Australian dollar ($)
Budget: Less than $150
- Hostel dorm bed: $25–35
- Double room in a hostel: $80–100
- Budget pizza or pasta meal: $15–20
- Short bus or tram ride: $4
- Double room in a motel or B&B: $130–250
- Breakfast or lunch in a cafe: $20–30
- Car hire per day: from $35
- Short taxi ride: $25
Top End: More than $300
- Double room in a top-end hotel: from $250
- Three-course meal in a classy restaurant: from $80
- Adventure activities: sailing the Whitsundays from $300 per night, diving course $650
- Domestic flight Brisbane to Cairns: from $120
Bargaining and haggling isn't really part of Australian culture. That said, there's a definite 'cash' culture in commerce here, where you might get a lower price on a purchase if you pay cash rather than use a credit card (thus relieving the vendor of some of their official tax obligations).
ATMs widely available. Credit cards accepted at most hotels, restaurants and shops.
ATMs & Eftpos
ATMs Common in Queensland cities and towns, but don’t expect to find them everywhere, certainly not off the beaten track or in small towns. Most ATMs accept cards issued by other banks (for a fee) and are linked to international networks.
Eftpos Most service stations, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and shops have Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (Eftpos) facilities, allowing you to make purchases and even withdraw cash with your credit or debit card.
Fees Remember that withdrawing cash via ATMs or Eftpos may incur significant fees − check the costs with your bank first.
Credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted for most accommodation and services, and a credit card is essential (in lieu of a fat wad of cash) when hiring a car. They can also be used to get cash advances over the counter at banks and from many ATMs, depending on the card – but be aware that these withdrawals incur immediate interest. Diners Club and American Express cards are not as widely accepted.
Lost credit-card contact numbers:
- Currency The Australian dollar comprises 100 cents. There are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 coins, and $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes.
For international travellers, debit cards connected to the international banking networks – Cirrus, Maestro, Plus and Eurocard – will work fine in Queensland ATMs. Expect substantial fees. A better option may be prepaid debit cards (such as MasterCard and Travelex ‘Cash Passport’ cards) with set withdrawal fees and a balance you can top up from your bank account while on the road.
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.
Changing foreign currency is usually no problem at banks throughout Australia, or at licensed money changers such as Travelex or AmEx in airports and cities. Expect substantial fees.
Taxes & Refunds
Australia has a flat 10% tax on all goods and services (GST), included in quoted/shelf prices. A refund is sometimes possible under the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS): see www.border.gov.au/trav/ente/tour/are-you-a-traveller.
Tipping isn't traditionally part of Australian etiquette, but it's increasingly the norm to tip around 10% for good service in restaurants, and a few dollars for porters (bellhops) and taxi rides.
The ubiquity and convenience of internationally linked credit- and debit-card facilities in Australia means that travellers cheques are virtually redundant – but AmEx and Travelex will cash travellers cheques, as will major banks. In all instances present your passport for identification when cashing them.