The Best Places to Buy Australian Dollars in New Zealand 2024

If you have a trip to Australia coming up, you’ll need to work out how to pay for things while you’re there. You’ve got several different options, all of which come with their own benefits, fees and exchange rates. Getting Australian dollars in cash is popular and familiar - but ordering a travel money card from a provider like Wise or Revolut could work out cheaper and more convenient overall.

How to buy Australian Dollars (AUD) with NZD

AUD travel card

An Australian travel card can be used to spend money in AUD when you’re in Australia or shopping online with Australian retailers. You’ll be able to use the card to make in person and online payments, link it to a wallet like Apple Pay for mobile payments, or make cash withdrawals in AUD on arrival in Australia.

Wise debit card

A Wise debit card can be an easy way to exchange and spend the currency you need when travelling to Australia. You’ll just have to top up your card balance in New Zealand dollars, and convert to AUD or any other currency you may need when travelling.

With a Wise card you’ll always get the mid-market rate to convert between currencies, with a low, transparent fee that can be as low as 0.43%. Once you’ve got a balance, you’re all set for spending in AUD and 40+ other currencies.

You can also withdraw money from an ATM whenever you need cash and spend like a local in person or online.

It's free to open a Wise account and you can order the travel debit card for a one-off $14 charge.

Revolut debit card

Recently launched in New Zealand, Revolut is a financial super app and travel card service which already has 35 million customers globally. You’ll be able to pick from 3 different account plans, including a Standard plan which has no ongoing fees to pay, and 2 upgraded account options - Premium and Metal - which have monthly charges but which unlock more features.

Revolut cards let you hold a multi-currency balance and spend in 150+ countries including Australia. That means you can add money in New Zealand dollars and switch over to AUD in the Revolut app instantly for spending and withdrawals. Depending on the account plan you pick you’ll get some no fee currency conversion which uses the mid-market exchange rate, and some low or no cost ATM withdrawals, with fair usage fees once you’ve exhausted your particular account plan limits.

Buy AUD Online

If you want to leave home with some AUD in cash in your pocket, ordering your travel cash online is usually the cheapest way to go, but you need to plan in advance. Depending on which travel money service you pick, you might be able to choose where to pick the order up from or get it home delivered.

Click and collect using Travelex

  • Use a promo code to get a much better rate. Click here to learn how it works
  • Don't pay by card. There is card processing fee you can avoid by using bill pay
  • There is a minimum of $250 and a maximum amount of $10,000 per transaction

Get AUD through a bank

Many New Zealand banks do exchange currency. The issue is that they often have high fees, and don't offer very good rates. It's always better to compare rates elsewhere before deciding, but as a standard rule it's best to avoid your bank. Especially for a popular currency like the Australian Dollar, which you’ll find easily enough through an online order service.

Currency exchange stores

This is the best way to get currency quickly. You will find currency exchange stores in major shopping centres and towns, as well as in hotels, train centres and airports. Exchange rates and fees vary widely, so shopping around is essential to make sure you get a fair overall cost for your travel cash. Read more with our full guide to currency exchange in New Zealand.

Money Tips

  • Get familiar with the mid-market rate for your currency before you go to an exchange store. You’re looking for providers which use this rate or as close as possible to it, to get the best available deal
  • The AUD 'buy' rates are usually better at a city centre exchange desk compared to at an airport or hotel. So it can be worth going into the city if you’re able to - we’ll look at airport currency exchange options in more detail next
  • Always ask for a better rate. We've found you can often get a better deal just by asking, particularly if you're buying more than $100

Can I exchange NZD-AUD in the airport?

It can be tempting to simply pick up your AUD travel cash as you pass through the airport. While this is usually possible, it’s seldom a good idea because you’ll often find the exchange rates on offer include a hefty markup. Exchange services know that by this stage travellers are running out of options, and there’s not usually any local competition to drive down costs. If you can, it's usually better to pick another way to get your travel cash - or to hold on and make an ATM withdrawal on arrival in Australia instead.

Money Tips

  • Ordering your AUD online and picking it up at the airport can be much cheaper than buying it in person
  • If you have to use an airport exchange service, bear in mind that these services are usually located in specific areas of the airport. If you accidentally miss the desk as you pass through the airport, you may not be able to return later, if you’ve already gone through security or immigration for example
  • If you've run out of time before your trip, you may be better off waiting to make an ATM withdrawal on arrival in Australia - use a travel debit card from a provider like Wise or Revolut and you may also get a great exchange rate and low or no ATM fees

What is the cheapest way to buy AUD in New Zealand?

The cheapest way to buy AUD in New Zealand is usually to get a travel money card you can use for spending and withdrawals in Australia, or to use an online order service if you’d prefer to carry AUD cash on departure. 

Choosing to get your travel cash from your bank is also an option, but remember to double check the travel money exchange rates as these are unlikely to be the most competitive you’ll find. Finally, leaving it to the last moment to buy travel cash at the airport will usually mean you pay higher overall costs, and face hiked up exchange rates - making this one of the most expensive options.

How to get AUD in New Zealand

If you want to buy Australian dollars in cash before you leave New Zealand you’ll usually need to visit a bank or a money exchange store. In most cases you can either take along NZD in cash for exchange, or pay with a card - but using a card can work out more expensive as there’s often an extra charge from the provider. If you use a credit card you’ll probably have to pay a cash advance fee to the card issuer as well, increasing the overall cost even further.

How to buy AUD online

You can buy your travel cash online, and depending on the provider you pick, you can either have the money delivered to your door, or you can collect it in a branch office. Services like Travelex offer currency for home delivery or collection, so all you’ll need to do is set up your order online and pay by card or bill pay. You’ll need to have some ID ready for collection or to take delivery of your money - and don’t forget that someone will need to be home when your cash arrives.

ATMs are so commonly available now that carrying lots of cash with you when you travel isn’t usually necessary, and can be a security risk, too. Instead of holding too much in AUD when you leave home, you can always get a travel card from a service like Wise or Revolut and make ATM withdrawals as and when you need to once you arrive. This can work out cheaper, and can be safer, too.

Where can I get the best exchange rate for AUD?

Shopping around is the only way to make sure you get the best exchange rate available when you buy your travel money. It’s usually pretty easy to compare some different travel money solutions online so you’ll be able to make an informed decision. Make sure you check both the fees and exchange rates, as well as any extras like delivery charges if you decide to get cash sent to your home. Here’s a summary of the typical exchange rates available for the options we’ve explored so far:

Wise exchange rate: All currency exchange uses the mid-market exchange rate, with low fees from 0.43% which are split out transparently so you can see what you’re paying

Revolut exchange rate: Revolut account plans all offer some currency exchange which uses the mid-market exchange rate. Fair usage fees may apply if you exceed the exchange limit for your specific plan

Banks: Many banks offer currency exchange, but the exchange rates aren’t necessarily the best available, and they’ll be fixed centrally which means individual bank staff can not negotiate on the costs

Currency exchange stores: Exchange rates can vary and usually include a markup - you may find providers are willing to price match local competitors, or give a better rate for a higher value transaction

Airports: Airport exchange services usually add a fairly high markup to the exchange rates offered, but you might find a more competitive rate if you order in advance online and just collect your money as you pass through the airport

Conclusion: Best ways to buy AUD in New Zealand

The good news is that there are plenty of different ways to buy AUD in New Zealand for your upcoming trip. However, to get the best option for you it’s worth comparing a few different methods based on convenience and cost, so you know you’re getting a good deal.

If you want to take cash with you in AUD, ordering online with a provider like Travelex or heading to a city centre exchange office can be fairly good value compared to using your bank or buying AUD in the airport. The downside is the inconvenience of needing to visit an exchange office or Travelex branch, or to wait at home for a delivery of cash.

If you have time, ordering a travel debit card from a provider like Wise or Revolut is usually the cheapest and most convenient option available, as you’ll be able to pay in AUD and make cash withdrawals on arrival when you need to. Exchange rates are usually fair, and you may get some no-fee currency exchange and ATM withdrawals which have no extra charges as well. Use this guide to kickstart your research and see what the best way to get Australian dollars will be for your personal preferences and needs.

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Our most frequently asked questions

1. What is the cheapest way to buy Australian dollars?

When you buy Australian dollars the amount you pay will come down to both the commission or conversion fee, and the exchange rate being offered by any provider. Currency exchange services and banks often add an extra fee in the exchange rate being used, which pushes up prices without you realising. This means the cheapest way to buy Australian dollars (AUD) is often to use a travel debit card or a specialist multi-currency account to spend and make card withdrawals with low fees and the real exchange rate.

2. Is it better to exchange money in New Zealand or Australia??

Whether you choose to buy your travel money in New Zealand or Australia comes down to personal preference. However, to make sure you get the best deal it’s important to look at the exchange rate being offered, to make sure it’s fair. Find the live mid-market exchange rate for your currency with a Google search, and look for a provider which offers this - or as close as possible to it. For many travellers the most reliable way to get a good rate is to use a travel debit card to spend or make cash withdrawals on arrival in Australia].

3. Should I exchange money before I travel?

It’s not usually necessary to buy AUD before you leave New Zealand. Many travellers find it more convenient to make a cash withdrawal at an ATM on arrival in Australia instead of exchanging money in advance. This can also mean you get a better exchange rate compared to using a currency exchange service before departure.

If you’re concerned about heading off to Australia with no cash in your pocket, just exchange a small amount before departing, and use your card to withdraw the bulk of the cash you need as and when you need it.

4. Do airports charge more for currency exchange?

Airport currency exchange services tend to be a very expensive way to get your travel money. While they may not have high upfront fees, the exchange rates offered are often pretty poor, which means you pay more than you need to when buying your AUD. If you really want to use an airport currency exchange service you might get a slightly better rate if you order your Australian dollar in advance online and collect it at a kiosk in the airport - but making a cash withdrawal at an ATM on arrival is often the cheaper option.

5. Do banks charge for currency exchange?

Banks may charge an upfront fee for converting currencies as well as adding an extra fee in the form of an exchange rate markup. Often the upfront fee may look quite low, but the exchange rate markup can push up costs significantly.

6. How do you know if an exchange rate is good?

To get the best available exchange rate you’ll need to find a currency exchange service which offers the mid-market exchange rate or as close as possible to it. Find the live mid-market rate for your currency using a Google search or a reputable currency conversion app, and look for providers offering this rate if you can. Usually you’ll get the best deal when you use an online specialist service rather than a bank or airport currency exchange provider.

Want to find the best time to buy?

Simply use our free email alerts to track the rate daily. Or set the rate you want and we'll email you when it's time to buy.

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Ileana Ionescu
Content manager
With a background in business journalism, Ileana is an experienced content manager, creating content for Exiap that helps its audience make informed decisions about their finances.
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Last updated
December 17th, 2023