Travelling to Australia for the first time can be daunting. The country is massive and seems so far away from anywhere. It all feels very unfamiliar, but exciting at the same time – Australia is an epic country to visit, there is soooo much to see and do – there really is nothing to worry about.
Once you get over that super long flights (which really, only takes up a day or 2 of your life – defo worth it I’d say, for what you get at the end of the ride), and settle in to the time difference, it’s all up from there.
So, lets get on with it – from the very basics of what you wanna know before you get there, to the best places to check out once you’re down under – I’ve got ya covered…
Where is it?
Australia is located in Oceania.
When is the best time to visit?
It all depends on when you’re going and what you want to get up to. I would recommend heading over there during their summertime, so from November to February.
The spoken language is English.
Australian Dollar (£1 GBP is £1.88 AUD)
How much money should I take with me?
I went for 6 months and took £4,500 with me, which sounds like a lot of money but I also worked for a month whilst I was over there earning £11 an hour and the I still felt like I had no where near enough money (put it this way – when I got home to the UK, I had £0.02 in my account).
So, I would say…
6 months with no work – £5,000 – 6,000
1 year with work – £5,000
Do I need a visa?
Tourist visa – 3 months max stay and is free
Working holiday visa – 1 year max stay and is £365 (STA.com)
2nd year working visa – during your 1st year working holiday visa stay you can apply to stay for a second year by completing 88 days of farm work, fruit picking or construction work.
Type I (look it up and grab some on Amazon)
What should I pack?
My main piece of advice is to avoid over packing! I made the mistake of packing pretty much all of my belongings from home, that I had to haul on my back for 6 months only ever reaching for baggy t-shirts, bikinis and the odd nice dress. You do not need as much as you think!
The baggage allowance on long haul flights tends to be between 23kg to 30kg. I’d recommend to lean more towards the lighter side as you may take internal flights once you get to Aus that have stricter allowances.
Here is my list of some items you may not think of packing, but that will come in real handy – believe me!
Which route should I take?
The East Coast is the most popular route to take as it is the most accessible and is crammed with amazing things to do and see.
You can either start in Cairns and travel down to Sydney and Melbourne or start south and travel up to Cairns – it’s completely up to you (coaches go both ways).
How to get around?
Coach – Greyhound buses are the most convenient way to travel around Aus. You can buy a hop-on hop-off pass that will take you to all of the top destinations up and down the country.
Campervan – If buses aren’t your thing, you can hire a camper to go on your very own Australian roadie.
Check out RatPack Travel to get the best prices on campers and coach passes – Sammy will sort you out with some epic deals!
Where do I stay?
Hostel World will become your new BFF in Oz.
Hostels are the place to be if you’re embracing the true backpacker lifestyle – they’re the cheapest option and a great way to meet others travelling like you…especially if you’re going solo.
You can either book in advance or book as you go from place to place – I would recommend booking a little in advance in order to get cheaper deals and not risk turning up somewhere and not being able to find a free dorm!!!
Sydney – Wake Up! Sydney
Byron Bay – Byron Beach Resort
Gold Coast – Bunk
Brisbane – Bunk
Noosa – Flashpackers
Airlie Beach – Magnums
Magnetic Island – Base
Cairns – Tropic Days
Melbourne – Flinders
Top spots along the East Coast
Sydney – such a beat city with some insane beaches
Manly – a 20min ferry ride from Sydney and my personal fave spot
Byron Bay – surfers paradise and pure chilled vibes
Gold Coast – have a bit of a part at Surfers Paradise
Noosa – stunning place and great for koala spotting
Fraser Island – put this right at the top of your bucket list. It’s the largest sand island in the world
Whitsunday Islands – clear turquoise sea and powdery pure white sand…paradise
Magnetic Island – the best place to spot wild koalas and baby wallabies
Cairns – home of the famous Great Barrier Reef and tonnes more natural beauty
Melbourne – such a cool, hipster city
How to budget?
Australia is famous for being a little on the pricey side, so watch out for this when you get there! It is possible to keep on the budget side of life, just think before you buy and always look for the cheapest option.
The best tours to spend your money on
Fraser Island – Nomads 2 day 1 night trip
Whitsundays – Ocean Safari day trip
Cairns – Great Barrier Reef day tour
Cairns – Atherton Tablelands waterfall circuit
Mission Beach – 15,000ft sky dive (wisshhhhh I did this!)
Will I make friends?
The concept of making friends when you’re halfway across the world can seem intimidating but, just keep in mind EVERYONE is feeling the same as you. It’s simply a case of putting yourself out there and throwing around the typical comments of ‘where are you from’, ‘where are you going next’…I know that’s easier said than done, but you may meet your new bestie by doing so.
Myself and my boyfriend met another couple whilst we are over there and we have stayed in touch ever since and I consider them to be my best friends!!
What if I get homesick?
It’s inevitable that you’re going to miss home whilst you’re away. For some people it may be just a little bit here and there, but for others being away from home and on the other side of the world can be hard at time.
Just remember, most people around have probable felt the same and will understand if you just want some time to yourself. It’s ok and very normal to feel homesick. All I can say is thank god for facetime!!
If there is anything else you need to know or any questions you think I could help you with, drop me a message over on Instagram and I’ll see what I can do…