Whilst burial or cremation are the only two legal options, you can still choose the type of service you want according to your budget

Funeral options are limited in Australia, but that doesn’t need to stop you from choosing/having a unique and respectful funeral that truly reflects your/your loved one’s life.

The biggest question everyone will want answered first is BURIAL or CREMATION? These are the only two legal funeral options options in Australia (but be prepared to travel if you there is no cemetery or crematorium near you).

Cemeteries are usually owned and maintained by each Local Government Authority (Council), so to check out plot fees, contact your local Council.

Crematoriums are often located within cemeteries, but not always. You’ll need to check out the laws in your state/territory, but if we look at South Australia for example, the Burial and Cremation Act 2013 says

It is an offence to bury a human body in a place that is not a currently authorised cemetery or natural burial ground…. It an offence to cremate someone elsewhere than a lawfully established crematorium.”

However, one can apply to have a body buried on private land (there are lots of stipulations: the property must be of a certain mininum size; there are environmental protection issues; some Councils require that you apply for a Development Application to do so; some Councils require that there is separate road access to the site etc.) It’s quite a challenging exercise, but if you are determined, start by contacting your local Council. Once again, this is something best done long before it is required as it can take some time for approval and add extra (storage) costs and stress to the family.

Overseas burial

According to the South Australian Legal Services Commission, ‘it is possible to export a body where the deceased or next of kin have requested that the burial take place overseas. Health authorities must approve a request for export. If, for example, communicable diseases are prevalent in South Australia at the time of death, permission may be refused. This procedure is free of charge, but transportation costs are not.’

Another interesting and frightening statistic is that while 43% of Australians have chosen which songs they want played at their funeral, only 2% have made provision for how their funeral will be paid for. Don’t be one of the 98%!


According to a Budget Direct Insurance Company blog, in 2017 ‘the average cost of a burial is about $4500, whereas a cremation can be slightly cheaper at about $3600, though prices can vary substantially.’

One of the biggest expenses for a funeral can be the coffin/casket, ranging from $800 to over $15,000.

These are general figures, and the costs of funerals may have increased since then; the costs will vary significantly depending on the services that you choose and the type of coffin/casket you choose. It’s going to be a case of approaching your local funeral service and if there is more than one in your area, it’s well worth doing a price comparison.

As usual, the costs can be kept down for your family if you do your homework long before you need to and writing it into the My Funeral Wishes section of the Rest Easy Journal.

Check out the Eco-Friendly options page for greener options. Also, ready my blog on why we pay too much for funerals.


Always a great resource is

COTA Funerals – Costs 2016  – the prices are out of date but some other info that might help