Best Australia SIM Cards for Tourists: 2024 Detailed Guide [+Internet & WiFi]

Australia SIM cards are essential for tourists visiting the country, providing connectivity and access to essential services. 

everything about australia sim cards

This blog post is written for tourists planning a trip to Australia, aiming to help them make an informed decision on the Australia SIM cards that best suit their needs. By the end of this guide, readers will have a clear understanding of the various types of SIM cards, their pricing, and where to purchase them to ensure a smooth and connected travel experience in Australia.

I. Should You Get a SIM card in Australia?

Yes, you should get an Australia SIM card for your trip because you cannot imagine how much money you can save for your trip and other benefits:

  • Cheap Internet: SIM cards have good data deals to avoid high roaming costs.
  • Easy Local Use: A local SIM lets you call, text, and use apps like a local without trouble.
  • Good Signal: Australia’s 4G/5G networks keep you connected everywhere.
  • Flexible: Prepaid SIMs help manage spending and adjust data use on your trip.

Compared to other connection options:

  • Using your home SIM in Australia can cost a lot and give little data. Better to get an Australian SIM.
  • Public WiFi is often slow and not safe. A local SIM gives you safe and steady internet.
  • Renting a mobile hotspot is pricier and less handy than just using a SIM card.

II. Types of Australia SIM Cards for Tourists – Which One is the Best?

sim card vs esim australia

For travelers heading to Australia, 2 main SIM card options cater: Prepaid Physical SIM Cards and Prepaid Tourist eSIMs. Both offer data plans, with some including voice and text capabilities.

1. Prepaid Physical SIM Card

  • Buy prepaid SIM cards in stores, airports, and other places in Australia.
  • They come in two kinds: only data, or data + calls + texts.
  • Good for tourists who need a local number in Australia.

2. Prepaid Tourist eSIM

  • Work online and need compatible devices.
  • Offer data or data + voice + text like regular SIM cards.
  • Easy for travelers to buy and use online, no physical SIM needed.

To help you have a clear picture of both types of Australian SIM cards, let’s see the comparison:

AspectPhysical SIM CardeSIM
CompatibilityWorks on all devicesOnly compatible with eSIM-enabled devices
AvailabilityWidely available at physical storesOnline purchase and activation
ConvenienceRequires visiting a storeFully digital process
SwappingRequires physical SIM swapVirtual swap without handling SIM cards

Recommendation: If your phone works with eSIM and you just need to use calling apps and the internet, get an eSIM data plan. You can check the eSIM-compatible devices here.  

III. Best Australia SIM Card Packages for Tourists and Price

Good to know: 1 AUD = 0.66 USD (May 2024)

Big mobile operators like Telstra, Optus, or Vodafone usually have the best deals and service coverage for prepaid SIM cards for many people traveling to Australia. Below are the tables including detailed information about each operator’s plans and prices.

1. Best Australia Telstra SIM Card Plans and Price

PlanDataValidityPrice (AUD)Price (USD)
$10 plan2GB7 days$10$6.60
$30 plan10GB28 days$30$19.80
$40 plan20GB28 days$40$26.40
$50 plan30GB28 days$50$33
$60 plan40GB28 days$60$39.60
$150 plan60GB6 months$150$99
$300 plan150GB12 months$300$198

2. Best Australia Optus SIM Card Plans and Price

PlanDataValidityPrice (AUD)Price (USD)
Optus Flex Plus5GB7 days$12$7.92
Optus Flex Plus60GB28 days$12$7.92
Optus Flex Plus80GB28 days$17$11.22
Optus Flex Plus120GB186 days$160$105.6
Optus Flex Plus260GB365 days$260$171.6

3. Best Australia Vodafone SIM Card Plans and Price

PlanDataValidityPrice (AUD)Price (USD)
Prepaid Plus Starter Pack45GB28 days$20$13.20
Prepaid Plus Starter Pack85GB28 days$30$19.80
Prepaid Plus Starter Pack65GB28 days$45$29.70
Prepaid Plus Starter Pack150GB185 days$119$78.54
Prepaid Plus Starter Pack240GB365 days$250$165.00
Prepaid Plus Starter Pack320GB365 days$320$211.20

IV. Where to Buy a Tourist SIM Card for Australia?

Ways to buy Australia SIM cards include:

  • Buying online before departure
  • Buy physical SIM at Australian airports
  • Buy physical Australia SIM in the cities
  • Buying an eSIM

Here is a table with more details about each buying method:

Way of BuyingHow to Do ItWhere to BuyProsCons
1. Buying online before departureVisit websites, choose & pay for the plan, and SIM will be delivered to your address in Australia.Official websites (Telstra, Optus, etc)Convenient & hassle-free. Can activate & use SIM right awayLimited choice. SIM may not arrive on time
2. Buy physical SIM at airportsLook for telco stalls at airports & purchase plan + SIMMajor airports like Sydney, Melbourne etcInstant for use. Wide choice of plansLimited choice of telcos. Extra cost for airport price
3. Buy physical SIM in the citiesVisit telco stores in cities & purchase plan + SIMTelco stores, stores like 7-ElevenWide choice of plans & telcos. Can see SIM in personTakes more effort than online. May not use SIM instantly
4. Buying an eSIMPurchase an online plan with no physical SIM. Scan the QR code to activateGigagoConvenient activation. No physical SIM handlingOnly compatible with modern devices.

Recommendation: The best choice for travelers is to get an eSIM from a reliable retailer. With an eSIM, you can easily change networks and use different data plans when traveling. You won’t have to buy a new SIM card or deal with changing numbers.

V. How Much Data Is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card for Australia?

Choosing the right data amount for your Australian trip depends on your internet usage habits. Let’s explore what different data amounts can offer!

how much data is enough for prepaid tourist sim cards australia

What can you do with 1GB of data?

  • Browse the internet for about 12 hours
  • Use GPS navigation for about 5 hours
  • Send and receive 1,000 emails (without large attachments)
  • Stream about 200 songs
  • Watch about 2 hours of standard-definition video

Now, let’s find the perfect data package for you!

  • Heavy data users (streaming, gaming, video calls): 20GB or more
  • Medium data users (regular browsing, social media, some streaming): 10-20GB
  • Light data users (emails, maps, occasional browsing): 3-10GB

Matching data to your travel style:

  • Average tourist (sightseeing, using maps, social media): 5-15GB
  • Business traveler (emails, video calls, file downloads): 15-30GB
  • Sharing with other devices (hotspot): 20GB or more, depending on the number of devices and usage

Making the most of your data:

  • Think about your typical internet activities.
  • Consider the length of your trip.
  • Remember, you can often top-up your data if needed.

With the right data package, you can stay connected throughout your Australian adventure without any worries!

VI. Australia eSIM – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards to Get Internet in Australia

The Australia eSIM is like a digital SIM card that helps travelers use the internet easily in Australia. It’s super handy because you don’t need a physical SIM card, avoiding costly roaming fees. Plus, getting and using an eSIM is quick, saving money. You won’t need to look for a store, change SIM cards, or carry extra gadgets. It’s all about making your trip smoother!

Gigago eSIM is a provider that offers different plans, both data-only and data with call credits, catering to various needs. Here are some key points about Gigago:

  • Instant eSIM delivery via email
  • Easy activation process with a QR code
  • Competitive pricing for various data allowances and validity periods
  • 24/7 customer support
esim australia gigago

For Australia, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1GB/day for 5 days with $10.50 . What is great about Gigago’s Australia eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $10.50$141.50 . Thus, it does not matter how many Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Australia, there is always an option for you with Gigago

VII. Which Australia Mobile Networks Are The Best for Tourists?

Australia is a popular tourist destination, visiting places like Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, and many cities and attractions. With a lot of travel around the different areas of Australia, mobile connectivity is important for tourists. Here’s a breakdown of the top 3 mobile contenders.

1. Telstra

telstra australia sim cards
  • Rank: 1st in Australia
  • Coverage: 99.5% of populated areas, including regional and remote locations
  • Network: 3G, 4G, and 5G
  • Average Speed: 50 Mbps
  • Awards: Best Network Coverage (PCMag 2023)

2. Optus

optus australia sim cards
  • Rank: 2nd in Australia
  • Coverage: 98.5% of populated areas, mainly focusing on major cities and towns
  • Network: 3G, 4G, and 5G
  • Average Speed: 45 Mbps
  • Awards: Best Value Mobile Network (Finder Mobile Awards 2023)

3. Vodafone

vodafone australia sim cards
  • Rank: 3rd in Australia
  • Coverage: 96% of populated areas, primarily in urban and coastal regions
  • Network: 3G, 4G, and 5G
  • Average Speed: 35 Mbps
  • Awards: Most Improved Mobile Network (PCMag 2023)


  • For travel in rural areas: Telstra has the best coverage, great for outside big cities.
  • For those on a budget: Optus has good prices and coverage in cities.
  • For city visits: Vodafone is cheap and works well in cities and coastal areas.

VIII. How to Use Australia SIM Cards and eSIM?

Sure, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to use prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs in Australia:

1. How to Use Australia SIM Cards?

  • Get a prepaid SIM with good data, call rates, and coverage for Australia.
  • Purchase the SIM before traveling or upon arrival.
  • Insert SIM to activate and follow on-screen instructions.
  • Use for calls, texts, and the internet.
  • Top up credit as needed.

2. Setting Up and Activating Australia eSIM

  • Check device eSIM compatibility.
  • Choose an eSIM plan based on data, call rates, and coverage.
  • Purchase eSIM from your provider before or upon arrival in Australia.
  • Set up eSIM using a QR code or provider instructions.
  • Once set up, use your device for calls and data in Australia.
  • Monitor data usage and top up your plan as needed.

IX. FAQs about Australia SIM cards

Do I need to unlock my phone to use Australia SIM cards?

Most likely yes, unless you purchased your phone directly from an Australian carrier. Check with your current carrier about unlocking your phone.

Do Australian SIM cards work for data in other countries?

Generally no, Australian SIM cards are intended for use within Australia. You’ll need to purchase a local SIM for other countries.

Do I need an Australian address to activate the SIM?

For prepaid SIMs, you generally don’t need an address. For postpaid plans, an Australian address is required for billing purposes.

X. Conclusion

Australia SIM cards make it easy for travelers to keep in touch while they’re visiting. You can buy prepaid SIM cards from big companies like Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone, choosing a data plan that fits what you need. With these SIM cards, you’ll get good service all over the country, letting you use the internet, make calls, and text without stressing about big roaming fees. Getting an Australia SIM card helps you enjoy your trip and stay in touch with people back home easily.