Prepare to make the most of your backpacking holiday in Australia.
If you’ve decided to backpack in Australia, you’re probably feeling excited, but also overwhelmed. Don’t worry - just a little bit of planning will ensure your arrival into Australia is stress-free. Here’s how to prepare for the journey of a lifetime.
What should I do before I arrive on my backpacking holiday?
Before you arrive into Australia for your backpacking adventure, there are a few essentials to tick off the list. First, ensure you have a valid visa for the length of time you plan to stay. After your visa has been granted, it’s a good idea to keep a printed or digital copy with you when you travel.
Because Australia is such a big country, the weather varies greatly between the eight states and territories. It may be hot and tropical in Cairns, while Hobart is crisp and cool. Be sure to research the weather before you leave so that you pack clothes to keep you warm - or cool. And don’t forget that Australia’s seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere.
Finally, it’s time to choose where to begin. Australia is home to so many magical destinations - from the breathtaking Whitsundays to the burnt and beautiful Red Centre. Research some of Australia’s backpacker precincts and decide where to start your journey.
What should I do after I arrive?
Your arrival into Australia will be full of excitement and anticipation, so first you’ll want to settle in. If you haven’t already booked accommodation, use Hostelworld to find a hostel that will allow you to meet fellow backpackers and explore the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Next, be sure to get a public transportation card. Not all locations in Australia use a public transport card, but many of the major cities use them for buses, trains, ferries and trams. Sydney uses the Opal Card, Melbourne uses the Myki Card, and Brisbane uses the Go Card. In Adelaide, you’ll want to grab a Metrocard, and in Perth, a SmartRider can be used on buses, trains and ferries. Some smaller cities use transportation cards as well, like the Greencard in Hobart, the MyWay in Canberra and the Tap & Ride Card in Darwin.
If you want reliable mobile phone reception during your time in Australia, a prepaid SIM card is best. Australia has four major mobile phone providers - Telstra, Vodafone, Optus and Virgin Mobile. All you need to do is purchase a SIM card and choose how much data and talktime you’ll need. Because they can help you match a SIM card and set up your phone in Australia, it’s best to pop into the store of your chosen provider after you arrive.
After you’ve found accommodation and set up your mobile phone, it’s time to make a few friends, get out on the road and discover the amazing destinations around Australia.
What steps can I take to be more prepared?
While some backpackers want few established plans and a lot of freedom, others want a little more structure. If you’re looking for a structured holiday, consider building an itinerary before you arrive.
First, list your must-do destinations. Your list might include the incredible Great Barrier Reef, the spiritually-significant Uluru, or the breathtaking beach of Tasmania’s Wineglass Bay. Next, consider the lesser-known locations that you could see as you travel from one bucket-list destination to the next. Not only will this allow you to get off the beaten track and uncover Australia’s more secluded spots, but it also means you can take more affordable transportation, like cars and buses, on one epic road trip.
Even if you have an itinerary in mind, it’s best to be flexible. Don’t be afraid to change it if you meet like-minded backpackers along the way or discover a new destination. By keeping an open mind, you’ll immerse yourself in all that Australia has to offer.