My useful Australia

On 14 September 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

I was staying at my sister’s in Melbourne, at a friend in Sydney, and I travelled by campervan most of the time so I don’t have a lot of useful advices / good adresses to give you compared to the other countries but here are some information that you can maybe use.

Generale information
Budget: Australia is probably one of the most expensive country to travel to. So be careful with your budget before you go there!
Currency when I was there: $1 = 0,69€
Visa: for French tourists, the visa is free for 3 months. You can also take a WHV – Working Holiday Visa which allows you to come and go as much as you want, cost around $450 for one year in the country, and you can work and travel (you can also extend it for a second year if you work at least 3 months in a farm).
Accomodation: the word “backpacker” takes all its sens here because you don’t talk about hostel but about backpackers. You can also stay in a guesthouse (already much more expensive), a motel or a hotel.

Transportation: the plane is the fastest solution to travel long distances, especially if you don’t have a lot of time. You don’t really count in kilometers in Australia but more in time travel (it can take you 3 hours to do 300km). You can also take the Greyhound bus that allows you to take a Sydney-Cairns ticket for example for a cheap price but you can stop wherever you want and as much as you want, the only thing is to book it at least the day before and specify the city you want to go to.
Rent a campervan: that’s the solution I chose and I am not the only one. Australia is a nice country to travel like this, some buy one when they arrive (interesting if you stay long, you can sell it when you leave the country in one of the big cities easily). For my part, I decided to rent it because I didn’t stay long enough and I didn’t want to have a mechanical problem by myself, it was safer for myself (even if at final nothing happened). You have a lot of different companies to rent a car / a campervan. I chose Hippie Camper for a financial and reliable matter. I paid $23/day + $20 of insurance (the most expensive one to be covered for everything), but I had a special offer because it was winter and I was renting the van for a long period. The van itself was great, for 2 persons, a big bed at the back with some place to put your stuff under, a fridge and a sink at the back. I also heard that Jucy has good campervan to rent.
If you choose to rent a campervan and you have a smartphone, download the app “Wikicamps Australia” which will give you all the free camps around you, by city, what you have in every place, also some comments from users and pictures of the place. It’s really useful and simple, it’s a good thing to not pay some campings to park without having anny fine. And it’s good to know that in the main touristics areas, you don’t have any free spot to park so as the 1st tourist information center told me, you can sometimes park in backpackers parking for a small fee (cheaper than a parking). So try to think about this solution in main cities, and you can use their bathrooms, kitchens and so!

Now by city, some tips that I can give you

Melbourne
Transportation: free tramway that goes around the city, and also a lot of buses and trams or trains to go around
Visits: You can visit the Parliament for free and it’s very interesting. Queen Victoria Market to find good food and souvenirs. The library is a beautiful building also, I really loved the visit there.

Great Ocean Road
Accomodation: Surfside backpacker in Apollo Bay, $28 the bedroom shared with someone else. Port Campbell Hostel the 2nd night, $25 the 8-beds dorm.

Cairns
Accomodation: Tropic Days backpacker, $18 the night in a tent in their garden.
Scuba diving: you have a lot of options but all the diving centers offer the same things, on the same boats. So unless you want to do a 3 days trip or more, you can book your dive anywhere, it will be the same boat, same instructors, and same prices. I personnaly chose the Silver Swift boat. The team was really good, material really good too, nice food, nice boat. $280 for the day with 3 dives.

On the road between Cairns and Sydney:
Mossman Gorge: entrance $8,50, nice place to visit with a nice 1h walk in a rainforest.
Airlie Beach (Whitsundays islands): Backpackers by the bay for the accomodation – $12 to park your van. Excursion Whiteheaven Beach with Mantaray for $155 the day (great boat, nice team, lookout, time on the beach and snorkelling during the afternoon)
Agnes Water: rangers camping for $6 the night, nice encounters there :)
Noosa: Halse Lodge backpackers – $15 to park your van. Free and nice national park to walk!
Brisbane: farmers market on wednesdays with healthy and good and cheap food.
Nimbin: I’ve heard a lot about this city before, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you into smoking… Candles factory interesting.
Port Macquarie: visit of the koalas hospital for free and really nice.
Anna Bay: walk on the sand dunes for free, possibility to do sandboarding with 4WD Tours R Us for $20 (unlimited time)
Blue Mountains: free visit, loads of walks around at the lookouts or waterfalls.
Sydney: YHA Central Station – $39 the night in a dorm (expensive in Sydney but this one is nicely located and has some cool stuff like a swimming pool or a kind of cinema)

Alice Springs
Accomodation: Toddy’s Backpackers – $25 the night in a dorm
Excursion 3 days / 2 nights in Uluru, Kata Tjuta et Kings Canyon with Emu Run for $350 all included.

If some of you want more information about where I parked at night or what I visited, don’t hesitate to write a comment or send me an email. And to check a bit more about what I did and saw in Australia, don’t hesitate to read my articles.

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