Many travelers underestimate just how big Australia is. It’s the sixth largest country in the world; more than double the size of India! Having road tripped around this incredible country for 6 months, I’ve created a post of the 5 best ways to travel Australia depending on your time frame, budget and the type of traveler you are.
I’ve written numerous posts related to Australia including an East Coast Road Trip Itinerary, West Coast Road Trip Itinerary and The Red Centre Way. So since it’s a topic a lot of you guys want more info on I thought I’d put together a stand alone blog post for you all showcasing some of the ways to travel Australia.
5 Ways To Travel Australia
Hire a Camper or Car
If you’re wanting more flexibility, one of the best ways to travel Australia is by hiring a camper-van or car for your road trip in Australia. This is a great option if you’re only travelling in the country for up to 4-6 weeks or less, anymore than this I’d look into buying one (which I will give the down low in the next point).
The main advantage with hiring a camper is obviously the freedom to travel whenever and wherever you want. You’re completely in control of the route and itinerary more so than any other ways to travel Australia. Another advantage with renting over buying a camper is the fixed price. Once that’s paid you’ll be covered under insurance if any breakdowns, issues or mishaps occur. Once your trip is over, you can just hand it back to the nearest rental shop and not have to worry about selling.
On my 6-month road trip around Australia, my mechanical bill came to over AUD$8000 (a new engine, 4 new tyres, repaired an oil leak and air con, manifold gasket, cracked windshield and front wheel bearing). Don’t be put off with buying a car however, as this is much more cost efficient if you’re travelling for longer than 6 weeks and I was just VERY unlucky!
The only disadvantage with hiring a car is you’ll be forking out a lot of money without getting anything back at the end compared to buying and then selling a car.
These are the camper-van rental companies I recommend:
Budget: Wicked Campers, Travellers Autobarn and Spaceship Campers.
Mid Range: Jucy Campers, Britz Campers and Apollo Campers.
Luxury: Maui Campers.
If you’re travelling the west coast or other areas part from the east coast, make sure to check where the pick up and drop off locations are for the rental cars as the more rural/outback you go the less choice and locations there are for camper-van rental companies.
If you’re wanting to hire and car and stay in hostels/hotels or camp then I suggest comparing prices at rentalcars.com
Buy a Camper or Car
So you’ve decided to take the big lap and travel Australia for an extended period of time! Woohoo, you’re going to have the most epic time. Read about my Australia road trip itinerary for ideas and planning the big lap.
Before you buy a campervan/station wagon/4WD you need to consider where you are going to be driving, what kind of set up you want and your budget.
For example, a campervan is perfect if you want more home comforts as they usually include space to stand up in, cook food, and a seating area. However, nearly all campers (unless you get a Mitsubishi Delica or similar) is not capable for off roading, thus you’ll have to stick to sealed roads.
If you’re on a fairly tight budget and want good fuel economy a station wagon is a great idea, just pop a bed in the back with storage space underneath for utensils/bags and you’re good to go! You’ll also have to stick to sealed roads with this option too.
My personal favourite option is buying a 4WD as a way to travel Australia. You’ll be able to travel anywhere if you have a good high clearance vehicle and you’ll be able to explore and have much more flexibility. The bed and storage situation can be the same as the station wagon or you can purchase a rooftop tent. I suggest you also buy a roof rack (more storage) with the option of adding a tent if need be.
Do note: before you buy any car in Australia, it’s worth getting a mechanic round to check the car over, as the last thing you want is the engine to blow exactly like mine did! Lesson learned! However, it wasn’t so bad in the end, I bought the car for AUD$5500 and sold it 6 months later for AUD$5000.
Take An Escorted Tour
If you’re wanting a care and stress free way to travel Australia, an organised tour is the best option. This very best of Australia, 29 day escorted tour with Award-winning Tour Operator Distant Journeys will take you to all of the must-see sites and destinations that Australia has to offer. You’ll explore the country’s breath-taking scenery, vibrant cities and rich local culture – and experience an unforgettable overnight train journey aboard the legendary Ghan!
Your first destination in Australia is Perth for a few days, then onto to Kangaroo Island and Adelaide, next is Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road before heading up to the heart of Australia on day 14; Uluru (Ayers Rock). In Alice Springs you’ll pick up the Ghan and head north to Darwin where you’ll explore the famous Kakadu National Park, before flying onto Cairns; home of the Great Barrier Reef. From there you’ll fly south to Australia’s most iconic city; Sydney for an unforgettable last few days. As you can see, The Very Best of Australia tour takes in so many of the country’s highlights, it really is a perfect way to travel around Australia.
Distant Journeys has over 60 years’ experience in creating holidays, so let the experts take care of you and your holiday so you can really enjoy everything that magnificent Australia has to offer.
There are numerous different train journeys throughout Australia ranging from the infamous Ghan that runs from Adelaide through the the heart of the country and up to Darwin in the north. There are also multiple smaller journeys, for example the Tilt train from Brisbane to Rockhampton. Having said this, train travel in Australia is not cheap, but it can be an awesome experience, especially some of the outback journeys that cross the country.
The following are the top 3 most infamous and well-known train journeys within Australia:
- Indian Pacific: Sydney – Broken Hill – Adelaide – Kalgoorlie – Perth.
- This is one of the longest and greatest train journeys. Starting out in Sydney, travelling through the blue mountains and off into the outback/countryside through the town of Bathurst, and Broken Hill on the way to Adelaide. The rail journey heads towards Port Augusta and then travels the Nullarbor Plain, before arriving in Perth on the West Coast of Australia.
- The Ghan: Adelaide – Alice Springs – Katherine – Darwin.
- Travellers have the option of boarding The Ghan at Adelaide or Alice Springs. The Ghan is an ideal way of viewing the vastness and diversity of Australia’s landscape, in comfort and style. Guests have the option of two different service levels, with Gold Service Sleeper and Red Service Sleeper Cabins or Daynighter Seating.
- Spirit of the Outback: Brisbane – Longreach.
- Travel this 1300 kilometre journey with the comfort of the Spirit of the Outback, this fully air conditioned train offers a range of seating and over night accommodation choices from economy seating and economy or first class sleepers. Watch the scenic surrounds pass by while relaxing with family or friends, this Australian train journey is the perfect way to discover Longreach and Queensland’s outback.
One of the best ways to travel Australia if you’re a solo traveler/backpacker is by bus, especially up and down the east coast. There are a number of bus companies offering routes all across the country and the following are my favourite/the ones I recommend:
The most widely available bus company throughout Australia, at a great price. Greyhound is very popular for backpackers because of this. Students can also receive 15% with UniDays.
There are two different passes for travelers you can choose from:
Whimit Pass: this is the ultimate travel pass if you’re wanting to be flexible and travel Australia at your own pace. This pass lets you go in any route, and in any direction, for your chosen amount of time. With over 250 stops across Australia, both on and off the beaten track, you have the freedom to do as much, go as far and be as adventurous as you want with the Whimit Pass. You can choose from 7 days all the way up to 365 days of travel, making it the most flexible bus pass in Australia.
Hop on hop off: this pass is exactly what it says; hop on hop off meaning you can choose between certain routes. This pass is only available on the east coast however so if you’re wanting to explore more of Australia I’d suggest buying the Whimit Pass that allows travel throughout the whole of the country. These passes are valid for up to 90 days and range from Melbourne – Cairns (the longest pass) to Sydney – Brisbane (the shortest pass).
Integrity Coach Lines
Their caption ‘we go where others don’t’ is exactly what it says on the tin. The company focuses on western Australia and the Northern Territories and everything in-between. There are also two options with integrity; a hop on hop off bus pass and an express pass.
Hop on hop off: perfect for travelers who want the freedom to get off an explore whenever they feel like it. The pass includes unlimited stops anywhere along the route and you can travel in any direction with a 12 month expiry date. With this pass you’ll be able to explore the real outback Australia whilst not having the burden of a camper or car to look after.
Express Pass: the express ticket is the best way if you’re wanting to get from A to B quickly and comfortably. This pass is valid from Perth to Broome and has a number of stops along the way including; Exmouth, Karijini National Park, Monkey Mia and many more.
So there you have it, just a few different ways to travel Australia. As you can see no matter what your style of travel, budget or time frame is, there’s a good selection of ways to travel Australia – so check them all out and figure out which suits you best. I hope you’ve enjoyed the post and if you have any questions make sure to comment below!
Do you have Pinterest? Save it for later!