Updated: Escaping to the Land Down Under 2011
Australia Travel Blog› entry 1 of 6 › view all entries
Well I have just come back from my 3rd visit to Australia in the last 5 years and I wanted to update my blog as many things have changed and there are a few different things I would suggest from my previous experiences.
So I've been asked several times about my trip to Australia. Where I went, what I took, how I got there, who I was with, how did I survive. The questions were endless. Lucky for me I did have some help when I took off from a friend that was originally from Australia. She gave me tips and a $20 aussie bill and wished me luck! The rest was for me to explore! Now this was my first big trip away from home... I was going for a year, to another country where I knew noone, ALONE knowing very little! I remember my last writtings in my journal prior to departure from Canada was, "Maybe I shouldn't go. I'm the last one to board the plane and I could just go home...right now." And now every time I read that I have such a laugh! Because in turn getting on that plane was the best thing that ever happend to me! So with some of the friends that asked me about travels there I wrote them a blurb or two about things I took, places I went, estimated costs for travel, accomadation and food, how to get around and what not.
Start with Packin! I hate packing. I've been doing it for 4 years and I still pack too much and don't wear half of the stuff!
I'm a girl... so this is girlie packing:
Only a couple pairs of socks unless you wear shoesâï¿½¦ probably end up wearing thongs more.
3-5 tank tops/shirts
1-2 light sweaters/hoodies
1 spring jacket
1-2tops pair of pants + one black pair if you intend to work in a pub or office You'll live out of shorts or capris
And you'll also find you wear a lot of the clothes overal ¦but as you travel, noone ever notices.
Sandles and one pair of running shoes (good for hiking) Avoid lugging around heavy things you don'tt need.
Keep in mind all stuff there is quite a bit more expensive. I packed two deoterants, shampoo/condition. Toothpaste you can find over there for a dollar so one tube would be enough. Whatever makeup you wear. That is also very expensive. Mascara runs for$15 and up. So I packed a bit extra plus its small and doesn't take up much room.
Things that I was glad I took was my ipod for listening to music on long bus rides. A good digital camera was awesome!!! 512mb card I could take up to 300photos on the one card and then you can burn them to a disc or copy them to your computer. I wouldn't suggest taking any hair stuff (curling iron, straightner, blow drier) I took mine and used them with what I thought was a converter of electricity and they blew up! Get one over there if you really want one but don't bother taking good stuff like that.
Lastly I reccomend buying groceries. Oz is going to be expensive with all the adventures, getting around and drinking. Get a Coles or Wooly's bag and try to buy the essentials. It's quite a bit cheaper if you are travelling with people and can share the costs.
Places I LOVED to go! These are very general places with a few tips.
Two main streets with hostels is George and Pitt street. There is also different areas in Sydney with hostels. Bondi beach, Manly beach and the sketchy King Cross¦go there with trusted friends.. Hostels all over these areas. good bus transportation and trains. As soon as you get there, get the $40 train, ferry and bus pass. It is so worth it, expecially if you will be there for 3 days-week.
You'll want to check out the opera house, botanical gardens, the rocks at circular Quay which is pronounced key check out bondi and manly beach which you can either take by bus or ferry it to manly.
Heading up the east coast.
Byron Bay I small but a nice chilled out place. Can find backpacker hostels pretty much anywhere
Gold Coast Surfers Paradise. Basically another party city and beach. Fun nightlife although I didn't spend much time there. Oh ya, all the theme parks are here too.
Brisbane is about an hour by train north of surfers. South Bank Lagoon is nice. There isn't a beach there but there is a man made pool outside that everyone goes to for free. Nice walking path over there as well. I loved brissie even if there wasn't as much to do there. If you can get a car then there are lots of nice drives and hikes outside of brissie. Can also go to Moerton Island beautiful sand island. Go 4x4ing and sand toboganning.
Sunshine Coast Again if u have car there are some nice drives inland. Steve Irwins Australia Zoo is in Beerwah. Since I was there in 2006, they have improved the grounds. Alot more signs about the animals, they have opened up Africa. Be sure to hit up your hostel or Peter Pan for a discount. $46 instead of $60
I went to Fraser Island from Rainbow beach that has the 3day 4x4 tour you can go on with up to 12 ppl. Largest sand island in the world and is a blast.
Airlie Beach is where you go on the Whit Sundays where you sail around for 3days/2night. Again a lot of fun. Go snorkeling and usually you can get package deals for fraser island and the whitsundays which may be cheaper
Bundaberg is home of Bundy Rum, the national drink they drink it like we do our whiskey. Small town. Did the bundy rum tour
Townsville Only reason you would go through there is to go to magnetic island the only island that has free roaming koalas.
Mission Beach and Tully. Did my sky diving in mission and did white water rafting in tully. mission beach nice hostels and chilled out. Skydiving is cheaper around Sydney and Melbourne, but you don't see the Great Barrier Reef
Cairns great place to do snorkeling or diving.
Heading inland Alice springs in the center is quite the shithole so get in and get out as quick as possible.
500km south and you would probably go on a tour to get down there and you see ayres rock, kings canyon (my fav) and the olgas.extend the three day tour and you can see some other neat ranges and hikes. Also learn about the aboriginal experience. I hit up Boulia which is outback queensland. Worked in the pub there. amazing people, working on a cattle station, went quadding, horseback riding...all with the locals. Look for community events, camel races, horse races ect. Also lots of cattle stations to work on for new and cool experience.
North of that and at the top end is Darwin the very hot city with not much up there really except kakadu national park.
Perth is awesome! I loved it. Small city, quite but friendly.
Never made it to Adelaide and don't know that there is much there to check out.
Melbourne is supposed to be better than Sydney. Each local will give you their argument. Actually I think I like Melbourne better now after visiting there twice. I find it's a city, but there are several parks and places you can go where you can feel like your not in a city.
Tasmania: also awesome,Landed in Hobart from Melbourne, hired a car around the island for 4 days.
When you book things you can book directly and or go with a travel agent. We found it wierd this year that travel agents were giving us better deals than the actual company could offer us. We booked through Peter Pans Travel Adventuer. They also give you free wifi in any of their shops throughout the country. The other major travel planner was Tribal Travel. They both offer deals with all your east coast travel experiences.
Working Now to work in Australia, most places will require a work permit. Coming from a common wealth country I was able to get a one year working holiday visa that allowed me to work for any one employer for up to 3 months I believe this limitation of 3 months as changed to maybe 6 or no limit at all.
Ways of getting around.
If you arrive in Sydney, DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT take a cab unless you want to pay $40 plus. It's really not worth it when the train can get you there and or buses for $14-$20. If you are in Melbourne, they Sky Bus will taking you for a wapping $16 and it's a 20min ride. They offer you a free shuttle from the Southern Cross Station to your hostel or your hotel. In Carins, there is a shuttle and I believe it is $12/person or if there is two of you $18 together. Also check our your hostels, sometimes they do free pick up/dropp offs. Tours are easy and you are guaranteed to get real information and meet lots of people. Although expensive and some things you will find you easily could have done another way. Shop around! Prices change as well from one agent to another. Booking directly may cut costs. There will be message boards in all hostels with ppl looking for rides or offering lifts from one place to another. I'm not suggesting you jump into a car with just anyone but if you can meet up with a bunch of people and u think they are smart enough and that you could trust them, then it might be a really neat experience and a great way to build a friendship.
Hostels are usually between 12-30dollars a night. Sydney will be the most expensive place you stay. Never sign bonds for a flat, just be the renter and pay by the week or bi weekly if that is the agreement. I had bought a Nomads card for $35 and that got me discounts on tours, hostels and car hire, food and heaps more. There is also YHA but I think that one sucks and YHA hostels are real expensive. Holidays like Xmas in New years, try to book ahead. Everyone wants to be in Sydney! so Plan ahead and make some bookings.
Trying to think of what else you might want or need to know.
Don't want to plant too many ideas in your head, but get a map and check out where some of the places are that I listed off. Give you an idea of the places you'll be coming across.
HAVE FUN MY FELLOW TRAVEL MATES! I hope this helped you out! Best of Luck and post me to let me know what great adventures you found along the way!