Australia, also commonly known as "Downunder," is a popular and very rewarding travel destination. Firstly, don't worry about the spiders, the snakes, the crocodiles, the insects, the drop bears, the sharks, the boxing kangaroos. Chances are you'll forget they even exist (well not the kangaroos, they're everywhere). The average Australian very rarely comes across any type of animal or insect that is going to cause harm, so don't worry. What you should be worried about is the heat. And if you plan on driving in Australia, make sure you carry a spare Jerry can fuel of petrol or gas, spare food, and water, and a radio would also be a good idea. The biggest danger to most tourists is having their car break down in the middle of nowhere, so be prepared if you are planning a roadtrip.
Many people who stay in Australian hostels hire or buy a car to drive around the country, or visit on a "work and holiday" trip. If visiting Australia for a couple of weeks, be aware that the country is very big, and cities and attractions separated by very large distances. So choose an area, or have a plan for travelling to where you want to go.
Sydney is a must if visiting Australia. Take a couple of days to visit all the city's main attractions, including the Sydney harbour bridge and Opera House. Fireworks can often be seen in the harbour most Saturday nights.
Continuing up the east coast, we have the Gold Coast (beaches, nightclubs, theme parks) and the Sunshine Coast (relaxing, with lots of beautiful beaches). Off the coast we also have the Great Barrier Reef, one of the best places in Australia for diving and snorkelling, with high biodiversity of tropical fish and marine life. There is also the Daintree Rain Forest (the nearest hostels are in Cape Tribulation) for great hiking and wildlife spotting. And many island resorts, including the famous Whitsunday Islands (the nearest hostels are in Airlie Beach).
If we continue heading along the coast we eventually get to the Northern Territory where towns become more infrequent. The Northern Territory is home to tropical rain forests and the beautiful Kakadu National Park. In the interior (or "outback") we also have Uluru / Ayers Rock, a strange rock formation in the centre of Australia, and Alice Springs, a nearby town, where most people will stay.
To the West, there is Western Australia. Most tourist skip Western Australia due to the isolation of the state's capital, Perth (the most isolated city in the world). However the state has some of the best beaches and snorkelling in the whole of Australia. It is also less touristy, so a great destination if you want to avoid the crowds.
South Australia is home to the Barossa Valley, famous for it's wines, particularly the shiraz red wines. If you're in the area, Kangaroo Island is also worth a visit, especially if you love nature and wildlife.
The drive from Adelaide (the capital of South Australia) to Melbourne (the capital of Victoria) is stunning, and known as one of the best drives in the world. Follow the rugged coast line, passing famous spots such as the the Twelve Apostles (a natural rock formation).
Melbourne is probably the trendiest city in Australia, with a great nightlife and restaurants, and some historic colonial buildings. From Melbourne you can easily hop on a plane for a 20 minute flight over to Tasmania for some great hiking. And if it's winter, maybe even to enjoy some snow (yes, it snows in Australia).
There are many accommodation options in Australia. In the cities, hostels are a popular choice, and of a high standard. Hostels are great places to go to meet other travellers, and often can help if you are looking for local work. In smaller towns and rural areas, hostels aren't always common, and roadhouses or camping might be the only option.
Australia, very big, very vast, and full of something for everyone!
Hi, I'm Kelly Sheldrick,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Australia hostels. Welcome.
Biloela was a great party town, small but good. Grew up there.
I commenced my journey around Australia 5 years ago and Phillip Island was my first stop... I'm still here and loving it! - Too bad when the secret's out! ;-)
Bunbury is an amazing city with excellent opportunites to see beautiful dolphins right before your eyes.
Melbourne is a fantastic city, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. There are some beautiful parks in the center of the city, and some lovely galleries and museums. I ended up staying in Melbourne for longer than I originally planned as I found it to be a 'fun' city - great bars and nighclubs, to suit all tastes …
Fremantle is a breath of fresh air. It has a quirky vibe, anything goes! Beautiful climate, beaches, historic buildings...
Here's my TOP 10 to-do's for Freo: (in no order)
1. Fremantle Markets, get a beer at the market bar and listen to the buskers.
2. Definitely do the night-time Prison tour, its excellent.
We spent a great month in Augusta a couple of years ago (as part of a 3 month journey around SW Australia). We started in a caravan (which was great), and we migrated to a rented a house from an estate agency and extended our visit for another three weeks. We were most impressed by the friendly and welcoming attitude …
Seriously, don't miss Broome, cancel everything else and go there. It's far better than anywhere on the east coast or west. It rules! I stayed there for a month out of four that I had to do Australia, wish I'd stayed longer!
Home Hill is the best! I went to Australia for nine months and I spent four months in Home Hill! I had the best time of my life over there. The people are great. I will definitely be going back there!
Batemans Bay is very far from the beach and attractions -- too far if you do not have transport.
Exmouth is AmAzInG. The Ningaloo Reef is located in The Cape Range National Park far far far away from town, but the good news is that The Ningaloo Reef Retreat does a shuttle bus there. I don't want to tell you my favourite spot as I share it with the likes of my middle brother and my best mate, but here's some food …
I am returning there for the third time this coming January. Merimbula is a great place to stay with friendly managers and close to where I like to snorkel and bodyboard.
The experiences I had in Laidley are amazing. I wouldn't miss a day!
Launceston is right next to Cataract Gorge, a 150m cut into the rock with the river at the bottom. Literally 10 minutes walk from the city centre and you're in the heart of nature. The city has an adequate bus system during the week, based at St John Street. Always call taxis from payphones instead of mobiles as the …
I worked in Surfers Paradise for 14 months from Sep 2002-Dec 2003 for a backpackers hostel, and it's my favourite place in Australia. There's so much to do, the weathers always great, and you meet tons of people very easily. You can go to theme parks, watersports, skydiving, zorbing, nature walks in the hinterland (I …
I stayed in Tully for two and a half months as work was plentiful. If you want work you don't have to go through a hostel, just get up bright and early, say 5:30 am, and stand at the post office junction. Ask the farmers if they need help as no qualifications are ever asked. Tully and its environs have a lot to …