Is Australia on your bucket list? Or, are you planning to visit the land of vegemite and kangaroos anytime soon? Then keep these important points in mind before Travelling to Australia and enjoy its vibrant culture, sandy beaches, delicious brekkies (breakfasts) of avo toasts and brilliant coffee blends to the fullest. These are few of the things we knew and a few we have learnt from our time spent in this diverse, vast and expensive country.
Things to know before Travelling to Australia
THE SUN HERE
I cannot emphasise enough on how important it is to carry sunscreen at all times with you when touring Australia. The sun seems to prick through the exposed skin here and is extremely harsh, especially during the summer months. Again day time is best to explore a city and take pictures. The beachside restaurants and water tour companies are kind enough to provide free sunscreen if you ask for but it’s any day better to be prepared than sorry later. I highly recommend anybody to carry their own at all times, stay hydrated to avoid heat strokes, cover up and keep shaded whenever possible.
RENT A CAR AND GET OUT OF THE CITIES
Major cities Australia have amazing public transport networks by trains, busses, trams and ferries. Though cabs or taxis get a lot pricey here but they are still alright once in a while. But what is Australia without exploring it’s rugged outskirts and numerous stunning beaches that are way away from the main cities. Renting your own car to go on a road trip to the country side and to many look out points will be your best decision ever. It also gives you the flexibility and convenience of stopping at some really stunning and off beat spots for pictures on the way.
Australian summer (December to March) is unlike european summer which is a lot pleasant. The sun is harsh and the weather is really, really HOT. Summer is surely the peak season time there and it’s usually the holidays. Luckily we were there in the month of November till the first week of December. It got a little hot now and then but through out the weather was perfect. More like Australian spring. The weather is not steady everywhere in Australia. For example, In the month of November while we were travelling; Cairns was hot and humid but chilly in the evenings, Melbourne was freezing and wet most of the times, Sydney weather was a relief as we were welcomed with pleasant weather at the beginning and come December it started to get warmer. Planning a winter trip? The temperature can go down to almost -5 degree Celsius is some parts. Just be prepared for anything because weather forecast here usually not accurate.
COOK YOUR MEALS
Australia is extremely expensive to live in and in major cities, even more. We throughout our trip booked serviced apartments or AirBnb with well equipped kitchen. We never deprived ourselves of trying local restaurants and cuisines, given the big time foodies that we are but made sure we cooked most of our breakfasts. We had coffee machine in all the apartments or once in a while treated ourselves to the delicious local blends. This isn’t Thailand or India where food is deliciously cheap so there was no reason for us to go out for every meal. We purchased our groceries from nearby supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths. There are also some free public barbecues available in most parks here. So get you bread, veggies and sausages to enjoy a picnic on a lovely day.
EXPECT NO FREEBIES
Unlike Europe where there are a lot of freebies for tourists to experience, that’s not the case in Australia. If I haven’t emphasised enough, Australia is expensive to tour. It’s away from the main world and almost every consumable thing is imported. You pay for everything.
TIPPING at restaurants or for services are not common or expected, as servers are well paid but paying for even a sachet of ketchup or tarter sauce is expected at most places.
FLYING with budget airlines is your best call as airfares even within the country gets extremely pricey.
TAXIS have high fares here, Uber turns out to be a lot cheaper and even cheaper are their bus and tram services to get from one place to another.
DRINKING at restaurants is very expensive and adds up to your travel cost easily, so stick to their well stoked liquor stores to buy a six pack for the evening and some restaurants also allow the BYOB concept where in you can carry your own bottle of liquor and they charge a small corkage for the serving it with your meal.
NO LATE NIGHTLIFE
Everything even in the major cities shut down by 6pm and if it’s late night drinking that you are looking forward to, there aren’t many places open after 11.30pm, except for a few clubs that stay open till 3am on weekends. Do not expect the nearby pub to cater to your late night beer session with your buddy because they will be shut and done with business for the day by 9pm. So stock up your fridge with the necessities from local grocery and liquor store and enjoy a better and cheaper night in.
Parking is a mess in Melbourne, Gold coast and especially in Sydney. Free spots are usually taken and you may have to cough up a min of 10 AUD for the paid spots or find no spots at all. So, even if you have a cars in the city it’s better to leave it behind and explore on public transport or on foot. Keep the car for long distance trips to the country side or into the suburbs.
Most importantly, learn the parking signs and look for meters before leaving your car. The parking signs can be extremely confusing for tourists or who don’t live in Australia. Take help from the locals or educate your self before renting a car to avoid a tow away because the fines can go up-to 400 AUD for just wrong or overtime parking.
BIRD WATCHING HEAVEN AND EXPECTING KANGAROOS
I love birds and spotting rainbow lorikeet, parrots, red necked and yellow crowned cockatoos and may other species I have no idea about, had become an everyday joy. But it gets a little disappointing expecting kangaroos and koalas to pop up every now and then. You can expect to spot them for a brief moment if you get outside the city or in the suburbs, but will be foolish to have your hopes high. If you really wish to see them visit one of the many zoos Australia homes.
AUSTRALIA IS MASSIVE
If you are considering checking off Australia within your first visit there, even your visa duration wouldn’t do it. The country is massive and takes over five hours of flight to travel from Gold coast to Perth itself. Thinking about road tripping to major cities and exploring the country outbacks, do not. Most of the Australian cities are along the coast and getting from west coast to the east can take days on the road with nothing interesting to see or do along the way. Even on the same coast, Sydney to Melbourne is a 9-10 hour long drive with a whole lot of nothing. In Australia prioritise the places you really want to visit and things you want to experience and you can always come back for more later if you feel you are not done with Australia just yet.
Thinking about planning a trip to this massive country then get to know more about the 15 Best Places to visit in Australia on TheCrazyTourist.com
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