Australia is surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans and famous for its natural wonders, wide open spaces and beautiful beaches – a surfer’s paradise. Australia’s main cities, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide are all coastal, only the capital city Canberra, is inland.
The country is known around the world for its deserts, “the bush”, Australian natives “Aborigines” and a vast interior desert wilderness called “the Outback”. Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef and unique animal species like kangaroos, platypuses and koala bears are also huge incentives for millions of tourists to flock to Australia each year.
Australia Travel Info
Language: General Australian is the standard dialect. English is the only language spoken in the home for about 75% of the population. The next most common languages spoken at home are: Mandarin (2.5%), Arabic (1.4%), Cantonese (1.2%), Vietnamese (1.2%) and Italian (1.2%).
Currency: Australian Dollar.
Visa: Tourist visas are available to all passport holders who are outside Australia. Visitors of certain nationalities are eligible to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or an eVisitor. When applying for a six month tourist visa make sure you have two empty pages in your passport, a return ticket, proof of finances along and accommodation details.
Electricity: Australia operates on 230 volts with a frequency of 50 Hz. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each country you visit.
Australia Festivals & Celebrations
Vivid Sydney: If you are looking for a unique celebration, make sure to attend Vivid Sydney held generally during end May month or at times early June, every year in Sydney. It is the biggest one such festival that blends in music, lights and brings everything together ranging from technology to art on a single platform.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival: The world’s one of the most popular as well as oldest comedy festival is Melbourne International Comedy Festival, being organized since 1987 and draws some of the renowned international artists. The festival hosts over 500 events ranging from cabaret to standup. You must include this festival on your bucket list.
Woodford Folk Festival: In Queensland, towards the North of Brisbane lies Woodford where the Woodford Folk Festival takes place. The festival happens in a very folksy, hip atmosphere and is very different from any typical celebration. If you have come to Australia to celebrate the New Year festivities, Woodward is a great alternative.
Safety In Australia
Australia is a safe place to travel to although thefts, bag snatching and scams are prevalent in all big cities so be mindful of this. Major cities like Sydney and Melbourne are under the constant threat of a terror attack, as with all major cities worldwide, but security measures are in place. Based on my own travel experiences in Australia, I wouldn’t leave home without travel insurance no matter how safe the destination is considered. You can still miss flights, lose your luggage or break a leg, especially if you’re as accident prone as I am. For this reason I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks or months before you plan to visit Australia.
Top Things To Do In Australia
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera house is an iconic Australian structure built by Jorn Utzon, a Danish Artist and got listed among the World Heritage Sites. It looks like a yacht’s sail with a commanding and soaring presence. Within the complex are five performance spaces where concerts, dances, opera, and theater take place. You can best explore the building by attending a performance or by making a guided tour.
Visit the Twelve Apostles
The twelve apostles are rocky stacks that stand out of the ocean spectacularly and are a hugely iconic sight and an everlasting image for the visitors who visit the Great Ocean Road. Currently, out of 12, only seven apostles are visible from the viewing platforms set on cliff tops and connected by timber walkway. The best time to visit the place is during sunset when the number of tourists is less, and you also get to see witness little penguins that are coming back to the shore.
Explore the world of Pinnacles
On the clear blue coast of Western Australia, at about 250 kilometers towards the north of Perth, lies the Pinnacles Desert where a large number of limestone pillars appear like some extraterrestrial tombstones. The park has ample beautiful white beaches, unique fauna, wildflowers, and superb fishing spots. You can also spend some time in the fishing village called Cervantes, located nearby.
This red rock dome is considered as one of the most famous tourist attractions in Australia. A big sandstone monolith in the northern part of Australia and close to Alice Springs in Australia, believed to have started around 550 million years ago.
Explore underwater with great white Sharks
Diving with the white sharks is one adventure you will boast about for long. Several out companies run a day long great white shark tours that attract a large number of tourist. The activity takes place at Neptune Island, 70 kilometers from Port Lincoln. You do not need a scuba experience. A giant hose fills air into the cage that you would be put into, and you can swim right next to the giant nut gentle white sharks.
Wander through the Central Market, Adelaide
Central market is not just a shopping op but a tourist destination. The 250 unique shops satiate the most intense culinary cravings of their visitors. From salami from the Mettwurst shop to Smelly cheese shop’s English stallion to the best blueberry Yoghurt from the Yoghurt shop, everything is available here. Adelaide’s best food and wine tours arrange guided tours to this market. It is challenging for even a non-foodie to make out of the place without eating a thing or two.
Head to Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
The Franklin Gordon National park is a World Heritage National Park located amid the Olga and Franklin Rivers. It is a part of Gordon River that hosts many adventure sports including rafting, climbing, and bushwalking. Frenchman’s Cap is a snow-capped summit of the park which is about 1443 meters tall and at a four to five-day hike. The park is also home to some unique species of plants.
Relax at the Cable Beach
This landmark Australian beach is known for its turquoise waters and white sand looking even more at sunset. Towards the north of the rocks, clothing is optional while towards the south, some walking trails lead to Minyirr Park, a spiritual hub for the people of Yawuru. Among the highlights of the beach is an evening camel ride along the sands that is enjoyed by visitors and locals swarm to the north for sunset drinks.
Explore Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island is a World Heritage-listed island on the Pacific Ocean and is at a short distance from Sydney. The island is among the lushest destinations of the world with nearly 75 percent of the original vegetation of the island untouched. The remarkable geology, the naturally beautiful corals and the array of rare plants, birds and marine life make this island the most desirable among nature lovers. Even the adventure enthusiasts get a fair share of hiking and surfing at this 400 visitor’s only Island.
Watch nesting turtles at Queensland
Among the most liberating bucket list experiences is watching little turtles hatch and make a confused run towards the sea. The most famous sea turtle nest is in Mon Repos Conservation Park in Queensland. The Rangers operate a nightly guided beach tour every night from November to March. It is one experience that must make a place in your Bucket List while you are in Australia.
Be Awed by the Sydney Harbor Bridge
This giant coat hanger is the most loved structure in Sydney founded in 1932. You can explore the bridge by the best way on foot. From either side, you will find stairs that lead to a pedestrian walkway on the eastern side whereas on the western side is a bike-way. If you climb the southeastern pylon, you will come to the pylon lookout which gives a beautiful view of the city.
Other than these top things to do in Australia, there is so much more to see and experience in this amazing country. Be prepared to be flexible because sometimes other travelers that you meet on your travels will have the best suggestions for things to do in Australia that are off the beaten path.
What To Eat In Australia
The food in Australia is diverse and delicious thanks to the continent being a cultural hub and melting pot of many nationalities. However there are some dishes that the Aussies call their own and must be on every visitor’s menu.
Australian Barbecue: Australian barbecue is so diverse that they can throw anything on the grill, ranging from seafood to burgers and snags or sausages. This meaty goodness is complimented with some salads or vegetables, slices of bread, and topped with barbecue sauce or ketchup.
Chicken Parmigiana: Chicken Parmigiana also called ‘chicken parma’ locally is chicken schnitzel topped with loads of melted cheese, ham and Napoli sauce. It is then served with fries or chips or a salad and is a usual dish in the menus in pubs.
Crab Sticks: The exciting part is that crab sticks do not contain crab but gets made of all kinds of white fish meat, pulverized and shaped to resemble a crab leg. This delicious snack tastes best when it is deep fried.
Barramundi: The name Barramundi has been derived from native language that means ‘a large-scaled river fish.’ The fish is delectable and one of the most popular ones among the Aussies. You can eat it in different ways-baked, fried, barbequed or grilled.
Vegemite: This brown spread is exclusively Australian and looks just like Nutella, but the taste is entirely different. The paste is made of Yeast extract and is a bit salty and somewhat bitter. Aussies spread it on a piece of toast and enjoy the fact that what they are eating is rich in Vitamin B and Folic Acid, and fat-free too.
Where To Stay In Australia
Australia can be an expensive place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in Australia is easy but finding affordable accommodation, if you’re on a tight budget, is the hard part. Luckily Australia hostels and dormitories make travel here more affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget.
Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best accommodation options have already been snapped up. Australia is a very popular year-round destination.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Australia.
If you’re backpacking in Australia or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Oceania very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
Australia Trip Planner
Best Time to Visit Australia
Generally, it’s best to avoid the south’s chilly winters from June to August and the far north’s hot, wet summers between December and February. But crowds are also a consideration when deciding on the best time to visit Australia. Students get a break from mid-December until late January (or even early February), which means packed out beaches and price hikes such as expensive domestic airfares.
Australia Travel Budget
Australia is a reasonably affordable destination for travelers, even those on a tight budget. The cost of your trip to Australia really depends on the level of comfort you will want while here. If you’re backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between $35 to $60 a day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $60 to $120 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget about $250 plus a day.
- Budget: $25 – $50
- Mid-range: $50 – $150
- Splurge: $150 +
Meal For One
- Budget: $12 – $25
- Mid-range: $25 – $60
- Splurge: $60 +
Australia Packing Guide
Packing for a trip to Australia, like most places in Oceania is easy, just remember to pack lightweight and breathable clothing for dry season and warm, waterproof clothing for trips during the rainy season.
Be prepared for the weather to get extremely hot during the summer so pack a high factor sunscreen and a sun hat. If you forget to pack something you can buy anything you need while you’re in Australia. Prices are generally higher in smaller boutiques (aimed at tourists) than they would be online so expect to pay a premium if you don’t have the option of shopping around due to time restraints on your trip to Australia.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Australia include a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
For the full list of everything you need to pack for a trip to Australia check out the Jetset Bunny Ultimate Oceania Packing List For Female Travelers.