Tips for backpacking in Australia

by Bert Maxwell /
Bert Maxwell's picture
Nov 21, 2012 / 0 comments

Are you sitting at work dreaming of travelling to foreign lands? Or maybe you’ve just worked the summer after uni to fund a trip. Either way, there’s nothing like the golden shores, stunning scenery, relaxed atmosphere and tanned bodies of Australia to really make a daydream. But why daydream? Why not do it? Australia is a haven for backpackers and it’s the perfect place to start your adventure.


Here’s everything you need to know before you head out.


Travel insurance

It’s probably not the most glamorous thing you think of and it definitely doesn’t make a daydream. But hey, you just got to get it. And not any old travel insurance; you need specialist travel insurance for backpackers. After all you’ll be surfing, bungee jumping, and maybe even sky diving.



Everyone needs a visa to get into Australia. Those travelling on short trips will need a standard visa, but the best option for backpackers is a working holiday visa. For anyone under 30 this offers the chance to stay for a year and work in a variety of jobs. It’s ideal for backpackers. There’s also the chance to stay on for another 12 months (although this can be difficult). You can get one from your travel agent when you book your flights, but it’s actually cheaper and just as easy to apply online with the Australian government.



Australia isn’t always that cheap, especially if you’re coming from time spent in Asia. There are however, cheaper ways to do things, but you’ll need to be a little savvier with your money. Most backpackers opt to work to fund their travels. If that sounds like you, make sure you open a bank account and put your money in that. This will save you in fees for using your UK bank account abroad. If you get paid in Oz, you’ll pay tax, but you’ll get this back – which is ideal if you plan to travel on after and need a little extra cash.


Where to go and where to stay

Basically you can go wherever you want. The entire country is set up for backpackers, so it’s really up to you. Opt to stay in hostels to save money. Dorms are the cheapest option – and good for meeting people, too. Most people, when they first arrive, fly into Sydney and travel up the east coast. It’s beautiful with some spots such as Rainbow beach, Fraser Island, the Whitsundays and of course the Great Barrier Reef, are absolutely amazing. Don’t forget Melbourne, and the west coast either, though.


Getting around

If you don’t want to drive, you can organise a coach ticket, whereby you can get on and off on the major routes. Australia is a big country, so be prepared to do overnight coach journeys – 13 hours is the norm. If you want to drive you can pick up a car cheaply at backpacker auctions; this will also give you the freedom to go where you want and to experience the real Australia in some lesser known spots.


It could be time to turn your daydreams into a reality.