The best VPNs for streaming HBO Max in Australia

Finding a way to pay for HBO Max is only half the battle. After that, you’re going to need a VPN.
  • Best for streaming

    Windscribe

    3.75 out of 5 overall
    Streaming powerhouse
    Limitless connections
  • Best overall VPN

    NordVPN

    4.75 out of 5 overall
    Incredibly user-friendly
    Speedy connection
  • Best for VPN newbies

    ExpressVPN

    4.5 out of 5 overall
    Great installation guides
    Server/country count
  • Best for speed

    Hotspot

    4 out of 5 overall
    Incredibly speedy VPN
    Free version for basics
  • Best value VPN

    VPN Unlimited

    3.75 out of 5 overall
    Lifetime subscription
    User-friendly setup

Maybe you want to watch The Suicide Squad. Perhaps you’ve got a hankering for Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Or maybe you just want to get lost in any number of the dozens of quality shows and movies available on HBO Max. Whatever your reason, you’ll need to find a way to pay for the US-based service first, then you’ll want a faithful virtual private network (VPN) service so you can actually stream what you’ve paid for.

We’ve reviewed 13 VPNs on this site and made note of all of the ones that work best for streaming HBO Max from Australia.

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How do you pay for HBO Max?

There are ways to get a free HBO Max trial via Hulu, but whether you pay for HBO Max directly or indirectly, you need to use either a gift card or a US virtual credit card. Gift cards are the easiest option—either an HBO gift card or a Hulu gift card with enough credit to pay for HBO as a channel add-on—but, unfortunately, HBO gift cards are harder to buy online these days.

If you know someone in the USA, you can always ask them to send you HBO gift cards or, even better, ask if you can have their login details to use one of their three HBO Max simultaneous streams. US virtual credit cards are the more expensive option but they help you step around the blocks that are usually in place for Australian-based credit cards and/or PayPal accounts.

Which VPNs wok with HBO Max in Australia?

There are a bunch of VPNs that let you stream HBO Max in Australia. In fact, of the 13 VPNs we’ve reviewed, only Mullvad and IPVanish were unable to stream HBO Max in our tests. Granted, CyberGhost and Surfshark aren’t the best way to stream HBO Max, with buffering speeds above 20 seconds.

Norton Secure didn’t win too many points in our review but it does offer moderate buffering speeds of around 10 to 15 seconds. All other VPNs we’ve reviewed offered fast buffering for HBO Max—five seconds or less—which means you’ve got plenty of options for streaming. Check them all out below.

Best VPN services in Australia comparison
VPN serviceHBO Max buffering speedReview scoreMonthly cost
NordVPNFast4.75 (Full review)From US$3.30/mth
ExpressVPNFast4.5 (Full review)From US$8.32/mth
Hotspot ShieldFast4.25 (Full review)From AU$11.99/mth
WindscribeFast3.75 (Full review)From US$4.08/mth
Private Internet AccessFast3.75 (Full review)From AU$3.03/mth
VPN UnlimitedFast3.75 (Full review)From US$4.99/mth
PureVPNFast3 (Full review)From US$2.91/mth
TunnelBearFast2.75 (Full review)From US$3.33/mth
Norton SecureModerate2.25 (Full review)From AU$4.17/mth
SurfsharkExtremely slow4 (Full review)From AU$3.39/mth
CyberGhostExtremely slow4 (Full review)From AU$3.11/mth
MullvadN/A3.5 (Full review)From €5/mth
IPVanishN/A2 (Full review)From US$3.75/mth
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A note on NordVPN (and other VPNs)

At the time of writing, NordVPN was having issues streaming HBO Max via its more popular US-based servers. That’s because HBO Max was very likely cracking down on the IP addresses of those servers and blocking them. Rewind a few months during our NordVPN streaming tests, and this absolutely wasn’t the case. This isn’t exclusive to NordVPN, mind you. The more popular the VPN, though, the more likely it is to be targeted by streaming providers to stop users sidestepping geoblocking restrictions

Thankfully, VPN providers tend to update their servers to allow their users to continue to seamlessly access international streaming services, particularly VPN providers like NordVPN that advertise international streaming as part of their services. If HBO Max or other services don’t work one day when they used to, try switching servers, contacting VPN support or waiting for the servers to be updated.

The best VPN for streaming HBO Max in Australia

Windscribe VPN

In terms of the 13 VPN services we’ve reviewed on this site, Windscribe doesn’t crack the top five and our current top three VPNs (NordVPN, ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield) all offer speedy HBO Max streaming. So what gives?

The reason Windscribe VPN is our pick for anyone looking to stream HBO Max is our tests showed that it’s the best VPN for streaming in Australia. It’s not just that Windscribe was able to speedily handle Australian streaming services Stan and Kayo, it also offered fast buffering for all of the international streaming services we threw at it, including HBO Max. If you’re after a VPN primarily to stream HBO Max, you might as well use a VPN service that handles a range of local and international streaming services, too.

Other great VPNs for streaming HBO Max in Australia

There are seven other VPNs we’ve tested that offer speedy HBO Max streaming in Australia. Despite responsive HBO Max streaming, we wouldn’t recommend TunnelBear or PureVPN because they didn’t score as highly as other speedy streamers.

Go with NordVPN if you want a gold-medal VPN service that’s a great all-rounder. If you’re new to VPNs, ExpressVPN is incredibly user-friendly with fantastic video guides to learn the basics and some more advanced features, too. Hotspot Shield is a great alternative if you also fancy a VPN service that preserves a lot of your internet speed while connected.

Alternatively, VPN Unlimited scored decently in our review and offers a rare lifetime subscription (which is regularly discounted), so you can avoid monthly costs if you don’t mind the initial outlay. Finally, if you want a VPN that has tens of thousands of server options worldwide, Private Internet Access ticks that box and works great with HBO Max, too.

VPNs that come with Smart DNS for HBO Max streaming

A Smart DNS is a service that can be bought outside of a VPN but certain VPN services also include Smart DNS as a handy add-on. While a Smart DNS won’t protect your connection in the same way a VPN does, it does allow for faster potential streaming speeds of compatible international streaming services.

Of the VPNs we’ve reviewed, the services below all include some form of Smart DNS feature:

  • NordVPN
  • ExpressVPN
  • CyberGhost
  • PureVPN
  • Surfshark
  • VPN Unlimited
  • Windscribe
  • Private Internet Access

From that list, NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark and VPN Unlimited specifically list international streaming services as part of their Smart DNS features. If you want to preserve your internet speed while streaming, consider buying one of these VPNs for streaming HBO Max.