A plane ride might take you from point A to point B quickly, but all you’re going to see is a couple of clouds and a whole lotta nothing. That’s if you’re not staring at the screen in front of you or sleeping. Yes, Australia is a pretty big country, and the distances between cities and regions are vast, but if you take the time to explore some down-to-earth Australia traveling options, you’re going to see and do so much more along the way to your destination.
From expansive outback regions, rolling hills and breath-taking coastal walks, all the way to the bustling urban gems and quaint little towns scattered all across the map, Australia has so much to offer for young backpackers, no matter if you’re a foodie, a history buff, or an adventurer. Here are the Australia traveling options that will give you the Oz experience of a lifetime.
Share a ride to exciting destinations
The ride-sharing culture in Oz is becoming very popular with each passing year, as the backpacking craze is starting to become the predominant method of travel with young explorers. Quite simply, why travel alone and pay for a bus, train, plane, or other, if you can hop into another backpacker’s car or campervan? Hey, if they’re traveling your way, go for it.
This is an excellent way to save some money, but more importantly, travel in good company. Who knows, maybe your next best friend is waiting for you to download a ride-sharing app and give them a call. The best thing about ride-sharing in Oz is that you can find a ride for almost every type of adventure, no matter if you’re traveling to the Blue Mountains for a camping excursion, or if you’re hopping to the next town over.
Go train-hopping from town to town
There is something truly idyllic and inspirational about seeing a country’s landscape through the window of a train rolling through the countryside. Now, while the train system in Australia might not be cheap, it’s one of the best ways to get from one urban gem to the other, and witness the magnificence of the Australian countryside while you’re at it. Plus, it’s another great way to meet new people and make friends.
Be sure to take out your camera as soon as you leave the station, because pretty soon you will be rolling into some spectacular views you won’t want to miss. If you’re traveling regional and not direct, be sure to take advantage of every stop to take a pic of the towns and natural beauties around you. Plan your train trip carefully, though, because trains are pricey here, even for backpackers!
Take on a road trip around Oz
Probably one of the best ways to experience Australia for all it’s worth is to take your travels into your own hands by organizing yourself a road trip. Whether you’re traveling solo, with a significant other, or a bunch of friends, there’s nothing quite like being the master of the road in your own car or campervan. But most importantly, driving around Australia gives you the opportunity to organize your itinerary the way you see fit.
With a quick visit to a good mechanic and a car insurance policy in the glove compartment to keep you safe, you and your car should be ready to take on everything an Australian road trip has to offer. Among the most popular and scenic drives are the Great Ocean Road (of course), Nullarbor Plain, a trip around Tasmania, and the Great Barrier Reef Drive. If you’re feeling extra adventurous and have a lot of time to spare, though, you can always take your car on a road trip around Oz itself.
Navigate the urban wonders efficiently
Of course, travelling across Australia is not just about discovering the outback or driving along honey-hued beaches that stretch for miles – it’s about exploring the urban wonders as well. If you’re somewhat of an eco-friendly traveller, which you should be, then you’re certainly aware there are three ways to get around a city without needlessly contributing to global warming and climate change: on a bicycle (and similar modes of transportation), by walking, and by using public transportation.
Now, given the sheer size of Australia’s cities, public transport is your best bet. For example, the capital of Canberra is not only an interesting destination you should definitely visit, but it also has an excellent public transport infrastructure. It’s cheap, it’s efficient, and the network will take you to and from every corner of the city without a hitch. No matter the city you’re exploring, be sure to skip the taxi and take the tram instead.
Stick with the popular bus lines
Probably the most popular travel option among backpackers in Australia is the good old bus. Backpackers love taking the bus because it combines the two things that make a great backpacking adventure – minimal financial investment and plenty of time spent on the road in good company. You’ll find that the companies operating on the east coast (the most popular coast) are quite cheap, and if you book in advance, you can probably snag a 1AUD fare with Greyhound or Premier.
On the west coast, bus fares tend to get more expensive and you won’t find that many bus lines to begin with, so it might be better to hop on a train instead. Another option you can consider is the popular Oz Experience backpacker bus company, which operates predominantly on the east coast and the centre of the country. The company offers backpacker packages intended for long voyages, such as Sydney to Cairns, and is fairly reasonably priced when you take the duration of the journey into account.
Try hitchhiking if you’re feeling extra adventurous
Sometimes, the call of the open road and the allure of the unknown can prompt backpackers to ditch modern technology and travel around the country the old-fashioned way – hitchhiking. The good news is that hitchhiking is not illegal in Australia, provided that you know where you may and may not signal someone to pull over. This is probably the cheapest way to get around, but hey, it’s adventurous if nothing else.
That said, hitchhiking does come with a lot of uncertainty, and it could be unpleasant at times. Don’t forget, summers can get pretty harsh in the Land Down Under, and the last thing you want to do is to stand on the side of the road under a scorching sun praying that someone will pull over. Be sure to stay hydrated, apply sunblock regularly, don’t hitchhike when the sun is at its zenith, and most important of all, stay safe.
Take a refreshing coastal walk
And finally, there is nothing quite like walking barefoot across Australia’s coastline. No matter if you hitchhiked to a beach, or if you took a bus, there are many ways a backpacker can reach the coastal wonders such as Whitehaven Beach, Bells Beach, Burleigh Heads Beach, and of course Bondi Beach, to name a few. Once you’re ready to move on to the next coastal gem in your itinerary, there are loads of travel options you can explore, including trains, busses, ridesharing, and rentals.
The Land Down Under is an expansive country with so much to see and do that it would take more than a single lifetime to experience everything that Oz has to offer. Nevertheless, there are always interesting ways backpackers and travellers in general can peer into those hidden wonders and discover new adventures that will become lifelong memories.
Author: Lilly Miller is a Sydney-based graphic designer and a passionate writer. Loves everything about home decor, art history and baking. Shares home with two loving dogs and a gecko named Rodney. You can find her hanging out on Twitter.