The New OZ

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Australia has changed. We can tell by the Coke bottles.

The first thing we did after clearing customs at Sydney airport was to buy a Coke, since we were both thirsty. It costs AU$3.50 and we found that expensive, considering the Canadian and the Australian dollars are roughly at par and that a bottle of Coke is less than CA$2.00. But we figured it must be because we bought it at the airport, where everything is more expensive.

We were wrong. A quick look inside convenience stores and supermarketstaught us that a small Coke bottle is indeed AU$3.50, and that water can cost as much. Are you serious? How can it be so expensive?

And it’s not just the Coke. Everything is more expensive. Double rooms average $100 in backpacker hostels. Some fancy hostels charge $40 for dorms bed and $20 daily Internet access fees. Come on people! This is way overvalued.

Food is still affordable though, although fruits and veggies are as expensive as in Europe. We ate in Chinatown and got rice and noddle for $15. At night, we use the hostel’s communal kitchen and cook to save money.

Granted, it is the high season in Australia. First, it’s summer down there, and then we are close to Christmas. Plus, Oprah is coming to Sydney (?!) next week and some people are actually excited about it (I never truly understood the Oprah phenomenon, if someone cares to explain…).

But the country is much more expensive than it was seven year ago, even considering the inflation. The unemployment rate is very low right now, about 5%. Australia is booming, thanks to the mining industry in the Western part of the country.

Some things haven’t changed though. The Opera House and the Bridge, two of Sydney icons, are still here. Phew.

The Opera House

The Bridge Across the Harbor


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Hi Zhu, I wonder why the huge difference in prices. Is it the summer tax? 😛

    To understand the Oprah phenomenon, you need to understand Justin Bieber, Jonas brothers, Robert Pattinson and such celebrity phenomena. I never did. 🙂

  2. Expensive indeed… but then things are also expensive here in Ireland despite the fact that nobody has money anymore (except politicians).

  3. I have a niece who lives and works in Australia. She says that everything is expensive but they are not very consumer oriented. Internet usage is metered and expensive, electricity is expensive. She likes it though.

  4. @Priyank – Yep, I see what you mean… I like pop culture but don’t understand any of these!

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – I think it’s because electricity is expensive. Plus the country didn’t really have a recession thanks to the mining industry in the West, which drove prices up.

    @Em – Oh, I know, Europe is super expensive. France is the same even though most people struggle.

    @Cynthia – The Outback is very hard to get to. We went to Alice Spring in 2003 and boy, that was quite a trip 😆

    @shionge – Eh eh, may be, may be!

    @khengsiong – Fuel is expensive, 1.30 I think. You can probably buy a cheap car from backpackers though but distances are so huge… better be two or three drivers in the car.

    @Yogi – What you are saying about electricity makes sense. I think thats why chilled Coke is more expensive than no-chilled bottle!

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