Australia is an easy country to tackle on your own. Make it even easier with these tips for solo travellers.
Australia is a great destination for solo travellers, with friendly locals, stunning scenery and endless places to discover. Use these tips to start planning your solo adventure.
Book in advance
If you want to include some of Australia’s more iconic activities in your itinerary – like diving the Great Barrier Reef or climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge – it’s best to make reservations well in advance. Booking early means you’ll grab the best price and guarantee your spot. If you’ll be moving around the country on domestic flights, book several months in advance to score low fares. Jetstar and Tigerair are the most well-known low-cost domestic carriers. Sign up for their newsletters to get information on sales.
Use public transport
Living like a local in any major Australian city means using public transportation. Often, it’s the easiest and cheapest way to move around. Each city has a slightly different system, so check the state’s transportation website to learn more about how to pay, where to catch the train and whether there are free shuttles around the city centre. You should also be aware that some states no longer offer single-trip tickets and you may need to use pre-paid travel cards, like the Myki card in Melbourne and the Opal card in Sydney.
Organise with an app
Travelling solo can be liberating and exciting, but it can also be a challenge to remember every detail. Load a travel planning app on your phone, like TripIt, which saves all your bookings in one place to look at later. Other apps allow you to download maps that can be accessed offline. CityMaps2Go lets you download city maps and place pins at attractions you want to visit.
Take a class
Trying a new activity is a great way to soak in the Australian way of life as you meet new people. 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.
Wander along on a walk
Go with a group
The remote regions of Australia are breathtaking and incredibly unique, but they can also be a challenge to tackle on your own. A group tour takes care of the logistics for you and makes sure you have the best experience in every location. Whether it’s a live-aboard boat in the Great Barrier Reef or an Aboriginal rock art tour in the Northern Territory, you’ll gain valuable insight into Australia’s nature and culture.
Feast on cheap eats
In Australia, good food doesn’t have to 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. Most local pubs have daily food specials, and many restaurants offer BYO - which means you can bring your own beer or wine to drink with your meal, saving money on the total cost of your night out. You’ll also find a range of cheap eats in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin, and Canberra.
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 permanent exhibitions at the White Rabbit Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art and Art Gallery of NSW are all free to see, and a ferry ride on Sydney Harbour offers the same fabulous views as a harbour cruise, at a fraction of the cost.
Discover Aboriginal history in the city
You can discover Aboriginal cultures no matter where you are in Australia. From city walking tours that take you through the history of the area to bush tucker tours that show you native ingredients used in Aboriginal cooking and medicine for centuries, there are incredible Aboriginal experiences in most major cities. Discover what's on offer in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra to start.
Fund your travels
If you’ve come to Australia on a Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462) or Working Holiday visa (Subclass 417), you’re permitted to stay and work in all types of full-time, part-time, casual, shift and voluntary work.
If you’re travelling around the country, you might want to find work along the way. In larger towns and cities, restaurant and bar work is often available. Stop into local cafes, eateries and bars to enquire about work, keeping in mind that anyone responsible for serving alcohol in Australia must complete Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training and receive an RSA certificate.
Another option for a job-on-the-go is regional work. Many of the more remote locations in Australia need workers in industries like farming, mining, fishing and construction. If you choose to participate in specified work in an eligible location, you may also be eligible to apply for a second working holiday visa.
Consider your location when searching for work along your route. A trip to the Whitsundays could result in a job on a tour boat, while living in the metropolis of Melbourne could mean working in retail, hospitality or sales.
Stay a while
With Australia’s endless list of destinations, you just may want to stay longer than you’d planned. If you have previously entered Australia on a Working Holiday visa (Subclass 417), you may be eligible for an addition 12 months if you complete three months of specified work in a regional area. Specified work is work that is undertaken in certain fields or industries in a designated regional area. You could pick fruit on an orchard, feed and herd cattle on a farm or build fences on a construction site. See the Australian Home Affairs website for more information on eligible work.
You must complete these three months of work while you’re in Australia on your first Working Holiday Visa. After you’ve applied and received your second Working Holiday Visa, you’ll have an additional 12 months to explore Australia’s stunning destinations and exciting job opportunties.