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It’s a well-known fact that Australia is a backpacker’s paradise.
With it’s wide-open roads, diverse landscapes, laid-back lifestyle, fantastic weather and more national parks than you can shake a boomerang at – it really is no surprise.
If you’re planning your first backpacking trip to Australia and looking for some top tips to help get you off to a flying start, here are eight must-read essential tips:
Australia is big, like really big
Don’t underestimate how big this country is. Australia is the world’s sixth largest country and the world’s largest island. To put this into perspective, you can pretty much fit the whole of Europe into Australia.
With that in mind, it can be easy to misjudge how long it will take you to travel between cities in Australia, and what you think is a short road trip can easily turn out to be an eight-hour drive. Before you set off on one of these mammoth journeys check a flight search engine like Skyscanner to see if you can find a cheap flight.
Bring more money than you think you will need
While Down Under is a great place to be, it can also be a little pricey and a trip to Oz will certainly cost you more than traveling around South East Asia.
And, despite your best budgeting intentions, you’ll end up spending a little more than you planned. In order to see and do as much as possible on your trip, make sure you have access to some extra cash should you need it.
Buying or renting a campervan is a right of passage
No trip to Australia is complete without an epic Aussie road trip in a campervan. Australia isn’t short of road trip routes and it is probably one of the best (and cheapest) ways to travel around the country.
There are cheap cars and campervans for sale in most major cities, or if you want something shorter term, look into rental options. Check out listing sites like Gumtree where you can find tons of cheap used campers and caravans.
Know your visa terms and conditions
To enter Australia you will need a visa. If you are planning on travelling around the country for a couple of months (with no work) then you may consider a Tourist Visa. If you plan on staying longer and want to undertake work for some extra cash, then you’ll need to apply for a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417).
Get yourself an Aussie SIM card
One of the first things to do when you arrive is get yourself set up with an Aussie SIM card. There are plenty of Pay As You Go or ‘Pre-paid’ SIM cards out there that give you free call-time and internet data to use when you top-up regularly.
It makes getting around a new city and keeping in touch with home a lot easier.
Get a Medicare card
If you are from one of the countries listed in Australia’s Reciprocal Health Agreement, you are entitled to Medicare access. Medicare helps you gain access to rebates that can help with the cost of any medical treatments you undergo while in Australia.
Get savvy with your city travel
If you’re staying in a city then make sure you take advantage of local city travel cards such as ‘myki’ in Melbourne or the ‘Opal card’ in Sydney. They offer cheaper rates on intercity travel and some great deals – for example you only pay $2.50 for unlimited travel in Sydney every Sunday.
Slap on the Sun cream
Everyone loves the sunny weather in Australia. However, the ozone layer is thinner over Australia, meaning more dangerous UV radiation reaches the earth.
Nobody looks good rocking the pink lobster look, so make sure you remember to put on plenty of sun cream and cover up if you feel you are burning.
So there you have it, 8 essential tips to prepare you for your first backpacking trip Down Under. All that’s left now is for you to watch a couple of episodes of Home & Away to practice your lingo, perfect your BBQ skills and pack your favorite swimming cossie.