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The Australian Dollar: Facts about the currency in Australia

by Luz Prada | July 24, 2019
Millthorpe 1911 in Australia

What currency does Australia use?

The official currency in Australia has been the Australian dollar (AUD) since 1966, when it replaced the Australian pound. 

The Australian dollar can also be used in the Australian Antarctic Territory, Christmas Island, Cocos Island and Norfolk Island. In addition, it is in use in the small countries of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu with the local official currency.

There are six coins in operation for the Australia currency, five of which were designed by Stuart Devin, the official jeweler of Queen Elizabeth II. The $2 was designed by the sculptor Horst Hahne. All are copper and nickel and have the image of the Queen printed on the back. The denominations of the six Australian coins are: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2.

As for the AUD currency banknotes, there are five in circulation. They are characterized by being colorful and show the face of important Australians, both current and old. Its denominations are: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

banknotes of Australian dollar, currency in Australia

Australian dollar symbol

Australian dollar symbol, currency in Australia

The ISO code for the currency is AUD. Locals call it "buck" or "aussie".

The Australian dollar symbol is, just like the United States dollar, a $. However, there are two variants for the Australian dollar symbol: A$ or AU$.

Exchange rate for Australian dollar to USD

According to the present exchange rate in 2023, 1 AUD = 0,64 USD.

Exchange rate: USD to Australian dollar

In turn, the exchange rate for 1 USD equals 1,56 in Australian dollar.

How expensive is Australia?

If you're planning a trip to Australia, you should know that the prices in Australia are higher than in many European countries or the United States, although you have to take into account that they also have higher wages than most of the world.

A bottle of water can cost you around A$2.77, which equals $1.90 or €1.70. A coffee is around A$4, a fizzy drink can cost more than A$3 and a beer is difficult to find for less than A$8. Eating at a mid-priced restaurant can cost around A$20. As for transportation, a single city bus ticket costs A$4, although it will depend on the city. A taxi from the airport to a big city can cost about A$40 and the price of a liter of petrol is around A$1.50. Petrol is more expensive in the west of the country.

Tips and payment methods in Australia

In Australia, no tip or service on the bill is required. However, in the most exclusive restaurants it is usual to leave the waiters a tip of 10% of the total bill for their good service. When making purchases, payments with major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are accepted in Australia.

American Express and Diners Club are accepted in almost all places, with a few exceptions. It is difficult to find stores that accept JCB, and Discover is not usually accepted. Although card payments are widely integrated, there are businesses that require a minimum amount to accept payment by card. Therefore, it is advisable to always travel with some cash.

Where can I exchange my money?

It is possible to exchange currencies in banks, some hotels and international airports. Banks usually operate from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and until 5:00 p.m. on Fridays.

There is no limit to the amount of money that you can bring in or take out from Australia, although if you have more than 10,000 in Australian dollar in cash you must declare them at the customs office.