Nomadic Matt's Travel Site

Travel Better, Cheaper, Longer

Australia Travel Guide

Last Updated: April 1, 2024

Towering buildings along the Gold Coast in Australia at sunrise

Australia is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. It’s known as a major backpacking, camping, road tripping, and diving destination.

Backpacking Australia is considered a “must do” for backpackers. It’s a central highlight on the round-the-world trail. I started coming to Australia in 2008 as a backpacker. It hooked me and, since then, I’ve visited over five times and have crisscrossed the country three times. Every single trip I discover something new about this country to love.

But this isn’t just a country for backpackers. Its huge diversity means every traveler can find something they love here.

Australia is filled with incredible natural beauty: Uluru and the Outback, rainforests and pristine white sand beaches, and of course, the Great Barrier Reef. Sydney’s Harbor Bridge and Opera House are iconic man-made wonders, and Melbourne’s café culture will make you feel like you’re relaxing in Europe . You have surfing, hiking, camping, boating, and a ton of other activities available to you. It makes some of the best wine in the world. Australia has it all.

However, the country’s size and limited transportation options, makes it hard to get around. And it’s not the cheapest place to visit, even if the currency is a tad weak right now.

Fortunately, this extensive Australia travel guide will show you how to save money, plan your trip, and make the most of your time Down Under. Because this country is worth taking the time to explore – and doesn’t need to cost a fortune!

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Australia

Click Here for City Guides

Top 5 things to see and do in australia.

The famous Bondi Beach on a bright and sunny day enar Sydney, Australia

1. See Sydney

Australia’s largest city has a range of activities to keep you busy. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, surf at Bondi Beach, party in King’s Cross, sail across the harbor, visit the Opera House, and take in world-class innovation in Darling Harbor. There’s a ton to see and do here and it’s worth spending a few days here to soak it all in. Other popular beaches nearby include Manly (wide and beautiful), Bronte (small and quiet), Coogee (fun), Palm (chill), and Dee Why (surfing). And, if you’re feeling adventurous, tours that climb the iconic (and massive) harbor bridge cost 250 AUD.

2. Visit Uluru

This beautiful red rock formed over 550 million years ago. Tourists have been visiting the rock since the 1930s and it’s of great spiritual importance to the local Aboriginal peoples. Formerly known as Ayers Rock, the best way to visit is by going as part of a multi-day tour of the area or driving on your own. You’ll be able to walk around the rock, learn about its cultural importance, and watch the rising/setting sun splash against it. Admission is 38 AUD per person and is valid for three days. Note: Climbing on the rock is prohibited.

3. Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Don’t miss diving or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. It’s the largest living organism on Earth, spanning some 344,000 square kilometers (133,000 square miles). The reef is brimming with wildlife, including giant clams, manta rays, sharks, turtles, clown fish, and more! Cairns is the most popular jumping-off point for dive trips to the reef. I was blown away by the abundant wildlife and coral. It did not disappoint! Dive trips start around 230 AUD.

4. Explore Melbourne

Melbourne is much more relaxed than Sydney (and, personally, I like it more). This is the place to relax by the river, walk through the city gardens, eat amazing food, enjoy the art, and party in St. Kilda. It’s a fun, chill city with a youthful vibe and a ton of backpackers.

5. Sail the Whitsundays

The Whitsunday Islands are a collection of 74 islands off the central coast of Queensland. They’re one of the most popular destinations in the country. It’s a popular region for sailing trips and since the vast majority of these islands are designated national parks, you’ll find numerous pristine beaches and dive sites here. It’s a postcard-perfect region. Expect to pay between 399-499 AUD per person for a three-day/two-night sailing trip. While expensive, it’s worth doing (I loved my trip).

Other Things to See and Do in Australia

1. explore fraser island.

The world’s largest sand island is a popular spot for camping, swim, hike, and seeing dingoes. You can hire your own 4WD car or take an overnight tour through the island that’s famous for its freshwater lake (and dingoes). The island is beautiful and filled with lakes, hiking paths, and sweeping vistas. Sadly, you can’t go in the water nearby as it’s rough and full of sharks, but there’s plenty of fishing, cool sand dunes, the stunning 75 Mile Beach, and a cool shipwreck for snapping photos. Camping on the island is super cheap too (less than 10 AUD per night!).

2. Visit Cairns

Cairns is Australia’s gateway to northern Queensland. From here you can visit the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree rainforest, the Atherton Tablelands, Cape Tribulation, and much more. Cairns is a pretty typical tropical city and life here focuses on taking the time to smell the roses. With so much to see, the city deserves a very long stay. Plan to visit for a week, which should give you enough time to explore the area and allows some downtime by the city’s awesome pool.

3. Wander Brisbane’s South Bank

Brisbane is a “business city.” Unlike Sydney or Melbourne, there isn’t a lot of “culture” here. But it’s a popular stop on the backpacker trail due to its location. Be sure to explore South Bank, which has some nice restaurants and decent pubs. There’s also an educational koala sanctuary here as well as a relaxing botanical gardens.

4. Hike the Daintree

The world’s oldest rainforest (yes, it’s older than the Amazon) offers hikes that range from easy to challenging, with dense jungles, beautiful mountains, waterfalls, and lots of wildlife. Spend a few days hiking around and getting out of touristy Cairns. If you really want to get off the beaten path, head up to Cape Tribulation and enjoy some real peace and quiet (just watch out for jellyfish when you go swimming). There are all kinds of day and multi-day trips available here with two-day guided trips costing around 350 AUD per person.

5. See Perth

Perth is Australia’s west coast capital and is often overlooked by most travelers. It’s expensive to get out there from the east coast (it’s a 5-hour flight from Sydney) so most travelers avoid it. But I love it. In fact, it’s probably my favorite city in all of Australia. Perth feels more like a large town than a city and is the best place to have a “Sunday Session” (an Aussie tradition of drinking on Sunday afternoons). From the beaches, food, and beer (be sure to take a day trip to Freemantle), Perth is just awesome.

6. Explore the Outback

No trip to Australia is complete without a trip to the Outback to see crocodiles, valleys, lakes, and the red desert. Find your own Crocodile Dundee as you explore the Red Center and Western Australia. And be sure to visit some of the places I love: Karijini National Park, the Kimberleys, Kakadu, and Litchfield National Park. The landscapes are stunning and there are all kinds of epic hikes to enjoy.

7. Surf on the Gold Coast

Australia is famous for its surfing, and one of the best places to learn is on the Gold Coast near Brisbane. You’ll find world-class waves, a wide beach, and lots of available lessons. If you don’t like the Gold Coast , there is always Noosa, Byron Bay, Bondi Beach, Perth, and, well, you get the idea. There’s a lot of surfing in Australia! A two-hour group lesson costs around 75 AUD. If you don’t need lessons and just want to surf, you can rent a board for around 60 AUD per day.

8. Take a wine tour

Whether you go down to Margret River, Hunter Valley, or the Barossa Valley, you will have many chances to taste Aussie wine right from the source. Visiting the wine country should be on your list of things to do. If you rent a car, you can stay longer or you can do guided tours from major cities. I think it’s best to base yourself in the area and spend about 3-5 days in each area tasting as much wine as possible. Day tours with Colorful Trips that visit three wineries in the Hunter Valley cost 199 AUD.

9. Admire the Ningaloo Reef

The Great Barrier Reef gets all the hype, but the Ningaloo Reef on the west coast is a far better reef system. Because it’s less developed and attracts fewer tourists, there are actually more fish and wildlife here — you can even swim with whale sharks . Plus, at some points (like at Coral Bay), the reef comes so close to the shore that you can swim right up to it on your own. Half-day trips start around 120-225 AUD per person.

10. Visit Western Australia

The most overlooked area in the country is the west coast. Here you can escape the crowds of the east coast, explore the Outback, see the Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay (one of my favorite spots in the world), Broome, Perth, and the Margaret River. It’s much less developed than the east coast but if you take one piece of advice away from this guide, it should be to visit this part of Australia. It’s the version of the country you picture in your head and is an amazing region for road trips, camping, hiking, and enjoying nature.

11. Tour Tasmania

Despite everyone knowing its name, hardly anyone ever makes it down here. (It’s far from the main tourist trail.) Tasmania has amazing hikes, beautiful bays (Wineglass Bay being the most famous), small towns, and excellent people. It’s just a ferry away from Melbourne too. The island is about the size of Ireland (or West Virginia in the USA) yet it’s home to just under 545,000 people. If you have the time, explore this terribly under-visited part of the country. It’s amazing. The ferry from the mainland costs around 100 AUD each way and takes 9-11 hours.

12. Hike the Blue Mountains

Right outside of Sydney , the Blue Mountains are an awesome place to explore. Over millennia, the ancient sandstone of this national park has been weathered into gorges lined by steep cliffs and separated by narrow ridges. The area is free to visit and you can get there by train, which takes around two hours. Spend the day admiring the magnificent rock formation of the Three Sisters (particularly stunning at sunset and under evening floodlights) and hiking along the paths that offer excellent views of the valley, sheer rock walls, tumbling waterfalls, and magnificent forests. For a guided tour, Get Your Guide offers full-day wildlife-spotting tours for 155 AUD.

13. Learn about pearling in Broome

Broome used to be the largest pearling port in the world. Founded around 1880, pearls were an important commodity used for making cutlery, buttons, and jewelry. By 1900, there were 300 ships here, though the industry fell into decline during World War II (and then, after the war, plastic was invented, which diminished the need for pearls). You can learn all about the region’s rich history at the Pearl Lugger Museum (tours for 30 AUD). If you want a more hands-on experience, Willie Creek Pearls also offers a two-hour boat tour for 129 AUD. You’ll learn about the risks and challenges of the industry while also getting to hold and touch all kinds of valuable pearls.

14. Visit the Kimberley

This area is known for its wilderness, so if you love the outdoors and don’t mind things getting rugged, add this to your itinerary. Located near Broome, this outback region is three times bigger than England that’s filled with stunning gorges, beautiful waterfalls, and a vast desert landscape. It was one of the first areas settled in Australia some 65,000 years ago (Europeans didn’t arrive here in the 1830s). There are all kinds of day trips and hikes here that you can do solo, as well as multi-day guided tours. Expect to pay around 1,200 AUD for a three-day guided excursion. If you’re going solo, popular overnight hikes include Piccaninny Gorge and Lurujarri Dreaming Trail.

15. Explore Kakadu National Park

The enormous Kakadu National Park is a biodiverse nature reserve in Australia’s Northern Territory. It encompasses wetlands and rivers and is home to saltwater crocodiles and flatback turtles, as well as many different bird species. Rock paintings (dating back to prehistory) can be viewed at Nourlangie, Nanguluwur, and Ubirr. You can find a lot of tours departing from Darwin. Be sure to spend at least a night in the park! Three-day tours cost around 735 AUD.

For more information on specific cities in Australia, check out these guides:

  • Alice Springs Travel Guide
  • Brisbane Travel Guide
  • Broome Travel Guide
  • Cairns Travel Guide
  • Fraser Island Travel Guide
  • Gold Coast Travel Guide
  • Melbourne Travel Guide
  • Perth Travel Guide
  • Sydney Travel Guide
  • Whitsunday Islands Travel Guide

Australia Travel Costs

The famous Ayers Rock in Australia, also known as Uluru

Accommodation – Hostels dorms start around 25-30 AUD per night, though they get as high as 40 AUD in the big coastal cities. Private rooms with a double bed and a shared bathroom in hostels range between 65-100 AUD per night, though in larger cities they can be as high as 150 AUD. Expect basic amenities like free Wi-Fi and self-catering facilities. Only some hostels include breakfast.

For those traveling with a tent, a basic tent plot without electricity starts around 7 AUD, though most are 10-25 AUD per night.

For budget hotels, expect to spend 100-120 AUD per night for a two-star hotel. Amenities usually include TV, Wi-Fi, and AC. Some hotels have a pool.

Airbnb is available around the country with private rooms starting around 40 AUD (though they average closer to 90 AUD). Entire homes/apartments cost at least 140 (though they are usually double or even triple that price so be sure to book early). Expect to pay about 10-20% more in the coastal cities.

Food – Food in Australia is diverse, with each region having its own specialties. While you can find cuisine of all types here, popular traditional choices include BBQ meat (especially sausages), meat pies, fish and chips, seafood, chicken parmigiana (chicken schnitzel topped with tomato sauce, ham, and melted cheese), and, of course, the infamous vegemite on toast.

Food prices vary per region, but generally, you can expect to pay 20-25 AUD for a meal at a casual restaurant. A fast-food combo from somewhere like McDonald’s costs 13-14 AUD while a pizza costs around 16-20 AUD. Chinese, Thai, and Indian food cost 12-20 AUD for a main dish.

If you want to splash out for something more upscale, a expect to pay around 55-70 AUD, including a drink, per person.

A beer is around 8 AUD, latte or cappuccino costs around 5 AUD, and bottled water between 2-3 AUD.

If you cook your own meals, expect to pay around 75-95 AUD per week for groceries. This gets you basic staples like pasta, rice, seasonal produce, and some meat.

Backpacking Australia Suggested Budgets

On a backpacker budget, you can visit Australia for 70 AUD per day. This assumes you’re staying in a cheap hostel, cooking all of your meals, using public transportation to get around, and doing mostly cheap or free activities like hiking and enjoying the beaches. If you camp, you can lower this budget by around 20 AUD per day. If you plan on drinking, add 10-20 AUD to your daily budget.

On a mid-range budget of 200 AUD per day, you can stay in a private Airbnb or hostel room, eat out for a couple of meals, enjoy a few drinks, take the occasional taxi to get around, bus between cities, and do more paid activities like taking surf lessons or going diving.

On a “luxury” budget of 385 AUD or more, you can stay in a hotel, eat out for all your meals, drink more, rent a car or camper van to explore, and do whatever tours and activities you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in AUD.

Australia Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Australia can be a very expensive country to visit. If you aren’t careful, you’ll blow through your entire budget in no time as activities, food, and transportation all adds up fast here. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to save too. Here are some ways to save money when you visit Australia:

  • Drink goon (box wine) – Goon is infamous on the Australian backpacker hostel trail. This cheap box of wine is the best way to drink, get a buzz, and save a lot of money at the same time. Drink this before you go out and save on spending money at the bar.
  • Cook your own meals – The best way to reduce your costs is to cook as many meals as possible. Hostels and Airbnbs usually have kitchens and, while it’s not glamorous, it will save you a ton of money!
  • Car share – Australia is a big country that can be expensive to get around. If you are traveling with friends, it’s smart to buy a used car or campervan (or rent a new one from one of the many rental companies in the country) and split the costs of gas. You can also hitch a ride with other travelers using sites like Gumtree, Jayride, or hostel message boards.
  • Book tours as a package – This country has a lot of exciting activities and tours that eat into any budget. Booking activities together through a hostel or tour agency can get you a discount and save you hundreds of dollars.
  • Work for your room – Many hostels offer travelers the opportunity to work for their accommodation. In exchange for a few hours a day of cleaning, you get a free bed to sleep in. Commitments vary but most hostels ask that you stay for at least a week. Check with the staff when you arrive to see if there are any opportunities available.
  • WWOOF – WWOOFing is a program that allows you to work on organic farms in exchange for free room and board. Everyone I’ve met who stays in the country long-term does it for at least one month. It’s a great way to reduce your expenses and can a deeper look into local life.
  • Stay with a local – Accommodation in Australia is pricey. If you plan ahead, you can usually find a Couchsurfing host that will host you for free. It’s the best way to connect with a local and get insider tips and advice.
  • Camp – Camping is very affordable here, with basic tent plots costing as little as 7 AUD per night!
  • Bring a reusable water bottle – The tap water in Australia is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle with you to save money and lower your plastic use. LifeStraw makes a bottle with a built-in filter to ensure your water is always clean and safe.

Where To Stay in Australia

I’ve been a backpacker here for ages and have accumulated a long list of places to stay. Here are my suggested places to stay in Australia if you’re looking for a hostel:

  • Base St. Kilda (Melbourne)
  • Space Hotel (Melbourne)
  • Wake Up! (Sydney)
  • YHA Rocks (Sydney)
  • Bunk Brisbane (Brisbane)
  • City Backpackers HQ (Brisbane)
  • Kimberley Travellers Lodge (Broome)
  • The Shiralee Hostel (Perth)
  • Aquarius Backpackers (Byron Bay)
  • Gilligan’s Backpacker Hotel & Resort Cairns (Cairns)
  • Nomads Noosa (Noosa)
  • Alice Lodge Backpackers (Alice Springs)

How to Get Around Australia

Clear water of a huge wave as someone surfs along the stunning coast of Gold Coast, Australia

Public transportation – All of Australia’s cities have reliable, affordable public bus systems. In the bigger, cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, you’ll even find subways and tram systems. This is the cheapest way to travel the cities. Fares cost between 2.75-4 AUD.

Many cities offer day passes that include unlimited public transportation for under 10 AUD.

Bus – After driving, this is my favorite transportation option in Australia. On the east coast, this will be your cheapest option too. On the west coast, buses are surprisingly expensive as there are not many people moving up and down that coast and there’s limited competition. However, on the east coast, you can find really cheap bus tickets, especially if you book in advance.

The two main bus companies in Australia are:

  • Greyhound Australia

Greyhound also offers several bus passes. Their Whimit Passes range from 15-120 days of unlimited travel and are perfect for traveling around on a whim (hence the name). They come in 15, 30, 60, 90, and 120-day passes costing 349-729 AUD.

To find bus routes and prices, use BusBud .

Backpacker Bus – If you want to party with other backpackers as you travel, book a seat on the Magic Bus . This backpacker bus departs with 25 backpackers aged 18-35 for 3-4 weeks of exploring the country’s national parks, camping, bonfires, and non-stop parties and shenanigans.

Trips go from Perth north to Broome or east to Melbourne each month, so you have to time your trip accordingly to line up with the set departure. The itineraries are always flexible so every trip is unique. They try to keep a balance of 50% men and 50% women, as well as a balance of different nationalities, so there is always a diverse group. Prices vary so contact them for departure dates and ticket prices.

Train – Between city trams, commuter trains, and long-distance and trans-continental trains, Australia can be seen extensively by rail. Train lines exist mostly on the east coast with only two other major lines in the country: one goes north/south from Melbourne to Darwin and another east/east from Sydney to Perth.

For reference, Sydney to Canberra takes 5 hours and is 40-50 AUD while the 11-hour trip from Sydney to Melbourne costs over 200 AUD. Sydney to Brisbane takes 14 hours and costs 100-140 AUD.

Beyond the east coast, trains aren’t as plentiful and long-distance trains can be very expensive.

Flying – With Australia spanning over 7,000,000 square kilometers, it takes a long time to get around the country. Flying is one of the most efficient ways to city hop, but it’s not the cheapest. Australia’s major airlines include:

When booked in advance, flights can be very affordable here. Sydney to Melbourne is just 55 AUD and takes 90 minutes while Sydney to Cairns takes 3 hours and costs around 100 AUD each way. To cross the country, flights last around 5 hours. Sydney to Perth, when booked in advance, can cost as little as 150 AUD each way.

When not booked early, however, flights can easily double or triple these prices.

Rideshares – Every hostel has a bulletin board where travelers post rides and websites like Gumtree have active ridesharing sections where people look for cars or riders. I HIGHLY recommend this way of traveling when in the country. CoSeats is another good resource for finding rides.

Car rental – Car rentals start around 40 AUD per day. You don’t need one to explore any of the cities but if you want to travel the country then a car is best. Just remember that they drive on the left here.

Additionally, you can also purchase a car from backpackers leaving the country or locals selling used cars. You can usually find a used car for under 3,000 AUD. It might seem a lot, but there are always backpackers looking to share rides, which can cut down on our expenses.

When to Go to Australia

Temperatures vary across the country (it’s a huge landmass after all), but generally speaking, average summer temperatures range from 20-37°C (68-99°F). Remember that summer is from December-February here in the southern hemisphere. This is the most popular time to visit so expect big crowds and higher prices.

June-August (winter) is the low season. Prices are lower and there are fewer crowds. The temperature dips as well, hovering around 1°C (52°F) in the south while going as high as 30°C (86°F) in the north.

Spring and fall (March-May and September-October) are the shoulder season and the best time to visit. Crowds aren’t as big and prices aren’t as high and the weather is still enjoyable too, rarely dipping below 17°C (63°F).

Note that October to April is also “jellyfish season,” making waters unsafe for swimming or any other water sport. If you’re planning on enjoying Australia’s coast, this probably isn’t the best time to come. The season lasts from October to April in Northern Australia, and then from November to March elsewhere.

How to Stay Safe in Australia

Australia is an incredibly safe place to backpack and travel around. Violent attacks and petty theft are rare here so you’re unlikely to get into trouble.

Most incidents in Australia tend to occur because visitors are not used to the country’s unique climate and wilderness. Be sure you have plenty of sunscreen and stay as hydrated as possible. This is especially true if you’re driving through the Outback. There are long, long distances without any towns in sight, so if you break down, you’ll want to be prepared. Always make sure you have enough gas in your vehicle for long drives.

If you’re hiking, make sure you know what to expect ahead of time. Be on the lookout for snakes and spiders. If you’re bitten, seek immediate care.

If you’re swimming, heed the red and yellow flags. Yellow flags indicate swimming conditions may be dangerous; red flags mean the beach is closed.

Mother Nature in Australia is NOT a force to be reckoned with in this country. Don’t be a hero.

Solo female travelers are generally safe here, however, the standard precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone at night intoxicated, etc.). Consult other solo female travel blogs for specific advice.

If you’re worried about travel scams, you can read about common travel scams to avoid here . There aren’t many in Australia though so I wouldn’t worry too much here.

If you experience an emergency, dial 000 for assistance.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Australia Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. Just enter your departure and arrival destinations and it will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost. It’s one of the best transportation websites out there!
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

Australia Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more information? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Australia travel and continue planning your trip:

The 7 Best Hotels in Sydney

The 7 Best Hotels in Sydney

Where to Stay in Brisbane: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Where to Stay in Brisbane: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

The 6 Best Hotels in Brisbane

The 6 Best Hotels in Brisbane

The Best Walking Tours in Melbourne

The Best Walking Tours in Melbourne

The Best Walking Tours in Sydney

The Best Walking Tours in Sydney

Where to Stay in Melbourne: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Where to Stay in Melbourne: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Get my best stuff sent straight to you, pin it on pinterest.

  • Where To Stay
  • Transportation
  • Booking Resources
  • Related Blogs

Wandering Wheatleys - Logo

Complete Guide to Backpacking Australia and Travel Itineraries

Growing up I always pictured Australia as a massive country that is barren and remote with a few beaches mixed in. The hit classic Crocodile Dundee left this major impression on an 8-year-old me. If I had to choose a few words to describe Australia, I would have chosen outback, beach, bikini, and surf. To be honest, these preconceived notions did not excite me a lot.

Coming from the US, I expected Australia to have some similarities to our home country. The cities would be full of skyscrapers. The culture would be mostly non-existent and dull. I did expect some differences from the US. There would be no mountains. The food would be bad. What is this Vegemite stuff Aussies rave about? To be honest, Australia wasn’t high on my list of places to visit. However, after years of traveling, we decided it was time to visit the land Down Under.

We spent three months backpacking in Australia. After purchasing a Subaru in Sydney, we hit the road. Visiting every state not called Western Australia, we saw Australia in a whole new light. Not only was it full of surprises, but the beauty was also overwhelming and we did not want to leave. All of those preconceived ideas and beliefs were so wrong.

Australia is the perfect place for epic road trips and an awesome backpacking destination. At the end of our trip, if I had to again choose four words to describe Australia, they would be outback, beach, bikini, and surf. But it means so much more to me now. Cheers mates!

Backpacking in Australia: Victoria

Content and photographs provided by Yana Kogan and Timon .

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

Australia Backpacking Guide

Best time to visit australia.

Budget Travel Australia: Victoria

Australia is a massive country that has different climates throughout the year. Depending on the place for travel, planning according to the season is crucial.

North Australia  – The best time to visit Queensland , the Northern Territory, and the northern part of Western Australia are during the winter months between June and September. The north is either tropical or arid. It gets extremely hot in the summer and many areas are prone to tropical storms. Roads in the north can be closed in the summer due to annual flooding.

South Australia  – The best time to visit New South Wales , South Australia, Tasmania , and the southern part of Western Australia is during the summer months between November and April. Believe it or not, Australia does get winter and it even snows in the mountains. Both Melbourne and Sydney get cold in the winter. If traveling during this time, don’t forget a jacket.

Visa to Australia

There are several visa options depending on the intended length of stay, age, and home country. For more information, please refer to the  Australia visa and immigration website  for all their visa options. These are the common visa options for visitors to Australia:

  • Electronic Travel Authority visa:  Available for passport holders from the United States, Canada, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, or South Korea. It costs $20 AUD. Visa holders are eligible for stays up to 3 months, with unlimited entries into Australia for the duration of the visa.  Learn more about the Electronic Travel Authority visa .
  • eVisitor visa:  Available for passport holders from Europe. It is a free visa and is valid for 12 months. Visa holders are eligible for stays up to 3 months, with unlimited entries into Australia for the duration of the visa.  Learn more about the eVisitor visa here.
  • Visitor visa:  With a passport from countries not eligible for an ETA visa or eVisitor visa, a visitor visa will have to be procured. The visa cost ranges from $120 AUD to $1,000 AUD and has options of 3, 6, or 12-month visas.  Learn more about the Visitor visa here .
  • Working Holiday visa:  With a passport from an eligible country and under the age of 31, it is possible to get a one-year visa. This is popular for backpackers looking to work and then travel in Australia.  Learn more about the Working Holiday visa here.

Currency and Banking

The Australian Dollar ($ AUD) is the national currency in Australia. It is historically a strong currency, although it saw some recent declines in 2017. Banks and ATMs are widespread throughout the country. National chains, including ANZ and Westpac, are available in nearly every town. Most ATMs charge a $2 – $3 fee when using another bank card. At the time of writing in August 2018, $1 AUD = $0.74 USD or €0.64.

Transportation in Australia

Budget Australia: Sea Cliff Bridge

Australia is massive in size so determining the right transportation in Australia is critical. For short stays, fly between major cities or rent a vehicle. For longer stays, renting or buying a vehicle is the best option.

Bus Transportation

Bus companies such as  Firefly Express and Greyhound offer direct route services as well as tours. They are flexible with hop-on hop-off packages. Direct bus routes between major cities cost between $75 AUD and $150 AUD. Tours can range from 3 days to 16 days. For example,  Oz Experience  (Greyhound) offers a 13-day tour from Melbourne to Cairns for $1029 AUD.

Domestic Flights

Cheap airlines such as  Jetstar  and  Virgin Australia  fly between major cities for cheap fares as low as $40. Make sure to pay attention to their baggage policies, especially their carry-on weight restrictions. They are known to physically weigh carry-on baggage at check-in and only allow 7 kg.

Check Flight Prices on Skyscanner

Renting a Campervan in Australia

Renting a vehicle makes sense for short and some longer stays in Australia. There are options to rent small vehicles or campervans. Australia has many campgrounds, including free ones throughout the country. Renting a campervan would double as accommodation.

Renting a smaller car would require stays in Airbnb, hostels, hotels, or tent camping. Hire a campervan from  Jucy ,  Hippie Camper , or  Britz  while touring Australia, allowing greater flexibility on an itinerary. Campervans will end up saving money. Campervan rentals cost between $400 and $700 per week depending on the size and quality.

Buying a Car or Campervan in Australia

For those coming to Australia for longer periods, buying a vehicle will likely make sense. Buying a car in Australia is confusing and it is important to understand all the anticipated costs. Try and find a good vehicle that does not become a burden. Don’t buy the cheapest option available, it might not get you very far!

Reliable cars are found on Gumtree, where you can find used vehicles with only one prior owner. On the low-end, a budget between $4,000 – $6,000 is enough for a Subaru station wagon, a converted campervan (people movers), or an older 4×4. Don’t get scared away by a higher price tag just yet. When finished with a road trip, you can sell the car, making this a cheaper option than renting a vehicle. The key is getting the vehicle checked out properly to ensure the mechanics are sound.

Backpacking in Australia

Guide to Backpacking Australia: Tassie

Australia is a backpacker haven. There is a massive backpacker community in Australia whether it is a 2-week road trip, three months, or a year-long excursion on a working visa. Hostels and dorm beds are available throughout the country, and renting or buying a campervan is a good choice to explore all the sights.

There are free campsites all over Australia, so while the costs of food and a dorm room are not as cheap as in other regions of the world, there are ways to reduce costs and make this an affordable backpacking destination. There are useful Facebook groups and community boards for connecting with other backpackers. This is a great way to join others on road trips to share the costs of a car and petrol.

Food in Australia

Backpacking in Australia: New South Wales

Food in Australia is known for its meat pies, fish and chips, and BBQ. A cheap meal in Australia is usually around $10 AUD. This can get you fast food or takeaway. We preferred to cook our own meals while in Australia, buying our groceries from Woolworths/Coles and cooking at our campsite each night. Cooking will save lots of money while traveling in Australia. However, with a higher budget, the restaurants in cities are super delicious.

Example Costs in Australia

Petrol – typically ranges between $1.20 and $1.50 per liter, but can get as expensive as $2.00 in the outback. Beer (6pk) – $18 – $24 Cask wine (goon) – $12 – $18 (2L to 5L depending on quality) Wine (bottle) – $7 – $12 Takeaway – $8 – $15 Coffee – $5 Dorm bed – $25 – $30

Apps for Australia

Guide to Backpacking Australia: Kings Canyon

There are two apps to download before heading to Australia.  Campermate  is a free app that provides information on campsites, things to see, petrol, and lots more.  WikiCamps Australia  is a paid app that has tons of information and user comments. Download the comments so everything is available offline. WikiCamps has an extensive list of campsites and comments to help provide information and suggestions. It is a one-time cost of $7.99 AUD.

The 7 Best Places to Visit in Australia

1. see the islands of queensland.

Budget Australia: Hill Inlet Lookout

Queensland is a popular destination for both backpackers and Aussies during the holidays. There are some pretty amazing places to visit, such as the Whitsunday Islands, Fraser Island, or the Great Barrier Reef. Whitsunday was one of our favorite places in all of Australia. If you like beach camping this is the place to do it!

Queensland could be a road trip on its own, but we suggest making this part of a bigger trip. While the sights are incredible, with long drives on the highway and fewer coastal sights than expected, it would be great to visit other areas of Australia too. For the top places to visit in Queensland and suggested itineraries, check out our  Queensland guide .

Guide to Backpacking Australia: Point Arkwright

2. Offroad in the Outback

Budget Travel Australia: Uluru

The middle of Australia in most cases is nothing more than barren lands with dusty and flat horizons. Views are as far as the eye can see. And then suddenly out of nowhere, something appears and completely stuns you with its existence. A visit to the Red Center is one of the more memorable places in Australia.

Stops at Kings Canyon, the West MacDonald ranges, Devils Boulders, and the rock formations at the Breakaways Conservation Park were oh, so impressive. The grand finale, Uluru, is a place that no picture can truly capture. It is a spiritual place with amazing beauty that left us speechless.

The Outback is a serious place and takes some planning, but the campfire nights, starry skies, and endless deserts are remarkable. For more information on the top places to visit and suggested itineraries, check out our  Outback survival guide .

Budget Australia: Devils Marbles

3. Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Backpacking in Australia: Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living organism on earth and extends from Bundaberg up to Papua New Guinea. Nearly two million people visit the Great Barrier Reef each year, and you should too. While there is damage to the reef and coral bleaching is occurring at an alarming rate, there is no better time to visit the reef than now. It is still one of the best snorkel and dive locations on earth.

Tours typically originate from Cairns, the most accessible location to the reef. Diving or snorkeling trips to the outer reef are a must! We loved our two days and one-night trip with Coral Sea Dreaming. Read more about our sailing and dive excursion to the  Great Barrier Reef .

Budget Travel Australia: Milne Reef

4. See the Sights on the Great Ocean Road

Guide to Backpacking Australia: Twelve Apostles

The Great Ocean Road is known mostly for the 12 Apostles, but there is so much more to see. This is one of the best road trips in Australia. The coastline has sections of the drive directly along the ocean. Rock formations erupt from the ocean floor creating endless amounts of photo opportunities. The desolate beaches are incredible to explore.

Cape Otway is smack in the middle of the GOR, a nice detour through a rainforest with some of Australia’s best waterfalls. One of our lasting memories was the amazingly cute Koalas that can be seen in the wild. From wildlife, waterfalls, beaches, rock formations, and scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road is one of the best road trips in Australia. Read more about the  Great Ocean Road  and all the top places to stop.

Backpacking in Australia: Loch Ard Gorge

5. Explore New South Wales

Budget Australia: Camel Rock

Millions of people visit New South Wales every year, which isn’t a surprise since Sydney is the largest city and has the largest airport in Australia. Sydney is a cool metropolis with amazing beaches, but venturing away will lead to a very gratifying experience. If there was an award for hidden gems and the least talked  about beaches and rock pools , NSW would be right at the top of the list.

From Royal National Park, Kiama, and the Bombo Headlands, there is so much to explore. Epic views and hiking in the  Blue Mountains  top the list of what to see. With the whitest sand in the world, Jervis Bay is worth the 3-hour drive from Sydney. There are so many reasons to check out New South Wales. Read our guide to the best places to visit in  New South Wales .

Guide to Backpacking Australia: Royal National Park

6. Go Hiking in Tasmania

Budget Travel Australia: Bay of Fires

Often looked at as the redheaded step-sibling of mainland Australia, Tasmania has so much raw beauty and mountainous terrain that cannot be offered anywhere else. We wonder why Aussies seem to dismiss Tasmania as a place to visit. Maybe they are just jealous. Tassie coastlines are some of the best in the country, especially the Tasman Peninsula, Freycinet, and the Bay of Fires.

Hiking is plentiful with options ranging from easier day walks to extremely advanced treks in the remote wilderness. Some of the best walks are Cradle Mountain, Frenchmans Cap, Pine Valley, and the Western Arthurs. Tasmania is the place to be in Australia for solitude and incredible nature. Check out our  Tasmania guide  for the top places to visit and the best hikes.

Budget Australia: Bay of Fires

7. Get off the Beaten Path in Western Australia

Backpacking in Australia: Sugarloaf Rock

By far, the most remote and unique landscapes in Australia belong to Western Australia. It is home to only 2.5 million people but with 2.6 million sq kilometers to explore. Western Australia would be in the top 10 in size if it were its own country. It offers a different vibe and experience for touring Australia.

Driving is extremely long, but the highlights make up for the long distances. It is important to have a proper car, gear, and time to visit Western Australia. Known for the best beaches in Australia, one of the best reefs in the world, and massive canyons, Western Australia has tons to offer. Some of the highlights are Margaret River, the Kimberleys, Broome, Karajini, snorkeling or diving at the Ningaloo Reef, Purnululu, Rottnest Island, William Bay National Park, and Esperance among many others!

Should You Go to Australia?

Budget Travel Australia: Lake Oberon

Absolutely! Australia has so much diversity and natural beauty that it could take decades to truly explore every nook and corner of this massive country. It’s best to visit for at least two to three weeks and pick a smaller area to explore more in-depth. While it is common to think it is possible to rush through Australia and see the entire country, the driving distances are very long and take a toll. With that said, below are some suggested itineraries based on the length of stay.

Suggested Itineraries & Road Trips for Australia

1-week road trip options in australia.

Budget Australia: Whitsundays

  • Visit the Sydney attractions, explore the coastline in Royal National Park and hike in the Blue Mountains.
  • Drink coffee and check out the graffiti in Melbourne before an epic Great Ocean Road trip.
  • Fly to Alice Springs and visit the best of the Outback: Uluru, Macdonald Ranges, and Kings Canyon.
  • Road trip from Brisbane to Airlie Beach visiting Fraser Island and the Whitsundays.

2-Week Road Trip Options in Australia

Guide to Backpacking Australia: Tasmania

  • Check out the Sydney attractions and drive down the coast to the Great Ocean Road visiting Royal National Park, Jervis Bay, Bombo Headlands, Melbourne, and the GOR.
  • Explore Melbourne and then a road trip to the Great Ocean Road followed by a few days hiking in the Grampians and finish off visiting wine country in Adelaide.
  • Road trip from Brisbane to Cairns with stops at Noosa, Fraser Island, the Whitsundays, Wallaman Falls, the waterfall circuit, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Daintree Rainforest.
  • Explore all the best sights of the Outback around Alice Springs (Uluru, West Mcdonald Range, and Kings Canyon) and then drive up to Darwin to explore the parks in Northern NT.
  • Visit the top sights in Tasmania from the Tasman Peninsula, Freycinet, Bay of Fires, Cradle Mountain, Mount Field, and a multi-day hike.

One-Month Itinerary Options for Australia

Backpacking in Australia: Kiama

  • Drive from Sydney to Cairns visiting New South Wales and Queensland.
  • Explore two weeks in Queensland and drive to Adelaide with two weeks in the Outback.
  • Venture out west driving from Perth to Darwin.
  • See all the best sights of Tasmania from the two-week trip, plus add on several epic multi-day treks, such as Mount Anne, Western Arthurs, Frenchmans Cap, the Overland Track, or Pine Valley.

that’s it – have a wonderful time exploring Australia!

Planning a trip to Australia? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!

Australia Travel Guide by Lonely Planet

About the Author:

Yana and Timon

Yana & Timon met at college in Boston, Massachusetts. After graduating, they started their professional careers. They moved to San Francisco in 2010, a city they loved living in for nearly six years. After working and saving up money for several years, they quit their jobs and set off on an adventure of a lifetime. They started living a nomadic lifestyle in December 2015 and have not looked back since.

View all posts

Related Posts

The Best Hotels in Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia

The 12 Best Hotels in Manly Beach (Sydney, Australia)

The Best Things to Do in Adelaide, Australia

The 15 Best Things to Do in Adelaide

Best Places to Celebrate New Year's Eve in the World

The 10 Best Places to Spend New Year’s Eve (2024)

Leave a comment cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Backpacker Banter

Backpacking Australia – Everything You Need To Know Before You Go (2023 Update)

Planning on backpacking Australia? Here’s everything you need to know about East Coast Australia so you can make the most of it!

Backpacking Australia is a right of passage for backpackers – the Sydney to Cairns route is one of the most popular travel trails in the world – and with  over 2,400km to cover there’s a lot of things to take into account when planning a trip there!

So if you’re busy planning your backpacking Australia trip here’s everything you need to know – click on the links for more in depth posts and to check out some of the trips and tours I recommend!

Backpacking Australia – Everything You Need To Know

Sydney to cairns or cairns to sydney.

One of the most common questions I get asked about the East Coast of Australia is which way around should you travel – Sydney to Cairns or Cairns to Sydney?

Well to be honest there are a few main things you should keep in mind when planning which way around to travel the East Coast of Australia;

  • Time of year
  • Travel time
  • Onward travels
  • Key dates/events

1. Time of Year

I’m guessing you’re heading to Australia to make the best of the sunshine and beaches, so you’ll want to be following the best of the weather!

Despite what you think that Aussie winter (May > August) can get quite cold down in spots like Sydney and Melbourne, so ideally you’ll want to hit those up in the warmest months you’re there.

So if you land in March I’d say start at the bottom and work up, whereas if you land in August you’ll be best off starting in Cairns and working your way down as the southern parts of the country warm up

2. Travel Time

Along with the time of year you’re travelling the amount of time you’re spending on the East Coast will play a part too.

If you’ve only got 2 weeks then it’s not going to make a huge difference which way around you go weather wise.

One the other hand if you have 3-4 months then it’s going to play a big part as the weather will definitely be changing a lot, so keep that in mind alongside your time of year.

3. Onward Travel

I know you’re planning Australia at the moment, but where are you heading next? It’s worth looking into onward flights as Cairns and Sydney offer different options, airlines and routes.

If you’re flying into Australia on a return ticket you can also do what’s call and open jaw flight – where you fly into one destination and out of another on the same ticket. It’s worth comparing that with a standard return to see if it saves you any money (both ways around) and that might decide your trip for you.

With this its worth keeping in mind low cost airlines like JetStar and Virgin Australia offer cheap flight between Sydney and Cairns so it may also be worth flying between the two for your onward flight as well depending on the prices.

4. Key Dates/Events

Big dates like NYE in Sydney, festivals like Bluesfest in Byron Bay or a birthday might also impact where you start your trip. There’s no point starting in Cairns on Dec 20th if you want to be in Sydney for New Year is there?

Grab a calendar and mark in key dates you want to be places and you could quickly find it decides where you should start your Aussie adventure.

The Best Places To Visit

So what are the best places to visit in Australia along the Sydney to Cairns route? Well here are some of my favourites that you should definitely fit into your plans:

  • Rainbow Beach
  • Fraser Island
  • Airlie Beach
  • Magnetic Island
  • Mission Beach
  • Cape Tribulation

…oh and Melbourne if you’re extending your trip to include that as well, which is well worth it!

Check out my full East Coast destination guide here for more info

The Best Way To Travel When Backpacking Australia?

With such a huge distance to cover figuring out the best way to travel in Australia for your style and of course budget can be tricky.

Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular options for those backpacking Australia;

1. Greyhound Australia Bus – this is the most popular option, with their hop on and hop off passes ideal for those on a set route. Currently they’re running either the WHIMit Passes (ideal for longer trips and those looking to make full use of the extensive bus network) or the East Coast Passes (perfect for trips of up to 30 days between Melbourne and Cairns).

2. Premier Bus – the cheaper alternative to the Greyhound the main difference is the fact Premier only have one departure per day. They do however have a few more options on passes, so it’s worth checking them out.

Click here for more info and to book your Greyhound, Premier or Stray Australia Passes

4. Campervan Hire – I loved campervanning around Australia and there are a huge range of campervan hire option to choose from. This can get pricey if you’re travelling for a long time though or in peak season.

Click here for cheap campervan hire in Australia

5. Buy a car/campervan – for those with a bit more cash or staying in Australia for longer buying a car or campervan is also something worth considering.

Check out my full rundown of the best ways to travel Australia here for more info

Where to Stay?

Australia has the full array of accommodation options and you’re pretty spoilt for choice for where to stay when you’re backpacking  Australia, but here are 3 of the most popular options;

The mainstay of backpackers and budget travellers there’s everything from huge 16 bed dorm rooms to more flashpacker style hostels, certainly the most popular option for most people backpacking Australia.

Some of my top Australia hostel picks include;

  • WakeUp! Sydney
  • The Surf House, Byron Bay
  • Aquarius Byron Bay
  • Byron Bay YHA
  • Flashpackers, Noosa
  • Nomads Airlie Beach
  • Nomads Magnetic Island (formerly Base)
  • Bungalow Bay YHA, Magnetic Island
  • Gilligans, Cairns

With such a huge tourism industry there’s also a huge array of hotels to choose from all over Australia – again for every style and budget.

Click here to check out and the options available.

If you’re looking for something a little bit different or to meet some locals along the way there’s thousands of Air B n B properties across Australia to choose from as well.

Whether you want a to rent a whole house for a few days or stay with a local family Air B n B is a great shout for travelling Australia.

Plus click here to save $39 on your first Air Bn B booking!

Download my Ultimate Guide to Australia for heaps more hostel recommendations

How Long Should It Take Backpacking Australia?

Another one of the big questions I get asked is how long should you take to backpacking Australia?

My honest answer is as long as you can afford!

There are over 2,400kms between the two so you dont want to rush it – you’ll spend more time looking out of the window from a bus than enjoying Australia!

You can do it in 2 weeks if you really wanted, but personally 4 weeks is the minimum I’d recommend if you want to hit up all the main destinations and do overnight trips at both Fraser Island and Whitsundays.

Even then you’ll need to have a pretty fixed itinerary.

6 weeks is perfect as it gives you some extra time to play around with and relax. Anything more than that…well happy days you can be a bit more flexible with your plans.

Check out my full guide to How Long To Spend On The East Coast of Australia for more info and some sample itineraries.

How Much Will It Cost?

Along with when, how, and how long is how much will it all cost you?

This will vary heaps from person to person depending on all the other factors as well as what activities you want to fit in.

But as an estimate for a 4 week trip from Sydney to Cairns you’ll need around $4,136AUD – this would then include all your hostels, meals, main activities and bus pass

If you stay for longer obviously your main cost will spread out, reducing your daily spend quite a lot.

Check out my How Much To Budget For Australia post for a more detailed breakdown of all the costs so you can figure out your own personal budget.

What’s There To Do?

Why should you travel from Sydney to Cairns? What is there to do? Well the East Coast trail has some of the best things to do in Australia – here are some of the main activities you’ll want to add to your bucket list;

  • Sydney Opera House
  • Bondi Beach
  • Blue Mountains
  • Learn to surf (Byron Bay is my top pick!)
  • Kayaking with dolphins (again, Byron Bay!)
  • Skydiving ( go for Mission Beach )
  • Noosa Everglades
  • Fraser Island ( check out the best Fraser Island tours here )
  • Whitsunday Islands ( check out the best Whitsundays tours here )
  • White water rafting
  • Cairns waterfalls
  • Learn to scuba dive ( Divers Den in Cairns or Byron Dive Centre )
  • The Great Barrier Reef (again Divers Den is an epic day trip for snorkelling or intro dives )

So When Are You Going?!

Phew, that’s a lot of info to take in hey? Hopefully it’s helped you get started on your trip backpacking Australia and pointed you in the right direction for some extra info to make things even easier!

And if you’d like me to personally help you plan your Australia adventure check out my Custom East Coast Trip Planner – where I’ll put together a custom itinerary for you and hook you up with some exclusive travel discounts too!

Either way, I know you’ll have an epic time travelling in Australia and whether you head there for a year long working holiday visa or a quick trip on a bigger trip I know it’ll leave you stoked for more.

So enjoy it!

Are you planning on backpacking Australia?

Anything else you’d like to know, related posts.

greyhound bus pass route map australia hop on hop off backpacker east coast

Travelling Around Australia – The Greyhound Australia Bus Pass Guide

australia international borders open 21st feb 2022 backpackers tourist visa entry requirements

Australia Opens For Tourism From Feb 21st!

best hostels in byron bay australia backpacker flashpacker couples budget party

The Best Hostels In Byron Bay (2023 Update)

australia opens borders nsw international travel covid 1st nov announcement

Australia Is Opening Up From 1st Dec 2021!

Leave a reply cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I never made it to Byron Bay but always wanted to. I remember at IGA there was always a great section with healthy foods, and they almost always came out of Byron Bay.

I’ve never been to Western Australia and always wanted to. Brisbane was my favourite place. Loved that city. So beautiful and and so nice to cycle around. I rode my bicycle an entire year when I was in Australia.

My boyfriend did Sydney – Cairns in January 2017 in a campervan and had a wonderful time! His only complaint was that it was way too hot – they couldn’t do much in the afternoons, especially once they got up to Queensland. Worth considfering, but still a must-do!

Yeah northern Queensland can get pretty humid, especially in a Campervan! Glad he enjoyed it though!

My Girlfriend is from Australia, even I got to know about few of above mentioned things from her. But is very glad that you gave the whole view about Australia at once. THANK YOU!!

Great and very informative blog posted here. Thanks for sharing such an amazing blog with us.

I can’t wait till people are able to do this again. Travelling Australia is something so special.

backpacking for travelling australia

  • Packing List

2 people in the back of a campervan smiling at the camera

The Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Australia

Backpacking Australia is one of the most trodden paths in the whole of world travel. It is also one of the biggest and most daunting countries in the world. Here is a collection of all the resources and pro tips to help you create that epic adventure you are dreaming of.

Visas for Backpacking Australia

Australia is well known throughout the world as being one of the strictest countries when it comes to foreigners. However, this does not mean the visa process is difficult or time-consuming.

The Australian government uses a handy online tool called Immi which handles your online application from start to finish. You can use this system to track progress and to see if any additional information is required.

To find out what visas are available to you and what visa will apply to you, visit the home affairs website here .

If you have already started the process then you can track progress with Immi here .

A view of the night sky whilst backpacking Australia

When you have been accepted for a working holiday visa you have 1 year to enter the country. When you enter the country this is when the visa begins. Therefore you can start the visa application very early which is highly recommended.

If you have been to certain countries within a certain time frame then Australia will require you to undergo additional medical examinations. These can be time-consuming so this is another great reason to start your application early

If you have been in the military then Australia will also conduct more stringent security checks on you so again this can increase the time it takes to process your application.

DO NOT start your application more than a year before you intend to travel. Some people we know had their visas granted within 24 hours so this would then mean your travel plans are disrupted.

As with any country, ensure you have the correct Visa for what you are planning to do. Having the incorrect visa to go backpacking in Australia or trying to manipulate certain visas for your own benefit is a good way for you to get deported. You will then have to declare that deportation on all visa applications worldwide forever.

Packing for Australia

Depending on where you will be travelling and when you will be there completely dictates what you will need to go backpacking Australia.

For example; if you travel to Tasmania in August you are going to need a full winter wardrobe with temperatures going down as low as 3 degrees Celcius on average daily.

However, if you will be travelling in the Northern Territory in August then you will never put a sweater on let alone a woolly hat with average daily temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius.

Decide where you will be going and when you will be there and you will know what wardrobe you need to take with you. You may even need to take multiple different seasons if you will be travelling a long way.

A dolphin in shallow water pictured whilst backpacking Australia

I’m not joking when I say try to get everything you will need for your whole trip in a medium-sized rucksack/bag, probably around the 14Kg mark. You’re going to find yourself in cramped, small spaces throughout the experience, especially whilst travelling. And if you have a decent-sized vehicle then the storage is nearly always quite limited. There is no point in taking things that you may only wear once.

I spent 3 months on the road and used only;

  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 7 underwear
  • 7 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of flip-flops/thongs
  • 1 pair of plimsoles

With a 60l rucksack or 50l holdall, you can easily fit that in with room for gifts and souvenirs.

backpacking for travelling australia

Our Top Pick

XL Backpack

Osprey Renn 50L

*See the full guide to this beauty right here!*

backpacking for travelling australia

Carrying around a big backpack can be tiring, so you’ll need something extra comfortable like this Osprey Renn . It has an adjustable shoulder harness so it’s suitable whatever your height and the back panel is ventilated which helps on those hot sweaty days! The bag has plenty of compartments for all of your belongings – there’s a space for your sleeping bag, water reservoir sleeve and rain cover too! Click here to buy yours.

Sydney harbour bridge pictured whilst backpacking Australia


Don’t go on this big of an adventure without something to capture the best moments. You really don’t have to spend a lot of money these days to pick yourself up a nice point-and-shoot mirrorless camera and an action camera .

Travel Camera

Panasonic LUMIX ZS70K

backpacking for travelling australia

If you don’t have a camera then I HIGHLY recommend the Panasonic Lumix ZS70K . It is an affordable point-and-shoot camera that can be picked up and used by anyone of any ability. The camera captures gorgeous images and surprisingly excellent video whilst fitting in your pocket. The main difference between this and your phone’s camera is that it also has an incredible optical zoom so you won’t miss any of the shots you need to take. Check it out here.

Action Camera

GoPro Hero 9

backpacking for travelling australia

If you’re in the market for an action camera then look no further than the latest go pro . The front-facing screen is a godsend for selfies and video and you get the famous GoPro durability and stabilisation that they are now renowned for. If the latest model is a little too expensive then I recommend dropping back 1-2 models as they do not update too much in between and you can get a great deal on older models. Check out current deals here.

Anker 10,000mAh

backpacking for travelling australia

If you’re worried about your devices losing power throughout the day then we recommend the Anker 10,000mAh power bank . Anker actually makes quite a few power banks but this one comes with a USB-C and USB-A port which means that you’ll be able to charge any of your devices regardless of connection. The 10,000mAh capacity is enough to completely charge an iPhone 12 twice so you should be good for a number of days with this beast. Have a look at the price here.

Multi Adapter

EPIKA Worldwide

backpacking for travelling australia

If you’re worried about powering your devices on your trip then the simple solution is to take this EPIKA worldwide travel adapter. We have used it all over the world and it has worked flawlessly. Being able to charge up to 5 devices by USB (4 USB-A’s + 1 USB-C) plus a full power outlet socket is incredibly useful and works as an all-in-one solution. Check it out on Amazon here.

Getting Jobs in Australia

Australia is an expensive country. This is why the vast majority of backpackers in Australia get jobs at some point in their adventure in order to pay for the awesome opportunities that Australia has to offer.

The process is actually quite easy and it is rare to hear about someone not being able to get a job for long periods of time.

This is usually because these people want a specific job or in a specific place. If you open yourself up to any opportunity anywhere in Australia then you will have a job in no time.

A koala on a tree in magnetic island pictured whilst backpacking Australia

You can apply for jobs before you get to Australia or you can start your hunt after you’ve landed.

Pros of getting a job in Australia before you land

  • You will be able to plan your flights specific to a location. This will save money on transport
  • Peace of mind. Arriving in Australia with a job already is a lot more relaxing than trying to find one when you are already there.
  • You can start applying for jobs much earlier so you may have more options available to you.

Cons of getting a job in Australia before you land

  • It is much more difficult getting a job before you land. Employers almost always want people to start immediately.
  • You have to have your visa granted already otherwise they won’t consider you at all.
  • If you are not in the country employers may simply not think it is worth the risk of offering you the job.
  • It may be a waste of time if no one employs you.

Pros of getting a job in Australia after you land

  • You will have an Australian phone number and be on the same time zone as the employer making the process a lot less time-consuming.
  • Employers will be much more willing to offer you a job knowing you are already in Australia.
  • You will be able to network with other people looking for jobs (especially in hostels in the major cities)

Cons of getting a job in Australia after you land

  • Can be a lot more stressful if no one is offering you a job.
  • Transport costs may significantly increase if you have to travel a long way from where you flew into
  • Whilst you are looking this is eating into your budget.

If you are looking to get a job after you land, one of the best places to fly into is Brisbane. This is because a significant amount of backpacker Jobs are located in Queensland and New South Wales. Brisbane is in Queensland and very close to the border of New South Wales. This is a very good location to start your search.

Don’t think you have to get a fruit picking job because that’s what you’ve seen on the news and heard from other backpackers in Australia. You can literally do anything, anywhere and usually for a lot more money and fewer hours.

If you do want to extend your visa to a 2 year then fruit picking is a good way to do it. However there are other ways, such as sponsorship and rural work, so don’t throw yourself into fruit picking.

Arlie beach wooden walkway pictured whilst backpacking Australia

Organising an Australian Road Trip!

We all know you’re going to organise one, mostly because you’d be mental not to.

backpacking for travelling australia

Did you know?

  • National Highway 1 in Australia is the single longest road in the world.

There is a reason why backpacking Australia is synonymous with a road trip. Every climate and any activity you could possibly ever want is happening somewhere in this vast country. You just have to decide what you want to do and get there!

After completing our own 14,000km road trip, we have collected all sorts of handy and beneficial information to take on board before you hit the road.

The hardest choice you make before you go exploring is what vehicle you will be using. There are so many options available to you and all of them have their pros and cons. Not only that but the destination and activities you have planned may dictate the type of vehicle you choose.

The very first decision you will have to make is whether you are going to buy a vehicle or rent one. You will always have the option as you can literally hire any type of vehicle quite easily all over Australia.

Secondly, what do you need the vehicle to be capable of? Does it need to be slept in? Where will you be taking it? What terrain will you be experiencing? How many people will it be transporting? And so on. Backpacking Australia can be so rewarding but if you get the vehicle wrong then you are falling at the first hurdle.

Read More: 10 Fun Campervan Accessories You Need For Your Road Trip!

The Crystal Cascades outside Cairns. Pictured whilst backpacking Australia

Australian Road Trip Itinerary

There are a ridiculous amount of places you can go whilst backpacking Australia but if you want to make the most of it then you simply have to make an Australia itinerary. We went from Brisbane all the way round to Perth stopping at Cairns , Darwin and Broome as we went. This sort of Australia itinerary isn’t going to take 7 days, it’s at least a 2-3 month adventure. However, there are so many routes and destinations that you can easily create your own Australia itinerary for your needs

East Coast Itinerary

Depending on how long you have, you could go all the way from Melbourne to Port Douglas .

This is a hell of a road trip so if you only have a month or less then you can easily choose your destinations more specifically.

For example; going from Melbourne to Brisbane is a fantastic way to see some of the most amazing sights and beaches that the east coast has to offer.

Or you could choose to go from Brisbane to Port Douglas and experience the Great Barrier Reef and the truly beautiful rainforests of northern Queensland .

An east coast itinerary will allow you to experience the more well-known and tourist-friendly areas of Australia. So if you are looking for the quintessential Australian road trip or backpacking experience then the east coast is probably for you.

West Coast Itinerary

This is for the truly adventurous amongst us. The natural beauty of the west coast of Australia is simply stunning. If your Australian road trip takes you down in this direction then you’re going to have to be much more prepared. Your vehicle is going to have to be a 4×4 just to access most of the insane places that the west coast has to offer. Don’t be put off, however, at the end of each dirt track is something or somewhere you will never forget.

The view of a road going into the horizon whilst backpacking Australia

Backpacking Australia on a Budget

Everybody’s budget is different. You may have a small amount of money and time or you may have saved your whole life for a once-in-a-lifetime trek around the whole continent.

Either way, you need to know what you can afford to see, do and how far you can get.

Less than a month

One of the best Australian road trips, if you’re stuck on time, has to be the east coast. Melbourne to Brisbane. This route is the most tourist friendly and has some of the busiest and most developed beach towns in Australia.

More than a month

Sticking with the east coast but get all the way up to Port Douglas. The further North you go the more tropical it gets. The environment and scenery in north Queensland is simply unforgettable.

More than 2 months

You have to start thinking about Western Australia. This is where the wild Australian coast really hits home. Beaches spanning 80 miles without a soul in sight, national parks where you can truly lose yourself to nature. Western Australia truly has to be the place to go if you’re not tourist inclined but still want to see what Australia has to offer.

There are so many destinations that really cannot be missed if you have the time and budget.

Top Things to see and do in Australia

The sheer size of Australia means that there is a massive amount to see and do. Fitting it all in would be a near impossible task so here are some of our favourite must-visit locations.

Sydney Opera House – New South Wales

You can’t visit Sydney without taking a look at the Opera House . The iconic building at the heart of Sydney truly is a beautiful sight. You can even walk up the Sydney harbour bridge at sunset for the best view in the house – if you’re not scared of heights, that is.

A picture of the front of the sydney opera house whilst backpacking australia

Great Tours in Sydney to Experience

  • Whale Watching Cruise
  • Blue Mountains Tour
  • Hunter Valley Wine Tour
  • Snorkelling at Manly beach

Great Barrier Reef – Queensland

Global warming and pollution are having a major effect on the Great Barrier Reef and bleaching of the coral is a massive problem facing the whole of Australia. If you do decide to go out and see the reef then don’t be shy about spending a little extra money. This limits the number of boats that go out and limits the amount of damage we are doing.

Many blue fish in the coral at the great barrier reef seen whilst backpacking australia

Check out these once-in-a-lifetime Queensland tours

  • Rainforest River Tubing Adventure
  • Daintree, Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation Tour
  • Whitehaven Cruise – Whitsunday Islands
  • Skyrail Rainforest Cableway & Kuranda
  • Food & Wine Tasting at Atherton Tablelands
  • Quicksilver Outer Barrier Reef Snorkel Cruise

Saltwater Crocodiles – Northern Territory

Seeing wild saltwater crocodiles is truly a humbling experience. Seeing a predator that hasn’t evolved for millions of years makes you respect the superiority of nature. There are many tours to see them in the wild so I don’t see the point in going to a zoo. I personally think much more fun to see them just as close but in their own habitat.

A wild saltwater crocodile seen whilst backpacking australia

Here are some amazing tours to take in the Northern Territory

  • Uluru At Sunrise With Breakfast
  • Litchfield National Park Tour
  • Tiwi Islands Tour
  • Katherine Gorge and Edith Falls Tour

Swimming with Whales – Western Australia

At certain times of the year, you can swim with humpback whales in Western Australia. Seeing a whale from 10 metres away whilst in the water is something you will not forget, I promise you. There are also opportunities to swim with whale sharks (the biggest fish in the sea) and huge manta rays.

A humpback whale breaching above the water

See what incredible tours the west coast of Australia has to offer

  • Swim the humpback whales
  • Scuba Diving the Ningaloo Reef
  • Margeret River and Vineyards Tour
  • Rottnest Island

Kangaroo Island – South Australia

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole of Australia, Kangaroo island boasts a huge abundance of wildlife opportunities. If you are a nature lover then this is the place to come when in South Australia as it is famed for how friendly the local wildlife is.

A kangaroo sitting on a beach

See what else South Australia has to offer

  • Kangaroo Island ATV Experience
  • Ocean Safari
  • Barossa Valley and Hahndorf Day Trip
  • Dolphin Kayaking

Lake Mountain – Victoria

Lake Mountain is one of the most well-known cross-country ski resorts in the world. I think it’s a great way to get into skiing as there are entire routes that have nothing to do with speed or skill. Think of it as going for a walk through the snow-covered trails of the Australian mountains.

Discover Victoria with these awesome tours

  • Yarra Valley Wine Experience
  • Grampians National Park
  • Great Ocean Road Eco Tour
  • Lake Mountain Skiing

Tasmanian Devils – Tasmania (obviously)

What more of a reason do you need to go to this beautiful island than to see the Tasmanian devil? Are they cute? Are they ferocious beats? Now you can decide for yourself.

A tasmanian devil in tasmania

Here are the top tours to experience in Tasmania

  • Cradle Mountain Star Gazing Tour
  • Burny Island – Full Day Food and Wine Tour
  • 3 Hour Wilderness Cruise

Best Transport for Backpacking Australia

Getting around Australia can be time-consuming and expensive. To put it in perspective, the whole of Europe fits inside the country of Australia. So going from city to neighbouring city is a good flight away.

Knowing all of your options will significantly decrease your spending on unnecessary travel.

All of the major cities have a rail connection to mainland Australia. However, not all of them have direct links to one another.

For example, Cairns to Darwin on a map might look like it would have a train route connecting the two, however, it does not. If you wanted to go from Cairns to Darwin you have to go south a long way and all the way back up, this pushes the price up too far in my opinion.

However, Sydney to Melbourne has a direct rail link so you may save time and money getting a long-haul train.

A large waterfall made famous by herbal essences pictured whilst backpacking Australia

In some locations in the rural outback, flights are your best option for getting anywhere. There will usually be busses in these locations too but the time it can take on a bus can be days. It’s entirely up to you whether your budget can stretch to a flight.

This is one of the backpackers’ favourite options. If you don’t have your own vehicle then this is usually the cheapest option. And with GreyHound , you can hop on and hop off at multiple stops along the way. It’s easy to see why you would choose it.

Check all available options before you book your bus. Sometimes you will be surprised that a much quicker option is available to you for the same if not a cheaper price than the bus.

Vehicle Relocation

This is a fantastic way to save money and have a little adventure at the same time. Some companies such as Imoova and TransferCar need their rental vehicles in another city for another customer. Rather than paying for a driver, they let you drive the vehicle, from a small hatchback to a large motorhome, for them. This can cost as little as $1 a day and some even have a fuel allowance along with it!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money can i make backpacking australia.

In the cities it totally depends on what your job is, however assuming that you have gone for an all-inclusive deal where food and accommodation are included, you will be making around AU$500-600 a week. This can be a lot more if you have an office job or even a warehouse job. You have to remember that rent can be very expensive in Australia so at first, it might seem like you will earn more by finding your own accommodation always do the maths and find out what is best for you in the long run.

What vehicle should I get on an Australian road trip?

If you are going from town to town on the east coast of Australia then go for a campervan. They are the cheapest and simplest option. If you want to start going around the North or West then I highly recommend a camper trailer, rooftop ten or off road campervan. If you don’t have something capable of unsealed roads then you will miss vast amounts of what these areas have to offer.

How much is accommodation on an Australian road trip?

If you have your own vehicle to live in then a powered site is going to cost you AU$30 on average. This can go as low as AU$15 and as high as AU$60 in places like Broome. If you are looking for a room then the average is around AU$80. This can easily go as high as AU$120 in more remote locations.

How long does it take to get an Australian working holiday visa?

Depending on the individual circumstance it can range from 24 hours to 8 months in my experience. I was a particularly hard case where I was in the military and I needed additional medical checks because I had been to China. You can enter Australia within a year of being accepted so apply as early as you can.

What is the best backpacker car in Australia?

If you are on a backpacker budget then there are two really good choices, the Nissan X-Trail or a Ford Territory. Both are very affordable right now and both can handle unsealed roads and light offroading. If you go for the X-Trail then look for one around the 200,000km range or less, the head gasket tends to go at around 250,000km’s and you don’t want that whilst road tripping through Australia. If you are on a very tight budget then you can pick up an old Nissan Patrol for around AU$1200, these are real workhorses but be careful that you are not buying someone else’s problem.

A Nissan X-trail used whilst backpacking Australia

If there is anything that I haven’t covered or you want us to explain anything in more detail, then please leave us a comment in the section below!

Click on the image below to pin this post!

his guide has everything you will need to organise your Australian backpacking adventure. Backpacking Australia | Travelling Australia | Australia | #australia #backpackingaustralia #cempervanaustralia #roadtripaustralia #ultimateguideaustralia

Pingback: Fun Things To Do On Your Next Trip To Perth, Australia

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

The ultimate backpackers guide to Australia

Experience the thrill of a lifetime with an awesome backpacking journey through the vast and beautiful landscape of Australia. Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring sights and sounds of this amazing country, and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

From the stunning natural wonders of Sydney to the vibrant cultural scene in Melbourne , Australia has something for every backpacker seeking an exhilarating and unforgettable experience. So what are you waiting for?

Essential travel tips for backpackers

Exploring the vast and diverse landscapes of Australia through backpacking is truly thrilling! This beautiful country offers a plethora of unique experiences for backpackers of all levels. Whether you prefer pristine beaches or ancient rainforests, vibrant cities or remote outback regions, Australia has something for everyone.

Before embarking on your backpacking adventure in Australia, it’s important to make some essential preparations to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

1. Research the sights and experiences

Take the time to research and become acquainted with Australia’s geography, climate , and various regions. Discover the distinct characteristics of each state and territory, from Queensland’s stunning beaches to the Outback’s rugged landscapes. Learn about Australia’s cultural heritage and indigenous history, which shape its identity. Visit famous landmarks like the Sydney Opera House, Uluru, and the Great Barrier Reef.

2. Make sure you have your visa

If you plan on backpacking in Australia, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll need to obtain a visa. There are many types of visas when travelling to Australia. For example; Working Holiday Visas (Subclass 417 and 462), for example, allow backpackers to work legally, earn money, and immerse themselves in the Australian way of life. 

  • Check out our detailed Visa guide

3. Make a plan for your journey

To make the most of your backpacking trip in Australia, plan your itinerary beforehand. Determine the length of your trip and the areas you want to visit. From cosmopolitan cities to remote natural wonders, Australia has something for everyone. Investigate well-known destinations such as Sydney , Melbourne , Darwin , and Perth , as well as off-the-beaten-path gems. Australia is huge, consider the distance between locations and transportation options.

4. Pack the essentials

When packing for your Australian adventure, keep in mind the diverse climate and activities you’ll encounter. Pack weather-appropriate clothing, including lightweight and breathable fabrics, because the weather is frequently warm and sunny. To protect yourself from the harsh Australian sun, bring essentials such as comfortable shoes, bathers, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Pack warm layers, a jacket, and insect repellent depending on the time of year and your planned activities. Don’t forget your backpack!

Things to do in Australia

Australia is a haven for adventurers and nature lovers, with a diverse range of exciting activities and unforgettable experiences. There is something for everyone, from exploring breathtaking national parks to diving into the Great Barrier Reef.

Daintree - backpackers australia

National parks and outdoor adventures

Great barrier reef - brisbane backpackers - helicopter aerial

Coastal adventures

Australia’s massive coastline provides endless possibilities for coastal adventures and water sports. Visit Sydney’s world-famous Bondi Beach, catch a wave on the iconic Gold Coast, or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of the Whitsundays. Dive enthusiasts can explore the Great Barrier Reef’s vibrant underwater world, while thrill seekers can try their hand at activities such as skydiving, jet skiing, and paddleboarding along the coast.

Koala sleeping on tree branch - backpackers - koala - backpackers australia - backpackers koala

Encounters with wildlife

Australia is famous for its diverse and unique wildlife. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with native animals, from cuddling koalas and hand-feeding kangaroos in wildlife sanctuaries to spotting crocodiles in the wild. Visit Kangaroo Island to see sea lions basking on the beaches, venture into Queensland’s rainforests to spot colourful birds and elusive platypuses, or take a whale-watching tour to see these marine giants migrate.

Sydney harbour bridge sydney backpackers - backpakcers - sunset in sydney

Cultural and urban exploration

The vibrant cities of Australia offer plenty of cultural and urban experiences. Explore Sydney’s bustling streets and iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Immerse yourself in Melbourne’s thriving arts and food scene, discover Adelaide’s historical charm, or stroll through Brisbane’s lively laneways. Visit museums and art galleries, eat multicultural cuisine, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of Australia’s urban hubs.

Food and drinks

$20 - $40 aud, accommodation, transportation, $10 - $30 aud, activities and experiences, miscellaneous, $10 - $20 aud, total daily expenses, $70 - $160 aud.

Remember, by carefully managing your expenses, you can make the most of your backpacking adventure in Australia without sacrificing the incredible experiences that await you. With a friendly budget in hand, you’re all set to explore Australia’s stunning landscapes, engage with its vibrant culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Happy travels!

Budgeting for your trip

We get it. Budgeting isn’t fun, but managing your expenses while embarking on an unforgettable backpacking journey is crucial and could extend your trip even further so, let’s take a realistic approach as we break down the daily costs you might encounter during your adventure in Australia.

Must-see backpacker spots

From stunning natural wonders to vibrant cultural hotspots, we’ve handpicked these gems that should be at the top of your list to ensure an unforgettable experience.

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s natural wonders, must be seen on any trip to Australia. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers snorkelers and scuba divers a rainbow of coral reefs and marine life. Swim with tropical fish and admire the reef’s coral formations. Cairns and Port Douglas offer reef cruises and diving tours to explore this unique ecosystem.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia’s Red Centre is sacred and incredible. Ayers Rock, or Uluru, is an iconic desert monolith. Explore Uluru’s walking trails, see its stunning sunrise and sunset colours, and learn about the Indigenous Anangu people. Kata Tjuta, a group of domed rock formations, offers breathtaking hiking and a chance to experience the spirituality of the Outback.

Whitsunday Islands

The tropical Whitsunday Islands off Queensland should are perfect for relaxation and adventure with white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and vibrant coral reefs. Yacht through the Whitsunday Islands or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. Whitehaven Beach’s swirling sands are a must-see. Relax, sunbake, and enjoy the Whitsundays in this tranquil paradise.


Latest guides.

melbourne art galleries, museums and street art man and girl walking beside building

The best Art Galleries & Museums for Backpackers in Melbourne

backpackers watching the sunset while leaning on the on a car while camping and hiking

Our 6 epic backpacker camping & hiking trips you won’t regret

sydney walking tours - backpackers sydney - best walks in sydney - hikes in sydney - person on cliff

Discover the 5 best walks in Sydney

au pair australia - backpacker au pair - working as an au pair in australia - woman and 2 babies

Becoming a Backpacker Au Pair in Australia

The destination for Backpacking Australia. Discover expert backpacker travel guides, thrilling things to do, incredible spots to check out and must-have backpacker gear.

For backpackers, by backpackers.

About backpackers, join the backpacker club to receive updates and exclusive travel deals .

Your source for the latest backpacker guides, tours and exclusive travel deals delivered directly to your inbox.

You can unsubscribe at any time.

  • Top things to do in london in 3 days
  • 12 things to do in Amsterdam in 2 days
  • Top 12 things to do in Berlin in 3 Days
  • Top 10 things to do in Rome in 2 days. Backpacker’s Itinerary
  • Top 12 things to do in Madrid in 3 days
  • Top Things to Do in Paris. The Ultimate 3-Day Guide
  • Interrailing Tips
  • Solo Travel Guides
  • Best Travel Apps
  • Hostel Tips
  • Budget Travel Tips
  • Best Hostels Amsterdam
  • Best Hostels Barcelona
  • Best Hostels Belfast
  • Best Hostels Berlin
  • Best Hostels Dublin
  • Best Hostels Edinburgh
  • Best Hostels Lisbon
  • Best Hostels London
  • Best Hostels Malta
  • Best Hostels Milan
  • Best Hostels Naples
  • Best Hostels Nice
  • Best Hostels Paris
  • Best Hostels Prague
  • Best Hostels Seville
  • Best Hostels Split
  • Best Hostels Valencia
  • Best Hostels Auckland
  • Best Hostels Brisbane
  • Best Hostels Cairns
  • Best Hostels Christchurch
  • Best Hostels Goa
  • Best Hostels Hanoi
  • Best Hostels Hong Kong
  • Best Hostels Koh Phi Phi
  • Best Hostels Koh Samui
  • Best Hostels Marrakech
  • Best Hostels Perth
  • Best Hostels Singapore
  • Best Hostels Cartagena
  • Best Hostels Chicago
  • Best Hostels Havana
  • Best Hostels LA
  • Best Hostels Medellin
  • Best Hostels Mexico City
  • Best Hostels New York
  • Best Hostels Rio de Janeiro
  • Best Hostels San Diego
  • Best Hostels San Francisco
  • Best Hostels Toronto
  • Best Hostels Tulum
  • Make a Booking

Discover Down Under: your guide for backpacking Australia

Hostelworld Blog | Posted on September 26, 2018 |

Australia – the backpacker’s dream destination. With stunningly rugged landscapes, once-in-a-lifetime outdoor activities, bizarre wildlife and a nation of the most down-to-earth hosts you’re ever likely to meet, it’s easy to see why. But hold up.  Before you start buying cork hats and practising your best “G’day mate”, keep in mind that Australia is also massive and occasionally very remote. While no one wants to over plan their trip to the land of no worries, our backpacking Australia guide is packed with helpful tips, itineraries and recommendations from travellers who have backpacked around Australia to make your trip down-under as laid-back as possible.

  • The Best Time to Visit Australia
  • Do I Need a Visa for Australia?

Travelling around Australia

  • Where to Stay in Australia
  • Australia Travel Costs

Best places to visit in Australia

  • Australian Food
  • Australian  Culture and Customs
  • Is Australia Dangerous?
  • Australia Travel Advice

The best time to visit Australia

Recommended by Emily Kammerlohr

The best time to visit Australia totally depends on what you like. If you visit during the Australian winter, you’ll enjoy milder temperatures in the ‘Outback’ (central Australia) and great whale watching on the east coast. If you visit during the Australian summer, you’ll get to experience a quintessential Bondi Christmas and the amazing New Year’s party in Sydney Harbour. It’s totally up to you.

Visiting Australia in spring/summer

In Australia, spring is from September to November and summer is from December to February. If you’re looking to catch some sun, the Australian summer makes the PERFECT getaway from the freezing temperatures of the northern hemisphere. Why not spend your winter break working on your tan instead of crowding around the fire?

Summer in Australia is like nowhere else. The sun seems to shire eternally and the fun never stops. Temperatures in Sydney hover around 25°-30° Celsius, making it the perfect time to bask in the Bondi sun or catch a few waves in Manly . On the opposite coast, Perth ‘s weather is just as amazing – boasting nearly infinite sunny days with temperatures in the high 20’s.

As Australian beach culture is such a big part of the national identity, if you’d like to surf with the locals in Byron Bay , find Nemo on the Great Barrier Reef, or discover koalas on the sandy trails of Magnetic Island, spring and summer is the perfect time for you to visit the great land ‘Down Under’.

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw summer in Australia ice cream

Visiting Australia in autumn/winter

In Australia, autumn is from March to May and winter is from June to August. So if you’re from the northern hemisphere, the Australian winter occurs during your summer holidays – at a time when the Australian climate is relatively mild. Australia is such a big country with so much to see, meaning that you’ll need at least a month to six weeks to see everything you’d like to, if not longer. But you don’t need to take a gap year to do this. Even if you’re still in university, the temperature in Australia during the winter makes it the perfect “summer vacation” destination.

Many people think that the Australian climate is too cold during the autumn or winter months, but unless you are south of Sydney, it’s not cold at all. In fact, with average temperatures in the mid 20’s during the winter in northern Queensland , you can sail the Whitsundays , camp on Fraser Island, and explore the Great Barrier Reef – all with only a light jacket.

During the winter, the temperature in Sydney hovers in the mid-teens, but it’s not uncommon for sunny days to reach the low 20’s. Perth’s weather is often very similar, although at night the temperature can reach single digits, so it’s best to bring some warm pyjamas with you.

While you may spend a night or two shivering if you travel the Great Ocean Road near Melbourne during the winter, you will be thankful for the break from the scorching Aussie sun when you make the trek to Uluru.

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw winter in Australia - teepee

Backpacker visa for Australia

Recommended by Eline Schreurs

If you want to visit Australia, you’ll need to apply for a specific visa. Thankfully, for every type of traveller, there’s also a type of visa and for most backpackers the following three types of visas a popular.

The most popular visa for Australia from the UK and Europe (plus many other parts of the world) is the Working Holiday visa. This Australian backpacker visa allows you to stay and work in Australia for one year. If you want to apply, you’ll need to meet some entry requirements: you must be aged 18 – 30 years old, have enough money of your own (around AUD $5,000/ EUR   € 3,000), must not have a criminal convictions and be in good health (if you have travelled for longer than 3 months in a ‘high/medium health risk’ area, you’ll need a hospital to assess you). You’re only allowed to have this visa once in your life with one exception: if you complete 88 days of farm work on your first visa you can apply for a second one. Some other types of work are also allowed for a second-year visa, but farm work is the easiest.

If you’re not planning to stay this long or if you don’t want to work while backpacking Australia, you can also apply for a tourist visa. With this visa, you can stay for up to three months, but there are some restrictions regarding any criminal convictions in your own country. Overall, the requirements for this visa are less strict.

You can also apply for a long-stay tourist visa. This visa enables you to backpack around Australia for up to a year, but you will not be allowed to work during this time. You will also be required to prove that you have enough money to travel around Australia without having to work, as they do not want people working illegally on this visa.

There is also the option of a student visa or job-specific visa, but these are more difficult to obtain and require a lot of extra paperwork. I think the easiest one is the Working Holiday visa as it gives you so much time and the option to work if you run out of money, which is likely in Australia.

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw koala in the road

There are many ways to get around in Australia: you can drive, take the bus and train or even fly from one place to another. Don’t forget when choosing your type of transport that Australia is immense.

1. Driving in Australia

Driving in Australia is fantastic – you have all the freedom you want. You can go from one place to another without having to think about anything else. Driving in Australia with a UK licence is easy as your licence is also valid – and they drive on the left-hand side of the road too. If you’re not from a country where they drive on the left, it’s going to take a bit more time to adjust. But after a while, you get the hang of it – just be careful at the roundabouts (which can be tricky).

When you decide to go on a classic Australian road trip , the most important thing to remember is: take your time. Driving from Sydney to Melbourne does not look that far on the map, but it takes around 10 hours on the most direct route. However, I recommend you take your time and go for the scenic route along the coast, as it’s a bit longer but so beautiful.

You should also avoid driving at night; during the day you can at least see the native wildlife (like kangaroos and koalas) crossing the road but at night it’s much harder to react on time. Not only do you not want to kill one of these cute animals, but you also don’t want to risk your own life – kangaroos are especially big and can cause some serious damage to your car. While you’re driving around Australia, you will already see a lot of native animals lying dead at the side of the road so please drive carefully.

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw driving in Australia

2. Campervan and car hire

There are many options for driving around Australia: you can rent a car and drive between hostels, or you can take a tent and camp at the many campsites. But I think the most relaxed way to drive around Australia is to buy or rent a campervan that you also can sleep in. There are different companies who rent vans like Travellers Autobarn or Wicked Campers .

If you’re in backpacking Australia for a long time, it may be a better idea to buy a van from other backpackers. In every hostel, you will see ads from backpackers selling their vans or cars, but before you agree to a deal with someone, make sure the car gets checked by an independent mechanic. Most of those vans are all pretty old, and you don’t want to break down in the middle of the Outback. Also, don’t forget to buy car insurance – most banks offer some excellent deals for backpackers. The Commonwealth Bank, for example, really helped me out with all my questions about this.

Rent a car with Hostelworld

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw van hire

3. Public transport in Australian cities

If you’re visiting one of the bigger cities like Sydney , Melbourne and Brisbane , driving is not comfortable. There’s way too much traffic and you will often get stuck in a traffic jam. The best way to get around in a big city is by public transport. They each have buses, train and tram lines inside the city and a lot of various train lines that can take you outside the city. The public transport in Australian cities is fantastic: it’s almost always on time, with an option every 5 minutes and it is not too expensive. Every state uses their own public transport card. For public transport in Melbourne you need to buy a Myki card and top it up, and then you can use on all the different types of public transport. For Sydney public transport the pre-payment option is called the Opal card. You can use this card for everything in Sydney, such as ferries, trams, buses, etc. Also, on Sundays, you only need to pay a certain amount (like AUD $5) for public transport, and when you reach that limit, you can use the rest of the day public transportation for free. This is particularly interesting if you want to go for a day trip to the Blue Mountains or to Manly for example. You can top-up these cards with as much money as you want – but don’t make the mistake of putting too much on it because you cannot get it back.

4. Backpacker buses in Australia

The most popular way to travel around Australia is to take the ‘backpacker’ bus from one place to another. You can choose between two bus companies: Premier and Greyhound . The most significant difference between the two is the price; Premier is cheaper than Greyhound, but they have fewer options than Greyhound – and on Greyhound you also have Wi-Fi and phone charging points. However, both companies stop at the exact same places, so it’s simply a matter or availability and price.

Both these companies offer flexible passes, which means you can buy a pass for the whole East Coast (from Melbourne to Cairns ) and ‘hop on hop off’ whenever you want. In the high season, you should reserve your place on the bus well in advance or you’ll risk not having a seat at all.  When it’s low season, you’ll still need to reserve your seat, but you can often leave it to the last minute.

You can also buy different passes, such as from Sydney to Cairns or Brisbane. So, it really depends where you are, where you want to go to and how much time you have. Most of the backpackers start in Sydney and end up in Cairns (making the same stops in between like Fraser Island and the Whitsundays ), but there’s much more to see, so do your research before you buy a pass. You may even realise that buying a car is the better option for you. But if you don’t want the hassle of a car and insurance then the backpacker bus is the better way for you to see Australia.

5. Budget airlines and trains in Australia

If you’re in a hurry to get between destinations, then it’s probably better to fly or catch the train. For example, there’s a sleeper train from Sydney to Brisbane that covers the 14-hour journey overnight. Be warned though, the cheapest ticket is for a seat not a bed and it’s a pretty uncomfortable way to sleep. However, Australian trains are of a very high standard, especially the interstate XPT trains that run from Sydney.

If the idea of a long car ride (like the whopping 19-hour Brisbane to Cairns drive) really isn’t for you then flying is probably your best option. Australia has multiple budget airlines, such as Jetstar, Tigerair and Virgin Australia. If you book far enough in advance, you can often get a good price. Alternatively, if you know which domestic flights you will need before booking your international ones, why not pop them on the same ticket? Qantas do a Walkabout Pass which means you can fly with them everywhere in Australia for a fraction of the price.

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw flying in Australia

Where to stay in Australia

Australia is an awesome backpacking hub and so naturally enjoys a plethora of amazing hostels. Check out the best hostels in Australia here .

Compare all hostels in Australia

Australia travel costs

Australia is expensive – but backpacking Australia on a budget is still possible. You don’t need to sacrifice safety or comfort in the land ‘Down Under’ to have a magnificent adventure. It’s typical of backpackers in Australia to compare budgets and frustrations about the high cost of living in this Oceanic paradise, but if you’re careful it’s possible to leave Australia with money left over.

1. Currency in Australia

The currency in Australia is the Australian Dollar. It’s denoted by the dollar sign “$” same as the American and Canadian Dollar. While exchange rates can vary daily, as of August 2018, the average conversions are as follows:

American Dollar vs. Australian Dollar:

Euro vs. Australian Dollar:

British Pound Sterling vs. Australian Dollar:

Canadian Dollar vs. Australian Dollar:

2. Cost of flights to Australia

The costs of flights to Australia can vary greatly, but a backpacker on a budget should always keep their eyes open for sales and deals. For example, certain airlines often have “end of year” sales or major sales around holidays.

Another way to secure cheap airfare to Australia is by waiting for error fares. An error fare is when an airline mistakenly publishes a fare that is well below market price – sometimes as low as 90% off. The only downside is that error fares are not always honoured and typically have restricted dates.

From the UK, you should expect to pay an average of AUD $900 to AUD $1,200 for a flight out of London without any special deals. From Germany, flights tend to run about AUD $1,400, no matter the airport or season. From Canada, flights can vary depending on the season and city of departure. For example, flying from Toronto in September can cost roughly AUD $1,500, while flying from Vancouver in May can be AUD $1,300.

From the USA, flight availability and prices vary greatly as the market becomes more competitive, with non-stop flights from San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles consistently priced under AUD $1,000.

3. Backpacking Australia: daily budget

Before setting off to backpack Australia, you should think about what experiences you would like to splurge on. This is because while the day-to-day costs while travelling Australia on a budget can be kept relatively low, experiences such as camping under the stars at Uluru or sailing the Whitsunday Islands can be expensive, depending on how you choose to experience them.

If you already know which bucket list items you are willing to spend more money on, you can factor the costs into your original budget and not worry about blowing through all your cash when it is time to experience them.

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw baby kangaroo

4. Australian hostel costs

In larger cities like Sydney and Melbourne , a bed in an 8-person dorm typically goes for roughly AUD $20–$35 a night, while in smaller cities like Cairns or Byron Bay , you can stay cheaper, typically for under AUD $20–$25 a night.

Your daily costs can be reduced significantly by staying a hostel that includes breakfast and has free Wi-Fi, as even if the fee to access these amenities is small (often less than AUD $5), if purchased every day, they can add up quickly.

5. Eating and drinking

Alcohol is expensive in Australia due to import costs and taxation, so do not be surprised to see the average city cocktail come in around AUD $25 or more. Buying your alcohol at the local bottle shop (called a “bottle-o” to Aussies) is always cheaper than going out. A staple of the Australian backpacking experience is “goon”, which is a very inexpensive bagged wine.

A sit-down meal at your average restaurant can cost anywhere from AUD $25 -$40 (even for a burger and chips), which is why many backpackers choose to purchase groceries at supermarkets like Woolworths or Coles and cook a meal in their hostel instead.

When you’re on an extreme budget (and want to experience an authentic Aussie treat) stop by the hardware store Bunnings Warehouse for their $1 sausage sizzle every Sunday.

6. Sightseeing

The great thing about Australia is that there are so many wonderful things to see and do that are completely free. For example, whilst climbing the Harbour Bridge in Sydney is well over AUD $200, you are welcome to walk across it for free. Many museums in Sydney and Melbourne are also completely free and you can take in the overwhelming nature of Northern Queensland and the Outback without paying a cent through your own hikes and scenic drives. See our recommendations for things to do in Australia below.

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw reef

Australia is one of the most amazing countries in the world. Even if you live here for a year, you’ll still struggle to visit all the places that are on your bucket list.

1. Uluru and the Outback

The most famous landmark in Australia is Uluru. This sacred rock is in the middle of the Outback, as Australia’s vast desert interior is called. It takes a couple of days to get there by car and is expensive, but anyone you speak to who has visited it says it is worth it. Most backpackers are drawn to the Outback because of the promise of adventure: you’ll drive for days without encountering anybody else, sleep under the most beautiful starry sky you’ll ever see and feel at one with nature the whole time.

Book your hostel in Alice Springs

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw Uluru

2. Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road

If you’re starting your trip on Australia’s east coast, then your first stop should be Melbourne . Known for its chilled-out vibes and numerous hipster bars, there’s so much more to this city than places to drink. Your Melbourne backpacker itinerary should include Hosier Lane, with the most beautiful graffiti you’ll ever see, and architecture and book fans shouldn’t miss the amazing State Library of Victoria. If the weather is lovely, take a walk next to the Yarra River and make your way through the Kings Domain to the impressive Shrine of Remembrance war memorial. You also need to visit Queen Victoria Market, especially on a Sunday when there’s also a lot of street musicians and food stands around. Your hostel can help you arrange a backpacker tour around Melbourne if you’re interested in a guided experience of the city.

Heading out of Melbourne, you shouldn’t miss the iconic road trip along the Great Ocean Road . This two or three-day trip includes many stunning beaches and rock formations; the most famous one is the Twelve Apostles, which are slowly disappearing due to erosion, so you better hurry up if you want to see them.

3. Melbourne to Cairns: backpacking east coast Australia

Most of the backpackers opt for the classic east coast itinerary when visiting Australia for the first time, taking in most key destinations from Melbourne to Cairns . You can squeeze this whole route in if you’re only backpacking Australia for 3 weeks – or take time and stretch it out across 3 months. Listed below are some of the key landmarks and attractions you should include when doing this classic Australian backpacking route.

4. Sydney and the Blue Mountains

If you’re planning on backpacking the east coast of Australia, you will definitely stop in Sydney for a few days. This lively and vibrant city has an incredible range of beaches – and, of course, you must take a selfie with the Opera House and spend an afternoon chilling in Hyde Park. You can climb the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge if you’re looking for a high-adrenaline adventure, but you also shouldn’t miss other landmarks like Taronga Zoo, Luna Park, Circular Quay and the Rocks and many more.

If you’re more into beaches , then you’ll discover the city has a wide range of options. Take the ferry (which I highly recommend, especially at night) and visit Manly and Shelly beach. Both beaches are amazing and the surfy suburb of Manly is also worth a visit. Of course, you should visit Sydney’s most famous beaches: Bondi Beach (as seen on the reality TV series Bondi Rescue ) and Palm Beach (the setting for TV soap opera, Home and Away ). The easiest way to make new friends in Sydney is to go to a backpacker bar , such as Scary Canary near Darling Harbour, and start talking to other people. Most of these bars are entwined with hostels, like the awesome Wake Up! hostel bar – so choose the right one and you will have a bunch of friends in no time.

If you fancy a day trip from Sydney, then you shouldn’t miss the Blue Mountains National Park. You can visit the breathtaking Three Sisters rock formation and enjoy a long walk in the park, to absorb all the natural beauty. Book a hostel and stay overnight – or even for a couple of days – as you will find so many new and amazing things to do here.

Check out our Sydney guide

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw Sydney Harbour Bridge

5. Byron Bay

If you’re travelling by bus from Sydney, then your next stop will probably be Byron Bay . Known to be a little hippie stoner town, its reputation has grown so much that people say the moment you drive into the city you become high. Maybe it was like this years ago but now it’s much more of a tourist-friendly destination. It’s still wonderful and has serious hippy vibes, but it’s also more commercial. Make sure to visit the lighthouse at the top, it will give you a fantastic view.

Incredible things to do in Byron Bay

6. Gold Coast

The next stop is something entirely different: Surfers Paradise . The main reason backpackers stop here is to party: join a pub crawl your hostel and you’ll probably end up in Sin City, the club where the bartenders work in their underwear. But there is so much more to the Gold Coast than partying. Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the regions, such as the very Instagramable sunflower fields in Allora or lush waterfalls at Tallebudgera Valley.

Amazing things to do on the Gold Coast

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw Gold Coast

7. Brisbane

Close to the Gold Coast is the Queensland state capital, Brisbane . Some people are surprised at how different it is to Sydney and Melbourne, with its own unique vibe. Brisbane has the most beautiful botanic gardens, where you can wander around in for hours. Head to the South Bank to visit the beautiful Gallery of Modern Art and the National Library, then chill by the river in the sunshine or grab a drink and enjoy the sunset.

When you’re in Brisbane, you must not forget to go shopping.  This city has a beautiful and historical centre, with many cool places and shops. Find yourself a new outfit and go dancing, because there are a lot of great places to party. Brisbane is a vibrant city with an interesting history.

Find a hostel in Brisbane

After all this partying, it is time to relax a bit again – and there’s no place better than Noosa . This little town has the most stunning beaches. Please stop and stay here for a couple of days, enjoy the coastal walk, take a sunset boat tour, and go kayaking on the Everglades. Whatever you do here, it’s going to be marvellous.

Find a hostel in Noosa

9. Fraser Island and the Whitsundays

Next up on your backpacking route for Australia’s east coast is one of the most amazing places in the whole world. Head to the coastal town of Rainbow Beach to catch the barge to Fraser Island. Not only is it the world’s largest sand island, is also is the home to the beautiful Lake McKenzie and the sparkling Champagne Pools. It also a great place for spotting whales and other sea life (along with the occasional dingo). Fraser Island is indeed a magical place; when the sun goes down, head to the beach with your towel, lay back and watch the stars. It’s the most impressive thing you will ever see.

Your next stop is further along the coast. The little town of Airlie Beach is another starting point for an iconic Australian attraction: the Whitsunday Islands. Book a tour with a boat (there are many options) and you’ll find yourself transported to the most picturesque and natural white beaches and blue ocean. It will feel like you’ve ended up on a postcard. Go snorkelling, hire a paddle board or simply relax.

Discover secret things to do in the Whitsundays

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw island car

10. Magnetic Island and Cairns

After the Whitsundays, it’s time for Magnetic Island. To get here, you first have to travel to Townsville ; this city has a range of great hostels, so you can either stop here for a night or head straight to the island to stay at one of the hostels here. While you’re here, don’t miss the chance to hire one of the island’s iconic pink hire cars (for some Barbie realness). Drive down to Bungalow Bay Koala Village and pet these cute animals at this beautiful sanctuary. After this head, to the beach for a relaxing afternoon and enjoy the sunset with a box of ‘goon’ and your friends.

By now you’ll almost be in Cairns , but if you want you can make one more to stop when backpacking the east coast of Australia: Mission Beach. This is the place try skydiving if you’re keen – if not, proceed directly to Cairns and its famous Gilligan’s Backpacker Hotel & Resort . This hostel is renowned for its legendary party nights – but don’t miss the amazing day trips you can try from here: the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation plus exploring the beautiful waterfalls around Cairns.

Find your hostel in Cairns

11. Northern and Western Australia backpacking route

Most of the backpackers only travel the east coast on their first trip, but there’s another side to this incredible country. If you want to see the real Australia, you must go to the west coast. It’s rougher with no big cities but it’s different and (in my opinion) more authentic experience of Australia. If you want to drive yourself around the west coast, then I recommend that you rent a 4WD sized car . This is the only way to go to all the cool places – as the west coast has some places that are seriously off-the-beaten-track.

Awesome places to visit in Western Australia

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw Outback

If you want to go from the ‘Top End’ of Australia and head down the west coast, then Darwin is your first stop. It’s one of the biggest cities you’ll experience on this itinerary – and it is boiling there. You’ll find most backpackers in the hostel pool because the sea is full of deadly box jellyfish… and crocodiles. Yup, that’s right, crocodiles. If you happen to like crocodiles, don’t go looking for them on the beach but head to Crocosaurus Cove, an aquarium where you’ll have the opportunity to get up close and feed them.

Find a hostel in Darwin

13. Lake Argyle and National Parks

Once you head across the border into Western Australia , you’ll reach Lake Argyle, which has the most beautiful sunsets. Take a boat trip around the lake and swim with non-dangerous crocodiles. After Lake Argyle, you can drive to Purnululu National Park, which has fantastic rock formations; it’s worth reading up on Indigenous history in this area. After this, drive to King Leopold Range National Park and try one of the walks here or just relax and enjoy the nature.

backpacking Australia - watefall

By now you will arrive in the third biggest town on this backpacker itinerary, Broome . There’s not a lot to see in Broome (it has roughly four streets to the town) but it’s worth stopping for Cable Beach, which has some amazing sunsets. You can even ride a camel on the beach.

Find a hostel in Broome

15. Karijini National Park

The west coast of Australia has some of the most beautiful national parks, including Karijini National Park. The best thing to do here is walk through the big red rock formations – it’s so amazing, you feel like you’re in a movie.

16. Shark Bay

If you like sea animals, then you need to stop at Shark Bay (also known as Monkey Mia ). There’s a show with wild dolphins, where you can learn a lot about their habits and some lucky people can feed the dolphins. There’s also the option of taking a boat tour so you can experience more of the local sea life.

Find a hostel in Monkey Mia

17. Kalbarri National Park

The next national park is also the most famous one on the west coast: Kalbarri National Park. Here you’ll find lots of beautiful walks, but make sure you try one that ends at Nature’s Window – you will never find a better place to capture the sunset for your Instagram. Don’t get scared when I tell you this, but it also featured in the film Wolf Creek.

Find a hostel in Kalbarri

18. Perth and Freemantle

After all this travelling, you’ll finally arrive in Perth . This is the biggest city on the west coast and the most famous attraction here is Kings Park.  You also need to visit Freemantle where there is a charming market – or just stroll around in Perth, go to a nice pub and start chatting with the locals, who are very friendly. You can also do a day trip to the Pinnacles Desert, which is filled with incredible (and funny) rock formations.

Free things to do in Perth

Australian food

Recommended by Zuleika Conte

If you think of Australian food, the first thing that probably comes to mind is ‘throwing a shrimp on the barbie’, along with some sausages and an extremely well-done steak – then washing it down with a couple (dozen) Fosters. This is not an entirely unfair representation of traditional Australian food, but it’s not entirely fair either. Firstly, Australians call them prawns not shrimp and, while steak may once have been preferred at a charcoal-like consistency, the ones I came across on my travels were all beautifully cooked. That Aussies love their beer is undeniably true, but the variety most definitely extends beyond Fosters – especially in the increasingly popular craft beer scene.

The irony is that even though a dozen stereotypes come to mind when imagining Australian cuisine, it’s the exact opposite of being limited to a few culinary clichés. Australian food reflects, unsurprisingly, the incredibly diverse mix of cultures that have at some point made Australia their home – from Indigenous to Asian and Mediterranean, amongst others. Mod Oz – or modern Australian cuisine – is the attempt to fuse all these eclectic influences into something uniquely Australian.

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw Australian food

Chefs are increasingly starting to add ‘ bush tucker ‘ (food that’s native to the country and traditionally associated with the Indigenous Australian diet) to their dishes.  Wattleseed, an Indigenous plant that is usually ground and roasted, is popping up in restaurants nationwide and can be found in all sorts of dishes. You can give it a go at Melbourne’s acclaimed Attica restaurant, where it’s served with wallaby (the kangaroo’s smaller cousin) and native currants. It’s not uncommon to see wattleseed, belly pork, kofte and pasta all in one Mod Oz menu, reflecting all the cultural influences that make up Australia’s culinary identity.

But Mod Oz is still mostly limited to the larger cities and – even then – to trendier restaurants. Equally Australian and culturally-influenced is the suburban food scene of service station meat pies and pub food.  Classics like meat pies and fish and chips trace a British heritage whilst dishes like “ chicken parm ” – a staple Aussie pub menu item – to Italian immigrants that arrived in the 1950s. Burger joints and steadily-disappearing chicken shops, of course, reflect the ubiquitous influence of the USA.

But even though these foods derive from other countries, the Australians have added their own unique take. Chicken shops would not be the same without the inimitable chicken salt – a uniquely Australian spice mix made up of garlic, onion, paprika and turmeric. Despite the name, it’s traditionally used not on chicken but on deliciously fresh, chunky-cut chips. Another Aussie staple is the “works” burger – a burger that comes with, unsurprisingly, all the works: egg, tomato, lettuce, cheese, the occasional pineapple slice and the one ingredient I’ve only ever seen in an Australian burger, the beloved beetroot.

Some of Australia’s most iconic food consists not of traditional dishes but of beloved ‘made-in-Australia’ brands. Perhaps the reason for this nostalgic – almost patriotic – attachment to brands like Vegemite or Tim-Tams is that, unlike other dishes originating elsewhere, they can’t be claimed by any other nation.  Of course, another reason for the attachment is because they’re good – really, really good.

Like Marmite, you either love or hate Vegemite – a dark-brown, gooey yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives; I adore the stuff. It’s said that it takes tourists some getting used to (and that may be true), but it’s also true that it has to be applied exactly right: white, sliced bread – perfectly toasted until it’s just golden-brown and very slightly soft in the middle; a generous scrape of the best butter you can find; and finally a thin layer (as they say – a little goes a long way) of the good stuff. Consume with a hot cup of tea and I challenge anyone not to love it.

The criticality of correct consumption goes for other brand-foods too. Take Tim-Tams : the best way to eat them is said to be to diagonally bite off each end, place one bitten end in your mouth, dip the other in a hot drink and then suck, using the Tim Tam as a straw. As the liquid is pulled through, the biscuit will start to disintegrate into a gooey, chocolatey mess. This is the point at which you want to pop the whole thing into your mouth before it melts completely. Timing is everything.

The only way to experience Australian cuisine is to experience it all in its right context: refuel with flat whites and sourdough toast with smashed avocado at a ubiquitous hipster café in the morning, lunch at an Asian-fusion restaurant, and finish up with a guilty meat pie and ketchup from the service station after a night out sinking schooners at the pub.

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw Australian cafe

Australian culture and customs

1. australian people.

If you’ve seen Crocodile Dundee , you’ll know all Australians are tanned and blonde, shave with knives and wrestle crocodiles in their spare time. Alright, so you know this is all nonsense (I hope) but the movie gets it right when it comes to how laid-back, friendly and unpretentious Aussies are. If there’s anything Australians dislike (and they’re generally pretty tolerant), it’s being too big for your boots. Don’t be surprised if your new mate tells you they like your new haircut and then follows it up with “did you get run over by a lawnmower?”. It probably means they really like you and, besides, they make fun of themselves too.

A better starting point for insight into Aussie culture is the cult movie The Castle : the story of a family’s fight to save their home – even though it stands on a toxic landfill next to an airport runway because it’s a ‘home, not a house’. Using the ‘bloody law of common sense’ they fight for their castle with everything they’ve got – which is a lot of love and good humour. Based on my time living in Australia with what I now consider my second family, this is the perfect reflection of Australian priorities, where relationships come before everything else. There’s even an Aussie word for it – mateship.

2. Australian greetings

Meeting an Aussie is usually pretty casual. A handshake and a smile are enough. While ‘G’day’ might not be quite as overused as people imagine, a ‘how ya doing’, or ‘how ya going, mate?’ is by no means rare. Ex-cricketer Dennis Lillee is famous for having greeted the Queen with a cheerful, ‘G’day, how ya going?’. Aussies generally prefer to call people by their first names, sometimes even at formal or business events. Really, other than being friendly and down-to-earth, there aren’t many strict rules when it comes to Aussie etiquette.

3. Australian lifestyle

95% of Australians live on the coast and are never very far from the nearest the beach, even in the cities. This combined with the generally glorious weather means that the Aussie beach lifestyle is very much real. While people’s busy schedules might prevent them from hanging out at the beach in their togs (swimsuits) quite as often as soap operas like Home and Away would have you believe, there’s definitely a shared love of the outdoors. This translates to a pretty active lifestyle. Swimming, surfing, cricket and football are hugely popular past-times. And when people aren’t taking part in sports, they’re following them on TV. Football finals are eagerly awaited for weeks, while long summer days are devoted to the cricket.

When they’re not having a ‘barbie’ (BBQ) at the beach, you might find people at the local pub. In Oz, the pub isn’t just a place to go drinking, but a place to hang out with family and friends, listen to music, play the pokies (poker machines) or take part in the daily raffle.

Slightly more of a newcomer is the thriving Australian café culture, which extends not just to delicious lattes and flat whites but to the wider ritual of brunch – usually featuring sourdough toast, organic eggs and avocados in one of many forms. Coffee in Australia is not about refuelling with a quick espresso, it’s part of a laid-back lifestyle – that’s taken very seriously. In Bondi , I was asked whether I wanted my coffee in ‘paper or ceramic?’ My confusion must have been as plain as the marble decor – ‘to have in or take away?’ Ten minutes later I had my Ethiopian-bean coffee, brewed in a contraption that looked like it had come off the set of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory . It turns out Ethiopian bean tastes quite bitter – when I asked, “Could I get some sugar, please?”, I was informed: “We don’t serve sugar in this establishment”. The Oompa-Loompas would be horrified.

Backpacking Australia @exploreshaw Kangaroo

4. Australian traditions, holidays and festivals

Aside from the major religious holidays at Christmas and Easter, Australia has tons of holidays and festivals they celebrate throughout the year that reflect different aspects of its diverse cultural heritage.

Australia Day (26th January) is the official national holiday of Australia. Traditionally celebrated with a ‘barbie’, cricket-watching, and of course plenty of cold beer. It is also quite a controversial day and in most major cities you will come across protests against ‘Invasion Day’, drawing attention to the impact that white settlement has had on the Indigenous population of Australia since 1788.

Yabun Festival (also on 26th January) is one of Australia’s largest indigenous Australian festivals held annually in Sydney . The event features traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural performances, live music, panel discussions, and market stalls featuring traditional crafts.

Sydney Festival (3 weeks during January) is a major arts festival held in Sydney that attracts about 500,000 people each year. It features hundreds of events from local and international artists and includes theatre, contemporary and classical music, dance, circus, and the visual arts.

Mardi Gras (late Feb/early March) is one of the largest LGBT pride parades in the world and is held annually in Sydney.

Anzac Day (25th April) commemorates Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women. Commemorative services are held nationwide at dawn and marches are held throughout the country’s towns and cities.

Melbourne Cup (first Tuesday of November) is an annual horse race and one of Australia’s most popular social events. For the main race, people dress up in their fanciest clothes and many offices close throughout the country. The event is so popular that the day is an official public holiday in the state of Victoria .

Is Australia dangerous?

It’s not! Well, mostly.

I was SO fearful of coming to Australia because of the snakes – and my phobia of them. I pictured pythons slithering out of my toilet in the night and Australian spiders hiding in my shoes – just lying in wait to attack me.  Yet the Aussies I talked to physically rolled their eyes at me when I said this.

While there are many, many deadly animals on the continent of Australia, the cities here are just as safe as any other major city. However, when you’re in the bush or other more regional areas, using common sense will keep you safe.

Aussies are big jokers – they like to play up the craziness of dangerous Australian animals for the sake of a good chuckle at the expense of tourists. A prime example of this: “Drop Bears”. Are koalas dangerous? Absolutely not, but you might have heard of their demented cousins – Drop Bears. Rabid creatures that hide in trees and “drop” down on to their victims to attack them. Don’t worry, they’re totally a myth, but be sure to play along if an Aussie brings them up for a good laugh.

Remember: the many dangerous Australian animals can be deadly. Keep your wits about you in rural areas, always follow the instructions of your guide, and never provoke an animal. Most injuries, like snakebites or kangaroo scratches, occur when we get a little bit too close to the wildlife.

Australia travel advice

1. be prepared for long journeys.

Australia. Is. Huge. I mean, seriously vast. The bus journey time for the most popular backpacker route from Sydney to Cairns clocks in at just under 50 hours. That’s a long time to play I-Spy. Most buses have power sockets, so make sure to download your favourite tunes or shows. If you get car-sick, stock up on anti-nausea meds. Noise-cancelling headphones and a neck pillow are also your friends.

2. Backpacking Australia alone

Solo travelling is a daunting prospect but, if you’re going to do it anywhere, Australia is the place. As one of the world’s most popular backpacking destinations, everything is geared towards having fun and making it super-easy to meet new people. Most hostels have nightly social events and some buses like the Oz Experience organise a ton of activities like hiking and sightseeing at stops along your route.

3. Watch the weather

Australia means gloriously relentless sunshine, right?  Not quite – a lot of people aren’t aware that the Northern Territory (including Darwin and Kakadu) has an intense rainy season from November to April, while Melbourne is renowned for having ‘four seasons in one day’ (moving from baking heat to bitter winds in the space of a few hours). If you’re travelling to Uluru in the spring, the inescapable Tundra midges are another seasonal quirk to be aware of. The good news is you’ll have an excuse to wear that cork hat and pretend you’re Mick Dundee (or buy a netting hat at the local store).

4. What to pack for Australia

While your inner thermostat may be set to very hot most days, be aware that (depending on the time of year and location) it may get quite cool – especially at night. In the winter, desert temperatures can drop below zero. If you’re travelling south during winter, make sure to pack warm clothes. Otherwise, bring whatever you find most comfortable plus a couple of smarter items. Nightclubs in the cities won’t let you get away with flipflops (called ‘thongs’) – and I probably don’t need to tell you this, but… bring sunscreen. Lots of it. As the locals say – ‘slip,slap,slop’. Other than that, it’s the classic essentials – sunglasses, flashlight (if you don’t have one on your phone), water bottle, basic meds (especially anti-allergens) and, if you can, a battery pack or solar charger.

5. Learn the lingo

OK, this one’s easy. Lesson one – abbreviate everything. Fancy a biscuit? Request a biccy. Got a McDonald’s craving? Ask for the nearest Macca’s. You can do it for almost anything. Afternoon = Arvo. Service station = Servo. Ambulance = Ambo. And so on.

Ordering a beer will probably be your first step over the language barrier, so here goes:

–    a schooner is a big 450ml glass, except in Victoria and Queensland where it’s a pint, and

–    a small glass is called a pot in Victoria and Queensland, a middy in New South Wales and Western Australia, or a handle in the Northern Territory.

Got it? Have another stubby (a small bottle beer) and you’ll figure it out.  Unless you’re in Victoria or Queensland.

6. Vaccinations for Australia

There are no mandatory vaccinations to travel to Australia but where there are mozzies there is a risk. The WHO recommends vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, and influenza.

7. Plan a rough itinerary

Don’t checklist travel. When hanging out with other backpackers telling stories of all the incredible places they’ve visited, it can be tempting to give into FOMO and try to pack too much in. Equally, you might find a group you really click with and spend more time than you intended in one place. While of course it’s good to stay flexible and open-minded, try to plan at least a rough itinerary of places you really want to prioritise – unless you have all the time in the world. You’ll be upset if you missed out on wild-camping and driving 4x4s on the beach in Fraser Island for one more late night in Brisbane .

8. Work to live

If you’re looking to work while you travel, you can check out the usual places ( Gumtree , Indeed , Seek ) and some specific to backpackers (like the Backpacker Job Board ). For casual labour, there are plenty of opportunities for accommodation and food in exchange for 4-6 hours work, perhaps even in the hostel you’re staying at. The most popular experience is WWOOFing (willing workers on organic farms) but Workaway and HelpX offers similar opportunities. For either type of work, you’ll need a working holiday visa, which is valid for 12 months and allows you to work for each employer for a maximum of 6 months. Make sure that if you get a work visa that you also apply for a TFN, otherwise 45% of your income will be automatically deducted for tax! You can do this online provided you have ID and can provide an Australian address.

How and where to find backpacking jobs in Australia

backpacking Australia - palm trees

9. Australian tax for backpackers

If you apply for the working visa, be aware that Australia recently introduced a tax on working holidaymakers (backpackers) of 15% on the first AUD $37,000 of earnings. Cheer up, at least they reduced the visa application fee by AUD $50! More good news – once you’ve been in Australia for 6 months you can claim tax back on overpaid tax. This happens for several reasons but you’re probably more interested in the fact that the average amount received back is AUD $2,600. To claim, you’ll need ID, your Tax File Number, and your payslips from each employer. Filing a return is obligatory and must be done before the end of the tax year on June 30th.

Once you’ve left Australia, you can also apply to get your super payment back if you earned over AUD $450 a month. These don’t come out of your wages but are payments paid by your employer towards your pension, and since you’re obviously not retiring in Australia, you can claim these back! If you can’t find your documents or find the process too confusing, you can use an authorised agent like to file your return – they have an awesome website and make the whole process super-easy.

10. Australian sim card

The cheapest option for calls, texts and data in Australia is to bring your own unlocked phone from home and buy a SIM-only pre-paid plan. This way you won’t be locked into a contract and the plans are simple, cheap and convenient. If you don’t have an unlocked phone, you can buy a new one and a SIM card, but this is more expensive. Stick to pay as you go, and you can keep track of your spending.

Most phone shops can sell you a SIM and register and activate it for you provided you have photo ID.  Then just top-up online or at the supermarket, post office or most gas stations. You may have to look for specific retailers for the smaller phone companies.

Of course, before you choose which plan to buy, you’ll have to choose your network. There are three mobile networks in Australia: Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. While these tend to be the most expensive, there are smaller, alternative carriers called MVNO’s which buy network connectivity from them at wholesale rates. This means they can offer you a much better deal.

Currently, Telstra has the best reputation for service and connectivity, especially when travelling to rural areas. The most popular MVNO connected to Telstra is Boost – which for backpackers seems to offer the best compromise between price and connectivity. If that’s not your priority, and you’re more interested in data or international calls, for example, ask at the phone store about the best options for you.

📷 All images by Emma Shaw (unless stated otherwise)

You might also like…

⭐️ backpacking vietnam, ⭐️  backpacking canada, ⭐️ backpacking indonesia, pin this blog for later.


Leave a Reply Cancel reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

12 tips for backpacking Australia

Book your individual trip , stress-free with local travel experts

  • tips-for-backpacking-australia

Plan your tailor-made trip with a local expert

Book securely with money-back guarantee

Travel stress-free with local assistance and 24/7 support

written by Ros Walford

updated 06.11.2020


Backpacking Australia will almost certainly exceed your expectations. It’s not just that the places you’ll see will be more stunning than you had imagined – from the open, red-tinged landscapes and rich rainforests inland to the immaculate, golden shores. It’s that the country is geared up for good times, whether it’s getting active outdoors in that almost endless sunshine, enjoying the exceptional café culture or getting swept up by the atmosphere at a sporting event.

1. Plan a rough itinerary

2. plan where to go when, 3. pick accommodation to suit your needs, 4. choose transport to suit your needs, 5. be savvy about safety, 6. don’t be spooked by dangerous animals, 8. don’t dismiss anywhere, 9. learn the lingo, 10. look for freebies, 11. work to pay your way, 12. don’t hold back.

Here are 12 useful things to know before your first trip.

Tailor-made travel itineraries for Australia, created by local experts

Explore Western Australia from Perth to Broome

12 days  / from 2900 USD

Explore Western Australia from Perth to Broome

Western Australia is the country's largest state, covering more than a third of Australia. This self drive itinerary allows you to explore sunny Perth, stunning national parks and waterfalls, the remote wild west outback, empty beaches and much more.

Explore South Australia and the Northern Territory

16 days  / from 3300 USD

Explore South Australia and the Northern Territory

Explore South Australia and the Northern Territory on this self-drive adventure. Start in Adelaide and make your way over the Ayers Rock, Kings Canyon, and Alice Springs to the Kakadu National Park and ultimately Darwin.

Cross Western Australia to Darwin

23 days  / from 4150 USD

Cross Western Australia to Darwin

Western Australia offers wonderfully remote outback experiences: from spectacular national parks to sandy deserts, pristine beaches to working cattle stations. This itinerary allows you to explore the way from Perth to Darwin in depth and at your own pace, in your own rental car.

Tailor-made trips for   Australia

Spontaneity is one of the best things about backpacking, but in Australia it pays to have at least a rough itinerary , as it’s easy to underestimate how long it takes to get around this vast country. Spending longer than planned pottering around South Australia’s wine country – fun though it is – might mean you have to sacrifice that eagerly awaited trip to extraordinary Uluru or exploring the billabongs of Kakudu.

Three weeks is the absolute minimum to “do” the East Coast by land: Sydney to Cairns via the broad beaches of Byron Bay and the Gold Coast, self-driving the length of Fraser Island (the largest sand island in the world), sailing the gorgeous Whitsundays , diving at the Great Barrier Reef and trekking in Daintree, the oldest tropical rainforest on earth. So to see the rest of Australia, you’ll need to fly or have much more time.

Bridge and water, Melbourne at night, Australia

At any time of year, Australia is a great place to visit but it can get unbelievably hot, as well as surprisingly chilly and rainy, depending on where you go. Avoid travelling north during the “build-up” – the unbearably sticky weeks before the wet season rains bring cooler temperatures (November–March).

It’s far better to spend time in the more temperate south during these months, for example driving the Great Ocean Road or on a hiking trip in the Blue Mountains. The winter is generally a lot quieter so it’s a lovely time to see the country.

Read our guide to the best things to do in Australia , it will help you plan your Australian holiday.

For solo travellers, Australia is a breeze. Staying in hostels is the best way to meet people, and staff can help you orientate yourself and make travel arrangements, while other backpackers are an invaluable source of information.

Whilst not to everyone’s taste, “party hostels” provide social events to break the ice, but you can also find rural retreats, city hipster hangouts, and most have private rooms if you’re a couple or dorms don’t suit.

Airbnb is a popular alternative while campsites are usually well-equipped with kitchens, toilets and the ubiquitous barbecue.


Bus traveling at high speeds on the O-bahn Track, Adelaide © Cloudia Spinner /Shutterstock

Without doubt the easiest way to cover the great distances around Oz is to fly, but travelling by bus allows you to see more and is cheaper. Gaze out of the window on a long journey and be mesmerised by the changing landscape: the rust-coloured bush where kangaroos bound alongside, swaying grasslands, blue-tinged mountains, and occasional tiny settlements flashing past.

Greyhound buses offer hop-on hop-off travel passes, and the Oz Experience – the party backpacker equivalent – provides excursions along the way. If you want more freedom, hire a car or camper van, pack a tent or bivvy bag and camp out under the stars.

Related articles from the blog

Maui Island, Hawaii, seen from above

Throughout Australia, be prepared for summer heat waves when forest fires are a frequent danger. The arid interior is a hostile environment so take the necessary precautions if you plan to drive – breaking down here is no joke. Like in big cities anywhere in the world, be streetwise – watch your valuables and let family and friends know where you are going.

Australia has more than its fair share of scary critters but don’t get paranoid – the risks are actually very low: more people die each year from bee stings than from encounters with snakes, sharks, dingoes, saltwater crocodiles or jellyfish.

Spider bites are rarely fatal thanks to the availability of anti-venom. That said, do take simple precautions: redback spiders hide in sheltered places so always check under toilet seats, especially in outside lavatories.

Reduce the risk of encountering a shark by swimming between the flags on patrolled beaches, and don’t swim in estuaries, rivers or mangroves where saltwater crocodiles like to hang out. When hiking in the bush, wear protective footwear to avoid snake bites.


© Kevin Khoo/Shutterstock

The Rough Guides to Australia and related travel guides

In-depth, easy-to-use travel guides filled with expert advice.

The Rough Guide to Australia

Most visitors to Australia follow the well-trodden path up the East Coast. While it’s undoubtedly a highlight, the Ningaloo Reef on the remote West Coast is equally spectacular and, unlike the Great Barrier Reef, it comes right into the shore.

At Coral Bay, you can wade out through turquoise water to the reef or take a glass-bottomed boat and watch an exhilarating frenzy of fish at feeding time. When you’re done snorkelling or diving, see the reef from a biplane or speed on quad bikes along a glimmering white beach.

Head inland to spend the night at an isolated sheep station, cooking over a campfire as the sun sets over the never-ending ochre landscape.

You can have a good time in the most unlikely places: for example, a stopover at a one-horse town with nothing but a pub and a few bungalows may turn out to be the venue for one of the most surprisingly good nights of your trip. The town probably won’t make it into the guidebooks but finding adventure where you least expect it is one of the best things about backpacking in Australia.

Contrary to expectation, it’s unlikely you’ll hear anyone utter the words “fair dinkum” or “g’day Sheila”. However, there are lots of slang words that will flummox first-time visitors initially. You’ll wear your sunnies (sunglasses), boardies (board shorts) and thongs (flip flops) to the beach and bring an esky (ice cooler) for your barbie (barbecue).

Ordering a beer is one of the hardest linguistic challenges: in most states, a schooner is a large 450ml glass, except in Victoria and Queensland where it’s a pint. The smaller beer glass is called a pot in Victoria and Queensland; a middy in New South Wales and Western Australia; or a handle in the Northern Territory. Confused? Just ask for a stubby (375ml bottled beer), which is the same word everywhere.

Australia, Melbourne, beach huts

Fortunately, you don’t always have to pay to go swimming, surfing, snorkelling or walking. In all the major cities, you can visit the botanic gardens and many museums and galleries for free. There’s no fee to take a tour of Parliament in Canberra or ride Melbourne’s historic City Circle Tram. Festivals around the country offer some free events; one of the most memorable is the Sydney Mardi Gras .

If staying for a while, find out if you are eligible for a working holiday visa at Depending on the type of visa, you could do your usual type of work or see it as a chance to try out something completely different. If you normally work in an office job, why not try out working on a farm or fruit picking?

If you want to do bar or barista work, in most states you’ll need to obtain an RSA certificate, regardless of whether you have experience. If you’re planning to work in a city, bear the seasons in mind. For example, in Sydney, the peak tourist season is December to February so this can be the hardest time to find work, as businesses are quiet during the summer holidays.

There’s information about working in Australia on the Travellers’ Contact Point website (including tips on finding work, tax and opening a bank account).

Something happens to people when they travel around Australia. Normally adrenaline-shy folk find themselves bungee-jumping or throwing themselves out of planes as if it’s completely normal. The active, outdoors approach to life is infectious and you’ll probably want to make the most of each day.

So don’t stop yourself: do all the things that excite you – whether abseiling at Tasmania’s Gordon Dam or dancing all afternoon at a boat party in Sydney Harbour – and see as much of this amazing country as you possibly can.

Explore more of Australia with The Rough Guide to Australia . Compare flights , find tours , book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Ros Walford

  • Travel Tips

Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Travel advice for Australia

From travel safety to visa requirements, discover the best tips for traveling to Australia

  • Eating and drinking in Australia
  • Getting around Australia: Transportation Tips
  • Travel Health Australia
  • Sports and Outdoor activities in Australia
  • How to get to Australia
  • Travel Tips Australia for planning and on the go
  • Travelling with children in Australia
  • Best time to visit Australia

Find even more inspiration for 77 here

Ready to travel and discover australia, get support from our local experts for stress-free planning & worry-free travels.

  • Where to stay
  • Itineraries
  • Travel advice

Solo Backpacker

Best Backpacking & Budget Travel Guide for Australia

  • Post last modified: UPDATED ON: February 25, 2022

Known as a major global travel destination, Australia is on the “must visit” list of globetrotters around the world. From camping to road trips, diving to wildlife excursions- there is something for everyone in this country. While Australia can give innumerable reasons to visit this beautiful country, planning a foreign trip is not as simple as it seems.

For The Love Of The Mountains

But with some planning and the right guidance, you can hit the right chords. To help people like you plan and prepare for a budget-friendly trip to Australia, we’ve curated an epic guide that is sure to steer your preparation in the right direction. So let’s head straight to the tips shared below.

Also Read: A Comprehensive Guide to Buy Travel Insurance

1. Give Enough Time Researching and Preparing a Personalised Itinerary

A mistake you would not want to make while preparing for your Australia trip is copying someone’s itinerary. Not everyone has the same expectations while travelling abroad or visiting a particular foreign country, so copying someone’s itinerary can only lead to disappointment.

A great way to avoid it is by listing down your purpose of visit and charting a personalised travel itinerary based on your interests and likings. You can take the help of travel resources put up by seasoned travel bloggers or vloggers, but always customise it to best align the itinerary with your travel goals.

2. Apply for the Visa on Time

Another important thing you would not want to miss out on or delay is applying for the tourist visa on time. The entire process to get an Australia visa for Indians takes time, hence it is best to plan in advance than leave to the last moment. If all your submitted documents, filed application form, and past travel records are satisfactory, you can expect to receive visa approval quite early.

But it is not always the case. To be safer, apply for the visa at least two months before your travel date. Visit the official visa website to get detailed information on the duration, process, documents, and other essential details to get the visa approved on the first go.

3. Keep a Strict Check on Budget

It is easy to get intimidated and overspend by looking at and booking things you don’t really need or booking fancy hotels that could have easily been avoided. The best way to not overspend is by creating a list of activities that fall well within your budget. Luckily, Australia offers terrific activities at different price levels, so we often end up overspending.

You can also look for Airbnb accommodations instead of plush hotels, explore more local commute options instead of always booking a cab while travelling, and eat at small cafes or restaurants instead of high-end ones. The more you plan your activities depending on your budget, the better.

Also Read: How To Travel Around In Sikkim Using Public Transport?

4. Save while Exploring the Country

Saving during your Australia trip is not that difficult if you follow our money-saving hacks. A significant chunk of money goes into booking accommodation and flight tickets. If you can reduce them by making advance bookings or looking for available offers online, you’ll be left with quite a good amount of money that could be utilised in other parts of the journey.

Besides booking flight tickets at least three months in advance and looking for value staying options on Airbnb, you can also look for travel passes to cut down on your commute expenses while exploring the country. Booking activity tickets and landmark passes online will also leave you with savings, as most online bookings offer some level of discount. You can also look for coupons to claim discounts on online bookings for landmark visits, activities, excursions, and more.

5. Be Aware of the COVID Rules During Your Period of Travel

While Australia has opened doors for international travellers, it is cautious regarding the people it lets enter its borders due to COVID-19. The COVID rules have changed several times for foreign tourists to prevent the spread of COVID variations, so it is essential to check the prevailing rules for ease of travel during your time of travel. If you’re fully vaccinated, you have less to worry about.

However, the more precaution you take, the better. Since COVID spreads fast, you should secure yourself by buying international travel insurance . Good travel insurance will cover you against medical emergencies in Australia and financial damage arising from a missed flight, change in travel date, baggage theft, and more.

6. Travel Light by Packing the Essentials

If you want less worry on your shoulders while travelling abroad, carry less luggage. Packing the essentials is a great way to keep any extra burden in check. It is also a pretty excellent way to avoid any excess baggage charges at the airport.

Moreover, keeping your luggage light while travelling to Australia gives you enough space to buy new things from the country and fly it back home. If you plan to buy some clothes, accessories, souvenirs, or other items from Australia, you should not ignore this tip at any cost.

Also Read: Challenges of Solo Travel and How to Deal With Them?

7. Take Help from Travel Communities to Get Answers to Your Problems

It is natural to be surrounded by doubts and queries when travelling to a foreign country. Whether you need help with finalising a comfortable accommodation or need a list of activities that you should not miss during your first Australia trip, everything can be sorted with the help of travel communities present online.

Be it Facebook groups, subreddits, or forums related to international travel; you can find them all online and seek some unbiased guidance. These travel communities have helped millions of travellers, so you can reach out to them without much worry. The more you network and ask questions, the more helpful suggestions you’ll get.

8. Make Advance Online Bookings to Save Time & Money

Everyone hates standing in long lines to get entry tickets for a famous landmark or activity centre. What if you could save that time and get a discount on the same tickets or passes? It is possible when you make bookings online. Thanks to the growing tourism, several travel websites have risen that offer travellers the ease to prebook tickets to popular landmarks in popular global destinations.

And do you know the best part? They even get you the best deal and offer great discounts on your bookings, especially on your first booking. If you can find coupons to make the deal more affordable, you can enjoy more discounted deals. Several tourists use such travel websites to save both money and time, so should you.

9. Always Keep Some Extra Cash for Emergencies

No matter how much you plan, some extra expenses can always sprung up during unexpected times. When you’re travelling to Australia for the first time, it is natural to get attracted to a lot of things, like their clothing, accessories, etc., and you might also want to buy those.

If you haven’t factored in such unexpected expenses while preparing your travel budget, you might end up with an unpleasant travel experience. Once you’ve finalised your budget, always keep some portion saved for unexpected expenses and try to keep that amount in cash.

10. Try to Explore the Country with a Local Tour Guide

Limited time and limited budget are often the two most common problems faced by many travellers. If you don’t want these to come in the way of a joyful travel experience, always try to find a good, local tour guide to show you around. No one knows a place better than a local, and you might end up discovering some hidden gems with them which would otherwise have been impossible.

A local tour guide also knows the best places that can be budget-friendly and intriguing to explore, so booking their services is always a win-win situation for all. You can search for local tour guides on reliable travel websites. Taking help from online travel communities can also be a great option to get references.

Also Read: How To Prepare For The First International Trip?

Planning and arranging for a foreign trip can be mentally exhausting for many, but not anymore. We’ve curated the best travel guide and listed above the points many travelers wish they knew before arranging for their first foreign trip. You just have to follow all the points shared above to create the best travel experience of your lifetime.

Related Posts

Top 10 Destinations For A Family Trip To USA From India In 2022

Please Share This Share this content

  • Opens in a new window

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Claire's Footsteps

All Destinations , Australasia , Australia , Budget Travel , Plan Your Trip , Travel Tips

Backpacking australia here’s everything you’ll need to know.

backpacking for travelling australia

G’day mate! Are you backpacking Australia sometime soon? Fantastic life choice- the land down under is a wonderful place to visit. I spent a year and a half there, driving around near enough the whole country, and I’d return in a heartbeat if I could.

Australia is a great country for first time backpackers to visit. But you might still have a few questions about travelling the great southern land. Hopefully this guide will help to answer all of these queries and help you get to Australia feeling prepped!

My time in Australia

backpacking for travelling australia

Before we begin, here’s a tiny bit about my Australia experience. If it’s your first time here, my name’s Claire, I’m a 25 year old girl from Britain. I spent last year and some of 2016 in Australia. After living in a tent in Byron Bay for five months, in a friend’s car I travelled down to Sydney, then to Melbourne and across to Tasmania. From Tasmania, I took the ferry back over to Melbourne , bought my own car and journeyed over to the west coast – a 5000 km trip. I stayed in Perth and Fremantle for a while, and then travelled up the west coast, and once again stayed still for a period when I reached Broome .

From Broome, I ventured down the Gibb River Road which was probably my trip highlight, then drove up to Darwin. From Darwin, I travelled down the middle of the country and saw the iconic Uluru, amongst other sights. When I reached Adelaide I travelled north once again (on my own!) to Cairns on the east coast and then did the iconic Aussie road trip – Cairns to Melbourne. But my adventure didn’t quite stop in Melbourne – I finished my time in Australia by seeing some of the best that the state of Victoria has to offer.

It’s been crazy, and I can’t believe I actually drove that distance, but I completely fell head over heels in love with Australia. I know most that there is to know about backpacking Australia, and here is where I share my secrets with you!

Practical information for backpacking Australia

backpacking for travelling australia

Currency – Australian Dollars (AUD) – 1AUD = 0.57 GBP = 0.78 USD = 0.64 EUR

Capital – Canberra

Other major cities – Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart

Time zone – (it has a few!) – UTC + 7 hours – 11 hours, depending on the state and time of year

Language – English and 150 Aboriginal languages. Australia is an incredibly diverse country and, especially in the cities, there are people from almost any nationality.

How much time will I need to travel around Australia?

backpacking for travelling australia

How long is a piece of string? If you’re wanting to explore just Sydney and Melbourne – Australia’s two biggest cities – and the surrounding areas (top tip: don’t do this, the rest of the country is awesome), I’d say a minimum of 2 weeks .

If you want to travel down the east coast of Australia, 3 weeks is a minimum to see it all.

The Darwin-Adelaide road trip through the red centre can be done in 2 weeks . As can the west coast (although watch out, this is a lot of driving).

Basically, Australia is a huge country and if you leave yourself too short of time you’re best to focus on one area.

Of course, flights are another option – but this is an overland adventure travel blog so I can’t recommend them here ;).

For some itinerary ideas, check out my posts below. These can be adapted for your wishes and requirements.

Decide your Route

Your route while backpacking Australia largely depends on how you want to travel. If you’re keen to just see the backpacker hotspots and don’t want to buy a car, you’ll be fine doing the east coast on hop on hop off buses.

If you’re wanting to see a little more, but don’t want to do the whole road trip thing, you could take organized tours up the west coast and through the middle.

If you’re preparing to rent a car, you can do pretty much any road trip – apart from ones that involve dirt roads (unless you are renting a 4WD for this purpose).

If you decide to buy your own car, and get something suitable for gravel – a 4WD or AWD vehicle – Australia is your oyster!

East Coast Australia – Cairns to Melbourne or reverse

backpacking for travelling australia

Transport options – hop on hop off bus, organised tour, self drive

Most travelers flock to the east coast first, travelling from Cape Tribulation down to Sydney or Cairns. This is a great place to get orientated with Australia, meet some travelling friends and see some spectacular scenes on the way! The east coast also has the best public transport network, so you could do a trip on the greyhound or premier coaches to see how you like it before committing to buying a car (I’ll get into this soon!)

Down the red centre – Darwin to Adelaide or reverse

backpacking for travelling australia

Transport options: hop on hop off bus, organized tour, train, self drive

A Darwin to Adelaide road trip is another popular backpacker option. This route leaves from the tropics of the top end of the Northern Territory and traverses through climates, into the scorching red centre. This journey sees some of the most spectacular sceneries in all of Australia and it’s a great voyage to get to know Aboriginal culture and experience the outback.

The wild west coast of Australia

backpacking for travelling australia

Transport options: organized tour, self drive

My heart does lie with the west coast of Australia. It feels like you’ve stumbled upon some hidden secret – or that you’ve walked right into an Instagram photo with the saturation turned on. The natural beauty of this part of the world is so raw and untouched that it literally leaves you lost for words. There’s national parks, outback towns and a reef straight from the shore to explore, plus the capital of Perth which I loved. There are no coaches on the west coast, so you’ll need to rent or buy a car, or take part in an organized tour.

The magical Kimberley region of north Western Australia

backpacking for travelling australia

Speaking of spectacular sceneries, check out the Kimberley region for breathtaking gorges, spectacular waterfalls and magical swimming spots. The Kimberley is renowned for its red rock, boab trees and (in the dry season, at least!) and blue skies, making it one of the best places to head to for adventure and to enjoy Australia’s beautiful natural scenery at its finest. I did the Broome to Darwin drive which went via the Gibb River Road.

The bottom of the continent: traversing the Nullarbor from Melbourne or Adelaide to Perth

backpacking for travelling australia

Transport options: organized tour (limited), train, self drive

To get from east to west, take the Melbourne to Perth road trip which traverses the mighty Nullarbor. This road trip is often thought to be pretty dull, but I found the solitude of the Nullarbor to be mesmerizing. Plus, it encompasses two amazing ocean drives (Victoria’s Great Ocean Road and the stunning beaches in Esperance), transitions from scorching desert to charming beach towns, and traverses three state capitals.

The island state – explore Tasmania

backpacking for travelling australia

Transport options: organized tour (limited), self drive

And don’t forget about the island state! Tasmania is a spectacular part of Australia that is often forgotten by those backpacking Australia. It’s well worth a visit; because of its temperate climate, it reminded me of the UK in some aspects, but its epic-ness was multiplied by about 100. Some people call Tassie ‘the love child of Australia and New Zealand’. It’s one of those places that you have to be there to believe, but it really is a one-of-a-kind place.

The rest of the outback

backpacking for travelling australia

Transport options: self drive, very limited trains

And then there’s…. the rest of the middle. These aren’t popular backpacker routes but it doesn’t mean that you can’t drive them! I drove from Adelaide to Cairns through the New South Wales and Queensland outback completely alone and loved the experience.

I saw some spectacular places that made me feel like I was the only person in the world, went through quirky little towns and really learnt about how people live their lives in some of the most foreboding conditions on the planet. And that’s what travelling is all about, right?

If you have your own (preferably 4WD) car, the possibilities are endless. You could drive diagonally from Perth to Cairns through ‘Australia’s longest shortcut’, through the Oodnatta Track and the basin of Lake Eyre in South Australia, or take a shortcut from the red centre to the Kimberley region along rough gravel roads.

These trips aren’t for the faint hearted, but they without a doubt will be some of your best-ever travel memories.

The Big Lap

Many visitors and locals alike take on ‘The Big Lap’ – a road trip around the whole of Australia. I kind of did this (I didn’t do the Cairns – Darwin bit or Cape York, but I did do the extra Adelaide to Cairns trip) and it’s an experience like no other. It will take you at least 6 months, but it will probably be the best 6 months of your life. See my suggested itinerary for a 6 month road trip in Australia for more details.

How to get around

backpacking for travelling australia

There’s a few ways you can get around Australia. I travelled in my car, and loved the freedom that it gave me. Many people stick to the hop on hop off buses or take an organized tour if they want to visit somewhere that’s not serviced by the coaches. There are a few train options in Australia, but it is not feasible to explore the whole countries by these and they are expensive.

Buying a Car or Van

backpacking for travelling australia

Pros : complete freedom, can save on accommodation costs by free camping, can resell the car and get money back, can split fuel costs with travel mates.

Cons : it’s expensive to buy straight up, have to pay for extras like rego and roadworthy, anything that goes wrong is your responsibility to fix, have to be a confident driver.

Renting a car or van

backpacking for travelling australia

Pros : freedom to go where you want on the designated route, can save on accommodation costs by free camping, breakdowns are often covered by the rental company (although check the small print!).

Cons : it can work out more expensive than buying depending on the trip length, some rental companies have restrictions, can’t go on gravel roads unless you rent a 4WD for that purpose.

Taking the hop on hop off bus

Pros : fairly affordable, flexibility to travel on the dates you want, can sleep or read while travelling, don’t need to make a huge investment.

Cons : the buses only go to certain places, restricted to certain departure times, can have long journeys with little stops, this option is only really feasible for travelling down the centre and the east coast.

Taking the train

backpacking for travelling australia

Pros : a unique way to see the country, fairly comfortable, can rest while travelling.

Cons : generally expensive, only goes to limited places, only stops only at certain locations.

Organized Tours

Pros : different tours cover most of the country’s tourist destinations, they are often all inclusive (or nearly), an easy way to make friends.

Cons : restricted to what the tour plans to see, expensive, could be stuck with an itinerary that you don’t like.

As you can see, there are a lot of transport options when backpacking Australia, and which option you go for depends on you. Ask yourself these questions:

Do I want to do the driving myself? Do I have the money to invest in a vehicle and enough saved for potential repairs? Where in Australia do I want to travel? Do I want to plan my own route or am I happy doing as a group tour wants?

The weather and seasons in Australia

backpacking for travelling australia

Ahhh, the Australian weather. The country is somewhat legendary for its heat, and in a lot of instances, the legend is true.

However, one myth needs to be debunked – Australia isn’t always hot. But it’s entirely possible to chase the sun while backpacking Australia, and it’s always high season somewhere. The trick is knowing when to go where.

Australia has the opposite seasons to the northern hemisphere, so its summer is December, January and February. This is a great time to visit the south of the country. Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Tasmania all bask in glorious summer weather, making it the perfect time to laze by the beach or enjoy the long days on a road trip.

Even in the summer, Tasmanian seasons can be very temperamental and outside of December-February it can get cold. Similarly, although Melbourne generally enjoys good summer weather, just outside of the hot season it can suddenly get very cold. Sydney and Perth have a good climate most of the year – with just a few months of cold weather from June-August.

backpacking for travelling australia

During the summer, the tropics – so Cairns, Darwin and Broome – are wet. Their dry season runs from roughly May – November. The best time to visit these areas of Australia (especially north Western Australia and the Northern Territory) are May – September; October and November can be unbearably hot as it’s the build up to the wet.

The east coast can be road tripped at any time of the year, but is a great journey in spring or autumn. I travelled the west coast (going north) at the start of winter and had cold nights but near-perfect days. If you’re travelling the west coast southwards, doing the journey in September or October escapes the building humidity of the north into cooler temperatures down south.

The middle of Australia ranges from being scorching in the day and mild at night, to mild in the day and freezing at night. The most popular time to see the red centre is winter, although beware if you’re camping – this could mean night temperatures of around zero degrees! I visited the red centre at the start of October and although the temperatures were a lot cooler than tropical Darwin, where I’d come from, the nights weren’t unbearable.

How much money do I need to save?

backpacking for travelling australia

How long is a piece of string? No, seriously.

If you’re planning on backpacking Australia as soon as you reach the country, then you’ll need the money for whatever adventures you want to go on (obviously). A popular option is to get to Australia, travel the east coast, and then settle somewhere to work for a little bit.

The east coast can be done on all sorts of budgets, and it depends on how you travel, where you stay, what activities you do, whether you eat out or cook yourself, and how much you drink.

Say if you purchased a Greyhound bus pass for $558 (at time of booking, may change), that covers the bulk of your transport down the east coast. The Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays boat trip and Fraser Island, which are must-dos, will set you back another $1000. If you stay in hostels every night, which cost an average of $25, it would cost $950 (minus 4 nights of accommodation on the Whitsundays boat and Fraser Island). Spending $20 daily on food would cost $840, and another $10 a day on booze another $420.

Including extras such as the ferry to Magnetic Island and the Daintree River crossing in the National Park, and your total easily adds up to $4000. This doesn’t include a skydive, surf lessons or a scooteroo tour– and it’s very easy to go over the $20 a day budget for food and drink. $6000 plus is more realistic if you want to do everything and have a few boozy nights.

backpacking for travelling australia

In contrast, you could road trip the distance, the petrol of which costs about $1000. Say there’s four of you travelling, the fuel costs then cost $250 each. You could free camp every night (difficult in towns and cities, but possible if you’re prepared to drive a bit), just enjoy the free attractions, not drink and have a daily budget of $10 on food. This way, you could travel from Melbourne to Cairns for under $1000.

All sorts of budgets are possible: it really depends on what you want to see and do.

backpacking for travelling australia

I spent a fair amount on the east coast, but considerably less everywhere else in Australia. Here’s how much the other trips cost me:

Tasmania: $400 (4 of us splitting petrol, 3 weeks)

Melbourne to Perth: $600 (3 of us splitting petrol, 2 weeks)

Perth to Broome: $1100 (2 of us splitting petrol, 3 weeks)

Broome to Darwin: $400 (3 of us splitting petrol, 1.5 weeks)

Darwin to Adelaide: $1500 (2 of us splitting petrol, 3 weeks)

Adelaide to Cairns: $700 (just me paying for petrol! 1 week)

As you can see, it varies greatly, but both my road trips that cost over $1000 had reasons behind them: Perth to Broome because I paid $350 for a whale shark tour (which was worth every penny, by the way!) and Darwin to Adelaide because we paid for campsites rather than free camping and drank a lot more (my other road trip costs don’t include alcohol).

This is of course added to the cost of getting a car, paying for its registration etc OR hiring a car or van.

Check out my cost of travel in Australia post for more.

Where to stay in Australia

backpacking for travelling australia

Hostels in Australia

When you’re backpacking Australia, hostels are a great option! Well, most are at least (coughyouthshackindarwinisnotcough). Many are roomy, clean and have great social areas. Most of them have pools, and they often include breakfast and/ or activities. Here’s some of my favourite hostels in Australia. Click through for information about each hostel, including pictures, full facilities, and rates .

The Arts Factory in Byron Bay

The Old Fire Station in Fremantle

Cable Beach Backpackers in Broome

Radeka DownUnder in Coober Pedy (mainly for the fact that the rooms are underground, and also it’s the only hostel in Coober Pedy so you’re not exactly spoilt for choice!)

BackpackOz in Adelaide

BASE Magnetic Island

Nomads Airlie Beach

Southern Cross Backpackers 1770

Dingos in Rainbow Beach

Railway Square YHA in Sydney

Urban Central in Melbourne

There’s plenty of others, but I’d definitely advise checking some of these out for a fun atmosphere, great facilities and spacious dorms.

The only downside of hostels in Australia is that they’re expensive . They’re anything from $20-$50 (yep, that’s right, FIFTY smackers) for a night, and a lot of people just can’t afford that life. Spending a ridiculous amount of money on hostels is the main reason why a lot of people have to desperately seek work once they’ve finished the east coast!

Camping in Australia

backpacking for travelling australia

If you’re buying or renting a car, you can camp for a lot less or even for  free  while backpacking Australia. I stayed in a lot of free campsites all over Australia, and they’re fantastic. They range from patches of grass in the middle of woods with absolutely no facilities to spots with BBQs, toilets and sometimes even showers.

They also range from places where, after it gets dark, every rustle sounds like serial killer – which makes you spend the evening wondering if you can remember anything from the karate class you took 5 years ago – to well-lit campsites with other people in where you actually feel secure.

But they have one thing in common: they’re FREE. If you’re interested in free camping in Australia, check out the below article for some great tips and tricks on finding campsites and staying safe.

Airbnbs in Australia

There are Airbnbs all over the country, ranging from entire houses to single rooms within a family home. They’re are a great option if there’s a few of you sharing – sometimes it can work out cheaper in hostels. They also work well if you’re prepared to stay in a room in someone’s home and share bathroom/ kitchen facilities. After a somewhat traumatizing hostel experience in Darwin’s Youth Shack, and faced with another week in the city, I chose a private Airbnb half an hour from central Darwin rather than stay in a hostel again. It worked out slightly pricier but was well worth it.

New to AirBnb? Click here for $45 off your first stay!

Couchsurfing in Australia

There’s plenty of people on couchsurfing as well. I couchsurfed a couple of times in Australia, both which went very well. As with everywhere, do your research, stay with verified people or people with lots of good reviews and make sure you let someone know where you are!

Meeting People While Backpacking Australia

Meeting people is super easy while backpacking Australia! Hostels generally have big common areas, events and activities to join in. You’ll make fast friends on any east coast tours, and if you’re road tripping, you’ll get chatting to people you meet in national parks and in campsites.

If you’ve never stayed in hostels before, the concept of literally chatting to anyone and everyone can be a bit strange. But it’s just the standard thing in hostels all over the world, especially if you’re staying in dorm rooms; everyone loves a chat.

There are also facebook groups where people often find travel mates. I’ve only really used these for information, but I see people talk about road trips etc all the time. Check out Australia Backpackers to get started – there are also groups specific to which city/ region you’re in.

Making friends here is pretty much a given, so don’t worry about meeting people at all, even if you’re backpacking Australia alone!

Australian Food

backpacking for travelling australia

Australian cuisine isn’t the most exciting: it’s quite similar to British and American foods, although there are some amazing world food dishes, especially Asian foods given it’s proximity to Asia.

A lot of Australian food is meaty, which I’m not going to recommend here (side note: ‘vego’ is Australian for ‘vegetarian’). But some other Aussie classics to try are:

  • Fairy Bread (bread with hundreds and thousands)

Vegetarian and Vegan eating

In the cities, and in touristy areas, Australia does vegetarian and vegan food pretty well. Woolworths and Coles – the main supermarkets – have great vegetarian sections (the macro burgers at Woolworths will change your life, trust me), and most restaurants have vegetarian options.

If your backpacking Australia trip takes you into the outback, it gets slightly more difficult for vegetarian options, and vegan options can verge on impossible. Of course, as long as you have access to a hostel kitchen and a camp stove, you can always make your own food; most towns in Australia will at least have an IGA (Independent Grocers of Australia), which are a nation-wide grocery store which are fairly widespread but do have a reputation for being rather pricey.

I ate at a couple of outback pubs where there wasn’t anything vegetarian on the menu and I had to be creative. Most of these joints will serve chips and salad, and while they can be very meat orientated most people will happily adapt a menu to your taste.

I’d say that being vegetarian all over Australia is possible as long as you’re not fussy. Being vegan can be a bit of a struggle, but as long as you’re prepared to just eat chips some days, you’ll be all good.

backpacking for travelling australia

Australia is interesting where alcohol is concerned. There is a huge drinking culture in Australia; but it’s also quite regulated.

When you’re backpacking in Australia,  you’ll have plenty of opportunities to drink. Towns like Cairns and Darwin are party places, with heaps of backpacker bars – often with great drinks deals.

In fact, you won’t be too far from somewhere selling ice cold beer or a bag of goon (I’ll get to that later) anywhere down the east coast – but once you cross the border into New South Wales, you’ll be subject to their strict lock out laws.

These entail that you can’t purchase double drinks, no shots after a certain time and most bars and clubs close at one. This means that if you leave you can’t re-enter, as well! Because of this, drinking culture in New South Wales is either much more day-orientated OR in the night it’s taken somewhere other than clubs.

Beach parties are popular all over Australia, with backpackers and Australians alike, and if you haven’t been to a “bush doof” some people will consider you not a true Australia traveler. (I never made it to one, so I’m not sure if I should even be writing this Australia backpacking guide!). Bush doofs are parties in the ‘bush’ (which in Australia is anywhere inland of the sea that’s not the outback) and they’re like mini-festivals.

Like I say, I never made it to one (I had a cleaning job in Byron Bay that meant I had to work every Saturday and Sunday morning which was cruelness beyond belief), but I’ve heard magical stories of face paint, camping in woodland, and lots of music that goes ‘doof’.

Typically, alcohol is quite expensive in Australia. A 6 pack of beers from the bottleo (which means ‘bottle shop’ in Australian!) costs around $20, the cheapest of cheap wines costs about $5 (but it will give you severe heartburn and/or night terrors – be warned) and a half decent bottle costs $10-$20. You’ll have to think about remortgaging your house if you want to drink spirits; a 70cl bottle will set you back around $40.

I couldn’t have a guide to backpacking Australia without mentioning magical goon. You have to try this drink, which is fundamentally boxed wine, at least once when you’re travelling in Australia; and for many, once is more than enough. The reason so many people drink goon is that it’s ridiculously cheap; $8-$12 for 3 or 4 liters, and the reason why it’s so cheap is because it’s absolutely vile.

Mixed with lemonade or juice, it can be marginally palatable, but it’s definitely only to be drunk in times of emergency (eg. When you’ve spent all your money on a Whitsundays tour but really want to go out in Airlie Beach the night before).

The cost of alcohol in bars really ranges depending on where you are and how many other bars are around; a pint of beer can cost anything from $5-$12 and a glass of wine $7-$14. If you’re after cocktails, be prepared to pay $10- $15.

Top tip: RSLs are present in smaller towns in the eastern states. They’re pretty old-style pubs and aren’t visited very often by backpackers – but drinks there are as cheap as they come.

Is Australia safe?

backpacking for travelling australia

This is one of the most asked questions about backpacking Australia. In contrast to most places, travelers to Australia aren’t worried about social danger; it’s the wildlife.

I’m not going to tell you that the stories about Australia having dangerous wildlife are lies. There’s so much that can kill you here. But it’s highly unlikely that you will get killed by one, because although many animals can kill you, hardly any of them want to kill you.

backpacking for travelling australia

I travelled in Australia for a year and a half, and in that time I lived in a tent with a broken zip in the middle of the jungle in an area that is known for snakes, and… I saw loads of them. One even made it into the lining of my tent! But I was never bitten by one because snakes are nearly always non-aggressive; the overwhelming majority of snake bites occur because someone thinks they’re clever enough to pick them up.

If you see a snake in Australia, don’t pick it up, step on it, or get ridiculously close to it, and you’ll be fine. Snakes don’t want to bite humans. It takes a lot of energy for them and they will only do it if they think they need self-defence.

If you’re camping, use a flashlight at night and zip your tent up properly, and you’ll be all good.

I saw tons of snakes in Australia; but I spent hardly any time in the cities, I drove through the outback and I bushwalked and camped all over the country. I know people who spent a year there and didn’t see one snake.

Spiders are commonplace in Australia, and there are some nasty ones. Red back and white tipped spiders can all give a venomous bite, which does have the potential to be fatal.

But these spiders aren’t around everywhere and they also only bite if they feel threatened – and the majority of spiders you see will be non-venomous.

Also, there has only been one death from a spider bite in Australia since 1979 because the anti venom is that good. So if you’re bit, rush to the hospital, and you’ll be ‘ite.

Australia gets a lot of bad rep for its shark attacks – although there isn’t really any more danger here than in other countries with significant coastlines.

Shark attacks do sometimes happen, and they do tend to attack surfers (because they think they are seals), but more often than not, they’ll take a bite, decide they don’t fancy human that day, and move on. Although shark attacks do happen, they’re still rare – an average of 2 people die in shark attacks each year in Australia. Here’s a list of things that you’re more likely to die in , in Australia and worldwide.

Oh also, not all sharks are dangerous. I swam with three types of sharks during my time in Australia: leopard sharks, whale sharks and woebbegong sharks. Leopards and whales don’t have teeth; and even though whales are huge and have colossal mouths. they are filter feeders and their throat is the size of an orange. So don’t worry, they won’t gobble you up. Wobbegong sharks do have teeth, but they are only aggressive if they feel threatened.

backpacking for travelling australia

This is the Australian animal that I am terrified of. Saltwater crocodiles are clever, strong, and like to eat humans. They can be found in watering holes, lakes, rivers and the sea in the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia and Queensland.

Despite crocodiles being a threat in northern Australia, the situation is so effectively managed that if you listen to the signs and advisories, you’ll be safe. There are NO SWIMMING signs everywhere where there are known to be crocs. Obviously to stay safe, don’t swim in these.

Popular swimming holes often have ‘there could be saltwater crocs’ signs. And yep, there could be – enter at your own risk. Most likely there won’t be, in fact there’s probably a 0.001% chance that there won’t be, especially if the swimming hole has lots of people in already – but there are a lot of places where they can’t be sure. I swam in a few of these in northern Australia, but very gingerly.

Some swimming spots will have ‘freshwater crocs’ signs. Freshwater crocodiles are a different breed, and are typically shy and reserved, only attacking if they feel threatened, and will generally hide if they see a human. Their bites can be nasty, but they most likely won’t bother you.

Don’t ignore the warnings about crocodiles – but also, don’t let it ruin your time in Australia.

Box Jellyfish

Probably the most dangerous animal in Australia, box jellyfish can inject a nasty sting into swimmers and are present in the northern waters of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland from October to May. It’s advised not to go in the sea at this time without a stinger suit.

backpacking for travelling australia

Bet you didn’t think these jumping joys would make the list of Australia’s most dangerous animals ? Just for a bit of perspective, if you’re driving through Australia, probably the animal that will put you in most danger is the humble kangaroo. At night, they are attracted to headlights and will jump out in front of cars. A big kangaroo can do a huge amount of damage to a car – and often, to yourself too.  My two scariest wildlife incidents in Australia were due to kangaroos – both because I was silly and driving at night and nearly hit one (luckily the car stopped in time in both instances). To minimize these risks, stay off the roads at night!

Other dangers in Australia

While backpacking Australia, you might notice that the sun is harsh. To be honest, the biggest danger you probably face during your whole time backpacking in Australia is long exposure to the sun causing skin cancer. So wear high factor sun cream and spend time in the shade. The heat of Australia can also cause intense dehydration – in the tropics, I was drinking about 6 litres of water a day.

Driving in the Outback

backpacking for travelling australia

Driving in the outback is often not for the faint-hearted. The roads in these parts of the world are long, often very straight, and barren. This means driver fatigue is common, which can cause nasty accidents. If you’re planning on driving in the outback, take it steady, take breaks often, play ‘I spy’ with your car mates (although this game can get boring when every entry is ‘o’ – ‘outback’) or blast some tunes. Driver fatigue kills, and it’s not something to be taken lightly.

I touched on driving at night before when I mentioned kangaroos, but let me state again –   if you want to keep your car in one piece, don’t do it . There’s all sorts of funky animals by the side of the road in the outback; coming out of Canarvon in Western Australia, we saw a huge feral pig, which was about half the size of my car. I’ve also seen cows, horses, goats, kangaroos, koalas and emus just by the side of the road. I almost never drove in rural areas at night, but the two times I did do it, I had a near miss with a kangaroo.

At night, you can see less and animals tend to move about more due to the cooler temperatures. And some animals, like kangaroos are attracted to the lights. Just don’t drive at night – it’s not worth it.

Being Kidnapped, Wolf Creek Style

Just joking… there are some haunting tales about the Australian outback, but they aren’t common dangers.

That being said, keep yer wits about you, don’t stay anywhere you feel unsafe, and don’t get into anyone who looks like a mass-murderers car, and you should be able to avoid this trouble!

Staying Connected while backpacking Australia

WiFi isn’t great in Australia. Sometimes, you’ll check into a hostel where Netflix can be streamed, or you’ll visit a café that’s good enough to use the internet without wanting to throw your soy cappuccino up the wall, but it’s rare.

SO, I’d recommend you get a portable WiFi hotspot or at the very least, a Telstra mobile plan. You can then hotspot your phone to your computer if needed.

Telstra plans start at around $20 per month. I paid $40 for 6 GB of data, unlimited calls to Australia and to international numbers from various countries (including the UK) and unlimited messages. Another option is to use an application like  Ievaphone to make free international calls.

If you want to venture to some less explored places, including pretty much the entire west coast, most of the centre, the Nullarbor and some less touristy spots on the east coast, go for Telstra rather than Optus or Vodaphone – it’s the only network provider with semi-decent coverage.

If you’re going really off the beaten track, be prepared to have no signal even with Telstra.

Being Respectful

backpacking for travelling australia

Australia’s got the perception of being a ‘new’ country, but really, it’s been the home of Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years.

To put it bluntly: the Aboriginal people had their land cruelly taken from them. In the process, many of them were murdered, children were taken from their families and European settlers attempted to eradicate their culture.

I feel passionate about backpackers in Australia being aware of this. A lot of people think that this was so long ago it doesn’t need to be addressed any more, but attitudes within Australia can still be incredibly racist towards its natives, and this needs to stop.

Additionally, Aboriginal culture is the oldest in the world – they’ve been around for over 60,000 years – and it’s a beautiful culture worth preserving and knowing about.

Visit Australia, enjoy the landscapes, see the cities, and take part in adrenalin boosting activities, by all means, but I think it’s every traveller to Australia’s duty to pay some respect to its original people .

backpacking for travelling australia

This can be shown by:

  • Calling national parks and sacred sites by their Aboriginal names – most people know that the Aboriginal people succeeded in reclaiming the official name Uluru for Ayres Rock, but nearly every westernized name will have an Aboriginal name attached to it. They are sometimes hard to remember, but making an effort to learn some of them shows a lot of respect!
  • Not abusing sacred sites – the most common example of this is again, Uluru, which people climb although they really shouldn’t. Read why here .
  • Visiting cultural centres and museums to learn about the Indigenous population.
  • Going on indigenous tours, which are often led by Aboriginal people.
  • Reading literature about the Aboriginal culture and educating yourself on the genocide. Great books to read are: Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence  and Survival in Our Own Land .
  • Listening to music on the topic, both by Aboriginal people and by white Australians. Some examples of Aboriginal bands or bands that sing about Aboriginal culture are Midnight Oil  and Yothu Yindi.
  • Talking to Aboriginal people – it’s pretty simple, but so many people don’t do it. Aboriginal people will often greet to groups of travellers, and just by saying hello back, a conversation is often started. On the whole, Aboriginal people are friendly people who are both interested in traveller’s stories and keen to talk about their unique culture.
  • Not celebrating Australia day. For Aboriginal people, the day marks the beginning of the genocide and I think it’s wrong that it’s celebrated then. Read more about why the date should be changed here.

Essential Items to Bring When Backpacking Australia

backpacking for travelling australia

Your Australia packing list varies depending on where in the country you are visiting and when your Australia travel is taking place. Generally, you’ll want summer clothes; but in the south in the winter more layers, and in certain places winter wear will be needed.

I’ll be writing up a full list of things to bring to Australia, but here’s some ideas for essentials:

  • Lonely Planet Australia Guidebook
  • Water to Go Bottle – the tap water is drinkable in most places in Australia, but in remote locations and in national parks they often recommend water be treated before drinking
  • Suncream – lots of it
  • A kindle – for all those long journeys around the huge country~
  • A GoPro – to capture all the adventure on camera
  • An unlocked smartphone like a BLU Vivo – to add your Telstra SIM into

Australia Experiences: My Top 10

backpacking for travelling australia

After a year and a half, 30,000 kilometres drove, countless national parks explored, about a hundred beaches visited, and dozens of spectacular sunsets seen, it’s near impossible to pick just 10 top experiences. In fact, I’m compiling 100 of my top experiences in an ultimate Australian bucket list (check back for this – it will be live soon!). But, after careful consideration, here are my top 10 Australia experiences:

  • Driving up the Gibb River Road
  • Exploring the gorges of Karijini National Park
  • Swimming with whale sharks on the Ningaloo Reef
  • Driving through Kakadu National Park – one of the best tours from Darwin
  • Being amazed at the almighty Uluru
  • Wandering through the rainforest at the Daintree National Park
  • Driving through New South Wales’ magical hinterland
  • Four-wheel-driving on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Snorkelling around the Whitsunday Islands
  • Seeing the Great Australian Bight on the Nullarbor Plain

Australia is a fantastic country that’s got heaps to offer backpackers. I hope this backpacking Australia guide satiated some of your wanderlust for the island country while also answering some necessary questions! If there is anything I haven’t covered, please let me know. I want this to be an ultimate resource for anyone planning their Australia travel and will keep updating it as necessary. You can contact me on email or over on facebook .

Please share this guide to backpacking Australia with anyone who might find it useful!

I’ll be pinning ’til the sun goes down…

Are you planning on backpacking Australia to explore the best that this country has to offer? Check out this awesome Australia travel guide, which has information about the best hostels in Australia, driving tips, suggested routes through Australia, the country's food, how to be respectful and how to stay safe in Australia! Click through to read about the best parts of Australia travel, including how to visit Australia on a budget and tips for working in Australia.

4 thoughts on “ Backpacking Australia? Here’s Everything You’ll Need to Know ”

' src=

Excellent blog ,but bear in mind that most of us don’t mistreat aboriginals .The government has educational programmes for the aboriginal children and they are entilted to having benefits that we are not allowed to have There isn’t enough infrastructure in the middle of the deserts in Australia where Abriginals live and it will cost millions to do that.The government wants these Abiriginal people to move to their nearest town because there are facilities for them but do not want to move as their land is sacred .So that is where the problem lies .Everyone overseas think that we still mistreat the Aboriginals and are racists ,which isn’t really fully true .People overseas need to do their homework before making such statements .Having said that ,I really enjoyed your blog

' src=

Hi Louisa, yes, I know about the educational programmes and benefits, but I also know that there is a huge way to go when it comes to proper equality. There are many reasons why Aboriginal people live in communities, yes, the fact that they are attached to sacred land could be one but that is not the only reason and it is also not the sole cause of all of the issues.

I know that there are a lot of Australians who are very respectful towards Aboriginal culture – some of my good friends are Aussie and are very passionate about Aboriginal rights and equality between the races. However, I unfortunately did meet some very racist people as well, which reminded me that there still is work to be done. I also spoke to a few Aboriginal people about the situation and got their views on it. So don’t worry, I have done my homework!

I’m very passionate about ending stigmas and fighting for equality between groups of people all over the world. That’s why I will continue to advocate for Aboriginal rights in all of my blog posts. I’m not saying that all Australians are racist – far from it – but there are still real issues here that cannot be ignored or brushed over, and they start with an education about Aboriginal culture and history.

You are doing a great job assisting Aboriginal people my best friend is Aboriginal Unfortunately racism is all over the world eg People from Greece don’t like people from Cyprus and visa versa Anyway I am glad you included less travelled places in Australia and some of them are better than the tourist attractions Your blog is one of the best I have ever read Keep up the great work you have done

What a lovely thing to say, thanks so much. Yes it’s really sad, I hate to see it anywhere! And yes these attractions deserve a lot more publicity! Thanks for stopping by!

Comments are closed.

  • New Zealand
  • The Philippines
  • The Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
  • Inspiration
  • Overland Itineraries
  • Packing Lists
  • Travel Tips
  • Working Abroad
  • Accomodation Guides
  • Overland Travel
  • Preserving Cultures
  • Protecting Animals
  • Living Abroad
  • Free eBook guide
  • Before coming to Australia
  • Budget for your Working Holiday
  • The Working Holiday Visa
  • Which city to arrive
  • Packing Guide
  • Backpacker Travel Insurance
  • Cheap flights to Australia
  • What to do on arrival
  • Open an bank account
  • How to transfer money
  • CurrencyFair 5 free transfers
  • WISE money transfers
  • How to migrate to Australia
  • Tourist Visa
  • Working Holiday Visa
  • Student Visa
  • TSS Visa Sponsorship
  • Partner Visa
  • Travel insurance options
  • Australian healthcare system
  • Working Holiday Insurance
  • Backpacker travel insurance
  • Short term travel insurance
  • International student insurance
  • Travel insurance companies
  • Go Walkabout promo code
  • Living in Australia
  • Accommodation guide
  • Phone Plans in Australia
  • Driving in Australia
  • Cost of living in Australia
  • Climate and Seasons
  • Claim GST on expenses
  • How to claim your tax return
  • Claim your Superannuation
  • New South Wales
  • South Australia
  • Western Australia
  • Northern Territory
  • Traveling around Australia
  • Travel Budget
  • Climate and seasons
  • Customs in Australia
  • Itineraries ideas
  • Road Trip Complete Guide
  • Budget Road Trip
  • Where to camp in Australia
  • Choose and buy a vehicle
  • Tips for everyday life
  • News in Australia
  • Festivals & events in Australia
  • Just for fun
  • Best stopovers from Europe
  • When to buy your plane ticket
  • Rent a cheap campervan in Australia
  • Motorhome rental in Australia
  • Car rentals in Australia
  • How to rent a vehicle in Australia
  • Rent a cheap campervan in NZ
  • Motorhome hire in New Zealand
  • Best Diving spots in Australia
  • Great Barrier Tours – Best tours
  • Best spots to surf in Australia
  • Working in Australia
  • Setting yourself up for work
  • Writing a resume in Australia
  • Wages in Australia
  • Typical Backpacker jobs and salaries
  • Certificates & training
  • Getting your Tax File Number
  • How to get an ABN
  • How to claim your superannuation
  • Housekeeping work
  • Hospitality jobs
  • How to find a job in hospitality
  • Working in a bar
  • RSA Certificate
  • Coffee Barista course
  • Gambling establishments (RSG / RCG)
  • Work in construction
  • Work as a Traffic Controller
  • White Card certificate
  • Become an Au Pair in Australia
  • Get your Blue Card
  • Fruit picking jobs
  • Fruit picking map – contacts
  • Fruit picking season – calendar
  • How to apply for a second year
  • How to calculate your 88 days
  • Eligible areas for a second year
  • Eligibles jobs for a second year
  • Volunteering in Australia
  • Work as a freelance
  • Best Outback jobs
  • Work in a road house
  • Working in a cattle station
  • Become a Hairdresser in Australia
  • Find a professional job
  • More job experiences
  • Study in Australia
  • International Student insurance
  • Budget to study
  • Diploma equivalency
  • How to finance your studies
  • Universities in Australia
  • ANU: Australia’s number one uni
  • Medicine studies in Australia
  • Top 10 online courses
  • Getting ready for your IELTS Test
  • Find a student job
  • Orientation Week
  • Free study advice
  • Internship in Australia
  • 10% OFF Go Walkabout
  • 5 Free transfer with CurrencyFair
  • Promo Code Airbnb
  • Cheap Campervan rental
  • 5% OFF Travellers Autobarn
  • 5% OFF Jucy Rentals
  • $25 OFF RSA Courses
  • $16 OFF White Card Courses
  • $25 OFF RSG / RCG Courses

backpacking for travelling australia

  • Great Barrier Tours - Best tours
  • News in Australia Be up to date. Here you will find all the news from Australia that are relevant for backpackers! All news at a glance!
  • Festivals & events in Australia
  • Wildlife Discover Australia’s wildlife! Find everything you ever wanted to know about Australia’s animals. Kangaroos, wombats, koalas, wallabies, crocodiles, Tasmanian devil, kookaburras, sharks, wales and many more… Understand Australia s animal kingdom and discover some adorable Aussie animals.
  • Just for fun Funny articles about random things happening in Australia: Unusual events, illustrations, competitions and much more. Just for fun is entertaining and funny!

backpacking for travelling australia

  • Certificates & training
  • Fruit picking map - contacts
  • Fruit picking season - calendar

backpacking for travelling australia

  • More info Australia is a popular destination for both Working Holiday Visas and tourists, however, it is also worth considering Australia as a destination for studying. Better yet, foreign students are in great demand, with many nationalities. Many choose to study in Australia to improve their English skills, travel around Australia and to gain an international degree. Many choose to study in Australia.
  • ANU: Australia's number one uni

backpacking for travelling australia

  • Travel Tips

Packing for Australia – The Ultimate Backpacking Checklist

Packing for Australia – The Ultimate Backpacking Checklist

Embarking on a backpacking adventure through Australia is an exciting prospect. With its diverse landscapes, from sun-kissed beaches and tropical rainforests to bustling cities and the vast outback, preparing adequately is crucial. This ultimate backpacking checklist ensures you’re well-equipped for everything the Land Down Under has to offer.

Table of Contents

Preparing Your Luggage for an Extended Stay

Packing for a lengthy stay in a foreign country like Australia can be daunting. Our perceptions of a place can often differ from reality, and personal travel preferences also play a significant role in how we pack. Whether you’re an urban explorer or a wilderness wanderer, your luggage should reflect your travel style and itinerary. Remember, flexibility is key as your plans might evolve once you’re there!

Some will leave with a backpack with holiday clothes, others who want to settle in town will leave with more dressed, business clothing… So by determining your trip, you will know more or less what you will need for this trip to the end of the world 🙂 all this while knowing that your plans may change once there…

backpacking for travelling australia

Backpack or Suitcase: Making the Right Choice

The eternal traveler’s dilemma: should you opt for a spacious backpack or a sleek suitcase? The answer lies in your travel mode and personal preference.

Selecting Luggage Based on Your Travel Mode

  • For Road Trippers: If you’re planning an epic road trip across Australia, a backpack is your best bet. It’s more convenient and space-efficient in a vehicle. Check out various sizes and brands at, but remember, trying them on in-store is always better than buying online.
  • For City Dwellers: If your Australian adventure involves city living, perhaps as an au pair, intern, student, or urban worker, a suitcase might seem appealing. However, consider the ease of storing a backpack in smaller living spaces.

A poll among backpackers on our Facebook page revealed that 67% preferred backpacks while 32% chose suitcases. Ultimately, it’s about what suits your travel style best.

Advantages and disadvantages

Choosing the ideal backpack or suitcase, the perfect backpack(s).

Aim for a large backpack (50-70 L) complemented by a smaller daypack for personal items.

A big backpack: Balance and accessibility are crucial. Heavy items should be placed along the back, while frequently used items go on top.

NB: There are backpacks for men and women. The straps are positioned differently for men and women. So be sure to check this when you buy. Choose well-padded, wide shoulder straps, which are more comfortable, and an adjustable carrying belt.

A small backpack : This is ideal for carrying personal or important items outside of your main/larger bag. Think about bringing your wallet, photocopies of your license, visa, passports, etc. in case you lose your luggage/cabin bag.

Big or small, always secure your bags with padlocks. Especially when you leave them at hostel receptions, in plane or in bus compartment.

packing australia

Steps for travelling to Australia on a WHV

Wanting to go to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa but unsure where to start? We will take you through it all in this article.

The ideal suitcase

Go for a lightweight model with sturdy 4-wheel rollers for maneuverability. Dual compartments are great for organization. Remember to check airline baggage limits, as they vary, especially for domestic or low-cost flights.

If you opt for a carry-on suitcase too, remember to check its size! Indeed, companies impose maximum sizes for cabin suitcases. In general, your cabin baggage must measure 55 x 35 x 25 cm maximum (wheels and handles included).

NB: Remember to check the weight limit for your baggage with the airline you are flying with, and also bear in mind that you may have to take domestic or low-cost flights where the maximum weight will certainly be lower.

Read also : Cheap Flights to Australia

suitcase travel australia

Packing your bag – where to start?

Tip #1 – travel light.

Make three categories:

1) Things you need – 2) Things you don’t need – 3) Maybe’s… Try and take all the things from the first category and then see what room you have left.

Don’t forget that airline companies only give you a limited weight allowance . Generally you get 20 kg for bags / suitcases registered as checked in luggage (max. 2 per person). Some companies allow you up to 30 kg or else you can pay a supplement to get 10 kg extra. Your hand luggage can generally be up to 7 kg (sometimes 10kg). Make sure to check this with the airline.

Tip #2 – Bring a bit of everything

Sure the weather is nicer than in Europe, but beware, in the South of Australia it can get pretty cold during winter . So take 2 or 3 jumpers, a jacket and some trousers.

For those that want to stay in the city, clothing standards are quite similar to ours. Australians dress up when they go out but it’s less common to be refused entry to a club for not wearing a shirt (with some exceptions).

Tip #3 – Don’t bring fancy stuff

Of course you can bring some nice things for your nights out. But again, it all depends on the trip you are planning.

It’s important to bring at least one sports/outdoor outfit. Especially if you’re planning to do Fruit picking or work on a farm. You should have a pair of trainers, long pants and a long sleeve T-shirt. If you don’t want to bring those in, remember that you can always buy second hand clothes from Op shops or cheap ones from big brands such as BigW, Kmart or Target.

Australia Backpacking list

Here a list to give you an idea of what you will need to back before landing Down Under!

Clothing and Footwear

Australia’s climate varies significantly across the country, so versatile and layerable clothing is key.

  • Lightweight, breathable clothing for warm climates.
  • A waterproof jacket for unpredictable weather, especially in tropical areas and during the rainy season.
  • Fleece or sweater for cooler evenings and southern regions.
  • 5 short sleeve shirts/vests + 1 or 2 long sleeve shirts
  • A pair of jeans
  • 2 or 3 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of trousers /dress skirt
  • socks and undies
  • Durable hiking boots or shoes, depending on your planned activities.
  • Flip-flops (thongs) for beach days and hostel showers.
  • Swimwear for Australia’s famous beaches and reef snorkeling.

Health and Hygiene

  • First Aid Kit : Include personal medication, pain relievers, band-aids, and antiseptic wipes.
  • Sun Protection : High SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Insect Repellent : Particularly for tropical areas and the outback.
  • Tooth brush and tooth paste
  • A nail clipper + tweezers
  • Deodorant /Perfume
  • Condoms /your pill.


  • Reusable Water Bottle : Stay hydrated and reduce plastic use.
  • Laptop or tablet + external hard drive
  • Smartphone with a good camera and sufficient storage + charger
  • Headphones or Earbuds : For long bus rides or flights.
  • Universal Travel Adapter : Australia uses Type I plugs.
  • Padlocks : Secure your belongings in hostels and public places.
  • Daypack : For day trips and excursions.

Essential Travel Documents

  • Passport with at least six months validity.
  • Ensure you have the correct visa and a print out of it
  • Travel Insurance : Opt for comprehensive coverage that includes medical emergencies, theft, and cancellations.
  • International Driving Permit (if you plan to drive).
  • Copies of Important Documents : Keep digital and physical copies of your passport, visa, insurance, and emergency contacts.

Things not to put in your luggage

In your hand luggage.

Certain products are prohibited in hand luggage. You cannot take a liquid product of more than 100ml in cabin luggage. These must be in a transparent plastic bag. Thus, perfume, gel, moisturizer etc. should not exceed 100ml, otherwise, they will be thrown away when you pass security. There are exceptions for medications, but you will need a prescription.

Knives, scissors, sometimes lighters or any other weapon are also not allowed in the cabin.

In your checked-in luggage

Do not pack your valuables in your checked-in luggage. Take your laptop, camera, etc. with you in the cabin. You are never safe from theft, loss of your luggage or the possibility that it could be damaged during loading/unloading. Also take your important papers into your hand luggage: passport(s), any money, identity card, driving license etc.

Traveling to Australia in 2024: What’s New?

As we look ahead to 2024, traveling to Australia presents new opportunities and experiences. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Australia is increasingly focusing on sustainable tourism . Consider eco-friendly travel options and accommodations.
  • Explore beyond the usual hotspots. Australia’s lesser-known regions are gaining popularity for their unique offerings.
  • Engage with Australia’s rich indigenous culture through immersive experiences and tours.

Remember, the key to a successful trip lies in preparation and adaptability. Whether you’re backpacking across the outback or exploring urban landscapes, Australia in 2024 promises to be an adventure of a lifetime.

FAQ – Packing for Australia

Luggage restrictions depend on your airline and your plane ticket. Check with your airline for weight and size restrictions on checked and hand baggage. In general, you will be allowed one hold bag and one hand bag. Some airlines give you a weight allowance but you can spread this across several suitcases, so you can check this on their website.

We would always recommend carrying any valuables in a secure backpack or travel bag and keep them with you at all times instead of checking these in. Make sure you lock your bags and hotel rooms when you are away and use the in-room safe if possible. To protect your bag or suitcase during transport, you can have it packed at the airport, costing around £20. It is also advisable to take out travel insurance to cover any loss or damage to your belongings.

As well as clothes, you may want to pack a first-aid kit, toiletries, an adaptor for the plugs abroad, an unlocked mobile phone so you can buy a local SIM card later, a camera, a credit or debit card, your passport and your visa.

Australia is a huge country, so the climate will vary from region to region. In general, the best time to travel depends on the activities you want to do and the places you want to visit. For example, the best time to visit Australia’s tropical north is between May and October, while the best time to visit Tasmania is between December and February (the Australian summer).

Pack as light as possible. Aim for a backpack you can comfortably carry, ideally not exceeding 15-20kg.

es, but consider the logistics and costs. It might be easier and cheaper to rent equipment on arrival.

Packing for a backpacking trip to Australia doesn’t have to be daunting. By covering the essentials listed in this checklist and preparing for the diverse experiences and climates across the continent, you’re setting yourself up for an unforgettable adventure. Remember, the key to successful backpacking is flexibility and a sense of adventure , so pack light , plan ahead, and be ready to embrace all that Australia has to offer. Whether you’re exploring the urban landscapes of Sydney and Melbourne, the natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru, or the laid-back vibes of coastal towns, this checklist will help ensure you’re prepared for the journey ahead. Enjoy your Australian adventure!

Australia Backpackers Guide


vehicle rego

Vehicle Registration in Australia – Rego Guide

backpacking for travelling australia

Which city is best to start your Australian Working Holiday?


Festivals and Events in Australia

Leave a reply cancel reply.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

backpacking for travelling australia

The best beaches in Sydney (NSW)

vehicle rego

Writing a resume in Australia (CV) – Guide and templates

  • Terms of Use
  • GDPR – Privacy Policy

backpacking for travelling australia

Global Gallivanting

The ultimate guide to backpacking australia on a budget.

backpacking for travelling australia

Australia is one of the best backpacking destinations in the world! There’s so much unique natural beauty to enjoy, a laidback lifestyle and tonnes of exciting activities to try. Backpacking Australia doesn’t come cheap but luckily the Land Down Under offers a working holiday visa to help backpackers top up their travel funds.

Australia is a dream destination with so much to offer but unfortunately for backpackers and budget travelers Australia one of the most expensive places in the world and it’s not hard to burn through $100 a day here. But don’t worry, there are still many ways that you can still enjoy backpacking around Australia, even on a shoestring budget.

To allow you to budget and save for your dream Australia backpacking trip here’s a rundown of some typical costs to expect in Australia and how you can save money.

All prices are shown in Australian Dollars (AUD) and, as always, the cost of a trip depends on the activities you plan to be doing and the level of comfort you expect. Also, bear in mind that prices and exchange rates are always subject to change.

Under the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge at Milsons Point in Sydney, Australia

How to Enjoy Backpacking Australia even if you are on a Budget

Accommodation in australia on a budget.

Accommodation is likely to be one of your biggest expensive when backpacking Australia, expect to pay at least $100 a night at least for a private room in a budget hotel, depending on the location and season. A nice 4 star hotel in a good location in Sydney could easily run up to $300 a night.

Check websites like and Agoda for the best rates.

If your backpacking Australia on a tight budget then hostels  are usually your best accommodation option. Hostels in Oz are a cheap, popular, sociable and often stylish backpacker option. Many even have swimming pools, kitchens, bars and a whole host of facilities and can even help you find a job. A bed in a shared dormitory in a backpacker hostel will cost between $20 and $45, expect prices to be higher in popular spots in Sydney and lower in smaller towns.

As well as saving money hostels can also be great places to meet fellow backpackers. There are hostels all over Australia for every type of traveller and budget including party hostels, family friendly ones or uber stylish hostels for flashpackers.

Find the best hostels, book and check out reviews at Hostelworld.

Camping is very popular and the cheapest way to tour Oz. However, be aware that you can’t just camp up anywhere when traveling in Australia as overnight camping is not permitted everywhere.

To find free places to camp use the Wiki Camps App or Camps Australia Wide books (and now an app too) which include maps and a directory of free and low cost camp sites.  Pitching a tent or an aussie swag, or sleeping in the back of a campervan or car and enjoying a barbie under a million stars is one of the highlights of traveling in Australia and it’s free!

If you can’t find a free place to camp or you want more facilities then there are many, many campsites all around Australia. An un-powered pitch at a camp site goes from about $20 a night up (which is still cheaper than a hostel)  to $40 for an all singing, all dancing holiday park with swimming pools and heaps of amenities and more for powered sites.

Camping or Campervanning is an awesome way to immerse yourself in Australia’s beautiful nature and a great way to save money on accommodation when backpacking Australia

camping while traveling in australia

Renting or Sharing a Flat

If you’re on a working holiday in Australia, have found a job and are planning to stay in one place for a while then renting a room in a shared house or finding a flat mate is the cheapest way to live.

You could start your search for finding a flat, apartment or house to rent on Gumtree and try Flatmate Finder to find a spare room or to advertise that you are looking to share a flat. Rental prices for a room in a shared house in Sydney start at $120 a week but most are around the $200 – $250 a week mark. Rent would be usually be cheaper in smaller towns.

You could also try Air BnB but as the site is based towards vacation rentals it would be cheaper to flat share if you plan to stay for a while. But its often nice to just feel more at home and Air BnB is great if you don’t want to commit to renting a place but still want all the comforts of home. If you want to give Air BnB a go here’s $25 off your first Air BnB!

House Sitting

If you can find a housesit that fits in with your work and travel plans you could even stay in someone else’s house for free usually in return for looking after their houses and pets. Try Trusted House Sitters or Mind My House . It costs to sign up to these websites (Mind my House is only $20 though) and assignments can be competitive so invest time in building a good profile and be flexible about location to get the best results.

Eating and Drinking in Australia on a Budget

Aussie's love their meat pies!


If you’re eating out a lot in Australia then expect an average meal in a pub or cafe to cost at least $15–$20. While backpacking Australia you must try a meat pie and a parma. Just having a coffee will set you back $5 and just one dish at a nice, stylish, city restaurant could cost at least $25 each. Look out for vouchers on apps like Groupon or special offers to save money.

There are many fast food joints in Australia, including many you would recognise from home which are great for a cheap, quick meal on the go but even a McDonald’s meal in Oz won’t give you much change from $10.

Grocery Shopping

Cooking for yourself is the cheapest way to save money on food when backpacking Australia. If you stay at backpacker hostels many have kitchens so that you can cook for yourself and if your camping or traveling in a campervan you can pick up groceries and make cheap simple meals for yourself too.

The big supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths offer the best choice and value and it’s possible to pick up some basic supplies for a couple of dollars and it’s possible to eat simply for a week for $60. Stock up in the big towns as food in small, outback shops can be ridiculously expensive.

How Australians love their BBQs! It simply wouldn’t be an Australia trip without throwing a couple of snags on the barbie now would it!  Most Australian towns have free outdoor BBQ facilities, what could be a better way to save money while backpacking Australia than buying your own food from the supermarket, enjoying the great outdoors and having an aussie BBQ.

Drinking on a Budget in Australia

At the Sydney Opera House bar

Pubs and Bars

Considering that drinking is a popular pastime in Australia and it’s a country well known for its excellent wines, drinking is a very expensive in Australia and a couple of nights will quickly drain your budget.

A beer or a glass of wine in a bar can cost about $8 – $10 and upwards and most nightclubs charge an entry fee. You can find happy hours and backpacker bars that have cheap offers for about $4– $5. Cutting down on drinking will save a lot of money or stock up on drinks from the bottleshops but be careful getting too tanked up before hitting the bars and clubs, especially in Sydney, as they likely won’t let you in if you are already too intoxicated.


Australia has huge bottle shops (some are even drive ins)  with a huge variety of alcohol, this is the cheapest place to buy your booze, Dan Murphy’s is often the cheapest. Expect to pay $5 + for a bottle of wine, $40 for a bottle of Bundaberg rum, $15 for a 6 pack or beer or $45 for a 24 pack.

A legendary pastime for backpackers in Australia is drinking Goon, a boxed wine that costs about $15 for 4 litres. The catch is that it’s not actually wine, but a fish, dairy, and milk product that tastes pretty gross and gives you a horrible hangover but every backpacker in Australia has a night out on the goon sooner or later.

Traveling Around Australia on a Budget

flying in australia

Australia is huge! Many people just don’t realise how huge Australia is until they get there. Time and money can really add up when travelling around this huge country so it’s worth planning in advance how you are going to get around when backpacking Australia.

Flights to Australia

It’s a long way Down Under! So get your trip off to a good start by spending time searching for the best deal and being flexible enough to take advantage of good offers.

Round the World Flights are a good option if you are planning on backpacking Australia as part of a longer trip or gap year around the world. Round the World tickets can end up being cheaper than point to point tickets but most are only valid for one year and changing your flight dates can end up being a frustrating and expensive exercise.

If you plan to spend a whole year backpacking Australia, for example on a working holiday visa ,  then a one way multi stop ticket to Australia via Southeast Asia would be a better option. For the ultimate flexibility you can buy one way flights but unless you plan it really well this is often the most expensive option. When traveling on one way tickets be aware that some countries do require you to have an onward or return ticket before entering so check the requirements for the countries you plan to visit on the way.

If you have a working holiday visa for Australia you should be fine without a return ticket (because most are only valid for 1 year) as long as you have the proof of funds to support yourself while backpacking Australia and to buy a ticket home at the end of your working holiday.

Check out Round the World Flights  or STA Travel to search for and build your own perfect round the world or multi stop flight ticket.

Internal Flights

If you plan on covering a lot of distance in a short time then taking internal flights when traveling in Australia may be your best option, Flying will get you from A to B the quickest but unfortunately it can be expensive and you miss out on a lot of the stunning scenery that is one of the joys of backpacking Australia.

However, if you are really in a hurry it might be your only way to see everything that you came to see in Australia because driving between Melbourne and Cairns would probably take you 5 days of driving and cost you $500 in fuel. Flying could cost $100 but will only take 3 and a half hours so flying saves you time and money if you need to get somewhere in a hurry.

Flight prices vary a lot depending on the route and demand, so use a comparison website like Skyscanner or Momondo to compare routes and dates to find the best prices.

The train network in Australia is expensive and has limited reach. Traveling in Australia by train is not really a cost or time efficient way of getting around Australia and only really an option if you really love travelling by rail but there are some pretty epic journeys to be had. Tickets for the famous Ghan railway journey, which travels the almost 3,000 kms through Australia’s red center from Adelaide via Alice Springs to Darwin and takes 2 nights, start at $499 for a seat ticket only! You can find out more and book tickets at Rail Australia

driving across australia outback

The backpacker favourite, the Greyhound bus, is probably your best bet for affordable transport and if you plan on doing a lot of traveling in Australia then it is better value to get a pass than point to point tickets. For example, Greyhound have a mini traveller pass for $509 travelling between Melbourne and Cairns and hopping on and off as many times as you want between these two destinations.

Share a Ride

You can often find someone heading the same way to share a ride with on hostel noticeboards or Gumtree or check out new ride sharing websites and apps. Some travellers choose to hitchhike, and safely do so all around Australia, but you should carefully assess the risks and safety implications of doing this.

Driving in Australia

With so much to discover and the thrill and freedom of the open road calling, Australia could have been made for road trips. Driving around Australia on a road trip is an awesome way to see the land Down Under and a really popular option is exploring by campervan as your transport and accommodation are all together!

Depending on how long you will be in Oz you can rent, relocate or buy a campervan . Renting would cost at least $50 a day with gas being around $1.50 a litre, more in the Outback. You can find and compare the best campervan rental deals from all the major providers at Vroom Vroom Vroom . You can also find relocation deals where you can rent a campervan for only $1 a day  – great for backpacking Australia on a budget!

Buying a Campervan in Australia

Driving across outback Australia in our campervan

If you plan to backpack Australia for a while then you could be better off buying your own car or campervan. As well as having the ultimate freedom and flexibility to explore Oz, a bonus is that a campervan is your accommodation and transport in one, allowing you to save considerable money on backpacker hostels, bus tickets and eating out.

Thinking about buying and owning a car or campervan in Australia can seem confusing and costly at first but, after the initial upfront cost, should save you money in the long run and is not too difficult to arrange.

You can buy a second hand campervan from about $4000 and if you can sell your camper at the end of your trip for the price you bought it for then you’ve just got yourself free transport and accommodation for the duration of your trip only paying out for fuel (and maybe factor in some repairs too if it’s an older vehicle!)

A good place to look to buy a second hand campervan is Gumtree  and for everything you need to know check out my  Ultimate Backpacker Guide to Buying a Campervan in Australia 

How to Save Money on Attractions, Sightseeing and Tours in Australia

The 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, Australia

There is so much to see and do when backpacking Australia and many epic and unique experiences to be had. Some can really damage your budget but luckily many things to do in Australia are free to enjoy.

Check out my 30 of the best things to do in Australia to add to your Australia backpacking bucket list!

Travel Independently

Traveling independently is the best way to save money when backpacking Australia. Tours in Australia are expensive, you would be lucky to get a day tour sightseeing for under $100, but for many of these day trips, especially to outdoor activities and nature spots where the admission is free or very small, then if you have your own transport then you don’t really need to take the expensive tour. (Another way that having your own car or campervan can save you money.)

Some of the popular experiences do cost a lot, the iconic Sydney Bridge Climb costs between $250 – $350, Dreamworld theme park and Steve Irwin’s famous Australia Zoo are $60 to enter. Expect to pay about $60 to join a group surfing lesson, over $350 to join a 2 day/1 night backpacker’s tour around Fraser Island.  A day trip snorkelling and scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef would set you back at least $200, visit spectacular Whitehaven beach in the Whitsundays on a day tour for $135 or skydive for $300.

Book a Package to Save Money

When backpacking Australia, buying a package will usually save you money than booking on your own. Look for special offers on sight seeing and activities packages at a hostel tour desk or a backpacker travel agent and save money by booking your activities all together.

For example, Backpacker’s World Travel offer packages like 29 days Melbourne to Cairns adventure for only $1719 including accommodation and tours and experiences up the East coast – you would probably be able to get cheaper last minute deals in person but this saves you money compared to buying each separately.  Also try Peterpans Travel and  Wicked Travel.

Many hostels also do this, for example Nomads Backpacker Hostels offer a bed hopper pass and activity packages at their Mad Travel Shop . Base Backpacker Hostels also offer accommodation and activity packages, for example, their Airlie Beach package includes 2 nights accommodation, 2 meal and a drink deal and a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, this package saves you $60. The  Greyhound  buses also do packages combining a hop on hop off bus ticket and a pass for hostel accommodation.

A day on the beach in Australia is a great, and free of cost, day out

Enjoy the Great Outdoors and find the free things to do

Luckily the saying that some of the best things in life are free is certainly true when backpacking Australia. From the world’s oldest rainforest to the fascinating rock formations on the Great Ocean Road, the Blue Mountains and tropical Kakadu National Parks, to the majestic Ayers Rock or Uluru in Australia’s red center to the many gorgeous beaches up and down the coast, the seemingly never ending outback and luscious waterfalls you could never get bored of Australia’s stunning, unique and diverse natural beauty.

This natural beauty is probably Australia’s best asset and most of it is usually free to go out, explore and enjoy in Oz’s enviable climate. (Sometimes the national parks charge a small fee of about $7 – $15 or car parking fees).

Often your backpacker hostel will be able to tell you about awesome cheap and free things to do like free walking tours in Sydney and Melbourne , free museums, free buses and ferries and the best parks, walks, beaches and gigs.

Shopping in Australia

If your on a tight budget then you probably wont want to do too much shopping while backpacking in Australia, but incase you need something head to K Mart or  Big W for cheap clothes and much more for bargain basement prices. I also liked picking up some bargains in The Reject Shop and found that the big supermarkets and liquor stores were always the cheapest for food shopping.

Ways to Travel for Free in Australia

me outback road red

There are also many ways to travel for free that can also be applied when backpacking Australia. To save even more money many hostels can do a ‘ work for accommodation’ deal. You could also try CouchSurfing to get a free place to stay and make new friends and don’t forget about housesitting or wild camping to stay for free.

Even if you don’t have a working visa you could find voluntary placements where you volunteer in return for free food and accommodation. You also get to learn new skills, make new friends and get a deeper insight into the local culture thorough these kinds of projects. You can find these opportunities on websites like Workaway or Helpx .

For more ideas have a look at 11 Ways to Travel for Free

Liked this post? Pin Me! 🙂

101 Money Saving Tips for Traveling in Australia on a Budget

I hope you found these tips useful and enjoy backpacking Australia! Let me know if you have any other useful money saving tips I can add!

Read More: 

How I saved $15,000 on my working holiday in Australia

A Backpacker’s Guide to a Working Holiday in Australia

How much to budget for a month in Australia – Backpacker Banter

Australia on a shoestring bumper guide – Lonely Planet

How to travel Australia on a budget – Y Travel Blog

Want to work and travel in Australia?

working holiday australia ebook

Subscribe and get a FREE Complete Guide to a Working Holiday in Australia

Packing for Southeast Asia

Interrailing europe – the first trip that gave me the travel bug.

' data-src=

Related posts

The top 5 best backpacker hostels in mumbai, my experience backpacking mexico solo in 2021, the best backpacker hostels in bangkok, thailand, leave a comment cancel reply.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Yes, send me the newsletter.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More



Backpacking | Budget Travel | Living Abroad

Australia Backpacking Route

Australia sea view

Our itinerary for backpacking Australia takes in six states, all the main cities, the best beaches, idyllic islands and loads of nature. It’s one of the safest destinations for first time backpackers with high class facilities and English as the main language. There’s a fairly well established Oz backpacker trail although more adventurous types won’t struggle to get off the beaten track given the size of the place. Read on for our suggested three month Australia backpacking route which you can easily shorten and pick sections of if you have less time.

Table of Contents

Backpacking australia – route info, 2. townsville & magnetic island, 3. airlie beach (gateway to the whitsundays), 4. agnes water, 5. hervey bay (for fraser island), 6. noosa (sunshine coast), 7. brisbane, 8. gold coast (surfers paradise).

  • 9. Byron Bay

12. Melbourne

13. great ocean road.

  • 14. Kangaroo Island

15. Adelaide

16. uluru (ayers rock), 17. alice springs, australia backpacking route – how long to spend in each place, 2024 update – how has backpacking australia changed in recent years.


The typical time for a backpacking trip around Australia might be in the region of 2 to 3 months. The route outlined below should fit that time-frame, although many travellers also turn a backpacking trip to Australia into a working holiday and stay for much longer.

POSSIBLE BUDGET: £5400 €6100 $6000

This is based on prices and exchange rates at the time of writing and works out at just over 9000 Australian Dollars but doesn’t include flights to Australia which can obviously be very expensive. It will obviously depend on your style of travel but Australia is an expensive country and even by staying in the largest dorms and taking the cheapest transport options, you will struggle to get by on much less than this.

Read more on the cost of travel in Australia for a look at sample prices and typical backpacking budgets in the country.


The cost of travel insurance isn’t included in the budget figures above. You can get a quote in less than a minute from Heymondo who provide well reviewed travel insurance for backpacking Australia.

Note that you will want to consider which “high risk” adventure sports and activities are covered as these are popular in Oz. If you think you may require more extensive coverage, this rundown of the best travel insurance companies for backpackers  may help.


One way to save money and potentially learn a few new skills whilst travelling in Oz is to look for work exchanges or short-term jobs. Sign up to Worldpackers to get access to work exchanges in Australia . You can get $10 off the annual membership fee by using the Worldpackers promo code “MYFUNKYTRAVELWP”.

We also have a section on work and travel which you may find useful.

Backpacking Australia – A 2-3 Month Itinerary

It may be a city and quite a decent one at that but Cairns is primarily a base for exploring some of nature’s great wonders. This is the best spot to check out the Great Barrier Reef, one of our ten once in a lifetime trips with plenty of scuba-diving options available for you to get close up to the coral. Thrill seekers will enjoy the opportunity to bungee-jump or sky-dive while the Wet Tropics Rainforest is another essential visit.

Sparsely populated Magnetic Island is reachable from Townsville. It’s good for jet skiing, bush walks and boozy nights and is Australia’s best destination for full moon parties . A very popular stop for party-loving independent travellers or those on an Australia backpacking tour. Things have been a lot quieter here in recent years due to the pandemic but should liven up in 2023 and beyond as backpackers return to Australia in larger numbers once more.

Airlie Beach is another of the best places to backpack in Australia with a very chilled out vibe in the day but also plenty of nightlife options with parties going on well into the small hours. The Whitsundays are gorgeous and are made up of 74 stunning islands. Don’t be surprised if you end up spending longer than you planned here!

This was the site of the original landing spot of Captain Cook in 1770 which was effectively year 0 for Australia as we know it today. It’s a nice spot to relax on the beach and read up on a bit of history at the Agnes Water Museum which documents the life of Cook and his voyages.

From late July to early November, Hervey Bay is a fantastic place to spot some whales. The other main reason to visit is to access Fraser Island and the southern Great Barrier Reef. Fraser Island is 120 km long and with a mild year-round climate and lots of beautiful scenery including crystal lakes and endless beaches, it’s a great place for camping out for a few days. Swimming isn’t recommended though due to dangerous tides and lots of hungry sharks.

Yet more glorious long sandy beaches and nearby national parks make Noosa another popular stop with backpackers in Australia. Make it to the Glasshouse Mountains and you will get a terrific panoramic view of the whole Sunshine Coast.

City lovers rejoice as this is the capital of Australia’s sunshine state and a good chance to stock up on anything you need at the 700+ stores in the city’s central shopping mall. It’s a lively city famed for its live music and large numbers of bars and clubs. With a relaxed riverside location, Australia’s third largest and fastest growing city generally leaves a positive impression on visitors and it has been chosen as the host of the 2032 Olympic Games.

Just south of Brisbane is Gold Coast, a city of around 500,000 people based as the name would suggest on the coast. Surfers Paradise is its touristy hub with an array of high rise structures, late night venues (some very seedy) and lots of drunk people. It’s a popular destination with Australian teens celebrating the end of high school. You’ll either love it or hate it.

9. Byron Bay

A relaxing beach setting and another essential stop for anyone solo backpacking Australia. Byron Bay is a popular place to learn to surf while you can also kayak alongside dolphins and even do a bit of skydiving if that’s your thing. Note that doing lots of these kinds of extra activities will quickly eat into your budget. Consider allowing a bit more than the suggested figures at the top of the page if that’s your plan.

The next stop on our Australia backpacking route is Nimbin which has gained a reputation as a bit of a hippy town and it’s a nice inland spot if you’re getting a bit sick of the whole beach thing. It can be visited on its own or on a day-trip from Byron Bay. The nearby Nightcap national park is home to an array of peaks, waterfalls and wildlife.

One of the most easily recognisable cities in the world thanks to the iconic Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Its setting is one of the best of any major city in the world and a boat trip or water-taxi in and around the Darling Harbour area is a must.

You could easily spend up to a week in Sydney exploring its different districts and just getting a feel for what life is like for locals and the thousands of foreigners who have made this their home. There are ways to experience culture in Sydney on a budget too, although prices are certainly high here.

With a distinctly different vibe from Sydney, Melbourne is less brash and maintains a European cultural vibe with plenty of quaint remnants of Britain. Melbourne is viewed by some as the sports capital of the world , with sports mad residents and major international events such as the Australian Open Tennis and Formula 1 taking place in the city as well as numerous teams in Australia’s sports leagues. There are also enough museums, galleries and theatres to entertain culture vultures while the multicultural population serves up a range of different cuisines.

Some of the best hostels in Melbourne are also good places to meet other travellers and perhaps make plans for a longer venture west. Options for trips out of town include a visit to Phillip Island where you can see the nightly penguin parade.

This 150 mile stretch of road that runs west from Melbourne features numerous points that are worth short visits but perhaps not overnight stays. These include traditional fishing villages, surfer beaches, lush rainforests and the bizarre cliff formation of the 12 Apostles.

For those backpacking Australia on a tighter budget or heading on to a New Zealand backpacking route , this may be a logical point to end your trip having seen the main cities and more than enough of Australia’s golden coastline. However for travellers who want the full Australian experience, the route continues through South Australia into the wilderness of Northern Territory before finishing in the Western Australian city of Perth. Get ready for some long (and expensive) journeys.

14. Kangaroo Island

A large island off the coast of Southern Australia home to an abundance of wildlife including – you guessed it – kangaroos! It’s a very scenic place and has a few different settlements so pick one and base yourself there for a few days whilst getting out and exploring the many nature reserves.

Adelaide is the capital of otherwise sparsely populated South Australia. It’s the fifth largest city in the country and although it might not have as much going for it as some of the other big ones it makes for a nice stop for a couple of days to break up the journey. This is also a big wine producing area so vineyard visits are popular.

The trip from here to Northern territory is also very long but you can break it up by visiting one of the many mining communities for a perspective on a less glamorous side to Australia which isn’t all about sun, sea and surfing.

Ayers Rock is a giant lump of earth in the middle of the world’s largest island. For some it’s an amazing sight, but non-rock lovers may end up moaning about the distance and time it takes to get here (although it does now have its own airport). It is found in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park which contains a couple of other sites that are considered sacred by Aborigines. You will have to stay outside the park though probably at the nearby resort of Yulara where camping is possible. It is also worth noting that climbing the rock is strongly discouraged by the local community.

There is a sense of achievement for anyone who reaches Alice Springs. Most people have heard the name but given that it is 1200 km from the ocean and 1500 km from the nearest city, relatively few make the long trip here. Alice Springs is a base for exploring the surrounding outback and learning about the extensive indigenous history in these parts.

Unless you have a sadistic love of coach journeys that last days then you will probably need to fly from Alice Springs to Perth but unfortunately there are no direct connections at the time of writing. Therefore it can set you back as much as 500 AUD to reach the city by air and anyone primarily focused on an doing an East Coast Australia backpacking route will need to consider whether it is really worth the cost and effort of heading this far west.

Perth is a large but relaxed place and incredibly isolated from the rest of the county’s urban areas. Days can be spent on the beach, cycling around the city or visiting nearby nature reserves. At night, enjoy a drink in one of the many pubs or delve into the indie or drum and bass music scenes.

On a slightly more positive note, as the westernmost city in Australia, ending in Perth will probably make your onward journey or trip home a fraction shorter and many major international airlines do fly in and out of the city. If you are planning on visiting New Zealand after Australia, it may be more sensible to do this trip in reverse and start in Perth before ending in Cairns.

Australia Map & Itinerary Overview

The map corresponds to the destinations listed above starting in Cairns and travelling south along Australia’s Pacific Coast before darting west across the country to end up in Perth. You can of course do the trip in reverse. If you’re pushed for times or funds, consider just doing Cairns to Melbourne or vice-versa.

The above is just a guideline and you can easily tailor it to your own interest levels. For those with a bit less time looking to do a 2 month Australia itinerary without rushing, consider following the route above but ending at the Great Ocean Road just south of Melbourne where you can backtrack to for a flight home.

The entire route may make for a nice 3 month Australia itinerary and would still give you a bit of leeway to stay longer in certain places you really like. If you do make it all the way to Perth, it’s worth noting that several days will be lost to just travelling from A to B so factor that in when planning your travels. Those with more than three months in the country, will be able to get off the beaten path a bit and discover some of the more unusual things to see in Australia .

In terms of combining backpacking in Australia with other countries in the region, New Zealand and Fiji are the most obvious options. The northern part of the country, where this route starts is very close to Indonesia and therefore it’d be easy to combine this with our backpacking route for Indonesia . There are loads of flights to/from Bali from all over Australia so it would link in nicely and would provide a bit of a contrast to your trip.

If you follow this route right through to Perth, you could consider flying on to South Africa or one of the East African countries such as Kenya. This would be a nice option, particularly for anyone who is doing a round-the-world trip and eventually flying home to Europe or North America. Alternatively you could fly back via Southeast Asia or take on our India backpacking route .

  • Working Holiday Visas: Australia has always been perhaps the most popular destination in the world for backpackers seeking working holiday experiences. However, changes to visa regulations and requirements, as well as shifts in employment opportunities, have had a negative knock-on effect on the availability of backpacker jobs in certain industries such as hospitality, agriculture, and tourism.
  • Budget Accommodation: The availability of budget accommodation for backpackers in Australia has evolved, with more options ranging from hostels and backpacker lodges to budget hotels and short-term Airbnb rentals. That being said, bargains are still hard to find and Australia is still a very expensive country to visit.
  • Regional Tourism: While major cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane remain on most itineraries, there is more interest in exploring regional, off-the-beaten-path destinations in Australia. Travellers are venturing out to lesser-known regions, national parks and sometimes rural communities.
  • Cultural Experiences: Backpackers are looking for more interaction with Indigenous communities with participation in Aboriginal cultural tours, festivals and events on the rise.
  • Technology and Travel Apps: The popularity of travel apps and online platforms has transformed the way backpackers plan and navigate their trips in Australia compared to previous eras. From booking accommodation and transportation to connecting with fellow travellers, for better or worse, technology is now central to the Australian backpacking experience.

This Australia itinerary was last updated in September 2022.

5 thoughts on “ Australia Backpacking Route ”

Can a person of 57 backback and work in Australia if not can I do the backpacking and what kind of insurance would I need

Hi Sonia, there’s absolutely no reason why a person of 57 cannot backpack through Australia. We’ve an article here on travel insurance for backpackers . You may have to pay more than someone in their 20’s for insurance but you should still be able to find a suitable package.

The working holiday visa that many travellers get, appears to be limited to people under 30 or 35 (depending on your country) so you may not be able to do that but you may still be able to volunteer or do work exchanges where you get accommodation in exchange for your labour.

Hi if I was traveling from south east asia and wanted to come austraila where would I and travel hopefully 1 ,2 years

Hi – Please could you send a time line for visiting each place like you have with the SEA? We are planning on going from Signapore onto Aus, would you suggest starting in Cairns? Many thanks 🙂

I’d suggest Cairns would be the best starting point. As mentioned the last part of the trip is quite lengthy and expensive just to visit two or three more places so if you’re worried about money lasting then maybe you could do Cairns to Melbourne and then decide if you wish to continue onwards. That said you could just as easily do Melbourne to Cairns and then fly on to Ayers Rock/Perth if you wanted. I guess it depends where you’re coming from and going next.

It terms of a breakdown perhaps something along the lines of:

Cairns 4 days, more if you want to do lots of diving. Magnetic Island 3 days Whitsundays 1 week. Less if you’re not fussed by beaches but they are beautiful islands.

Agnes Water 1/2 days Hervery Bay 2/3 days

Noosa 2/3 days Brisbane 2/3 days Surfers Paradise 1 day to 1 week depending on whether you love it or hate it! Byron Bay 3 days Ninbin 1/2 days Sydney 5 days Melbourne 4 days Great Ocean Road 2/3 days Kangaroo Island 2/3 days Adelaide 1/2 days Ayers Rock 2/3 days

Alice Springs 2/3 days

Perth 3/4 days

The coastal places at the beginning are pretty chilled out and you could easily hang around for longer if you so wished.

If anyone has any thoughts on that schedule or other suggestions then please comment!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Zebedee Springs, The Kimberley, Western Australia © Tourism Australia

Australia Recommends 2024

Sydney, NSW © Tourism Australia

Come and Say G'day

Uluru, NT

G'day, the short film

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria © Tourism Australia

Discover your Australia

Kangaroo Island, South Australia © Tourism Australia

Travel videos

Elysian Retreat, Whitsundays, QLD © Tourism Australia

Deals and offers

Jacarandas and Sydney Harbour at sunset, Sydney, NSW © Destination NSW

Australian Capital Territory

Bondi, Sydney, NSW © Georges Antoni and Ken Butti

New South Wales

West MacDonnell Ranges, NT © Tourism Australia

Northern Territory

Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, QLD © Tourism Australia

South Australia

Cradle Mountain, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, TAS © Pierre Destribats

Western Australia

Aerial shot of Emily Bay on Norfolk Island © Rose Evans (Norfolk Island Tourism)

External Territories

Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW ©  Daniel Tran

The Whitsundays

Kangaroo, Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand National Park, WA © Tourism Western Australia

Mornington Peninsula

Paddleboarding, Noosa, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Port Douglas

Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay, NSW © Destination NSW

Ningaloo Reef

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Coast, QLD © Tourism Whitsundays

Airlie Beach

Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. © South Australian Tourism Commission

Kangaroo Island

The Basin, Rottnest Island, Western Australia © Tourism Western Australia

Rottnest Island

Lake McKenzie, K’gari (Fraser Island), QLD © Tourism & Events Queensland

Hamilton Island

Lord Howe Island, NSW © Trevor King, Destination New South Wales

Lord Howe Island

Tiwi Design, Tiwi Islands © Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught

Tiwi Islands

Little penguins, Phillip Island Nature Park, VIC © Phillip Island Nature Park

Phillip Island

Bruny Island Paddle, Southern Sea Ventures, Bruny Island, Tasmania © Southern Sea Ventures

Bruny Island

Cape Naturaliste, near Dunsborough, WA © Tourism Western Australia

Margaret River

St Hugo Wines, Barossa Valley, SA © Tourism Australia

Barossa Valley

Grampians National Park, Victoria © Robert Blackburn, Visit Victoria

The Grampians

Audrey Wilkinson, Hunter Valley, NSW © Audrey Wilkinson

Hunter Valley

Dominique Portet Winery, Yarra Valley, VIC © Tourism Australia

Yarra Valley

Sea turtle, Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef, QLD © Tourism & Events Queensland

McLaren Vale

Glass House Mountains, Sunshine Coast, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Glass House Mountains

Bubble Tents, Capertree, Mudgee Region, NSW © Australian Traveller

Alice Springs

Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia © Tourism Australia

Uluru and Kata Tjuta

The Kimberley, WA © Tourism Australia

The Kimberley

The Arkaba Walk, Elder Camp, Flinders Ranges National Park, SA © Adam Bruzzone, South Australian Tourism Commission

Flinders Ranges

Jim Jim Falls, Kakadu National Park, NT © Jarrad Seng, all rights reserved

Kakadu National Park

Eyre Peninsula, SA © David Edgar

Eyre Peninsula

Hamersley Gorge , Karijini National Park, WA © Tourism Western Australia

Karijini National Park

Monkey Mia, Shark Bay World Heritage Area, WA © Tourism Western Australia

Great Barrier Reef

Blue Mountains, NSW © Destination NSW

Blue Mountains

Cassowary in Daintree Rainforest, Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland

Daintree Rainforest

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, VIC © Greg Snell, Tourism Australia

Great Ocean Road

Spicers Peak, Scenic Rim, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Purnululu National Park

Boat Shed, Lake Dove and Cradle Mountain, Cradle-Mountain Lake St Clare National Park, TAS © Adrian Cook

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

Wangi Falls, Litchfield National Park, NT © Tourism NT, Dan Moore

Litchfield National Park

Saffire Signature Experiences, Freycinet Marine Oyster Farm, Coles Bay, Freycinet National Park, TAS © Tourism Tasmania

Aboriginal experiences

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC © Robert Blackburn, Visit Victoria

Arts and culture

WOMADelaide 2019, Adelaide, SA Ⓒ Grant Hancock

Festivals and events

Detour Restaurant, Brisbane, QLD © @detourrestaurant and

Food and drink

Raging Thunder, Tully, QLD © Tourism Australia

Adventure and sports

Three Capes Track, Tasman National Park, TAS © Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service

Walks and hikes

Great Ocean Road, VIC © Tourism Australia

Road trips and drives

Waterline Charters, Wessel Islands, NT © Aussie Fly Fisher

Beaches and islands

Nature's Window, Kalbarri National Park, WA © Tourism Australia

Nature and national parks

Wombat, Symbio Wildlife Park, Helensburgh, NSW © Destination NSW

Eco-friendly travel

Group of friends participate in a body clay ritual at Peninsula Hot Springs © Peninsula Hot Springs

Health and wellness

The Dune Pavilion Deck with views of Uluru at Longitude 131 in the Northern Territory © Baillies Longitude 131

Family travel

Table Cape Tulip Farm, Wynyard, Tasmania © Tourism Australia

Family destinations

Hellfire Bay, Esperance, Western Australia © Tourism Australia

Family road trips

Merewether Baths, Newcastle, NSW © Destination NSW


Ellery Creek Big Hole, West MacDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Salty Aura

Work and holiday

Sand Dune Adventures at Stockton Beach, Port Stephens, NSW © Tourism Australia

Beginner's guide

Man in a wheelchair looking up at the canopy of the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland

Accessible travel

 Mrs Macquarie's Chair, Sydney, NSW © Destination NSW

Planning tips

backpacking for travelling australia

Trip planner

Cape Tribulation, Tropical North Queensland, QLD © Tourism Australia

Australian budget guide

 Aerial of car driving through palm trees in Tropical North Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland / Sean Scott.

Itinerary planner

Kangaroo, Lucky Bay, Esperance, WA © Australia’s Golden Outback

Find a travel agent

Beach House on Wategos Beach, Byron Bay, NSW © Tourism Australia

Find accommodation

Indian Pacific, Lake Hart, SA © Andrew Gregory

Find transport

Snowy region, Jindabyne, NSW © DPIE-Murray Van Der Veer

Visitor information centres

Deals and travel packages

Sydney Airport, New South Wales © Sydney Airport

Visa and entry requirements FAQ

Passengers using SmartGate © Australian Border Force

Customs and biosecurity

Uluru, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, NT © Tourism NT/Matt Cherubino

Working Holiday Maker visas

Bronte Baths, Bronte Beach, Sydney, NSW © Tourism Australia

Facts about Australia

Prairie Hotel, Parachilna, SA © South Australian Tourism Commission

Experiences that will make you feel like an Aussie

Great Barrier Reef, QLD © Georges Antoni / Tourism Australia

People and culture

Castle Hill, Townsville, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Health and safety FAQ

Sorrento Pier, VIC © Visit Victoria, Ewen Bell

Cities, states & territories

Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower, Lord Howe Island © Tom Archer

Iconic places and attractions

  Wildflowers, near Hamelin Pool, WA © Tourism Western Australia

When is the best time to visit Australia?

Ringer Reef Winery, Bright, VIC © Visit Victoria

Seasonal travel

Human Progress Pride flag, Sydney, NSW © Daniel Boud

Events and festivals

Silverdale Olive Orchard, Coral Coast, WA © Australia's Coral Coast

School holidays

Sydney New Year's Eve, Sydney Harbour, NSW © Destination NSW

Public holidays

Sydney Harbour, Sydney, NSW © Destination NSW

How to get to Australia's most iconic cities

Gantheaume Point, Broome, WA © Tourism Australia

How long do I need for my trip to Australia?

Self-drive, Marrawah, TAS © Tourism Tasmania

How to travel around Australia

Car driving on road next to the ocean in Lagoons Beach Conservation Area © Pete Harmsen/Tourism Tasmania

Guide to driving in Australia

Maui Motorhome parked on the coastline in Tasmania © Tourism Australia

How to hire a car or campervan

Family strolling alongside Tilligerry Creek © Destination NSW

How to plan a family road trip

 Car drives along the Matilda Way in Outback Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland

How to plan an outback road trip


  • Photographer

Packing List © Tourism Australia

The ultimate packing list for Australia

Ready to pack your bags? Here’s everything you’ll need for your adventure.

We’ve curated a packing checklist for every vacation style, so all you have to do next is squeeze in your essentials, fly and begin your dream trip Down Under.

An outdoor adventure

Outdoor essentials packing list © Tourism Australia

The Hike Collective, Perth, Western Australia © Tourism Australia

Squeaky Windmill, West MacDonnell Ranges, NT © Tourism Australia

Squeaky Windmill, West MacDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory © Tourism Australia

Emu Run Experience, West MacDonnell Ranges, NT © Tourism Australia

Emu Run Experience, West MacDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory © Tourism Australia

Run wild with our local wildlife and explore the best of Australia’s nature and national parks . Here are some must-pack items for your next exploration.

  • Walking or hiking shoes to explore some of Australia's top hiking trails
  • Headlamp to find epic  stargazing  spots
  • Active wear for working up a sweat
  • Day pack or backpack
  • Thermal wine glass or sustainable coffee cup
  • Aussie Snacks (we recommend Tim Tams, Caramello Koalas, Shapes, and Allen's lollies!)
  • Wind or waterproof jacket depending on the weather
  • Binoculars for spotting local wildlife
  • First aid kit: if not travelling on a guided tour

Travel essentials

Pro tip: a lightweight picnic rug or blanket will take your trip photos from boring to bougie.

A summer escape

Beach and summer essentials packing list © Tourism Australia

South Bank Precinct, Brisbane, Queensland © Tourism Australia

Sunset Bar, Cable Beach, Broome, WA © Tourism Australia

Sunset Bar, Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia © Tourism Australia

Eco Beach, Broome, WA © Tourism Australia

Eco Beach, Broome, Western Australia © Tourism Australia

Make waves on your  summer vacation in Australia . From a  saltwater pool overlooking the ocean to  snorkelling with a sea turtle , here’s what to bring on a sun seeker’s holiday.

  • Wide brimmed hat (for safety and style)
  • Beach towel (Turkish towels are a good lightweight option)
  • Swimwear or bathing suits for diving in at the  best swimming beaches
  • Sarong, or cover-up for comfortable beach hopping
  • Goggles if you plan to go  snorkelling with local marine life
  • Book to read when you're laying in the sun at one of Australia's best beaches
  • Summer dresses and lightweight clothing
  • Party outfits and heels to sip cocktails on a rooftop bar
  • Rash vest to protect you from the sun - and board if you plan to go surfing !
  • Light jumper, cardigan, or jacket for cool evening sunsets
  • Sandals or thongs (flip flops) for easy walking
  • Comfortable walking shoes for enjoying  coastal walks
  • Fold up umbrella for shaded picnics

Pro Tip: When discovering  coral reefs  don't forget your reef shoes and wet bag. Water shoes protect your feet from the hot sand, sharp rocks, and rough terrain you might encounter as you explore.

A snowy getaway

Snow and winter essentials packing list © Tourism Australia

Perisher Blue, Snowy Mountains, New South Wales © Perisher Blue

Huon Valley, TAS © Samuel Shelley

Huon Valley, Tasmania © Samuel Shelley

Mount Hotham, VIC © Visit Victoria

Mount Hotham, Victoria © Visit Victoria

Winter in Australia  means cosying up with a local drop in some of Australia’s best wine regions  after  playing in the winter snow , so here’s what you’ll need to bring to rug up and get out and about.

  • Beanie, scarf and gloves to keep you cosy
  • Thermal underwear and thick socks
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket to keep you warm throughout your many  winter adventures
  • Long sleeve shirts and layers for days spent outdoors seeking winter wildlife events
  • Thick jacket or jumper
  • Dress pants and a button up for chilly nights out among Australia's eclectic food scene
  • Tracksuit for exploring in comfort or curling up by the fire
  • Ski clothing: that’s right, you can  ski in Australia !
  • Comfortable walking shoes if you're going on a walk or hike
  • Closed in, waterproof shoes or boots
  • Swimwear to swim with our  spectacular marine life  (swimming with humpbacks happens during their winter migration!)

Pro tip: The Aussie sun can pack a punch! Be sure to bring your sun safety essentials even if you're visiting in winter.

An eco-friendly vacation

Eco-friendly essentials packing list © Tourism Australia

The Village Markets, Gold Coast, Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland

Bonza Bike Tours, The Rocks, NSW © Destination NSW

Bonza Bike Tours, The Rocks, New South Wales © Destination NSW

ELEVATE Sydney, Circular Quay, NSW © Destination NSW

ELEVATE Sydney, Circular Quay, New South Wales © Destination NSW

backpacking for travelling australia

One of the easiest ways to  travel sustainably  in Australia is to pack an eco-minded suitcase or backpack. Embark on your journey knowing your footprint here will be as light as a feather with these items in your suitcase.

  • Reusable water bottle to stay hydrated
  • Reusable coffee cup to keep your flat-white warm
  • Canvas or reusable bag (single-use plastic bags are outlawed in most Australian states, so a compact shopping bag is an essential addition!)
  • Reusable cutlery for irresistible street eats
  • Reusable straw for sipping cocktails
  • Bike shorts and walking shoes for cycling through city streets
  • Solid shampoo and conditioner
  • Lightweight towel to save on space
  • Durable clothing and footwear for exploring Australia's most eco-friendly destinations
  • A conscious travel mindset!

Pro tip:  Australia's tap water is clean and safe to drink, so bringing a reusable water bottle will help your wallet and the environment.

A picture-perfect holiday

Technology essentials packing list © Tourism Australia

Australian Coastal Safaris, Port Lincoln, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia © Australian Coastal Safaris

Kangaroo, Cape Hillsborough National Park, QLD © Matt Glastonbury/Tourism and Events Queensland

Kangaroo, Cape Hillsborough National Park, Queensland © Matt Glastonbury/Tourism and Events Queensland

Snorkelling, Great Barrier Reef, QLD © Darren Jew

Snorkelling, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland © Darren Jew

If your aesthetic is sweeping landscapes, serene nature reserves , bustling cities, or artistic events , your grid will be packed full of new content in no time. Here’s what you’ll need for the perfect shot.

  • Camera, GoPro, or drone to record your favourite  Aussie experiences
  • Underwater camera for diving adventures
  • Chargers for all of your devices - portable power packs are great for when you're on the go
  • Mini tripod to quietly capture photos of  friendly wildlife
  • Microphone for optimal sound quality
  • Universal adaptor and powerboard
  • Spare camera batteries
  • Memory cards to avoid running low on space
  • Bluetooth speaker for beachside tunes
  • Laptop / tablet
  • Headphones to play your travel soundtrack
  • Selfie stick for snapping moments with Australia's top natural attractions

Pro tip: Australia uses voltage 230V 50Hz. If your home country does not use the same voltage, you’ll need to pack a voltage transformer, which adjusts the outlet power accordingly. Check the label on your electronic appliances to see which voltage is used.

Packing essentials packing list © Tourism Australia

Whether you're making a splash at some of Australia's best beaches or embarking on an outback journey , here's a checklist of essentials for any type of holiday.

  • Documents: passport (VERY ESSENTIAL!),  visa  (if required), boarding pass, itinerary and travel insurance policy
  • Travel wallet, keys and phone
  • A change of clothes for the flight
  • Hairbrush: to freshen up when you arrive
  • Compression socks: recommended for long-haul flights 
  • Entertainment: book, journal and pen, magazine, cards, tablet, laptop and headphones  
  • Reusable bottle: just remember to empty it before you go through security!
  • Toiletries: toothpaste, toothbrush, roll-on deodorant, moisturiser, lip balm and face wash (all under 100 mls or 3.4 ounces)
  • Hand sanitiser and a face mask
  • Neck pillow, eye mask and earplugs: you can never be too comfortable, right?
  • Medication (if required)

Pro tip: Wearing comfortable layers like a big cosy jumper on your flight will help you stay warm while in the air and save space in your luggage. Strip down to your lighter layers when you land in sunny Australia!

  • Packing cubes
  • Small backpack
  • Sun safe kit, including sunglasses and a hat
  • Sleepwear and underwear
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Makeup and makeup remover
  • Skincare: moisturiser, face wash and serums
  • Perfumes, aftershave, or cologne
  • Sunscreen: we recommend reef-friendly, SPF 50 
  • After sun / Aloe vera
  • Insect repellent
  • Medications 
  • Reusable face cloth and towel
  • Shampoo, conditioner and soap: most of Australia’s accommodations will provide these, but it’s always worth double-checking
  • Hair dryer, curler, or straightener (if not staying at hotels)

Pro tip: Sunscreen in Australia is high quality and affordable, so you can save some room in your bag by stocking up when you arrive.

More articles like this

Great Barrier Reef Drive, Port Douglas, QLD © Travellers Autobarn

Acknowledgement of Country

Indigenous symbol - Natural Beauty

We acknowledge the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners of the land, sea and waters of the Australian continent, and recognise their custodianship of culture and Country for over 60,000 years.

  • International (English)
  • New Zealand (English)
  • United States (English)
  • Canada (English)
  • India (English)
  • Malaysia (English)
  • Singapore (English)
  • Indonesia (Bahasa Indonesia)
  • Deutschland (Deutsch)
  • France (Français)
  • Italia (Italiano)
  • 中国大陆 (简体中文)

*Product Disclaimer:  Tourism Australia is not the owner, operator, advertiser or promoter of the listed products and services. Information on listed products and services, including Covid-safe accreditations, are provided by the third-party operator on their website or as published on Australian Tourism Data Warehouse where applicable. Rates are indicative based on the minimum and maximum available prices of products and services. Please visit the operator’s website for further information. All prices quoted are in Australian dollars (AUD). Tourism Australia makes no representations whatsoever about any other websites which you may access through its websites such as Some websites which are linked to the Tourism Australia website are independent from Tourism Australia and are not under the control of Tourism Australia. Tourism Australia does not endorse or accept any responsibility for the use of websites which are owned or operated by third parties and makes no representation or warranty in relation to the standard, class or fitness for purpose of any services, nor does it endorse or in any respect warrant any products or services by virtue of any information, material or content linked from or to this site.

  • Search Please fill out this field.
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Give a Gift Subscription
  • Sweepstakes
  • Travel Products
  • Trends + Deals We Love

REI, Amazon, and More Are Having Under-the-radar Hiking Gear Sales — Shop the 10 Best Deals Up to 55% Off

A longtime backpacker shares her top picks from $17.

backpacking for travelling australia

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .

Travel + Leisure / Tyler Roeland

Spring has sprung and the trails are calling. There are parks to explore, boots to break in , and summits to reach. Whether you’re new to hiking or, like me, due for (more than) a few gear upgrades , now’s the time to expand your kit as outfitters and retailers like REI, Amazon, and Backcountry are currently running sales on hiking gear galore. For a limited time, you can score brand-name trail essentials and outdoor gear on sale for up to 55 percent off.

After all, your gear can make or break your trip, so why not use this opportunity to save big on these pricey items before your next adventure? From my tried-and-true Osprey pack to Amazon’s best-selling women’s hiking boots and hydration bladders , here are the 10 best hiking gear deals that this longtime trekker , backpacker, and traveler is eyeing. 

Osprey Archeon 45 Pack

Many seasoned hikers would agree that Osprey packs are the best on the market. They’re known for their quality, comfort, ergonomic fit, and for being truly ultra-light. Believe me, I lived out of a backpack for two years and every ounce that you don’t have to carry on your back matters. Right now, REI is offering 50 percent off this 45-liter Archeon style that’s ideally sized for multi-day hikes lasting from three days to up to a week. One reviewer called it the “best bag ever” and the most comfortable hiking pack they’ve ever worn — and after testing a range of other brands, I agree. As a bonus, it can sometimes pass as a carry-on on flights. Hurry, it's selling out fast!

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boots

Amazon’s no. 1 best-selling women’s hiking boots are also almost half off right now. With their full-grain leather uppers and eye-catching red laces, Columbia’s Newton Ridge Boots harken back to the traditional mountaineering style (a.k.a. the style resurrected by the iconic book cover of Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild”). The shoes have amassed more than 18,000 five-star ratings, with countless reviewers praising their durability and unwavering waterproof capabilities. The cushiony midsoles, arch and ankle support, and grippy traction also get high marks.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

LifeStraw is the OG portable water filter. You can stick the best-selling filter straw right into a stream and take a sip without having to worry about harmful bacteria, parasites, and microplastics. This tiny gadget, taking up less than 9 square inches in your pack, can be a lifesaver in emergency situations or just save your back from the stress of carrying excess water. Snag it for 22 percent off now; you won't regret adding it to your pack.

Athleta Trekkie North Joggers

These joggers are made with stretchy, moisture-wicking recycled nylon meant to resist tears when you inevitably get caught up in a branch on the trail. Although I haven’t tried them myself, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from my hiking friends — and just one look at the glowing testimonies from REI shoppers will tell you that these are quality hiking pants . This highly rated Trekkie North style is starting at $49, and sizes are selling out quickly.

Zimfem Portable Camping Chair

For this summer’s overnight hikes or the times when you just want a comfy seat when you reach your destination , a portable camping chair comes in handy. At 4.7 pounds, this is perhaps not the best chair to cover long distances with — proper backpacking chairs weigh more like 2 pounds to mere ounces — but it’s a very affordable option for shorter treks when you have room in your bag for a luxury item. Despite being a new release, it's already generating a lot of buzz among Amazon shoppers (more than 1,000 units were sold in the last month, according to the retailer). For packing convenience, the fabric seat separates from the frame, which folds down to fit into a relatively compact 17-inch by 7-inch carrying sack.

Gonii Low-cut Hiking Socks 4-pack

Good hiking socks are the key to preventing blisters. You want a material that balances breathability with cushioning, and Amazon reviewers say that these cotton-blend athletic ankle socks by Gonii hit that sweet spot. In fact, a shopper was happy to report that they kept their feet cool on a scorching-hot 20-mile walk. They come in your standard white, black, and gray hues, as well as fun pastels and bright colors. For a pack of five pairs, $15 is a true bargain.

Stoic Venture UPF Sun Hoodie


On a recent hike under the relentless sun in Sedona, Arizona, I noticed that the most seasoned and prepared people on the trail sported hoodies — a counterintuitive move when the temperature is approaching triple digits, but one that your skin will thank you for. This Stoic sun hoodie, on sale for 55 percent off at Backcountry, has UPF 50+ protection built right into it, making it a wearable sun shade. It’s made with lightweight and moisture-wicking recycled polyester, so you don’t have to worry about overheating or lingering sweat patches.

Baen Sendi 2-liter Hydration Bladder 2-pack

Maybe you’re the type to never leave home without your emotional support water bottle, but on the trail, hands-free hydration is the way to go . At 20 percent off, this pack of two Baen Sendi bladders is less than the price of one single CamelBak replacement reservoir (and way less than the buzzy water bottles and tumblers on TikTok). Reviewers say that it works just as well as its pricier counterparts and fits perfectly inside their brand-name hydration packs. 

Willit Hiking Shorts

Thousands of Amazon shoppers have given these Willit Hiking Shorts five-star ratings for their comfort, stretch, and durability. They’re super versatile and can be worn off the trail, too — the hallmark of the perfect travel shorts. You get your pick of almost 30 colors and patterns like trail-ready camo and sleek graphite gray. They’re normally priced at $34, but with Amazon’s 26-percent-off deal plus an extra 10-percent-off coupon, they’re only $23 (a steal). 

SealLine 5-liter Dry Bag

Helpful on drizzly days, in unexpected showers, and when you’re keen to cool off in a stream on your hike, a dry bag separates the wet from the dry — and is a useful tool to safeguard your valuables. Throw your camera gear and other electronics in it to protect them from water damage, or save it to hold your soaked swimwear until you get back to the campsite clothesline. In addition to hikes, this 5-liter dry bag is good to have handy for kayaking and paddleboarding missions.

Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we’ll send you our favorite travel products each week.

See More T+L Shopping Deals

backpacking for travelling australia

Damien Guerot, who fought off Bondi Junction attacker with bollard, to be granted permanent residency, lawyer says

The French man dubbed "bollard man" who "bravely" confronted Joel Cauchi during a stabbing rampage at Bondi Junction will be granted permanent residency by the federal government, according to his lawyer.

A video widely circulated on social media showed Damien Guerot holding a shopping centre bollard up to try and stop the knife-wielding Cauchi in his tracks on Saturday afternoon.

He then chased behind NSW Police Inspector Amy Scott, who shot the attacker dead, holding a chair as a potential weapon.

During an interview, Mr Guerot told Channel Seven he is on a work visa which is due to expire in a couple of months.

His lawyer, Belinda Robinson, said he would be granted permanent residency and was only waiting for official documentation, which was expected to come through as soon as Tuesday evening.

It comes just two days after Ms Robinson started an online petition calling for Mr Guerot to be granted Australia citizenship, describing his actions as "a true act of Australianism" that saved lives.

"[He] committed an act of true heroism by selfless putting his own life in the firing line of danger without a second thought by taking on a mass murderer," she said.

PM says Mr Guerot can stay in Australia

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said earlier in the day that Mr Guerot was welcome to stay in Australia.

"I say this to Damien Guerot, who is dealing with his visa applications, that you are welcome here," Anthony Albanese said.

"You are welcome to stay for as long as you like."

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said he supports the prime minister's "generous offer".

"He embodies the Anzac spirit, and we would want people of that character in our country," Mr Dutton said.

"It says a lot about the nature of humanity at a time when we are facing difficult issues that someone who's not a citizen of this country stood bravely at the top of those escalators and stopped this perpetrator from getting onto another floor and potentially inflicting further carnage," Mr Albanese said.

a man carrying a knife inside westfield shopping centre at bondi junction he stabbed six people

In a statement, Minister for Immigration Andrew Giles said Mr Guerot's "extraordinary bravery is an example of the character we all want to see in our society" and that his department was looking into "visa options for him".

"We thank Mr Guerot as well as other members of the public, our heroic police officers and first responders who have helped protect others from danger."

During the attack, six people were murdered and a dozen more were badly injured.

Six patients remain in hospital, including a nine-month-old girl.

A growing flower tribute at Bondi Junction.

Thousands of people ran for their lives or hid in shops and fire exits.

Mr Guerot recalls stabbing attack

Mr Guerot, a construction worker who was on his way to the gym, ran towards the danger.

In vision of the incident he can be seen holding the bollard to protect himself from Cauchi and trying to throw it at him to bring an end to the attack.

Riess Tudela watched it happen from above.

"I saw an extremely brave gentleman trying to fend this man off the escalators, and he's just an absolute hero," Mr Tudela told 7.30.

Mr Guerot told Channel Seven he and his friend Silas Despreaux were acting on adrenaline.

"I don't know, we just [thought] we needed [to do] something to catch him," Mr Guerot said.

"You cannot think in that moment, it's [just] adrenaline."

He recalled "[the attacker's] eyes were like empty eyes … he wasn't there".

Mr Guerot said he could not be held up for long and praised the actions of Inspector Scott who ran after the attacker and told him to drop the knife.

When he lunged at her she fired three shots, killing him.

Mr Albanese thanked Mr Guerot for his "extraordinary bravery".

He went as far as saying he is the type of person he would welcome as an Australian citizen but admitted "that would of course be a loss for France".

"On Saturday we saw some of the best of human character at the same time we saw such devastating tragedy," Mr Albanese said.

  • X (formerly Twitter)

Related Stories

'i'm sorry he's done this to the nation': andrew cauchi breaks down speaking about killer son.

A man with a long grey beard and wearing a hat.

How does an ideologically motivated lie travel from alt-right internet backwaters to a national newsroom?

two people face building with police tape

'They don't stand a chance': After the Bondi Junction attack, do security guards need more powers?

nsw ambulances and police outside the westfield shopping centre at bondi junction after a mass stabbing event

  • Bondi Junction
  • Federal Government
  • Federal Parliament
  • Travel Advice

Australia’s best airport named as big changes made to Qantas terminal

A major Australian airport has been named the best in the Pacific the same week a huge project kicks off with big changes for Qantas passengers.

Chantelle Francis

Travellers brace for chaos at airports

Huge travel warning for millions of Aussies

Huge travel warning for millions of Aussies

Major change to busy airport

Major change to busy airport

Melbourne Airport has been named the best in Australia and the Pacific for the second year in a row.

The bustling airport was awarded the sought-after title at the 2024 Skytrax World Airport Awards held in Frankfurt, Germany overnight.

On a global scale, Melbourne was ranked 19th on the prestigious list of the world’s top 100 airports .

Melbourne Airport chief executive Lorie Argus credited her team’s “focus on human interaction” and new amenities and dining and shopping options that opened in the last 12 months.

“Whether you work as the CEO or a cleaner, in customer service or in construction, everyone at Melbourne Airport is committed to enhancing our travellers’ journeys,” she said.

“Our ‘Stepping Forward’ program empowers all airport staff to assist passengers wherever they can, and we think that focus on human interaction is what sets us apart.”

Melbourne Airport has been named the best in Australia and the Pacific. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Aaron Francis

Ms Argus said there were big improvements yet to come including a new runway, new roads and other terminal enhancements.

“We know there is still a lot of work to do, particularly in our international arrivals area, and that’s why we are working with our airline partners on future infrastructure plans, including an expanded international terminal and our third runway,” she said.

“There will be disruptions while we complete these works, but they are essential projects that will ensure we continue to grow in line with our city, and that we remain Australia’s favourite airport destination.”

One of those projects, which changes how Qantas domestic passengers use the airport, has kicked off this week (more on that below).

Melbourne Airport previously won the title in 2020, 2021 and 2023.

Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly

At the 2024 ceremony overnight, Adelaide Airport received the award for ‘best regional airport’ in Australia and the Pacific, and Perth Airport accepted the gong for ‘best airport staff service’ in Australia and the Pacific.

On the world list, Brisbane took out spot 32, Perth was ranked 52nd, Sydney was 55th, Adelaide was 65th and Gold Coast was 68th.

Doha’s Hamad International Airport was ranked the best in the world, booting Singapore Changi Airport from the top spot this year, which has previously won 12 times.

South Korea’s Incheon International Airport was ranked third best, followed by Haneda Airport and Narita International Airport, both in Japan’s capital, Tokyo.

Haneda Airport was also awarded world’s cleanest airport, while Narita Airport has the world’s best staff.

Doha’s Hamad International Airport was ranked the best in the world. Picture: Hamad Aiport

The Skytrax World Airport Awards have been going since 1999 and are determined by passengers in an annual global airport customer satisfaction survey, assessing customer service and facilities across more than 570 airports.

The questionnaires were completed by more than 100 nationalities from August 2023 to March 2024.

The Skytrax World Airline Awards, dubbed “the Oscars of the aviation industry”, are announced mid-year and dished up a sad result for Australia last year .

Qantas was considered the fifth-best airline in the world in 2022 but plummeted 12 spots to be ranked 17 in 2023.

Australia’s largest carrier also lost the title of ‘Best Airline in Australia / Pacific’ to Fiji Airways.

The Skytrax World Airport Awards are voted by airport customers. Picture: istock

Changes at Qantas’ domestic terminal at Melbourne Airport

This year’s win for Melbourne Airport comes in the same week a major upgrade of security screening technology begins at Qantas’ domestic terminal.

The screening point will be rebuilt with new baggage screening and body scanning technology to bring it into line with Melbourne Airport’s other domestic terminals.

Construction of a new temporary screening point at the eastern end of the Qantas domestic terminal started this week and it will open in August, meaning passengers will no longer need to remove laptops, tablets or aerosols from their carry-on luggage.

The security upgrade is expected to be finished by December 2025.

Melbourne Airport chief of aviation Jim Parashos asked for patience while they finished transforming the terminal “into one of the best domestic facilities in the world”.

More Coverage

backpacking for travelling australia

“We have also spent tens of millions of dollars upgrading passenger amenities to increase their capacity, and improve accessibility, including the installation of adult change facilities, all gender bathrooms and assistance animal relief areas,” he said, adding the latest works were the “next piece of the puzzle”.

Mr Parashos warned: “Installing this new security equipment while keeping the terminal operational is a significant logistics challenge, and we thank passengers for their patience and understanding while we undertake this work.”

The project is expected to be completed by December 2025.

Add your comment to this story

To join the conversation, please log in. Don't have an account? Register

Join the conversation, you are commenting as Logout

Thousands of travellers are expected to move through the nation's busiest airport in the next 24 hours.

Aussies should prepare for what is going to be an extremely busy travel day with airports warning passengers to do this one specific thing.

Travellers left stranded following severe storms have been thrown a lifeline, with a change to the rules for Australia’s busiest airport.

We’re on the road right now – join in on the fun and follow @thebrokebackpacker on IG!

  • Meet the Team
  • Work with Us
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Scandinavia
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Budget Travel
  • Work & Travel
  • The Broke Backpacker Manifesto
  • Travel Resources
  • How to Travel on $10/day

Home » Oceania » Australia » ULTIMATE Guide to Solo Travel in Australia | Destinations & Tips for 2024

ULTIMATE Guide to Solo Travel in Australia | Destinations & Tips for 2024

There is nothing that can make you feel as liberated and independent as traveling on your own. With dynamic cities, a remote outback, beautiful coastlines, and a bunch of cool backpackers to meet, Australia is one of the best countries to visit solo.

Travelling solo in Australia is super safe, it’s easy to get around, and there are plenty of adventures to be had. No wonder tons of gap year tourists and solo females choose to explore this massive island country. The only downside is that it isn’t the most affordable place to visit, but put in perspective, travelling Australia alone is well worth the price.

With an active outdoor lifestyle and a big beach scene, visiting Australia solo gives you the space for personal growth and development. Hostels make it easy to meet and make friends – and just about everyone speaks English here. Locals are friendly and funny, so you’ll never have an issue finding your way around!

If you are looking to travel the land down under on your own, here are my top recommendations of where to go, what to do, and how to prepare for your trip.

laura stood on a rock in front of a mountain backdrop

5 Things to Do in Australia When Traveling Solo

5 best solo destinations in australia, the best travel apps for solo travel in australia, safety tips for solo travel australia, tips for solo traveling in australia, how to meet people when solo traveling in australia, final thoughts for your solo trip to australia.

With incredible natural scenery, including mountains, barrier reefs, and deserts, Australia embodies an outdoorsy and active culture. Whether you’re backpacking the East Coast or hitting up Western Australia, is a haven for solo travellers. Check out these five activities you can do on your own in Australia…

backpacking for travelling australia

Unlock Our GREATEST Travel Secrets!

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best travel tips delivered right to your inbox.

1. Island Hop Through the Whitsunday Islands

People relaxing watching the sunset on a boat tour in the Whitsunday Islands

If there is one natural attraction worthwhile visiting on your Australian solo travel adventure, it’s the Great Barrier Reef coastline. With 74 sandbanks and tropical islands, there’s no need to choose just one island in the Whitsundays to visit. 

Instead, joining a group island-hopping trip along this picturesque coastline is an incredible way to see this Great Barrier Reef region. (If you’re looking to snorkel the reef itself, Cairns is a better option).

Since most islands are protected as a national park, you must visit with a planned tour . From luxury yachts to paddle boats, there are ways to explore the Whitsundays for all budgets. 

2. Experience Australian History in the Red Center

The Red Center is the heart of old Australia. Set right in the middle of the country, this is an impressive landscape of deserts, mountains, rocky gorges, and some of the most sacred Aboriginal sites. The region isn’t overpopulated with tourists, purely because it’s challenging to get to.

Uluru and Kara Tjuta are two exceptional locations in the Outback worth visiting to gain a deeper understanding of the Aboriginal culture and heritage. Here, you can watch the colours of the rock change at sunset while listening to local string melodies on the didgeridoo.

3. Hang out at the hostels 

Look, solo travel in Australia is just as much about kicking back and enjoying the simple life with new amazing travel buddies as it is about seeing world-famous attractions. All my most fond memories here involve nothing more than sharing a box of goon and a couple of joints with strangers who become dear, dear mates.

Small outdoor dorm room surrounded by jungle and lizard hiding in Arts Factory Hostel, Byron Bay

4. Taste the Best Wine of Barossa Valley, Adelaide

Famous for being one of the world’s most significant wine-producing regions, Barossa Valley near Adelaide is home to over 150 wineries, as well as many of the world’s longest-continuously produced wine variants.

Aside from great wine, the region is one of the best Australian solo travel destinations , resembling a Tuscan dreamscape. Naturally, one of the best things to do here is to taste the famous wines, dine at exceptional establishments, and stroll through the lush vineyards. This is a great activity to enjoy solo, but also an easy way to meet other travellers and locals.

5. Take A Bike Tour Through the Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne

Bike Tour Through the Mornington Peninsula

Located just south of the busy city of Melbourne, The Mornington Peninsula is a suburban landscape that blends seaside charm with lush vineyards. You’ll find golden beaches, vineyard-lined hills, and exciting forests here, with each landscape offering its own choice of adventure and activity. 

One of the best ways to experience the region is to join a bike tour through the peninsula. There are plenty of tours to join, stopping off at well-known restaurants, hot springs, and gorgeous beaches.

audy on top of a mountain in japan with the osprey aether

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so  damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

Sometimes the best company is your own. Whether you prefer your own space or want to meet like-minded travellers, here is our pick of the best places to travel solo in Australia:

After visiting Melbourne , I can safely say it is my favourite city in Australia. With a considerable amount of buzzing neighbourhoods to explore, Melbourne is also one of Australia’s most popular cities. It has been called one of the most livable cities in the world, so it certainly is worth a visit to see what the hype is about. 

Melbourne is best known for its high-end food scene, Australia’s best coffee, and incredible art exhibitions and museums. It’s also the fashion capital of Australia, with streets lined with trendy boutiques and vibrant nightlife.

Melbourne City

You can’t say you’ve visited Melbourne without driving the Great Ocean Road. Expect an Aussie road trip packed with incredible scenery along this scenic drive, passing the famous surf spots of Torquay and Bells Beach, kangaroos hopping across golf courses, and the Twelve Apostle rock formations. Aside from renting a car, this activity won’t cost you a cent!

Selina Central Melbourne is an excellent example of Selina’s good reputation. Centrally located with a communal kitchen, bar, and co-working space, it’s the ideal budget city accommodation.

You just have to visit Byron Bay – Australia’s premier beach town. What was once a sleepy coastal town blossomed into a hippie centre in the ’60s. Today, it’s home to an eclectic mix of high-fashion socialites and laid-back surfers, with a patchwork offering of trendy bars, low-key restaurants, yoga studios, and incredible beaches.

Person drawing a spiral sun in the sand by the sea

The best thing to do when travelling solo in Australia’s Byron Bay is to enjoy time on the beach, typically packed with locals and visitors on any given day. When the sun sets, make your way to one of the town’s vibrant restaurants and enjoy a drink with new friends at a rooftop bar.

The town is by no means cheap, but there are ways to save money. Staying in budget accommodation is one of them. Naturally, the most affordable activities here involve spending time outdoors. Start by hiking the Cape Byron Walking Track and cycle to The Farm in Byron Bay.

The colourful community welcomes newcomers, and staying in a hostel here is the best way to find an in with the in-crowds. The Surf House is Byron Bays’ premier hostel. Just a few minutes from the Main Beach, the hostel has a rooftop bar and unique shared rooms perfect for solo travellers in Australia.

The heart of Australia’s active lifestyle, Cairns is a friendly town known for its incredible natural beauty. Set between the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest (two listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites), backpack up to Cairns for the gateway of Tropical North Queensland with a subtropical climate. 

Again, the best (and most affordable) things to do here involve spending your time in nature. Rent some snorkelling gear and explore the underwater world of Ciarns, or take the more adrenaline-pumping alternative and jump 50 meters off Australia’s only bunjy jump. If you don’t want to do the jump, the platform alone offers some of the best views of the surrounding region.

View of tropical city of Cairns

The Daintree Rainforest, just an hour’s drive away, can be visited on a group tour or even when travelling Australia solo, and it is an exciting activity to uncover more about the ancient rainforest cultures.

As the day draws to a close, there’s no better place to grab a bite than at the Cairns Night Market, which has a lively atmosphere perfect for meeting locals and other travellers.

For the perfect combination of a relaxed and social atmosphere, Travellers Oasis Backpackers offers comfortable, safe, and clean accommodation for budget solo travellers.

Although the capital of Tasmania, Hobart is a small and historic city surrounded by nature. Best of all, this city is an incredible location for solo travellers, with tons of activities that are safe and fun to do alone.

Some of the best things to do in Hobart include taking a tour of Bruny Island, where delicious chocolate and cheese meet spectacular wildlife. Visiting the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, watching a performance at the Salamanca Arts Center, or admiring an art exhibition at Mona are musts for culture vultures. If you want a quick intro to the city’s major attractions, hop on a hop-on-hop-off bus.

Bruny Island Hobart

Open yourself up to a social event at the Cascades Brewery, Australia’s oldest operating craft brewery. You never know; you might just meet a new friend willing to summit nearby Mount Wellington with you.

In the historic village of Battery Point, Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse is close to restaurants and markets. The locally owned hostel has a large shared kitchen, living room, and laundry facilities.

Adelaide is an Australian solo traveller’s paradise for a few reasons. It’s easily accessible, with a compact city centre that makes it easy to explore on foot. There are also plenty of activities to keep you busy and a bunch of cool people to meet in Adelaide’s great hostels .

When it comes to natural scenery, Adelaide deserves an accolade. The capital city of South Australia is perfectly-positioned just a short drive from the iconic Outback. While possible to do alone, I recommend visiting the outback with a tour group or a new group of friends. This way, you can access off-the-beaten-track hikes and trails and explore million-year-old mountains more confidently.

Downtown area of Adelaide city in Australia

Adelaide is also known for its stretched-out coastline, overflowing with abundant sealife that feeds the country’s high-end seafood scene. The city is also the host of many sporting events and festivals. If you’ve always wanted to lay eyes on a koala bear, plenty of these cuddly creatures call the Adelaide Hills home.

Adelaide Central YHA is one of the best backpackers in the city. With newly renovated rooms, free Wi-Fi, and other modern facilities, it offers safe, clean, and friendly budget accommodations for solo travellers.

  • Hostelworld: The best app for searching and booking hostels and backpackers
  • and Airbnb : Great for finding hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation
  • PackPoint : A helpful app to help you make sure you pack all the necessities for your trip
  • Couchsurfer : Suitable for budget travellers but not recommended for solo female travellers in Australia
  • Viator and Get Your Guide : Useful for browsing and booking tours and day trips
  • Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble : Designed to meet and socialize with others in your vicinity
  • Trail Wallet : A great way to stick to your budget when travelling in an expensive country
  • Backpackr : A social media app designed for meeting travellers nearby
  • WhatsApp Messenger : The leading messaging app used by most locals in Australia
  • Holafly : An e-SIM application that allows you to download a data-only SIM card without installing a physical card

It’s also a good idea to join local Facebook groups designed for travellers or ex-pats in Australia. Groups like ‘ Melbourne Meetups,’ ‘Traveling Tasmania, ’ and ‘ Australia Backpackers’ are some of the most popular.

photo of a person holding a smartphone with Holafly logo

Stop stressing about your phone service when you travel abroad.

Holafly is a digital SIM card that works smoothly like an app — you simply pick your plan, download it, and voilà!

Roam around Europe, but leave the roaming charges for the n00bies.

Unlike many other destinations, your most significant safety concerns as a tourist in Australia are the unfriendly wild animals, as opposed to crime. That said, any big city poses a risk of petty theft and unwelcome crime, so vigilance is essential. 

Watch your belongings at all times, especially in crowded places or where you might be distracted. When you go out at night, always keep an eye on your drinks, especially if you are a solo female traveller in Australia. Although spiked drinks are uncommon here, you can never rule out risk.

I always share my live location with family and friends back home, as well as with a new friend I trust in the city I am visiting. I also recommend staying in a female-only dorm if you are travelling solo as a female-identifying person.

Steer clear of unfriendly animals in the outback while hiking or at the beach. There are a few dangerous animals to keep an eye out for. I’m talking about box jellyfish, snakes, spiders, sharks, crocodiles, and even octopuses.

Lastly, use all the sun protection . The sun is powerful in the land down under, and sunstroke can put a real damper on a great adventure.

Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling

  • Staying in hostels is the easiest way to make friends in any new place. Many of the best hostels in Australia even have bars and organize daily group activities. The perfect combo between a villa and a hostel, Stoke Beach House is one of Sydney’s premier surf hostels.
  • Plan some booked adventures or tours . Even if group tours aren’t your thing, I advise booking a few activities in advance. Not only are these a great way to meet other travellers, but they offer a different perspective of a location. This Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Course is an excellent example of a tour that could be booked out fast!
  • Take advantage of freebies . Travelling solo in Australia can get expensive – fast. Check social media groups to find free events in the area you visit. Most big cities offer free cultural days where you can visit different museums, castles, and historic homes at no cost.
  • Keep some flexibility in your itinerary . While booking some pre-planned activities is a good idea, keeping your plans flexible is essential. When you meet the right people, you’ll want to chop and change your itinerary and the places you visit.
  • Plan your own trip – it’s your Australian backpacking adventure . Template itineraries found on the internet can be helpful for research, but I recommend that you plan your own trip according to the activities you most enjoy.
  • Use public transport . Australian cities have some of the world’s most efficient and affordable public transport systems. Take advantage of this service and save costs on Uber and taxis, which are a sure way to blow through your budget super fast.
  • Be social , but appreciate spending time on your own. Travelling alone can be lonely, but it is also so rewarding. Be friendly with others in your hostel and tour groups, but also remember to be satisfied spending time alone.
  • One of the best tips for solo travel in Australia is to visit during the right time of year . September to November and March through May are the best times to visit the country. These months fall between seasons, meaning you’ll skip the crowds while taking advantage of lower prices before tourist season begins.
  • Get good travel insurance . I can’t stress this enough. Although the country is safe regarding crime, Australia is home to its fair share of dangerous animals. Make sure you have insurance that covers things like snake bites and jellyfish stings.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

backpacking for travelling australia

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

person facing away wearing a raincoat and camo coloured backpack walking up a grassy hill

  • Use social media : Facebook groups advertise different events you can attend to meet new friends. Dating apps are another way to meet people. Most apps can be switched from dating to friendship, making it easy to find people with similar interests within your vicinity.
  • Stay in a hostel : When choosing where to stay in Australia , opting for a hostel is one of the best ways to meet new people. Especially if you stay in a shared room, it’s hard not to make friends when sharing accommodation with others. 
  • Attend cultural events : Besides tours, joining other cultural activities, including cooking courses and cultural immersion experiences, is another excellent way to meet others while travelling solo.
  • Keep an open mind and be confident and friendly : Make sure you keep an open mind about meeting new people. Be available when others need advice or directions or want photos taken, and remain approachable by being friendly and welcoming.
  • Join group tours : Whether you join a tour hosted by your hostel or an independent tour guide, group tours and activities are one of the best ways to meet others while abroad . Chances are those joining the same trip will have similar interests to yours!
  • Join a gym or sports team : Short-term memberships at sports clubs, gyms, or co-working spaces are an excellent way for solo travellers in Australia to meet other travellers.
  • Join a pub crawl : Often organized by hostels or youth organizations, pub crawls (or other social events) make it easy to visit new areas of the city while meeting new friends in a casual social environment.
  • Volunteer : Volunteering in Australia with a local organization is not only a great way to give back, but it is also great for meeting others with similar humanitarian interests as your own.

Australia was an absolutely mental place to visit alone. It was the first solo trip I took that kick-started my deep passion for self-exploration through global exploration.

The country is an outdoor lovers’ paradise, and there is nothing more liberating and character-building than travelling solo. Put these two together, and we have ourselves a winning location for solo travellers. With an incredible outdoorsy scene, incredible natural beauty, dynamic and safe cities, and plenty of budget accommodations available, solo travellers in Australia could spend their days learning to surf in Byron Bay and evenings dancing the night away with new friends. 

With cultural influences from Aborinonals and British settlers, as well as other island nations, Australia has a unique history and cultural scene. The country is most famous for its natural wonders and wide open spaces, including ‘The Outback’ and ‘The Bush.’ But it’s also famous for its metropolitan centres, with four mega-cities; Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth.

Massive and varied, the country truly has something to offer every traveller. Whether you enjoy spending your time lounging on beautiful beaches, tasting incredible food, or adventuring into the unknown Outback, you’re guaranteed to have an exciting time travelling solo in Australia.

A bay on the coogee beach walk with blue skies and blue seas

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Laura Hall

Share or save this post

promotional sidebar image for

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

Every product is independently selected by (obsessive) editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

It’s My Work-Diapers Backpack-Tote

Portrait of Liza Corsillo

Most diaper bags are just tote bags or backpacks made of waterproof materials, with extra pockets to hold bottles, pacifiers, and baby snacks. (Some of the more elaborate ones have insulated storage and removable changing pads.) They are often bulky, and, in my experience, life as a parent is easier without one. I prefer a more streamlined multipurpose bag that I can use for work or travel or just everyday errand-running, in addition to baby outings. And the best one I’ve found so far is the surprisingly spacious and nice-looking LeSportsac Double Trouble backpack.

LeSportSac Double Trouble Backpack

My ideal diaper bag is lightweight and easy to carry, wipes clean and doesn’t show stains, looks good with everything I might wear, and is just as handy for carrying a laptop, water bottle , or wallet as it is for carrying baby stuff. The Double Trouble checks all of these boxes — plus, it can be used as a backpack or a tote. It has two tall pockets on the sides that work just as well for an adult water bottle as they do for a baby bottle. Inside, there are four elastic-trimmed mesh pockets that I use for everything from a computer charger to extra tampons and infant Motrin. There’s also a sneaky outer zipper pocket on the back and two smaller pockets (one zip, one not) on the front.

backpacking for travelling australia

Despite its French-sounding name, LeSportsac is an American company that was founded in 1974, was taken over (and given new life) by the son of the original founders in the early 1990s, and is now in the middle of another revival along with other popular brands of the ’90s and 2000s. This resurgence and the backpack’s trapezoidal shape make it feel subtly trendy — even Prada -adjacent — especially in the all-black nylon that I have (though it also comes in an ever-changing array of bright colors and playful prints). It has a ’90s mini-backpack vibe without being actually mini or overtly vintage-looking. I first became familiar with the brand in college when I worked part-time in a kids’-clothing store that carried some of the Hello Kitty and Tokidoki collaboration bags . Then, last year, LeSportsac sent me a few items to try in celebration of its upcoming 50th anniversary, and the Double Trouble was the sleeper hit.

Before the Double Trouble became my “diaper bag” of choice, I tried three other contenders: a leopard-print Colugo diaper tote , an all-black Caraa baby bag , and a Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole backpack , also in all black. All three are well-designed bags with practical details like removable looped straps for hanging on a stroller and insulated pockets for snacks or milk, and all three had great potential. But, ultimately, none of them fit my criteria for everyday (or even occasional) non-baby-related use and ended up in the back of my closet.

I put the Patagonia backpack — which is also popular among artists and art handlers — on my baby registry , thinking it would work well style-wise for both me and my husband. It’s lightweight and packable and can be hosed off in the event of a spill. But since it lacks structure, the lightness of the backpack and the depth of the main compartment are more frustrating than they are practical. No matter how thoughtfully I packed it, everything would disappear as if into a … black hole. I always had to use two hands and a hard surface to find anything — not great if you’re also holding a wriggly or fussy baby with a dirty diaper.

backpacking for travelling australia

The Caraa baby bag is the opposite, designed so you can find exactly what you need quickly. It’s all black on the outside, but the lining is cream-colored, so all your stuff is easy to see. It has three insulated outer pockets, two non-insulated magnetic sleeve pockets, a back zipper pocket that can fit a tablet or an iPad but not my MacBook Air, and a hidden zipper pocket for tucking away the optional shoulder straps. Inside, there are also four clear plastic slots and one elastic rimmed divider for organizing diapers . But the bag is bulky in a way that outs it as a diaper bag, and it can’t really double as a work bag since it can just barely hold my 13-inch laptop in the main compartment (and even then, the computer fits only without a protective sleeve ). The wealth of pockets, while useful, annoyingly causes me to carry more than I need.

The Colugo diaper tote is roomy and very attractive, with a handful of useful inner pockets and two small zipper pockets on the outside. It also has a removable cross-body shoulder strap. But I’ve found I like it better as a weekend bag, because it’s too big and heavy to use on a daily basis in New York City.

Where the Double Trouble beats them all is in its simple and ergonomic design. It’s comfortable to wear as a backpack despite a lack of extra padding or tactical-looking straps — the wide, woven nylon straps hug my shoulders gently as they evenly distribute the weight of whatever I am carrying. I can even wear it comfortably while carrying my son in a baby carrier , and the placement of the outer pockets makes it easy to reach around and grab my phone or a straw cup one-handed. When the subway car is crowded, it’s easy to switch to carrying it by the top handles as a tote. It fits in the storage bin of my compact Yoyo Stroller or in the basket of a Citibike. Best of all, it always makes my outfits look more sleek and put together, so much so that I chose to bring it with me instead of a purse on a recent trip to Japan and even got compliments on it from the salesperson at the Beams store in Kanazawa. It’s more than just a work bag, or a diaper bag, or an alternative to a purse for sightseeing, and I plan on carrying it long after my son is out of diapers and carrying his own backpack .

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments , rolling luggage , pillows for side sleepers , natural anxiety remedies , and bath towels . We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

  • the strategist
  • this thing’s incredible

Every product is independently selected by (obsessive) editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

Deal of the Day

Micro sales, greatest hits, most viewed stories.

  • The 11 Very Best Shampoos
  • The Strategist’s Two-Day (Actually Good) Sale Is Over — Here’s What You Missed
  • What Ariana Madix Can’t Live Without
  • This $17 ‘Concrete’ Planter Is So Great I Bought 8 of Them
  • The 17 Very Best Work Bags for Women

Shop with Google

Shop with Google


Supported by

Fjords, Pharaohs or Koalas? Time to Plan for Your Next Eclipse.

If you can’t get enough of totality, or missed out this time, you’ll have three more chances in the next four years in destinations like Iceland, Spain, Egypt and Australia.

  • Share full article

A small, black disk surrounded by a bright, white halo suspended in a mostly dark sky over the still waters of a lake in which dim, golden light from the horizon is reflecting. There are dark hills and mountains beyond the lake.

By Danielle Dowling

Are you still a little giddy from the magical moments of totality during Monday’s solar eclipse? Or did clouds swoop in to block your view? Maybe you just couldn’t make it to the path of totality this time. No matter what, the question now is “ Where and when will it happen again?”

“People who have never seen it before, the first words out of their mouth after the totality ends is ‘I’ve got to see another one, this is incredible, this is unbelievable.’ That is when you become addicted to these things and end up traveling no matter where the next one is,” said Joseph Rao, an eclipse chaser and guest lecturer at the Hayden Planetarium.

So, if like Mr. Rao, you’ve developed a raging case of umbraphilia — the love of eclipses — you’ll have three chances over the next four years to see the moon blot out the sun. The first, on Aug. 12, 2026, will start above Greenland, then strafe the west coast of Iceland and move along the Atlantic Ocean and over Spain. Almost a year later, on Aug. 2, 2027, another will skirt the Mediterranean coast of North Africa then cross Egypt and part of the Arabian Peninsula. The third, on July 22, 2028, will cut across Australia and the southern tip of New Zealand.

Future Eclipses

Eclipse chasers will have several more chances this decade to view a total solar eclipse .

backpacking for travelling australia

Last week, as Victoria Sahami , the owner of Sirius Travel , was preparing to guide a group of tourists in Mazatlán, Mexico, for Monday’s big event, she was also planning for these other upcoming eclipses. Ms. Sahami joined the ranks of the eclipse-obsessed when she witnessed one in Venezuela in the 1990s. “Like many people, I was hooked. There was no going back,” she said.

Total solar eclipses happen fairly regularly — about every one to two years — in locations scattered around the world. “That’s the great thing about them: You wind up in places that you don’t normally go,” Ms. Sahami said.

A major spoiler is weather, which will be a big variable in the 2026 eclipse — one Greenland, Iceland and Spain will see.

“Iceland normally has a lot of cloud during that time of year,” said Paul Maley , who runs Ring of Fire Expeditions . “The data shows Spain to have the higher good-weather prospects of all three. However, the sun is low in the sky and the eclipse ends as the sun hits the horizon at sunset.”

Because of Iceland’s mercurial meteorology, Ring of Fire Expeditions is going all in on Spain, with a 10-day excursion on the mainland. Sirius Travel is offering not only a five-day trip to Majorca but also an eight-day tour around Iceland. It will be based in Reykjavik, and the itinerary will remain flexible on the day of the eclipse so the tour can easily pivot toward the location with the least cloud cover. Ms. Sahami recommends the trip for those who already have a few eclipses under their belt and would be happy just to take in the sights of Iceland if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

The 2027 eclipse, on the other hand, promises to be truly stellar: Luxor, Egypt — the site of numerous ancient temples as well as the Valleys of the Kings and Queens — sits right in the middle of the path of totality and will be bathed in darkness for a full 6 minutes 23 seconds. Weather-wise, it is what Ms. Sahami called “a slam dunk.” “You know you’re going to see it. You know that you’re not going to get any clouds,” she said.

But for all its potential, those considering Egypt should be aware that the State Department has a Level 3 “Reconsider Travel” warning for the country because of the risk of terrorism.

The 2028 eclipse will darken the skies over Sydney, Australia, for 3 minutes 49 seconds. It will be the first time the city has experienced a total solar eclipse since 1857. Ms. Sahami has her eyes on a trip based out of there, while Mr. Maley has chartered a cruise ship off the northwest coast of Australia. It will be winter there, he said, but that isn’t likely to mean bad eclipse-viewing weather.

If you want to see any (or all) of these eclipses, you should get started on planning and booking now, particularly if you want to sign up for a trip organized by a tour company. One of Sirius Travel’s excursions to Luxor is already full.

Scrutinize refund policies and look into insuring your trip. Several companies will fully refund your deposit if you cancel a year in advance. A lot can happen, Ms. Sahami said, “but if you think you’re going to go, why not?”

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .


  1. Backpacking Australia, Our ULTIMATE Travel Guide

    backpacking for travelling australia

  2. Travelling to Australia? Backpacking for the first time? We've got

    backpacking for travelling australia

  3. Are you planning on backpacking Australia to explore the best that this

    backpacking for travelling australia

  4. Are you planning your first backpacking trip around Australia? Don't

    backpacking for travelling australia

  5. 14 Things You Should Know Before Backpacking in Australia

    backpacking for travelling australia

  6. UPDATED: Backpacking Australia Travel Guide (2024)

    backpacking for travelling australia


  1. Up To 28 Days Of FREE Camping On This Beach

  2. How To Plan For A Backpacking Trip Abroad (Southeast Asia)

  3. September Roadtrip, Australia


  5. I Quit Teaching To Backpack Around The World!

  6. Was soll ich für Australien als Backpacker einpacken


  1. Backpacking Australia

    2-Week Travel Itinerary for Australia: Sydney to Adelaide. 1.Sydney, 2.Canberra, 3.Melbourne, 4.Great Ocean Road, 5.Adelaide. See the best of Australia's metropolis cities on this 2-week itinerary around the southeast coast! You could start this itinerary off in either ofthe major cities, Sydney or Melbourne.

  2. Backpacking & Budget Travel Guide for Australia (Updated 2024)

    Australia Travel Guide. Last Updated: April 1, 2024. Australia is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. It's known as a major backpacking, camping, road tripping, and diving destination. Backpacking Australia is considered a "must do" for backpackers. It's a central highlight on the round-the-world trail.

  3. Backpacking Australia: An Ultimate Guide

    Backpacking Australia is a 'must do' for travellers around the world, and we guarantee it you will fall in love with this country. So whether you're heading out to Australia for a holiday on a group tour, or you're planning to work and travel in Australia, our ultimate guide updated for 2021 has your back. Wondering where to go backpacking ...

  4. Backpacking Australia (Ultimate 2024 Travel Guide!)

    Backpacking Australia by car can be cheaper and always takes longer than flying. Greyhound is the primary operator for coach travel and is the best and most reliable. It can be a little expensive at times and 10 to 12-hour coach rides are not fun, but they do offer the most comprehensive service in the country.

  5. Complete Guide to Backpacking Australia and Travel Itineraries

    Australia is a backpacker haven. There is a massive backpacker community in Australia whether it is a 2-week road trip, three months, or a year-long excursion on a working visa. Hostels and dorm beds are available throughout the country, and renting or buying a campervan is a good choice to explore all the sights.

  6. Backpacking Australia

    With such a huge distance to cover figuring out the best way to travel in Australia for your style and of course budget can be tricky. Here's a quick rundown of the most popular options for those backpacking Australia; 1. Greyhound Australia Bus - this is the most popular option, with their hop on and hop off passes ideal for those on a set ...

  7. The Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Australia

    The Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Australia. Backpacking Australia is one of the most trodden paths in the whole of world travel. It is also one of the biggest and most daunting countries in the world. Here is a collection of all the resources and pro tips to help you create that epic adventure you are dreaming of.

  8. The Ultimate Australian Backpacker Guide

    If you plan on backpacking in Australia, it's important to keep in mind that you'll need to obtain a visa. There are many types of visas when travelling to Australia. For example; Working Holiday Visas (Subclass 417 and 462), for example, allow backpackers to work legally, earn money, and immerse themselves in the Australian way of life.

  9. Backpacking Australia: the ultimate guide to Down Under

    Backpacking Australia alone. Solo travelling is a daunting prospect but, if you're going to do it anywhere, Australia is the place. As one of the world's most popular backpacking destinations, everything is geared towards having fun and making it super-easy to meet new people.

  10. How to plan a backpacking trip

    The visa you need for a backpacking holiday in Australia depends on how long you plan to stay. A holiday of less than three months requires only a tourist visa, also called an Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601). This visa allows you to enter Australia as many times as you wish within a 12-month period, and stay for up to three months each time.

  11. 12 tips for backpacking Australia

    Look for freebies. 11. Work to pay your way. 12. Don't hold back. Here are 12 useful things to know before your first trip. Tailor-made travel itineraries for Australia, created by local experts. 12 days / from2900 USD. Explore Western Australia from Perth to Broome.

  12. The Best Australia Travel Itineraries for Backpackers

    Noosa is arguably the best place to visit along this beautiful stretch of coastline. Every backpacker to Australia has to visit Fraser Island on a 4×4 tag along tour. If you visit Hervey Bay at the right time of year you'll be able to see the Humpback Whale migration up close. Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island.

  13. Best Backpacking & Budget Travel Guide for Australia

    A great way to avoid it is by listing down your purpose of visit and charting a personalised travel itinerary based on your interests and likings. You can take the help of travel resources put up by seasoned travel bloggers or vloggers, but always customise it to best align the itinerary with your travel goals. 2. Apply for the Visa on Time.

  14. Backpacking Australia: The Ultimate Guide

    Cost of Backpacking Australia. The overall cost will really depend on how much you eat/drink at restaurants and how many activities you want to do. On my first trip to Australia my budget was about 50 AUD per day but that was in 2009 and I cooked a lot. Here are some estimated costs for backpacking Australia:

  15. Backpacking Australia? Here's Everything You'll Need to Know

    Typically, alcohol is quite expensive in Australia. A 6 pack of beers from the bottleo (which means 'bottle shop' in Australian!) costs around $20, the cheapest of cheap wines costs about $5 (but it will give you severe heartburn and/or night terrors - be warned) and a half decent bottle costs $10-$20.

  16. Backpacking in Australia: tips and things to know

    Embark on an unforgettable adventure and make memories of a lifetime while backpacking throughout Australia. Beyond days spent in the sun and nights beneath the stars, backpacking Down Under is surprising and exciting, with new adventures and experiences around every corner. From kangaroos hopping across white sand to the sun setting behind the ...

  17. Backpacking East Coast Australia Travel Guide (2024)

    The East Coast is without a doubt the most popular spot for solo backpackers in Australia - which means that this is where you'll find the wildest, most debauched travellers to the land down under. Australian backpacker parties are truly something to experience - and so are the hangovers. 8. Road Trip the Coast.

  18. Packing for Australia

    Fleece or sweater for cooler evenings and southern regions. 5 short sleeve shirts/vests + 1 or 2 long sleeve shirts. A pair of jeans. 2 or 3 pairs of shorts. 1 pair of trousers /dress skirt. socks and undies. Durable hiking boots or shoes, depending on your planned activities.

  19. The Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Australia on a Budget

    Traveling independently is the best way to save money when backpacking Australia. Tours in Australia are expensive, you would be lucky to get a day tour sightseeing for under $100, but for many of these day trips, especially to outdoor activities and nature spots where the admission is free or very small, then if you have your own transport ...

  20. Australia Backpacking Route

    TIME NEEDED - 2-3 MONTHS. The typical time for a backpacking trip around Australia might be in the region of 2 to 3 months. The route outlined below should fit that time-frame, although many travellers also turn a backpacking trip to Australia into a working holiday and stay for much longer. POSSIBLE BUDGET: £5400 €6100 $6000.

  21. Australia Packing List • 23 Items you NEED (2024)

    Best Travel Towel For Australia - Matador Packable Towel. Towels are essential backpacking gear as a lot of hostels don't provide them or if they do, they may not really be all that clean. However don't bring a 'normal' towel on your backpacking journeys, they are big and take up loads of room in your pack and they take ages to dry.

  22. The ultimate packing list for Australia

    Whether you're making a splash at some of Australia's best beaches or embarking on an outback journey , here's a checklist of essentials for any type of holiday. Carry-on packing list: Toiletries and essentials: A curated list for every style of vacation. Use this checklist for packing for international travel.

  23. The 7 Best Backpacking Backpacks of 2024

    The Deuter Aircontact Core Pack 65 + 10 gives backpackers a wealth of storage and functionality (do note that the women's version of the Aircontact Core is designed as a 60 + 10 backpack). I ...

  24. The 10 Best Hiking Gear Deals for Spring

    REI, Amazon, and More Are Having Under-the-radar Hiking Gear Sales — Shop the 10 Best Deals Up to 55% Off. A longtime backpacker shares her top picks from $17.

  25. Damien Guerot, who fought off Bondi Junction attacker with bollard, to

    Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said earlier in the day that Mr Guerot was welcome to stay in Australia. "I say this to Damien Guerot, who is dealing with his visa applications, that you are ...

  26. Australia's best airport named as big changes made to Qantas terminal

    At the 2024 ceremony overnight, Adelaide Airport received the award for 'best regional airport' in Australia and the Pacific, and Perth Airport accepted the gong for 'best airport staff ...

  27. EPIC Guide to Solo Travel in Australia

    This is a great activity to enjoy solo, but also an easy way to meet other travellers and locals. 5. Take A Bike Tour Through the Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne. Located just south of the busy city of Melbourne, The Mornington Peninsula is a suburban landscape that blends seaside charm with lush vineyards.

  28. LeSportsac Double Trouble Backpack Review, 2024

    Despite its French-sounding name, LeSportsac is an American company that was founded in 1974, was taken over (and given new life) by the son of the original founders in the early 1990s, and is now ...

  29. Where You Can See the Next Total Solar Eclipse, in 2026

    That is when you become addicted to these things and end up traveling no matter where the next one is," said ... The third, on July 22, 2028, will cut across Australia and the southern tip of ...

  30. Singapore loses 'world's best airport' title, Melbourne top in Australia

    Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time. The race to be crowned the world's best airport has been a two-horse affair in recent years, with Doha's Hamad International and ...