for two for one week
    • Low season $ 600 – $ 800
    • High season $ 1200 to $ 2000
  • Powered site at caravan park
    • $ 40 per night low season
    • $ 50 per night shoulder season
    • $ 98 per night high season, minimum 7 day booking
  • Ensuite cabin at caravan park
    • $ 130  per night low season
    • $ 150 per night shoulder season
    • $ 225 per night high season, minimum 7 day booking

If touring with a motorhome or caravan, there are many free camp sites around regional Australia. Facilities are often basic and there will usually be a limit to the number of days you can camp. However we have come across some magnificent free camping sites during our own travels. Free camping outside these designated sites is usually strictly policed and can attract fines.

South Coast Transport

Hiring a car and driving is by far the easiest and most convenient way to tour regional Australia.

Outside the major regional areas, public transport is either very limited or non-existent. Timetables and routes can also be very limiting.

For example the Murrays coach listed below does pass through Bateman’s Bay (one hour north) and Narooma. However due to transport regulations, you must travel a certain number of stops on these coaches and it is not possible to catch a bus from Narooma to Bateman’s Bay. This makes coach travel only viable for longer distance trips.

Most towns do have a local bus service, however travel between neighbouring towns and villages or even to local attractions can be difficult without a car.

  • Murrays coach Sydney to Canberra 3 hours 30 min        $37pp
  • Canberra to south coast  4 hours 30 mins                       $48pp
  • Premier bus Sydney to south coast 6 hours 30 mins       $58pp
  • VLine Bus south coast to Melbourne 10 hours 40 min    $58pp

Discovery Pass provides unlimited travel on regional rail and coach links across NSW, Victoria Queensland and Canberra. Fares start at $232  per person for 14 days. This pass may not apply to private transport services.

Flights to the south coast

Flights outside the major areas are limited and can be quite costly. The smaller flights will often land at smaller airports, with limited public transport available. However if time is a factor, then a flight can be a good option.

To give you a basis for your research, I have provided a link to our closest carrier, REX  and some indicative prices on routes from the south coast. We have three flights a day in and out of our nearest airport.

  • Flight Sydney to Moruya  35 mins $ 150
  • Flight Moruya to Melbourne 1 hour  $585

Trains to the south coast

Rail Transport  outside the major regional areas is limited. However it is possible to catch a train to a major centre and link with a bus service. The transport link above may help to give you an indication of services.

As an example, the train from Sydney to Melbourne takes 11 hours at a cost of  $ 65pp. Travelling from Sydney to the South Coast, you could catch a train to Nowra and would then need to connect with a bus service. Catching the bus from Sydney would therefore be a better option.


Fuel costs will vary greatly between centres. Currently on the South Coast of NSW we are paying around  $1.55 per litre.  A small 4 cylinder vehicle will cost around $70 to fill . Depending upon fuel efficiency should take you approx 550kms.

Cost of Attractions

Some of the best attractions in coastal Australia are free. Our beautiful beaches, mountain views, lakes and estuaries are all free to enjoy. I have however listed the cost of a few popular attractions and activities.

  • Morning fishing charter   $160 pp
  • Three hour whale watching tour $70 pp
  • Fishing boat hire  $155
  • Entry to Mogo Zoo   $32 adults $17 children
  • Entry to Eden whale museum Adults $10 children $10.50
  • Magic Mountain amusement park Merimbula $45 per person
  • Movie tickets (small cinema) Adults $15.50 children $13
  • Fairy Penguins, Phillip Island Vic $26

Costs of our recent road trip

We recently spent a week travelling 3,000 kilometres from Narooma, down the coast to Melbourne and across to Mt Gambier in South Australia.

Our actual costings for the week, including two nights motel accommodation and five nights in a caravan park cabin were:

  • Accommodation $570
  • Fuel $350
  • Food and attractions $435
  • Total $1,355 for the week

Hopefully these figures help you to plan a trip to coastal NSW.

Read also: Travelling with Dogs
Discovering the Mouth of the Snowy River
Narooma, the place we call home
G’Day mate – a little Aussie Lingo

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