Australia is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. It’s known as a major backpacking, camping, road trip, and diving destination, but no matter your travel style, there is something to draw you here. The country is filled with incredible natural beauty from Uluru to the Outback, rainforests to 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 are in Europe. Coupled with world-class surfing, and it is no wonder people never leave. I’ve been over five times and have criss crossed it three time but, every trip, I find something new about this country to love. Use my extensive travel guide to help plan your next trip. I know you will love the country as much as I do!
Australia’s largest city has a range of activities to keep you busy. Climb the Sydney Harbor bridge, surf in Bondi Beach, party in King’s Cross, sail across the harbor, visit the Opera House, and take in world-class innovation in Darling Harbor. Sydney is a bustling big city that still has a laid back, beach vibe to it.
2) Visit Uluru
Uluru is one of the best attractions in the country. Make sure you are there for both sunset and sunrise because both are equally as spectacular. It’s a pretty breathtaking sight considering it’s just a big rock! Make sure to visit the Aboriginal center to learn about the local population.
3) Dive the Great Barrier Reef
Find your very own Nemo! Even if you don’t dive, you can still take a boat to the reef and go snorkeling. Try to one that has a permit to visit sites further from the shore to avoid the onslaught of other boats and divers that inundate dive sites closer to shore. Trips start around 180 AUD for the day.
Melbourne is much more relaxed than Sydney (and, personally, I like it more). There are more cafes and restaurants with fewer clubs, crowds, and better music. This is the place to relax by the river, walk through the gigantic city gardens, eat amazing food, enjoy the art, and party in St. Kilda.
5) Sail the Whitsundays
A three-day, two-night sailing trips(starting around 540 AUD) are a popular way to see some of the most beautiful sand islands in the world. Whitehaven beach on a clear day is mesmerizing. A few of the islands have resorts if you want to go on your own and stay longer in paradise.
1. Explore Fraser Island
2. Go to Cairns
3. Hang out in Brisbane on the South Bank
4. Hike the Daintree
5. Have a Sunday Session in Perth
6. Explore the Outback
7. Surf on the Gold Coast
8. Take the wine tour
9. The Ningaloo Reef
10. Visit Western Australia
11. See Tasmania
12. The Blue Mountains
13. See the Karri Trees
14. Visit Kimberley
15. Visit Kakadu
Accommodation – Hostels start at 20 AUD per night for a dorm room, though they get as high as 40 in the big coastal cities. Private rooms with a double bed and a shared bathroom in hostels range between 80-100 AUD per night. For budget hotels, you are looking to spend at least around 75-95 AUD for a double room, private bathroom, TV, and breakfast. Larger, chain hotels cost closer to 200 AUD. Camping costs between 15-30 AUD per night (cheaper if you bring your own tent, more expensive if you’re parking an RV).Food – Food isn’t cheap in Australia! Most decent restaurant entrees cost at least 20 AUD . Originally, I thought I was doing something wrong spending so much, but as many of my Aussie friends told me, “we just get screwed here.” If you cook your meals, expect to pay 100 AUD per week for groceries that will include pasta, vegetables, chicken, and other basic foodstuffs. Grab and go places cost around 8-10 AUD for sandwiches. Fast food is around 15 AUD for a meal (burger, fries, soda). The best value food are the Asian and Indian restaurants where you can get a really filling meal for under $10 AUD!
Transportation – Local city trains and buses cost 3-4 AUD. The easiest way to get around the country is via Greyhound. Passes begin at 145 AUD and go all the way to 3,000 AUD. There are also backpacker buses like the Oz Experience that have multi-city passes starting at 535 AUD (though I don’t like the Oz Experience and wouldn’t recommend it). The most popular and cheapest way to travel is to drive yourself. Campervan rentals start at 60 AUD per day and can also double as places to sleep. Flying can be very expensive due to limited competition, especially when going from coast to coast. I generally avoid flying in Australia unless I am pressed for time or there is a sale.
Activities – Multi-day activities and tours are expensive, generally costing 400-540 AUD. Day trips will cost about 135-230 AUD. For example, a one-day trip to the Great Barrier Reef can cost 230 AUD while a two-night sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands can cost upwards of 540 AUD. A three-day trip to Uluru from Alice Springs is around 480 AUD. Walking tours are around 50 AUD and day trips to wine regions are between 150-200 AUD.