The Ultimate Australia Travel Guide

Australia is filled with incredibly diverse landscapes, vibrant cities and untouched beauty. The Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House, Uluru and Whitehaven Beach are just some of the attractions that draw thousands of tourists to Australia every year. I’m lucky enough to call Australia home, and I’ve put together the ultimate Australia travel guide to help you plan the perfect trip.

Australia Travel Guide

Weather

The weather in Australia is highly dependent on your location. It is a huge country with a diverse range of weather patterns. Here is the average weather in each major city.

Melbourne: Weather in Melbourne is notorious for being unpredictable. Summer temperatures can be anywhere from 20-40 degrees Celsius. Winter is usually cold with temperatures falling to 10-15 degrees.

Hobart: Hobart is the coldest city in the country, with an average of 24 degrees in Summer, and 3-11 degrees in Winter.

Sydney: Sydney enjoys more mild winters compared to Melbourne, with average winter temperatures of 17 degrees, and summer temperatures of 25 degrees.

Canberra: Being Australia’s only inland capital city, Canberra often experiences chilly temperatures. Winter temperatures average 12 degrees, with summer temperatures climbing to 28.

Brisbane: Winters in Brisbane are usually sunny and warm with averages temperatures of 21 degrees. Summers are usually consistently hot with temperatures sitting around 30 degrees.

Cairns: Cairns experiences tropical weather, with a rainy season and a dry season. The dry season is in winter, with average temperatures of 26 degrees, Summer brings the rainy season, so expect burst of rain and humid weather.

Darwin: Darwin also has a wet and dry season. Temperatures are around 31 degrees year round, with summer bringing the rainy weather.

Adelaide: The average temperature in Adelaide is 15 degrees in Winter, and 28 degrees in Summer.

Perth: Perth has mild winters with an average of 19 degrees, and warm summers with an average of 30 degrees. Most of the rainfall is during winter.

Accomodation

There is a huge range of accommodation available in Australia, from luxury hotels to hostels and campgrounds.

Hostels: Hostels are a great budget option, with dorms starting from $20-$25 and private rooms from $50. Most hostels have great facilities, with kitchens, common rooms and even pools being common. I’ve stayed at many YHA locations and have been really impressed with each one.

AirBnb: AirBnb is another popular option. You can find a small apartment or guest suite in most locations for around $100. Many also come with kitchens which will help save on food costs, and most hosts are willing to give local recommendations.

Camping: Australia is very road trip friendly, so camping and travelling by camper van is common. There are campgrounds in most tourist locations. Staying in a cabin at a caravan park is also a great option. There are also some free camping locations, however these are not common. Download the Wiki-Camps app to discover every camping and day rest area.

Hotels: Hotels are the most expensive option, with basic rooms in major cities usually starting from around $120. Motels are often cheaper, with rooms starting from $80-$90. They are often more basic than hotels but are usually clean and fine for a short stop over.

Transport

Car hire: Australia is well equipped for road trips. The roads are in great condition and rest stops are frequent. There are many hire companies available and cars can be picked up from all major airports and cities.

Public Transport: Within the major cities public transport is good. Each city has its own system, most using a tap on/tap off card system. Buses, trains and trams, as well as bike/scooter share are common.

Greyhound buses: Greyhound buses are a great option for travelling between towns on the East Coast. Tickets are cheap, and can be bought in advanced online.

Ubers/taxis: Uber, Ola, and Di Di are some of the most popular rideshare options. They are very common in the cities and easy to get. Taxi’s are more expensive, but are sometimes the only option in smaller towns where the ride share apps don’t operate.

Air travel: Given the huge distances between Australias capital cities, flying between destinations can save you a lot of time. Jetstar is Australia’s main budget airline, with fares between Melbourne to Sydney often going on sale for around $55. Be aware that this will be for a basic fare, with baggage and seat choice coming at an additional cost.

Currency and Costs

Australia’s currency is the Australian Dollar. Most shops, hotels and restaurants accept card payments, and ATM’s and banks are easy to find.

Some average costs are:

Food: A main meal at a decent cafe will cost around $20-$30, and $35-$45 for an upscale restaurant. A meal deal at a fast food restaurant like McDonalds or Hungry Jacks will set you back around $10-15. A weeks worth of basic groceries will cost approximately $80-$100 for one person.

Petrol: Petrol prices fluctuate regularly, and could be anywhere from $1.20-$1.80 er litre for unleaded petrol.

Alcohol: A basic mixed drink at a pub or club will cost around $10, with cocktails usually costing $18-$22. You can usually grab a 6 pack of beer from a bottle shop on sale for $15, or a cheap bottle of wine for $10.

Tours: Full day tours such as snorkelling tours, or national park tours will cost around $120-$200.

Safety

Australia is a very safe country. The usual common sense rules apply- be aware of your surroundings and trust your intuition. It’s a great country for solo travellers and female travellers.

The beaches and wildlife can pose a threat. Be sure to follow any signs when at the beach or rivers/waterfalls etc. When at the beach, swim between the red and yellow flags, and be wary of rips and currents.

There can be crocodiles in swimming areas in North Queensland and the Northern Territory, so be wary of the signs and always check if unsure. Stingers can also be present in North Queensland during the wet season. Stinger suits are recommended.

The Australian sun can also be very harsh, so make sure you always have plenty of sunscreen and water with you.

The healthcare system in Australia is excellent, but travel insurance is recommended to avoid any high fees.

Top things to do in Australia

Great Barrier Reef australia travel guide

Queensland

Visit the Whitsundays– This group of islands are located off of the coast of Airlie Beach, and are a true tropical paradise. A trip to the famous Whitehaven beach is a must

Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef– Known as the largest living organism in the world, snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef is a major bucket list experience. Swim amongst hard and soft corals, colourful fish, sea turtles, rays and even reef sharks.

Relax in Noosa-The perfect chill beach destination. Walk through the stunning National Park, sunbathe on the beach, and snack on acai.

Visit the Daintree Rainforest- The Daintree is the oldest rainforest in the world, and is truly a magical place. There are many walks and tours available. I love Cape Tribulation for its untouched feel.

New South Wales

Explore Sydney- Probably the most famous city in Australia, Sydney has an awesome mix of bars, cafes and beaches. The obvious sights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House are definite must do’s. A trip on the ferry out to Manly, or a day at Bondi Beach are also a great option.

Hike in the Blue Mountains- Located just 1.5 hours from Sydney, the Blue Mountains is the perfect way to experience the incredible nature that Australia has to offer. The region has countless lookouts, hikes and waterfalls to visit.

Go wine tasting in the Hunter Valley– There’s no better way to get a taste of Australia’s famous wines then to go on a winery tour in the Hunter Valley.

Visit the whitest sand beach in the world– Hyams Beach, a couple hours south of Sydney, has claim to the whitest sand beach in the world.

Victoria

Go café hopping in Melbourne- Melbourne is well known for its café culture and excellent coffee. The CBD is full of quirky cafes, and you really can’t go wrong with a day of hopping between them.

Road trip the Great Ocean Road– A road trip along this beautiful coastal road is an iconic Australian experience. Stop along the many beachside towns and marvel at the 12 Apostles.

Get back to nature in Wilsons PromWilson’s Promontory National Park, three hours to the south of Melbourne, has a wild, untouched feel. Spotting wildlife such as wombats, kangaroos and parrots is common here. There are many gorgeous rugged beaches, and hikes.

See the penguins at Phillip Island- A fun activity that most children in Melbourne do on school camp. Watch as the islands resident penguins make their way from the Ocean to their nests.

Tasmania

Explore the MONA Museum– MONA is not like an ordinary museum, in fact it has been described as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland”. The Museum houses over 1900 pieces of artwork, and is also home to a winery, a restaurant and an off site brewery.

Visit Freycinet National Park- This stunning National Park features secluded beaches and bays, as well as a range of hikes and lookouts. It is home to the famous Wine Glass Bay.

Hike in Cradle Mountain National Park- Experience the untouched mountains that Tasmania is famous for. Here you can hike the Overland Track, which is a well known multi-day hike.

See the wildlife at Bruny Island- Bruny Island is home to some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife, including seals, wombats, echidnas, penguins and wallabies. The island is accessed via a 20 minute ferry from Kettering.

South Australia

Visit Kangaroo Island- With its rugged coastlines and incredible wildlife, a trip to Kangaroo Island is a must do when in South Australia. The island is dotted with secluded cabins, gourmet restaurants and native wildlife.

Go winery hopping in the Barossa Valley- The Barossa region is home to more than 80 cellar doors, as well as gourmet produce stores and local markets. Hope on a winery tour or go on a self led bike tour.

Road trip along the Eyre Peninsula- Hop in the car and drive down the peninsula, stopping at the beautiful white sand beaches. The Eyre Peninsula is also home to Port Lincoln, where you can cage dive with Great White Sharks.

Flinders Ranges- Get a taste of the Aussie outback at the Flinders Ranges, South Australia’s largest mountain range. The region is famous for its towering cliffs that glow red in the afternoon sun.

Western Australia

Snorkel the Ningaloo Reef- Ningaloo is the worlds largest fringing reef, with many ocean lovers saying the snorkelling here is even better than the Great Barrier Reef. From March to July you can swim with whale sharks here.

Get a selfie with a Quokka- A selfie with a quokka is a quintessential Western Australia experience. These cute little marsupials can be found on Rottnest Island, just off of the Coast of Perth.

Visit Karijini National Park– Karijini is the states second largest national park. It features a diverse array. of natural landscapes including gorges, swimming holes, waterfalls and some of the worlds oldest rocks.

Swim at Elephant Rocks- The Western Australian coast has countless incredible beach, with white sands and crystal clear turquoise water. Elephant Rocks is particularly special, as it features large granite boulders that are said to resemble a herd of elephants.

Northern Territory

Cruise the Nitmuluk Gorge- Cruise through the gorge, and learn about the Indigenous culture and rock art. Opt for the sunrise cruise to watch the gorge be painted in the golden morning light.

Watch the sunset at Uluru- No trip to Australia is complete without a visit to the Red Centre. Watching Uluru turn from its dazzling red to orange and then purple as the sun goes down is a magical experience.

Explore Kakadu- There is a huge amount to explore in Kakadu, from Indigenous rock paintings, to gorges and swimming holes. It is Australia’s largest National Park, so give yourself a few days to really immerse yourself in this incredible place.

Go for a swim at Litchfield National Park- This park is home to several waterfalls that are perfect to cool off from the scorching Australian sun in. Florence Falls, Tjaynera Falls, and Wangi Falls are just a few of the falls to choose from.

Australian Capital Territory

Visit Parliament House- Canberra is Australia’s capital city, and home to its Parliament House. Tours run every half hour daily, where you can learn about the political proceedings of the country .

Learn about Australia’s sporting culture– Visit the Australian Institute of Sport to learn about the country’s sporting history.

I hope this Australia Travel Guide has given you all the knowledge you need to plan the perfect trip to Australia!

More Australia Travel Guides

The Ultimate Guide to the Blue Mountains

Fitzroy Island: A Complete Guide (2020)

The Ultimate Australia Travel Guide

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