Michael's Australian Travel Tips for Backpackers
Useful hints and tips for backpacker travel in Australia from Michael Keogh - the Manager of Cronulla Beach YHA Hostel in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Backpackers Hostel for Sydney Beaches Budget Accommodation.
Travel Article © Oct 2010.
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Plan Your Trip According To Your Time Frame
I have outlined below some of the different travel timeframes in which most backpackers plan to complete a tour, plus the answers to more FAQ's and dilemmas that travellers find themselves in. For example: How much should I budget for my trip to Australia? Is it easy to find work? How much could I expect to earn? Do I buy or rent a car? Is public transport or pre-organised tours the go? Do I fly to save backtracking over Australia's long distances? What experience do I really want to get from my trip, etc, etc...
The 2 Week - 1 Month Traveller:
In Backpacker terms these people are often on the whirlwind tour and will naturally hit all the main icons, fly here and there, most likely to have nearly everything pre-booked, and normally don't really have any budget constraints. Planning in advance for this trip I believe is essential for the major areas you want to visit in Australia, as time is not on your side. You must avoid back-tracking unless you're in the air.
I would recommend that tours be left to be booked after arrival, this gives you a chance to investigate and read carefully the options available to you. Australia has a tour for nearly everything and often there are several companies doing the same route. Live it up as you can always pay off that credit card when you get home and back to work!
The 1-3 Month Traveller:
These travellers usually have a more defined but still generous budget and should have planned a general portion of their holiday, but without too much pre-booked accommodation or tours. There are a myriad of options available to them to cover the distances involved and to maximise their experience.
For example, I recommend that they don't buy, but instead opt to rent a car or camper van for the major legs of their trip. (See the Transport section for a discussion of this)
If buying/renting is out of your budget then travelling like most do on the long-distance buses, is a cheap and effective way to do it. Australian coach and tour bus companies such as Greyhound, McCaffertys and Oz Experience have passes where you can hop off and on all the way around Australia. The only drawback is that this makes it hard to reach those un-spoilt special places along the way, plus you are travelling to their time schedule. I recommend a split between modes of transport for certain legs of your journey.
3 Months & Longer:
This is usually the traveller who wants to have a working holiday whilst travelling around Australia. They have no fixed plans and are very spontaneous as to where and when they might travel to next, whether it be looking for work or due to great new friends they have met along the way. They usually are very budget orientated and need work to supplement their travels. The most important points I can highlight are:
I guess from speaking with so many travellers, the thought of an endless summer is their ultimate dream, so if you plan on covering a fair bit of Australia, have a general idea of what area and what season you will be in. I see so many heading off to the wrong areas at the wrong times it's amazing.
Be in the right part of the country during the correct season. Remember the southern hemisphere seasons are the reverse of those in the north; summer here is December-February, autumn/fall is March-May, winter is June-August and spring is September-November. For example, in the northern parts of the country November-April is typically classified as the "wet season". During these months there is a great chance of tropical storms, permanent high humidity, stingers in the water (so no swimming) and a depleted number of travellers due to these reasons.
Most travellers in Australia follow the sun and head north (Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia) in the winter, returning south (New South Wales, A.C.T., Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia) for the summer.
The southern part of Australia during May-September has poor weather and the further south you go, the worse it gets. Despite popular images of Australia of the land of perpetual sun, it does get cold in the south in winter! Tasmania/Melbourne/Adelaide can be just as cold, wet, windy and grey as it gets in most parts of Europe or North America.
It is worth mentioning that if you're truly budget conscious, some great savings can be made by travelling in the reverse cycle - i.e. north in summer and south in the winter. If you don't mind the heat/cold, and want to avoid the crowds, then you can take advantage at the reduced rates and special promo deals that most backpackers hostels, travel companies and tour operators will be offering at these times.
Having your seasons worked out for fruit picking is also very important. Certain fruits and vegetables have different ripening times, so if you get a broad picture of harvesting seasons you can travel from region to region always being in the right place at the right time.
Next Page >> Transport - Buying Or Renting A Vehicle
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