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Home » Oceania » Australia » Backpacking Guide

Backpacking Australia Travel Guide (Tips + Secrets • 2024)

When I ask you to think of Australia, what comes to mind? 

Do you dream of hanging out with bouncy kangaroos? Or, driving a van through the outback? Or, maybe your mind takes you to explore the big cities? Or, surfing epic waves along the coast?

All of this and more is possible when you embark on your adventure – backpacking in Australia . 

Whether you want to load up a van and hit the open roads or dive deep into the Great Barrier Reef; there is an Aussie backpacking itinerary that will suit every traveller. You just need to get clear on what you’re after and what this magical land down under has to offer you. 

Australia is absolutely HUGE (like seriously massive) and it is so diverse. From the bustling streets of Sydney to the wild outback; there is so much to see and do when backpacking down under. It can almost feel overwhelming! But I’m here to help you make sense of it all. 

In this guide, I’ll take you through everything you need to know to make the most of your backpacking trip in Australia. From the best itineraries to the boring stuff like travel insurance – I’ve got you covered. 

So, without further ado – it’s time to head down under!

A person jumping in front of the Sydney Opera House in New South Wales, Australia

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Why Go Backpacking in Australia?

Australia is a huge country with tons of things to do and see! From sailing around the Whitsunday Islands to diving in the Great Barrier Reef to road-tripping just about anywhere, Australia’s got it all.

It’s kinda a rite of passage for any backpacker to visit Australia. We all have that friend who went for a year’s working holiday and ended up staying forever… Why do you think that is?

The country itself is beautiful and there are so many different types of landscapes and wildlife, from croc-infested wetlands to sparse deserts and dense rainforests.

But more than that, Australia has some of the kindest, most welcoming, hilarious people. Anyone who visits Australia feels completely at ease.

There’s a relaxed vibe here. It can’t be described: you just have to go and find out for yourself.

Best Travel Itineraries for Backpacking Australia

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Below is a list of travel itineraries for backpacking Australia. They vary in length and cover the majority of the must-see places in Australia.

When I went backpacking Australia, I had this epic tour planned out. By the time I got to Byron Bay, I fell so madly in love with the people that I’d met in Australia’s amazing hostels that I had to drag myself away after already extending my stop twice. My only regret is planning too much.

I suggest really taking your time. If you like a place, stop for a while! You’ll be pushed for time – even with 3 months – and you’ll encounter places you won’t want to leave. But ride the waves, dude.

Here are some ideas for your itinerary. Just make sure to leave plenty of wiggle room for the enevitable.

10-Day Travel Itinerary for Australia: Tassie

Australia 10 Day Backpacking Itinerary

This is the best itinerary for tackling a Tasmanian road trip! You can travel in either direction or pick a city — other than the capital city of Tasmania, Hobart — to begin your route.

Starting in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. This is the capital city and it’s best known for its port which is the gateway to the Arctic. It’s not a very interesting city, to say the least, so you’ll only want to spend a day or so getting orientated before moving on to the next destination, Freycinet National Park .

What’s most notable about Freycinet is the pink granite peaks, the private bays, and white sand beaches. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy some peaceful nature and wildlife.

Once you have had your fill of Freycinet, head over to St Helens , another big port city known for its deep-sea fishing. If you enjoy fishing, you’ll love it here. It’s also a good spot for diving enthusiasts, or if you just fancy lazing by the beach, the Bay of Fires is pretty epic.

Next up, is Devenport . This city is often overlooked by tourists as it’s just another port city, but because it’s so quiet you can really get a feel for Tasmanian culture.

Then, you’ll want to head to Cradle Mountain , the best place to visit in Tasmania for wildlife. Here you’ll see epic landscapes and also (if you’re lucky) Tasmanian devils, quolls, platypus, echidna, wombats, and the black currawong.

Once you’ve had enough nature, head over to Strahan , the gateway to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

Once you’ve had enough of Strahan, head back to Hobart to head home.

2-Week Travel Itinerary for Australia: Sydney to Adelaide

Australia 2 Week Backpacking Itinerary

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 . But for the sake of ease, let’s say we’re starting in Sydney .

The fake capital of Australia is home to iconic landmarks: Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Spend a couple of days getting lost in Sydney and enjoying some of the epic beaches of New South Wales.

Then, make your way south towards Melbourne stopping for a visit to Canberra . Canberra is a huge city that is most known for its government offices. Personally, I don’t think you need more than a day, but the journey from Sydney to Melbourne is long so it’s a good place to rest up.

Departing from Melbourne, travel along the sublime Great Ocean Road and earn glimpses of the stunning 13 Apostles and the Great Otway. Ocean Road is simply breathtaking.

It takes a few days to drive Ocean Road to Adelaide, so I suggest breaking it up. I suggest stopping at Port Fairy for a night and getting some rest here – it’s a small seaside town with not much to see.

There’s also a really great fish and chip shop here called Morriss Road Fish Shop and I had a great bacon cheeseburger… It’s the little things.

After spending a few days traveling on this road you’ll get to Adelaide , Australia’s most relegated and unknown big city.

Adelaide is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered! This city is saturated with artists, amazing beaches, and tons of wine. After getting your fill here, grab a plane back to Sydney if you’re flying out from there.

3-Week Travel Itinerary for Australia: The East Coast

Australia 3 Week Backpacking Itinerary

This is the best itinerary for tackling an East Coast Australia road trip! Starting in Sydney, you should spend at least 1-2 days exploring. Take a day trip out to see the Blue Mountains National Park and marvel at the Sydney Harbour Bridge (or climb it, if you’re not scared ).

After Sydney, it’s a long road to Byron Bay , the most famous beach in Australia and a hot spot for surfers. Personally, I found the beach itself crowded and underwhelming – but I met amazing people and spent nights laughing harder than I had in years.

I went on to the Gold Coast from here. I stayed with family and it was one of my favourite memories. But unless you are a passionate surfer or love corny beach towns, it’s not a must-see.

Brisbane is a city that doesn’t get enough hype. I loved Brisbane and I cannot explain why. It’s just got a cool vibe and the nearby Gold Coast is simply stunning. I suggest spending 2 days in Brisbane, but no one would blame you if you wanted to stay longer.

Next, don’t miss Noosa , a world-famous surfing destination. If you don’t like surfing, you can also go hiking in the Noosa National Park and rock climb some cliffs. I met up with people I previously met on the road here and it was well worth it.

Next, you’re going to head to Fraser Island . This unspoiled island is a nature reserve and it’s definitely worth staying actually on the island if you can afford it. You’ll also find plenty of yoga retreats in this area.

You can’t swim in the ocean, but I tell you, you won’t want to because you can see whales swimming in the ocean right from the shoreline! Make sure to check out the abandoned shipwreck too.

backpacking for travelling australia

After 2 days on Fraser Island, head to the Whitsundays , my favourite spot on the East Coast. The Whitsunday islands are untouched nature reserves, and you can only access most beaches by boat. This is a ‘take only photographs, leave only footprints’ kind of beach.

The sand is pure white and the ocean is a dazzling blue. You’ll never see anything like it. You could even look at it from up in the clouds by taking a Whitsundays and Heart Reef 1 hour scenic flight . You’ll see the kaleidoscopic colours of the Great Barrier Reef.

Next up, is Townsville . The actual town isn’t that impressive, but people often stop here to go to Magnetic Island. It’s also a great place to stop if you like diving and want to explore the Great Barrier Reef.

Finally, you’ll get to Cairns . This is one of the coolest cities in Australia, in my opinion. It’s surrounded by rainforests and expansive beaches and has a cool surfer-town vibe. Spend a few days chilling out here and then fly back to Sydney.

3-Month Travel Itinerary for Australia: The Land Down Under

Australia 3 Month Backpacking Itinerary

For this epic trip around Oz, this itinerary combines all you’ve seen above, with the addition of a few small-town stops. This route for backpacking Australia is pretty big. If you buy or rent a car , you’ll have complete freedom.

Let’s start by the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns . Make your way down, through Queensland. Surf the Gold Coast , dive Ningaloo Reef , trek Kakadu National Park ; all of this and more is possible on this epic road trip through Australia!

Follow the East Coast itinerary to Brisbane , down to Sydney, then backpacker favourite: Melbourne . 

Adelaide , the most underrated city in Australia is the gateway to the outback. Catch the iconic Ghan train to Darwin. The train takes 24 hours – but not in one hit.

It stops in Alice Springs , a large town in the middle of the red desert. Spend at least 3 days!

If you fall in love, how about spending a month backpacking route for Australia in the Outback ? Visit top destinations like the mighty Uluru , Kimberly , and the Nullarbor !

Then, on to Darwin . Many people don’t know that Darwin has the most incredible sunsets in Australia. This coastal city has a relaxed, hippy-ish vibe and is where to learn about aboriginal history (being the closest spot to Kakadu National Park).

Head over to Broome , a beach resort town, west of Darwin. I recommend at least 3 days in Broome, bathing on the beaches lining the Indian Ocean, including the 22 km-long, white sand beach, Cable Beach. Venture into the wilderness or go looking for dinosaur tracks at Gantheaume Point. There are definitely a lot of cool hostels in Broome and some damn fine food too. 

After that, enjoy Exmouth for pristine beaches and glistening blue waters. Here is the best place to explore the Ningaloo Marine Park – full of thriving coral reefs and migratory whale sharks.

Perth is a huge city with tons of character. It’s a great base to explore nearby beaches and wildlife. It’s worth spending a few days before flying back to Adelaide to finish your trip.

As you can imagine, a country as vast as Australia is full of unique places to visit. Some major cities are spangly and new, like Sydney and Melbourne. Others date back to aboriginal times and feel strikingly different.

There is so much to unpack and discover that I can give you my favourite places to go in Australia. But inevitably, you’ll discover your own hidden gems.

Let’s take a look at the absolute most beautiful places in Australia !

Steps looking down on the the beach with a person surfing in the distance in Byron Bay, Queensland, Australia

Backpacking the East Coast of Australia

The East Coast of Australia, consisting of the states of New South Wales and Queensland , is the most popular backpacking route in Australia! The East Coast has some of the best infrastructure, greatest thrills, and most beautiful places in Australia. There is so much to do and see on the East Coast of Australia that we at Broke Backpacker had to create a separate East Coast backpacking travel guide to do it justice.

No trip to Australia is complete without a stop in this amazing part of the country.

Traveling 1500 miles from the ever-enchanting Sydney to Cairns affords travelers insane opportunities for adventure. You’ll navigate ancient jungles, go walking in the bush, and (of course) visit Australia’s damn fine beaches.

Nic leaning against a bench with the Melbourne skyline behind in Melbourne, Australia.

Some other highlights of backpacking the East Coast of Australia include camping on Fraser Island , sailing among the picturesque Whitsunday Islands , and diving at the Great Barrier Reef .

My top highlight was probably feeling freer than I ever had in my life before. Meeting people who you immediately click with and change your plans for. It’s a remarkable experience.

Those interested in backpacking around this part of Australia should best refer to our informative guide where I break down heaps pertaining to New South Wales, Queensland, and everything in between. This includes the usual subjects like accommodation , itineraries , and how to get around .

Note that this guide will also cover locations that are not bound to the coast including the Atherton Tablelands and the Outback . You gotta see the desert while backpacking Australia even if you intend on being a beach bum 99% of the time.

  • Sydney Backpacking Travel Guide
  • Byron Bay Backpacking Travel Guide
  • Sunshine Coast Backpacking Travel Guide
  • Cairns Backpacking Travel Guide

Backpacking Canberra

Canberra is the federal capital of Australia and has a rap for being boring as hell. Famously, one former prime minister wouldn’t even live there when he was in office (though he denied any feeling any revulsion to the place). Truthfully, Canberra really isn’t that bad – so long as you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Canberra is a planned community that was designed to be a “garden city”. For this reason, Canberra has an extensive amount of parkland, national monuments, and cultural centers. At the center of everything is the large and artificial Lake Burley Griffin , which acts as a sort of reference point.

Around the lake are Canberra’s most prominent landmarks including both Parliament Houses (the old and new ones), the hallowed Australian War Memorial, and several museums and galleries. The National Museum of Australia, National Gallery, and National Portrait Gallery are all fine cultural centers worth visiting.

canberaa parliamentary buildings australia

The best way to get around Canberra is by walking or biking. Thanks in part to abundant greenery and lack of traffic, these modes of getting around can be quite enjoyable.

Take note that Canberra is still quite spread out. So getting around on foot is a day’s work in itself.

If you find Canberra’s parklands insufficient, then there are plenty more pastoral sights outside of the city. Namadgi National Park is the northernmost section of the Australian Alps and has lots of outdoor activities. Mountain biking, in particular, is very popular around Namadgi and the highlands of Canberra.

Ultimately, Canberra is a fine city to visit for a weekend . Those backpacking around Australia should come here for the bucolic scenery and small-town lifestyle.

Backpacking Melbourne

Sydney’s greatest rival is the super-dynamic and culturally superior Melbourne . Melbourne is the former federal capital city and, for this reason, was once the center of all things Australian.

Melbourne lead the way in economics, art, sports, you name it, until Sydney rose and began to challenge it. Backpacking Melbourne is a fun and interesting experience.

Melbourne is a huge city with multiple districts. Most of the top things to do in Melbourne are found around the city center – in the CBD and Southbank . The CBD is buzzing constantly with action: here are some of the best cafes, bars, restaurants, and cultural sites in the city.

Flinders Street Station acts as the central nervous system of Melbourne and provides transport to any and all of the metropolitan area. Very close to the CBD are St. Paul’s Cathedral and Collins Street, the latter of which is very fucking cool.

Other notable attractions, like the Shrine of Remembrance, Queen Victoria Market, and Federation Square, are all a short walk away from the CBD.

The outside of Flinders St Station with the Eureka Tower behind in Melbourne, Australia. .

Further outside of the city center are many more districts that make for great day trips. Carlton is a neighborhood rich with Italian heritage and home to the impressive Museum of Melbourne.

St Kilda is the premier beach hangout and has a nightlife that is comparable to the debaucherous King’s Cross in Sydney. Brighton is where you’ll find the iconic beach huts. Finally, Collingwood and Fitzroy are the favorite hipster hideouts in an already hipster-ass iced-coffee kinda city.

Backpacking Melbourne’s pedigree cannot be understated – this is one of the coolest places in Australia. You just have to visit this city and wander amongst its laneways all the while sampling as much music, food, and drink as possible. Be sure to check out some of the best festivals in Australia right here in Melbourne!

As far as sick hostels in Melbourne go, everyone has their opinions. But my favourite is The Village . Get ready to meet a cool bunch of dirtbags.

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Backpacking Adelaide

Backpacking Adelaide has had a somewhat dull and undeserving reputation. Just hearing its nickname, “The City of Churches,” leads your mind to those dreary choir songs that make people wanna go meet Jesus sooner.

Although, this nickname was never a reference to the city’s piety. Conversely, as an ultra-liberal city, Adelaide was a place of many places of worship and ideologies. In lies Adelaide’s true self: a forward-thinking and supremely eclectic city.

Adelaide or Radelaide has quietly been one of the best cities in Australia. Here is an amazing art scene, a thriving nightlife, and some of the best city beaches in Australia.

Oh, and did I mention that this is the wine country of Australia? You can’t throw a boomerang and not hit a winery.

backpacking for travelling australia

Adelaide is a planned city – the first founded by freemen – and is extremely easy to get around. You can easily walk across the whole city proper in an hour or two.

A tour of Adelaide should definitely include a walk around one of the surrounding parklands, with lovely sights like the River Torres and the Botanic Gardens. For the best food and drink, look around the likes of Rundle Street, South Hutt Street, and O’Connell Street .

Adelaide has some of the best city beaches in Australia. Glenelg is a glitzy beach with lots of clubs and cafes. The most beautiful beaches though are found in the southerly suburbs around Brighton , Port Noarlunga , and Aldinga .

There is wine country everywhere outside of Adelaide. The Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Barossa Valley are the most prestigious regions and, between the three of them, produce the majority of Australia’s wine.

Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills is another popular pastoral town, known more for its beer and German heritage.

backpacking for travelling australia

You could fly, but I reckon a road trip from Melbourne is the best and most rewarding way to get here. Driving on the Great Ocean Road is a must-do while backpacking in Australia!

You’ll see several prominent landmarks and attractions while driving along the 150 miles of the Great Ocean Road. The most famous landmarks here are the Twelves Apostles : a group of limestone sea stacks that rise stunningly out of the ocean.

It’s one of many great Australian road trips . But this is one of my favourites.

Backpacking Kangaroo Island and the Yorke Peninsula

Within a day’s drive from Adelaide are the seaside getaways of the Yorke Peninsula , The Fleurieu Peninsula , and Kangaroo Island . Between the three areas, there are over six hundred miles of coastline. Most of these beaches are hardly visited or even touched by any sort of tourist.

The Yorke Peninsula is north of Adelaide. On a map, the Peninsula is easily recognizable due to its distinct shape – like a large tail, leg… or willy (to some people).

Economically, agriculture – not tourism – is the region’s leading enterprise. This has, for the most part, lead to the development of several small rural communities, which make for great backpacker bases.

Popular activities on the Yorke Peninsula include surfing, diving, fishing, and sampling the local produce. The surfing here, in particular, is some of the best in the state. Must-see locations on the Peninsula are Pondalowie Bay , Innes Australia National Park , and Berry Bay .

Admirals Arch of Kangaroo Island.

Kangaroo Island is a popular holiday spot for South Australians and is fairly unknown outside of the state. Located across from the Fleurieu Peninsula, it’s Australia’s third-largest island and an important refuge for several threatened ecosystems.

With highlands, rugged coastline, and a number of pristine beaches, the natural setting of Kangaroo Island is some of the prettiest in South Australia. Flinders Chase Park , Admirals Arch, and the Remarkable Rocks are among the most splendid sights on the islands – and shouldn’t be missed.

Arriving at Kangaroo Island is a simple matter of taking a short ferry from Cape Jervis . You’ll find most of the hostels in the largest settlement on the island, Kingscote. Local farm stays are becoming increasingly popular and many resemble hostels in their offerings.

Backpacking Uluru and Alice Springs

Smack dab in the “Red Center” of Australia, leagues away from any other city is Alice Springs . Never before has the term “ middle of fucking nowhere ” been more applicable.

Originally an outpost and then a military refuel base, it now serves as a hub for visiting the many desert wonders of the region, including the famous Uluru , previously known as Ayers Rock , changing it back to its aboriginal name.

Uluru is one of the most recognizable sights in Australia: it’s magnificent. Honestly, words don’t do this massive red rock justice – and the pictures do little either. Uluru is meant to be seen and felt in person; only then will you understand its significance.

As one local told me: “you stand there staring at (it) and then it begins to pulse. Uluru is the heartbeat of Australia.”

backpacking for travelling australia

Thankfully, tourists cannot climb Uluru with the restrictions in place right now. The local Aboriginal peoples, who hold the mountain sacred, adamantly requested and (at least for now) the battle is won. Many white Australians are respecting these wishes and you should too; walking around the base of the rock is still plenty enough.

There are other options that are equally as mystical and amazing like the Uluru Stargazing Astro Tour . You’ll get special access to the national park at night with an epic, unfiltered view of the cosmos.

NOTE:  Uluru isn’t actually very near to Alice Springs. You’ll have to drive 6 hours to reach it… That’s Australia for you.

There are a number of other hikes around Alice Springs aside from Uluru. Kata Tjuta aka the Olgas and Kings Canyon are both definitely worth visiting as well.

The actual city isn’t much to write home about. Those expecting a weathered and rustic outpost in the middle of the harsh Outback will be upset to hear that the Springs is quite developed.

This infrastructure comes with a number of positives and negatives too including plenty of awesome Alice Springs hostels, swimming pools, and rampant racial tension, to name an unrelated few.

Backpacking Darwin

Darwin is the capital and largest city of the vast and empty Northern Territory . In an otherwise desolate place, Darwin exists today thanks to the booming mining industry and the need to create Asian shipping routes.

By most standards, Darwin is a small city with very few areas and attractions. The Wharf Precinct , Bicentennial Park , and/or one of the few museums may be worthwhile – but that’s about all.

If I’m being honest here, my impression of Darwin is that it serves primarily as a weekend getaway for pent-up miners and a base for backpackers trying to find work. The parties are, predictably, over the top in Darwin as both worker and traveler let loose.

It’s also the gateway to Kimberly , a vast and wild section of West Coast Australia that borders the Northern Territory. Many believe that this region contains the best of Australia’s Outback. With an area roughly equivalent to California and a huge array of natural sites, the Kimberly is a grand Australian adventure .

backpacking for travelling australia

The best part about backpacking Darwin is that it’s very close to some of the Outback’s best locations. Should you journey into the bush, bring excessive amounts of sunscreen and bug repellent: you’ll be miserable without them.

Kakadu National Park is widely considered a staple of the region and is a must-visit for those backpacking Australia. Ubirr , Jim Jim Falls , and the Gunlom Plunge Pool are among the best of Kakadu. Also worth visiting is Litchfield National Park , which is a lovely place full of waterfalls and swimming holes to cool off in.

Further south is the small town of Katherine . Here is the impressive Katherine Gorge , located within the Nitmiluk National Park . Travelers can experience the gorge in many ways from chartering a boat to paddling in a kayak to hiking along the rim of Jatbula Trail. That final option is a 4-5 day one-way hike.

Backpacking Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef

Of a similar vein to Broome is the small community of Exmouth , located on the remote North West Cape . Here are some stunning beaches, awesomely rugged terrain, and, most importantly, one of the most precious ecosystems in Australia: the Ningaloo Reef .

Like Broome, Exmouth is a quiet beach town that swells in population during the four-month-long tourist season.

There are the usual civilized amenities here i.e. hotels, restaurants, bars, markets, etc. Exmouth also has a couple of city beaches – Town Beach and Mauritius Beach – but these are kind of lackluster. Eager backpackers ought to head directly to Cape Range and the Ningaloo Reef.

Cape Range National Park has some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia as well as some great hiking opportunities. All of the beaches of the Cape Range are seemingly perfect with brilliant white sand and crystal clear waters. Some superlative beaches include Turquoise Bay and Sandy Beach .

Nic snorkelling in near the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia.

Further inland, Cape Range has some wonderful canyons and gorges that make for great trekking spots. For the most popular hiking trails in the area, visit Charlie Knife Canyon, Yardie Creek Gorge, and Mandu Mandu Gorge .

Should you go snorkeling around Cape Range, chances are that you’ll stumble upon the beginnings of the majestic Ningaloo Reef . It’s home to some amazing marine life including whale sharks!

The coolest part about this reef is that it’s very close to the mainland. Unlike the Great Barrier Reef, which is 150 miles from Cairns, you can literally swim (safely) to the Ningaloo Reef from the beach in some places i.e. Coral Bay .

Having a watercraft will, of course, unlock, more of the Ningaloo Reef. There are a number of sailing companies around Exmouth and Coral Bay, though a kayak may be sufficient enough.

Backpacking Perth

Perth ‘s primary claim to fame is that it’s considered one of (if not the most) isolated major cities in the world. It’s probably a good thing though; if Perth were any more accessible then it would definitely be overrun by now. With a booming economy, an extremely pleasant climate, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the whole country, Perth is certainly in the running for the best city to visit in Australia .

Aesthetically, Perth is great for backpacking since it’s a very attractive city. The CBD , with its ever-growing skyscrapers, rises elegantly on the banks of the Swan River. From King’s Park , which is very charming in its own right, the cityscape is totally laid out before you and yours to take in.

Inside the city itself, there are a few tourist sites of note. London Court is a lovely street built in Elizabethan fashion, complete with Tudor-style homes and coat-of-arms on the doors; obviously, not the most authentic of attractions… but pretty nonetheless.

Also worth seeing is the redeveloped Elizabeth Quay , which is Perth’s answer to the Sydney Harbor.

A person standing in front of Fremantle Prison in Western Australia. Behind them are the large stone entrance gates and an Australian flag.

For all its beauty, Perth is worth a weekend visit but, to be honest, the best parts are outside of the city anyways. To the north is Northbridge where you’ll find the best eats and nightlife in Perth.

Adjacent Fremantle is a separate destination in its own right (see the section below) and definitely somewhere worth checking out. From Fremantle, you can book a ferry to the idyllic Rottnest Island for the chance to see the smiling quokkas and some gorgeous beaches.

Speaking of beaches, Perth has some of the best in Australia. Scarborough and Cottesloe are the city’s most famous strips of sand. Mullaloo Beach and Pinnaroo Point are lesser-known but absolutely breathtaking.

Backpacking Tasmania

Off mainland Australia, Tasmania is Australia’s forgotten state – a bit of an afterthought that only evokes images of Looney Toon characters or barbarous locals it would seem.

This is for the best though as backpacking Tasmania is a true hidden gem. This is a paradise, with fantastic landscapes, eccentric people, and some world-class cuisine. Tasmania is one of the best places in Australia and no one knows about it!

Tasmania is an island state, separated from the mainland by the Bass Strait. The majority of the population (40%) lives in the Greater Hobart precinct, which serves as the state’s capital city.

backpacking for travelling australia

Despite its separation from the rest of mainland Australia, Hobart is an awesome city carrying a similar vibe to Melbourne. Though not as big, there’s a lively undercurrent of culture to be found in its art and music scenes.

There are also heaps of awesome backpacker hostels in Hobart, and you’ll definitely meet some like-minded travelers for the onward adventures in Tassie.

Other settlements of note include Launceston, Bicheno, and Strahan , among other communes of varying sizes. Outside of these urban areas, Tasmania is mostly pristine wilderness, a good chunk of which is protected parkland or heritage site.

Tasmania is home to some very diverse geography. The interior of the island is very rugged, composed of jagged mountains and thick rainforests.

The coastline doesn’t disappoint either as some stunning beaches and bays here easily rival those of the mainland. So varied and stunning are the landscapes that Tasmania is often referred to as Little New Zealand.

Getting Off the Beaten Path in Australia

There’s a lot of nowhere in Australia, which means that there are lots of opportunities to get off the beaten path. With the proper vehicle and supplies, you’ll be able to make your own expeditions into the lesser-visited places of Australia.

Some off-the-beaten-track locations you must explore are Oz’s most mental national parks : the Mungo National Park , known for its alien rock formations and large dunes, and Lake Eyre , the largest and lowest lake in Australia that changes color depending on the water level and salinity.

backpacking for travelling australia

The Flinders Ranges are home to the Wilpena Pound , a huge, natural amphitheater that has to be seen to be believed. Coober Pedy is an old mining town that is famous for its swellings called “dugouts.”

The Karijini National Park is where you’ll find elegant gorges and breathtakingly vibrant rock, which makes this one of the most beautiful places in the outback. Speaking of Outback, you’ve heard of Uluru, but Mount Augustus is the real competitor. It’s larger but less prominent.

So as you can see, there are a ton of places to visit outside of the conventional. So get ready for some of the longest, bumpiest rides of your life as you go exploring the Australian nowhere!

Aether Backpack

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!

There are so many things to do in Australia that narrowing it down to just ten of the best was no easy task. However, when you visit Australia, these are my top recommendations to leave yourself with some amazing memories to carry with you forever.

1. Visit Australia’s Outback

No backpacking trip to Australia would really be authentic without visiting the Outback. This is one of the harshest, most inhospitable landscapes in the world, and one of the defining features of the nation.

backpacking for travelling australia

Some of the most beautiful national parks in Australia, like Karijini, are only to be found in the Red Center as well. Rent a 4×4 and go mobbing in the desert!

2. Witness Uluru

Uluru is a true natural wonder and has to be seen in person. Make the long journey to this shrine and feel the power that it emits.

backpacking for travelling australia

I also recommend taking a camping trip and spending a night sleeping under the stars in a swag bag. Uluru is one of the few places that is not spoilt by city lights and so you’ll see the best night sky of your life.

3. Go Sailing in the Whitsunday Islands

backpacking for travelling australia

The Whitsunday Islands are absolutely drop-dead gorgeous and are one of the best places in Australia! Sail around the islands and be sure to visit Whitehaven Beach, which is one of the finest in the world.

Airlie Beach is a popular beach and gateway to the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef. I personally struggled to drag myself away from here. It was one of the biggest, happiest memories of my life, smoking a doobie, looking out at the ocean, knowing I’m going to quit my job and travel full-time as soon as I got home.

4. Drink wine in South Australia

Yeeeeahhhh boooooyyy. South Australia is the wine country of Australia and produces some of the country’s most highly regarded vintages.

Visit one of the many wine regions surrounding Adelaide and try as much as you can! Spit or swallow… up to you.

5. Dive in the Great Barrier Reef or Ningaloo Reef

Both the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef are amongst the most impressive ecosystems known to man. Diving in either one is sure to be an amazing experience. Enter an alien, underwater world, and be sure to have a waterproof camera !

6. Go surfing

Nic surfing in Queensland, Australia.

Surfing is one of Australia’s favorite pastimes and is practically the national sport! Anyone planning on backpacking around Australia simply has to try and get on board (see what I did there?). There’s a beach for every skill level and plenty of Aussies who love to show you the ropes.

7. Road trip!

Exploring Australia by car is the truest way to really experience the country. With your own set of wheels, you can go wherever you want and sleep wherever you want. As they say in Australia, “ There’s a lot of fuck-all out there ” so go and find it!

I suggest starting with a road trip around Queensland . It’s arguably the most popular route in Australia.

It’s a huge country, so you might not get to see all of it by road trip. Just heading from north to south will take weeks. Choose an area you want to explore the most, whether it’s an east or west-coast road trip, and go and explore!

backpacking for travelling australia

8. Discover Tasmania

Tasmania is one of the most beautiful places in Australia! This island is far more rugged than the mainland and is full of spectacular mountains, forests, and coastline. Journey here to see a different side of Australia.

9. Hike the beautiful national parks!

The three sisters rock formation in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia

There are many incredible national parks around the country. The most notable are the Blue Mountains, Nambung National Park, Karijini National Park, and Kakadu National Park.

Located to the west of Sydney, the New South Wales darling is the epic Blue Mountains National Park. The town of Katoomba is the gateway to the park, and home to the world-famous Echo Point lookout offers panoramic views of Jamison Valley.

Here you get the best view of the iconic rock formation of the Three Sisters, a sacred Aboriginal site. As well as being an area of outstanding natural beauty, the park has several bushland trails and incredible wildlife.

The Nambung National Park is most well known for its impressive rock formations in the desert, plus there are some stunning beaches near Kangaroo Point and Hangover Bay.

Karijini National Park is a vast wilderness in Western Australia, well known for its Weano Gorge, accessible by a hiking trail that leads to Handrail Pool. Kakadu National Park is a huge wetland in Northern Australia and the best place to see crocs in their natural habitat.

10. Have a fling… or a few… 😉

Hey, Australia is FULL of young, sexy, liberated backpackers, trying to figure themselves out. The chances of you stumbling across other backpackers that you think are mighty fine is very high. Sex in hostels in Australia is inevitable!

Be a slag… do whatever you want. Be free, just please be safe too.

Australia is absolutely chalked full of backpacker lodges and hostels ! These are among the best and most entertaining hostels in the entire world. People from every corner of the globe flock to Australia to party and have one of the grandest adventures of their life, be it in a city, on a beach, or in the Outback.

Australian hostels are of very high quality and are often the recipients of numerous backpacking awards. Most organize lots of events from pub crawls to game nights to communal dinners. There are very few hostels in Australia that I can really speak poorly of (feel free to ask me though).

backpacking for travelling australia

Couchsurfing is, of course, a very legitimate means of staying in Australian cities and is a great way to save some cash. Australians are an extremely welcoming bunch and have no problem inviting you over to their place for chicken parmy and a beer (or ten).

At the end of the day though, the best way to sleep in Australia is by camping, either with a quality backpacking tent or in a campervan. Australia has some of the most pristine and wonderful nature in the world and it needs to be experienced in the purest way possible. There’s nothing like sitting next to a fire in the bush and sleeping under the stars.

The Best Places to Stay in Australia

Not sure where to stay in Australia? Here are a few of my top recommendations!

Traveling to Australia on a budget is doable – if you know a couple of frugal tricks. If you can stick to a regiment, a comfortable backpacker budget in Australia should be around $60-$80 per day . Doing so means sticking to hostels, cooking at home, and drinking goon , amongst other things.

A bunk bed will cost between $15-$30 per night depending on where you are. More popular destinations, like Melbourne and Sydney, are more expensive while most of Queensland and parts of Western Australia will be cheaper. Naturally, solo travel in Australia is often more expensive than when you pick up a travel buddy.

Australian restaurants are usually pretty expensive with the average meal costing around $10-$25 . I strongly advise those that are backpacking around Australia to limit how much they dine out – the food is overpriced as fuck. You’ll save a heap of money if you cook for yourself.

A person looking out over the beach with good surf waves in Byron Bay, Queensland, Australia

Partying is EXTREMELY expensive in Australia . Seriously, there’s a reason Australians do all the drugs when they travel: they’re too fucking expensive back home.

Cigarette prices are ridiculous and a beer is $7 AUD minimum . If you must drink, buy the cheap and ubiquitous boxed wines AKA goon – these will be your saving grace.

If you plan on participating in any of the classic Australian adventures, like diving at the Great Barrier Reef or sailing in the Whitsunday Islands, you will definitely be paying a pretty penny. The only thing to do is just save up as much as possible and then pick one or two of your favorites to participate in.

A Daily Budget in Australia

So, how much is Australia going to set you back? Here’s a rough estimate…

Money in Australia

The official currency of Australia is the Australian dollar or AUD. As of June 2023, the official conversion rate for the Australian dollar is 1 USD = 1.48 AUD . The value of the Australian dollar has fallen in recent years due to economic changes but the country is still prosperous and expensive by international standards.

ATMs are widely available and pulling out cash via a foreign card is an effortless affair. Most ATMs will charge a withdrawal fee on top of whatever international charges your bank imposes. Best to take out lots of cash at once to avoid paying too much in fees.

Australian money

If you’re working in Australia, it’s very easy to set up a bank account. All of the major banking corporations – Commonwealth, Westpac, NAB, ANZ – have basic savings accounts that are very convenient and easy to use for those who are on a working holiday visa in Australia.

If you had a job while backpacking Australia, definitely make sure to do your taxes at the end of the fiscal year! Backpackers are usually entitled to a huge tax return (for reasons that are hard to explain) and it would be a real shame to walk away from a big payday.

For all matters of finance and accounting on the road, The Broke Backpacker strongly recommends Wise – The Artist Formerly Known as Transferwise! Our favourite online platform for holding funds, transferring money, and even paying for goods, Wise is a 100% FREE platform with considerably lower fees than Paypal or traditional banks.

But the real question is… is it better than Western Union? Yes, it most certainly is.

Travel Tips – Australia on a Budget

Australia is a country that can really eat into your wallet if you’re not careful, so make sure to follow these travel tips to save money and have even more fun.

  • Camp : With plenty of gorgeous spots, Australia is a great place to have the right camping gear . You can also ask to pitch a tent in people’s yards. If you’re feeling really adventurous and want to save some cash, consider picking up a backpacking hammock.
  • Cook your own food:  If you are on a tight budget, you can save money by cooking your own food. I recommend bringing a  portable backpacking stove .
  • Book your transportation early:  Both plane and train tickets are much cheaper if you purchase them in advance. This rule does not apply to buses, which you can often book within the day or even an hour.
  • Couchsurf: Australians are awesome, but always check the reviews anyhow. Couchsurfing to make some real friendships and see this country from the perspective of locals. You can even ask (new) friends, or even friends of friends. This paid off for me plenty.
  • Pack a travel water bottle : Save money – and the planet – every day!

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Plus, buying overpriced bottles of water from supermarkets isn’t fun either. Travel with a filtered water bottle instead, save money and potentially another lovely, little dolphin’s life.

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Australia has two distinct climate zones: a tropical one in the north and a more temperate one in the south. There are several microclimates found in each of these zones but, broadly speaking, they are still subject to the same sort of seasons.

Note that Australia is in the southern hemisphere. Australian summer ist from December-February and its winters are from June-August .

The south of Australia – New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and (south) Western Australia – has a more temperate climate and usually has four seasons. In some places, like Perth and Sydney, these seasons can appear very similar to one another as the weather is pleasant year-round.

In other areas, like Melbourne or Tasmania, the weather is more unpredictable and even harsh at times, especially in the mountains. Melbourne famously gets “four seasons in one day.”

The north of Australia, including northern Queensland, Australia’s Northern Territory, and (north) Western Australia tropical and only has two distinct seasons: hot, wet summer and cool, dry winter.

Nic and Shorty taking a selfie in the Blue Mountains with the Three Sisters rock formation in the background and behind that a wide visa of a mountain range.

Australian summers – referred to as the big wet – can be oppressively hot and some places receive biblical amounts of rainfall. The deadly box jellyfish also comes closer ashore in the summer resulting in near-complete beach closures.

Summer really isn’t a good time to visit the northern Australia. It’s much better to visit in the winter – referred to as the big dry – when it’s slightly cooler, drier, and devoid of deadly jellies.

Since the north is almost always visited in the winter, demand is very high during this time. Prices will be much higher because of the short supply so be sure to keep this in mind while planning your itinerary.

What to Pack for Australia

If you’re not careful, Australia’s wilderness will smack ya to next Monday. Get your packing for Australia right! On every adventure, there are six things I never go traveling without:


Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.


Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

sea to summit towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Monopoly Card Game

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Grayl GeoPress Water Filter and Purifier Bottle

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Australia has a reputation for being full of deadly creatures that are out to get you at every turn: killer snakes, spiders, crocodiles, jellyfish, hell even kangaroos. It’s important to remember though that death at the hands of these animals is very sensationalized. Statistics don’t back up the hysteria.

Believe it or not, the common bee and wasp, not spiders, are actually the number one killers in Australia. The truth is: Australia and its wildlife aren’t nearly as terrifying as you think.

That being said, it is extremely important to take all cautionary advice with the utmost seriousness. If a sign or a local says that an area is dangerous, either because of sharks or crocs or whatever, then, for fuck’s sake, listen to them!

Australians have become day-to-day experts on what can kill you and how to avoid it. At the end of the day, just follow this easy advice: if you don’t see Australians doing it, then don’t do it.

The elements really are your biggest concern while backpacking in Australia. Not to scare you, but drowning is a risk in Australia as ocean currents are very strong.

backpacking for travelling australia

The water may seem calm but, get caught in a wild rip, and you can quickly get submerged or pushed out to sea. Swim in designated areas and check signs for ocean conditions.

As mentioned before, heat is a major problem in Australia. Temperatures can soar to unthinkable heights and atmospheric radiation is a serious threat here. Forest fires caused by dry conditions are a serious problem as well.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll in Australia

Australians LOVE to party. At least once, we’ve seen a group of Australians getting blindly drunk and looking to score.

Some observers may have even thought to themselves: “how the hell are they still doing this?” or “for what possible reason would you do that?” Well, there is one, I assure you.

Drugs and alcohol in Australia are astronomically expensive. On average, a pint of beer is $7-$8 and a spirit is a couple of bucks more maybe. Cigarettes cost somewhere in the late teens; and don’t even get me started on the drugs.

These ridiculous prices are why you see Australians partying all the time outside of their country: everything is just so much cheaper abroad and so they go crazy.

backpacking for travelling australia

Prices are damned though, Australians still like to have a good time in their native land. Many go out in groups and buy rounds or shouts for one another.

If you plan on drinking with the locals while backpacking Australia, it’s very important to keep up with the shouts. Drinking a beer that someone has bought for you and not contributing to the shout is a dick move.

Be careful when drinking and driving as well. Australia has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drunk driving and any BAC over 0.05% will be met with harsh punishment. Random checkpoints are commonly set up at all times of the day to pull over drivers and check their sobriety.

Getting Insured BEFORE Visiting Australia

Traveling without insurance is never a good idea. It’s extremely risky. Check out good backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure.

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!

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Getting into and around Australia can be a long and arduous affair. It is a good opportunity to make the most of a layover – many of them being in the Middle East or Asia.

Traveling to Australia from the USA is a 13-hour plane ride and it seems that every Australian city is at least 8 hours drive away from each other; Perth to Adelaide is a 1.5-day journey by car. Should you decide to travel to Australia, you’ll be staring at the back of the seat or an empty road for a while. But the moments in between make the whole trip worthwhile.

backpacking for travelling australia

Entry Requirements for Australia

There are several different types of tourist visas available to those who wish to go backpacking in Australia. The three primary tourist visa types are:

  • Visitor visa (subclass 600)
  • Electronic Travel Authority Visa (ETA) (subclass 601)
  • eVisitor (subclass 651)

The 601 and 651 visas essentially function in the same way albeit with different application processes. The 600 is for those who want to stay in Australia for longer than 3 months at a time and for those who don’t qualify for either a 601 or 651. The grand majority of nationalities can apply for all of these visas online.

The ETA (601) and eVisitors (651) are the simplest and easiest visas to acquire. Both enable unlimited entries into Australia within the span of a year – the duration of stay cannot exceed 3 months at a time.

backpacking for travelling australia

The biggest difference between these two types of visas is that they are only available to specific countries. Americans and Canadians, in addition to several other nations, must apply for an ETA. British, as well as most European citizens, must apply for an eVisitors visa.

The Visitor visa (600) is the most expensive of Australian visas but can grant the most time. Applicants can apply for a 3, 6, or 12-month duration at rates that vary from AUD140 to AUD1020. For any nation that doesn’t qualify for a 601 or 651, the 600 visa is the only means of entering Australia.

If you’re thinking of doing a working holiday in Australia , you’ll need to apply for a 462 or subclass 417 visa.

Upon arriving at customs, your visa will be checked and you’ll be subject to search. Australian customs takes declared items very seriously – so you must do so. Also, note that criminal offenses and felonies may bar you from entering the country.

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There are two ways of traveling in Australia and both offer widely different experiences. The first is by public transport i.e buses, trains, and planes and the other is with your own vehicle in the form of a rental car or campervan. The latter option is the vastly superior method.

Using public transport to travel outside and in between the major cities can be a tedious affair. Traveling by bus can be convenient and cheap so long as you’re staying on the East Coast where there are frequent stops.

Bus travel in the bush, which pretty much includes all of South Australia, Australia’s Northern Territory, and Western Australia, can be long and, in turn, pricey.

backpacking for travelling australia

Greyhound does offer hop-on-hop-off travel passes that can certainly be convenient. Check the rates at the official website and weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a pass.

Train travel is possible but this is a more luxurious form of travel i.e. more expensive. Taking the train in Australia is an experience in itself though and some long-distance routes, like the Ghan Train , can be very rewarding.

Flying is the primary means of getting around Australia due in part to the country’s size. Flights are relatively cheap and actually quite convenient.

Traveling by hitchhiking is a common practice in Australia. Make sure to follow the usual rules of the trade though and, as always, use common sense. Be wary of hitchhiking in the Outback – cars may be far and few in between and you could be in real trouble if you’re stuck out there in the baking sun.

Traveling by Campervan in Australia

By far the best way to get around Australia is by having your own vehicle. There are many car rental companies in Australia that offer long-term contracts. Each has a wide variety of vehicle types from sedans to 4x4s to campervans.

Campervans are definitely the most popular way of getting around Australia as they provide both transport and lodging at the same time. Living out of a campervan can be convenient, fun, and cheaper than conventional travel. By having the ability to sleep anywhere you want, you’ll save money and get more out of your Australian adventure.

Thanks to the plethora of rental companies available, it’s a breeze to hire a campervan while backpacking Australia. Most offer good rates, especially for longer periods of time.

A campervan covered in cool graffiti in a palm treelined campsite

I recommend going with JUCY Campers if you plan on renting a campervan in Australia. Make sure to check the contract though – many rental companies impose certain restrictions on going offroading and over a certain amount of miles per day and charge extra fees for not following these parameters.

If you plan on staying in Australia for a long time (more than 6 months) try buying your own campervan. Doing this will allow you more flexibility and, if you took care of the car, the chance to sell it when you’re done. You can find ads for used campers in many hostels and on online boards like gumtree.com.au.

When buying a camper, be sure to take the vehicle to the shop to get it checked before actually committing. Most auto shops are used to this kind of request and will charge a competitive fee.

Onwards Travel from Australia

Being the world’s largest island and a continent that consists of a single nation, there are not too many ways to get out of the country by land or sea. Luckily, Australia benefits from some very, very cheap international airline routes.

You can continue your backpacking journey in Oceania , but the cheapest and most convenient flights out of Australia are usually bound for Asian destinations. Budget Asian airlines, like AirAsia, in addition to Australia’s own budget airlines – Jetstar and Tiger – make traveling to Asia a breeze.

From any of the major Australian cities, and for as low as $100 sometimes, you can carry on your backpacking adventure in the likes of Indonesia, Japan, India, the Philippines, and even Pakistan! Seriously, you can get just about anywhere in Asia from Australia and for a great price.

making money and busking

Since AirAsia is so ridiculously cheap and popular, you’ll most likely end up connecting in its place of origin: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia is a pretty cool spot and backpacking around the peninsula or on the island of Borneo is definitely worth trying.

Otherwise, you can get just about anywhere from Kuala Lumpur. If you aren’t connecting in KL, then you’ll most likely end up in Bangkok, Thailand, which certainly has its own reputation.

Asia aside, you can, of course, head across the Tasman to start backpacking in New Zealand . Backpacking around New Zealand is a very similar experience to Australia in that you’ll be paying the same prices and most likely living out of a campervan. Unlike Australia though, New Zealand has a wildly diverse geography and is much more temperate, both in terms of climate and native personality.

If you really want to go somewhere different, why not consider the Soloman Islands ?!

As a popular gap year destination , most backpackers need to earn a bit of money to continue their travels. They usually end up with fruit-picking jobs in Australia.

The work can be hard and life can be boring at times but the cost of living is quite low and those with a 417 visa will earn an extra year on their visa. If you can manage it, this is one of the best ways to have a working holiday in Australia!

Backpackers are so established in the fruit-picking industry and businessmen are in turn so reliant upon them that it’s usually very easy to find a job. There are dozens of online boards with postings for farm jobs in Australia. Some popular websites are:

  • Gumtree.com.au
  • Backpackerjobboard.com.au
  • Taw.com.au .

When you arrive at your farm stay, you’ll probably be surprised. Many of these farms look like hostels complete with bunk rooms, communal areas, and recreations.

You’ll have to pay for a bed but the prices are very cheap. Sometimes you may have to sleep off-premises, in which case a car really comes in handy; otherwise, there’s always the bus.

You can make a decent living working on a farm. Most clear $600/week on average but a hard worker can definitely make more. Make no mistake though: this is difficult work.

Farming in Australia isn’t pretty but it can certainly be rewarding. You’ll become quite close to both the land and your fellow working backpackers.

Farm work isn’t the only means of making money in Australia. Some of the best jobs for a working visa in Australia include serving, nannying, cooking, and cleaning. If you’re really lucky, you may even find a job in mining. If you decide to work in the city, know that the costs of living will be much higher.

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Working Holiday Visas in Australia

Several nationalities have the option of applying for an Australian working holiday visa, which authorizes travelers to work legally in the country. This visa is an amazing opportunity for anyone who wants to stay and go backpacking in Australia for a longer term.

There are two types of working holiday visas in Australia:

  • A Working Holiday visa (subclass 417)
  • A Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462)

(If you’re thinking to yourself how stupidly similar these visa titles are, I’m right there with ya.)

backpacking for travelling australia

Both visas entitle visitors to the ability to work in Australia for a period of 12 months. Note that the possessor of a 417 or 462 can only hold a single job for a period of 6 months. Certain countries can only apply for a 417 or 462 i.e. the British can qualify for a 417 but Americans must apply for a 462.

To apply for either visa, applicants will need to show that they have at least AUD 5,000 in their bank account. Both visas will also require a bill of clean health and a clean criminal record.

Applicants for a 462 visa will need to provide some key additional details. With the exception of the United States, those applying for a 462 must provide a letter of support from their government.

462 applicants will also have to pass a character test in which they’ll need to prove that they’re of good moral quality. Usually, a certificate of excellence, like a diploma or special certification, will suffice for this.

The most important difference between a 417 and 462 is that possessors of the former can apply for a second year visa given they’ve met some criteria. Unfortunately, American citizens and other 462 applicants can only have a working holiday in Australia for up to a year.

If you’re finding all of this a bit complicated, Global Work and Travel can alleviate some of the visa complications for you. They offer working holidays and internship opportunities in many locations throughout Australia, both of which require the working holiday VISA.

In fact, they’ll support you throughout the entire process; from VISA guidance to finding you the perfect placement. You’ve got to be between the ages of 18 to 35 (30 for some countries) though… Apologies if this isn’t you!

Volunteering in Australia

backpacker picking strawberries in australia

Australia is volunteering gold – there are lots of different volunteer projects you can join whether it be teaching, animal care, agriculture, hospitality, tourism, or pretty much anything!

For finding gigs, you have several options:

  • Workaway is crazy popular!
  • Or WWOOF Australia is perfect for anyone interested in working on the land. Organic farms and permaculture are their wheelhouse!
  • Most alternative sites to Workaway have oodles of options.

And of those alternatives, I have one favorite at The Broke Backpacker: Worldpackers!

Worldpackers like to put focus on community. They connect you with meaningful volunteering opportunities that really help you feel like you’re contributing to local communities. PLUS their platform comes loaded with nifty features for connecting volunteers too!

And for an extra saucy bonus on top, Broke Backpacker readers get a special discount of $10 – 20% of the annual signup fee!

Just use the discount code BROKEBACKPACKER at checkout or follow the button below and your membership is discounted from $49 a year to only $39. Make Down Under your stomping ground. 😉

Australians are some of the most welcoming, exciting, and unabashed people that I’ve ever met. They have so few worries and give so little fucks that life just seems easier in their presence.

Even immediate dangers, like an impending tidal wave or the jaws of a killer croc, are made insignificant by an Australian’s devil-may-care attitude. 100%, these are some of the coolest people that I’ve come across in my travels.

It can be argued that the Australian attitude derives from their inhospitable environment. An Australian is threatened on a near day-to-day basis either from deadly creatures, ridiculous climate patterns, or people that constantly need to remind them of these last two points. After a while, danger itself just becomes commonplace and desensitizing.

The fact that Australia is so geographically remote as well means that hardly any international presence notices – or really holds – Australia accountable. Combine this with the Australian’s grit and you have a population that just does whatever makes them feel good.

A person standing in front of the Punt Road Oval, Australia football ground, Richmond, Melbourne,

To be fair, Australians who live in their home country are a little different from the ones that you see traveling so much . Rooted Australians are still hard workers and seemingly proficient at any trade involving blue-collar work. The country didn’t become so prosperous because they constantly didn’t give a shit.

We mustn’t forget either that Australia is inhabited by more than just white people and immigrants. Aboriginal people, the original Australians, are also present in modern Australian society, though to a smaller degree.

Odds are you won’t encounter many Aboriginal folks while backpacking through Australia; if you do though, just be respectful, open, and treat them the same as any other Ozzie.

Useful Travel Phrases for Australia:  “That’s Not a Knife” Edition

The Australian accent is infamous and has been the subject of a million pop culture references. When asked to impersonate an Australian accent, most foreigners emulate caricatures like Crocodile Dundee or Steve Irwin.

Hate to break it to you, but the way in which many of these icons speak is either over-exaggerated or very demographically specific. Not every Australian yells “G’DAY MATE!” or puts so much twang into their voice when saying things like “like” or “right” or “fight.” These are cultural stereotypes and pretty unfair.

Australians use a lot of slang; so much so that sometimes it can be hard to understand them. You’ll catch on to the colloquialisms fairly quickly but, for a little extra help, I’ve included a list of some popular Australian slang.

  • Ta  – thank you
  • Arvo  – afternoon
  • Bottle-O  – liquor store
  • Mozzie  –  mosquito
  • Thong – flip-flops (yep, not the G-string)
  • Ute  – pickup truck
  • Bathers  – swimsuit
  • Sheila  – woman
  • Chunder  – vomit
  • She’ll be right  – everything will be fine
  • Stubby  – can of beer
  • How ya goin?  – a friendly greeting

What to Eat in Australia

Australian cuisine is heavily influenced by its colonial roots. English, Italian, Asian, and Greek styles are all present in modern-day Australian cooking to varying degrees.

Being a colony of the British Empire, Australian cuisine resembles most that of the English variety. Many staples like fish ‘n’ chips and meat pies are present in both. When dining out in Australia, expect a similar experience as if you were dining out in the UK. Australian food will be hearty, heavy comfort food.

backpacking for travelling australia

Being a nation of immigrants though, there is plenty more than the usual English fair. Asian cuisines of every shade are present in Australia and are actually some of the best outside of the Asian continent.

Several Mediterranean cultures call Australia home as well and have brought their cuisines with them. Thank the Italians for introducing a strong cafe culture in Australia – coffee in Australia is surprisingly delicious and taken seriously.

Barbecuing is a very important custom in Australia and is perhaps the highlight of the nation’s culinary scene. Aside from the usual BBQ meats, Australians also enjoy the various grilled game.

Kangaroo is healthy and cheap. Other more exotic meats like emu, alligator, and even grubs are available in speciality markets.

Must-Try Dishes in Australia

Below is a list of Australia’s most popular dishes.

  • Meat Pie – Pastry, meat… self explanatory
  • Chicken Schnitzel – The German fave
  • Kangaroo – the dead, cute, bouncy guys
  • Vegemite  – a rite of passage – no spoilers
  • Pavlova  – the dessert that hits after a BBQ
  • Anzac Biscuits  – a little cookie treat for you sweeties
  • Lamingtons – the cake you don’t need, but want
  • Tim Tams – the old Ozzie classic
  • Barramundi  – your new fave fish dish
  • Emu – big bird, long neck… you know the guy

A Brief History of Australia

Aboriginal Australians arrived on Australia’s mainland between 40,000 and 70,000 years ago. Their traditions relating to music, art, and spirituality are among the longest surviving in human history. Before the arrival of the British, the number of Aboriginal people living in Australia was between 300,000 and 1 million.

In 1770, Lieutenant James Cook claimed the land for Great Britain, after the Dutch first sighted Australia in 1606. In 1788, a fleet of 11 boats arrived in Botany Bay to establish New South Wales as a Penal Colony.

Furthermore, convicts were sent to all states, but South Australia became a free colony in 1836. More than 162,000 convicts were transported to Australia from Great Britain.

Australia began to look like a desirable location after the discovery of gold and the kickstart of its economy. The Eureka Stockade at Ballarat, in 1854, was a rebellion against taxation. Some see this as a crucial event in the evolution of Australia’s democracy.

backpacking for travelling australia

Chinese immigration began during this period with 50,000 Chinese establishing roots in Australia.

In 1901, a federation of all of the states, the Commonwealth of Australia was created. The creation of Canberra marked it as the capital city of New South Wales, with a temporary parliament in Melbourne.

The Australian and New Zealand Anzac Corps took part in the World War I Gallipoli Campaign, in 1915. April 25, ANZAC Day, was the same date as the first landing at Gallipoli. Australians remember and pay their respects to the sacrifices of their armed forces on this day.

After World War II and the Vietnam War, an influx of migrants moved to Australia. Between 1949-1974, The Snowy Mountains Scheme employed 100,000 people. 70% of these people were migrants from 30 different nations.

Today, people from all over the world call Australia home. The continent has become known for its equality and lack of clear class distinctions.

packable travel medical kit

Things go wrong on the road ALL THE TIME. Be prepared for what life throws at you.

Buy an AMK Travel Medical Kit before you head out on your next adventure – don’t be daft!

No trip to Australia would be complete without taking on something new and exciting. If you’re tired of the usual tourist trail, consider checking out these unique experiences instead.

Trekking in Australia

Hiking, or bushwalking,  is one of the most popular adventures in Australia! If you plan on going backpacking in Australia, you must go walking in the wilderness for a few days.

Venturing out into the bush in Australia is like taking a walk through the nation’s history. Here is a forbidding land, full of harsh landscapes and bitter elements, the likes of which tested and tortured the original settlers.

Should you decide to brave these wilds, you will gain real insight into the Australian identity. To enter the Australian backcountry you will need to be prepared.

A person looking out over the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia

I always suggest getting a sturdy hiking backpack as well, especially so if you intend to venture deep into the wilderness. You’ll want the best you can find and not something that will eventually be held together by duct tape.

Below is a list of some of Australia’s best multi-day trails.

  • Australian Alps Track (45-60 days, 406 miles) – Long and arduous hike that is only meant for the experienced or guided. Passes through the highest mountains of Australia. Requires food drops.
  • Fraser Island Great Walk (5-7 days, 52 miles) – Walk across the entire length of Fraser Island, which is one of the most beautiful places in Australia.
  • Larapinta Trail (16-20 days, 140 miles) – The ultimate Outback adventure! Fairly new trail and already one of the best in the country.
  • Cape to Cape Track (6-8 days, 88 miles) – A stunning coastal walk that is conveniently located near Perth. Showcases some of the best scenery in the Margaret River region.
  • Overland Track (5-8 days, 46 miles) – A walk through the finest mountain landscapes in Tasmania. Arguably the best trek in Australia.

Surfing in Australia

Surfing is as much a part of the Australian identity as kangaroos or shrimps on the barbie. Australia is extremely passionate when it comes to hanging ten and catching some waves.

Obviously, surfing didn’t develop in Australia by chance either; Australia has some of the finest beaches for surfing in the entire world and these attract thousands of surfers every year. You’ll have heard of the famous Byron Bay and its legendary surfing spots.

Joe with a surfboard in Siargao, Philippines

There are so many amazing surfing spots in Australia that it would seem more logical to note where you couldn’t actually surf. Everywhere you go there seems to be good breaks and swells.

Of course, you won’t be surfing in the Sydney Harbour or Melbourne Pier. But travel less than an hour and, boom, you’ll be right in the middle of some prime waves.

Below is a list of some of Australia’s top surfing locations. There’s a pretty diverse selection from all over the country. Though the Northern Territory is lacking in this regard.

Diving in Australia

Though the Great Barrier Reef on the East Coast receives the lion’s share of attention, there are plenty more options to go diving in Australia! Sprinkled throughout the Australian coastline are many gorgeous reefs, sunken ships, and sea caves that are just waiting to be explored.

These destinations definitely get far fewer tourists than the Great Barrier Reef and far more diving enthusiasts. You could even charter your own yacht and go snorkeling in several places along the East Coast if you’re more into snorkelling than diving.

If you’re really into diving, then definitely check out any one of these spots (that aren’t the Great Barrier)!

Backpacking the Outback

The Outback . The Bush. The Fuck-all Middle of Straya. The reason why most who want to go backpacking in Australia visit in the first place. Many have little clue though as to how large and how imposing this region actually is.

Few actually comprehend the Outback’s size or its conditions. That scene in the Inbetweeners Movie where Jay pisses on Simon’s face to survive springs to mind.

Though the exact number isn’t agreed upon, the Outback constitutes at least 70% of Australia’s landmass and is around 2-3 million square miles. The whole of India is 1.5 million square miles – that’s a lot of fuck-all!

Water is extremely sparse in the Outback. Temperatures vary widely depending on the season and time of year, from sub-zero to over 110 Fahrenheit. People die out here from exposure all the time. If you plan to venture out into the desert, you must be prepared.

backpacking for travelling australia

The Outback isn’t a singular destination that you just include in an itinerary – it’s a collection of several desert regions that form an unfathomably large ecosystem. You can visit parts of the Outback but there’s no way that you could visit the whole thing; there are huge swathes of the Outback that haven’t even been charted yet.

A few of the Outback’s top destinations have already been covered in this guide, like Alice Springs, the Kimberly, and the Nullarbor Plain. The last remaining portions of the Outback are relatively accessible. These places are, of course, minuscule in the grand scheme of things.

Join an Organized Tour in Australia

For most countries, when you visit Australia, solo travel is the name of the game. That said, if you are short on time, energy, or just want to be part of an awesome group of travelers, you can opt to join an organized tour.

Joining a tour is a great way to see the majority of the country quickly and without the effort that goes into planning a backpacking trip. However—not all tour operators are created equal—that is for sure.

G Adventures  is a solid down-to-earth tour company catering to backpackers just like you, and their prices and itineraries reflect the interests of the backpacker crowd. You can score some pretty sweet deals on epic trips in Australia for a fraction of the price of what other tour operators charge.

Here are what people usually ask me about backpacking in Australia…

How much money do you need to go backpacking in Australia?

This is largely dependent on where in Australia you go, and for how long. But to be comfortable, I would try to budget for at least $60 USD per day.

Where should I start backpacking in Australia?

Most flights tend to fly into Sydney or Melbourne and both would make a great starting point.

What visa do I need to backpack Australia?

Most tourists who are visiting for less than 3 months will need an Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601) or tourist visa.

Is Australia good for backpacking?

Absolutely! It’s one of the most popular backpacking routes in the world and it won’t disappoint.

I bloody love Australians, dude. Who else is happily willing to drink a beer from their sweaty shoe, just for a laugh? What a sick nation of people. 

It would take a lot of effort to really piss off an Australian. Time after time, Australians just roll with the punches (quite literally sometimes), and then proceed to take a piss and forget about whatever may have had a chance of bothering them.

That being said, it’s still important to act like a decent human being and to show respect. No one likes an asshole coming into their country and stirring shit up. 

Backpackers especially have been criticized because of their behavior and causing trouble. Let’s not be one of them dumbasses.

On a different note, be sure to tread lightly when it comes to interacting with Aboriginal Australians. They have been subject to unthinkable horrors in the past and are still treating the racial scars that are leftover. Though some White Australians still wallow in ignorance, Australia as a whole is trying to mend the gap.

Should you encounter an Aboriginal Australian and they’re open to conversation, be mindful of their customs and do your research on their terminology. Don’t take pictures or enter Aboriginal land without asking first. Be sure to speak using respectful language as well.

Other than that, have fun! Australia is a huge and diverse country with so much to explore and enjoy. No matter who you are or what you’re into, you’ll have a blast down under.

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Nic standing under the clocks at Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, Australia. .

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This is a great read. It’s so thorough and helpful. It is helpful to start planning my trip .Thank you for all the tips and tricks.

You’re welcome 🙂

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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.
  • Booking.com – 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:

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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

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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!

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.

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The 12 Best Luxury Hotels in Gold Coast

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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 Taxback.com 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)

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backpacking for travelling australia

the ultimate guide to

Backpacking australia, backpacking in australia.

Backpacking in Australia is an amazing experience. From the white sandy beaches and tropical islands, to the incredible natural beauty of the outback, to vibrant cities and country towns, there's an unlimited number of adventures you can have in this truly incredible country!

And whether you're going for a short holiday, a gap year or an extended working holiday, you'll have so many unforgettable experiences that, like many people, you'll never want to leave.

We've put together this Ultimate Guide to Backpacking in Australia, which is full of practical advice, useful tips and plenty of inspiration to help you get the most out of your trip and to show you just some of the mind-blowing, life-changing experiences you can have on your backpacking adventure Down Under.

backpacking for travelling australia

Before You Go

When you arrive, why you should go.

backpacking for travelling australia

Work in Australia

Travel in australia, stay in australia.


At INTRO Travel we've been helping backpackers with everything they need to work, travel and live in Australia since 2005.

Check out our working holiday and gap year packages for Australia .

And for more useful hints and tips check out our free Ultimate Guide to Backpacking in Australia .

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If you'd like more information about going backpacking in Australia, taking a gap year or a working holiday just get in touch. We'd love to hear from you!

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12 tips for backpacking Australia

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Ros Walford

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.

Travel ideas 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.

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

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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 Australia.gov.au. 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.

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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 start..work 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!

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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.

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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 sportsdirect.com, 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.

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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

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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!

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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 Booking.com 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

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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?

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

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Backpacker Banter

How Much To Budget For A Month In Australia (2023 Update)

Want to know how much to budget for Australia? Here’s a full breakdown of the cost of backpacking Australia – inc hostels, tours and travel

Out of all the emails I receive in regards to budgeting for travel plans backpacking Australia is without a doubt the place people are most worried about or needing information on. With their ever strengthening economy it’s not the cheap backpacker country it once was and it’ll take up a large chunk of your budget.

With most places I usually say around £1,000 per month ( my monthly budget for Thailand was even less!) will leave you with plenty of cash to splash…backpacking Australia though (and I hate to be the person to break this to you!) will be nearly double that.

So here’s a break down of the main spends for backpacking  Australia – accommodation, food, booze, activities and transport – so hopefully you can prepare for an amazing adventure down under…

There have been some big changes in prices and options for 2023, with things changing quite a lot, but I’ll try and keep this post as updated as possible!

(Last updated – Jan 2023, all $ prices are $AUD)

Backpacking Australia – How Much To Budget For A Month In Australia (2023 Update)

Accommodation in australia.

aquarius hostel byron bay backpackers aq

As one of the biggest destinations on the planet backpacking Australia comes with a wide variety of accommodation – whether you’re looking for hostels, hotels, boutique spas or even couch surfing there’s something for everyones taste.

I’m guessing most of you will be hitting up hostels (as they’re the most budget option) so I’ll focus on that and these are some of the stats from hostels I’ve stayed at in Australia:

Cheapest Bed – Beaches, Airlie Beach $20 (£12.50)

Most Expensive Bed – Wakeup, Sydney $40 (£25) (well worth it though!)

Favourite Hostel – Aquarius Backpackers, Byron Bay – $35 (£20)

Average nights accommodation (shared dorm) – $40 (£22)

Average nights accommodation (double/twin) – $120 (£66)

Average campsite (per tent) – $30 (£16)

Some of my top Australia hostels include;

  • YHA Central, Melbourne
  • WakeUp! Sydney
  • Aquarius, Byron Bay
  • The Surf House, Byron Bay
  • Bunk, Surfers Paradise
  • Halse Lodge, Noosa
  • Bounce, Noosa
  • Nomads, Airlie Beach
  • Jackaroo, Mission Beach
  • Nomads, Magentic Island (formerly Base Magnetic Island)
  • Bungalow Bay YHA, Magnetic Island
  • Gilligans, Cairns

Estimated accommodation costs:

$1,200 (£667).

Food and Drink Costs

Australia is pretty expensive when it come to eating out – so if you’re on a budget you’ll want to mix it up with a good bit of home cooking.

Saying that though many hostels offer some great backpacker feeds ( like Sydneys “Wakeup” ) for around $5 and there’s plenty of backpacker bars which do the same, so you can grab a budget feed on the go too.

If you’re going out to party again the backpacker bars are the way forward and many of them ( like The Woolshed in Cairns ) offer a whole host of giveaways and competitions, from surfboards to dive courses, so you make your night out well worth the money!

beach BBQ Australia backpacker

Favourite dish – Beach BBQ’s!

Cheapest meal – 5 min noodles! – $0.50 (£0.30p!) (add some veggies to pimp it out a bit and give it some nutrition!)

Average backpacker meal – around $10 (£5.50)

Average meal (based on cooking veggie pasta) – $8 (£4.5)

Average cost of beer (stubbie of Tooheys) – $5 (£3)

Average cost of a box of goon (Golden Oaks, 4 litres) – $15 (£9)

Average cost of beer (schooner of Stone and Wood, bar) – $8 (£5)

Average cost takeaway coffee – $5  (£3.12)

Average cost fruit smoothie – $8 (£5)

Favourite place to eat – hmmmm…this is a tough one as I try to cook myself whenever possible in Australia to save my budget!

Estimated food costs (based on cooking lunch, backpacker meal for dinner):

$540 (£300).

Transport In Australia

Australia has a pretty solid travel network that’s easy to use, book and get to pretty much everywhere – from low cost airlines and campervan rentals through to backpacker hop on hop off bus passes.

For the purpose of this break down I’m going to concentrate on the East Coast route – which is the most common route for backpacking Australia and has the most option in terms of bus transport.

Unfortunately as beautiful as the West Coast is you’re limited to Campervan hire and tours on that side of the country.

backpacking east coast australia

Here’s a couple of the main journeys you’ll want to make and how much they’ll set you back.

Internal flight (single) – Cairns to Sydney – $150 (£95)

Internal flight (single) – Sydney to Melbourne – $50 (£31)

Internal flight (single) – Sydney to Perth – $150 (£80)

Internal flight (single) – Sydney to Brisbane – $50 (£25)

Internal flight (single) – Sydney to Ballina (Byron Bay) = $50 (£25)

Greyhound East Coast Pass – 30 day option – $399 (£222)

Greyhound WHIMit Pass (only restricted by time frame not route) – $349 (15 days), $439 (30 days) up to $639 for 90 days.

Australia Campervan hire – from $60 per day (£33 per day) but peak season expect around $110 per day (£62)

If you’re only backpacking Australia for a month I’d say Sydney – Cairns will be your route and the Greyhound Bus East Coast Pass would be the most cost effective way to achieve this.

You’d potentially add in a single flight from Cairns to Sydney for an onward flight or a brief stop in Melbourne and fly to Sydney to save time. If you’re not sure on how to travel the East Coast check out this blog post.

Estimated travel costs in Australia:

$549 (£305).

(Greyhound Pass + Sydney to Cairns Flight)

Top Activities In Australia

One of the biggest draws of backpacking Australia is the amount of epic activities on offer!

The East Coast is rammed from top to bottom with loads to do – from day trips to learning new skills you can pretty much do anything from skydive to kayak!

In fact listing them all would take agggggges, so here are some of my favourite and most popular things to do up the coast…

PADI Open Water – 3 days, Cairns – $815 (£452)

scuba great barrier reef cairns australia

Whitsundays Tours (2 day, 2 night) – $525 (£290)

Sydney Bridge Climb – $248 (£165)

Blue Mountains Day Trip – $155 (£86)

Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife Park Combo Pass – $55 (£34)

Great Ocean Road Trip – $130 (£72)

Surf lesson – Byron Bay –   $80 (£44)

Australia Zoo – $100 (£62.50)  inc return bus from Brisbane

Fraser Island 4×4 Tag Along (3 day, 2 night camping option) – $499 (£277)

Fraser Island Day Trip – $180 (£100)

Kayaking tour – $89 (£50)

Magnetic Island Package (inc return ferry, 2 nights accom & welcome drink) – $140 (£77)

Great Barrier Reef Day Trip (snorkelling) – $195 (£108)

Great Barrier Reef Day Trip ( scuba dive taster ) – $240 (£133)

Skydive (15,000 feet) – $359 (£199)

Cape Tribulation day trip – $189 (£105)

If I had to pull out what the average backpacking Australia trip would include over a month I’d say you’d be hoping to include:

  • Great Ocean Road Tour
  • Kayaking tour
  • Surf lesson
  • Fraser Island Overnight Tour
  • Whitsunday Island Overnight Tour
  • Magnetic Island Package
  • Barrier Reef Snorkel Tour
  • Cape Tribulation Day trip

Estimated activity cost:

$1,847 (£1,082).

So How Much Will you Need To Budget For Australia?

So based on my personal experience and what I assume the average backpacker would like to achieve on the East Coast trail I’d say you’ll be paying for the following;

  • 30 nights accommodation
  • 3 meals daily
  • 30 Day Greyhound Pass

MONTHLY TOTAL =  $4,136 (£2,297)

Daily budget = $137 (£76) per day, australia budget.

backpacking australia budget costs

This budget for backpacking Australia includes accommodation, meals, transport and the main activities as listed above.

I’d like to point out though that this is merely a base point for your budgeting though and it’s always best to over compensate when it comes to money as it’s very much a personal thing – and of course you’re drinking will add some dollar on top.

This 4 weeks would allow you to pretty much cover the whole East Coast Australia backpacker trail and you’d be packing in all the main sites and things to do – including spots like Byron Bay , Fraser Island, Whitsundays, and Cairns.

Some people will easily spend less than this – especially if you’re on a years working holiday visa and pacing yourself up the coast, or simply have longer to spend on your trip.

And also keep in mind the longer you’re travelling for the more spread out your bigger costs will be (like tours and bus passes) so your daily spend will obviously be lower.

But if you’re pushed for time in Australia and want to do pretty much all the bucket list ticks it’s all parcelled into the above summary and 4 weeks is the ideal amount of time to spend on that route.

You can also customise your own East Coast package to suit your personal time frame, budget and preference.

Is It Worth The Money?

Even though it cost more than places like NZ or Thailand I totally recommend you visit there. It’s an amazing place to explore and is still one of my favourite countries on the planet to travel to.

You can also save heaps with some awesome East Coast Australia Package deals  which bundle in accommodation, tours and travel passes to help you save. So check these East Coast deals out – you can even tailor them even further to suit your times frames and budget.

Found this post helpful? Check out my other How Much To Budget Posts!

  • How Much To Budget For A Month In Thailand
  • How Much To Budget For A Month In New Zealand
  • How Much To Budget For A Month In Bali & Indonesia
  • How Much To Budget For A Month In The Philippines
  • How Much To Budget For A Month In Cambodia
  • How To Travel The Maldives On A Budget
  • Backpack South Africa – How Much To Budget

For more info on where to head on the East Coast check out this post .

For more info on  how long to spend on the East Coast trail check out this post .

For more info on the best way to travel the East Coast of Australia check out this post.

For my sample 1 month Australia itinerary check out this post

And for the best places to visit in Australia check out this post

Or let me help plan your Aussie Adventure with my East Coast Australia Trip Planner !

Been to Oz recently?

How much did you spend backpacking australia and what was your original australia budget.

**PLEASE NOTE; This is to be used as a guide only – currency and cost fluctuate depending on season and exchange rates (calculated at 1.8AUD per £1GBP. Information was correct at the time of writing)**

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Just came across your blog via Stephen’s @ A Backpackers Tale & glad I found both of your incredible blogs! I just returned from studying abroad in Australia; it’s so true that everything is quite expensive in Australia & we couldn’t believe their minimum wage is in the $20 range. Your post will definitely be helpful to future travelers though! As a bucket list blogger, I will definitely be returning to keep up with your travels :)

Cheers Christine – looks like I’ll have to search through your site for some more bucket list items hey?! Glad you agree that it’ll help backpackers heading that way – did you have fun there?

Really useful tips, thanks! I’ve been in Oz for 6 months now, so I have a pretty good idea of the costs, but it’s good to see it all broken down and added up again. I agree, it’s probably worth it. What I’ve seen of the country so far has me eager to explore as much as possible. Next on my itinerary: Byron Bay!

It’s totally worth it Arianwen! Anything you’d add to the breakdown that other travellers may find useful? You’ll love Byron Bay – stay at Aquarius Hostel and say hi from me (my little brother is working there at the moment too!)

This is the most useful thing EVER. I’m going in Sept and this is overall pretty much what I had planned – and I know I’ll have plenty of money to do this and more (bungee jump definitely being added to that list!) without having to worry too much as I have really over-compensated for the fact I’ve heard Oz is so expensive. This has taken the worry off a fair bit now- and I’ve got a WHV so will be able to top up money with other travels as well as you can earn such good money.

I’m so glad you do these blog posts – thank you!

Hey Georgina, Stoked that it’s helped you out so much and put your mind at rest. Obviously you can make things heaps more expensive if you choose but I’d say it covers the main points you’ll need to spend for. And indeed your WHV will definitely help you heaps, I’d look into work for accommodation too. Have an awesome time!

Hey Chris ! I love your blog ! Very funny and attractive ;) Thanks for making me stay on it for hours, as I want to read all your posts ;) (Will I still be here tomorrow ?) Cheers to you and keep going!

hahahaha sorry to distract you for so long Christina – let me know if you get lost!hahaha!

I never normally comment on blogs but i just wanted to say THANK YOU!! we’re heading off on our RTW trip soon and were getting a bit worried about the cost of Oz but this pretty much sums up exactly what were planning to do so it seems doable! these blogs are a great idea!

awwww that’s no worries Gina – stoked it helped you out and has put your mind at rest! Enjoy Australia – you’ll love it!

hey chris me and my partner are saving at the moment to do the east coast before we leave oz. just double checking is that money all in British pounds or Aus Dollars? Cheers

Hey Terrain – stoked to hear you’re heading to Oz! All those prices have been converted over to £GBP, so it’s roughly double for $AUD at the moment.

Awesome Summary I m thinking of going 1 month in Aussie and 1 month in Nz, starting March 2015 before heading back to Belgium in June 2015… I m currently based in Hong Kong so I don t earn a lot here and this helps quite a bit. I will need to save at least half a year salary for this…incl Visa, flights from HK down the Pacific and back up to Europe

Glad to see you’re prepared and you’re giving yourself enough time to save – I hope you have an awesome adventure…Oz and NZ are heaps of fun!

Chris, You have really taken the worry off me regarding my mid-life crisis trip up the East Coast! I head off in Sept, and you have totally calmed me down. Thank you! Mx

Good times Maggie – I hope you have an awesome trip! Let me know how you get on.

I’ve been reading your reviews for some time now, extremely helpful! I thought I’d go for it and ask you about my finances for my east coast trip from the 16th Nov to 13th Dec would really appreciate the advice!

Roadtripping it from Cairns to Sydney, car has been paid for along with hostels in Cairns/Sydney. Inbetween we are going with the flow.

I’m taking £5,000 this will cover petrol, food, booze, activities and hostels. My main question is – Will this be enough money? I obviously want to do the main activities, any help would be amazing!

Keep up the good work Chris!

Hey Steven, If you manage to burn through £5k in a month simply on petrol, food, activities and hostels I’d be very surprised and you’d be terrible and budgeting!hahahaha! Seriously though that should be more than enough. If you check out the budget you can do all the key things for under £2k all in – your fuel isn’t going to add crazy amounts to that figure so as long as you keep your personal spending and meal costs under control I’m sure you’ll be fine. Let me know how you get on!

Just thought I’d say how useful this was in prepping my Oz trip for a month over Dec-Jan….just counting down the work days now. So keen its unreal!

Appreciate the helpful other articles! Safe travels. Smirnoff

Stoked that you found it useful Smirnoff – let me know how you get on!

Thanks for the tips Chris, I’ve been looking for something like this post for a while now!

I’m heading out to Sydney for the new year and then will be making my way around oz for 2-3 months. Presumably that’ll bring the monthly cost down a bit by spreading transport, big activities etc? I was hoping around £40-50 a day if I’m careful.

Spot on Craig – if you’re spreading the big costs – especially transport it should reduce your budget. Your big spends will then be food and accommodation, which depends on how you eat and sleep! Let me know how you get on!

Thanks for the tips Chris! This is so useful, I’m going to Australia with about £3000 so at least I know I’ll need to find work within the first couple of months! Thanks!

No worries Aleesha – let me know how you get on…and have an awesome time!

Dreams currently shattering. I need to just work through this holiday, only way around it…

Awwww sorry to hear that Casey! Still at least you know how much it costs now rather than turning up and finding out you have no money to spend! Keep in mind that the big expenses and trips won’t all be crammed into a month…

This has helped so much, thank you! I was trying to find out how much to take, how to budget etc. and then came across this. Life saver! I’m off to Australia for 2 months in February and I’m so excited, it’s ridiculous! Fab blog, it’s definitely my favourite now!

Hey Lauren, Stoked that the post helped you out! Have a blast in Oz and let me know who you get on! I’m actually in Byron Bay in Feb for a couple weeks, if you’re around for a beer let me know!

Awesome post! Im not off until October but planning on going for the year! Defo have to save hard until then! Hope you’re having an awesome time where ever you are! :)

Hope you enjoy it Katie – let me know if I can be of any help! Good luck with the saving – it’ll be totally worth it!

This blog has been has been an incredible help in planning my trips. Im off to Oz the middle of February. Thanks for your help and insight!

No worries Thomas – glad it helped you out! Whats your plan?

I am so sorry that I did´t find this blog before my trip to Australia. But I survived:) And my budget was way under your estimate. I was backpacking and couchsurfing throug Australia. And all my plane tickets were prebought. For five tickets (returning to Europe) I paid 1100€. And all together (with plane tickets and insurance, all accomodation, transport, food and drinks) I spent around 2000€ (around 1500 Ł). Now I have to go and read BUDGET THAILAND :) tnx

Stoked to hear you got it under budget Jasmina – couch surfing is a solid shout to save whilst on the road! how long were you out there for and anything you’d recommend I add into it? When you heading to Thailand?

This was really helpful. Im starting in Sydney in 12 days time and hoping to be there for a year or longer. Im in no rush to travel up to cairns but want to do it all! obv i know i will need to work probs after a month or two. Whats the best way to travel? stay in hostels and then greyhound it up? or campervan?

Hey Alice – stoked the post helped you out! To be honest it depends on your cash flow with travel. Oz Experience or Greyhound are good shouts, but the passes are only valid for 3 or 6 months. You’d be better off with a KM pass which is valid for 12 (or until the kms run out!) check out my other site for some more info;


Campervan wise if you have the cash it can be a great option (I did it myself) however if things go wrong with it it can ruin your trip too! Many of the key spots you’ll need to book into a campsite anyway so sometimes the buses are the most hassle free option!

Hey Chris, I was wondering whether you could help me?

I’m looking to go Oz and want to do the east coast, but not sure whether it would be cheaper to book the grey hound bus and then pay for the trips when I’m out there like whitsundays and fraser island or would it be better to do the Oz Experience which includes the trips?

I’m going to get a working holiday visa as well so would probably want to travel first and then go back to somewhere to try find work.. Is that the usual thing to do or would you say to work whilst travelling up?

Thanks in advance :)

I actually jus put up a post about this which is worth checking out!


If you’re on an Oz working visa I’d go for the Greyhound KM passes as they have a longer validity that you can also top up along the way too. This means you’re not on a timescale and can go with the flow a bit more. You can then book your Fraser Island/Whitsundays trips en route.

You can get more info and book on my other site – Epic Gap Year – on the following link;

In regards to work/travel it depends on how much cash you have saved really and where you want to work. I’d maybe do a little trip (say fly into Melb, do the great ocean road then travel to Sydney) so you have a little adventure before topping up the funds, but it comes down to how far you’re money will go really.

Thanks Chris, that’s really helped! Think we will go for the KM passes! If we wanted to go from Sydney – Cairns what pass would we need? Not sure on how many km that will be… Would the 2500km cover it or would we need to get the 5000km?

As we’re getting the km passes I think we will do the travelling bit first then look for work :)

Hi Chris, I came across your website as I am researching a trip around the East Coast of Oz for about a month. You’ve got some really useful tips so I definitely need to read on more but quick question, do you think 4 weeks is too long to spend just in Victoria and NSW? Thanks

Hey Sarah, Stoked the site is helping you out! Hmmm time wise it really depends what you’re getting up to, but you can do the whole of Sydney – Cairns in 4 weeks if you really want! Check out this mini guide for some extra tips to help you decide;


Hi Chris, Great blog glad i stumbled across it!

I’m traveling to oz in May starting in Cairns. Was wondering whether to work straight away as its Australian winter time when i get over there and wait till it starts going into summer before i work my way down the east coast? I’d love to spend Christmas and new year in Sydney

Any help would be much appreciated

Cheers James

Cheers James – stoked you like it! Personally your plan to start working straight away is a solid shout and what I’d do, that way you have a even more savings to play with and can enjoy the Aussie summer even more! If you’re already planning NYE in Sydney I’d get that booked as quickly as you can because hostels book out super early in the year – WakeUp Hostel is where I stay, great place and super central!

So glad you said that. Would never of thought about booking in advance. I’d been pretty gutted if every where was full and i couldn’t see in the new year in Sydney!

Where you recommended is fully booked up, as is a lot of other hostels for NYE. i managed to get a reservation at Surfside coogee beach hostel.

I owe you a beer!

Amazing blog, sobglad I came across it.

I and a mate are planning a trip to Oz on 1st Oct. The plan is to start in Cairns and campervan along the east coast to Melbourne where we will stay for a while before heading to Perth. We want to stay over in Sydney for NYE. Do you think Oct to Jan from Cairns to Sydney is too long? Any advice would be great! Cheers Dee

Hey Dee, Stoked you’re loving the site! To be honest the longer you take on the East Coast the more you’ll enjoy it! Are you looking at working at all? A lot of it will come down to budget and what you’re doing along the way. 6 weeks is the minimum I’d really recommend to take so you’ll have plenty of time to chill and soak it all up!

Your sites are really helpful and you have encouraged people to travel OZ.Alot of people are now travelling Asia and New Zealand instead of Australia because because it is too expensive and people think that Australia is not worth the money.It is a shame because they are missing out on some beautiful places.With your website ,you have given people peace of mind ,when travelling my home country ,Australia

I love travelling Oz Louisa – it’s a shame it is a bit more expensive but I still think it’s totally worth doing…in fat I’m living in Byron Bay at the moment!

Hi, thanks for your tips!

I’m coming to Australia for a year on a working visa and plan on spending the first months working and living with my relatives. I then want to do an East Coast backpacking trip and then go on the New Zealand/Asia. I’m worried I will have too much luggage with me to go on the buses/stay in hostels. Would you recommend leaving the majority of my stuff with my family and getting them to send it back to the UK? I don’t know what the best way would be.

No worries Molly! To be honest I wouldn’t take more than 65litres of stuff unless you REALLY have to, trust me you’ll accumulate stuff along the way but you’ll also realise a lot of your gear isn’t being used!hahaha! The best rule to travel by is half the stuff, double the money! ;)

Hi really good article you wrote! Great tips gonna use them to planning for my trip to the east coast, i’m traveling to oz in about three weeks! :) I will check your other blogposts to!

No worries Adam, stoked they helped! Enjoy Australia, heaps of fun!

Hey Chris, love your blog and found it super helpful. I’m a New Zealand resident and wanting to go to Aussie next year just before Spring. I can spend as much time in Aussie as I want because of this and am wanting to find work as I travel up the east coast ( mostly farm/fruit picking work) and just want to know how much you would recommend me to go over with after I pay for the plane ticket, clothing, insurance etc. I will be ( If everything goes to plan ) either staying in working hostels/ hostels, and or buy a car/van to sleep in. What do you think of this and again I love your blogs :)

Hey Zequoia, jealous of your Kiwi passport! Personally the more dollar you can take to Oz the better, but given your passport situation I don’t see it being an issue picking up work pretty easily!

We’ve travelled on east coast in 2011. We had a car, slept in tent in camping’s, between the camping-holiday parks are very good equipped, you can cook by yourself. so I don’t see any reason to be in hostel/hotel in such nice weather in Queensland. We also took 2x day trip to coral reef.

I campervanned a lot of it the first time I was there and loved it! Depends if you want to meet heaps of travellers and how you’re making your way along the coast I guess!

Want to drink on the cheap follow some of these goon recipes!! (www.goodgoonguide.com)

Hello, Chris! You gave us so useful tips. Australia is one of my dream destinations and I hope that one day I will be able to use on practice your advices :) Gooood luck trough the New year :)

Stoked to have helped you out Julia – let me know when you’re heading this way!

Thanks this is a really useful post! I’ve been trying to figure out when to move to Australia based on money and this was super useful! What month would you suggest going to have the best luck getting a job?

Stoked it helped you out! Hmmmmm it really depends on where you’re heading and what kind of work I guess…

Awesome post! i really like your budget travelling posts. Many people think travelling is very costly (sometimes can be), but with proper budgeting, it isn’t really hard to save up!

Indeed it’s a case of being prepared. Yes some countries (like Oz) are more expensive, but it depends how you’re mixing them up and spreading out big costs.

Thanks for this! If people realized how much money they throw around each month, they’d see just how easy it is to save up for a super awesome trip in Australia. I was working on a visa in Australia and for a few months I saved up quite a bit to have an amazing trip in Nepal for 6 weeks.

Yeah, a lot of money is spent where it’s not even noticeable.. Great writeup!

Wow this is crazy that this is just for backpacking Australia for a month. That’s close to $5,000 Canadian Dollars. I couldn’t imagine even if you might want to live it up just a bit.

That does include pretty much everything you’d want to tick off and it is heaps of fun. My advice is always travel for a bit longer and spread it all out as that drops your daily spend down quite a bit and makes it much more affordable

So glad I found this blog – great advice. Thanks for sharing!

No worries Anthony!

Hey Chris! This is such a helpful blog. My family and I has been planning to come over to Australia for vacation this coming April but we’re estimating how much we should bring. Such a life saver!

You are right about How Much To Budget For A Month In Australia

Zebedee Springs, The Kimberley, Western Australia © Tourism Australia

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Western Australia

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Glass House Mountains

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Uluru and Kata Tjuta

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The Kimberley

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Flinders Ranges

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Blue Mountains

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Daintree Rainforest

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Great Ocean Road

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Purnululu National Park

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Litchfield National Park

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Road trips and drives

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Beaches and islands

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Nature and national parks

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  • 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.

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*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 australia.com. 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.

French hitchhiker Lucas Venner's guide to travelling the world with the help of strangers' generosity

A young man with curly hair stands side on the camera with a river flowing behind him

A tall, young Frenchman stands at the side of the road with a familiar weight held across his shoulders — and he hooks his thumb out in a universal language of the hitchhiker asking for a lift. 

When a kind-hearted driver pulls over, Lucas Venner speaks with them about their destination. He isn't picky about where he goes — his holiday sights are dictated by the whims of the road. 

In 2022, after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, he took on a common ambition: to travel the world. But he did so with an added stipulation of hitchhiking the entire way. 

A picture of a hand making a thumbs up next to the side of a road with a kangaroo warning sign

Lucas's tour of the world started in Liverdun, in north-eastern France, in February 2023.

Since then, the 23-year-old has travelled across the world in the passenger seat of strangers' cars — with the one exception when he had no choice but to purchase a plane ticket from Timor Leste to Darwin.

The matter of money 

France was one of the nations hit particularly hard by COVID-19 and the lockdowns were commensurate with the situation. It inspired Lucas to travel. 

"I'd never been outside of Europe before. So when I first arrived in Turkey, it was a different world, and the same again with India and China. 

"After university it was the perfect timing, [with] no job, no house, it is easier to travel and to undertake such a big trip." 

While some travellers choose to work odd jobs on the road to make ends meet, Lucas earns extra money through his travelling via a sponsorship with a candy company and a couple of schools back home. 

A man smiles in front of a landscape with temples.

"I take pictures of their candy in front of famous places: the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall of China, and in exchange the company provides me with some money," he said. 

"And I also have some schools in France, I call the children every two weeks and present them with the countries I'm in.The animals, the landscape and the everyday life of the local children.

"Because in some countries I have been to, eight-year-old boys are not going to school, they don't have the opportunity to do so."

See anything, meet anyone

Lucas had a goal of meeting as many different people as he could from a range of different cultures, nationalities and regions.

After spending time with more than 1,000 drivers across 25 countries, and travelling more than 50,000km, he might have achieved it.

"You're putting your faith in the hands of other people, and I have been really surprised by it; in some countries they have nothing but they want to share it with you regardless," he said. 

"They would say, 'Come to my house, come to see my family', and they don't have a lot of food, they don't even have meat and they want to give it to you — it is really mind-blowing, the kindness."

A Caucasian young man smiling and clapping surrounded by his hosts in Timor Leste

Over the course of his travels, Lucas went through a range of countries, from high to low-income nations, and was touched by the generosity of people.

"They are so poor, but they would try to help you, they want to give you the best they can," the traveller said. 

"It is really affirming and touching. It is really, really special. Before my trip I would not have thought that people could be so generous with a complete stranger.

"But in so many countries, they would open their homes to me."

A man fist pumps in front of the Sydney Opera House.

Journey's end

Coming to the final leg of his long hike across continents, Lucas touched down in the Northern Territory in April this year and has since made his way through South Australia and on to the east coast.

"One of the things I like with hitchhiking is there's no defined plan or fixed destination, so I will ask people, 'What do you like in your country?' What should I go and see?' and that is how I ended up in Renmark," Lucas said.

"Those people told me to visit the Riverland, that it is beautiful."

He said he would continue across the country throughout May.

"After Australia I will go to New Zealand and more precisely Chatham Island because that's the exact opposite of France on the globe," he said.

"I would like to be back in France for the end of June to attend the Olympic Games in Paris." 

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Newcastle’s post-season trip to Australia ‘not ideal’ for England Euro 2024 preparation – Kieran Trippier

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 15: Kieran Trippier of Newcastle United reacts during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on May 15, 2024 in Manchester, England.(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Kieran Trippier has admitted that Newcastle United ’s post-season trip to Australia is “not ideal” preparation ahead of England ’s participation at this summer’s European Championship .

Trippier, 33, and his Newcastle team-mates will head to Australia immediately after their final Premier League fixture away to Brentford on Sunday.


They play Tottenham Hotspur at Melbourne Cricket Ground next Wednesday and an A-League All Star side at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium two days later.

In football terms, there is little logic in Newcastle traveling so far for friendly fixtures after a draining season which has been scarred by injuries.

As head coach Eddie Howe has already said: “Being honest, in my position, this is something from a physical perspective after a long season that we probably wouldn’t want to do.”

Yet Newcastle, who were unable to sign anybody in January because of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules (PSR), view their brief stay in Australia as an opportunity to boost their branding and, in time, their marketing and commercial income.

The concern for Trippier and his fellow international players is that it leaves little time for rest and recovery ahead of the European Championship. England also have friendly fixtures against Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 3 and Iceland on June 7.


One of those nights threatens to become one of those seasons for Newcastle

“My expression says it all!” Trippier said with a wry smile. “It’s not ideal because it’s a tournament year. I understand why the club are doing it. I’ve done it at Tottenham (Hotspur) and (Atletico) Madrid but from my own experience of it – in a tournament year it’s not ideal.

“But we’re players, we’ve got to do what’s right for the club, for the club to move forward. When we’re there it’ll be good, we’ll embrace it and experience it. Hopefully it goes smoothly.

“Tottenham are doing it. But it’s one of those where you have just got to get on with it. But of course for me as a player it’s not really ideal. It’s not like it’s Benidorm round the corner, it’s 25 hours away. There’s no excuses or anything, I understand why the club are doing it and we’ve just got to get on with it.”

Trippier, who has been suffering from a calf injury, made his first start for Newcastle since early March during their 3-2 defeat at Manchester United . He is not concerned, however, that his absence might jeopardise his involvement in the Euros.

“I’m good. The medical team at England are always in contact with Newcastle’s team, not just about me, about other players as well,” the 33-year-old said prior to the game at Old Trafford. “I’m fit. England know that.”

England kick-off their Euro 2024 campaign against Serbia on June 16.

Head coach Gareth Southgate will name his preliminary squad for the tournament on May 21.


England squad injury audit: Who is a doubt for Gareth Southgate at Euro 2024?

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

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Subscribe to The Athletic for in-depth coverage of your favorite players, teams, leagues and clubs. Try a week on us.

George Caulkin

George Caulkin has been reporting on football in the North East of England since 1994, 21 of those years for The Times. There have been a few ups, a multitude of downs and precisely one meaningful trophy. Follow George on Twitter @ GeorgeCaulkin

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Best Student Travel Insurance

Updated: May 15, 2024, 1:44pm

Table of Contents

What does student travel insurance cover, can i tailor my student travel insurance policy, what does student travel insurance exclude, how much does student travel insurance cost, where can i purchase student travel insurance, frequently asked questions (faqs).

While student travel insurance technically doesn’t exist, the good news is Australian students can take out standard travel insurance for much needed cover while away.

Whether you’re taking a gap year overseas, studying abroad, or squeezing in a few trips in between your studies, travel insurance can provide essential cover for illness, lost baggage, trip cancellation and more. It can even cover your smartphone and laptop, as well as a vast range of activities, such as bungee jumping, snorkelling, or working on a local farm. It’s simply a matter of finding a suitable policy, or tailoring one to your needs and budget. We explain more below.

Related: Guide to Backpacker Insurance

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Medical Cover

Including medical treatment, doctors’ visits, prescribed medication, specialist treatment & medical transport costs

$2,500 with option to increase to unlimited

Australian students looking for travel insurance, have all the cover options available to them that anyone else would. Common benefits include:

  • Emergency medical expenses: covers the cost of treatment should you fall ill, or get injured, while away. There may also be cover for evacuation and repatriation in severe medical cases
  • Personal liability: covers you if you injure someone else, or damage someone’s property
  • Trip cancellation: pays out should an emergency, such as illness or bereavement, prevent your trip from going ahead
  • Baggage and belongings: covers your luggage and personal effects. Look out for a total limit on cover, as well as sub-limits for individual items
  • Passport and personal documents: covers the cost of replacing travel documents if lost or stolen
  • Personal money: the amount claimable if your money is lost or stolen
  • Missed departure: covers the cost of additional accommodation and travel should an emergency cause you to miss your journey
  • Travel delay: pays out if your scheduled transport is late by typically a least 12 hours
  • Company insolvency: compensates you if your airline or hotel goes bust
  • Personal accident: pays out if an injury causes you permanent disability or death.

Each policy offers its own combination of benefits, so it’s vital to check its product disclosure statement (PDS) for a breakdown of exactly what is included, and the cover levels. For instance, you’ll need baggage cover that matches or exceeds the value of the items you’re taking away, while protection for cancellation should cover the cost of your trip.

As a student, you’ll likely want to customise your policy to suit the purpose of your trip, and this is something you can do on most policies. As well as additional cover for gadgets, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, your policy will likely offer options for:

Adventure & Activities

Planning an adventure-filled, high-octane trip? Many policies offer cover for medium to high-risk sports and activities, such as trekking, abseiling and bungee jumping, at an extra cost. This comes in addition to the dozens of low-risk activities usually already covered automatically. Each insurer’s risk barometer is different so do check a policy’s PDS, for a list of what is and isn’t covered as standard. Protection for winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, usually comes as separate cover to purchase too.

Work & Volunteering

Perhaps you’re thinking of giving a little back to the locals by working in a paddy field, or you’ve seen an opportunity to earn money by doing a few gigs with your band. A travel insurance policy can cover unpaid and paid work, though the types of jobs covered may differ between insurers. There will also likely be restrictions such as the height at which you can work limited to two storeys and lower.

Short Trips or Long Stays

What’s called ‘single trip’ travel insurance can cover a short getaway of up to around 31 days, but there are also annual policies that cover multiple single trips within the space of 12 months. These save you having to take out cover for each trip, only require one set of paperwork and can sometimes work out cheaper than taking out cover each time you go away. Perhaps most suited to gap year takers is backpacker insurance , which is also known as long-stay or extended-stay insurance. It can cover trips lasting up to six, 12, 18 or 24 months, depending on the insurer. It may also allow you to come home a certain number of times in between travelling, without rendering it invalid.

To make the most out of your travel insurance, remember to take heed of the limitations and restrictions detailed in the PDS. These often are unique to a policy or insurer, so a friend’s could be different.

However, most insurers will not cover trips to destinations where the government has issued a ‘do not travel’ alert. Reasons may include natural disasters, terrorism threats and pandemics. You can find out the status of your destination on the government’s Smartraveller website . It’s best to check the site before purchasing your policy, and again before travelling.

Insurers also often reject claims resulting from disorderly behaviour or intoxication by drink or drugs. If you’re taking part in sports and activities, make sure they are specifically covered in the PDS. There may be restrictions such as needing to wear a helmet, harness or other types of required safety gear, for an insurer to accept any potential related claims you make.

You can choose an insurer’s basic protection with limited benefits, or one of its more comprehensive policies, which should offer a wider range of cover types, and higher cover levels, at a higher cost. Just make sure you have the full amount of protection you need.

The cost of your policy will also depend on factors such as your travel destination, trip duration and any extra forms of cover you may choose to add on. While travel insurers typically don’t offer student discounts, insurance tends to be cheaper for young travellers, as they’re deemed less likely to claim on their policy for expensive medical costs. If you’re still a dependent, and travelling with your family, you may be eligible to be covered under your parents’ policy as some insurers allow this.

A policy’s excess is the set amount you will need to pay on each accepted claim. Rather than an out-of-pocket expense, it’s automatically deducted from a claim amount. In exchange for choosing to pay more in excess, an insurer will typically lower the policy premium, which is the cost of the cover. If you prefer to pay less in excess, your premium will likely be higher.

We ran quotes on the websites of the top three ranking insurers for comprehensive policies based on our research . We used the profile of a 20-year-old travelling to Thailand for 12 months.

Their most basic cover ranged from $776 to $1,493 in price:

Their comprehensive cover ranged from $895 to $2,044 in price:

Travel Insurance Direct and Bupa allows you to choose from several cover levels for trip cancellation on their policies. Allianz only offers this option on its comprehensive policy. Choosing higher cover levels bumps up the cost of the policy.

As most, if not all, travel insurers offer options that suit students on their standard cover, taking out insurance is simply a matter of comparing what they have to offer, and then buying the best policy for you. An easy way to do this is to run quotes on each insurer’s website.

You will need to enter details such as your age, travel destination(s), and trip duration. You will then be able to check the policies each insurer offers to suit your requirements. You may be able to add extra cover, such as for winter sports or gadgets, when entering your details, or after choosing a quote. Once you’ve decided on a policy you can pay for it online.

Does student travel insurance cover illness?

Emergency medical cover is a vital component of travel insurance, covering the cost of treatment for illness and injury you may experience while away.

This cover is crucial for many when travelling as Medicare isn’t available in other countries, and even when a country has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia, there may be exclusions to what it covers including repatriation costs. Without emergency medical cover, you would have to find another way to cover these expenses that can easily reach into the thousands of dollars.

What is a pre-existing medical condition?

Insurers class a pre-existing medical condition as any condition you’ve had from before taking out a policy with them.

Only some insurers cover such conditions, and those that do often charge more for the benefit. You can check if a policy covers your condition in its PDS. On applying for cover, you will need to declare any conditions you have during the medical screening stage for future related claims to be considered.

How do I find cheap student travel insurance?

To find an inexpensive policy, without sacrificing vital cover, it’s important to shop around for insurance. Compare the types of cover included, as well as the cover levels to avoid paying out on benefits you don’t need. You’ll also need to weigh up the policy price and excess payable on accepted claims.

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I have been writing for newspapers, magazines and online publications for over 10 years. My passion is providing, in a way that is easily accessible and digestible to all, the knowledge needed for readers to not only manage their finances, but financially flourish.


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    Great Barrier Reef Day Trip ( scuba dive taster) - $240 (£133) Skydive (15,000 feet) - $359 (£199) Cape Tribulation day trip - $189 (£105) If I had to pull out what the average backpacking Australia trip would include over a month I'd say you'd be hoping to include: Great Ocean Road Tour. Kayaking tour. Surf lesson.

  20. 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.

  21. Ultimate Guide to the Best Travel Backpack Australia 2023

    Top 10 Best Travel Backpacks Australia 2023. Here is a handy reference list of the best travel backpacks Australia offers - see all full travel backpack reviews below! Osprey Packs Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack, 55L. Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack, 50L. Gregory Mountain Baltoro Backpack, 65L.

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  23. French hitchhiker Lucas Venner's guide to travelling the world with the

    Lucas Venner entered his 20s with a common ambition: to travel the world. He has succeeded by hitchhiking the entire way. The Frenchman left his home country in early 2023 to embark on a 15-month ...

  24. Newcastle Airport, Australia: Plane makes successful wheels-up ...

    Two passengers and a pilot emerged unscathed from a small plane after it was forced to land without landing gear following a mechanical failure at Newcastle Airport in Australia's New South Wales.

  25. I attended the Sea Power Conference. On behalf of Australia, I was

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  26. Newcastle's post-season trip to Australia 'not ideal'

    Kieran Trippier has admitted that Newcastle United's post-season trip to Australia is "not ideal" preparation ahead of England's participation at this summer's European Championship.

  27. Barbara waved goodbye to Sydney and set off to see Australia. She hasn

    Barbara Brown was just 23 years old when she disappeared from suburban Beecroft 46 years ago on Friday. A friend, Peta Bigum, waved the young American backpacker goodbye from the balcony of her ...

  28. Best Student Travel Insurance For Australians

    25-Day Cooling Off Period, Australian Based Call Centre, 4.6 Star Product Review Rating. 2. Cover-More Travel Insurance. Get a Quick Quote. On Cover-more's secure website. Medical cover ...