COUNTRY VISITED #25
AUSTRALIA IS WELL DISCOVERED. And for good reason! It's extremely popular with travellers because of it's laid back lifestyle, perfect sunny weather and how easy it is to backpack around and experience for yourself. It has so many things to love such as crystal clear waters, beautiful golden outback, wild kangaroos, koalas and emu's, daily BBQ's, hundreds of deserted beaches, epic camping, endless road-trips, hipster towns and surfing vibes. It's a country that holds infinite natural beauty side by side with an interesting indigenous community and sad history for those who are willing to learn.
THERE ARE THINGS NOT TO LOVE. The prices. It's so expensive in Australia and I never found it any easier handing over so much money to just live! It's a very large country making seeing each part a huge expense. I would recommend working while you're there on a Working Holiday Visa to top up your travel savings or you will soon see your funds get eaten away! If you're heading to multiple countries on a long term trip -- head to Australia last. Arriving in Australia first means getting too excited at all the fun activities you can do whereas doing them in nearby countries in South East Asia is alot cheaper. Stick to doing the things in Australia you can't do anywhere else.
CAPITAL CITY: CANBERRA
POPULATION:CANBERRA (AROUND 400,000) SYDNEY (OVER 5 MILLION) AUSTRALIA (OVER 24 MILLION)
CURRENCY: AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (AUD) FOR EXCHANGE RATE CLICK HERE
LANGUAGE(S): ENGLISH (OVER 300 DIFFERENT LANGUAGES SPOKEN BY ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIANS)
STATES: WESTERN AUSTRALIA - SOUTH AUSTRALIA - TASMANIA - VICTORIA - NEW SOUTH WALES - QUEENSLAND - NORTHERN TERRITORY
WHERE TO GO
PLACES TO VISIT: PERTH - FREMANTLE - MARGARET RIVER - DENMARK - ESPERANCE - KALBARRI - MONKEY MIA - SHARK BAY - CORAL BAY - EXMOUTH - BROOME - DARWIN - ALICE SPRINGS - CAIRNS - AIRLIE BEACH - GOLD COAST (SURFERS PARADISE) - BRISBANE - BYRON BAY - NIMBIN - SYDNEY - MELBOURNE - KANGAROO ISLAND - TASMANIA
THINGS TO DO:
EXPLORE NATIONAL PARKS:
There are so many national parks to choose from all around the country. From lush green rain-forests to golden deserts in the outback. Here you can hike, cross the valleys, swim in lakes, visit waterfalls and see wild kangaroos, koalas and crocodiles. I loved exploring the many national parks of Western Australia on my time off!
KALBARRI NATIONAL PARK, WA
KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK, WA
JOHN FORREST NATIONAL PARK, WA
ULURU-KATA TJUTA NATIONAL PARK, NT
YANCHEP NATIONAL PARK, WA
LEARN ABOUT THE CULTURE OF ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIANS:
Take out the time and learn about the history and way of life of Aboriginal Australians. There are so many things you can do such as, take a guided trek, find museums, tour a didgeridoo workshop, attend an Aboriginal Festival, visit ancient caves, take an outback tour, be amazed by Australia's Aboriginal rock art and of course the famous Uluru Rock. It's something that's popularly discovered in the Northern Territory and shouldn't be missed.
CLICK HERE to learn more
ROAD-TRIP AND CAMP UNDER THE STARS:
The vast size of Australia means road-trips are endless with the amount of routes you can take, outback to explore, beaches to stop at and national parks to find. My road-trip along Western Australia was epic and something I'll never forget.
My advice to you would be to buy your car or van when you're in Aus and sell it again once you're done! Tour the country with travel buddies to split the costs of fuel and supplies (if you're travelling solo, they're are plenty of friends to be made at hostels or people eager to car share found on hostel bulletin boards), sleep in tents or in your van at campsites (there are are plenty, and some have such amazing views) and cook your own food (with BBQ stations set up at almost every beach, park and campsite, this is very easy to do!)
1. BUY OR RENT YOUR VEHICLE - Head to - Gumtree - Ebay - WickedCampers - HippieCamper
2. CHOOSE YOUR DATES - You want it to be perfect weather in all of your destinations!
3. FIND YOUR ROUTE - Perth to Adelaide? - Perth to Broome? - Broome to Darwin? - Cairns to Sydney? - Brisbane to Melbourne?
4. CHOOSE YOUR STOPS - National Parks - Waterfalls - Hikes - Beaches - Activities - Wildlife Parks - Which are on your Route?
5. FIND CAMP SITES - Where will you sleep? - Find both FREE CAMPSITES and CAMPSITES THAT CHARGE at Find a Camp - WikiCamps
6. GET SUPPLIES - Head to BIG W & Woolworths - REMEMBER - Tent - Sleeping Bag - Airbed - Pillow - Water Bottle - Plates - Cutlery - Head Torch - Camping Chair - Esky (Cool Box) - Jerry Can - Fuel - Food - Water
7. DOWNLOAD APPS - Camping App's are perfect for finding: Camp Sites - Petrol Stations - Rest Areas - Toilets - Showers - POI
head to - WikiCamps - AustralianRedCrossFirstAid
8. SET OFF & MAKE MEMORIES FOR LIFE
EXPLORE HIPSTER TOWNS:
Australia has some of the coolest little towns full of life, fun and colour. Here you will find happy souls, surfing vibes, vibrant music scenes, bohemian markets, edgy art scenes, excellent food and free spirits.
BYRON BAY, NSW
DISCOVER DAINTREE RAINFOREST:
Situated in Queensland near Cairns and Port Douglas, Daintree is the oldest rainforest in world. It's shockingly beautiful, dense and green. Take a guided tour to learn about the history, wildlife, insects and plants (there are many poisonous ones) of this tropical wonder. You can go further by heading to Cape Tribulation and spend multiple days hiking, swimming in natural pools, finding waterfalls and sleeping within the jungle. It was one of the best things I did while in Australia!
MEET KANGAROOS & KOALAS:
Australia has such interesting and unique wildlife - some are seen as pests to locals but as a tourist I got so excited if I saw any Kangaroos, Koalas, Quokkas or Emu's! To see wild Kangaroos, head to national parks, beach dunes or the outskirts of towns at dusk and dawn. Head to Rottnest Island, Perth to meet friendly Quokkas, the happiest animal on earth! Wild koalas can really only be found in the states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Take walks and drives around wooded areas and look up!
If you want to be sure to see Australia's intriguing animals and get up close, then head to a local wildlife park.
PERTH: CAVERSHAM WILDLIFE PARK
SYDNEY: AUSTRALIA WALKABOUT WILDLIFE PARK
MELBOURNE: BALLARAT WILDLIFE PARK
CAIRNS: HARTLEY'S CROCODILE ADVENTURES
BRISBANE: LONE PINE KOALA SANCTUARY
MARGARET RIVER & AROUND:
Margaret River is a little piece of heaven on the Western Coast around 3 hours south of Perth. It's a small, peaceful town known for its famous Wine Valley but is also where you can find parts of the stunning Karri Forest, pristine beaches, relaxing countryside and epic surf. Spend days tasting world-class wine, eat delicious food at trendy cafes, get lost amongst giant trees, find waterfalls, swim in natural pools, explore hidden beaches and watch golden sunsets -- there's no place quite like it!
South Western Australia is a green sanctuary that's opposite to the red desert further north - it holds some of my favourite parts of the country and shouldn't be missed when visiting Western Australia. As well as Margaret River, other places in the area to explore are:
BUSSELTON - YALLINGUP - DUNSBOROUGH - GRACETOWN - HAMELIN BAY - PEMBERTON - DENMARK - ALBANY - ESPERENCE - HYDEN (WAVE ROCK)
SAIL THE WHITSUNDAYS & BE AMAZED BY WHITEHAVEN BEACH:
From Airlie Beach in Queensland set off on a multi-day boat trip around the Whitsunday Islands. Here you will snorkel parts of the Great Barrier Reef, make life-long friends, watch sunsets in paradise, visit untouched shores such as Whitehaven Beach, share beers and even sleep under the stars if you wish -- all the while getting away from everything. It's one of those experiences that show you what travelling is all about.
Whitehaven Beach is exactly like it's name, a heaven filled with the purest white snow-like sand, crystal blue waters (where you may see stingrays and reef sharks) and is the definition of a deserted, paradise island. Scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean were even filmed here.
I fell in love with Cairns. I'm not sure if it was from staying at the amazing Giligan's Backpacker Resort or the friendly spirit of the locals or how much there is to explore but I just didn't want to leave after my visit. My days were filled by tours from Uncle Brian and then wild nights out. I can't really describe it rather than it was just so much fun. The Queensland town is not only surrounded by spectacular natural wonders such as impressive waterfalls, ancient rain-forests and mountain landscapes inland and then the Great Barrier Reef on the coast but is also home to some of Australia's deadliest plants and animals. You may encounter poisonous trees, plants and spiders as well as killer jellyfish and crocodiles. Take guided tours when you should and always swim within authorised areas.
ENJOY THE ENDLESS BEACHES & SURF:
With around 21 000 miles of coastline, exploring Australia's beaches is a never-ending experience. Each is unique and has their own vibe but all come with spotless golden sand, blue water, epic waves, perfect sunsets, colourful parrots in the trees, alluring dunes or coral reefs waiting to be swam in. Head to the East-Coast to visit famed beaches and take surfing lessons or head to Western Australia's Coast for empty beaches and golden sunsets that will seem undiscovered. Pack up a 4x4 and board, drive along the sand dunes, set up your Esky and chair/beanbag, swim, snorkel, BBQ, watch the sunset and even sleep under the stars in a tent -- a day at the beach in Australia is what life is all about.
SOME OF MY FAVOURITES
OYSTER BAY, CORAL BAY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
HAMELIN BAY, SOUTH WESTERN AUSTRALIA
COTTESLOE BEACH, PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
SALMON BEACH, SOUTH WESTERN AUSTRALIA
SCARBOROUGH BEACH, PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
CITY BEACH, PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
WHITEHAVEN BEACH, QUEENSLAND
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL IN THE CITY:
Fall in love with Australia's diverse, trendy and unique cities. Experience city life for your self by seeing what the centre and suburbs have to offer. Enjoy beers and cocktails at the hundreds of outdoor bars, visit the museums, see the modern architecture, party at rooftop clubs, take boat trips, try unique restaurants and cafes, find street art and just enjoy the buzz about Australia's cities.
SYDNEY - PERTH - MELBOURNE - BRISBANE - ADELAIDE - DARWIN
GREAT BARRIER REEF & NINGALOO REEF:
No trip to Australia would be complete without diving or snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland which is the largest in the world. However, Western Australia has their own version which is a lot less crowded and less damaged. Ningaloo Reef situated near Coral Bay and Exmouth is very worthwhile if you're passionate about scuba-diving, snorkelling and the underwater world. It's rich in coral, fish and even harmless whale sharks. Miss the crowds and head West!
OVERALL COSTS: EXPENSIVE (YOU SHOULD WORK TO SUPPORT TRAVEL FUNDS IF STAYING FOR MORE THAN A COUPLE MONTHS)
DAILY BUDGET: $60 - $100 (£35 - £60) can spend a lot more
ACCOMMODATION COST: AIRBNB (START FROM $15 £10 FOR SHARED ROOM/APARTMENT & FROM $60 £35 ENTIRE PLACE) HOSTEL ($20-$45 £12-£28 FOR DORM & $80-$120 £45 - £70 FOR PRIVATE ROOM) CAMPING ($10-$30 £6-£18 PER NIGHT) (CHEAPER FOR TENT, WILL PAY MORE FOR CAR PARKING/VAN PARKING) BUDGET HOTEL ($60-$150 £35-£85) HOTELS ($100++ £60++)
HOUSESHARE ($100-$350 £60-£200 PER WEEK)
The cheapest form of Accommodation is camping which is perfect when you're moving from place to place outwith the cities road-tripping.
If you're staying somewhere a little longer but aren't settling there, then renting a bunk or room from a hostel by the week is also cost-effective.
Some hostels also offer free beds/rooms in exchange for work! Change beds, work the reception and clean to stay free of charge and sometimes for a small pay.
Receive free accommodation through WorkAways and WWOOFING. This is where you will carry out a select amount of hours work in exchange for a bed and food. This is a great option if you're looking to find paid work, it could tide you over until you do.
When you carry out paid Farming/Agricultural Work to receive your second year visa - you should be given free or at least cheap accommodation.
TRANSPORT COST: UBER (STARTS FROM $7-$8 £4-£5) TAXI (STARTS FROM $15 £10) BUS (STARTS FROM $3 £1.70) TRAIN (STARTS FROM $5 £3) TRAM (STARTS FROM $3 £1.70) CAR RENTAL (STARTS FROM AROUND $30 £18 PER DAY) LONG DISTANCE BUS (SINGLE TRIP AROUND $80 £45) (PASSES AROUND $300 £170) LONG DISTANCE TRAIN (STARTS FROM AROUND $80 £45)
The ultimate and cheapest way to see Australia is to drive with travel buddies. Find car-shares from ads on hostel bulletin boards or online. Buy a used car/van from Gumtree or rent one for your trip, I recommend WickedCampers.
Long distance public transport is more built up on the East-Coast with Greyhound being a popular choice. You can also purchase passes and book backpacker buses easily including hop on hop off tickets.
Within the cities, stick to trams, buses and trains. Taxi's are a rip off, if you must get one, stick to Uber!
FOOD & ALCOHOL COST: WEEKLY SHOP (START FROM $75 £40) FAST FOOD + SALADS TO GO (AROUND $10 £6) RESTAURANT (AROUND $20+ £12+ PER MEAL) BEER IN BAR ($11 £6) BOX OF BEER ($35+ £20+) GOON (BOXED WINE) ($8 £5) BOTTLE VODKA ($30+ £18)
The cheapest way to eat is by cooking yourself food from the supermarket or eating at fast food chains. Chip in money with other travellers at hostels and then take turns cooking dinner.
ALDI is the cheapest supermarket chain in Australia with IGA being the most expensive. You may not have a choice though as some small towns only have 1 shop making weekly food supplies very expensive.
Pre-drinks and house parties are a must when partying in Australia because it's so expensive to drink at pubs and clubs. Some bars do have deals though like happy hours, ladies nights and special events such as 'Jelly Wrestling'.
Head to bottle shops (off-licence/liquor shop) and ask for their cheapest wines, spirits and beers they have on offer. Usually this is 'Goon' which is 4L boxed wine sold very cheaply around Australia and extremely popular with backpackers. You will more than likely hear the word 'Goon' during your first night at a hostel.
Dan Murphy's - This is like B&Q but for alcohol. They have almost every brand of beer, wine, cider and spirit Australia has to offer and do great deals of cases of beer.
FOR TOURISM: EVISA OR ETA IS REQUIRED FOR VISITING UP TO 12 MONTHS
FOR WORK: WORKING HOLIDAY VISA IS REQUIRED (TO BE APPLIED FOR AT LEAST 1 MONTH BEFORE ENTERING THE COUNTRY) THEY LAST FOR 12 MONTHS AND IF 3 MONTHS OF THE REQUIRED AGRICULTURAL/RURAL WORK IS COMPLETED, A SECOND WORKING HOLIDAY VISA MAY BE APPLIED FOR.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS
ONWARD TRAVEL: RETURN TICKET IS NOT NECESSARY
WITHIN CITIES & LARGER TOWNS: There are modern, well connected trains, trams and buses in the cities so it's very easy to get around. Sydney has a fantastic subway system and the trams running through the main street of Surfers Paradise couldn't be easier. In some cases where you must get a taxi, always go for an Uber! Download the app and use it anywhere in the world, but Australia it really does make a difference in price.
OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN / LONGER DISTANCE: Rent a car! Depending what you're using it for, if it's just for a day or if its for a month or 2 there are so many options to choose from. For longer term vans, I recommend using WickedCampers or HippieCamper. For just the day or so, head to TravelSupermarket.
LONG TERM / WORKING HOLIDAY VISA: Buy a car! Head to Gumtree or Ebay to purchase a second hand car or van then just sell it again at the end of the trip. You will need change ownership at the Transport Office, register your car, purchase insurance and if you will be using the car in the same state for more than 3 months, you must get your license transferred and obtain a suitable license for that state.
Book activities and tours through travel tour shops or through your hostel. shop around and ask your hostel for advice, don't be afraid to ask questions and take your time because it's an expensive place.
PETERPANS - STA TRAVEL - WICKED TRAVEL - HAPPY TRAVELS
BEST TIME TO GO: NOVEMBER - APRIL
HOTTEST MONTH: FEBRUARY
COLDEST MONTH: JULY
It's such a large vast country, that the weather can be extreme in some parts while calm in others. The Northern parts of the country can have cyclones and tropical storms during summer whereas the south becomes extremely cold in winter.
DO'S & DON'TS:
DON'T: SWIM OUTSIDE AUTHORISED ZONES (JELLYFISH, SHARKS, CROCODILES) - BE OFFENDED IF YOU'RE CALLED A CUNT, ESPECIALLY A 'GOOD CUNT' - SLAG OFF ANYTHING AUSSIE LIKE AFL (AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE) - BE SURPRISED AT PEOPLE GOING ABOUT THEIR DAY BAREFOOT INCLUDING FOOD SHOPPING
DO: LISTEN TO OFFICIALS WHEN IT COMES TO AUSTRALIA'S DANGEROUS WILDLIFE - TAKE YOUR OWN ALCOHOL WHEN INVITED SOMEWHERE - BE RESPECTFUL OF PLACES & OBJECTS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIANS
CALLING SOMEONE 'MATE' WHEN YOU SPEAK WITH THEM - G'DAY MATE - TOO EASY MATE - NO DRAMAZ MATE - BLOODY OATH - FAR OUT
MEMORABLE TO ME
WESTERN AUSTRALIA - DAINTREE RAINFOREST - FREMANTLE - WHITEHAVEN BEACH - CAIRNS - ROAD TRIP
KANGAROOS - WEST COAST ROAD TRIP - DENMARK - WHITSUNDAYS - BYRON BAY - WORKING IN THE OUTBACK - SUNDAY SESSIONS (PERTH) - MARGARET RIVER
STEAKS - BBQ - BEERS & CIDERS (DIDN'T ACTUALLY LIKE AUSSIE FOOD THAT MUCH)
BEST PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES:
KALBARRI NATIONAL PARK (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - CORAL BAY & EXMOUTH (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - WHITEHAVEN BEACH (QUEENSLAND) - VALLEY OF THE GIANT TREE TOP WALK (DENMARK, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - SCARBOROUGH BEACH SUNSETS (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - KARRI FOREST (SOUTH WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - ESPERANCE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - KANGAROOS @CAVERSHAM WILDLIFE PARK (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - SALMON BEACH (SOUTH WESTERN AUSTRALIA)
MY POSTS ABOUT AUSTRALIA
DAY 1-3: MELBOURNE: Fly into Melbourne and spend a few days exploring the trendy city trying out the quirky cafe's and bars and touch base. Make your way up to Sydney by night bus.
DAY 4 - 28: SYDNEY TO CAIRNS: Spend a couple days in Sydney checking out the sights before spending the next 3 weeks travelling up to Cairns. Either by Greyhound or backpacker bus, or drive! Places to stop at: Port Macquarie - Byron Bay - Nimbin - Surfers Paradise - Brisbane - Noosa - Fraser Island - Airlie Beach - Whitsundays & Whitehaven Beach - Mission Beach - Cairns.
MONTH 1: MELBOURNE TO CAIRNS: Arrive in Melbourne and spend a few days in the city and buy or rent a car. After the car is legal and registered - make your way to the Great Ocean Road and from there make your way to Sydney enjoying the NSW Southern Coast. From Sydney make your way up to Cairns, stopping at the places above.
MONTH 2: DARWIN - BROOME & ULURU (ALICE SPRINGS): From Cairns, either drive to Darwin via Alice Springs to see the stunning Uluru Rock or sell your car and fly. Either work in Darwin to top up your funds or rent a car/drive your car (you may still have) to Broome. Make sure you stop to enjoy The Kimberley.
MONTH 3: BROOME - MARGARET RIVER: From Broome, drive along the coast to Margaret River in the South West. Places to stop at: Karijini National Park - Port Headland - Exmouth - Ningaloo Reef - Coral Bay - Monkey Mia - Shark Bay - Kalbarri National Park - The Pinnacles Desert - Lancelin - Perth - Fremantle - Mandurah - Dunsborough - Yallingup - Margaret River
MONTH 1: MELBOURNE - CAIRNS: Arrive in Melbourne and spend a few days in the city before renting a car/van. Make your way to the Great Ocean Road and from there make your way to Sydney enjoying the NSW Southern Coast. From Sydney make your way up to Cairns. Places to stop at: Port Macquarie - Byron Bay - Nimbin - Surfers Paradise - Brisbane - Noosa - Fraser Island - Airlie Beach - Whitsundays & Whitehaven Beach - Mission Beach - Cairns.
MONTH 2: DARWIN & ALICE SPRINGS (ULURU ROCK): Depending what's the cheapest option, either head to Alice Springs from Cairns then up to Darwin or go to Darwin first. Find work.
MONTH 3-9: WORK: Work and save in the Northern Territory. Try and include your 3 months of required regional work in those months so you have the option on returning to Australia for another year.
MONTH 10 & 11: DARWIN - ESPERANCE: Buy a car if you don't already have one and drive from Darwin to Esperance to complete a roadtrip of a lifetime. Places to stop: Darwin - The Kimberley - Broome - Karijini National Park - Exmouth - Ningaloo Reef - Coral Bay - Monkey Mia - Shark Bay - Kalbarri National Park - The Pinnacles Desert - Lancelin - Perth - Fremantle - Mandurah - Dunsborough - Yallingup - Margaret River - Hamelin Bay - Pemberton - Denmark - Albany - Esperance.
MONTH 12: SOUTH AUSTRALIA OR TASMANIA: Keep driving to Adelaide in South Australia and explore the state and Kangaroo Island. Or make your way back to Perth by driving or flight and then fly to Tasmania (or fly from Esperance) to spend the rest of your time in the country off the beaten path.