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Our Australia travel blog will help you plan your trip to Australia, we’ll tell you about the best places to see, how to get around, costs of visiting Australia, how to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, and more.
This blog post has all of our Australia content in one page, covering our experiences and explorations of Australia. My husband, James Long was born and raised in Australia and works on the Great Barrier Reef, I am a British expat in Australia, we live in Queensland today after extensive travels all over the country.
I never thought I’d spend any time in Australia let alone such a large chunk of my life.
I certainly never dreamed I’d marry an Australian and move to the other side of the world. I also never dreamed I’d become a travel blogger, nor that I’d develop such a knowledge of travel in Australia that I’d be able to put a whole Australia travel blog section together, but here it is, and that’s what happened.
So if you’re looking to visit Australia as a backpacker and travel around by bus and train with a 2 man tent, as we did, or if you’re looking to come here on vacation and stay in Australia’s top hotels, as we have, or even if you’re looking to move to Australia, we can help you with that.
There are many other ways to travel in Australia, rest assured we’ve done them all. Last on our bucket list is to complete a lap with a camper van or motor home, it will come, maybe when the kids have flown we’ll join the grey nomads on this classic tour.
What about you? What do you want to get out of Australia? Are you a newcomer to Australia or will this be a return journey? What are your travel plans and which parts of Oz do you want on your itinerary? If you can’t find it below, let us know in the comments and will put your content at the top of the queue if we can.
We lived in Far North Queensland for many years between travels further afield, so most of our Australia content focuses on the tropical north of Queensland. Of course, we have also travelled all over Australia.
I have an advantage in that my husband, who is my co-travel blogger, lived just about everywhere in Australia as a child so we can talk knowledgeably about most destinations in Australia.
If we’re stuck we have other writers we can call on for insider local knowledge. So here’s the Australia travel blog, with a lot of facts, a smattering of personal stories and a whole heap of experience to help you get the most out of your time in Australia.
Australia Travel Blog
Australia is easy to break into fun-sized chunks for the purposes of a travel blog, not just the states and territories, but those divisions can be subdivided into distinct areas.
Queensland becomes The Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, and the Far North, along with Australian islands, for instance.
You can also talk about Australia in terms of the East Coast, West Coast, Great Ocean Rd., Red Centre and so on. We’ve tried to give you those chunks below.
Backpacking Around Australia
Young backpackers normally flood to Australia, some still come for working holidays but you’ll need to look carefully at current visa regulations.
There are many ways to see Australia as a backpacker or on a budget and no one way is the “right’ way.
You can travel the classic train routes, buy a vehicle, hire a camper or invest in a tent, it’s up to you.
Consider the well-known “free” ways to travel the world. Options such as Couchsurfing, HelpX and Workaway could save you a lot of cash.
Australia’s Classic Train Routes
Because I mentioned the train routes above, let’s just talk about those first. Australia is pretty difficult and expensive to travel by public transport and no matter how much you want to be an eco-friendly traveller and save the planet by cutting emissions, flying just always seems to be a lot cheaper than train or bus.
And internal flights in Australia aren’t cheap!
The classic train routes I’m talking about are The Ghan (Short for The Afghan, named after camel herders from Afghanistan present in central Australia) and the Indian Pacific.
The Ghan goes straight up the middle of Australia, from Adelaide to Alice Springs to Darwin. To ride the whole 2,979 Km would take you over 50 hours.
The Orient Express, it is not. Chef and I rode it as far as Alice (with the help of student cards to cut the price) and hopped off there for the Alice Springs Camel Cup and to hire a car to drive to Uluru where we camped in our two-man tent.
It was freezing at Uluru, deserts get very cold at night.
The Indian Pacific cuts across the bottom of Australia and will take you from Sydney to the Pacific Ocean on the east coast – Perth. The journey takes over 70 hours.
Again we’ve taken this train part of the way, to Broken Hill and Silverton.
Silverton is where Mad Max was filmed and is worth a look, we hopped back on then to Adelaide and joined The Ghan to Alice.
Classic Australia Road Trips
The East Coast, West Coast and Great Ocean Road are all popular road trips, an intrepid few travel coast to coast or through the outback to the Red Centre or Northern Territory.
Australia is huge, vast.
Consider this, to drive from Brisbane to Cairns will take you just short of 24 hours, and you’d still be in the same state.
Sydney to Perth , East Coast to West Coast would take you in the region of 4 days.
You need to know what to expect and be prepared, with some routes requiring a well equipped 4×4 vehicle and a group of like-minded friends.
The journey to ” The Tip,” Cape York, is one such route where off-roading is required. It’s very rewarding to see these lesser-visited parts of Australia and the remote communities who call them home.
This is something the World Travel Family team will be doing in coming years, getting to these far flung parts of Australia. We have already driven to “The Tip” as part of our conservation work.
Costs of Travel in Australia
Australia is one of the most expensive places in the world to travel, there’s no sugaring that pill, but there are ways to make your Australian adventure cheaper.
Travel, food and accommodation are the big expenses that you’ll have to deal with.
We have put together a post on ways to save money on travel in Queensland, if you check that out you’ll see that most of the tips apply equally well to travel anywhere in Australia.
Australia is a huge country with vast distances between areas of interest.
Fuel isn’t as expensive as Europe but much costlier than in the United States. With huge distances to travel your fuel bill will add up quickly.
Don’t assume that buses and road transport will be cheaper than flying.
Getting from Cairns, in the North of Queensland down to Brisbane Queensland’s capital is a journey of 1600 km or 1000 miles. It is much cheaper and economical if you fly from Cairns to either Brisbane or Gold Coast.
In fact, the bus is up to 6 times more expensive and takes another 21 hours longer than flying.
Look at carpooling and see if anyone else is going the same direction. Splitting costs is a great way to keep your budget in check.
Don’t back track on your route. Australia is big enough as it is, without going back over roads already travelled. Spend time researching your route and make it as efficient as possible.
Accommodation is more expensive than other places and especially compared to Southeast Asia. Costs are probably pretty similar to Singapore.
One of the benefits of good weather and lots of space is the abundance of camp sites that are scattered across the country. Hotel and motel bills will add up quickly but campsites can be relatively cheap.
Buy a cheap tent and some cooking equipment and you’ll save a lot. If you’re spending a lot of time and want to cover a large area think about purchasing a camper van. This will save both money on accommodation and food.
Unless you have an unlimited budget it isn’t feasible to eat out all the time in Australia. In fact,if you’re sticking to a tight budget eating out once a week would be realistic.
Australia has a great mix of fine dining restaurants, cheaper eats and takeaways across a wide range of ethnic flavours. None of them cheap.
Being in a position to cook for yourself is a must and whether that is through self-catering accommodation or having a camper van that has cooking facilities or even staying at campsites with cooking facilities, you’ll want to spend some time planning meals.
Food costs can make or break your budget. Chef and I ate a lot of $1 instant noodles spiked with a few fresh veggies cooked on our little Trangia stove back in the day.
Visas for Australia
You probably won’t be allowed on a plane or ship to Australia if you don’t have either a visa, EVisitor or ETA. Don’t worry it isn’t as hard as you think.
Visa restrictions change often please double check all information below for yourself.
If you’re coming to Australia for a holiday and won’t be working it is normally very quick and easy to get an EVisitor visa which allows you to visit for up to 3 months at a time and is valid for a year.
It isn’t an extendable visa but allows you to board your plan or ship and get to Australia. Everything is linked to your passport electronically so you don’t need to send it away and you can apply wherever you are so long as you’re outside Australia.
Currently, EVisitor applications are free of charge although that could change in the future. (At time of writing, please check this)
6 countries were eligible for an ETA which isn’t a visa but allows travel to Australia. These countries were eligible Brunei – Darussalam, Canada, Hong Kong (SAR PRC), Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Rep of (South) and the United States.
This visa allows for tourism and some business but is normally limited to conferences, business negotiations and business esquires.
The ETA costs about $20 AUD and is payable by credit card at the time of applying.
Australia is very strict in enforcing visa rules so if you want to work or study make sure you get the right visa before you leave.
A lot of the short-term visas aren’t extendable so you’ll have to leave Australia and re-apply.
Please check and double-check all of this information for yourself, we do our best to stay up to date but can’t guarantee accuracy.
Australia With Kids
Sure you can bring your kids to Australia, it’s a great family destination with loads of child-pleasing things to see and do.
The only drawbacks are the cost and the long plane ride.
Kids enjoy travel if you fill it with fun and exciting adventures and Australia offers plenty for children
If you’re worrying about our deadly snakes, spiders, sharks, crocodiles and jellyfish, don’t, all can be avoided with some common sense.
I’ve seen 3 wild snakes in 7 years and never seen a redback. I have seen stinging plant though, read up on that if you’re going bush bashing.
We have a post on Queensland Stinger Season below, along with various posts on crocodiles, living with them and spotting them.
Our only post on Australia with kids is here. When looking for accommodation for families in Australia, you’ll notice that prices are pretty high. Maybe consider using campsites – some have simple family cabins.
Think about renting or hiring a camper van or look into AirBnb, but be warned, you don’t usually get much for your dollar at Australian Airbnbs, and they add cleaning charges.
Of course, if money isn’t tight, go for some of Australia’s amazing family-friendly resorts.
Popular Activities in Australia
Most tourists will be heading to beaches and reefs, some will want adrenaline activities, there is plenty of skydiving and bungee jumping to be found around Australia’s tourist destinations.
We cover many of these popular in Australia on our travel blog. Maybe check out our scuba diving section, it includes snorkelling as many boats are dual purpose.
Of course most visitors to Australia want to check out Australian wildlife. Who doesn’t want to cuddle a koala and pat a kangaroo? There are dozens of places you can do this in Australia.
Actually holding a koala can prove difficult, but mostly you’re allowed to pet them.
As well as this general Australia travel blog page we have a full post on places to visit in Queensland. A simple guide is also below.
Australia has many islands that serve as destinations in themselves but Fraser Island is special, it’s the world’s largest sand island and can be found not far off the coast around Hervey Bay. You can get to Fraser Island with your 4 x 4 vehicle by ferry and once there enjoy the scenery, beaches and lakes. However, you shouldn’t swim in the sea from Fraser, that’s not smart. You can discover why and things to do on Fraser Island here.
Far North Queensland
Visitors come to Far North Queensland for our tropical rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef and the unspoilt beaches that line this coast. You will find something for everyone in this region for every kind of traveller, your backpacker, luxury traveller, long weekend, 2 week vacation or family holiday maker.
Far North Queensland and the big centres of Cairns and about an hour north, Port Douglas, work for every age, You’ll find information here on things to do and see for babies, kids, teens, adults and the older traveller.
Trips to the Great Barrier Reef
Visiting the Great Barrier Reef features on many a someone’s bucket list and deservedly so, it’s an incredible experience. You can do it further south, Great Barrier Reef trips start towards the south of Queensland. The Great Barrier reef is situated in the Coral Sea off Australia’s north-east coast and is a World Heritage Site protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
We have a full post on trips to the great barrier reef from Port Douglas here, a reef fleet also operates out of Cairns. If you want to find out what this experience is like, is it scary, are there sharks, is it expensive etc. you want this one, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. If you’re thinking of learning to scuba dive or taking a liveaboard dive trip, we can tell you about that too.
Visiting the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation
You can drive or take a tour. But what is there to do up in the Daintree?
Where can you take a walk on the beach, stroll through the rainforest, spot a cassowary, get an ice-cream and how do you cross the Daintree river?
We have a full post on tours and trips to the Daintree Rainforest here.
Driving up to Cooktown from Port Douglas, or Cairns
We used to love taking the 4 x 4 up to Cooktown. We owned a Toyota Hilux and crossing the creeks and scrambling up dirt tracks was a dream. But there’s also an inland, tarred road.
Getting to Cooktown, named after Captain Cook for this is where he collided with Australia, things to do, places to see, camping and hotels.
It’s a whole other world up there. See our link above or click on the image.
Stinger Season – You Need to Know About This
Summer in far north Queensland is winter in the northern hemisphere. It is our wet season, it’s hot, wet, humid and all that rain brings dangerous marine stingers ( jellyfish) into our waters.
You need to read up on stinger season here.
The Cairns Lagoon, Sugar World Water Park and Other Places to Swim in the Region
Swimming off Cairns is pretty much out of the question so they built the lagoon. Find out about this and other swimming options in the Cairns and Port Douglas region here.
Fresh Water Swimming Holes in Far North Queensland.
If you’d prefer a more natural swimming experience there are streams, pools, waterfalls and swimming holes to enjoy.
Wildlife Experiences in the Cairns and Port Douglas Area
Things to Do in Port Douglas
Have you ever seen cane toad racing? Well now’s your chance. Tours, things to do, places to see, in and around Port Douglas.
New South Wales
Destinations in New South Wales include :
- Byron Bay
- The Blue Mountains
- The Hunter Valley
- Lord Howe Island
- Snowy Mountains
- Outback NSW
- Broken Hill
- The South, Central and Northern Coast
It’s not that we don’t know New South Wales, we’ve been many times and a lot of my husband’s family lives there. We just haven’t written much about it yet! What we do have is this guide to things to do in Sydney, the slightly off the beaten track things.
Sydney is of course home to the two top tourist destinations for Americans in the whole of Australia, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Nearby Bondi beach is also in the top 5. The whole Sydney waterfront is stunningly beautiful and you really should go if you can.
Belanglo State Forest
The first post on our website dedicated to New South Wales isn’t exactly a tourist attraction. Belanglo State Forest was the scene of a string of serial killer murders. Why do we have a post on it? It’s a favourite place to forage for wild mushrooms and that happens to be a subject my husband’s brother knows a lot about.
He very kindly wrote us a post, Belanglo State Forect, Murder and Mushrooms.
Perth is a fantastic destination in itself but there is so much more to see and experience in the state of Western Australia. We have a top 30 list of Places to see in Western Australia itinerary.
We can give you a brief idea on what to do in Perth for now. It’s a great destination particularly with kids, we took our two when they were tiny and had a great long weekend in Fremantle.
Our only post covering South Australia so far revolves around Adelaide, things to do in Adelaide and popular wine and food experiences nearby. We hope it’s useful in planning your South Australia trip. Enjoy those wineries!
Uluru is in the Northern Territory, as is Alice Springs but most people would associate the NT with Darwin. Popular tourist draws in the Northern Territory include:
- Kakadu National Park
- Litchfield National Park
- Alice Springs
- Kings Canyon
We have a post on must see destinations in the Northern Territory of Australia and more content is on its way. We’ve taken road trips in the NT and travelled by bus and train. We just can’t get it all written up fast enough!
Our favourite place in the NT, other than Uluru, was the little town of Pine Creek, read about that in the post above.
Melbourne is the state capital of Victoria and is a popular tourist draw. You won’t go short of fun things to do in Melbourne no matter what age you are! The drive from Sydney to Melbourne is around 9 hours, 878 km or thereabouts.
- Phillip Island
- Wilsons Promontory
- Mount Buller
- Mornington Peninsula
- The Great Ocean Road
The ACT, Australian Capital Territory is home to Canberra and the rest of my husband’s family. We know it well. To drive from Sydney to Canberra is only around 3 hours, so it’s doable! Our first post on Canberra for the Aussie travel blog section is this one – Things to do in Canberra. Hidden Gems are what we do best here at World Travel Family.
Cradle Mountain and the Cradle Mountain Overland Track are popular with visitors as is Hobart and Tasmania’s stunning scenery. I haven’t been, my husband has. He’s completed the Overland Track. We will go soon. You can get to Tasmania from Melbourne by ferry, the trip is roughly 11 hours and is always overnight.
Australia Travel Blog – Conclusion
So as you can see we’re still filling the blanks on this page. To produce an Australia travel blog and guide to rival the Lonely Planet takes time, but we’re working on it. This page is growing as we add new insider knowledge, local tips, guides and information. We’re hoping to make the best guide to Australia in coming weeks as well as still covering our recent travels in the Himalayas and Borneo. Sign up to follow, this site grows almost daily and it’s our family business.