How to Watch HBO Max in Australia in 2 Minutes [October 2020]
The long-awaited HBO Max is finally here, and it’s better than we had ever anticipated.
To start with, there is over 10,000 hours of Warner Bros. content to binge on, including 1300+ movies. There are several dozen originals like Love Life and On the Record, with more set for release. Then you have shows and programmes from the BBC, CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and others to keep your couch nice and warm, year-round. And if these are not enough, HBO Max is also exclusively hosting Friends on its platform.
This is what you call true BOX OFFICE entertainment!
Unfortunately, though, HBO Max is only available within the U.S (at least officially), with geo-blocks gate-keeping its content, saying no to all trespassers except for those who live in the states.
HBO Max is not officially available in Australia
Watch HBO Max in Australia in Just 2 Minutes – 4 Easy Steps
To watch HBO Max in Australia, just follow these four easy steps:
- Download and subscribe to one of our recommended VPN services (ExpressVPN is our preferred choice).
- Open the VPN app on your device.
- Connect to a USA server from the servers’ list.
- Sign in to play.hbomax.com (or HBO Max app), and start watching your favourite HBO shows, movies, and documentaries from Australia.
How can you get HBO Max in Australia?
Thankfully, VPNs know their way around HBO Max geo-restrictions and can unblock the streaming service from anywhere in the world, including Australia. It must be mentioned here, however, that not all VPNs can grant you access to HBO Max’s premium library. And, therefore, it’s important you choose the right VPN service when trying to watch HBO Max from Australia.
Now, what if we can give you a list of tested VPNs that work with HBO Max, all the way from Australia? That should make things easier for you, right?
Great! Then let’s get started.
Best VPNs to Watch HBO Max in Australia (Tested October 2020)
Like you, we can’t afford to miss our daily dose of HBO content, no matter how busy of a schedule we might have. That means we need to have everything on speed-dial, including VPNs that can get us over the in-place geo-obstacles without any problems.
So, we have this trusted list of best HBO Max VPNs that we revert to whenever the clock strikes HBO Max. It’s not long (for obvious reasons) and includes four of the very best VPN services that are consistent and reliable to watch HBO Max in Australia.
1) ExpressVPN (Top Rated VPN to watch HBO Max in Australia)
ExpressVPN is a British Virgin Islands-based VPN service having more than 3000 live servers worldwide. It is a 100% no-log service, meaning that it does not keep any record of your online activities, thus respecting your privacy.
ExpressVPN uses several advanced protocols like IPsec, IKEv2, and OpenVPN, to keep your web traffic safe and secure. It comes with numerous useful features such as unlimited bandwidth support and the option to connect five devices simultaneously.
Total number of ExpressVPN servers available to get HBO Max in Australia
ExpressVPN offers 26 server locations to potentially connect to in the U.S and watch HBO Max from Australia. Of these, twenty-two server locations have been well optimized for unblocking the streaming service. The other four locations (San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and LA-2) lack consistency in connections.
All in all, that’s quite impressive and the reason why ExpressVPN is our favourite VPN service to get HBO Max in Australia.
ExpressVPN server location(s) to avoid when streaming HBO Max from Australia: San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles – 2.
Available ExpressVPN servers to get HBO Max in Australia
Does ExpressVPN leak your IP address or DNS requests?
Choosing a leak-proof VPN service is essential to maintaining your anonymity over the web. We tested ExpressVPN on ipleak.net and browserleaks.com and found no potential leaks against its tested servers.
ExpressVPN’s ipleak.net report
ExpressVPN’s browserleak.com report
Best-performing ExpressVPN servers for accessing HBO Max from Australia
Based on our experience of using ExpressVPN, these are the best-performing server locations for watching HBO Max from Australia:
- New York
- Washington DC
- Los Angeles
- Santa Monica
Watching HBO Max on ExpressVPN from Australia
2) NordVPN (Runner-up VPN to watch HBO Max in Australia)
NordVPN uses some of the most robust tunnelling protocols like OpenVPN, IPsec, and IKEv2 to protect and encrypt your web data. It offers numerous premium features to its users, such as unlimited bandwidth support, IP leak protection, six multi-logins, and built-in ad blocker. You can get its 2-year plan for just USD 4.99 per month.
Total number of NordVPN servers available to get HBO Max in Australia
NordVPN offers 15 server locations and 1700+ servers to potentially connect to in the U.S and watch HBO Max from Australia. Of these, twelve server locations work well with the streaming service, producing fast and reliable connections. The other three locations (Chicago, Atlanta, and Saint Louis) often fail to produce consistent connections, based on our experience of using the service.
With a decent ratio of functional servers under its belt, Nord VPN is our second favourite VPN service to access HBO Max in Australia.
NordVPN server location(s) to avoid when streaming HBO Max from Australia: Chicago, Atlanta and Saint Louis.
Available NordVPN servers to get HBO Max in Australia
Does NordVPN leak your IP address or DNS requests?
We put NordVPN to test to see if it really offered full-proof IP and DNS leak protection as it claims and found the results to be in its favour. You can view the test reports here:
NordVPN’s ipleak.net report
NordVPN’s browserleak.com report
Best-performing NordVPN servers for accessing HBO Max from Australia
In our experience, these NordVPN server locations almost always tend to perform reliably when watching HBO Max from Australia:
- New York
- Salt Lake City
Streaming HBO Max on NordVPN from Australia
3) Surfshark (Affordable VPN to watch HBO Max in Australia)
Surfshark has been one of the biggest advocates of OpenVPN tunnelling protocol in the VPN industry and uses it to protect your data from hackers and spoofers. Other tunnelling protocols used by the company include IPsec, IKEv2, and Shadowshocks. It supports unlimited simultaneous connections, which is a great option to have, especially if you plan to share your account with your family and friends.
You can subscribe to Surfshark for just USD 1.94 per month on a 3-year plan.
Total number of Surfshark servers available to stream HBO Max in Australia
Surfshark offers 24 server locations to potentially connect to in the U.S and watch HBO Max from Australia. Of these, nineteen server locations are optimized to unblock the streaming service. The other five locations (listed below) fail to connect to HBO Max altogether. Compared to ExpressVPN and NordVPN, Surfshark is a little slower, putting it third on our list of VPNs.
Surfshark server location(s) to avoid when streaming HBO Max from Australia: Bend, Manassas, Detroit, Chicago and Tampa.
Available Surfshark servers to get HBO Max in Australia
Does Surfshark leak your IP address or DNS requests?
We ran Surfshark through a couple of tests to see if it was leaking our IP address or DNS requests to the outside world. Unsurprisingly, it cleared both the tests.
Surfshark’s ipleak.net report
Surfshark’s browserleak.com report
Best-performing Surfshark servers for accessing HBO Max from Australia
We’ve found the following Surfshark servers to be dependable when accessing HBO Max from Australia:
- Kansas City
Watching HBO Max on Surfshark from Australia
4) PureVPN (The “get job done” VPN to watch HBO Max in Australia)
Pure VPN is headquartered in Hong Kong and has more than 2000 servers worldwide. Located away from Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes alliances, the company offers an uncompromising zero-log policy.
PureVPN employs a wide range of tunnelling protocols to maintain your online privacy. These protocols include PPTP, SSTP, IPsec, IKEv2, and OpenVPN. In addition, you get premium features like unlimited bandwidth support, automatic kill switch, dedicated streaming mode, and ten multi-logins. Its 1-year plan is available for USD 6.49 per month only.
Total number of PureVPN servers available to stream HBO Max in Australia
The desktop version of PureVPN app offers 14 server locations to potentially connect to in the U.S and watch HBO Max from Australia. In contrast, its mobile app offers only 11 server locations. The missing locations include Houston, Phoenix, and Washington DC.
Of the available fourteen server locations, twelve have been found to unblock HBO Max in Australia with a fair degree of consistency. The other two, Atlanta and San Francisco, often struggle to connect to the service in our experience.
Although PureVPN lacks the stability of ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark, it is still a decent option to have if you want to watch HBO Max in Australia.
PureVPN server location(s) to avoid when streaming HBO Max from Australia: Atlanta, San Francisco and Ashburn.
Available PureVPN servers to get HBO Max in Australia
Does PureVPN leak your IP address or DNS requests?
PureVPN does not leak your IP or DNS details as shown by the test results below:
PureVPN’s ipleak.net report
PureVPN’s browserleaks.com report
Best-performing PureVPN servers for accessing HBO Max from Australia
If you’re using PureVPN to access HBO Max from Australia, we’d recommend opting for the following servers:
- Los Angeles
- Washington DC
Streaming HBO Max on PureVPN from Australia
But mate, I don’t have an HBO Max account…
To stream HBO Max, you need to have an HBO Max account. This section covers how you can create an HBO Max account from Australia in detail.
Basically, you have two main options to create an HBO Max account:
- Signing up on HBO Max using your friend’s credit card
- Subscribing to HBO Max using a gift card
Signing up on HBO Max using your friend’s credit card
If you have a friend (or a relative) living in the states, you can create an HBO Max account using their credit card.
i) Login to your VPN and connect to a US server.
ii) Next, head over to HBO Max website and click “START YOUR FREE TRIAL”.
iii) On the Sign In page, click “Sign Up”.
iv) Enter your first name, last name, and the email address you want to sign up with.
v) Add your friend’s credit card details. Make sure to use a matching zip code with the state you choose. You can Google US zip codes for help.
vi) Voila! Your HBO Max account is ready to go.
Important pointer: Don’t use the same credit card for more than two HBO Max accounts. This is because over-usage of credit cards can potentially raise a red flag to the HBO Max system, and it may terminate all the linked accounts.
Subscribing to HBO Max using a gift card
Alternatively, you can access HBO Max using HBO Now gift cards.
i) Head over to Mygiftcardsupply.com to purchase an HBO Now gift card. You can use a different website if you want.
ii) Once you have purchased the gift card, go to subscribe.hbonow.com/gift. Redeem your HBO Now gift card by entering the gift card code and a US zip code.
iii) Enter your email address you want to sign up with, and your first and last name.
iv) Next, visit play.hbomax.com and sign in to HBO Max with the email address you provided in the previous step.
v) Enjoy the world of HBO Max.
Important pointer: To renew your HBO Max subscription after your gift card has expired, repeat steps (i) and (ii), and instead of signing up to a new account in step (iii), simply click on “Sign In”. Proceed as is.
Is it legal to use a VPN to stream HBO Max from Australia?
The use of VPNs is completely legal under the Australian Copyright Act. You can use a VPN to watch HBO Max or any other streaming service from Australia, without any legal ramifications. Internet freedom is your right, and the government fully acknowledges that. To quote former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the subject:
The Copyright Act does not make it illegal to use a VPN to access overseas content. While content providers often have in place international commercial arrangements to protect copyright in different countries or regions, which can result in ‘geo-blocking’, circumventing this is not illegal under the Copyright Act.
What is a VPN anyway, and how does it unblock HBO Max?
VPN is an online privacy tool. It masks your actual IP address and secures your online communications by establishing an end-to-end encrypted tunnel between your device and the internet.
How this helps to unblock HBO Max
HBO Max uses users’ IP address to identify where they’re trying to sign-in from before allowing them through. Since IP addresses are country-dependent, it is easy for Max servers to determine whether the sign-in request has been made from within the US or outside it. In case, if someone tries to access the service from outside the US, HBO Max blocks them from streaming the content.
When you connect to HBO Max through a VPN, the VPN app replaces your Australian IP address with the IP address of the US server you’re connected with. This tricks the Max servers, and they remove the geo-blocks, allowing you through.
If you want to learn more about the science of VPNs, read our guide here.
Do free VPNs work with HBO Max?
Free VPNs do not work with HBO Max as they lack the required systems and protocols to maintain your anonymity over the web. Besides, they are known to keep a log of your online activities, so you should avoid using them altogether.
How much does it cost to watch HBO Max on a VPN from Australia?
The total cost of watching HBO Max on a VPN from Australia includes HBO Max subscription fees and VPN charges. HBO Max subscription costs USD 14.99 per month, while the VPN charges can vary depending on the service you sign-up for. For estimation purposes, you can consider USD 8.32 per month, which is ExpressVPN’s subscription fee for a 1-year plan. By that calculation, you can expect to pay around USD 23.31 per month to stream HBO Max from Australia using a VPN.
Whatever happened to HBO Max launching in Australia?
At the start of the year, HBO secured a trademark for Max in Australia. It was the clearest indication of recent times that the entertainment giant was finally pondering a move to enter the Australian market, rather than relying on third-party companies to distribute its content in the country.
However, all those hopes were dashed when Foxtel, one of Australia’s leading media groups and the age-old distribution partner of HBO in the region, announced a new multi-year deal with the company in early May. The deal extended Foxtel’s rights to continue to show HBO in Australia. In addition, it gave it the privileges to air HBO Max content on all its platforms, including Foxtel IQ, Foxtel Now, and Binge.
An unwanted mess
Theoretically, the deal between Foxtel and WarnerMedia (HBO’s parent company) should have proved to be a convenient arrangement for Australian audiences to watch HBO and HBO Max shows and movies in Australia. However, in reality, it has turned out to be an unwanted mess.
For beginners, if you are a Binge subscriber, you only get limited access to HBO Max content. Foxtel has reserved most of the titles for Foxtel IQ and Foxtel Now customers. The catch? Both these services cost significantly more than Binge.
Depending on the bundle, Foxtel IQ price starts from $49 per month and goes up to $139 per month. Foxtel Now costs cheaper, starting at just $25 per month. While Binge’s basic subscription plan is available only for $10 per month.
Even if you decide to forego the difference in price and subscribe to Foxtel IQ or Foxtel Now, you still don’t get the full HBO Max library with your purchase. This is because content producers at HBO Max and other media companies in Australia have stand-alone distribution agreements for different shows and movies, which stops Foxtel from having a free ride in the industry.
For example, Stan in Australia has exclusive rights for HBO Max originals Love Life and Station Eleven as part of its deal with Lionsgate and Paramount. These shows are not available on any of Foxtel’s services.
So, you see, you aren’t really getting the bang for your buck with Foxtel. And, if you are like us, who prefer to have their HBO shows all in one place, the hodge-podge arrangement may not impress you much.
This is why streaming HBO Max directly on a VPN is your best option to watch HBO Max content from Australia. You can get access to all the titles under one roof at just the click of a button. The method may not be as cheap as Binge, but it provides a greater value for money, especially compared to Foxtel IQ and Foxtel Now. Here is a table for better comparison:
|Watch HBO in Australia method||HBO Max library||Minimum price|
|Foxtel IQ||limited access||$49 per month with no HD support|
|Foxtel Now||limited access||$25 per month with HD support|
|Binge||very limited access||$10 per month no HD support|
|VPN||full access||USD 14.99 (+ VPN fee) per month with HD support|
How is HBO Max different from HBO Now and HBO Go?
HBO Max is just one of the streaming services offered by HBO. It also has two more streaming services, HBO Go and HBO Now.
HBO Go is the free pocket-version of HBO TV service, available only to HBO TV customers. HBO Now, like HBO Max, is a stand-alone streaming service that anyone can subscribe to.
After announcing the release of HBO Max, HBO announced that it would be discontinuing HBO Go services from 31 July. This would leave us with HBO Max and HBO Now.
HBO Max is far superior to HBO Now and has been launched as a direct competitor to the likes of Disney+ and Netflix. It has all the HBO Now content plus a ton of additional stuff and loads of amazing originals.
You can watch Friends, Doctor Who, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Ricky and Morty, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Conan, Looney Tunes cartoons, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Sesame Street, The Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, True Detective, and many more amazing shows and movies on it.
A short list of HBO Max original scripted and unscripted shows:
- Beth & Sam
- Close Enough
- The Boondocks
- College Girls
- The Dog House
- Brad & Gary Go To
- Birth, Wedding, Funeral
- First Dates Hotel
- Generation Hustle
Does HBO Max include DC Universe, too?
WarnerMedia has been quite clear about its plans to include DC movies and TV shows on HBO Max. The service currently has a few classics such as Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Joker, Shazam, The Dark Knight Parts 1 and 2, and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice to keep you busy on the weekends. More DC content is expected to be added in the near future.
What devices can you watch HBO Max on a VPN from Australia?
You can watch HBO Max in Australia on a VPN on the following devices:
- PC and Mac (via web browser)
- Google Chromecast
- Xbox One
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Samsung smart TVs (2016 and later models)
Can I watch HBO Max on Roku or Amazon Fire TV?
Currently, HBO Max does not offer support for either Roku or Fire TV products. However, the streaming service is expected to be available on both the platforms soon, especially with the corresponding apps already developed and ready to go.
This brings us to the end of our guide: How to watch HBO Max in Australia using a VPN. We hope you found the information helpful.
If you like to read similar articles on unblocking streaming services, you may want to check these out:
Until next time, happy HBO Max streaming!
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