10 Tips for Solo Travellers
Australia is an easy country to tackle on your own. Our handy tips make it even easier.
By Ute Junker
If you are planning to travel to Australia by yourself, we have good news for you: this is a great destination for solo travellers. A warm Aussie welcome will greet you wherever you go, so use these handy suggestions to start planning your perfect trip.
The trip of a lifetime
Book in Advance
If you want to include some bucket list activities on your trip – perhaps diving the Great Barrier Reef or climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge – you may need to make reservations well in advance. If your trip includes any domestic flights, book several months in advance to get the best price.
Take the Train (And the Bus, and the Tram)
Public transport is the easiest and cheapest way of getting around Australian cities, but each city has a slightly different system. Melbourne and Sydney use pre-paid transport cards: Myki in Melbourne, Opal in Sydney. In Adelaide and Brisbane you can choose between buying a transport card or a single ticket. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane all have free city shuttle services, while all the buses in Perth's city centre are free.
Tired of keeping track of every little detail? Let technology do the work for you. Load some useful apps onto your phone, such as TripIt, which saves all your bookings in one simple spot. CityMaps2Go lets you download maps for the cities you’re visiting and pin attractions that you want to visit.
Have a Plan
Australia is a big place, so plan your trip carefully, and remember that different parts of the continent offer different climates. Accordingly, peak season varies from place to place. The Northern Territory, for instance, is at its best from May to October, while the best weather in Sydney and Melbourne is usually between October and March, so choose your priorities and plan around them.
One of the best ways to meet new people while you are travelling is to try a new activity. Whether it’s a diving lesson in Queensland, an outdoor yoga class in Melbourne, a surfing lesson at Bondi Beach or a kayaking tour on the Brisbane River, the class you sign up for may just be one of the highlights of your trip.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
A walking tour is not just another way to meet people; it is also a great way to get your bearings in a new city. Sign up for a specialist tour to get a different perspective on your destination: perhaps an architecture tour of Sydney, a street art tour of Perth, or a laneways tour of Melbourne.
Find Some Freebies
Travellers on a budget will be delighted by the number of things you can do in Australia for free. For instance, many of the country's best museums do not charge admission fees, including Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria. In Sydney the White Rabbit Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art and Art Gallery of NSW are all free, and a ferry ride on Sydney Harbour offers the same fabulous views as a harbour cruise, at a fraction of the cost.
Go with a Group
Let's be honest: some parts of Australia are daunting for the solo traveller. Heading out to explore remote regions on your own is certainly a challenge. Signing up with a tour means you can leave the logistics to others and get to know some people along the way. Good options include World Expeditions’ Kakadu Walking Adventure or Intrepid Travel's Uluru Adventure.
Feast On Cheap Eats
In Australia good food doesn't cost a fortune. At Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market and Adelaide’s Central Market, for example, plenty of stalls offer well priced, freshly prepared food. And every Australian city has an array of Asian restaurants – from Thai to Vietnamese to Korean – that provide cheap and tasty meals.
Discover Aboriginal History
You don't need to head to the Outback to encounter Australia's Aboriginal cultures. Try an indigenous walking tour in Sydney, inspect the displays at Melbourne's Koorie Heritage Trust, or go on a bush tucker tour in Perth’s Kings Park.