Best Ways to Take Money to Australia in 2024

Heading to Australia? Maybe you’re going on the trip of a lifetime, setting off for a working holiday, or relocating for good. In any case, you need to work out how to pay for things while you’re there. There are a few different options when it comes to taking money from Canada to spend in AUD - the right one for you will probably depend on how long you plan to be there for, and your personal spending and budgeting preferences.

This guide has you covered with 4 possible ways to take money to Australia, including their benefits and drawbacks, to help you pick the right way for you.

Best ways to take money to Australia

To help you decide on the best way to take money to Australia for your specific needs, this guide walks through the pros and cons of the following popular options:

Prepaid travel cards to use in Australia

Ideal for: flexible card and account options you can use to hold, spend, receive and send payments in AUD and other currencies

Prepaid travel cards are aimed at people who travel frequently, or who need to spend in foreign currencies. They can be ordered online from specialist providers, and are linked to a multi-currency account you can manage from an app. You’ll usually be able to hold Australian dollars alongside a range of other major global currencies, and may also have features like ways to send international transfers and receive payments from others.

Depending on the specific card you pick you’ll usually be able to add money in CAD and convert it to AUD in advance. Or, in some cases, you can just leave your balance in CAD and let the card convert to the currency you need when you spend with no additional costs to worry about. Generally the exchange rates offered by prepaid travel cards are pretty fair, and any fees you pay are transparent.

Another useful feature of prepaid cards is that they’re not linked to your normal CAD transaction account. This means that even if you were unlucky enough to have your travel prepaid card stolen, your main account remains secure. Just freeze or cancel your card in your app, and order a replacement.

Learn more about our picks for the 5 best prepaid cards - there’s more on our top choice, Wise, next.

Wise - our pick for prepaid travel card for Australia

With this card:

  • Hold and exchange 40+ currencies and manage your money from your phone

  • No annual or monthly fees to pay, and no minimum balance requirement

  • Currency exchange uses the mid-market rate with no markup

  • Some free ATM withdrawals available every month

    Read a full Wise card review

Go to Wise
Wise card prosWise card cons

✅ Currency exchange uses the mid-market rate

✅ No foreign transaction fees apply

✅ Free to hold and spend 40+ currencies

✅ Receive payments to your Wise account in a selection of global currencies

✅ No minimum balance or ongoing fees

❌ It can take up to 14 days for your physical card to arrive by mail

❌ Free ATM withdrawals are limited to 2 per month, to the value of 350 CAD. Fees of 1.75% + 1.5 CAD after that

❌ 10 CAD fee to receive payments to Wise in CAD, via SWIFT

Go to Wise

Pros and cons of taking money to Australia with a prepaid travel card


  • Cards offer easy ways to withdraw and spend AUD conveniently - some cards also support a selection of other currencies

  • View and manage your account from an app for simple access when you’re abroad

  • Cards are available with no minimum balance or ongoing fees to pay

  • Currency exchange may have better rates than a bank will offer


  • Not all prepaid cards have international features - look out for one specifically optimised for travel

  • Exchange rates may include a markup on the mid-market rate

  • ATM fees may apply, depending on the card you pick

  • Some cards charge a fee if you spend in an unsupported currency, or if you spend a currency you don’t hold in your account already

Travel debit cards to use in Australia

Ideal for: cards you can get in person or online, to spend and withdraw in Australia and around the world

Travel debit cards from specialist services offer a card you can manage with an app that allows you to add money, view transactions and freeze or unfreeze your account if you need to. You’ll often be able to hold several different major currencies including AUD, which means you can add money to your account in advance and then convert to Australian dollars for spending while you’re away. Usually it’s free to spend a currency you hold on your card - although bear in mind that fees may apply if currency conversion is needed to cover the costs of a purchase.

Travel debit cards don’t have any interest to pay, and there’s no possibility of running up a large bill by accident. Add the money you want to spend and you’ll be able to use your card pretty much instantly. Plus, if you choose a card which supports a broad range of currencies rather than just AUD you can also use it for the next time you go away.

We’ll go into more detail about our top pick for a travel debit card - the Canada Post Cash Passport - next. You can also learn more about the best travel debit cards in Canada here.

Canada Post Cash Passport - our pick for travel debit card for Australia

With this card:

  • Get your card conveniently online or in a Canada Post location

  • Load any of up to 7 major foreign currencies, including AUD

  • No fee to spend a currency you hold in your account

  • Lock in exchange rates in advance of travel

  • Free secondary card in case your first is lost or stolen

Canada Post Cash Passport card prosCanada Post Cash Passport card cons

✅Hold 7 major currencies in your account

✅No extra fee to spend a currency you hold

✅Issued on the Mastercard network for global acceptance

✅Contactless payments or Chip and PIN options

✅24/7 global assistance if you lose your card

❌15 CAD fee to get your first card

❌3.25% fee if you spend a currency you don’t hold in your account

❌Top up and cash out fees may also apply

Pros and cons of taking money to Australia with a travel debit card


  • Secure and easy to use, and not linked to your main CAD account for an extra layer of protection

  • No need to buy your foreign currency in advance or carry lots of cash - just use ATMs with low or no fees to pay

  • Cards from specialist services are often linked to multi-currency accounts you can use on future trips too

  • No restrictive eligibility rules, interest or penalty fees


  • Some transaction fees usually apply

  • You may pay a fee when converting from one currency to another, which can be rolled up in the exchange rate you get

  • Some cards have card order or closure costs associated

Taking cash in Australia

Ideal for: those occasions when only cash will do such as tipping, taxis and small purchases

As with many countries around the world, cash use in Australia is becoming less and less common, particularly since the pandemic. However, there are still good reasons to have a few Australian dollars in your pocket, as cash is still handy for small purchases and when you want to leave a tip. It’s also important to carry a range of ways to pay, just in case your preferred option isn’t available - making cash helpful as a back up plan.

If you’re organised you can buy your Australian dollars in advance through a service like Canada Post, for home delivery or collection. Or, if you’ve run out of time you can also carry CAD to exchange on arrival in Australia, or make ATM withdrawals once you’re there. If you’re considering using a currency exchange service on arrival, remember that airports and hotels tend to offer pretty poor exchange rates so shopping around will net you a better deal.

In general ATMs can be the most convenient option for getting your AUD. Just make a withdrawal when you land so you’ve got some cash in your pocket - and there’s no need to carry lots of CAD as you leave the country. You’ll also save time and avoid having to wait around in currency exchange stores, and if you use a prepaid travel card from a provider like Wise you might also find you get some fee free withdrawals and a great exchange rate.

Do I need cash in Australia?

Cash isn’t always needed, as many stores, restaurants and hotels prefer card payments. However, there are some times when only cash will do - such as when tipping and buying things in markets.

In most cases the easiest option to get your travel cash is to make ATM withdrawals on arrival. Choose a prepaid card or travel debit card and you may also find you benefit from low or no fees and a strong exchange rate.

How to buy Australian dollars on arrival in Australia?

If you prefer to carry Canadian dollars to exchange on arrival you’ll be able to do so in tourist areas and larger towns and cities. Bear in mind your exchange options will be limited outside of busy areas - and as you’ll need to shop around to get a good deal you’ll have to take precious time out of your trip.

How to buy Australian dollars in Canada?

It’s possible to buy Australian dollars in Canada before you travel if you’d like to. Canada Post has partnered with CIBC to offer foreign cash for collection or home delivery, or there are individual currency exchange stores in all major urban centres. Fees and exchange rate markups may apply.

Best place to get Australian dollars in Canada

There’s no single best place to get your travel cash. Providers pick their own rates and fees, which can vary widely. Shopping around is essential - remember to look at both any upfront cost and the exchange rate being offered, as there’s often an extra charge tucked away in the rate a provider uses for retail customers.

Pros and cons of taking cash to Australia


  • Cash is often preferred when shopping in small stores and at markets

  • Hold some cash in AUD or CAD in case of emergency or if your card is lost or stolen

  • Make ATM withdrawals when you need to and you won’t have to carry large amounts of cash at any one time

  • Buy your cash before you leave Canada to set your budget in advance


  • Carrying a lot of cash isn't particularly safe

  • You’ll usually waste time during your break if you’re having to compare costs to get a good deal

  • Exchange rates vary widely and usually include a markup - an extra fee

    Travel credit cards to use in Australia

Ideal for: secure spending that can also help you earn benefits and rewards

If you plan to use a credit card while you’re in Australia, investing in a travel credit card may be a good plan. There may be an upfront fee, but you’ll often find you get extra rewards when you spend on travel and when you spend in foreign currencies, plus bonus features like complimentary travel insurance or travel credits. Having a credit card with you when you travel can also be useful for times you need a payment guarantee, such as when hiring a car or checking into a hotel.

As with any credit card there are fees to consider, which can include an annual charge, a cash advance fee if you use an ATM, and interest or penalties if you don’t clear your bill on time. You’ll need to decide if these potential costs outweigh the benefits you can access with a card.

Learn about our top pick - the HSBC World Elite Mastercard - next.

HSBC World Elite Mastercard - our pick for travel credit card

With this card:

  • Spend internationally with no foreign transaction fee

  • Variable interest rate based on purchase type and personal circumstances

  • Add extra cardholders to your account for free

  • Lots of extras and travel benefits offered

  • 24/7 support of you’re a victim of theft or fraud

HSBC World Elite Mastercard prosHSBC World Elite Mastercard cons

✅ No foreign transaction fee

✅ Up to 4 supplementary users on each account with no extra annual charge

✅ 24 hour worldwide assistance to get cash to you if your card is stolen

✅ Some complimentary insurance offered

✅ Options to earn rewards, including enhanced benefits for travel spending

❌ Interest and penalty fees may apply depending on how you use your card

❌ Annual fee of 149 CAD

❌ ATM withdrawals come with fees and a higher rate of interest compared to purchases

Pros and cons of travel credit cards to Australia


  • Get travel rewards, discounts and perks when you spend overseas

  • You can spread the costs of your trip out over a few months

  • Some cards have low or no foreign transaction fees

  • Use as a payment guarantee in hotels and when renting a car


  • Interest and fees usually apply if you don’t pay back your bill immediately

  • Cash advance and interest costs apply when using an ATM

  • Eligibility rules apply

Travel requirements from Canada to Australia

If you’re travelling to Australia as a tourist you won’t need a visa for a visit of up to 90 days. However, you will still need to get organised in advance as you do need to apply for an electronic travel authority - a visa waiver. Without this you won’t be allowed to board the plane.

If you intend to work or study while you’re in Australia you’ll need to get a visa and any required permits before you travel.

Check the Canadian government’s travel advisory page to learn more and to get detailed information for your specific destination.

Does Australia accept Canadian dollars? 

No. You won’t be able to spend CAD anywhere in Australia. If you’re carrying Canadian dollars with you you'll need to exchange them for Australian dollars when you arrive.

Best currency to take to Australia

You’ll only be able to spend in Australian dollars in Australia. While you can carry cash in CAD and convert it on arrival, or get some AUD in cash before you leave, for many travellers using a specialised travel card for cash withdrawals in Australia as and when you need them is the easiest solution.

Top travel money tips to Australia

Here are a few final tips to help your money go further while you’re away:

  • Have several different payment methods in case one isn't accepted wherever you are

  • Get a travel money card before you leave to make it easier and cheaper to spend and withdraw in Australia

  • Use the handy Exiap guides to learn more about currency exchange, travel cards, and more

    How much money do I need per day in Australia?

Australia is huge and varied, so how much money you’ll need really depends on your itinerary and what you enjoy doing. You can certainly blow the budget on luxuries if you want to - but it’s a country that’s known for being beautiful and laid back, so you could also cut the costs and spend your time kicking back on the beach if you’d prefer.

You’ll want to do some research to see how much day to day life will cost based on your specific plans while you’re in Australia. As an example, in Australia on average you’ll find a 3 course lunch for 2 will set you back in the region of 106 CAD, but in the cities and in popular tourist destinations you may pay much more.

Do some detailed research to see how much things are likely to cost based on your plans and where you’re headed, so you can plan your budget. Get more detailed cost information by country and city, from

Read also:

How much does it cost to fly from Canada to Australia?

At the time of writing (November 2023), the cheapest flights from Canada to Australia start from around 1,100 CAD per person return. These cheaper options are likely to include one or more stops and layovers which increase journey time. Direct flights are available but come with a higher price tag - at the time of research, you’ll pay at least 1,400 CAD for a direct flight.

Conclusion - best ways to take money to Australia

There’s no single best way to take money to Australia. In fact, having more than one way to pay is definitely a good idea - just in case you end up in a situation where your preferred payment method isn't accepted.

A good solution for many people could be to get a travel card - such as a prepaid travel card from Wise or a Canada Post Cash Passport - and to carry that as well as your regular debit or credit card as a back up. You can then use your travel card to make ATM withdrawals on arrival for those times when you need cash.


Should I exchange money before I travel to Australia?

While you can switch Canadian dollars for AUD before you travel, it’s actually very easy to just make a cash withdrawal at an ATM on arrival in Australia. This can also be cheap, and may get you a better exchange rate compared to exchanging in advance, particularly if you have a travel card from a provider like Wise.

Can I withdraw Australian dollars from a local ATM?

You can’t withdraw Australian dollars at a normal ATM in Canada. However, you can get a travel card to make an ATM withdrawal on arrival in Australia, which will often mean you pay less compared to using your bank card.

Are prepaid travel cards a good way to take money to Australia?

Travel prepaid cards from services like Wise are a safe way to spend when abroad. With Wise you’ll also get mid-market exchange rates and low, transparent fees which can bring down the costs of your trip.

Can I use cash in Australia?

Yes. While many people prefer to transact by card in Australia, there are some times when cash is unavoidable, such as when shopping in markets or with small stores. In general, making sure you always have some cash in Australian dollars, and a travel card for spending or getting cash from an ATM, is a good choice so you have a back up plan if you ever need it.