So, you are planning to travel to Australia for the first time…? Congrats you are in for a great time! We are yet to meet a person who didn’t love traveling in Australia! Though Australia is pretty amazing in almost all aspects it has a few things that you should address! And that’s why we created this Australia first timers travel tips!
First of all, have you ever noticed how freakin’ huge Australia is? Australia is the 6th largest country in the world, almost the size of the US and much bigger the EU. Besides the size, Australia is very little populated and the driest inhabited continent on earth, with more than half of the territory being a desert. The other thing is that you must be aware is that Australia is a highly developed country and a very expensive one! If you are planning a long trip to Australia you need to be aware that you’ll spend a lot more than in most of the rest of the world. And the longer the trip, the “worse”… Have a look at this comparison between the cost of living in the US and Australia.
Nevertheless, don’t let these aspects prevent you from going to Australia! With our 10 amazing tips, you can address them and have the time of your life in Australia!
10 tips for traveling in Australia the right way
#1 A Road trip is the best way to truly see Australia
If you want to see Australia’s amazing nature and many of the off the beaten track destinations, a road trip is the way to go! Plus, a Road trip to Australia is lots of fun! Again, note that the distances are huge and it will take you a long time, but if you have it, it’s really worth it! If you don’t you should still do a few regions of Australia. Furthermore, you can make use of the free campsites to have free accommodation, fill your car with food and ingredients, chase down Australia’s roads, beaches and ultimately have an unforgettable experience.
When doing a road trip you always need to keep in mind the distances and respective fuel costs. Example, Byron Bay seems right on the outskirts of Brisbane, but it’s more than 150 km away. It may also seem fairly close to Sydney, but it’s more than 750 km away!
#2 Don’t try to do all of Australia in 2 weeks
Well, this seems pretty obvious now that you are aware of how big it is! We know that the temptation of trying to see it all is big but this isn’t a good idea. Would you even dream of doing all of the US in two weeks? or Europe? If your time is limited, we strongly suggest you focus on one or two regions of Australia. It’s a much more relaxing experience, and you’ll save both time and money on transportation. If you are planning several months maybe you can cover a big part of it…
#3 Be prepared to go offline
Due to its massive size and large unpopulated regions, mobile phone signal and internet can be dodgy outside the main areas. Prepare beforehand, let people know that you may uncontactable and write down the most important information. Plus, you may not have GPS signal, so bring a printed map.
#4 Consider buying your car
This one is a tip only for those traveling slow and staying a long time in Australia. It really doesn’t make sense to buy a car for 2 weeks, right it? 🙂 You can choose between renting a car/campervan or buying one yourself. Although, if you’re planning a longer (let’s say 3 months) road trip in Australia then, we recommend you consider buying your vehicle and selling it in end of the trip. There are many sites on the internet that allow you to do this, butis the biggest Australian site to buy and sell used goods and naturally has big selection o fused cars/vans/4×4.
#5 Try Camping
When renting a car, consider the possibility of camping either with a tent or a campervan. It’s possible to have an Australian road trip on a budget and the answer to it is camping or rent/buy an RV. This will make you save on accommodation which tends to be extremely expensive in Australia and in food because will be able to cook easier.
Note that sleeping in your car or camping in public spaces is illegal in most of Australia, and the corresponding fine is heavy! However, there are many apps that will help you find great free camping sites close to some of Australia’s greatest views. And even the ones that aren’t free are usually budget friendly. And it’s definitely cheaper than staying in hotels and motels. Have a look at our other accommodation tips to save on your trips.
#6 Cook yourself
There are lots of great restaurants, but Australia isn’t the south-east Asia where local food is incredible and cheap! Even you don’t have an RV, there are free public BBQs available in most parks all over Australia. That’s a local experience right there! Food and ingredients bought in the supermarkets often aren’t more expensive than in Europe or the US, thus you can make a lot of budget-friendly meals. Buy your food where the locals do: at supermarkets. Instead of paying for a hotel’s or restaurant breakfast, buy fresh bread, cheese and meat, save it for a morning meal and enjoy a nice cheap breakfast!
#7 Enjoy Australia’s nature, it’s free!
Some of Australia’s biggest cities are amazing! You have Sydney, Melbourne, Perth… They are all great, but what really takes Australia to the next level is the outdoors fun! From the amazing rainforests and pristine beaches to the dramatic cliffs and outback, you can find all of this in Australia. And then there’s Tasmania, which is a little harder to get to, but incredibly rewarding! Hike, swim, explore, make friends and freely explore some of the most untouched places on the planet. Plus, it’s free!
#8 Be mindful of wildlife
Be aware that Australian wildlife is everywhere, particularly at night! When it starts to get dark, animals are attracted to the lights and jump on purpose onto the road! We strongly suggest you start early (but not too early when it’s still dawn) and find a comfortable parking spot before it gets dark and enjoy the stars. Please avoid driving at night, for your and the animals’ safety.
You should also be careful with the wild animals that want to kill you 🙂 From venomous snakes, spiders, jellyfish to sharks and crocodiles or even ants, centipedes and octopus… There are plenty of deadly animals in Australia! Although, if you follow advice and signs, it is unlikely you will get into any trouble. Nevertheless, find out if what’s in the water before diving in…
#9 Take sunscreen and insect repellent
Australia’s sun is harsh, even when it doesn’t seem that hot or fierce! Australia has a thinner ozone layer and thus it not only heats up quickly as it’s more dangerous. A few minutes under the sun without protection and you may be in for a big sunburn that lasts weeks and a potential blister. In the long turn, Australia has one of the highest melanoma rates in the world. Thus, protect yourself and always wear 50+ SPF sunscreen! We also strongly suggest you buy one that its water resistant because let’s face it, you won’t go to Australia and avoid to dive into the oceans, lakes, rivers, waterfalls…
Additionally, you should also pack insect repellent which should help you deter bugs, but also keep you safe from insect bites. From house flies to bush flies, mozzies, and some creepier stuff, Australia’s small animals are everywhere.
#10 Draft of your journey and keep a good attitude
A journey through Australia, particularly a long one, will always be an adventure. Though, as exciting as new adventure particularly such a free one can be, always act with caution and be smart! You should have at least draft of your trip on your mind and try to follow it. Australia is too big to keep changing your mind where you are going and how you are going, you will lose time and money. Be aware of your limits, both monetarily and in distance. If you get any setback, just act be calm, don’t panic and act smart. After all, the adventure is half the fun, right?
An Australian road trip has everything to be an exciting journey and one that you will fondly remember for the rest of your life, and maybe even do it again.