I’m a born and bred Australian. I grew up in South Australia, moved to the desert (Alice Springs) for 8 months, and have seen a fair bit of the rest of the country – not as much as I would like, not yet anyway! So I like to think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to this beautiful country of mine.
I see so many people saying that they want to visit Australia. Some don’t know where to start, some don’t even know that we don’t actually ride kangaroos to work. There’s a lot of things to see and do in Australia, you definitely won’t be bored. I’ve always wanted to road trip around the country, but never had a chance to. It’s right at the top of our bucket list though, so one day we will get around to it.
In the meantime, I decided I would give you all some Australia travel tips! So first, here are 10 reasons why I think everyone should visit Australia at least once in their life. It’s certainly a unique and beautiful country in many ways, and I’m about to tell you why!
Australia Travel Tips – 10 reasons why you should visit
1. Our beaches are extraordinary
I’m currently living in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. If you’re unfamiliar with where Alice Springs is, we’re smack bang in the middle of Australia. Literally. So the closest there is to a beach here, is a river that only has water in it a few weeks of the year (that’s probably not quite accurate, but it’s pretty freakin’ hot here so it could be).
The rest of Australia, however, has beautiful beaches. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the more well-known beaches on TV or the internet at one point or another. Bondi Beach in New South Wales is one of the most popular with tourists and travelers (and local Australians!). Surfers Paradise in Queensland is another that I’m sure you’ve heard of.
Like I mentioned earlier, I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia. We have a few pretty popular beaches, too. The most well-known is Glenelg. It can get pretty busy during the Summer, and I would suggest avoiding it on New Years Eve. But apart from that, there’s a lot to do and see in Glenelg. A ton of shops and restaurants to keep you busy when you’re sick of getting sand in your bathers.
If you’re planning on visiting Australia, include a coast on your itinerary. No matter which coast or beach you choose, you won’t be disappointed. I promise!
2. The people are friendly and laid back (usually)
Like anywhere in the world, you’ll come across rude people who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. But generally, Australians are a very laid back and chilled bunch of people. It’s probably all those snags on the barbie we eat, hey? Australians are very friendly, and will almost always go out of their way to help. I’ve found this to be especially true in the middle of no-where. Seems that with less to keep people entertained, the friendlier they are. Go figure!
3. The Barossa Valley
If you’re a big supporter of wine like I am, you definitely need to visit the Barossa Valley. It’s located in the Adelaide Hills, and I promise you will leave very drunk and with a boot (trunk?) full of wine. The Barossa Valley is beautiful, and is the perfect place for a romantic weekend away. There are a ton of accomodation options, plenty of restaurants and of course, an almost endless amount of wine. You can book wine tours and get drunk with friends, or just cruise through the hills at your own pace (don’t drink and drive, kids).
4. Our animals are super cute, and (generally) aren’t actually going to kill you
Story time: just a few days ago, Russell and I had some visitors outside of our kitchen window. Two kangaroos decided they wanted to head out and explore, and hung out across the road from our house for around 20 minutes! Until a car drove past and they hopped away. Unless you piss them off, they’ll leave you alone. Koalas (NOT koala bears. Just KOALAS) aren’t going to kill you either. They just mind their own business and sleep in eucalyptus trees all day long. What a life.
It’s the snakes and spiders you’ve gotta watch out for. Have common sense and stay out of their way and you’ll be fine.
5. Our snacks are delicious
Have you ever heard of Tim Tams before? How about fairy bread? Twisties? Australia has some of the best snacks I’ve ever had in my life. Sure, I’m biased. But in all honesty, once you take your first bite of a Tim Tam you’ll understand what I mean. The only exception is Vegemite. There are people who love it and will have a vomit worthy ratio of Vegemite to butter. But I can’t stand the stuff. It’s a rite of passage for all Australian visitors to try some though. So good luck!
6. Australia has beautiful scenery
Beaches aren’t the only beautiful thing about Australia. Even the desert can be pretty spectacular if you know where to go. Whether you’re driving through the hills, along the beach or even in the middle of no where – you’ll be hard pressed to find somewhere in Australia that isn’t photogenic. Bring your camera and research some off the beaten path places to visit wherever you are. Either Google or the locals will be able to help you out!
7. Australia’s sporting scene
I’ve never been much of a sport lover, but that may be because I’m the most uncoordinated person on the planet. Regardless of whether you play sport, there’s no denying that Australian sport is pretty cool. AFL is Australia’s most popular sport. If you happen to be visiting the country between March and September, definitely try and get tickets to a game. The atmosphere at the footy (that’s what we call AFL) is awesome, and whether you understand the game or not, you’ll have a lot of fun! There’s always a lot of drunk people yelling at the players and each other, so sit back and enjoy the entertainment.
8. We love to drink
Australian’s love their alcohol, beer in particular. Australia Day, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day, Mondays, Wednesdays, Sunday afternoons, Tuesday mornings – no matter what day of the week it may be, you can bet that we’re drinking. The busiest day for all bottle shops is Christmas Eve (trust me). Whenever there is a special occasion or holiday in Australia, everyone is drinking. If you’re trying to find an Australian a gift, buy them a bottle of alcohol or a gift card to buy themselves a bottle of alcohol. You’ll leave the country as a legend, I guarantee it.
9. Australian Kmart is amazing
I really, really love Kmart. Australia’s Kmart is different to America’s, and you can easily spend hundreds of dollars on house decor, appliances and cute clothes. Most of our kitchen appliances are from Kmart, and they work perfectly. If you’re on a budget, but want your house looking awesome, hit up Kmart. They have a ton of really cool styles, so grab a trolley and start shopping!
If you’re curious, check out their website.
No, this isn’t sponsored by Kmart – I wish. I’m just a big fan!
10. There’s a lot to see and do
Australia is filled with an almost endless amount of things to see and do. Whether you love the coast, outback, suburbs or hills, you won’t run out of new things to see very quickly. So don’t be shy, get out there and explore! Go out of your comfort zone. Do something you would have never imagined you’d do. Talk to locals and get some recommendations. Whatever you do, don’t leave Australia without seeing everything.
Australia Travel Tips – 10 things you should know!
1. You can only buy alcohol in bottle shops
Unlike most places around the world, you can’t just head to the supermarket or convenience store and grab a bottle of booze. Sorry guys. You actually have to visit a place called a ‘bottle shop’. Generally you’ll be able to browse through an entire store filled with an endless amount of wine, spirits, beer, RTD’s and goon (cheap wine in bags that you squeeze out like water). Then if you look too young, you’ll get asked for ID to make sure you’re over 18 (the legal drinking age in Australia!). Be a champ and just show your ID – take it as a compliment. How do I know all of this? I work in a bottle shop!
2. Australia is expensive
I’m not gonna sugar coat it – you’ll have to fork out some serious cash to experience Australia to the fullest. Alcohol in particular is horrendously expensive. Think upwards of $60 for a carton of beer, and generally more than $40 for any bottle of spirits. If you’re a smoker, be prepared to pay up to $40 for a pack.
Food can be expensive too, especially if you’re looking for some quick snacks while on the road. The best piece of advice I can give to anyone road-trippin’ around the country, is to stock up at Coles or Woolworths. They’re two different supermarket chains, but each have their own selection of ‘home brand’ options. Fill up your car or van with as much as you can, then you won’t have to make expensive pit stops along the way! I would also suggest buying a carton of water bottles. It’ll cost you $6 for a 24 pack of 600ml bottles, and you’ve got enough fresh spring water to last a few days at least!
3. You don’t need to tip in Australia
Tipping isn’t expected in restaurants, hotels, bars or basically anywhere else you’d normally tip. Australians get paid a very decent hourly rate, so we don’t rely on tips to earn us extra money. The option is always there though, if you would like to tip. It isn’t frowned upon to tip, it’s just not necessary. You’re welcome.
4. Wear sunscreen
I’m sure you’ve heard that Australian summers can be brutal. Well, it’s true. Summer days can reach upwards of 45 degrees celcius in some parts of the country, so sunscreen is a must. Whether you plan on spending 15 minutes or 5 hours in the sun, always make sure you’ve got some sunscreen on hand. A hat or cap of some sort is also a good idea. Skin cancer is a very real risk in Australia, and spending as little as half an hour in the sun can burn you pretty bad. So always cover up and invest in some good sunscreen!
5. Australia is huge
If you’re planning a road trip around the country, you should know: Australia is huge. A large majority is outback desert, too. It will take around 5 hours to fly from one side of the country to the other, and over 3 days to drive the same distance. So be prepared to see a lot of the same thing if you decide to do the great Australian road trip!
6. We drive on the left
Whenever I visit America, the driving situation terrifies me. It feels so unnatural driving on the right hand side, especially turning corners! No thanks. Here in Australia, we drive on the left hand side of the road. Don’t be one of those people who hire a car but don’t know the Australian road rules. Do some research, and stick to the left!
7. You’ll need a visa to enter Australia
If you’re planning on staying in Australia temporarily (on holiday), you can apply for an ETA. This will grant you access to the country for up to 3 months. I don’t wanna give you guys any incorrect info, so click the here to find out more!
8. Tax is already included
Prices in stores and restaurants around Australia already include tax (it’s called GST). So if you’re in a store and you’re looking at a book that costs $10, that’s how much you’ll pay when you get to the checkout. There’s no secret, hidden, extra costs on top of that $10. So although some things may look expensive (which generally they are – compared to other countries around the world) at least you’ll know exactly how much money you’ll need!
9. Australia is a cash AND card country
When Russell and I recently visited Japan, we knew before arriving that it was very much a cash oriented country. This meant that we had to take majority of our spending money as cash, to avoid having trouble finding ATM’s that would allow us to withdraw more money. In Australia, that isn’t an issue. Most places (especially stores and restaurants) accept both cash and card payments. That being said, it’s always a good idea to have some cash with you no matter where you travel. There are a lot of great options when it comes to loading currency onto a travel card. Check out Travel Money Oz. They have a best price guarantee and no fees!
10. You won’t want to leave
We may be an expensive country, and you’ll probably get sick of hearing our cringe worthy slang, but one thing I can guarantee: you won’t want to leave. Australia is an incredible country. Whether you’re here for a week, a month or even a year, it won’t be enough time. No matter where I visit around the world, I am always excited to return home to Australia. There’s something about this place that makes me happy. It will always be my home, no matter where in the world I may be.
I hope this incredibly long and detailed post has helped you and given you an insight into Australia! There’s a lot of beautiful places to see, so my last tip: bring a camera. Almost everywhere you go is Instagrammable. Don’t waste it!
If you’re planning a trip here soon, tell me in the comments below! If you’ve recently returned home from an Australian holiday, tell me below! And, if you’re an Australian and I’ve missed something, tell me below!
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