When we were working on the route for New Zealand it was an
option for a 24 hours stopover in Sydney just for a few more money.
This option was finally refused because New Zealand deserved all the
time we could spend there and Australia deserves a whole long travel by
itself. It’s now the time for that.
When preparing a travel to Australia one has
already got the mind it is going to be expensive: these are the most
expensive flights from Europe and the cost of living is high too, so
the average cost per day for accommodation and meals is going to be at
the top of the level. Also, the exchange rate for Australian dollar
with the euro is one of the worst in history at this moment in 2015.
Leaving the budget behind, Australia is a huge
country, with a lot of highlights, diversity and distance between them.
With the time we can spend there we’ve chosen five spots, which could
be the most touristic ones, missing the West, the islands and the Gold
Coast among other places. These spots are: Melbourne, Sydney, Uluru,
The Great Barrier Reef and the Northern Parks.
With that, we look after how many days are needed to spend in
every place and this is what we got for us:
1: Melbourne (3 days). Two days for the Great Ocean Road, a
scenic way following the coast with amazing landscapes and nature; and
one for the city.
2: Sidney (3 days). The biggest city in Australia. It is
growing around a bay with iconic places as the Opera House or the
bridge. We’ve taken two days to explore the city and one more for a
trip to Blue Mountains.
3: Ayer’s Rock (2 days). A place in the middle of the desert
where thousands of tourists are going every year to enjoy the special
rock formations in there, as the popular Uluru. These two days seem
more than enough for that.
4: Cairns (4 days). Two days for the Great Barrier Reef and
two more for a trip to Cape Tribulation.
5: Darwin (3 days). Two days for Kakadu National Park and one
for the city.
After that plan, the flight purchase allow us to
add more days to Singapore which, after a search of the things to do in
that city, we soon wanted to spend more days in there: it’s finally 3
days for it. One before getting Australia and two more after it.
So, finally, the definitive route plan (number of
day and where we sleep) is the following, starting by September 9th of
3, 4 y 5: Melbourne
6 y 7: Ayer's rock
8, 9 y 10: Sydney
12, 13, 15 y 15: Cairns
16, 17 y 18: Darwin
19 y 20: Singapore
The total budget after adding the flights, hotels,
cars and tours detailed below, is around 5800€ in total for the two of
When searching flight rates we soon realize the best option
is flying to a nearer country and using one of the low cost airlines in
the area to reach Australia. The best hubs for this seemed to be Kuala
Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore. This last city is the closest to Oceania
and, besides, the competition makes one can easily find flights to
there by around 500€ with the best airlines.
For September flights the best option for purchase
is the offers appearing in spring, so we were checking them and chose
the one from Qatar Airways in April. It was 520€ per person for the
return flight to Singapore but, when we finally went to purchase it
raised and we finally took the one from Emirates, by 513€.
Finally, then, Emirates flights are like this, by
09/09/2015 BCN 22:45 DXB
09/10/2015 DXB 9:35
09/30/2015 SIN 10:35 DXB
09/30/2015 DXB 15:45
cost for flights is finally 1433€ per person.
With these rates, the weight at flights cost is
really in the domestic ones which, in this case, are a lot of them and
with limited options. Domestic flights in Australia are almost entirely
managed by Qantas and its low cost subsidiary Jetstar. As Jetstar uses
the typical system for low cost companies of raising the rates for a
flight as the tickets are sold, the best is getting the flights as soon
as possible. This put us in a situation we never had before: having to
get domestic flights before the ones from Barcelona. And that’s what we
did, trusting in the spring offers and the bit of flexibility given by
the days in Singapore before and after Australia.
With this, in February we already purchased five
of the six flights needed there, all of them from Jetstar:
Singapore-Melbourne, Melbourne-Ayer’s Rock, Ayer’s Rock-Sydney,
Cairns-Darwin and Darwin-Singapore.
The only exception here is for the Sydney-Cairns
flight, which we leave for later –and finally regret about this –
because it was the only one with alternatives, as Tigerair does this
We purchased in February two multi-city flights
and one single one. These are the following:
-Multi-city: Singapore – Melbourne and Darwin – Singapore,
with lunch and entertainment for the one to Melbourne and 5 kg more for
one of the bags in the one from Darwin, by 1168 SG$.
-Multi-city: Melbourne – Ayer’s Rock and Ayer’s Rock –
Sydney, by 860 AU$.
flight Cairns – Darwin, with 5 kg more for one of the bags, by 425 AU$
Waiting for the Sydney – Cairns flight only made
it more expensive, whether in Jetstar or Tigerair. We finally purchased
it in Juny to Jetstar by 428 AU$, including 5 kg more for one of the
Domestic flights are like this by a total cost of
09/11/2015 SIN 9:00
MEL 6:45 +1
09/15/2015 MEL 9:30
09/17/2015 AYQ 14:20 SYD
09/20/2015 SYD 20:30 CNS
09/25/2015 CNS 10:50 DRW 12:55
09/28/2015 DRW 6:05 SIN
Total cost for flights is
finally 1433€ per person.
Before start my search for hotels I did several attempts to
use my Air New Zealand points to book a hotel from the airline website
but, at the moment my country was detected I was always forwarded to
places where I couldn’t get to the hotels. I finally called them and
they managed my booking. I found out that, even with the points from
flying around the world with them, I had no enough points for a single
night in cities as Melbourne or Sydney. I only got some options when I
asked about hotels in the cheapest city we were going to be: Cairns.
These options were actually two, from which I
chose the Bohemia Resort for the first
night. This makes us think the best option for the following nights
because, as we wanted to leave our baggage there for out two days trip
to Cape Tribulation, I booked three more nights in the same place by
For the rest I did my usual research at booking.com
with a clear idea about the location preferred for each of them and
looking for rates not exceeding 100€ as far as it was possible. The
chosen ones have been:
- Our first night in Australia is thought to be spent in the
Great Ocean Road. We looked for a place in Port Campbell, which is
close to the Twelve Apostles and allow us to see them at sunset and
sunrise. We’ve chosen Port Campbell Parkview Motel &
Apartments by 149 AU$.
- For the two nights in Melbourne we see the best value for
money in a sort of apart hotel sited in the city center by 252
AU$. City Tempo Melbourne CBD is a very
good option by 80€ per night.
- There are limited options in Ayer’s Rock and all of them
within Ayer’s Rock Resort. There are some
offers in their website, but none we could take advantage from for the
two days we’re going to be there. We found out is a bit cheaper booking
from booking.com and there is no availability at Outback Pioneer Hotel,
so we make our reservation at Outback Pioneer Lodge.
Accommodation here is always expensive and we pay 530 AU$ for these two
- For Sydney we soon were attracted by hotel The Bayswater Sydney. We haven’t
found anything wrong on it. We pay 457 AU$ for all three nights.
- In Cape Tribulation we were attracted immediately by the Rainforest Hideaway and, as there
are only two rooms on it, we get ours at once by 149 AU$.
- We went for something top level in Darwin in order to
compensate the one in Cairns and the camping night we’re going to spend
in Kakadu. We finally take two non-consecutive nights at DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade by
152 AU$ each.
- At last, we keep in mind our three nights in Singapore must
be at the same hotel. After a deep search we’ve chosen Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen by 168
This makes a total cost for hotels of 2078 AU$ +
504 SG$ = 1700€.
At the beginning it looked like we should rent a car in every
of the five spots in Australia. It could generate a problem as, based
in our experience with the deposits, five ones could lock most of our
We needed to discard some of them: In Sydney we
could use public transport for going everywhere, including Blue
For Darwin we decided to take a tour and avoiding
the car and the worries about crocodiles and other dangerous fauna in
Finally, we thought about using the transport
options from the Ayer’s Rock Resort and saving one more car.
So we booked the car for Melbourne and Cairns with
the same local company: Rent@Bomb. After the first
contact, on both sites we were told we needed to take a Premium car if
we wanted to drive out of the city.
The cost for all three days in Melbourne is 171
AU$ after applying the maximum excess reduction. Two days in
Cairns are 80 AU$ with the same insurance and excess reduction.
This makes a total of 160€ for hired cars.
Somehow, there are some other hidden costs here
once we’re back as in Melbourne we were charged 60€ from our deposit
for the kilometers above the limit.
Other costs coming with the cars are the
unavoidable tolls in Melbourne, which are cheap, but need to register
website and buy a Melbourne Pass in order to pay them, otherwise the
car company charge you an extra of 25$ for every toll they must pay in
We found out too visitors must rent a car at
Ayer’s Rock Resort as far as it is possible because the alternatives
are more expensive and offer a worst in terms of exploring the National
The cost of living in Australia makes there are no
cheap tours for us.
For the two days in Kakadu we’ve chosen Kakadu Dreams. Rate is 350 AU$ per
person plus park admission fee.
For the Great Barrier Reef we’re going with Seastar.
It’s 195 AU$ per person.
We’ve looked after having a second tour on the Great Barrier Reef at a
different spot and we’ve chosen Reef Magic, which is a different type
of tour. Rate is 199 AU$ per person, to which we’ve added 22 AU$ more
for the van pick up/delivery at our hotel.
are two smaller tours for Sydney: at one hand we have the Opera House
tour to see the interior. This has been purchased from its own web site
by 33.30 AU$ per person. On the other hand we’ve got two places in a
cruise to watch the whales close to the Bay of Sydney. We’ve taken this
from the Captain Cook cruises web site by
59 AU$ per person.
This makes a total cost for tours of 1672.60 AU$,
There is another fixed cost when traveling to
Australia as they have an ETA system similar to the one for the US.
It is easily done from their web site by 20 AU$ per person: http://www.eta.immi.gov.au
Detailed plan, then, is like this: