Australia is one of the most popular countries in the entire world when it comes to tourism. Its vast, changing landscape, beautiful sights, and modern cities are among the factors that combine to make it such a holiday hotspot.
It is easy when heading to the country to get lost in the sheer size of the place, and many a tourist has headed to Australia and missed much of what they wanted to see after taking too long to come to terms with its epic scale.
What you need then, when heading Down Under, is a plan of action. We looked at the top five things to do when you head to Australia.
1. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef could be gone in a matter of years, as pollution and over-tourism take their toll. While it may seem hypocritical to suggest going there under the circumstances, ensure that you choose a tour operator that is respectful of the area and the natural beauty that encompasses it. The Reef is home to thousands of species of plants and animals that are unique to the area and is an experience not to be missed.
2. Surfing at Bondi Beach
At the opposite end of the east coast, Sydney stands as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The ‘must do’ experience here is definitely surfing lessons on Bondi Beach, although you might need to book ahead given the popularity of this with both locals and with tourists.
3. Travel the Outback
The Australian Outback is some of the harshest and most remote terrains on Earth but serves as a great experience whether you just drive the long, open roads, or head into the center of the country to visit Alice Springs and Uluru.
Aboriginal guides are widely available to help you get around, and will also give you a history lesson about each area as an added bonus.
4. Visit the Australian Alps
Whether you want to go skiing, drive through valleys, or just satisfy yourself that they actually exist, the Australian Alps are a sight to behold.
5. Barossa Valley
Australia is one of the most prolific wine-producing nations on Earth, and one of its most famous regions is the Barossa Valley in the south of the country. Heading here is a must for wine lovers, but is worthwhile for those who also enjoy the fresh country air, lush countryside, and beautiful architecture.
Ensure at least one of these activities is on your list when you head to Australia. Each offers a memorable experience, and one that you would regret missing out on.
Tips for Getting Around Australia
Australia is huge! While most of the major cities are dotted around the coast, the distances are vast and there are large areas of great nothingness in the center. Let’s face it, Australia is practically a continent unto itself. This means that getting around Australia requires some careful planning.
Here are some tips for getting around Australia:
For such a large country, Australia doesn’t have a large number of domestic airlines. Qantas, the national carrier, and their budget arm Jetstar fly across a lot of Australia. V Australia and Tiger Airways also fly a number of routes. Booking on an overseas website can help you save a few dollars on Jetstar fares.
If you’re short on time or don’t feel comfortable driving around such a vast country on your own accord, look into doing one of Scenic Tours’ ultimate Australia tours. Jumping on a tour like this will give you the support to do things you might not consider on your own like overnighting at Uluru!
Whether your want to do an extended road trip around Australia or just explore one region, renting a car is a great way to see more than Australia’s cities. While Sydney and Melbourne are fantastic urban spots, the beauty of Australia lies in its gorgeous beaches, hinterlands, and countryside. Vroom Vroom Vroom is the best site for comparing car hires from major companies. Always Google for a coupon before booking with a major car rental company. If you’re looking at rentals returning to the same spot, do some research on local car rental companies. They’re usually just outside of a major airport and have excellent rates.
Buying a Car
Buying a car is a popular option amongst the backpacker set and is a great idea if you plan on spending a few months traveling around Australia. Buying a car from another backpacker is the way to go as they’ll also sell you any camping gear they had for their journey which saves you having to buy it. Here’s a great site to get an idea of prices.
If you want to include Tasmania as part of your Australian adventure, there are ferries that run overnight between Melbourne and Devonport. Y Travel Blog has a great post about their recent experience on the Spirit of Tasmania. It looks very comfortable indeed!
Although it’s not well-known, Australia does have a passenger rail network. The distances are great but the vistas are GREAT! You can travel from Perth across to Adelaide, Melbourne, or Sydney, from Adelaide up through the red center to Darwin, and pretty much the entire length of the East Coast.
Backpacking In Australia Guide
Backpacking Australia Guide: The wide variety of transport within Australia is essential to the ultimate backpacking experience as it enables you to truly explore the country and visit a vast amount of sights on offer. The range means you are able to pick transport which is appropriate for your travels and the sights which you wish to see. Moreover, your budget and the time period you in Australia should also play a part in your choice of transportation.
The cheapest way of traveling around the country is by hitchhiking. Due to the distance between larger popular cities within Australia, some journeys can last hours. If you are backpacking alone this is an excellent way of having human contact as well as gaining knowledge about the country. Moreover, if you desire adventure, hitchhiking can take you to some remote places away from the tourist trails. The long waits between hitchhikes mean it is advisable to stay hydrated and well covered whilst waiting due to the extreme heat. Moreover, it is important to be aware of the risks that come with hitchhiking, so never enter a vehicle you don’t feel comfortable about. However, this way of getting around enables you to meet a variety of people and see a variety of places in order to gain unique Australian experiences for the cheapest price.
Buying or renting a car
Having your own vehicle enables you to travel with independence and freedom. In order to hire a car, you must be over 18 with a valid license. Also, you have to have been in Australia for less than 6 months otherwise you must apply for an Australia’s driving license or have an international driving permit. The traffic drives on the left-hand side where speeds range from 100-110 km/h on country roads, 130 km/h on highways in the Northern Territory, 100km/h on motorways, and 50km/h in built-up areas. Be aware that the drives between areas can be long so require breaks along the way.
Whilst car hire may be expensive, if you hire for a short period of time it gives you the freedom to explore areas of Australia in-depth without having to rely on coach timetables. Make sure the hiring company has dropped off points around the country so you can return the vehicle easily. There are many online car hire brokers to help you find cheap car hire deals. If you are backpacking for a longer period, buying a car may be advantageous. A private sale with another traveler can be the cheapest option and may come with handy tips on essential backpacking routes.
Traveling by Tour bus
Within Australia, there are many tour buses set up with the sole purpose of transporting backpackers to and from locations. As this is a popular way of travel, there are many companies commuting between larger cities. This enables you to search around to find the cheapest possible deal. However, this mode of traveling means you can become dependent upon timetables and may lose the freedom which is essential to backpacking.
Each variety of transport on offer within Australia has its advantages such as cost, freedom, and exploration. This range enables you to pick the transport which suits your budget, your time within the country, and your preferred way of backpacking.