The cheapest way to large amounts of money internationally is to pay a set fee per a transaction rather than paying a percentage of the cash transferred. Using an international credit or debit card means that you will be paying up to 2% on money received – that adds up to a lot. A better option is an international transfer which charges a one-off fee, but this will require you to have an Australian bank account to receive money into
Opening a Bank Account in Australia
Opening a bank account in Australia is straightforward and you can set it up before you leave home allowing you to transfer money before leaving home. For example this is Commonwealth Bank’s offering but all the major banks (ANZ, WestPac etc) offer something similar. You do however have to specify a branch so you need to sure of the city that you will start in. You will also not be able to withdraw money from the account until you are seen in person with your passport and collect your EFTPOS cards.
You will have to pay a flat few dollars a month fee but that includes all electronic transactions. So get cash out of your own bank’s ATM’s and use EFTPOS when possible with retailers and you will only pay the flat fee. To actually buy the vehicle, given the daily limit of around $800 per card per 24hour withdrawal limit you will probably have to get a bank check.
Money on the Road
Australia is very wired when it comes to paying for items. Its rare that you will need cash and the most common means of payment is EFTPOS where your card is used to direct debit a linked account. Often retailers will allow you to withdraw cash as well, usually up to a limit.
However a card will not get you anywhere and in outback areas you should probably always carry the equivalent of a 100 liters of fuel in cash for the rare occasion when a remote station supplying fuel doesn’t have EFTPOS or the telephone lines are down (which are required for the transaction to be authorized). A credit and/or debit card from your home country is a good idea as a totally separate way of paying in case anything goes wrong with the local account.