The lovable, wild, free, expansive country of Australia will not disappoint. Also known as: Land Down Under, Great Southern Land, the Sunburnt Country.
Population: 25.5 million
Money: Australian Dollar (AUD)
Beliefs: over 30% identify as non-religious, followed by Catholic, Anglican.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit will depend on which area of Australia you are visiting. Generally the peak periods are Spring (Sept – Nov), Summer (Dec – Feb) and school holidays. Ski season generally runs June – October but check with the resort you plan to ski with.
Take your pick for an outdoor adventure. Hot vast desert or cool blue ocean. Lush rainforests or mountain hiking. You name it and Australia probably has it!
Whilst food typically associated with Australia (meat pies, sausages and fish & chips) aren’t very gourmet, you can still find excellent food due to Australia being very multicultural.
Get your art fix in Australia at major galleries, smaller art spaces or seeking out the street art (popular in Melbourne and emerging in Adelaide). Enjoy the performing arts scene and then top it off with a picnic in one of the many gardens.
The capital city of each state are very different. Melbourne (VIC) and Sydney (NSW) are known for being bigger and trendier. Adelaide (SA) is sleepy but really lovable, people forget about Hobart (TAS) but it is really charming. Perth (WA) is the beautiful one that demands you empty your pockets of all money and valuables and give them to her before you can enter. Darwin (NT) and Brisbane (QLD) are comfortable and under-appreciated. And lets be honest, no-one really goes out their way to visit Canberra (ACT), but it does make a great stop if you are travelling through.
Australia has a dark history with respect to treatment of Indigenous Australians who first lived on this land. You can learn about Indigenous culture in many ways (information centres, tours, cultural experiences) and should research this for the destinations you wish to visit.
Meet the locals
Explore the beaches
Tipping is not common in Australia, and many Australians don’t want tipping to become commonplace. Restaurants may have a tip jar on the counter if you want to leave a tip and this money usually goes to paying for a social function for everyone to enjoy, or spilt evenly between staff, rather than going to an individual. Should you barter or haggle in Australia? No! You might be able to get a small discount from markets etc if you are buying multiple products, but in general haggling hard will just make you look like a tight-arse (good Aussie saying for someone who is tight with money!).
The wildlife in Australia can be seriously cute and cuddly but please don’t touch wild animals! In some areas the animals have become very friendly and almost tame. By all means admire them and take some great photos, but give them space.
Most states have banned lightweight plastic bags, but you will still find thicker plastic bags being used. Many retailers have been awesome at moving to paper bags or just refusing to give out bags completely – but it is still best to try and bring re-usable bags. Wonderfully, many farmers market refuse to give out bags and you must bring your own – or you will walk out with fresh produce balancing precariously in your arms!
Australia can have some harsh droughts which impact different areas so please be mindful of conditions in the area you visit and try and limit your water consumption.
Accommodation – cheapest accommodation options are camping and free RV stops. Cabins in caravan parks start around $70-90 but average around $100-130. Budget around $100 for basic hotels/motels. Backpacker accommodation is common in larger towns/cities, but limited in regional areas. If you are not limited by budget then you will find amazing bed and breakfasts and resort style accommodation.
Food – Food will use up a chunk of your budget if you eat out for all meals. Cheap takeaway style lunches are around $7, coffees $5, breakfast at a cafe $15, classic Aussie Pies $5. Cheapest option is to self cater.
Transportation – Australia is huge with limited public transport outside of major cities. There is no centralised public transport system across the country. Each state coordinates their own network and payment system. Buses and trains are popular for longer distances (within states and inter-state) but research the cost as sometimes scoring cheap flights can be quicker and easier.
Cost Summary – Australia is known for being an expensive travel destination, many Australians holiday overseas due to the cost! If you want to travel cheap then look at self drive and self catering.
Prices for accommodation increase (easily double) during peak period and School Holidays so avoid these times. Excellent deals can be found for longer stays outside the peak period, or mid-week stays.
Grab a basket or shopping bag, head to a local market and stock up on fresh produce! Find accommodation with a kitchen and cook-up a feast!
World class Street Art in Melbourne
Books to provide further inspiration and help plan your amazing journey.
Many Journeys Blog has a range of blog posts to help you plan your visit.