Travelling alone in Australia need not be scary. Here’s why Australia is the perfect solo travel destination, even for female solo travellers. Australia is one of those places that everyone needs to visit once in their lifetime. From its pristine beaches, beautiful wildlife, history and culture, and fantastic food and nightlife, Australia really does have it all.
Due to its size and the vast amount of things to see and do, a lot of people end up backpacking around the country for a cost-effective way to see as much as possible. Make sure you check out my post on the best time to visit Australia which also has tips on the cheapest time to visit. Backpacking in Australia is so popular that there’s almost a whole culture with hostels freely available and organising trips and events, as well as the whole country, being well connected with various modes of transport to make it as easy as possible to see everything this beautiful country has to offer.
Is It Safe to Travel Alone in Australia?
Yes! I know, I know, you’ve seen Wolf Creek, but may I point out they weren’t travelling solo! But in all seriousness, Australia is an extremely safe place to travel alone and an even better place if you want a break for it all and connect with nature. The locals are super friendly, especially once you get outside of the cities and travelling solo will open you up to a whole host of experiences you wouldn’t normally have.
As a solo traveller you’ll have the best chance to make friends with locals and other travellers either at the hostels, hotels, Airbnbs or while you’re out and about exploring the city. So if you are planning a trip to Australia and also happen to be female and a are little apprehensive, know that there are plenty of women travelling alone in Australia. Just use common sense and you will be fine.
When travelling along to Australia, I had many an opportunity to meet people while exploring the best bits of Sydney. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with people, chatting to strangers while you’re waiting for a bus or out and about is quite common and the locals are more than happy to help out tourists if they’re lost.
For most, hearing tourists try to pronounce the ridiculous place names is often the highlight of their day. Befriending a local, even in a big place like Sydney will mean you’ll get to see another side to Australia, through a small café recommendation, or little tips like, Manly is a quieter, more local beach than bustling Bondi.
Things Not To Do As A Solo Traveller In Australia
I have shared post on the wit and wisdom of travelling as a woman, so, while traveling around Australia alone, the number one thing I would NOT recommend as a solo traveller is to go out into the bush or outback alone. Not only are there snakes and spiders, but Australian trees don’t offer much shade from the hot summer sun. Did I mention that I absolutely fear spiders?! Go out with a group of friends and take plenty of bottled water, snacks, sunscreen, and wear covered shoes, and a light long-sleeved top and long pants.
Make sure someone knows where you are going, when you intend to be back and your planned route or walking. If you have mobile reception while you’re out update a friend with pictures or where you are every few hours. If by chance something happens all of these things will help you be found more easily.
While Australia’s internet is notoriously slow, I think there are third world countries with faster internet speeds, it is widely accessible, with cafes, bars, and shopping centres offering free wifi. It can be difficult to get wifi at some hotels and hostels but a lot of hostels, especially in cities, often offer access to an “internet café” with reasonably priced printing for those on a working holiday visa.
I opted to stay in an apartment in Sydney right in the heart of CBD. Another thing to keep in mind is if you are in the country or in small country towns it might be difficult to get mobile phone reception or wifi.
Best Places To Visit Is Australia For Solo Travellers
The list of where to travel alone in Australia is as long and wide as the country itself. Below is a short list of some of the places to travel alone in Australia with plenty of opportunities to meet other like-minded travellers. I was travelling to Sydney alone as well as part of Melbourne and other places so if I can do it, so can you.
- Magnetic Island
- Port Douglas
- Great Barrier Reef
- Great Ocean Road
All of the cities are good to see, Sydney and Melbourne in particular have a lot to offer, especially to the backpackers that frequent them. I have already shared 2 itineraries for Melbourne in 5 days and another for 7 days in Melbourne. Places like Byron and Nimbin are popular for people who enjoy the laid back pace of the hippie/alternative culture. While you are in Melbourne another place within relative reach is Tasmania. There are ships or flights heading to the island. A weekend in Hobart, Tasmania is a great start to exploring this beautiful city.
The Great Barrier Reef is an important stop for people who enjoy diving or snorkeling, it is dying and we may well be the last generation to see it in all its glory. There are plenty of places to stay in around the Great Barrier Reef, like the Whitsundays, Magnetic Island, Cairns, Port Douglas. Uluru is an iconic thing to see in Australia and the Red Centre is a different side of the country. For nature lovers, Philip Island on the Great Ocean Road, and Rottnest Island just outside of Perth are must-sees for penguins and selfie-loving quokkas respectively. There are plenty of amazing sights in Australia and even more female travelling alone in Australia just like myself.
Also Read: The Best Time To Visit Australia
Must-Do Experiences In Australia
There are some really cool experiences available to travellers that will make your trip unforgettable and give you a chance to meet some like minded travellers.
- Sleep under the stars in the red centre with 2 or 3 day Uluru Camping trips
- Stay underground hotel in Cooper Pedy
- Visit the sealions at the “natural zoo” on Kangaroo Island
- Jump on a group tour up to the Daintree Rainforest while you’re in Cairns
- Go on a whale watching or dolphin watching cruise
- Explore the Blue Mountains only a short trip from Sydney.
- Take a day trip to Rottness Island to see the adorable quokkas
- Visit Phillip Island to see the penguin parade or see them for free on St Kilda Beach
- Learn about Aboriginal Culture in the Grampians at the Bambruk National Park and Culture Centre. Learn about the creation story, go on a bushfoods walk through the bush, and paint a boomerang among other activities.
- Go on a Hunter Valley wine tasting day trip from Sydney
- Take a trip out from Perth to the Pinnacles for some desert stargazing
- See crocodiles up close on a cruise down Katherine Gorge from Darwin
- Learn how to surf on the famous Bondi Beach
Best Time To Visit Australia
Being in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are opposite to the UK or USA so you can extend your summer by heading to Australia in your wintertime. Australia is big, so the Australian climate does vary from state to state, with the Northern states being more tropical, the southern states a little cooler, and Melbourne, well Melbourne has four seasons in a day so there is that! For additional tips on how to do a short trip to Melbourne check out this post by Escape Etc.
No matter what season you travel in, at least one jumper and 1 set of summer clothes are recommended as Australian weather can be a little unpredictable. Parts of my trip in Sydney it poured like mad for about 2 days straight. I may have just brough the rain from the UK as they hadnt seen that much rain in a long time. Also, Swimsuits are definite all year round because days later I was on Bondi Beach in beautiful weather.
How to Get Around Australia & General Travel Tips For Australia
You can travel alone in Australia with ease as transportation make it easy to navigate this vast country.
The quickest and easiest way to get around Australia is of course flights. Qantas and Virgin Australia have plenty of flights to the major cities and a few regional airports and low cost airlines Jetstar and Tiger air keep competitive prices as long as flights are booked in advance. I used Tiger to get from Sydney to Melbourne, it’s like the RyanAir of Australia.
If you are short on time this is the most practical way to get around. As always with flights, travelling during the day on the weekday is going to be the best price and the further in advance you can book the flights the better. This would also be the recommended way to travel long distances like Sydney to Perth.
Especially for travelling up the East Coast, buses are probably the most convenient way to make shorter journeys around Australia. Greyhound run coaches between a number of cities and offer reasonably priced fares. Used by locals as well as tourists, they make stops at a number of smaller towns as well as bigger cities so you can get off in smaller beach towns to spend a few days relaxing before continuing on their trip.
They now offer a hop on hop off pass as well where you can book a longer trip of say Sydney to Cairns and hop on and off at different towns as many times as you want over the designated period. You can check prices and dates via Omio which will also provide flight options and ferries depending on the destination.
Driving In Australia
This offers the most freedom in terms of not having to pre-plan the itinerary too much and being able to stop and explore when you see something of interest. If you have a campervan of course you have the most flexibility and can go wherever the wind blows you. The highways in Australia are generally in good condition with only a few potholes or roadworks here and there and there are generally plenty of small towns to drive through or by and plenty of roadside petrol stations and fast food restaurants to pull over and take a break.
If you take one piece of information from this whole article though do not pull over for the toilet in a rest area! They contain the notorious drop dunnies (as the locals affectionately refer to them) and are giant holes in the ground with a toilet built over them. They are perfectly safe, but the smell! You can smell them the minute you pull over and my advice is to keep on driving. Just wait until you pass the next McDonalds to use the toilet.
Driving alone in Australia is perfectly safe, just make sure you pay attention to the signs in extremely rural areas as sometimes the distance between petrol stations or fast-food restaurants can be extremely long. As I’ve said before, the locals are extremely friendly so never be afraid to ask for advice from people as you’re stopped for petrol or a quick lunch. I had the pleasure of exploring parts of the Great Ocean Road all the way to Geelong, and up to Gunnamatta Beach and on to Arther’s Seat by car as well as getting the car on the ferry for part of the journey when I met my friend in Melbourne.
Taxis & Uber
There are plenty of taxis available but they can be a tad expensive. Australia’s big cities have get transport with trams, ferries too forming part of main transportation. For taxis say if you were to catch a taxi from the city to Bondi Junction, this would cost about $3o to $50, depending on the traffic. A taxi from the airport would set you back about $35 to $50, again prices depend on the traffic. I would recommend getting a transfer from the Sydney airport, much cheaper than taxi.
You can also use Uber in most big cities like Sydney. The eastern suburbs of Sydney are well serviced by Uber. Standard pricing is generally about a quarter less than the equivalent taxi fare. Sadly the legal status of Uber in NSW is currently being untangled.
Tips for Female Solo Travellers In Australia
Many of the cities in Australia are perfect for solo travellers. Just like travelling in any western country, there is no reason for solo female travellers to feel unsafe at all travelling in alone in Australia. You can meet some strange characters, especially in the outback again, that’s the same as any other country in the world.
Many hostels around Australia offer single-gender rooms or even private rooms if that would make you feel more comfortable but I would recommend booking in advance to guarantee a place would be available or opt for a hotel or apartment. Hostels are a great place to meet other travellers and hear what they’ve been doing. When I’ve been travelling, I’ve become friends with people I met along the way and we went on tours together and even met up later in our trips when we overlapped. You can also meet like-minded travellers and room with other solo female travellers where you can come together and cook group meals, sit down and discuss plans for a day of exploring together.
Solo Traveller Australia Backpacking Tips
If you are considering solo travel in Australia as a backpacker below are my tips:
- My number 1 tip would be that hostels or hotels, especially in big cities offer so much. From free walking tours and pub crawls, to good maps, and discounts on anything from tourist attractions, to bars and restaurants. I’ve even seen some hostel chains offer discounts or loyalty cards to their hostels. Then you’ve got notice boards which can be handy for tips or second-hand cars, or cash in handjobs. Plus in the communal kitchens, there are often little bits of food left from previous guests who didn’t get to finish it.
- Another tip would be to be wary of cash in handjobs in Australia, some are perfectly fine but some can be a little exploitative of people trying to earn a little bit of extra money while travelling. Because you’re not legally allowed to be working, they know you’re not going to report unfair working conditions. There are plenty of people on gumtree looking for odd jobs like dog walking and lawn mowing if you really need some extra cash.
- Unless you are hiring a campervan for the whole stay, I would suggest a mixture of having major points on your trip planned and booked and having some stuff where you’re a bit more flexible to take up some opportunities as they come up. So plan in the highlights of your trip, like skydiving in Byron Bay or snorkeling the great barrier reef but leave some flexibility so you can spontaneously join some friends you make on their trip to Nimbin. Also be aware of any local festivals or events as that could make last-minute booking of accommodation a nightmare.
Most of all though, just have fun! You are on an amazing adventure that you will remember for the rest of your life. Take lots of photos and don’t be afraid to try new things because Australia offers so many weird and wonderful things that you won’t experience anywhere else.
Planning Your Trip To Australia
Visa For Australia
Travelling with a Zambian passport to Australia means that you need to apply for a visa. Unfortunately, Australia no longer has consulate services at their embassy. It took a while to realise this as their website is not clear on this. Once I had figured this out. I applied only and it two maybe 2-3 weeks to come through. By which point I was stressing as it was so close to the date my flight to Australia was booked for.
Unless you are from USA, Canada EU, Japan, you will need to apply for a visa before travelling to Australia. If you are from these countries you only need an electronic authorisation. For example, if you have a British passport you can get an eVisitor visa or the Electronic Travel Authority via the airline you are travelling with. This still costs about $20 Australian Dollars. For everyone else that needs to get the Australian FA600 Visitor/Tourist inside Aust VAC1, this costs £210 or $275(US dollars)!
Also Read: How To Plan A Trip To Australia With Sample Itinerary
Budget For Your Trip To Australia
Firstly, it depends on how long you are planning to travel to Australia. The visa cost are already some of the highest around the world
For example the budget for 4 weeks in Australia would be something like this
- Visa £210
- Internal flights in Australia Aus $600 (flights from Sydney)
- Sydney to Gold Coast Aus $65
- Syndey to Melbourne Aus $79
- Sydney to Perth Aus $119
- Sydney to Hamilton Island Aus $89
- Might want to fly to Darin, Cairns, Uluru, Jetstar has budget flights around Australia. Most are under Aus $100
- Melbourne hostels range from £11 per night and hotels start from around £30.
- Sydney hostels are a little more expensive as they start from about £19 for the cheapest some might be as high as £30 per night.
- Prices are similar to the above and somewhere in between for the other cities.
- Majority of the tours will be at least Aus $100 so if you are going to do a day trip to Great Ocean Road, Blue Mountain or the Grampians, diving, Great Barrier Reef Tour
- Budget for tours in Australia will be at least Aus $500-$1000
- There are plenty of options for food, from pubs to great gastronomy restaurants. I have already shared some of Melbourne’s best brunch spots.
- Australia also has an amazing coffee culture so you will find many quality cafes for both eating and nomad working areas too.
- I would budget at least Aus $20-30 a day for food. Especially if you are eating out often and don’t have facilities for self-catering.
Australia Solo Travel Guide To Planning Your Trip
So, tips on how to travel alone in Australia? Well, you simply start saving and get planning.
- Plan how long and how many cities to visit in Australia.
- Plan your route and starting point.
- Book your flights to Australia and budget airlines for internal airlines. Check Expedia for flight deals.
- Book your hostel, hotel or apartment accommodation. Check out Booking.com for hotel deals.
- Check out the tours available for the cities you are visiting and book some the popular ones in advance. Check out Viator for a variety of tours as well as transport transfers.
- Make sure you have insurance just anything happen whether its lost luggage, missed flights or lost gadgets or God forbid illness. There is Coverwise or even Travel Supermarket which offer price comparison.
- To check local transport option, flights, ferries, buses and taxi including prices. Use Omio to help you plan your way around Australia.
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