Each and every year, millions of people from across the globe, including backpackers of all ages, flock to Australia’s shores. Spanning from the rich red soils of its desert regions through to its spectacular sweeping coastlines, it’s easy to see why our ‘Great Southern Land’ sees travellers return time after time with so much to see, do and experience on offer.
If you’re planning to discover the country’s natural beauty, iconic buildings and laidback culture, check out our top tips for backpacking in Australia before you leave home!
Take The Leap
If you’re thinking about making the jump and backpacking across Australia, you’re already halfway there! Just having the confidence to make the first steps can be hard enough,and we all have those creeping anxieties about leaving our hometowns, so you are not alone! Never think you can’t do it just because of money issues or whatever reason you just came up with – if you make something your focus you can achieve your goals.
Do Your Homework
Seek out places to visit and look up cheap flights and hotels for inspiration. One great idea is to talk to people who have travelled before and discuss the plans you have made so far. More likely than not, they will have felt exactly the same as you and will be able to give you information and insight on your dream trip.
Remember the bag you take with you will follow you for however long your adventure lasts. It’s always best to pack light, especially with clothes, as you can always buy more of what you need once you get to Australia. Take the weather into account too, it does rain and it can be cold at night. If you’re headed Down Under for summer, you won’t need to pack as much, but it can get colder in the winter months so at least a coat and a jumper or two are a must.
Get Travel Insurance
Whether you’re planning on doing the bungee-jumping-water-sports adventure tour of Australia or are looking to soak up its cultural sights it’s always best to be prepared with travel insurance, so spend some time comparing insurers to work out what is best for your trip.
Australia have a different version of healthcare – Medicare – so going to the doctors can cost around $70, although there are some allowances for Commonwealth countries. It’s best to get hold of a Medicare card early on for GP visits as they can take some time to come through, but if you have good travel insurance you’ll definitely be covered in any kind of accident. It’s great to know your possessions are covered too!
Plan Your Trips
The most important thing to get to grips with when planning your routes is the size of Australia. Travelling to the Gold Coast from Sydney takes around 12 hours by car, and Melbourne to Adelaide by train takes over 10 hours. Taking this travel time into account will help you get a better idea of what options are viable depending on your length of stay. If you want to avoid spending large amounts of time on public transport, it would be better to purchase your flights well in advance.
Seize The Day
Get up early and make the most of your days. No doubt the sun will be shining which admittedly makes this a lot easier, and Australia is filled with outdoor adventures for even the cheapest of budgets. Got the backpacker blues? Take a long beach walk or explore the city you’re visiting on foot to motivate yourself and to help remember why you decided to do this in the first place – the thrill of travelling is all about discovery and immersing yourself in new and exciting cultures!
Get Your Money Sorted
Make sure that you have spare cash – Sydney and Melbourne alone are among the most expensive cities to live in the world. If you’re travelling on a Working Holiday Visa the Australian Government say $5,000 dollars is the correct amount to bring with you to get you started. It is doable with this amount, but be prepared to budget this properly regardless of if you are travelling around or staying in one city.
It is best to split your money part cash, part card and get hold of a travel money card or an international bank card, or you will be charged at ATMs. It’s also important to make yourself aware of any hidden charges as some banks charge an extra dollar or two on both sides for contactless paywave payments, which may see your bank balance drop faster than you may like.
Stay In Contact
Skype can be great way of keeping in touch with people back home, but if you’re stuck for Wi-Fi, it can be difficult to have a good chat on a bad connection. If you are lacking signal in rural areas, it might be easier to create voice notes and send them to friends and family through Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger. This way you can listen to them in your own time and reply when you’re ready instead of having a quick call and not getting a chance to say what you want. This is also great if you feel homesick as you can replay the notes at any time and get an emotional boost from your loved ones back home.
In the city, coffee shops, internet cafes and libraries are always a good starting point when on the lookout for Wi-Fi, and most hostels offer some kind of internet connection for backpackers.
It’s also great to invest in a notebook computer for you trip as there will be times when you just want to surf the web or reply to friends and family. They are generally a lot lighter than your average laptop, are easy to carry around with you and are quite cheap to buy.