Best VPN for Australia 2023: Going Dark Down Under
With Australia’s new surveillance bill, using a VPN to add a bit of privacy to your internet connection is more important than ever. But choosing the right provider is easier said than done, which is why we’ve got a list of the best Australian VPN services for you.
Australia is truly an amazing country — from landmarks that include the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, to the mesmerizing beaches and reefs you can explore. That being said, if you’re visiting and you want your internet connection to remain protected only, you need a virtual private network service.
This has become even more important now that the Australian Senate has passed a surveillance bill that allows the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to monitor suspected online criminal activity, effectively without a warrant. While there are limitations on how this can be used, it’s better to be safe than sorry, which is why you need the best Australian VPN to keep your connection secure.
- Whether you’re in Australia and want a foreign IP address, or you want another Australian IP for added security, a VPN has you covered.
- ExpressVPN is overall the best provider in terms of connection speed, security features and server locations, but it is expensive.
- You can save a bit by opting for one of the alternatives like NordVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost and Windscribe, but each of them will compromise in one way or another.
- Free VPNs are generally not recommended, but if you’re in a pinch, TunnelBear gets you a VPN server in the Land Down Under.
We reviewed several options, and ExpressVPN took the title of the best virtual private network for Australia. However, it might not be the right choice for you, so read on to see which other VPN service providers made the list.
11/17/2021 Facts checked
Since our last article, Australia has passed a surveillance bill which makes using a VPN service more important than ever, ExpressVPN takes the top spot over NordVPN, and Surfshark is a new addition to the list.
Updated Windscribe pricing: the paid plan increased to $5.75 per month from $4.08. The Build-a-Plan minimum purchase also increased to $3 from $2. Also updated Windscribe’s free data cap to 15GB due to it offering 5GB extra permanently when you tweet about the service.
You can get an Australian VPN by downloading the app for your device from a reliable VPN provider like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost or Windscribe.
Yes, TunnelBear is the only free VPN that offers an Australia VPN server, but it does come with some limitations.
Yes, using a VPN is perfectly legal in Australia.
Top VPNS for Australia
Average speedDownload Speed91 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency4 ms$6.66 / month(save 48%)(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
- : 5
Average speedDownload Speed92 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency3 ms$3.49 / month(save 70%)(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
- : 6
Average speedDownload Speed90 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency110 ms$2.49 / month(save 80%)(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
Average speedDownload Speed98 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency1 ms$5.75 / month(save 36%)(All Plans) 3-days money-back guarantee
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
Average speedDownload Speed70 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency38 ms$2.37 / month(save 81%)(All Plans) 45-days money-back guarantee
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin, Amazon Pay
- : 7
What Makes the Best Australian VPN?
With Australia being rather far away from both Europe and the U.S., the most important aspect of a VPN provider is speed. Fast speeds between a VPN’s server locations will ensure you have a usable VPN connection when you connect to servers that are farther away. The following services all feature good speed performance.
- ExpressVPN — Fastest overall VPN with a great server spread
- NordVPN — Great alternative with a very intuitive UI
- Surfshark — Easy-to-use VPN provider with unlimited simultaneous connections
- Windscribe — Feature-rich VPN with the option to build your own plan
- CyberGhost — Affordable provider with purpose-specific servers
Aside from the speed, you should also make sure the VPN has plenty of server locations to choose from to access geoblocked content on popular streaming platforms. Bonus points if the provider has VPN servers in Australia, because you can get added security without sacrificing speed.
In addition, the “spy” bill that we briefly mentioned means that online security should be a priority when you’re choosing a VPN service. You want your connection and real IP address to remain private, rather than having your internet traffic monitored. Last but not least, prices can vary wildly — make sure you get a VPN service that gets you good value.
The 5 Best VPNs for Australia
Out of all the VPN services you can choose from, these are the five that best combine speed, security, server spread and pricing.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: $8.32 per month for the yearly plan, plus three months free
- Provider website: expressvpn.com
- Excellent speeds to any server
- Uses open-source Lightway protocol for improved speed
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Very expensive
When price is no object, ExpressVPN should be the only VPN you’re considering. It checks all the boxes, from being the fastest VPN out there to having a set of security features that make zero compromises, along with a strict no-logs policy that ensures your traffic doesn’t end up in the government’s hands. It is expensive, but it’s very much worth it, as you can find out in our ExpressVPN review.
ExpressVPN makes your VPN connection speed a priority, and you get consistently fast speeds regardless of where you’re connecting to. Speaking of which, with 160 locations in 94 countries, you can have your pick when it comes to unblocking worldwide content. If you want a local Australian IP, you get servers in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. You get five simultaneous connections and unlimited bandwidth and data.
Lightway Combines Speed and Security
ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol came out of beta a couple of months ago, and it promises (and delivers) one of the fastest connections out there. To make things even better, you’re not compromising security — Lightway is open source and everyone is welcome to inspect the code and see how it works. A big plus, considering Australia’s surveillance-happy government.
Pricing is not its forte, with ExpressVPN coming in at almost twice the monthly rate of the second-most expensive provider on our list. However, its yearly plan is a bit more affordable, and when you factor in all the functionality, it’s not a bad value. You’ve also got a 30-day refund period to change your mind if you don’t like it.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.71 per month for the two-year plan
- Provider website: nordvpn.com
- One of the most secure VPNs out there
- Easy-to-use app
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Inconsistent latency when connected to distant servers
NordVPN has been around for a while now, and it has been holding steady as a member of the best VPN crowd for the past couple of years. As you can see in our NordVPN review, the service puts a strong emphasis on security and keeping its user data away from prying eyes, which is reassuring when you consider Australia’s new surveillance bill (but we’ll get to that in a moment).
In addition, you can choose to connect to any of the over 5,000 servers that are spread across 60 countries — you’ll get a respectable connection speed to any of them. If you’re tunneling to Australia, you can choose between Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. However, you might get some latency issues if you’re tunneling to servers that are far away, like in the U.S.
Security Features Galore
NordVPN puts security first, and that’s evident from the slew of security features the VPN provider comes with. NordLynx is their own take on the WireGuard protocol, with improved security and a fast connection speed, both of which are crucial for Australia’s somewhat remote location and recently introduced surveillance bill. You also have NordPass and NordLocker — subscription add-ons that work as a password manager and file encryption service.
NordVPN has a reasonable price if you subscribe for an extended period of time. If you find that you aren’t keen on the VPN app, you can always use the money-back guarantee to your advantage — you have 30 days to do so.
- Unlimited GB
- Unlimited GB
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: $2.21 per month for the two-year plan
- Provider website: surfshark.com
- Unlimited number of simultaneous connections
- Great app compatibility
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Latency is sometimes inconsistent
With Australia being known for both surfing and dangerous wildlife, you’d expect a VPN named Surfshark to be a shoe-in (and it is). The overall feature set is solid, and the app lets you choose from a very well-organized list of servers. There are a total of 3,200 servers in 65 countries, among which you’ll find servers in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. You can find out more about Surfshark in our Surfshark review.
Surfshark has minimal impact on your connection speed, both in terms of download and upload. However, when you try to connect to a server that’s physically far away from you, latency increases significantly. The VPN comes with multi-hop functionality, which adds a second VPN server to your connection and helps keep your data private.
Unlimited Data and Connections
If you’re in need of a VPN for the whole family while abroad in Australia, Surfshark is one of the top VPNs for that purpose. You have unlimited data and can connect from as many devices as you’d like at the same time, giving your whole family an encrypted connection to anywhere in the world.
Surfshark is very affordable when you consider all the features you’re getting, but that only applies if you subscribe to one of its longer plans. You’ll get the best value out of the two-year subscription, and if you find it’s not good enough, the 30-day money-back guarantee allows you to get a full refund.
More details about Windscribe:
- Pricing: Free; $5.75 per month for the yearly plan
- Provider website: windscribe.com
- Has a completely free plan
- Build-a-plan option
- Simple desktop/mobile apps
- No Australian server on the free plan
- 15B monthly data limit
We get that not everyone wants to spend money on a VPN, and if that sounds like you, Windscribe should be right up your alley. The VPN has a free version that you can use to connect to 10 locations throughout the world, although you won’t find an Australian server on that list, unfortunately. The closest you can get without spending money on the pro plan is Hong Kong.
From a security standpoint, Windscribe checks all the right boxes. You can choose from several VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard, which we covered a bit more extensively. To add to this, the VPN uses AES-256 encryption to keep your connection secure and safe from the prying eyes of the Australian government. You can find out more about it in our Windscribe review.
You Can Make Your Own Plan
A feature we haven’t seen with any other provider, with Windscribe you can create your own plan. Prices start at only $1 per month per location, and you get an additional 10GB of data for every location you add to the plan. You can even add unlimited data for another $1 per month. There is a $3 minimum checkout.
If you’re after a free VPN and don’t need Australian servers, Windscribe is perfect. To add to this, pricing isn’t bad for the “build-a-plan” option either. You can use the free plan to test the service before you commit, especially since you only have a three-day refund window if you don’t like it.
- Up to 15 GB free with email confirmation and Tweet
- Unlimited GB
More details about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: $2.17 per month for the two-year plan, plus three months free
- Provider website: cyberghostvpn.com
- Cheap compared to the competition
- Extensive server list organized by purpose
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- App configuration is unnecessarily difficult
If you’re looking to get a paid VPN service that’s as affordable as it gets — and has servers in Australia — CyberGhost is one of the best VPN services to consider. It has dedicated servers that let you access streaming sites, and supports most popular VPN protocols such as OpenVPN (with both TCP and UDP), IKEv2, and WireGuard with AES-256 encryption.
And while tailored servers for specific streaming services is a nice feature, every other customization and configuration setting is difficult to get to. The settings aren’t where you’d think they would be, which makes configuring the app finicky. Speed is good overall, but can be inconsistent when tunneling to certain servers — you can read more about that in our full CyberGhost review.
Excellent Server Spread
CyberGhost has an incredible network of servers. At the moment of writing, they boast around 7,800 servers in 91 countries, including servers in both Melbourne and Sydney. The Melbourne servers are P2P optimized too, making them ideal for (legal) torrenting. It is worth noting, however, that some of the other destinations are actually virtual servers that may come with a higher latency than their physical counterparts.
There isn’t much to say here — CyberGhost is the cheapest VPN out there when it comes to reputable paid VPNs, and is the best VPN for people who want to spend as little as possible. Pair that with an unmatched 45-day money-back period, and you’ve got yourself a great VPN.
The Best Free VPN: Australia
While we would usually suggest steering clear of free VPN services because many of them don’t have your best interests in mind, there are some notable exceptions to that rule. Windscribe, TunnelBear, ProtonVPN and Hide.Me are all excellent providers if you want a connection outside of Australia, but if you need an Australian IP address, TunnelBear is the only one that offers that on the free plan.
What Free VPN Services Can Give You an Australian IP Address?
TunnelBear is one of the best free VPNs for Australia. It has Australian servers in the free plan, but the VPN provider comes with a couple of limitations. Most notably, you only have 500MB of personal data, which you can increase to 1GB if you tweet about the VPN. Even for a free VPN, this isn’t very much, and you can hardly do more than just basic browsing.
That being said, if 1GB is enough, you’re looking at a neat UI design that’s made to be friendly and fun to use. Security is great, thanks to a combination of AES-256 encryption and the choice between OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, and you can access most popular streaming services. For a free VPN, this is quite good.
Reasons to Use a VPN Server in Australia
Aside from getting an IP address outside the country and unblocking international content, the main reason to use a VPN in Australia is privacy. The “identify and disrupt” bill which passed the senate a few months ago was made for authorities to be able to monitor criminal suspects’ internet activity. However, there are several concerns regarding the bill, especially when it comes to the lack of safeguards.
Australia’s Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) suggested narrowing down the powers the bill allows to only what is necessary, and the addition of safeguards that would protect journalists, whistleblowers and regular citizens from being monitored. About half of the suggestions were either partially adopted or rejected altogether, which isn’t good news.
If you’d like to enjoy a private connection without being monitored by the authorities and your internet service provider, a VPN will encrypt your online traffic and make sure all your user data is yours only.
Final Thoughts: Best VPN for Australia
All things considered, if you need to get an Australian VPN, ExpressVPN is the way to go. It’s got a great set of features, it’s the fastest VPN out there, and it puts a strong enough focus on security, so you don’t have to worry about the “spy” bill and your connection being monitored. Alternatively, you could save a bit of money and go for a more affordable paid VPN service like NordVPN, Surfshark or CyberGhost.
To add to this, a free VPN like Windscribe can get you an IP address outside of Australia, but getting an Australian IP requires you to opt for their paid plan. The question is, do you splurge on ExpressVPN’s lightning-fast Lightway protocol, or do you save a bit and opt for one of the other alternatives? Maybe you don’t need too much data and Windscribe’s free plan is enough? Let us know in the comments, and thank you for reading!