A country and continent surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans, Australia always packs in so much for its visitors. Its major cities like Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide are coastal and excellent for a visit. So here’s our Australia travel guide.
Australia Travel Guide: Activities, Food, Transport, Tipping, Cities, and More!
Australia is a land of extremes. From the desert outback to the dense forests of the Northern Territories, passing by Uluru, the sacred rock of the Aborigines, and the Great Barrier Reef, it is a land of inexhaustible beauty, populated by incredible wildlife. The island-continent is not to be outdone when it comes to cities: trendy Melbourne and elegant Sydney are worth a visit on their own.
Currency: Australian Dollar
Population: 2.46 crores
Highest point: Mount Kosciuszko
Electricity Sockets: Type C and F
How To Reach Australia
Home to several international airports, Melbourne and Sydney are the busiest airports connecting tourists from all over the world.
Best Time To Visit Australia
In Australia, the summers are from December through February, and winter from June through August.
In the Northern Territory temperatures are high 70 degrees during the winter with no rainfall at all, and summers are extremely hot, with serious downpours.
Southern Australia (including Adelaide and Melbourne) have summer temperatures in the low 70s, and winters are cool. The best time to visit is in January or February for warm beach weather, and to catch some baby ‘roos hopping around.
Transport by Road
The Australian road network is extensive and well maintained. It travels through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. The vehicle fleet is therefore provided and varied. Warning! Left-hand drive (and roundabouts are to be taken clockwise). The speed is generally limited to 60 km/h in town (35 miles); it can be lowered to 50 km/h (30 miles) in certain areas. On the road, the limit is usually set at 110 km/h (60 miles). Authorized blood alcohol level while driving: 0.05 g/litre. Watch out for kangaroos crossing the road.
Transportation by Taxi or Car Rental
The car rental offer is very important. If you wish to rent a vehicle, you must present your national driving license and an international driving license; in addition, you must be over 21 and have held the driver’s license for over a year.
Transportation by Train
41,000 km of railway tracks ensures that taking the train in Australia is a picturesque experience: it is neither cheaper, nor more convenient, nor, above all, faster than the bus. There remains the atmosphere, the charm, the time passing slowly. Three main lines cross the country: Sydney-Alice Springs, via Melbourne and Adelaide; Sydney-Perth; Melbourne-Adelaide.
There are many airlines that offer scheduled flights to Australia. You can opt for a direct flight, or stroll from island to island in the Pacific to an international airport: Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Cairns, Hobart, Sydney, or Melbourne (the latter two being the most popular).
Things To Do
- At the heart of the city’s local ‘laneway culture’, you can discover Melbourne’s passionate entrepreneurs. Learn about green coffee bean selection or how to temper chocolate, and admire the craftsmanship that have become the calling cards of ‘Made in Melbourne.’
- On Great Ocean Road, stroll along the wild beaches or stop for a coffee at the striking Split Point Lighthouse and take in the scenery. Apollo Bay, a tranquil seaside town amongst the soft rolling hills, offers a great selection of cafes and restaurants.
- At Port Douglas, walk through the coastal habitats, rainforest and learn about the environment, different foods and medicines utilized from nature, sample some bush tucker, collect shellfish and try traditional Aboriginal hunting practices. At Port Douglas you can also have a go at spear throwing and if you’re lucky, catch a fresh mud crab!
- Go snorkeling on the amazing Great Barrier Reef. You will travel to the edge of the continental shelf, passing Low Isles en route. On the way dolphins are often encountered along with whales and manta rays.
- Enjoy the beauty of Sydney from the water, cruising under the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House, Circular Quay, The Rocks, the Botanical Gardens, Mrs. Macquaries Chair, and Fort Denison.
- Visit Calmsley Hill, a working farm also home to kangaroos, emus, wombats, and koalas.
Places In Australia To Visit
A city famous for its sense of style, glamorous events, cafes, wineries, and shops, Melbourne boasts a lifestyle experience. Melbourne is the most European of Australian cities, capital of fashion, cafes, and concerts; between tropical forest and Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, ideally located to discover the riches of Northern Queensland.
Enjoy beautiful buildings, fantastic shopping precincts, and countless shows, exhibitions, and galleries to entertain.
At the other end of the state, the entry point is Brisbane, to leave for Fraser Island and the beaches of the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast.
Great Ocean Road
One of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world, the Great Ocean Road stretches 550 km along the southern coast of Victoria. Get entranced by this majestic coastal drive in style to fully relax and fully appreciate the wonders of this world-famous route. Visit an ancient Eucalyptus Forest, located at the iconic Great Ocean Road Ecolodge where you can have close encounters with koalas, kangaroos, and native birds.
Head north to Port Douglas for a relaxed seaside village ambience nestled at the end of a peninsula. Port Douglas is also the closest gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, a natural wonder abundant with incredible biodiversity. Colorful coral gardens of every shape and form, home to a plentiful array of tropical marine life.
The beauty of Sydney is truly unrivaled, with its small bays and inlets crowned by the billowing sails of the Opera House. The shining gem is the harbor and truly is a sight to behold.
The Blue Mountains National Park makes up the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. This wonderland of sandstone outcrops, hazy blue eucalypt forests, and deep ravines boasts stunning views. Nature abundant of course, the Blues Mountains in New South Wales, Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territories, where the beauty of the landscapes rivals the richness of Aboriginal paintings, and the mythical Uluru (Ayers Rock).
The Three Sisters
At Eagle hawk Lookout views of the famous 3 Sisters can be seen. The Three Sisters change throughout the day and the seasons as the sunlight brings out the magnificent colors.
Enjoy Govetts Leap
Mesmerized by the dancing waves of water spray, you will be transfixed by the sweeping views down the valley to the Grose Wilderness.
Perth, in Western Australia, is the largest airport of entry into the country. It is the sunniest of the Australian capitals, its importance was born from the discovery of gold at the end of the 19th century
Eat your way around Australia in some unique places:
- Burger Point, Sydney: Dip your burgers in melted gooey cheese.
- Peanut Butter Bar, Sydney: For an endless amount of peanut butter on everything.
- Harajuku Gyoza: French fry lovers, find the largest foot-long fries here, inspired by Japan.
- Zero Gradi, Melbourne: Fountains of Nutella and White Chocolate meet Ice Cream here for a decadent dessert.
- Bare Grill on Bourke, Sydney: Melting cheese blocks and generously scraping it to fall on top of your burger or veggies is a theater worthy attraction.
- Patissez, Canberra: Next level milkshakes to meet your match, if you’re ready for a Freak Shake.
Other Useful Tips
- In Australia, local food isn’t incredibly cheap. If you support local businesses, by going to the farmers’ markets instead of visiting local grocery chains, you will pay less for food and add a positive impact on the local community as well.
- Drinking at bars in Australia is expensive.
- Get acquainted with the local slang words and meanings.
- Tipping in Australia is not a common practice. You are not expected to tip in restaurants, bars, or taxis.
- Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, mind the sun, and wear a good amount of sunblock.
Head to the Sydney Opera House, raft in Cairns, go to the Great Barrier Reef, or to a vast interior desert wilderness called the Outback or see some unique animal species like kangaroos, koalas, and the duck-billed platypuses.