Marrawah, Tasmania © Tourism Tasmania
Getting around Australia
You may have heard Australia is a big country, but did you know, despite its size, it's easy to get around?
Getting around by plane
Flying is the best way to cover Australia’s large distances in a short time. Australia’s domestic airlines – including Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Rex – serve all state capital cities and many regional cities, making it an easy way to travel between Australia's iconic destinations. Competition between domestic airlines means that some great value fares are available, especially if you book in advance.
Getting around by car
Australia has a vast network of well-maintained roads and some of the most beautiful road trips in the world. When travelling long distances, you'll find rest stops and service stations at regular intervals.
You’ll find car rental companies at major airports and central city locations; so hire a car, 4WD or caravan and hit the highway.
Public transport and tourist bus services
Take the pressure off travelling around the city by utilising public transport and hop-on hop-off tourist buses. Services are inexpensive (children generally pay a concession fee) and will take you to all the major attractions without the hassle of finding parking. Some services, such as Melbourne’s City Circle Tram, are completely free! In Sydney, there are caps to weekly transport rates, so you will never pay more than the maximum weekly fare, regardless of how often you use the transport network. Most buses, metros, trains and trams can accommodate prams and other access requirements, making them a great option for getting around.
Coach travel in Australia is comfortable, efficient and reasonably priced. Australia’s national coach operator, Greyhound, offers a range of travel passes.
Getting around by train
There are spectacular rail journeys in Australia, such as The Ghan and Indian Pacific, which sweep across the continent, offering comfort and a sense of nostalgic romance. The Indian Pacific travels between Sydney and Perth, stopping at Broken Hill, Adelaide and Kalgoorlie; the legendary Ghan travels between Adelaide and Darwin, taking in Australia’s Red Centre and the tropical Top End.
Getting around by ferry
The Spirit of Tasmania operates a nightly passenger and vehicle ferry service between Geelong, Victoria's second-largest city, and Devonport in Tasmania with extra services during peak periods. SeaLink ferries connect Cape Jervis in South Australia (approximately 108 kilometres/67 miles south of Adelaide) and Kangaroo Island several times a day. There are also ferry services in our capital cities, connecting suburbs around Sydney Harbour, on the Swan River in Perth and on the Brisbane River.
Finding your way on foot
Australia's cities and towns are great for exploring on foot, with well maintained footpaths and scenic walkways that will take you through parklands, along coastal cliffs and through urban laneways.
You can also tackle some of the longest tracks and trails in the world here – impressive journeys of a thousand kilometres (620 miles) or more that can take several weeks to complete. From the Overland Track through Tasmania's World Heritage-listed wilderness to the Larapinta Trail across the West MacDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory, these hikes let you discover spectacular landscapes while stretching your legs.
Travelling with a disability
In Australia, airlines, trains, buses and ferries are accessible to people using a wheelchair or mobility device. Australia’s airports provide services for people with disabilities and are able to assist with baggage, getting around the airport and getting on and off the plane. For more information visit the Australia For All, Can Go Everywhere and People With Disability Australia websites.
Distances and journey times for common routes
Travelling from Sydney
|Sydney - Adelaide||1412 / 877||1.83||22||25.3|
|Sydney - Brisbane||917 / 570||1.5||16||15.5|
|Sydney - Canberra||286 / 177||0.5||4||4|
|Sydney - Cairns||2421 / 1504||3||-||-|
|Sydney - Darwin||4210 / 2610||4.25||69||-|
|Sydney - Hobart||1589 / 985||1.75||-||-|
|Sydney - Melbourne (inland)||879 / 546||1.5||12||10.25|
|Sydney - Melbourne (coastal)||1030 / 640||1.5||-||-|
|Sydney - Perth||4054 / 2513||4||63*||66.5|
*Via Melbourne and Adelaide
Travelling from Melbourne
|Melbourne - Adelaide||731 / 454||1.05||10||12|
|Melbourne - Brisbane||1776 / 1104||2||40||28|
|Melbourne - Canberra||663 / 412||1||8||-|
|Melbourne - Cairns||2818 / 1751||3.5||-||-|
|Melbourne - Darwin||3740 / 2324||4.5||-||-|
|Melbourne - Hobart||610 / 378||1.3||-||-|
|Melbourne - Perth||3406 / 2116||4||-||-|
|Melbourne - Sydney (inland)||879 / 546||1.5||12||12.5|
|Melbourne - Sydney (coastal)||1030 / 640||-||-||-|