Australia remains a top holiday destination for its iconic culture, unique nature and celebrated city sights. If you’ve been thinking of journeying down under, here are some of the key facts you need to know before jetting off.
When to go?
The most popular times to go to Australia are summer and winter, but these are also the most expensive times and the busiest. To avoid the crowds and save money on flights and accommodation, you’re best off visiting out of season either between September and November or between March and May. The climate during these periods is also more manageable – visiting in summer (our winter) can be fairly hostile if you’re not used to hot temperatures.
What to see?
There are countless things to see in Australia from Uluru to the Sydney Opera House to The Great Barrier Reef. Because these sights are so spread out, it can be difficult seeing everything in one trip unless you book accommodation in different places across the country. Many people will stay a week in either Sydney or Melbourne where there’s a lot to do in a relatively small area. Sydney in particular has all kinds of attraction on its doorstep from sight such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge to beaches in Manly and Botany Bay to natural sights like the Blue Mountains just outside the city.
If you’re staying in hotels, you can save a lot of money by staying on city outskirts (although you may have to pay extra to travel into the centre). Youth hostels are a popular choice amongst backpackers – every city has them. You can even rough it and take a tent with you. Many Australian campsites are free and the climate is generally pleasant enough to camp all year round.
Getting around this expansive country can be tricky. It’s often quicker and more convenient to travel by air. Airlines such as Jetstar offer some great budget internal flights that could be ideal if you’re trying to get from Melbourne to Sydney or Adelaide to Cairns. If you’re travelling by road there are lots of group options from coaches to minivan hire. Road will take a little longer but it can be a good adventure. When it comes to getting around individual cities, many have extensive train and bus networks that make it easy, although it can be expensive. In Sydney, you’re best off opting for a My Multi Pass that allows you to ride all public transport in the city centre for free (including ferries!).
Food and drink
Australia’s cities offer some great cuisine. Dining out can be expensive, so you may want to make a restaurant meal a one-off treat and stick to street food for the remainder of your travels. There’s a huge tax on alcohol which makes drinking very expensive. You can save money by drinking at special backpacker bars or by buying your own booze from a supermarket or liquor store. Remember if the temperature is hot to load up on water bottles as you’ll need it!