A working understanding of the Australian currency is vital if you want to be able to shop, work and conduct business with confidence. This understanding should include an understanding of the value of the Australian dollar versus other major currencies and the practical use of the currency in everyday life.

While the value of the Australian dollar fluctuates against all worldwide currencies it is regular measured against the USD (US dollar), GBP (Great British Pound), the Euro and Japanese Yen. The chart below gives an indicator of how the Australia dollar has performed against the US dollar over the past 10 years.

The physical units of currency, like many other countries are divided into notes and coins.

Australian Notes

Notes are currently made from polymer while earlier versions were made from paper.  Australian notes now in circulation come in 5,10,20,50 and $100 denominations. Each note is coloured differently to avoid confusion which can be useful when you are in a hurry.

The $5 note is a pink/purple colour that features a picture of Parliament House in Canberra, the face of Queen Elizabeth II and various Australian flora and fauna.

The $10 note is blue featuring Australian poets Banjo Paterson and Dame Mary Gilmore on alternate sides.

The $20 note is described as being burnt orange in colour.  It features early businesswoman, Mary Reibey on one side and legendary Air Ambulanceman John Flynn on the other.

The $50 note is yellow. It features the first woman parliamentarian, Edith Cowan and indigenous Australian author David Unaipon on each side.

The hundred dollar note is green. Famous opera soprano Dame Nellie Melba is featured on one side and the engineer for John Monash is on the other.

The various denominations of the Australian currency do not come in regulation sizes. The smallest note is the $5 note while the hundred-dollar note is the largest in size as well as value.

Australian Coins

Australian coins are coloured silver or gold. It is important to note that they are not made up of these metals but merely coloured in this way to distinguish them.

Australian coins currently in circulation are 5c 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 coins. One and two cent coins were removed from circulation some years ago and were hopper in colour.

5, 10 and 20 cent pieces are all silver and round in shape with the five cent coin being the smallest and the twenty cent coin being the largest. The fifty cent coin is silver but is a twelve-sided polygon. Both the $1 and $2 coin a gold in colour. The $2 coin is roughly the size of the five cent piece and the dollar coin has a comparable size to the ten cent piece.

Shopping with Australian Notes and Coins

The removal of the one and two cent pieces from the Australian system has seen the practice of rounding introduced into shops when people pay cash for items. These items will often be advertised on sale for $1.98 or $1.99. Anyway, the total of the items purchased will eventually be rounded up to the nearest five cents.

It’s also worth remembering that some coin payment machines will not accept five cent pieces and it is always handy to have some $1 and $2 coins in your pocket, especially when visiting the supermarkets like ALDI.

Once you become familiar with the Australian currency you will find it very easy to understand.

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