- When to go: October to March is the best time to enjoy the summer in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and to explore the Outback (in the Australian winter times the nights are getting freezing there sometimes under 0°C); Tasmania is colder so the best time is from November to February; in Perth (WA) and north of there it is still nice until May/June but south of Perth is better in the summer; for the Northern Territory the rainy season is between November and April (some roads in National Parks are closed, sights cannot be visited etc.), best months are June to September; Queensland is good all year around, whale season from June to October, cyclone season is from December to April, May is a great month to travel the east coast as well
- Getting there: ultimate tip is to stop-over in Bali because you get the cheapest flights from there
- Transport: the inner-country flights with Virgin Air or Tiger Air are super cheap, the adventure by campervan is very popular and easy to do, there are ferries e.g. from Melbourne to Tasmania as well
- Visa: Work and Holiday visa is possible for 12 months if you are under 31 years old (around $400, in 2017), alternativly you can apply for the free tourist visa for 3 months online here
- Money & Budget: Australia is expensive and you should be prepared for that with a daily budget of at least AUS $70 for travelling, paying by Visa card is very common and quite safe in Australia, to withdrawal money at an ATM has mostly an additional fee of AUD $5
WHERE TO GO
- New South Wales (NSW): Sydney and Canberra are the most known cities of NSW but it has a lot more to offer. The beaches in New Castle (2h north of Sydney) and the Blue Mountains (2h west of Sydney, both reachable by train) are worth to check out. Nelson Bay with a wonderful long sandy beach is nice, too. A bit further north in Port Macquarie the a super cute koala hospital can be visited for free, tours everyday at 3pm. Furthermore the Dorringo National Park offers the beautiful Crystal Shower walk through a rainforest with great lookouts to a Waterfall. The best northern spot and one of my favourite places in Australia is Byron Bay it has a so relaxing, hippie-like atmosphere with surf beaches, cool cafés and a lighthouse which leads to the most eastern point of the country. South of Sydney (7h) on the way to Melbourne the unique Australia stone can be found in Narroma.
- Queensland (QLD): North of Byron Bay you find the most touristy part: Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast. Brisbane is a cool city with a free ferry, great parks, some old buildings and a city beach. Noosa is a cute town with a great long beach as well. Surfers Paradise is not the nicest place, just another beach. Better continue fast to Fraser island and book a trip with a 4-wheel-drive (around AUD $180!) to explore the biggest sand island of the world. Cute dolphins to watch and feed are coming every Sunday around 8 a.m. to Rainbow Beach. But absolutely Insider-Tip to see one of the most rarely seen animals in the world, the Platypus (deutsch: Schnabeltier) is the Eungella National Park, 80 km west of Mackay in the mountains. One of the most beautiful places are the Whitsunday Islands. Because of that fact they are very touristy as well but nevertheless they should not be missed out, daily tours can be booked in Airlie Beach for around AUD $150. Another pricy but absolutely worth-the-money trip is the Great Barrier Reef, reachable from Cairns by boat for snorkelling or diving, day trips from AUD $140. Cairns as a city is a bit dissapointing for many travellers, the centre is very small and has nothing really to offer than the beach or pubs full of beer-drinking Aussies.
- Northern Territory (NT): Must-Do is the Lichtfield National Park, 1h south of Darwin, beautiful nature with many waterfalls, breathtaking lookouts and the biggest termite mounds of Australia. More interesting because of the aboriginal background and historic culture to track is the Kakadoo National Park. Darwin is good for a short visit with a very nice seafront and city beach. Be careful of the Krokodiles in the sea!
- Outback: The Uluru (Ayers Rock) is the best place to learn about the aboriginal spirit and culture of Australia. The drive through the Outback is unique for the country with endless roads, huge trucks and wild kangaroos. Only 300km from Uluru another great National Park can be found: the Kings Canyon. It offers different hikes through amazing red outback nature. The next big city Alice Springs is good for a stop over especially the view from the hill or one of the trendy bars.
- South Australia (SA): Adelaide, the capital of this state is recommendable to explore by bike along the river through the parks to the beach. The city center is nice for a walk in the afternoon and drink at night but be careful with many homeless Aboriginals there. Near Adelaide the oldest German village Hahndorf can be found with traditional restaurants and farmers markets. On the way to the Great Ocean Road/ Melbourne the Blue Lake near Mount Gambier is worth a stop.
- Victoria (VIC): Melbourne is the multicultural and trendy capital of this southern state. Especially popular for young people there are different districts to explore, the St. Kilda beach and the famous adventure park “Luna Park”. West of Melbourne one of the most beautiful drive in the world, the Great Ocean Road is leading you along the coastline to the Otago National Park with koalas hanging from the trees, the Twelve Apostel and the Great Ocean Road National Park with wild Echidnas. This scenic drive is 250km long starting in Torquay to Allansforf. From there it is another 800km to Adelaide. South-east of Melbourne the Wilsons Promontory Park is located. It offers great hikes, beaches and pure nature for campers. On Phillip Island little Penguins and seals can be seen.
- Tasmania: The southern island of Australia offers completely different nature and landscapes. The climate is almost like Europe or North America. It is a famous tourist destination for hikes in the Cradle mountains or south in Mount Field National Park. The coastal line is full of untouched nature not far to each other: Burnie has the nicest beach in the north near Devonport where the ferry arrives from Melbourne, in Strahan on the west coast you can watch the bes sunsets and in Port Arthur you can visit the historical sites of the prisons with the colonial times. In Hobart the architecture of this time can be seen – a must-do is a visit in the MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). The highlight of Tasmania is the east coast especially the area around Wineglass Bay (3h hike) with Blowholes and amazing ocean rock formations as well as beautiful views along the coast.
- Western Australia (WA): The Nullabur, the longest straight road in the world leads you to Perth, starting point of all WA-roadtrips. Two days is a good time to visit this modern and clean city with a beautiful harbour site and Kings Park for a great view over the city. From there a day trip is recommendable to Rottnest Island to make a selfie with cutest animal in the world: the Quokka (budget AUD $100). North of Perth the best stops are: white sand dunes at Lancelin, coast line and red gorges in Kalbarri National Park, Coral Bay for snorkelling and Exmouth to swim with a whaleshark. My highlight was Monkey Mia (800km north of Perth) because of the relaxing atmosphere, palms on the beach and all the marine life to see like dolphins, eagle rays, sea turtle or sharks. Another highlight in the outback is the Karajiji National Park with amazing gorges to hike and explore. South of Perth Margaret River and Esperance are beautiful places to visit.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- Traffic is on the left (important for pedestrians as well)
- The visitor centres are very helpful and can be found in every town
- For Backpackers: the job chances are getting more difficult over the years, exploiting backpacker hostels for farm work exsist where you earn the same a day as what you have to pay for the hostel, the visa price is risen from $200 to $400 and a lot of horror stories are going around about broken cars but anyway it is one of the best experience for young people ever – with motivation and a bit luck everyone can do it! You won’t regret it!
Planning a road trip? Get my best tips and experiences of my road trip through Western Australia here (pictures below).