The Australian dollar may have fallen over the last year, but these 10 spots are some of the cheapest places to travel and still give Aussies big bang for their buck.
When it comes to exchanging currency, the Australian dollar is usually compared with the US dollar, British pound and euro. We’d like to flip that idea on it’s head. We’ve taken a look at where the Australian dollar has seen some of the biggest growth in the past year. These 10 destinations aren’t just fascinating places with stunning landscapes, delicious cuisines and interesting cultures, they’re some of the best-value places you can visit right now.
10 cheapest currencies to travel with in 2016 for Australians
- Argentine Peso - 36.52% increase in value
- Brazilian Real - 33.20% increase in value
- South African Rand - 19.94% increase in value
- Namibian Dollar -19.4% increase in value
- Burmese Kyat - 13.09% increase in value
- Turkish Lira - 11.67% increase in value
- Malaysian Ringgit - 9.77% increase in value
- Canadian Dollar - 6.61% increase in value
- Norwegian Krone - 6.00% increase in value
- New Zealand Dollar - 1.81% increase in value
Did you know?
You’ll now get 36 more Argentine peso for every 100 you would have gotten last year. That’s enough for a couple of extra choripans, six more empanadas or a dozen medialunas.
Home to a unique combination of South American culture and European charm, Argentina has seen a pretty steep decline against the Australian dollar this year. That, combined with some really low airfares from airlines like LAN makes it one of the cheapest places to visit right now.
Why should you go to Argentina?
- Visit the capital, Buenos Aires, and stroll it’s European-style streets.
- Take in the local culture and learn how to tango, dine on fresh empanadas and world-class steaks.
- Explore the wine regions of Mendoza, known for its Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo.
- Feel the rush of UNESCO-listed Iguaçu Falls along the border of Brazil.
With the Olympic Games coming up in Rio de Janeiro later this year, Brazil has already been high on the tourist radar. Like its neighbour to the south, Argentina, Brazil’s currency drop means Australians are getting 30% more than they were a year ago. Pair that with all of Brazil’s attractions, Rio’s newly revitalised waterfront, new bike paths and an additional tram line and you’ll be packing your bags before you know it.
Why should you go to Brazil?
- Take a dip and catch some rays at one of the most famous beaches in the world, Copacabana, or take in coastal views from Sugarloaf Mountain.
- Explore the Amazon River and surrounding rainforest, which run across the entire north of the country, from the border with Peru to the Atlantic Ocean.
- Escape to a tropical paradise and island hop in Fernando de Noronha, a UNESCO-listed archipelago known for its clear blue waters and wildlife.
Spotting the Big Five doesn’t need to mean spending the big bucks. This year, that luxury safari in South Africa is just a bit more affordable since you’ll get almost 20% more rand than you would have last year. Alternatively, stretch your dollars even further and seek out elephants, lions and rhinos on a budget tour with companies like Intrepid and G Adventures.
Why should you go to South Africa?
- Go on a safari and spot incredible African wildlife.
- Visit historic Robben Island near Cape Town where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.
- Explore the scenic coastline, mountains and wineries of the Garden Route.
Home to the otherworldly Namib and Kalahari deserts, the Namibian dollar is at par with the South African rand (which can also be used in Namibia's legal tender), making the neighbouring African nations twice as appealing to visit separately or on one extended trip.
Why should you go to Namibia?
- Climb the soaring sand dunes in the Namib desert and watch the shadows play on the sands.
- Explore Fish River Canyon, one of the largest canyons in the world.
- Visit Etosha National Park, one of the country’s largest game reserves, and spot zebras, lions, elephants and giraffes.
Only open to international tourists for six years, it’s no surprise that Myanmar is cheap to most Western travellers. You’ll find ornate temples, untouched Andaman Sea beaches, $20 hotel rooms, and local meals and drinks that cost little more than $1. The exchange rate in January 2016 would have given you 954 kyat, which is 13% more that you would have received in early 2015.
Why should you go to Myanmar?
- Visit Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most sacred Buddhist sites and home to a brilliant golden stupa.
- Sail around the Myeik Archipelago in southern Myanmar’s 800 islands, which have hardly been touched by tourism.
- See Inle Lake by boat, observe local fisherman and check out the floating gardens.
Turkey is where east meets west, a unique blend of Mediterranean Europe and Middle Eastern essence. It’s full of colourful bazaars, coastlines meeting turquoise seas and mouthwatering cuisines. And now the decline of the lira will make spending that extra day or two exploring the country’s fascinating corners a little bit more affordable.
Why should you go to Turkey?
- Explore the Turkish coastline on a traditional gulet boat.
- Take a hot air balloon ride over the fairytale landscape of Cappadocia.
- Pay your respects at a dawn vigil in Gallipoli on ANZAC Day.
From Borneo’s orangutans and volcanoes to Penang’s beaches and unrivalled cuisine, to Kuala Lumpur’s cosmopolitan shopping, Malaysia really has it all. The exchange rate has always been pretty affordable for Australians, and now it’s even more favourable. Plus, with direct budget flights from most Australian cities available with AirAsia, you’ll really have to find an excuse NOT to go.
Why should you go to Malaysia?
- Escape to the Cameron Highlands, which is full of rolling hills, tea plantations and plenty of eco-trekking opportunities
- Eat your way through Malaysia’s food capital, Penang, and stroll through the historic streets of it’s main city, Georgetown.
- Visit a proboscis monkey sanctuary or an orangutan rehabilitation centre and learn about the island’s wildlife.
Canada is known for its snow-capped mountains and pristine blue lakes in the west, charming, brightly coloured fishing villages and rocky coastlines in the east, and the world’s most multicultural city thrown into the middle. The Australian and Canadian dollars are about par again after a few years of fluctuation, so a trip to the great white north this year won’t put you back any more than staying at home for a couple of weeks. So get over there and start exploring.
Why should you go to Canada?
- Schuss down the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb, one of the world’s largest ski areas and a favourite among Aussies.
- Stroll the quaint cobblestoned streets of Old Montreal or Quebec City in the French-Canadian province of Quebec.
- Drive around the Bay of Fundy, Cape Breton Island’s Cabot Trail and charming Peggy’s Cove on the east coast.
Scandinavia has a reputation for being one of the most expensive places in the world to visit, which is why the decline of the Norwegian krone is incredible exciting for budget travellers. It’s now just a bit more affordable to visit Norway’s stunning fjords and see the northern lights.
Why should you go to Norway?
- Explore Norway’s towering fjords by ship.
- Head north to Lofoten’s dramatic landscape, where towering mountains meet the sea and clear waters lap the coast near colourful fishing villages.
- See the northern lights illuminated in shades of green and purple in the night sky.
One of our closest neighbours has always been a favourite travel destination, and it’s also a more accessible one this year. You’ll get an extra few cents on each New Zealand dollar you purchase, which will surely come in handy when you go skydiving, bungee-jumping or jet boating at some of the South Island’s most beautiful destinations.
Why should you go to New Zealand?
- Hike some of the world’s most renowned trails including the Tongaririo Alpine Crossing and Milford Track.
- Do something extreme like bungee jumping, glacier trekking or sky diving.
- Visit the set of Hobbiton on the North Island, a must-do for any Lord of the Rings fan
- It’s a quick three-hour jaunt from the east coast, making it the most accessible destination on this list.
How much has each currency increased?
|Currency||January 2015 exchange rate (equal to AUD$1)||January 2016 exchange rate (equal to AUD$1)|
|South African rand||9.45||11.33|
|New Zealand dollar||1.05||1.07|
*Exchange rates are based on the rate on 1 January 2016