Didgeridoo — The didgeridoo is a wind instrument of northern Australia.
Official Australia Visas
Carrying a Personal Locator Beacon PLB or satellite phone should be considered when travelling in remote areas, especially where you may not be able to make contact for several days. Police will not automatically start looking for you if you don't report in.
Make sure you get one with a GPS built in. These can be borrowed from some local police stations, such as those in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. If you want to hire one, sort it out before you leave a major city, as you won't find hire places in small towns.
Don't expect an immediate rescue even if you trigger a PLB. Heat and dehydration at any time of year can kill you. If stranded, stay with your vehicle and do what you can to improve your visibility from the air. Do not take this advice lightly; even local people die out there when their car breaks down and they are not reported missing. If you do have to abandon your car say you break down and then get a lift , call in quickly to the local police station, to avoid the embarrassment and cost of a search being started for you.
Major cities around Australia have multiple outlets providing a wide range of rental vehicles from major international rental companies. In smaller towns car rental can be difficult to find.
One-way fees often apply from smaller regional outlets. Conditions upon the use of rental vehicles usually exist on travelling into or out of Western Australia and the Northern Territory or on the car ferries to Tasmania, Kangaroo Island and Fraser Island. Rental cars in capital cities usually have unlimited mileage.
In small towns they usually only include km a day before a surcharge is applied. Always ensure you thoroughly check the vehicle for any damage, including all window glass and the roof panels, and document any found in detail with the renter before leaving the depot.
Check the contract conditions carefully if you are under 25 and also check that your licence class matches the vehicle you wish to rent before you book it. Smaller cars you can hire can be manual stick-shift , whereas anything larger will mostly be automatic. If you do not hold an Australian driving licence, some rental vehicle companies will require you to take a free driver knowledge test , aimed at tourists, that covers the basic road rules, or will take you on a short drive to assess whether you are competent behind the wheel.
A camper van is a vehicle, usually a minivan, converted into a motorhome recreational vehicle , most often catering to the vast number of young European and American backpackers traversing the country. The East Coast from Sydney to Cairns is especially abundant with happy, hungover youths travelling around in these vehicles.
Britz and Maui tend to operate at the premium end of the campervan market, while the lower end of the market is fiercely competed: The last of these are instantly recognizable due to their lurid graffiti paint schemes, usually in the worst possible taste. Camper vans vary widely in fitting and quality, with some featuring showers, toilets, kitchens and more, while others have little more than mattresses in the back. Check the extra charges very carefully and make sure that you are not paying the same or more for a lesser quality vehicle.
Don't assume hiring a camper will be a cheaper way of seeing Australia. The cost of fuel varies greatly depending on where you are. Fuel costs in outback Australia are much higher than urban areas. MotorMouth provides a 7 day rolling average of fuel prices for each city. Add on the cost of hire, etc. There is a substantial second hand market in cars and campers for backpackers wishing to do extended road trips around Australia.
Take common-sense precautions if purchasing a car. Remember the importance of a thorough mechanical checklist, licensing, registration and insurance. State government services are available free of charge to ensure it is unencumbered by a finance arrangement and that it has not been previously written off as a result of an accident.
Due to the large distances involved, flying is a well-patronised form of travel in Australia. Services along the main business travel corridor Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane are run almost like a bus service, with flights leaving every 15 minutes during the day. The best fares are almost always available on the most competitive routes, whereas routes to remote destinations with fewer flights tend to be more expensive. It is worth noting that Qantas actually do often offer competitive prices, so don't ignore that option just because they are the national carrier.
There are only a handful of main airlines in Australia, so it won't take long to compare their prices on domestic routes:. Several airlines service regional destinations. Expect discounts on these airlines to be harder to come by, and for standard airfares to be above what you would pay for the same distance between major centres. Scheduled aviation only flies to handful of the thousands of airports around Australia.
There are numerous options to charter aircraft that may take you direct to smaller country towns or even offshore islands. The costs can be comparable to scheduled airlines if there are 3 or more people flying in a group. The Australian Private Pilots Licence permits private pilots to carry passengers and to recover the cost of the plane hire and fuel from passengers, but not to advertise for passengers or fly commercially.
That said, if you check the web pages of local flying clubs, there are always private pilots willing to fly on a fine weekend if someone is willing to put in for the cost of the plane and fuel.
Visitors from countries with well-developed long distance rail systems such as Europe and Japan may be surprised by the lack of high-speed, inter-city rail services in Australia. A historical lack of cooperation between the states, combined with sheer distances and a relatively small population to service, have left Australia with a national rail network that is relatively slow and used mainly for freight.
Nevertheless, train travel between cities can be very scenic and present opportunities to see new aspects of the country, as well as being a cost-effective way to get to regional towns and cities, which tend to have more expensive flights than those between the state capitals. The long-distance rail services that do exist are mainly used to link regional townships with the state capital, such as Bendigo to Melbourne, or Cairns to Brisbane.
There are also inter-city train services operated by Great Southern Railways on the routes Melbourne- Adelaide The Overland , Sydney-Adelaide- Perth Indian Pacific , Adelaide-Alice Springs-Darwin The Ghan however as noted above, these are not "high-speed" services, so if you do not enjoy train travel as part of your holiday in its own right then this is probably not for you.
Tasmania has no passenger rail services. The Northern Territory has the rail line linking Darwin to Adelaide through Alice Springs only, and the Australian Capital Territory has a single railway station close to the centre of Canberra.
No rail pass includes all train travel throughout Australia. However, if you are a train buff that intends travelling extensively by rail, there are some passes that may save you money. Plan your trip carefully before investing in a rail pass.
Country train services are infrequent and can arrive at regional destinations at unsociable hours. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Wollongong and Newcastle have train and bus services integrated into the city public transport, with trams also running in Melbourne and Adelaide, and ferries in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
The remaining capital cities have bus services only. See those city guides articles for public transport details. Some regional cities and towns have local bus services, but see the destination guides for service information, as frequency can be poor and weekend and evening services non-existent. Some trains allow you to carry your car with you on special car carriages attached to the back of the train. You cannot remove your car at any of the intermediate stations.
Bus travel in Australia is cheap and convenient, although the distances involved for interstate connections are daunting. Greyhound has the largest bus route network. Note that there are no bus services from the other capital cities to Perth. Many major Australian cities have ferries as part of their public transport system. Explore the many different types of tours on offer in Australia and links to the accredited tourism operators who provide them.
Want to travel in a group, make your own way around independently, find family-friendly ideas or have the ultimate romantic honeymoon? These tours will help you plan your perfect holiday by coach, train, car or camel. We have boutique hotels and backpackers, luxury resorts and self-serviced apartments, rustic country pubs and camping.
You can expect friendly service and the best standards in whichever budget range you choose. Or, instead, head south and follow the spectacular coastal route from Sydney to Melbourne, then the Great Ocean Road to Bells Beach, lush national parks and the majestic Twelve Apostles. Sail through the idyllic Whitsundays or immerse yourself in the uncrowded beauty of Tasmania's rugged West Coast. Nature is always on your doorstep in Australia, with national parks and 19 World Heritage-listed sites to discover.
You can see animals not found anywhere else on Earth. Discover the wetlands and wildlife of Kakadu and Litchfield national parks, following the kilometre mile Nature's Way from Darwin. Circle Tasmania, taking in tranquil beaches in the east, and wild rivers in the west. And surround yourself in Australia's natural beauty on some of the many walking trails designed to get you closer to nature. America is like a belligerent, adolescent boy; Canada is like an intelligent, year-old woman.
Australia is like Jack Nicholson. It comes right up to you and laughs very hard in your face in a highly threatening and engaging manner. Go to the guide. More information about travel to Australia.