Planning a trip to Australia – This is EVERYTHING you need to know

Planning a trip to Australia - This is EVERYTHING you need to know

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Australia is an incredible country with an endless amount of things to do and see. This can make planning a trip to Australia an overwhelming task, but don’t let it stop you.

The first thing to keep in mind when planning a trip to Australia is that it is better to see less but do more. Trying to cover too much of the country in a short time frame will leave you feeling like you spend more time travelling than enjoying the country.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about planning a trip to Australia, including visas, flight, getting around, accommodation and bucket list destinations.

Tourist visas for Australia

Planning a trip to Australia

Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a valid Australian tourist visa to enter the country. All other passport holders must apply for a tourist visa. You can also apply for a visa on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.

Currency in Australia

The currency in Australia is Australian dollars.  You can use the Money Converter website to find out the current exchange rate for your local currency. Keep the exchange rate in mind when creating your travel budget.

Arriving in Australia

The major international airports of the country are in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. It is likely that you would fly into one of these airports. You could then can travel by hire car, bus, train or domestic flights around the country.

Getting around in Australia

Planning a trip to Australia

The major airlines in Australia are Quantas, JetStar and Virgin Australia. But if you are after cheap domestic flights JetStar or TigerAir offer the best deals at the best prices. If you are arriving on a short trip, it is best to fly because the country is vast and distances between major destinations are far. Alternatively, you can travel across the country by bus or train (between certain destinations).

Each city has its own public transport system, generally with a combination of buses and trains. Hiring a car is another great option for people who are confident drivers and want to travel out into the country or around some of the national parks Australia has to offer.

You should obtain an IDP (International Driving Permit) before travelling to Australia if you plan to hire a car (if you are not from New Zealand).

Accommodation in Australia

Each destination in Australia has lots of accommodation options, ranging from hostels to luxury hotels and Airbnbs. Prices vary from city to city and, of course, the quality of the place you’re staying at.

In Australia, Airbnb is very popular and affordable. If you do prefer to stay at hotels, I recommend using booking.com to search for accommodation. If you book using this link, you will receive $25 cash back after your stay.

Search for accommodation in Australia

Booking.com

Bucket List Experiences in Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Planning a trip to Australia

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Australia. It is a heritage listed steel through arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district and the North Shore. Visitor can climb the bridge if they dare or walk around the harbour to capture iconic photos.

Sydney Opera House

Planning a trip to Australia

The Sydney Opera House is a performing arts centre in Sydney. It is one of the 20th century’s most famous and distinctive buildings.

Great Barrier Reef

Planning a trip to Australia

The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland in north-eastern Australia, is the largest living thing on Earth, and even visible from outer space. The 2,300km-long ecosystem comprises thousands of reefs and hundreds of islands made of over 600 types of hard and soft coral. It’s home to countless species of colourful fish, molluscs and starfish, plus turtles, dolphins and sharks. There are plenty of cruises and tours to choose from if you want to explore this natural wonder of the world.

Ayres Rock (Uluru)

Planning a trip to Australia

This massive sandstone giant lies in the heart of the Northern Territory’s “Red Centre”. The nearest large town is Alice Springs, 450km away. Uluru is sacred to indigenous Australians and is thought to have started forming around 550 million years ago. It’s within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which also includes the 36 red-rock domes of the Kata Tjuta (colloquially “The Olgas”) formation. There are plenty of tours to choose from if you are wanting to explore this sacred place.

Eumundi Markets – Noosa

Planning a trip to Australia

This is one of Australia’s most famous and atmospheric artisan markets, attracting over 1.6m visitors a year to its 600-plus stalls. Dive into a leafy, bohemian wonderland of hand-crafted furniture, jewellery, clothing and accessories, art, fresh local produce, gourmet provisions and more.

Royal Botanic Gardens – Melbourne

Planning a trip to Australia

Melbourne Botanical Gardens extend across 36 hectares that slope to the river with beautiful trees, garden beds, lakes and lawns making an oasis in the city.

Penguin Parade at Phillip Island

Planning a trip to Australia

Only 90 minutes from Melbourne, you will find Phillip Island, an island home to coastal scenery and the famous nightly penguin parade. Watching these penguins walk home from a day in the ocean is a unique and memorable experience.

Bondi Beach Sydney

Planning a trip to Australia

Bondi is one of Australia’s most iconic beaches. Reliable waves draw surfers while, nearby, locals swim in the Icebergs ocean pool all year round. Trendy, health-conscious Sydneysiders head to laid-back cafes around Hall Street, while backpackers and travellers frequent the area’s casual pubs. Walkers and joggers use the clifftop Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, with its dramatic scenery. It’s a great place to visit for a day and night out in Sydney.

Twelve Apostles

Planning a trip to Australia

The golden cliffs and crumbling pillars of the Twelve Apostles can be found along the Great Ocean Road, between Melbourne and Adelaide. Wild and powerful waves of the Southern Ocean constantly pound the coastline which has shaped the area into what you see today.

Central Markets Adelaide

Planning a trip to Australia

The Adelaide Central Market is one of Australia’s largest fresh produce markets providing a wide range of fresh and multi-cultural products. It is also a popular tourist attraction in the heart of Adelaide and is often referred to as the Central Market. 

The Gold Coast – Queensland

Planning a trip to Australia

The Gold Coast is known my international for its Surfers Paradise glitter strip and nightlife, but there is so much more to do on the Gold Coast. Think 72 km of pristine coastline, lush rainforest, endless waterfalls and hiking trails and an incredible food scene. Something for everyone if you ask me. Here are 101 things to do on the Gold Coast.

Esperance

Planning a trip to Australia

For those looking to get out into the remote parts of Australia, and experience Australian beaches and wildlife at its best, Esperance should be on your Australia Bucket List. This is where you will find kangaroos on the beach and pods of dolphins playing in the crystal clear waters. If you head to Esperance, make sure you visit Cape Le Grand National Park.

Wine Glass Bay – Tasmania

Planning a trip to Australia

Wineglass Bay is an iconic Australian destination, found 2 hours from Hobart in Tasmania. You can hike up to the Wineglass Bay lookout for stunning views of the Freycinet National Park region.

Map of Australia

Budget for Australia

Accommodation

Planning a trip to Australia

$ – Expect to pay around $25-$40 AUD for a bed or a shared hostel room.
$$ – Expect to pay around $80 – $150 for a basic hotel/motel
$$$ – Expect to pay around $150 – $300 for a more comfortable stay in a hotel

Airbnb is a great option in Australia because there are always people looking to rent out their apartment or house in major cities or in country towns that you may want to visit.

Hiring a campervan and staying in national parks is another great way to save on accommodation costs.

Transport

Planning a trip to Australia

Flights between major cities are upwards of $100AUD each way.
Car hire can be between $25 – $50AUD per day depending on the vehicle you hire.

Public transport varies from city to city but generally it is about $5AUD per day for a single use ticket, a multi-pass will end up being cheaper if you are staying a while and catching lots of public transport.

Food

Expect to pay $15AUD minimum for a meal, depending on what and where you eat. If you are staying at a hostel or Airbnb that offers cooking facilities take advantage of that and cook at home to save money.

Weather in Australia/the best time to visit

Planning a trip to Australia

The best time to visit Australia depends very much on where you want to travel and what you want to do. Australia’s summer runs from December –February. During these months, it is best to stick to the southern end of the country. Places like Ayres Rock and Darwin in the Northern Territory get extremely hot. So does tropical North QLD which experiences very high temperatures and humidity.

During winter some parts of Australia can be very cold and even receive snowfall. For example, the Blue Mountains are known to be quite cold in the winter months so it would be wise to rug up if venturing into the mountains come winter time.  If you are looking to ski in Australia, then you would visit during winter and head to the mountains in Victoria.

Choosing the best time to visit Australia depends on where you want to go. I prefer Spring and Autumn – October and April.

Tipping in Australia

Tipping is not customary in Australia, however, some fancier restaurants may ask for a tip on their cheque but you have no obligation to give one out.

Travel Insurance for Australia

Planning a trip to Australia

Travel insurance is a necessity when planning a trip to Australia. I recommend World Nomads.  If you are still unsure if you should buy travel insurance or not, read this. 

Safety in Australia

Australia is a safe country to travel around. Even though it is safe, you should still remain aware of your safety and surroundings at all times. See these tips for keeping safe when travelling. 

One thing to be aware of in Australia is the wildlife. If you are going for a bush walk, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the ground for snakes. If you see one, remain calm, stay still and it will go away. Snakes are rare and you shouldn’t let them stop you from coming Australia, you just need to keep an eye on the ground when you are walking along bush and beach tracks.

Vaccinations for Australia

If you are travelling to Australia from certain countries, you will need a yellow fever certificate to enter the country. Check the Travel Doctor website to find out what vaccinations you need when planning a trip to Australia. If you have any further questions regarding vaccinations required for Australia, I recommend consulting a doctor.

Other things to know when planning a trip to Australia

Planning a trip to Australia
  • Australia is a BIG country. Choose where you go and how you plan to spend your time wisely because you won’t be able to see everything.
  • In Australia, you must drive on the left-hand side of the road and give way to your right.
  • If you are applying for a 2nd-year visa you must complete 88 seasonal days of farm work to qualify.
  • Travelling by campervan is one of the best ways to see the country as often, the most beautiful places are in the countryside.
  • To reduce you expense in Australia, shop at the supermarket and cook as often as you can. Eating out is expensive.

Overseas Travel Checklist

Pin – Planning a trip to Australia

Planning a trip to Australia

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