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Best Tourist Sim Cards in Australia in 2024

Choosing a sim card is hard. We've analysed the best tourist sim cards in Australia across pricing, coverage and data. Find out the best pick!

When traveling to Australia, having a sim card is essential for easy navigation and staying connected. Whether you’re searching for the best places to eat, finding directions to your accommodation, booking a taxi, or sharing photos with your family, having internet access is a must. While roaming is an option, international fees can quickly become costly.

That’s why we recommend either an eSIM or a local sim card to access local phone rates. The good news is that obtaining either of these options in Australia is incredibly convenient. To help you make the right choice, this guide provides you with all the necessary information about buying a sim card in Australia, including up-to-date pricing and the best sim card for your needs.

Table of Contents

Best Sim Card in Australia for Tourists

If you’re planning to visit Australia for longer than 7 days then I consider the best sim card in Australia to be the Optus prepaid sim card with 30GB data. This card costs $30 AUD and is valid for 30 days. You can purchase it online and get it delivered or head in to any Optus store across Australia.

If you are visiting for less than 7 days, then Telstra offers a 7 day sim card for just $10. This card has 3GB of data which should be enough for most short stays.

Telstra and Optus offer the fastest mobile download speeds in Australia and the best 4G coverage.

If you just want the most convenient option available, then I recommend the Airalo eSim which you can order here. It runs on the same, reliable Optus network, however, it costs $50 AUD for 10GB data. This is obviously a lot more expensive so we can’t recommend it to anyone looking for the cheapest Australian sim card, but we do consider it a lot more convenient than visiting a store in person.

Australia Sim Card Prices

A Tourist Sim Card in Australia costs either $10 AUD or $30 AUD in June 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.

Alternatively, an eSim in Australia will cost between $4.50 USD and $40 USD. This, again, depends on how much data you require and which eSim provider you choose.

I generally recommend this Airalo plan for most tourists visiting Australia which includes 5GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $12.50 USD.

Australia Sim Card Providers

Australia has three main sim card providers: Optus, Vodafone, and Telstra. Optus, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Australia, offers a range of competitive plans and coverage across the country. With a strong focus on customer service, Optus provides various options to suit different needs and budgets.

Vodafone, another major player in the market, offers affordable plans with good network coverage. Known for their customer-friendly policies and international roaming options, Vodafone is a popular choice for travelers and those seeking cost-effective plans.

Telstra, the largest telecommunications company in Australia, boasts the widest coverage and excellent network speeds. Though slightly pricier, Telstra offers premium service and a range of plans to suit both personal and business needs.

Overall, these three providers offer diverse options to cater to the varying needs of Australian mobile users.

Optus Tourist Sim

Optus is a leading telecommunications provider in Australia, offering tourist sim cards that cater to the needs of travelers. Their sim cards provide seamless connectivity, allowing tourists to stay connected with friends and family during their trip. With affordable and flexible data plans, tourists can browse the internet, make calls, and send texts hassle-free. Optus’ extensive coverage across Australia ensures a reliable and uninterrupted service, making it an ideal choice for tourists exploring the country.

Optus Australia Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Optus tourist sim card in Australia is $30 AUD.

The plan offered by Optus stores includes 30 GB data + unlimited calls and texts valid for 30 days.

Vodafone Tourist Sim

Vodafone, a renowned telecommunications company, offers tourist SIM cards in Australia, tailored to accommodate the needs of international travelers. These SIM cards provide excellent network coverage across the country, allowing tourists to stay connected with family and friends with ease. With affordable data and call packages, visitors can access the internet, use popular social media platforms, and navigate maps effortlessly. Vodafone’s tourist SIM cards are a convenient and budget-friendly option for staying connected while exploring Australia.

Vodafone Australia Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Vodafone tourist sim card in Australia is $30 AUD.

The plan offered by Vodafone stores offers 40GB data valid for 28 days.

Telstra Tourist Sim

Telstra is a leading telecommunications company in Australia known for offering reliable connectivity to both locals and tourists. Their tourist sim cards provide travelers with seamless communication options during their visit to Australia. With extensive coverage across the country, Telstra ensures uninterrupted Internet access and strong network signals. These sim cards come with generous data plans, affordable international calling rates, and can be easily purchased from various retail outlets or online for a hassle-free mobile experience.

Telstra Australia Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Telstra tourist sim card in Australia is either $12 AUD or $35 AUD.

The plan offered by Telstra stores includes 3GB data or 15GB data valid for 7 days or 28 days.

How to Get a Sim Card in Australia

Identify mobile providers: Optus, Vodafone and Telstra are your best options in Australia.

Find your nearest store: Locate a store or retailer by searching on Google Maps for your nearest store or asking at your hotel reception. I’ve never had issues finding a store as they can usually be found in major cities, shopping centers, or tourist areas. If possible, I always recommend to to avoid airports and head in to an official store in the city.

Bring the necessary documents: It is always a good idea to carry your passport or identification documents for sim card registration purposes. We’ve found most providers will need to confirm your identity to provide a sim card and it can be a major hassle to head to a store only to have to come back again later with your passport.

Choose your plan: Either request the plan you are after or consult with the staff in the store to select the right plan for you. My recommendations at the beginning of this guide are a good starting point, but the staff will usually be able to suggest the best option.

Pay and activate your card: Pay for the SIM card and plan, and the staff will activate it for you.

Test: It’s always a good idea to check that you can access the internet before you leave the store. I always search for something on Google then refresh my Instagram feed to check it’s working fine.

Where to Get a Sim Card in Australia

At the Airport

Buying a prepaid sim card for Australia at the airport is usually considered the most convenient option for travellers arriving by plane.

However, airport stores selling sim cards are almost guaranteed to charge inflated prices, so if you are a cost-conscious traveller then you should definitely buy your sim card from a store in the city center.

In addition to this, we would argue that buying physical sim cards at all aren’t particularly convenient now that most people use esim compatible phones. If you are looking for the most convenient option, then buying an esim before you arrive or with the airport wifi is much easier and will save you having to queue up or communicate with staff.

If you must purchase a sim card at the airport in Australia then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Australia have stores selling sim cards. Despite the prices being higher than normal, the staff are knowledgable and will be able to get you set up with the correct sim card relatively quickly.

In Stores

If you want to avoid the inflated sim card prices you’ll find at the airport and your phone isn’t esim compatible, then you’re going to need to head in to a store to buy your sim card.

I recommend visiting one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet operators such as Optus, Vodafone and Telstra. Your best option is to enter their names into Google Maps and find the branch closest to your hotel or accommodation. Typically the staff in the official stores in Australia are knowledgable and helpful which means you can ensure you’ll walk away with a functioning sim card.

Despite this, it’s always a good idea to check your internet is working before you leave the store by loading a Google search results page and your preferred social media app. You should also ensure you always bring your passport with you when purchasing a sim card in case they need to register it.

Online

If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in Australia with your sim card all sorted and your phone ready to connect to the internet immediately then you should look into purchasing a sim card online.

The first option is to buy your sim card in advance via SimOptions, which is a company that will prepare and ship a sim card directly to your door. It’s a reliable and effective service, but with the invention of eSims it’s becoming obsolete.

The better option is to purchase an eSim online. We’ve written more on that below!

Australia eSim

An eSim is a digital version of a traditional sim card and is most likely the future of connectivity for mobile devices. The convenience of no longer visiting a store, handing over your passport and purchasing a physical sim card is quickly making physical sim cards obsolete in favour of eSims.

We recommend Airalo’s eSim when travelling to Australia. The Airalo Australia eSim offers fast internet speeds, wide coverage and extremely competitive prices making it a far more compelling option than purchasing a physical sim card from any of the local sim card providers.

In order to get set up with an Airalo eSim, all you need to do is visit Airalo here and purchase the eSim online (the $12.50 USD plan is suitable for most travellers). Once you’ve purchased the sim card Airalo will email you instructions and a QR code. Following these instructions should take just a couple of minutes, then you’ll have a sim card in Australia without having to venture outside.

Airalo Australia

Our preferred eSim provider in Australia is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Australia and found the service to be equal to the local sim card but without the hassle of acquiring a sim card in a store.

Airalo’s Australia eSim uses the Optus network to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the Optus networknetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Australia.

Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Australia eSim:

1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $4.50 USD
2GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $8 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $9 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $12.50 USD
10GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $20 USD
20GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $40 USD

For most travellers we recommend the 5GB data plan for $12.50 USD which is valid for 30 days. Some travellers may prefer a larger plan, whilst travellers visiting for just a couple of days may be fine with a smaller plan.

Holafly Australia

An alternative eSim provider we can recommend is Holafly.

Holafly’s eSim is a suitable option for travellers who require large amounts of data, such as digital nomads and people who work online while they travel. All of Holafly’s Australia eSims offer unlimited data.

Holafly’s Australia eSim uses the Optusnetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Australia

Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Australia eSim:

10GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $34 USD
20GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $44 USD

What is an eSim?

An eSIM, also known as an embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is built directly into a device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Unlike traditional physical SIM cards, the eSIM does not require insertion or removal from the device.

Instead, the eSIM is seamlessly integrated into the device’s hardware and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This technology allows users to effortlessly switch between different mobile networks or plans without the need for physical SIM card swapping.

The advantages of eSIM technology include convenience, flexibility, and user-friendliness, particularly for travelers or individuals who frequently switch between mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the hassle of purchasing and inserting physical SIM cards, making it much more convenient to manage multiple mobile connections on a single device.

To activate an eSIM, users simply need to scan a provided QR code or manually enter the activation details. Once activated, the device can connect to the chosen mobile network and access voice, data, and messaging services just like with a traditional SIM card.

Why Use an eSim?

There are several reasons why using an eSIM can be beneficial. Firstly, it offers convenience as there is no need to physically insert or remove a SIM card when switching between networks or plans. This is particularly useful for frequent travelers. Secondly, eSIM allows for dual SIM functionality, meaning you can have two active mobile numbers on one device. This can be helpful for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines. Additionally, eSIMs are space-saving as they are embedded within the device, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card slot. This frees up space within the device, making it smaller or allowing for other components. Another advantage is remote provisioning. Activation and management of mobile plans can be done remotely, without a physical SIM card or store visit. This offers flexibility and convenience. Lastly, eSIM technology is future-proof as more networks and providers offer support for eSIMs. This ensures users can take advantage of new services and offerings. Overall, eSIM technology provides flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it a compelling choice for many users.

eSim Supported Phones

eSIM technology is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by a growing number of smartphones and other devices. Here are some examples of eSIM-compatible phones:

Apple iPhone series (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.): Apple was one of the early adopters of eSIM technology and offers support for eSIM on various iPhone models.

Google Pixel series (Pixel 3, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, etc.): Google’s Pixel smartphones also support eSIM functionality, allowing users to activate and use eSIMs.

Samsung Galaxy series (Galaxy S22, Galaxy Note 20, etc.): Many of Samsung’s flagship devices now come with eSIM support, enabling users to utilize eSIM technology.

OnePlus devices (OnePlus 7, OnePlus 8, etc.): OnePlus has included eSIM support in some of its smartphone models, offering users the flexibility of using eSIMs.

Motorola Razr (2020): The latest iteration of the iconic Motorola Razr features eSIM compatibility, enabling users to use eSIMs for cellular connectivity.

These are just a few examples, and the list of eSIM-compatible phones continues to expand as more manufacturers embrace this technology. There’s a very strong chance your phone supports eSims so if you’re unsure we recommend looking it up on our list of eSim supported phones.

How to Use an eSim

Using an eSim is new for many travellers, however, the good news is it’s surprisingly easy to get set up – even for the technologically challenged!

Here’s a general guide on how to use an eSIM:

Check eSIM Compatibility: Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Many newer smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other devices are eSIM compatible including all iPhones produced since 2018.

Obtain an eSIM: There are multiple ways to acquire an eSIM. You can purchase an eSIM online from a provider like Airalo (which we recommend) or directly from a mobile network operator. Some devices also allow you to scan a QR code provided by your carrier to download the eSIM profile.

Activate the eSIM: Your eSim provider will send you instructions to activate the sim. This will usually involve scanning a QR code, entering an activation code, or downloading the eSIM profile directly onto your device.

Set up the eSIM: Once activated, your device will guide you through the eSIM setup process. This typically involves selecting the eSIM as your preferred mobile plan, configuring settings like data roaming, and entering any necessary authentication details.

Enjoy the Connection: Once the eSIM is set up, you can use it as you would with a physical SIM card. Make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and use data services as needed. You can also switch between eSIM profiles if you have multiple eSIMs installed on your device.

Mitchell

Mitchell

Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. I've travelled all around the world, using and testing countless travel sim cards along the way. I'm the founder of and writer for Travel Sim Expert where I write guides to help travellers stay connected all around the world.

Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. Travel Sim Expert is a blog dedicated to helping you find the best sim card for you, no matter where you are or what your budget is. 

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