AUSTRALIA SOLO TRAVEL GUIDE
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO! AUSTRALIA TRAVEL GUIDE 2023
TO PLAN AND BOOK YOUR SOLO TRAVEL IN AUSTRALIA
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WELCOME TO AUSTRALIA!
Hi! I’m Gwen, and my passion is using my 27+ years of global travel and sustainability knowledge and experience to help the solo over 50’s be and stay adventurous through solo travel with their eco-friendly, responsible travel foot forward. Here is my Australia solo travel guide, all from my Australia travel, to prepare you to book and realize your solo travel in Australia. What are you waiting for?
AUSTRALIA: DID YOU KNOW?
Australia – the land “down under”. A continent that is the 6th largest country by area, home to 20 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest barrier reef, multiple wine regions, red earth outback country, and crocks (not the shoes), and where 90% of the people live on the coast. Not to mention it holds some world class cities, like Melbourne and Sidney.
There are a multitude of things to do in Australia – many trips required. Pick one territory, like the Northern Territory or New South Wales, to start and see where your heart takes you. You’re bound to enjoy it and want to go back for more.
Languages in Australia
The official language is English, but many languages can be heard spoken in Australia.
Australia is primarily a Western derived culture and influenced mostly from Britain, but the native culture is Aboriginal. Like the U.S.A., it is home to people of a diverse origins.
Popular Activities in Australia
Australians enjoy multiple activities, including cricket, AFL matches, dining out on traditional meat pies and schooners or international fare, wine making, surfing and other water activities, going to the beach, having barbies (BBQ not the doll), rugby and soccer, to name a few.
Popular Australian Wine Tours
AUSTRALIA TRAVEL PLANNING
The Australian dollar (AUD or A$) – exchange rates are usually favorable for U.S. citizens.
Tipping in Australia
Traveling in a new country is easier when you know the country’s tipping etiquette in advance as each country has its own rules. That said, country rules and norms can shift, so here is an international tipping resource for over 70 countries to use as a general guideline that I have found is constantly updated.
What’s not on there is how to tip a concierge, beauty salons or spas, travel or tour guides, etc. For these extras, it is acceptable to tip 10% at minimum. Remember, tipping is for good service only.
Additionally, you should always tip in the local currency (if tipping in cash), and do not be offended if your tip is refused as it may not be the norm. I feel it’s always better to offer a tip for good service than not, unless I know it will be considered offensive, like in Japan.
It’s a complete bummer to spend time and money on the holiday of a lifetime only to show up at a key attraction, or try to access travel or banking resources, only to find them closed due to a national or local holiday.
Therefore, a key activity to do in your early Australia vacation planning stage is to know the national and local holidays in Australia.
AUSTRALIA TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
Travel Documents for Australia
From the U.S., you will need a valid passport and visa or Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). Make sure your passport expiration date is greater than 6 months from your return to the U.S. The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to Australia. It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.
If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.
Choose from Top Travel Document Holders
Vaccinations for Australia
There are normally no vaccinations required for your trip to Australia. The U.S. State Department provides up-to-date required vaccination information for traveling to Australia. It is advised to always check for any Australia travel restrictions and required vaccinations during your planning stage and again before you leave.
If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.
AUSTRALIA TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
Electronics for Australia
Want to use your 110 V electronics while traveling in Australia? Australia’s voltage is 230V, and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. If you do not already have electronics (hair dryer, clippers, curling iron, etc.) made for Australian voltages, you will need to bring a voltage converter to use your electronics. Below are top-rated power converters for you to compare and buy.
Choose the Converter That’s Right For You
Most smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras and similar electronics don’t require a converter (double-check your device(s) before you leave home), but you will still need a plug adapter.
Traveling to Australia, a Type I adapter will fit Australian electronic outlets. I recommend bringing 2 of each adapter required. I do not recommend using those single adapters for 100+ countries. They have been known to break and/or cause a power short.
Be prepared before you visit Australia. Bring a solid, reliable, and grounded power adapter to safely charge your electronics in Australia. Below are top-rated U.S. to Australia power adapter options, from the only brand I travel with, for you to compare and buy.
Choose the Australia Adapter That’s Right for You
Type I Adapters
If you are going to another country in addition to your trip to Australia, you can check this international travel adapter guide to make sure you’re prepared.
Cyber Security While Traveling
Having a virtual private network (VPN) service and portable WiFi is always a good idea to not just stay connected, but stay connected securely in your hotel and all public spaces, like airports, train stations, and restaurants.
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CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES
Use my solo travel guides, itineraries, travel tips, day trip ideas, and recommended things to do in these top Australian destinations, all from my travel in Australia, to plan your best solo travel in Australia.
The more I travel in Australia, the more that gets added to this Australia Travel Guide. Keep checking back.
Cairns is a very popular town in northern Queensland Australia well known for beach, ocean and other outdoor activities. Top of the Cairns things to do are snorkeling and diving the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns. What are the others? Read the 5 Must Dos in Cairns, which includes best time to visit Cairns, how to get around, where to stay in Cairns, and more.
Book Now, Pay Later – Top Things to Do in Cairns Australia
Another popular Australia beach destination is Noosa located on the Sunshine Coast. I had such a great time in my long weekend in Noosa that I had to share. Find out How to Spend 3 Days in Noosa with knowing how to get around, where to stay in Noosa, best time to visit Noosa, wine tasting and other top things to do in Noosa. Use this Noosa Australia travel itinerary to have a great time in Noosa.
Book Now, Pay Later – Top Things to Do in Noosa Australia
The capital of Queensland, Brisbane is an ideal jumping off point to coastal Australia get-away locations, yet should not be over looked. There is much to do in Brisbane to keep you entertained. Find out How to Spend a Day in Brisbane for free to amplify your budget solo trip to Australia, even if you’re just passing through Brisbane.
Book Now, Pay Later – Top Things to Do in Brisbane Australia
It was 2006 when I was last in the following Australian destinations. If revisit these destinations in Australia, it will be updated. The more I travel in Australia, the more that gets added to this Australia Travel Guide.
Until then, here are my recommended things to do in Australia (from what I’ve already enjoyed or would do when I revisit).
Book Now, Pay Later – Top Things to Do in Sydney
Book Now, Pay Later – Top Things to Do in Melbourne
HOW TO BOOK AUSTRALIA TRAVEL
It’s important to book the top three travel necessities early: flights, accommodations and ground transportation.
No travel Australia guide would be complete without the booking tools below. These, along with fun Australia things to do and ecotourism ideas, will allow you to realize your Australia solo travel.
Cheap Flights to Australia
With the ever-growing demand for airline tickets to Australia, flights book quicker these days. Find cheap flights to Australia now.
Don’t Wait to Book Your Flight to Australia
Australia Places to Stay
Second in importance to buying airline tickets to Australia is finding the best place to stay in Australia for your Australia solo travel. Develop your Australia travel itinerary now and find the best accommodations in Australia to knock one more item off your Australia travel planning list.
Find the Best Solo Travel Accommodations in Australia
Getting Around Australia
Australia has all forms of transportation, including Uber, Lyft, and Carpoolworld (research in advance if they are in your destination area). There are also taxis, of course, and you can easily find a rental car if that better suits your Australia travel itinerary.
Find the Best Deals on Australia Rental Cars
Australia’s largest bus system is Greyhound. Australia also has 5 major train services that cover regional areas: The Ghan, Indian Pacific, Great Southern, NSW, and Queensland Rail.
Things to Do in Australia
Here are some of the top things to do in Australia for planning a trip to Australia.
Popular Australian Food Tours & Activities
AUSTRALIA ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS
There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in Australia. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources to supplement your travel Australia guide.
Air Travel Tips
Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.
Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The best eco-friendly forms of ground transportation in Australia are public transportation, walking, or renting a bicycle or electric scooter. They are also apt to cost less than other ground transportation.
Explore Australia Bike and Electric Scooter Rentals
Try to avoid renting a car or flying in Australia by using a regional bus or one of the many regional trains: The Ghan, Indian Pacific, Great Southern, NSW, and Queensland Rail.
When booking an Uber in Australia, select the Uber Green option, instead of a traditional rideshare, to support the use of electric cars for cleaner transportation in Australia.
Lime also has electric scooters to rent in Australia for fast and clean commuting in select cities.
Look for Australia accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:
Green Globe – Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for Australia Green Global members.
Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.
Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s Australia certification directory shows all project types. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.
LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for Australia certifications.
Green Lodging Program – Audubon International has an environmental stewardship certification through third-party verification. Search its certified members directory.
GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.
Another way to find accommodations in Australia implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is to reserve a Booking.com Travel Sustainable accommodation. Booking.com started the Travel Sustainable program in 2022.
Find Your Travel Sustainable Stay in Australia
Eco-Friendly Things To Do
Australia’s ecotourism ideas are available to explore for your next vacation.
Australia also has an Ecotourism Australia Certification label. Search their Green Travel Guide for certified ecotourism ideas.
Additionally, you can search Green Global and Green Key awarded members for eco-friendly activity providers in Australia. Some may also have the GSTC Certified logo.
Top Australian Ecotourism
There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel, like bringing sustainable and eco-friendly products to protect Australia’s environment.
For more ideas on how to travel with the planet in mind, read my 10 Easy Eco-Travel Tips and view my suggested Eco Travel Resources to learn more.
AUSTRALIA TRAVEL SAFETY
Before You Go To Australia
Always consult your government’s Australia travel advisory for your Australia travel destination in the beginning travel planning phase and up to your departure date.
Buy Australia travel insurance and international medical insurance for your solo travel in Australia to protect yourself and cover for emergencies.
Safety in Australia
There is nothing I can recall from Australia making it more of a “safety concern” than traveling in my own home country, so my standard tips for female and solo travelers are:
- always carry photo ID with you; if you don’t want your passport on you at all times, at least carry a copy of it.
- always be “street wise”.
- always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you feel the need to imbibe or feel the need to “let loose” – you’re on vacation so have fun!
- never leave your food or drink unattended.
- keep your belongs on your person, or at least in your view in close proximity, at all times.
- be open to meeting and talking with new people – that is where a lot of the travel experience lies – but be careful on how you divulge personal information.
- research places in advance, if possible, so you know what to expect (i.e., “have a familiar view” – I like to Google the street view of new addresses I’m going to first).
- if something, someone or someplace makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut – leave.
Fire Season Travel Tips
TRAVEL AUSTRALIA ON A BUDGET
Best Time to Visit Australia
Remember, Australia is “down under” so its summer season is December to March and its winter season is June to September. The cheapest time of the year to fly to Australia is the low season, April to June, and Australia’s autumn season.
However, the months of September and October can produce lower prices as well as nice weather for a pleasing visit.
Staying in Australia hostels could save you a lot of money on accommodations in Australia, especially if you stay in a dorm-style room. Save more money by booking well in advance.
Many hostels also offer private rooms, which I choose from time to time. Private rooms in hostels could possibly be cheaper than hotels in Australia – it depends on where you stay and how far in advance you reserve.
Don’t overlook exploring hostels in Australia if you’re on a budget.
Reserve Your Australia Hostel
Best Time to Book Travel
Ready to book Australia solo travel? Well, the sooner you book your reservations, the more you’re likely to save money and get the best flight, accommodation, and rental car choices and deals.
Don’t miss out and find the best Australia travel deals. The best time to book travel is now. Bundling flight, hotel and/or transportation reservations may even save you more money when traveling to Australia.
Book Australia Travel Early to Save Money
One of my best mates is from Melbourne. We met in Portugal in 1995 while backpacking and have been in touch ever since. Unfortunately, since Australia is a bit of a hike from the U.S., I don’t get to visit as often as I like – something I hope to remedy in the future. For now, I do have a trip planned for later in 2019, so keep an eye out for those travel stories!
Australia is a beautiful country with very friendly people. People are laid back and there is a lot to do. What I find mind boggling is how large Australia is! Having so much to do, you either have to keep coming back multiple times or heck, just take a couple of years off and travel it. How else could one experience all that it has to offer?
One of my favorite experiences in Australia, hands down, was snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. On the day trip, I jumped at the chance to do the intro-scuba dive. That was an experience! I found Nemo (the elusive clown fish), and the marine environment left a huge impression on me. It took me many years to get my diving certification, but I finally did it. I used to want to snorkel around the world, but now I want to dive around the world! Yes, I will be doing that again on my 2019 trip – can’t wait. With our reefs in peril, we must take the opportunity to enjoy them, but also do whatever we can to protect them so that they continue to hold life and joy for years to come.