Planning a trip down under is super exciting as there is oh so much to explore! The entire country itself is the same size as the whole United States. If this is shocking to you, I felt the same when learning that…doesn’t it just look so tiny on the map!?
10 Things to Know/Travel Tips:
- Be prepared to spend A LOT of money. Australia is expensive- VERY expensive. It is totally unlike visiting the countries in Southeast Asia where you can get away with spending very little a day. It’s more like a minimum of around $150 a day vs. the $50 a day you can do in many other countries.
- Have a plan. As much as you can always wing it anytime you are traveling, I suggest doing your research when it comes to the land of Oz. It can be harder to find last-minute accommodations and due to how costly it is, it’s much better when you have a plan in place in advance.
- Road trips are not as easy as they might seem. The country is BIG, even if it might look small on the map. If you plan on visiting multiple cities, I would suggest booking flights between them. Otherwise, you may not get to see everything you’d like to see. I’d still suggest renting a car in many of the destinations in order to be able to experience everything without paying insane costs for day trips and tours. There’s also always the option of traveling by camper van if you are lucky enough to have an extended amount of time to explore!
- The main destinations of Sydney and Melbourne are very large metropolitan cities. I’m not sure exactly why, but this fact surprised me a bit as I guess I was somehow expecting it to be much more rural than it is.
- You need to get a visa which you can apply for online. A tourist visa is valid for one year and allows 90-day visits. (Also, if you happen to be under the age of 30 you should seriously consider applying for a working holiday visa and spending an extended period of time there- 1-2 years to be specific.)
- Australia is separated into six different states: Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia. There are also two territories: Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory.
- Many of the world’s most dangerous animals are found in Australia. Always be mindful of warning signs before swimming in the water!
- Wear sunscreen when visiting the beaches!! There is a hole in the ozone layer just above Australia so the sun is extremely harsh and the UV rays are much more dangerous here. Skin cancer is no joke.
- Make sure you try Tim Tams- these little chocolate treats are a well known Aussie favorite and oh so delicious!
- Last but not least, Australia is beyond amazing and full of so much beauty and such fun people, you will without a doubt absolutely love it! 🙂
Places to See and Things to Do:
Located in the southeastern state of Victoria, this big city is a foodie’s paradise full of culture, street art, and charm. A few of my faves here included the Street Art on Hosier Lane, Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes, and The Great Ocean Road.
Sydney is Australia’s most populous metropolitan and located on the southeastern part of the country in New South Wales. This destination is at the top of most people’s list when visiting Oz and there are so many reasons why it should be. This bustling big city is reminiscent of a beachy Australian version of NYC and it is full of adventure and exploration options.
3. Byron Bay
This super chic and trendy bohemian beach town located on the southeastern state of New South Wales, it is another absolute must while visiting Aussie! Full of adorable shops and cafes and beautiful beaches, there is nothing not to love here. Some must dos here would be visiting the lighthouse and visiting Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens.
4. The Gold Coast
Another large metropolitan, found just south of Brisbane on the east coast of Australia, The Gold Coast is full of beautiful beaches, high rises and Miami city vibes. If you’re looking for a beach vacation, this is your spot.
5. The Great Barrier Reef
Possibly one of the most famous things to do when visiting Australia is scuba dive or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef in tropical Queensland of Northeastern Australia. There are three main places you can visit to tour the reef- Cairns, Port Douglas, and Airlie Beach.
Cairns is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the three, however, it is also the location closest to where the reef is the most destroyed. A bit over-populated and not too exciting, we took our tour from this part of Queensland and based on how it went and what I know now, I would suggest visiting one of the other two places instead.
Port Douglas is a cute and fun town with lots of great day trip options nearby, including the Wildlife Habitat where you can see kangaroos and koalas up close and the Waterfall Circuit (both pictured below). Supposedly the tours from this area take you to the more northern sections of the Great Barrier Reef where there is the least damage.
Although I did not get to visit Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands due to time constraints in our travel schedule, based on photos, I would absolutely recommend going there! One of the best ways to experience it would be a 3-day sailing tour that takes you around the Whitsunday islands.