Australia is about as far away as you can travel from the UK. The first ever commercial non-stop flight there won’t even take off for another nine months. It’s a place that’s so easy to visit because everything is so familiar (they even drive on the left side of the road), but there are more than a couple of things about Oz that make it just a little bit different from it’s far away cousin.
A lot of travellers come here for its amazing geographical and architectural features, to make good use of their working holiday visa or just to turn all their mates back home green with envy.
Flying across Australia is easily dismissed as being very expensive. But if you are short on time and rich in cash, then it’s probably the way to go. You can visit all of the major tourist spots in a short amount of time with no worry about the vast distances that you will be covering. Unfortunately, it also means you’ll be limited mainly to the big cities, and will miss some of the gorgeous scenery there is to be seen.
Public transport is a great way to get around. Sometimes it’s incredibly cheap, but in other times you’ll be better off flying! Short journeys that are on the tourist tracks, such as Brisbane to Byron Bay are advertised everywhere and competitively priced. Places that are a bit more off the beaten track are often still serviced by some kind of transport. While researching for our trip there, we thought about taking the train. A couple of places that we were looking to go only had trains that went through once or twice a week! It could have taken a year to travel up the East Coast.
A good portion of travellers will opt to self-drive either by renting a camper van or buying a car. Obviously having your own transport means you can go wherever you choose, at any time of the day or night. Your accommodation costs are usually kept down because you can sleep in free campsites that are scattered across Australia. We had such a great time on our Australian road trip, driving from Melbourne all the way up the East Coast to Cairns via Sydney. If you want more info on the places we stopped and the things we did, just have a look at the links below.
You might think that Australia wouldn’t have very exciting food. After all, Australia is basically the love child of America and Britain. Luckily, it moved in next door to South East Asia and they started getting saucy.
So, maybe this metaphor slightly ran away from me. But Asian cuisine is readily available in Australia in a way that it just isn’t here in the UK. There are slight tweaks and the availability of products that aren’t found quite as easily in the Northern Hemisphere.
The availability of vegetarian food in the cities is plentiful, but not quite as easy if you go into the smaller towns and villages. Still, it’s easy to ask for what you want and it’s not an entirely foreign concept.
No longer just for old couples who wear their jumpers round their shoulders, wine tours are easily found in Australia – especially outside the main cities on the cooler southern end of the country. We had a great time driving from vineyard to vineyard in the Hunter Valley outside Sydney while also stuffing ourselves with local cheese and chocolate.
Where to stay
Although we are big fans of hostels, we weren’t terribly impressed by the ones in Australia. Generally they are filled with temporary workers, who seem to form a community in each hostel. It’s different from the atmosphere of hostels where everybody only stays about for a few nights. Sadly, there’s not quite the same opportunity to make friends.
Camping is a great way to stay in Australia. There are a variety of different campsites across Australia that cater to different budgets. Even the free sites often have a toilet block, cold shower and barbecue for cooking your shrimps. You can sit out in the warm air after the sun had gone down and drink wine from your box of goon and gaze at the stars. They are pretty rare in the big cities and so it’s almost essential to have a car to access the majority of them.
Our favourite accommodation in Australia was a housesit. We stayed in the suburbs of Sydney over Christmas and New Year and didn’t pay a single penny. There was a gorgeous house we had all to ourselves, a kitchen that had all the equipment you could ever dream of. We even had a bathroom we didn’t have to share with anyone. If you want to know more about how we got involved with housesitting, read this post, or if you just want to jump in with both feet, use this link to get 20% off a years subscription to TrustedHousesitters.
Things to do
There are so many amazing things to do in Australia, from small things like sitting on the beach, getting a tan to pretty big things like climbing the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. You may not make it to all of the things to do on your first trip to Australia, but there are definitely seven things to add to your bucket list right now!
- Visit Sydney
Australia’s most famous city (although not the capital), Sydney is a must see for any trip to Australia. Featuring the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach – this place will do wonders for your Insta feed.
- Check out the spectacular beaches
Speaking of Bondi Beach, it’s not even the nicest beach in Sydney! Our favourite beach was the beautiful white silica sand of Whitehaven. We visited as part of a trip to the Whitsunday Islands.
3. Great Barrier Reef
Retired and Travelling wrote this fantastic blog on travelling to the Great Barrier Reef. Thought to eventually be obliterated, make sure you don’t miss it!
Michela at Rocky Travel wrote this amazing guide to visiting Uluru by renting a car a self-driving.
5. Drive the Great Ocean Road
A Brit and a Southerner blew us away with this description of their road trip along the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne. It is top of our list to get to the next time we head back to Australia.
6. Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island, in Western Australia, is pretty much the only place you can see a tiny, furry quokka. The Travelling Lindfields described the feeling of this car-free island perfectly.
7. Go surfing
Whether you’ve never touched a board, or grew up Home-and-Away-style when you’d be surfing every day after school, it would be rude not to try out this great Australian past time. Hire a board from your hostel or the beach and have a go yourself. If you feel you need more direction, there are schools all over the coast.
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Have you been to Australia? Do you have any tips for accommodation, transport or activities? Let us know in the comments below!