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.
When you're in Adelaide, do visit the Adelaide Hills -- really nice scenery and free wine tasting.
Rainbox Beach was just too lovely to describe with any justice. Anybody who wants a little paradise should definitely go to Rainbow Beach.
Mission Beach is a great little beach town. Its away from the hussle and bussle of other tourist areas so one can actually enjoy the place they are at.
My friends and I had an amazing trip at Magnetic Island Schoolies. It's a blast! There's also a cool band that played alternative music, which really rocked! It was nonstop dancing and partying all night. I really loved the drinks I've had! It was a totally sick experience we had! We sure will visit there again!
Maroochydore is a great place to do fruit picking as it is so close to the beach, has lovely weather, plenty of charity shops, and great drinking holes!
The two bakeries in town both claim to be "The Original Lancelin Bakery." My money goes to the one near the park as it has a shadehouse eatery which is nice to sit in and look at your maps while chowing down. Here's my big tip: buy a big round wholemeal roll (better for you) and stick your pie in it :-) with sauce …
Forster is the nicest place in Oz.
Hobart is a happening place, with old buildings, tourists, and locals. It has the usual city feel to it, and is lovely to walk around in. Salamanca place is a must. Hiding behind other buildings this is an outdoor area with restaurants and some shops and a big pond. On Friday nights there is the live music by locals …
I've stayed in Coolangatta twice, and really like the area.
Geelong is a great gateway to Great Ocean Road. Public transport is available to all beaches and Melbourne. Go to www.geelongotway.org and www.greatoceanroad.org for all tourist info and links to Geelong and the Great Ocean Road.
Broadbeach is great, its only minutes to Surfers and has some great things to do as it is on the beach with its surf clubs. And the casino is always great with Thursday night -- cheap drinks in the casino's Prince Albert Bar. It's where a lot of the young loacals go.
For the three days I was in Cairns I realized it's truly beautiful. I suggest that that everyone go snorkeling and/or scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.
Bunbury is an amazing city with excellent opportunites to see beautiful dolphins right before your eyes.
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! ;-)
Byron Bay is the most beautiful town we've seen so far. So lush, great health minded shops, lots of holistic therapies available, we'll be back to stay much longer next time!