I don’t know about you, but a trip to Australia has always felt like the Mecca of travel to me. So when I finally went, I was ridiculously excited and i’m glad to say it totally lived up to my very high expectations!
Australia is massive. Like, the whole country spans the distance from Moscow to London massive. So if you’re going, you really need to come for at least three weeks to really make it worth your while.
I visited Australia for one month on my round-the-world trip and even that didn’t feel long enough, although you could spend a whole year exploring this beautiful country and still not see everything!
So whether you’re coming here for a visit, or to do a working holiday visa; here’s my definitive guide on planning your trip down under.
Planning Your Trip To Australia
When To Go
First thing’s first. When are you thinking of going? I went in November, which was an incredible time to visit Australia. The weather was beautiful, the trees were full of Spring blossoms (purple jacaranda trees in Sydney!) and everyone was getting in the mood for summer. The best time to visit Australia is undoubtedly October-May during the Spring-Summer season, however January and February can be excruciatingly hot – especially in the north (Cairns and Darwin) as this is when the weather is at peak humidity!
The most highly recommended months to visit are therefore October, November and March when the weather is warm and the number of visitors are generally less!
Where To Go
Yes! The obvious one. The iconic one. The absolutely must-visit one. If Sydney isn’t on your agenda for a visit to Australia then you haven’t seen Australia. Even if it isn’t everyone’s favourite place, Sydney is full of Aussie charm. Bondi Beach, The Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Blue Mountains are all amazing reasons to visit this vibrant and exciting city. Pretty much everyone I know wants to move here once they’ve visited!
I loved Brisbane as it’s such a cool city and an incredible base up the east coast of Australia. When you’re planning your trip to Australia, make sure include Brisbane and check out the amazing City Beach (yes, a beach within a city complete with sea and sand!). Also head to Australia Zoo, Steve Irwin’s Zoo that’s only a 1.5hour train ride away.
The east-coast of Australia is a well-trodden route for backpackers and holidaymakers down under, and one of the key spots you’ve probably already heard about is Byron Bay. This hippie heaven was one of my favourite places in the whole country. It’s so chilled out, with amazing yoga, surfing, beaches and cute cafes to chill out in.
Here’s my post on why I loved Byron Bay so much.
The Whitsunday Islands
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Whitsunday Islands are at the tip of the Great Barrier Reef and where you’ll find the unspoilt paradise of Whitehaven beach. Take a boat cruise here and enjoy 3 days with no signal and the open ocean.
Just a couple hours drive out of Brisbane, Noosa is resort town with unreal beaches and a national park where you can see koalas in the wild! My friends who live in Australia say they haven’t ever seen Koalas in the wild and I was able to see two, so felt very lucky here! Noosa is also the best place to have a delicious brunch and enjoy the laid back aussie lifestyle.
As the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island is heritage listed and for good reason! With panoramic views and freshwater pools, it’s an ecotourism hotspot. You can even spot wild dingos here.
In the north east of Australia is the city of Cairns, which is the jumping off point for trips to the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns has a pretty tropical temperature with high humidity so be aware of this for when you’re planning your trip. As well as an amazing national park (Daintree National Park) Cairns is also home to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park where you can find out all about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
As the capital of the northern territory and named after evolutionary scientist and trapped explorer, Charles Darwin,the city of Darwin is a very special place. There’s an abundance of wildlife, incredible, rich scenery and nature to behold as well as thriving metropolis that isn’t to be missed on your trip to Australia.
Did you know that when the Australians were deciding on a capital city, they couldn’t decide between Melbourne and Sydney so just chose Canberra as it was right in the middle?! With that in mind, you know that Melbourne is going to be an awesome place. We sadly weren’t able to make it here, but I absolutely want to when I’m next in Australia! As the most cultural and quirky city in Australia, it’s a must-visit.
On the less travelled west coast of Australia lies the city of Perth, which has by far the best weather and sunsets in the whole of Australia. You’re guaranteed blue sky days almost all year round and Perth is a brilliant jumping off point to the Margaret River wine region, Rottnest island and beautiful Fremantle.
Australia has a reputation of being a very expensive country and it’s certainly no South-East Asia in terms of budget travel, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach. As with many places, you can spend as much or as little as you like.
Expect to pay between $20-40AUD a night for hostels, $30AUD a day for food if you mix cooking for yourself with eating out once a day.
If you’re travelling the East Coast, a Greyhound bus with hop-on-hop off service can cost $639AUD from Sydney – Cairns. Alternatively, if you plan in advance and are short on time, you can fly very cheaply with Virgin Australia. We spent around $400AUD on domestic flights in Australia (not including our journey from Brisbane to Perth which was part of our STA round the world ticket.)
Australia Travel Tips
The plugs aren’t British, nor are they American or European style! They have wonky prongs and you’ll need a special Australian/Multi adapter to use your electronics here. The good thing is that New Zealand and Fiji also use these plug sockets, so you’ll get some good use out of them if you’re travelling around!
If you’re health conscious like me, you might find yourself checking the calorie content of certain foods. Well in Australia, everything is measured in Kilojoules rather than Calories. There’s around 4 KJs to the calorie, so if something is 800KJs, it’s around 200 calories. Sorted!
As a Brit, you can go to Australia on an eVisitor for a short stay (up to 3 months) for free, however you still need to register that you’re entering the country beforehand. Make sure to register for your eVisitor here.
The Australian sun is STRONG!! There’s a reason all the shops only sell Factor 30 + and that’s because of the thinner Ozone layer that makes the sun burn you like crazy. This is no Europe, get your Factor 50 on and thank me later!
If you have any questions about your upcoming trip to Australia, then please leave me a comment below! More than happy to answer any questions and advise any way I can.
Come and join the adventure…
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