How to buy a prepaid Australian SIM card?

Gert Svaiko

Getting ready for a trip to Australia from the UK? With so many things to see and do, your brain must be buzzing with exciting ideas and plans. However, one practical thing you should think about is how you’ll be getting around and communicating while you’re there.

To make sure you have a perfect Australian vacation, consider getting an Australian SIM card. Not only will this help you avoid unnecessary expenses, it will also allow you to have access to useful tourist apps without having to rely on Wi-Fi.

Also, if you need a cost-effective way to handle your finances across borders, check out the Wise card from the money services provider Wise. It can help you get ready for your stay in Australia and save money while travelling abroad. You can pay and withdraw cash like a local for low fees and great mid-market exchange rates.


Table of contents

Why should you buy a prepaid SIM card when travelling to Australia from the UK?

Using an Australian SIM card on your trip is a great way to save money. Since international calls and data usage usually aren’t included in UK monthly plans, they are an additional expense. So, better to have an Australian SIM than to get charged by your provider for using your phone abroad.

Since you won’t have to schedule Wi-Fi breaks throughout the day, it will be easier to stay connected with friends and family. You'll have access to Australia’s extensive and stable cellular network the entire time. Also, having an Australian SIM card also allows you to use GPS and maps, which are all travel essentials.

An Australian SIM package could also come in handy for meeting new people. With no language barrier in between, you could really blend in with the locals, especially if you’re going to study in Australia.

If you’re still not convinced, you could rely on international roaming instead. Most networks, such as VOXI or Sky Mobile, offer global roaming packages that include Australia. Ask your provider what they’re offering, but know that this can be a more expensive option.

How much does a SIM card cost in Australia?

There’s a range of options when it comes to buying an Australian SIM for tourists. Prices depend on the amount of data and number of days you’ll use the card for.

Amaysim and Boost Mobile have the cheapest deals when it comes to SIM cards for very short stays. If you need unlimited data, eSIMs have better deals.


How to buy a prepaid Australian SIM card?

Getting a SIM card in Australia is pretty easy, since there are many selling points available. You can get them by going to an operator’s store or by ordering it online.

Australia’s biggest mobile service companies are Telstra, Optus and TPG. There are many Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) that use their networks, such as Boost Mobile, Moose Mobile or Tangerine Telecom.

You can’t activate your Australian SIM without proof of ID. If you have an Australian passport or you’ve moved to Australia, you can use your driving licence or Australian passport. And if you’re just a tourist, you need your international passport and a valid visa

When you find your ideal SIM card, it’s time to pay. You can use cash, as well as your credit card, debit card or even a prepaid travel card.

Where can you buy an Australian SIM card in the UK?

In case you want to start your trip prepared, you can get an Australian SIM card delivered to your UK address. A couple of available deals are ones at Simcorner or TravSim. However, keep in mind that you’ll need your Australian visa to activate them, so plan accordingly.

Buying an eSIM might be a better option in this case, since you’ll have more to choose from. Some providers only sell country-specific eSIM cards, while others have regional or global packages. Either way, you’ll probably find an offer that suits you, all from the comfort of your home.

📚 Read more: How to buy a SIM card in the UK?

Can you buy an Australian SIM card at the airport?

Yes, you can get an Australian SIM card as soon as you land. Most airports have multiple network operator stores and stands, so you can take this time to explore their offers. Sydney Airport, for example, has Optus and Vodafone shops.²


Best prepaid SIM cards for Australia

Here are some of the best SIM card options for a short stay or holiday in Australia.


One of the biggest Australian mobile networks has two Traveller SIM card options for tourists, both valid for 28 days. They cost $35 and $45 each, depending on the amount of data included.

The cheaper Traveller SIM has 60 GB of data and 400 minutes of international calls to 20 destinations, UK included. The bigger one gets you 90 GB of data and 800 international minutes. However, they both have unlimited domestic calls and texts.


Telstra has a variety of prepaid SIM cards, so they probably have something for you. You can get their Prepaid Mobile deal, the Prepaid Mobile Casual or just a rechargeable SIM card if you need more time to decide.

There are five Prepaid Mobile packages and their expiration period is between 7 days and 12 months. All plans have unlimited calls and texts to all Australian numbers.

The 7-day Prepaid Mobile plan has 3 GB of data for $12. It also includes 100 international texts, which might come in handy at some point.

There are two 28-day plans for $35 and $45. The cheaper one has 35 GB of data, while the pricier one lets you use 50 GB. Both include a certain amount of minutes for international calls divided by country zones.

If you plan on extending your stay or coming back to Australia soon, you can opt for either Telstra’s 6-month or yearly prepaid plan. The smaller plan costs $160, but its 110 GB of data are plenty for most users. Their 12-month prepaid package has 230 GB for a price of $320. The plans have 3000 and 6000 international minutes respectively.

Telstra’s Prepaid Mobile Casual only has one deal valid for up to 6 months. It’s a smaller package, but ideal for those who don’t need a lot of data and just want a longer validity period. For $35, you get 350MB and 95 minutes for local calls.

Lastly, you can get Telstra’s Prepaid Starter Kit SIM for only $2. It gives you an Australian number which you can receive calls to while you decide on a package.


Amaysim is Optus’s MVNO. They have both data only plans and prepaid SIM cards with calls included. You can cancel your number anytime you want, but make sure you do it before the expiration period and automatic recharge.

The best option for short stays is their 7-day, $10 SIM card. You get unlimited international calls and texts and 10 GB of data.

If you only need an Australian SIM card for internet access, Amaysim has three different data only deals. The first one costs $15 for 7 GB of data, the next one is $40 for 50 GB and finally $60 for 90 GB. All plans have a 28-day validity period.

If you plan on buying an Australian SIM in person, make sure you ask the employees if there are any discounts in the plan.⁶

Boost Mobile⁷

Boost Mobile uses Telstra’s network, so good coverage is guaranteed. Tourists can choose between their starter plan and five 28-day plans with more data.

The starter plan costs $12 for 7 days. It includes 5GB of data and unlimited calls and texts to Australian numbers.

If you’re going on a longer vacation, you should consider one of Boost Mobile’s 28-day packages. They range from $35 for 45 GB to $70 for 115 GB of data. You can stay in touch with all your friends back home, since unlimited international calls are part of the deal.


Best e-SIM cards for Australia

One of the most convenient ways to avoid international roaming fees is getting an eSIM. As long as your phone is compatible with them, you’re only a couple of clicks away. Here are some of the best ones for trips to Australia.


Airalo is one of the most popular eSIM providers in the world. They offer six Australian eSIM plans that cost up to $40 for a 30 day validity period. The most affordable plan costs $4.5 at the moment and it allows 1 GB of data usage over the course of 7 days.

Airalo’s offer also includes global eSIMs, which can be a great budget option if you plan on travelling to multiple countries. Global eSIMs can be used in 126 countries, Australia included. The prices start at $9 for 7 days and go up to $89 for year-long deals that include calls and texts.⁹

eSIM Australia

eSIM Australia has two nationwide plans in their offer - the Unlimited Data and Fixed Data plan. Both have free mobile hotspots, so you can even share them with your friends and split the costs.

The Unlimited Data plan has three versions - Lite with 0.5GB of high-speed internet per day, Basic with 1 GB and Pro with 2 GB. They can be used between 5 and 20 days, so the prices are between $7.99 and $55.99.¹⁰

The Fixed Data plan is the most limiting one, but it’s good for those who know exactly how much data they need. The packages cost between $9.99 and $59.99 at the moment. The biggest one has 30 GB of data over the course of a month.¹¹


Holafly only offers unlimited data eSIMs, but you can’t share them with others through a hotspot. Their prices start at $27 for 5 days, but the more days you buy, the better the deal.

For instance, the eSIM you can use for 10 days in Australia will set you back $49, while the 20-day one is $84.

Spend like a local in Australia with Wise

As you decide on the perfect Australian SIM card for your trip, it's also a good idea to check out options for holiday spending.

The Wise card from the money services provider Wise is a convenient choice. For a one-time cost of just £7, you can spend like a local in Australia and 150+ more countries. The Wise card has no foreign transaction fees for spending abroad, no hidden fees or margins, and only a small currency conversion fee.

You can get the Wise card by opening a Wise multi-currency account. It’s not a bank account but offers many similar features.

What’s more, you can also make international payments for low fees and mid-market exchange rates. The account supports 40+ currencies, including AUD. You can send money to pay for a rental car, accommodation, or the like while still in the UK.

Sign up with Wise today 💰

Sources used for this article:

  1. Australia Post - Activate your SIM card
  2. Sydney Airport - Shops
  3. Optus - Traveller SIM
  4. Telstra - Prepaid Plans and Prepaid SIM Cards
  5. Amaysim - SIM Only Plans
  6. Amaysim - Unlimited 80 GB Plan
  7. Boost Mobile - Prepaid Plans
  8. Airalo - Australia eSIM
  9. Airalo - Global eSIM
  10. eSIM Australia - Unlimited Plans
  11. eSIM Australia - Fixed Plans
  12. Holafly - Australia eSIM

Sources last checked on date: 16-Feb-2024

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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