A Ultimate Travel Guide for Backpacking Australia
Australia is far away from the rest of the world, but backpackers who make the effort to fly Down Under will find a treasure trove of places to visit. This diverse country is a backpacker’s dream because it has beautiful beaches, a strange outback, and amazing cities to explore.
The scene of the backpacker
Backpackers don’t fly halfway around the world to visit the sixth largest country in the world just to look around for a week or two, so Australia is the kind of place where people quit their jobs and spend their life savings to travel. Backpackers usually spend many months Down Under on an exotic trip of a lifetime. They take coastal road trips like the Great Ocean Road and the well-trodden path from Sydney to Cairns, bucket list tours of the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru in the Red Centre, and adrenaline-filled adventures like learning to surf or skydiving over the beach. A lot of people also go to Australia for a little rest and relaxation after traveling through the busy streets of Southeast Asia.
People on a budget from all over the world stay in Aussie hostels. They all love the sun and the outdoors, and most of them also want to party. Most of them come from big European countries like Britain and Ireland, Germany, France, and Italy, as well as the U.S. and Canada. More and more independent travelers from nearby Asian countries, especially China, are also going there on their own. Working holidaymakers are another unique part of the backpacker scene in Australia. Visitors from some countries can apply for the right to work and vacation for up to a year, and if they work on a farm for three months, they can extend their visa for another year. This means that backpackers can be found all over the country.
Using it to its fullest
Talk to the people there.
People in Australia are known for being nice, so don’t be afraid to say “g’day.” Aussies might have a hard-to-understand accent and even harder-to-understand slang, but they are laid-back, love to laugh, and jump at the chance to show visitors around their country.
Take your time
Australia is big, about the same size as Europe, so you won’t be able to see everything in just a few weeks. Do your research, make a plan, and don’t be too ambitious. The distance from Sydney on the East Coast to Perth on the West Coast (3,300km) is about the same as from Madrid to Moscow, and you wouldn’t expect to see everything from Spain to Russia in a short trip through Europe.
Look at the weather report.
Due to the size of the country, there are also a lot of different climates, from the wet tropics in the north to the dry Red Centre and the cold south. Australia has a climate that is warmer than average, but not everywhere is hot and sunny. Just wait until you’ve been to Melbourne, which is known for having “four seasons in one day.”
It is very safe to travel to Australia. Backpackers, especially those traveling alone, should take sensible precautions, but the crime rate is very low and the locals are friendly and open to foreign visitors. Mother Nature is the biggest threat to tourists in Australia. Bushfires and cyclones are fairly common natural disasters, and the sun, sea, and desert all have their own risks.
Aussies learn about sun safety from a young age, but backpackers often don’t pay attention to the “slip-slop-slap” message. UV radiation in Australia is much stronger than in other parts of the world. If you don’t believe me, just ask all the Irish backpackers whose backs are as red as their hair after their first day of sunbathing at Bondi. If you don’t want to get a burn that will ruin your vacation, slather on the sunscreen.
At the beach, the sun isn’t the only danger. Strong riptides often surprise swimmers who aren’t used to them. Stay safe by swimming between the red and yellow flags. This is where surf lifesavers are watching out for you. Also, pay attention to any warnings about jellyfish in Australia’s tropical north or sharks anywhere in the country.
The Australian outback’s ancient landscapes are also a unique challenge. The safest option is to go on a tour and listen to the guide, but if you want to do it on your own, you should plan ahead, find a good 4WD, bring plenty of supplies, and watch out for wildlife, especially crocodiles in swimming spots in the north.
Food and a place to stay
People who went on the Southeast Asian backpacker trail before coming to Australia might be surprised by how much food costs. Even cheap cafes and restaurants charge at least $15–$20 for a meal. Still, you get what you pay for. Australian cities are full of top-notch restaurants serving every type of food, especially Italian, Indian, Chinese, Southeast Asian, and modern Australian. The same goes for bars: a drink in a regular pub costs $6–8 and even more in a nightclub, so nights out can add up. Backpackers who want to get the most out of their money will learn quickly that a meal cooked in the hostel kitchen and a box of “goon” (cask wine) in the common room is a better way to spend their money at dinner.
Backpacker hostels are the best place to stay, and a bed in a shared dorm room usually costs around $30. Backpacker hotspots like Sydney, Melbourne, Byron Bay, and Cairns are full of quality hostels that offer budget travelers a safe, comfortable, and cheap place to stay.
Australians like to drink beer, so the pub is a great place to meet locals. Grab a schooner and hang out at the bar for a while, and you’re sure to make some new friends. Sport is another great way for people to meet and get to know each other. It also gives visitors a great look into Australian travel pixy.
Want to meet other travelers on the road? The hostel common room is the best place to be. Good hostels also plan activities every day, like pub crawls, themed dinners, trivia nights, barbecues, and walking tours, where you can talk to other travelers about your once-in-a-lifetime trip. Organized tours, like snorkeling cruises on the Great Barrier Reef or multi-day trips through the Northern Territory, are also a great way to meet new people
Money, money, money
Your wallet will be full of Australian dollars, which are written with a dollar sign ($) and sometimes called A$, AU$, or AUD to tell them apart from US dollars. About 80 US cents are worth one Australian dollar. In 1988, Australia was the first country in the world to use banknotes made of plastic polymer. However, you don’t really need them anymore because every cafe, restaurant, bar, and hostel accepts credit cards.
1 meal ($15-$20USD)
1 beer ($5-6USD)
1 night at a backpacker hostel ($20-30USD)
1 inner-city train trip in Sydney or Melbourne ($2-3USD)
1 packet of paracetamol ($3-4USD)
1 ticket to a game of footy ($20-25USD)
Places to go
Sydney: Most people who come to Australia land in Sydney, which is a beautiful way to get to know the country. You could spend weeks in Australia’s biggest city to see everything it has to offer, from its glittering harbor and beautiful city beaches to its sophisticated cultural scene and famous landmarks like the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Yamba: The most popular backpacker route in Australia is a road trip up the sandy East Coast. Most budget travelers head straight for Byron Bay, but a tiny beach town a bit further south is just as charming. Yamba has the same laid-back beach vibe that Byron is known for, but without as many people.
Cairns: This tropical city between the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest is the last stop on that long trip up the coast. Cairns is a backpacker’s paradise with cruises, beaches, day trips, animal experiences, snorkeling tours, bush walks, and skydives. It is also the gateway to Australia’s famous tropics.
Western Australia: It takes four or five hours to fly to Perth from Sydney or Melbourne, so it’s a bit out of the way, but backpackers who go west will be very happy with what they find. Explore the city before learning about its history in the pretty port of Fremantle. Take the ferry to the idyllic Rottnest Island, take a road trip up north to swim with whale sharks and ride camels along the coast, or head down south to find world-class wineries and beaches.
Darwin: This place is really different from everywhere else on Earth. You can start exploring the ancient, rough, and crocodile-filled landscapes of the Top End from the capital of the Northern Territory. The nightlife in the city itself is even wilder.
Bucket list experiences
Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge:The “Coathanger” is one of the most famous images of Australia, and visitors can climb the arch to get a view of the Harbour City from 134 meters above the water. The whole BridgeClimb experience costs more than $300, but the 360-degree views are worth every penny.
Dive the Great Barrier Reef: to make your own sequel to “Finding Nemo” at the world’s biggest coral reef. Explore this 2300km wonder under the warm tropical water, where you can get up close to colorful coral formations and even more colorful marine life.
Catch the sunset at Uluru: “The Rock,” as locals call it, is the heart of the continent and a sacred place for Indigenous Australians. It’s also a very spiritual place for tourists to visit. This huge sandstone monolith glows ochre-red at sunset, which is the best time to visit Uluru by car, foot, camel, hot-air balloon, or even Harley Davidson. Respect the wishes of the people who live there and don’t climb it.
Topic: A Ultimate Travel Guide for Backpacking Australia
Join the “I Left My Heart in Australia” in Our Community on Facebook. A place where members can be honest with each other, share their stories and travel photos, and try out a new way to see Australia together.
By: Travel Pixy