Solo travel is a breeze in Australia and it’s one of the best countries to travel in alone if you’ve never done it before. Whether you are doing a working holiday and planning on staying in Sydney or Melbourne for a while, or you are simply spending some time on the East or West coast, there is no end to the spectacular natural beauty and fantastic cities to see. I have lived in Melbourne for three years and these are some of my top tips for solo travel in Australia.
- Consider a working holiday
Australia can be an expensive destination to travel around, that is until you start earning money. Wages are great in Australia so it pays to spend a few months living in one of the cities or even getting a few jobs as you travel around. Many backpackers do farm work but there’s no point doing it unless you want your second-year visa. If not, other jobs pay much better and could even lead to sponsorship. Read more here: How I’ve Got A 2nd Year Australia Visa Without Farm Work
2. Get a car (or find someone who has one)
One of the most popular ways to travel the East Coast of Australia is with a Greyhound bus pass however having access to a car for a few days is a great way to get off the beaten track. If you can’t drive yourself, then just get to talking to travellers in hostels. Chances are you will find some people to tag along with. A car is a great way to explore the Daintree Forest (north of Cairns) as well as rural New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the West Coast of Australia.
3. Do your research when it comes to booking hostels
Where you stay can make or break your trip so, do some research and be prepared to pay a little bit extra in order to stay in the more popular backpacker hostels. These include places like Gilligans in Cairns, Base Backpackers in Magnetic island, Wake Up In Byron Bay and United Backpackers in Melbourne. Good hostels will plan lots of events, have bars and offer tours, all of which are a great way to meet others.
4. Join a short tour
If you are travelling solo then a short tour is an easy way to explore iconic Aussie destinations without a car and it’s a great way to meet other solo travellers. Popular short tours include a yacht trip on the Whitsundays and a camping trip to Fraser Island. You should also join in the free walking tours when you arrive in cities like Melbourne and Sydney.
5. Travel like a local, not a tourist
It’s so easy to stick to the hostel crowds and popular tourist attractions in Australia. However, if you truly want to understand the country, you need to see it like a local. This means chatting to locals wherever you can and getting advice on things to do, going off the beaten path to quieter beaches and suburbs, getting a car and spending time in nature, stopping off at rural campsites and going on walks and researching the most popular bars, cafes, restaurants and brunch spots in each city that you go to.
6. Get a local Sim card
Getting a local Sim card is easy and it will make travelling around Australia so much easier, even if you are only planning on staying a few weeks. Just buy a prepaid one or visit a phone store like Optus for a cheap contract.
7. Remember that you can’t see everything
Australia is vast and it’s almost impossible to see and do everything. If you are pressed for time then pick a region that you are desperate to visit, whether that’s the East Coast, West Coast, Tasmania or just the cities. It’s better to do less but explore a region in-depth than trying to do a whirlwind tour of everything.
8. Take seasons into account
It’s important to bear In mind that Australia is not hot all of the time. The winter months (June-August) in New South Wales and Victoria can be cold and rainy, so it’s much better to visit the North of the country during this time.
9. Put yourself out there
Australia is a fantastic destination for solo travellers but it is what you make of it. Because of the scope of the country and its popularity amongst backpackers, travelling around Australia could be a lonely experience, but only if you let it be. However, if you make an effort to be open, out-going and sociable, you’ll be met with warmth and welcomed into the country like one of its own.