There are millions of people who dream of visiting Australia one day, and we have been so lucky to have been based here for the last 2 years due to Emma attending University in Sydney. At the same time, this piece of Earth is the smallest continent and the biggest island in the world. Its culture and its nature are completely different from any other place on the planet. However, it is important to know certain things before reaching Australia, so that your travel across this amazing continent is well spent.
1. It is REALLY Big
Australia is the 6th largest country in the world. Occupying a territory of 7,692,024 km², which is more than the size of ALL European Union countries! Yet it has one of the lowest population densities in the world of only 2.6 people/km². Half of the roughly 20 million people living in Australia are actually from only three cities, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. When we first flew into Sydney arriving from Abu Dhabi, it took us over 4 hours from when we first touched Australia to landing in Sydney!
A domestic flight from the East Coast (Brisbane) to the West Coast (Perth) will take you 5 1/2hours.
The majority of Australians lives along the coast, so unless you road trip along the East Coast (Melbourne to Cairns), prepare to be travelling for hours without seeing another car.
Expect to see this picture for hours flying into Australia, you won’t see a single town or city!
2. The weather is very unpredictable (and can go below freezing!)
Australia during summer can get hot, VERY HOT, we’re talking temperatures of up to 45ºC in some areas. Whereas during winter, temperatures inland and in mountainous regions can certainly fall below freezing. There are even various ski resorts in Victoria and NSW! However, the unpredictability of the weather in Australia, is what’s more amazing. Last year when we were in Sydney we experienced a temperature change of over 20ºC in under an hour, followed by an almighty hail storm, bearing in mind an hour before that is was around 30ºC! The northern parts of the country, like Darwin and Cairns, are actually fairly warm all year around, however in the outback it can be very cold at night, especially during winter. So don’t forget to pack warm clothes!
3. The word ‘mate’
Australians call everyone mate, whether they know you or not. It may sound weird, but in Australia it’s an amicable form of address. You don’t have to say it back, and it doesn’t always mean they like you. There is key nuance in how long the letter ‘a’ is stretched out for. If it’s a “maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate” rolling on for seemingly long, they love you. If it’s a short, sharp “mate”, they might be about to punch you.
4. Prices are high
Prepare to spend a lot of money travelling Australia. If you’re looking for a country that you can travel cheaply, then Australia is not the country you want to be travelling in. Even hostels in the major cities, including Sydney and Melbourne can set you back AUD$40-80 a night, whereas in South-East Asia you can grab them for less than $5. However, our tip is to use Airbnb, which can save you a great deal, whilst having your own room or even apartment! Click here to get AUD$45 off you’re first stay!
Another great tip if you’re in Sydney is use public transport or Uber. Taxi prices are ridciously expensive, and not worth it. If you’re landing at Sydney Airport take the 400 bus to Bondi Junction and catch another bus into the city to save at least AUD$30. In addition, on Sunday’s in Sydney it’s cheap travel day. Meaning you can travel anywhere in New South Wales for only AUD$2.50! If you need to go somewhere that isn’t operated by public transport, take an Uber. They are widely avaliable and a lot cheaper than taking regular taxis. Click here to get two FREE rides when you sign up with Uber.
5. Beware of the sun
The hot, humid weather across Australia means a whole lot of sun. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, partly due to the hole in the ozone layer above it. Make sure that you have a really strong SPF with you at all times, even if you think you don’t burn, the strong rays will get to your skin.
6. There are no such things as drop bears
You may have heard of the infamous story of drop bears in Australia. However, this is a joke to scare tourists visiting. Australians have a great sense of humour, so don’t fall for the trick if an Aussie comes up to you. If you don’t know about this joke, a drop bear is a hoax in contemporary Australian folklore featuring a predatory, carnivorous version of the koala. This imaginary animal is commonly spoken about in tall tales designed to scare tourists.
7. Don’t worry about the poisonous animals
Australia may have the highest number of poisonous animals in the world. However, don’t be put off by this. In reality, Australias dangerous animals kill about 5 people a year, which really isn’t many when you put it into perspective. As Emma is studying here we have lived in Australia for almost 2 years and we are yet to come across a poisonous animal! Usually if you don’t disturb or taunt the animal, it won’t harm you.
Poisonous animals like jellyfish are usually seasonal and found up in far North Queensland. If you dive or snorkel in these areas make sure to wear a stinger suit to be 100% safe. If you see a sign like the one above, do obey it and don’t take any risks. They don’t put them up for nothing!
8. There is a lot more in Australia than you think
If you are travelling for an extended period of time, try not to only stick to the ‘touristy’ areas. Australia has so much more to offer. Don’t just visit the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns. Instead, head into the outback to experience the ‘real’ Australia. Learn about the aboriginals and their history. Drive through the Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, or visit the beautiful Pink Lake in Western Australia. Australia is such a beautiful, vast and culturally diverse country, it would be a shame to miss the natural wonders of it out. There are literally hundreds of national parks you will never have heard of.
9. Plan a good amount of time to travel Australia
As we said previously, Australia is BIG and its attractions and natural sites are widely dispersed. Therefore, 1-2 weeks is certainly not enough to see the ‘real’ Australia. If you can, we would suggest at least one month if you fly to each city, which allows time for exploring the nearby areas. However, taking a road trip around Australia is the ultimate adventure! We are planning to do exactly this for six months at the beginning of 2018, and we can’t wait!
Tipping is not compulsory or expected in Australia. The average wages are very high compared to other developed nations like the USA and England, so waitresses, taxis and others don’t expect to receive one. They don’t rely on their tips to survive or earn money. If you try to leave a tip, they may well think you’ve forgotten your change!
Do you have any further questions, additional tips to add to our list, or you just enjoyed and found this useful? If so, do not hesitate to comment below on your thoughts! We love hearing from you guys! 🙂 Happy Travels!
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