The PERFECT 1, 2 or 3 Week Australia Itinerary 
Whether you have 1, 2, or 3 weeks in Australia, here are some suggestions for an Australia itinerary that will help you make the most of this huge, diverse, and stunning country!
Planning a trip to Australia can be quite difficult, simply because the country is so huge.
Lots of its best attractions, cities, and natural landmarks are very spread out, so it’s impossible to see everything in a short amount of time.
Australia is also an expensive country to visit, so most backpackers and average travellers won’t be able to visit every single point of interest without spending a lot.
Despite these challenges, planning an epic trip to Australia is definitely possible.
You just have to be smart about your Australia itinerary, sticking to one or two major areas and picking travel routes that are logical.
For example, you won’t be able to fit Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne, Uluru, Tasmania, and beaches and national parks of Western Australia and the Northern Territory into a 1 week Australia itinerary.
To see all those incredible places, you’d need at least one month, and even then you’d be rushing to get everywhere.
What you can do, is pick the areas that appeal to you the most and plan your trip accordingly.
READ MORE: Check out our comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about travelling in Australia !
So you’d be better off picking either the east coast or the west coast and hanging around there if you only have 1 or 2 weeks in Australia.
In this article, I’ll provide a few sample Australia travel itineraries.
Each Australia itinerary will include a few of the country’s best places to visit, while maintaining reasonable travel times.
Whether it’s your first trip to Australia or you’ve been here for a while, there is always something incredible to see!
Table of Contents
How to Get Around Australia
Days 1-2: sydney, days 3-5: brisbane , days 6-7: airlie beach and the whitsundays, days 1-3: sydney, days 3-6: melbourne , day 7-8: the great ocean road, day 9-10: adelaide, day 11: kangaroo island, day 12-14: perth, days 3-4: byron bay, days 5-6: the gold coast, days 7-8: cairns, days 9-10: port douglas and the great barrier reef, days 11-13: cape tribulation and the daintree rainforest, day 14: darwin, days 15-17: kakadu national park, days 18-20: uluru and the red centre, the ultimate australia itinerary travel guide.
Having travelled all around the country, we’re excited to share these epic 1, 2 and 3 week Australian itineraries that’ll cover the best places around.
But first, a tip…
It’s also important to consider how you’ll get around Australia during your visit.
As I mentioned, the country is huge and public transport like buses or trains is expensive.
If you’re staying in one area, it’s worth renting a car for a few days so you can explore and do day trips, but driving from one city to the next may take 12+ hours of driving.
The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars , which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.
Catching cheap domestic flights is the best way to jump from one state to the next, and you can take public transport or drive within smaller areas.
Though every traveller will have their own unique preferences and modify these itineraries as necessary, here are some sample Australia itineraries that will hopefully help you plan your dream trip!
7 Day Australia Itinerary
One week in Australia goes by quickly, but some people can’t afford to take much longer off of work or their other responsibilities.
You can still manage to experience some of the Aussie culture and natural beauty in one week.
In this 7 day Australia itinerary, you’ll be sticking to the middle east coast.
You’ll begin in Sydney, then head up to Queensland to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef.
This plan is perfect for 7 days in Australia because it doesn’t require huge amounts of travel time.
READ NEXT: 25 Amazing Things to Do in Australia
After arriving in Sydney and getting settled, you have two days to enjoy the city.
You can spend one day visiting all the popular tourist attractions, like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Tower Eye, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and maybe some of the museums.
Another day can be spent swimming and sunbathing on one of the city’s main beaches.
The northern beaches around Manly, or the western beaches around Bondi and Bronte are great options for a fun day in Sydney.
Bondi Beach has a very strong health and fitness scene, so they have lots of incredible healthy cafes where all the locals like to fuel up.
Visit Berri Bar Bondi Beach for a refreshing Acai bowl, Porch and Parlour for a healthy breakfast on homemade bread, or Umu for some nourishing organic lunch bowls.
After 2 days in Sydney, you can catch a quick, 1-hour flight up to Brisbane.
Check out this post on how to spend one day in Sydney if that’s all the time you have.
Brisbane is another incredible city to visit in Australia.
After 2 days in Sydney, however, you may be sick of the crowded city streets.
Luckily, Brisbane makes a great gateway for exploring more peaceful areas of Queensland.
There are tons of amazing day trips from Brisbane that allow you to explore nature and see more of Australia, including:
- Burleigh Heads: a charming coastal town with a massive beach and national park
- Hervey Bay: one of the best spots in Australia for whale-watching
- Lamington National Park: full of hiking trails and waterfalls
- Stradbroke Island: a beautiful location that’s great for kayaking, paddleboarding, and trying other water sports
- Fraser Island: the world’s largest sand island
After exploring Brisbane and the surrounding areas, catch another cheap domestic flight from the city up to Airlie Beach.
Read our list of the best things to do in Brisbane for more inspiration!
Airlie Beach is known as one of Australia’s most stunning beaches, complete with soft white sand and clear turquoise water.
From here, you can soak in the postcard-worthy views in the Whitsundays Islands and do a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef and the famous Whitehaven Beach.
Book an ocean rafting day tour that include all your snorkelling gear and takes you to Whitehaven Beach and the best locations in the Whitsundays.
BONUS – Booking ahead of time ensures you won’t miss out on the tour, and get the best price too! And just for NOMADasaurus readers, if you use the Klook discount code “NOMADS10” on the website when checking out, you’ll get $10 off your first booking!
Snorkelling, scuba diving, and sailing through the Great Barrier Reef will make an unforgettable ending to your 7 day Australia itinerary.
At the end of your week in Australia, you can fly from Airlie Beach back to Sydney for your departing flight.
2 Week Australia Itinerary
Two weeks in Australia allows you a bit more time to see different areas of the country.
This two week Australia itinerary will start in Sydney, move down to Victoria to explore Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road , and will then curve up to Adelaide in South Australia and end in Perth in Western Australia.
So with two weeks in Australia, you can still manage to visit 4 states! If you’d prefer to spend more time in one place rather than jumping around so much, you can always modify this.
For example, you could skip Perth and spend a few more days exploring New South Wales, Victoria, or South Australia.
But here is a sample two weeks in Australia itinerary.
Once again, you’ll fly into Sydney and begin your Australian adventure in the capital city of New South Wales.
In addition to all the touristy stuff like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House and touring a local art gallery, you could spend one of your days in the lush nature surrounding the city.
Two perfect day trips from Sydney are:
The Blue Mountains: Full of waterfalls, scenic lookouts and hiking trails, connected to Sydney by train so you don’t even need a car. Here’s what you should do there .
The Royal National Park: Dramatic coastal scenery with rugged cliffs and secluded beaches. Check out these awesome Royal National Park walks .
After 3 days in Sydney, hop on a plane for a 1-hour flight down to Melbourne.
As one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in Australia, Melbourne is a favourite among travellers and locals alike.
Spend your days in Melbourne visiting street markets, sipping cocktails from rooftop bars, checking out all the cool cafes and restaurants, and experiencing the wild nightlife.
You can also visit St. Kilda Beach in the south of Melbourne, or head to Brighton Beach to photograph the colourful Brighton Bathing Boxes.
Or take a day trip to Phillip Island or tour the Melbourne Cricket Ground .
After you visit Melbourne, continue on to the famous Great Ocean Road.
One of the highlights of Victoria is the natural wonders of the Great Ocean Road.
This coastal road runs for 243 kilometers in total and is full of Australian wildlife, quaint little towns, surfing spots, picturesque viewpoints, campgrounds, and overall gorgeous scenery.
Be sure to see the Twelve Apostles, Split Point Lighthouse, Port Campbell National Park, Apollo Bay, Loch Ard Gorge, and other stunning landscapes along the way.
You can either rent a car from Melbourne and drive the road on your own, or book a day tour .
It only takes one day to see all the best spots along the road, but you’ll need to save some time to make your way back to Melbourne and you don’t want to rush.
You can also stop by the Australian National Surfing Museum in Torquay at the start of the Great Ocean Road.
Fly from Melbourne to Adelaide.
Spend the next days of your two weeks in Australia itinerary soaking in the culture of Adelaide .
Enjoy the delicious food, the museums and galleries, and the laid-back charm of South Australia’s capital.
One of your 2 days in Adelaide should definitely be spent touring a vineyard and wine tasting in the Barossa Valley.
Again, you can either rent a car in the city and drive yourself around the vineyards (make sure you don’t drink too much!), or you can book a day trip.
As one of the most unique places in South Australia, Kangaroo Island makes a super fun day trip from Adelaide.
Take photos of the interesting rock formations in Flinders Chase National Park , stroll along the pristine golden beaches, or search for some local animals like wallabies, koalas, and of course, kangaroos.
Head back to Adelaide after Kangaroo Island and hop on another quick flight to Perth to finish up this two week Australia trip.
Read next: 8 Amazing Things to Do in Kangaroo Island, Australia
Your last few days of visiting Australia will be well-spent in Perth, the capital city of Western Australia.
Enjoy the beaches, explore the Fremantle Markets, visit wineries and wildlife parks, and more.
You could also treat yourself to one last epic adventure in Australia by taking a day trip to Rottnest Island .
This island is full of fun activities, natural wonders, beautiful views, and cute little quokkas, which are small, native Australian marsupials similar to wallabies.
After a few days in Perth, either catch your departing flight from here or fly back to Sydney if your flight leaves from there.
You could also consider a day trip to Margaret River , one of the top wine and surfing regions in Western Australia.
It’s a 3 hour drive from Perth to Margaret River, so only make the trek if you feel like you have time.
3 Week Australia Itinerary
3 weeks in Australia allows you to visit some big cities and tourist spots, but it also allows you to venture out to more remote and isolated areas.
In this 3 week Australia Itinerary, you’ll visit Sydney and Byron Bay at the start.
Then you’ll head up to The Gold Coast, and tropical north Queensland to the Daintree Rainforest.
Continue your journey up north by travelling to Darwin and Kakadu National Park, and then venture inland to Uluru (Ayer’s Rock).
Again, spend your first couple days in Australia checking out Sydney and maybe doing a day trip to the Blue Mountains of the Hunter Valley Wine Region.
Be sure to visit Sydney Harbour, Darling Harbour, and the famous Bondi Beach during your time in Australia’s largest city.
Then fly to Ballina, a small airport 30 minutes away from Byron Bay.
Check out our Sydney to Brisbane road trip guide if you’d prefer to rent a car and drive up the east coast.
Byron Bay is a hub for backpackers, and it is a very fun place to experience when you visit Australia.
From bar crawls and drum circles on the beach, to night markets and street art, to coastal walks and lovely beaches, a couple days in Byron Bay will feel like bliss.
Even if you aren’t on a strict backpacker budget, Byron Bay has so many great hostels that it’s worth immersing yourself in the backpacker scene.
Some of the best hostels in Byron Bay include Wake Up! Byron Bay and Byron Bay Beach hostel.
Both of these have hundreds of great reviews from travellers cost around $30 per night, which is pretty cheap for Australia.
If you want to meet other cool people and take part in all the fun social activities of Byron Bay, you may want to stay in one of these fun hostels instead of a hotel!
You can choose to hang out in Byron Bay for a few more days, or catch a flight from Ballina to the Gold Coast for a taste of the Sunshine Coast surf vibes.
The Gold Coast is one of the best places to learn how surfing when you visit Australia.
You can take a surf lesson from an experienced local and ride the waves, or just relax on the beach, eat some great food, and hit the bars and nightclubs in the evening.
The Gold Coast combines the excitement of the city with the salty air and water sports of a beachside town, so it’s a diverse and fun place to visit.
Fly from the Gold Coast up to Cairns.
The next few days of your 3 week Australia Itinerary will take you up along the coast of Tropical North Queensland.
This corner of Australia is hot, humid, and jam-packed with rich jungles, Aboriginal culture, waterfalls and the marine life of the Great Barrier Reef.
Keep in mind that during the rainy season, from October to April, you can’t swim in the ocean here because there may be crocodiles and jellyfish.
Cairns is the gateway to tropical north Queensland.
The real beauty lies outside the city, but spend a couple days adjusting to the heat, partying with the many backpackers, shopping at Rusty’s Fruit Market, and swimming in the big public swimming pool called the Lagoon.
Also check out Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and the nearby Barron Gorge National Park near Kuranda.
Then you’ll take the local bus up to Port Douglas. You can buy your bus ticket from any tourism agency or from the main bus station, and take the Cairns to Cooktown route.
Only about an hour north of Cairns is Port Douglas, a small, relaxed town with one backpacker hostel, a few amazing restaurants, and a nice park lined with palm trees for viewing the sunset.
This is one of the best places to book a Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving tour because up here, the reef isn’t as crowded as near Cairns. A snorkelling reef trip is one of the most popular Australia tours and shouldn’t be missed!
So spend one of your days in Port Douglas swimming in the crisp, blue waters of the reef and seeing some incredible, colourful marine life.
From here, get back on Cairns to Cooktown bus and continue north up to Cape Tribulation in the Daintree Rainforest.
Located in the midst of the jungle, Cape Tribulation is the perfect place to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature.
There is only one main road running through the town, if you can even call it a town.
Cape Tribulation has a few resorts and hostels, a couple tourism companies and about two shops, and that’s it.
But the powerful presence of the rainforest is more than enough to entertain you for a couple days.
The Daintree is the oldest rainforest in the world, and is one of the true natural wonders of Australia.
Go hiking, ride horses on the beach, book an ATV sightseeing tour, do an exotic fruit tasting at Cape Trib Farm, visit the Daintree Discovery Center, or take a boat cruise on the Daintree River to spot some crocodiles.
Try to avoid visiting Tropical North Queensland in December through February, however. This is the wet season and many roads may be flooded and tours will be closed.
On your third day, take the bus back to Cairns then fly to Darwin.
Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, and it is a convenient starting point for a trip into Central Australia and Ayers Rock, in the south of the state.
Use this day to walk around and sightsee a bit, relax and unwind, and plan your journey into Kakadu National Park.
Check out our guide for the best things to do in Darwin!
Rent a car in Darwin and spend the next couple days exploring the largest national park in Australia!
You can swim in waterfalls, find ancient Aboriginal rock art, and go hiking through some incredible landscapes.
If you have a van or a tent, you can camp at one of the park’s campgrounds. Otherwise there is a handful of resorts where you can stay overnight in Kakadu.
Most of the accommodation in Kakadu is located in Jabiru, the main town of the park.
You could also book a guided tour to Kakadu as a day trip from Darwin. This is a good option for those who want to take a break from planning and driving. A tour will take you right to the best spots in the park, which is handy because the park is so huge.
After exploring the national park, drive back to Darwin and then fly to Alice Springs at the heart of Australia’s Red Centre.
(Alternatively if you don’t want to keep travelling so much, you could stay in the Northern Territory and explore more natural wonders like Nitmiluk National Park.)
From Alice Springs in the center of the Northern Territory, it’s time to begin your journey to Uluru!
The Red Centre is the central desert area of Australia, consisting of Alice Springs and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.
Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a sacred monolith and it one of the most famous places to see on a trip to Australia.
You have two options for getting to Uluru.
Option 1: Rent a car in Alice Springs and complete the 5-hour drive on your own. Keep in mind it’s also 5 hours to get back, so that’s a 10 hour road trip in total. You should also have your own camping gear and pack enough food and water for the road trip.
Option 2: Book a tour from Alice Springs if you are tired of driving. You can choose a straightforward day trip . It’s a bit pricier to do a guided tour, but it takes away a lot of the effort on your part.
Either way, watching the sunrise and sunset bathe Uluru in soft, natural hues is a sight you’ll never forget, so the journey is worth it.
If you are renting a car and doing your own road trip, consider also heading out to Watarrka National Park and Kings Canyon. This amazing spot is a 3 hour drive from Ayers Rock, which is a short drive for the Outback!
READ MORE: Check out all the incredible things to do in Uluru !
Your final day of the 3 week Australia itinerary will mostly be spent travelling.
Drive back to Alice Springs, then fly back to Sydney for your flight home.
I just want to add that there are many other natural wonders that I didn’t get to mention!
Australia is massive so it’s hard to fit in so many cool places in a short time.
For example, the north of Western Australia is stunning, but it’s very remote and not convenient to add to a few weeks in Australia.
Few Australians even make it out here on holiday.
But riding a camel on Cable Beach , snorkelling with Whale Sharks in Exmouth , or camping in Cape Range National Park are amazing experiences that you can have if you have the time to venture out there.
Tasmania is also one of the most gorgeous places in Australia. The island is home to some of the best hiking and camping in the country , but it requires lots of prior planning and preparation and gear.
You could also road trip around Australia, taking more time to see all the attractions and not having to rush.
But it would take you months or even years to road trip all of Australia!
Regardless of how much time you spend here, don’t stress about seeing everything!
It’s impossible to see everything, and no matter where you go, you’re sure to have an epic time.
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About the Author - Gabby Boucher
After four years of working in hospitality, volunteering abroad and travelling for fun, Gabby has developed a knack for budget travel and admiration for different cultures. Her travels have taken her through the cloud forests of Ecuador, into the villages of eastern Europe, across the islands of Thailand, and to the beaches of New South Wales, Australia, where she is currently living with a working holiday visa. She plans to continue her adventures around the world for as long as possible. Follow her on her blog , and on Instagram.
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5 thoughts on “The PERFECT 1, 2 or 3 Week Australia Itinerary ”
Have you got any info/tips about Central Australia? Adelaide, Coober Pedy, Alice Springs to Darwin (Stuart Hwy).
Would like more information on all inclusive 3 wk itinerary for family of about 12.
All the best with your research. Have a great trip.
Terrific article. Thanks so much for the insight!
Thank you so much. Glad the article was helpful 🙂
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The Ultimate Australia Road Trippin’ Guide — 10 Itineraries For The Perfect Adventure of a Lifetime
From cities to coasts and national parks to natural beauties, an epic road trip is the best way to explore Australia!
Recently, I rented a Blue SG car with my best friend and had a wild time driving 17km from Yishun to Hougang. It barely qualifies as a road trip, but it reminded me of my last trip to Australia . If you didn’t know already, it’s one of the sweetest places for a truly epic road trip!
Across the country, there are tons of routes packed with scenery, action and adventure. And it’s friendly for beginners (a.k.a. driving noobs) too!
It’s a bummer we can’t travel right now, but I’ve found that an instant mood lifter is to get your ‘ revenge travel ‘ plans in order (i.e. a long post-COVID-19 trip that makes up for lost time) — so here are 10 of the best Australia road trips to go full throttle on once we get the green light! 🟢
1) Coastal drive from Sydney to Melbourne
Journey time: 4–8 days (~1,300km) Starting point: Sydney Airport (~8hr flight from Singapore)
Between two of Australia’s largest cities, the coastal drive from Sydney to Melbourne (or vice versa) is sensational. Every inch of the way from New South Wales to Victoria offers quirky seaside towns, golden beaches and wondrous ocean views.
Part of the route includes the Grand Pacific Drive , a 140km stretch along New South Wales’s South Coast . It covers gorgeous attractions like the Royal National Park and the stunning Sea Cliff Bridge .
The drive from Sydney to Melbourne is perfectly beginner-friendly. There are many stops along the route whenever you need to stretch your legs.
Read more: Sydney South Coast Road Trip — 7-Day Itinerary From Sydney to Eden
Now, onto the epic must-dos. First, sign up for some adrenaline-pumping skydiving over Wollongong . Above the magnificent coast, you’ll freefall at speeds over 200km/h, wayyy faster than you’ll ever go on your road trip!
Photo credit: @kattgao via Instagram
After Wollongong, drop by the Kiama Blowhole and be blown away. Well, not literally, but there’s a good chance of getting soaked.
Alternatively, if you’re road trippin’ during summer, spend a night or two in Jervis Bay . You might be lucky enough to catch the phenomenal sea sparkles , or bioluminescence.
Once you’ve crossed the border into Victoria , get ready for even more wow’s (and aww’s ). For nature lovers, don’t miss the adorable Penguin Parade on Phillip Island . It’s a heart-melting treat watching these little fellas waddle out of the ocean and scuttle around the beach.
Check out other island activities like scenic walks and visiting the cuddly Koala Reserve too!
Photo credit: @helenabradbury via Instagram
Before you reach Melbourne , make one last stop at Mornington Peninsula . Here, you can drink deep at exquisite wineries and explore the stellar coastline at Cape Schanck (recommended by Chris Hemsworth 🤩).
Got another week to spare? Extend your road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide just next door! Alternatively, if you’re flying out from Sydney , make the return drive from Melbourne to Sydney via the inland route . After coasts and busy beaches, you can now enjoy the quiet countryside and historic gold-mining towns.
2) Ultimate Australian Outback road trip from Darwin to Adelaide
Journey time: 10–14 days (~3,000km) Starting point: Darwin Airport (4.5hr flight from Singapore)
Cutting across the vast outback, the drive from Darwin to Adelaide takes you through a series of wonderful and unusual landscapes. You’ll pass miles of red earth in the Northern Territory before reaching South Australia’s world-renowned wineries.
This adventurous route is more suited for seasoned travellers as you might be driving long distances (depending on your itinerary). Petrol stations are also few and far between, so plan carefully and refuel at every stop.
To eager first-timers, don’t let the long drives stop you from diving into this road trip! Just add a few more days for exploration and extra rest.
Photo credit: @exploreuluru via Instagram
Deep in the heart of the Red Centre , the hallmark of this outback road trip is the monumental Uluru . Get to know it your way — see it from above with a badass helicopter ride , or join a cultural tour and learn about the sacred land and Aboriginal culture.
Photo credit: @nealjennings via Instagram
Eight hours away lies the strange town of Coober Pedy . It’s the opal mining capital of the world, but the show-stealer is that the locals live underground to avoid the scorching heat!
Staying a night here is a must. It’s not every day you get to live in a posh B&B carved out of natural sandstone, especially one located 25m below .
Photo credit: @alan.timms1 via Instagram
If you thought Coober Pedy was mind-blowing, wait till you hit the Flinders Ranges .
The national park is home to incredibly dramatic landscapes like Wilpena Pound , a massive bowl-shaped crater made up of craggy mountains. The best way to see it is through an exciting scramble up to its rugged ridges or a relaxing scenic flight .
Photo credit: @ashhughesphotos via Instagram
After days of non-stop adventure, wine down in the Barossa Valley — reputed as one of the world’s greatest wine regions. There are over 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors, so take your time to swirl and sip Australia’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon or special Barossa Shiraz.
The excitement doesn’t have to end in Adelaide ! Not too far from the city, there are plenty of jaw-dropping coastlines that are ripe for exploring, which brings us to our next route…
3) Scenic South Australia road trip — Southern Ocean Drive from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island and Mount Gambier
Journey time: 5–7 days (~500–1,200km) Starting point: Adelaide Airport (~7hr flight from Singapore)
With an abundance of coastal scenery, tasty wines and native wildlife, the Southern Ocean Drive is one of the loveliest, lesser-known road trips in Australia. In fact, some consider it a ‘sequel’ to Victoria’s Great Ocean Road drive (more on this later)!
The route is great for beginner road trippers as there are plenty of stops to pull over at. Plus, attractions are relatively nearby one another. It’s likely you won’t drive for longer than three to four hours each day.
Photo credit: @officialfleurieupeninsula via Instagram
South Australia produces half of all the wine in the country, so there’s no excuse not to indulge! Make your first stop at McLaren Vale in Fleurieu Peninsula . It’s home to some of the world’s oldest grapevines, and serves the most delectable wines and local produce you might ever taste in your life.
Photo credit: @promotemytown via Instagram
Nature and wildlife lovers would adore Kangaroo Island . A good part of it is protected in nature reserves, so it’s no surprise to meet wild ‘roos and see other wildlife roaming free!
Photo credit: TripAdvisor
To make your Kangaroo Island experience more unique, stay the night in a quaint cottage by Cape Willoughby Lighthouse . You’ll enjoy a well-deserved package: Exclusive privacy, calming sounds of crashing waves, and a magnificent sunrise view.
If you only have a few days, keep the road trip short and explore Kangaroo Island fully. Otherwise, take a ferry back to the mainland and continue your coastal journey.
Photo credit: @discover_mount_gambier via Instagram
Situated along the Limestone Coast , Mount Gambier is a city built atop an extinct volcano. Its main attraction is the mysterious Blue Lake , a huge crater lake. From April to November, the water is a distinct greyish-blue colour. But once November rolls around, it transforms into a striking turquoise blue.
The Blue Lake is not permitted for swimming, but its smaller cousin is! Satisfy your urge to dip at the Little Blue Lake , a giant sinkhole filled with pleasantly cool waters. It’s free to enter, and makes an awesome photo spot too!
Photo credit: @sarahafindlay via Instagram
4) Northern Territory Top End Nature’s Way Drive from Darwin to Katherine
Journey time: 8 days (~900km) Starting point: Darwin Airport (4.5hr flight from Singapore)
Top End Nature’s Way features a fantastic mix of tropical wonders and the fascinating Australian outback. Peppered with spectacular national parks, timeless Aboriginal culture, and the charming town of Katherine — this triangular route is especially geared for outdoor lovers.
Adventurous as it may be, the drive from Darwin to Katherine is actually easy. Main attractions are about three hours from each other. Roads are also well-paved, so you don’t need four-wheel drives (4WD). What you do need, though, are your best hiking shoes!
Photo credit: @_danieltran_ via Instagram
The first must-visit is Kakadu National Park , Australia’s largest. Take a walk through Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) , an ancient rock art gallery that showcases Aboriginal traditions. Or, pack your bathers and dip in the beautiful Gunlom Plunge Pool .
Photo credit: @traveling_yorick via Instagram
The huge park is also home to boatloads of exotic wildlife, including 10,000 crocodiles ! Feed your curiosity and join a croc-spotting cruise — you might catch these prehistoric beasts basking lazily in the sun, or silently stalking their next meal.
Photo credit: Tourism Australia
In Katherine, travellers usually make a beeline for Nitmiluk National Park , and it’s easy to see why. The highlight is the Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge , a deep sandstone gorge that transports you to another realm.
While cruises are available, enjoy a bigger thrill by hiring a canoe . During the dry season (May–Sep), you’ll get enchanting views while paddling through ancient landscapes.
Photo credit: @fewdaysbetween via Instagram
Finally, after days of fast-paced action, cool off at Litchfield National Park on your drive back to Darwin. The park has plenty of lush swimming holes, great for refreshing soaks.
In need of more adventure? Fly down to Alice Springs from Darwin and explore the Red Centre Way ! The route snakes through mighty attractions like Uluru and Kings Canyon . Seasoned travellers can rent a 4WD and zip through Mereenie Loop , a dusty dirt road.
Read more: 40 Lesser-Known Things to Do in Australia Highly Recommended by Locals, Travellers and Celebrities
5) Grand Tasmania road trip — Great Eastern Drive from Hobart to Bicheno and the Bay of Fires
Journey time: 2–5 days (~300km) Starting point: Hobart Airport (~8.5hr flight from Singapore)
Whether you’ve got a week or a weekend, Tasmania’s Great Eastern Drive promises a road trip getaway that’ll clear your head. Expect breathtaking coastal drives, pristine beaches and some of the freshest seafood around.
The drive from Hobart to Bicheno is mainly on sealed roads and highways, making it suitable for both beginners and seasoned travellers. Plus, attractions are less than two hours from each other!
Photo credit: Maria Island Walk / Great Walks of Australia
Start your trip by disconnecting from civilisation. Take a 30-minute ferry ride from Orford to Maria Island . Hike to the Painted Cliffs , made magical by its bold swirls of earthy colours. The best time to view it is at sunset when the colours truly pop — just be sure you make it back to the ferry on time!
Photo credit: @itsworthashot via Instagram
Back on mainland Tasmania , dedicate a full day for Freycinet National Park . Wake early (or try your best to) and follow the Mount Amos trail to see Wineglass Bay at sunrise. The famous azure bay looks completely different when it’s bathed in a warm orange glow.
For the rest of the day, treat yourself to juicy, succulent oysters from Freycinet Marine Farm . Or, you could always work a little harder and harvest oysters straight from the waters.
Photo credit: @lady_siu_mei via Instagram
Wildlife lovers, stop by Bicheno for a cute penguin tour . Every evening, little penguins splash out of the waters and waddle around their burrows on the beach. The tour lets you get up close to watch them go about their adorably busy routines.
Photo credit: @_aswewander via Instagram
Finally, drive an hour from Bicheno to the legendary Bay of Fires . Clumped together on the white sand beach, the orange lichen-covered granite boulders are a great place to rest, swim, and take lots of lit photos .
Read more: 16 Picture-Perfect Places Every Australia Itinerary Needs
6) Best of Victoria road trip — Great Southern Touring Route from Bellarine Peninsula to Great Ocean Road and the Grampians
Journey time: 5–8 days (~850km) Starting point: Melbourne Airport (~7.5hr flight from Singapore)
No Australia road trip is more iconic than the Great Southern Touring Route ! You’ll feast well at the gastronomical Bellarine Peninsula , before winding along the marvellous coastline of the Great Ocean Road , and end with adventures in the Grampians .
The weeklong, round-trip drive is great for beginners. Most attractions are within two to three hours from each other, and there are plenty of stops along the way for rest and photos. Add more days if possible — this is one brilliant journey you don’t want to rush.
Photo credit: @littlemusselcafe via Instagram
If you’re travelling to the coasts first, make a quick detour to the Bellarine Peninsula . Bring an empty stomach — the up-and-coming region serves delicious local produce, from insanely fresh seafood to full-bodied wines and decadent desserts.
Recommended eateries include the Little Mussel Cafe , Scotchmans Hill , and the Scandinavian Ice Cream Company . Or, plan your own yummy Bellarine Taste Trail !
And now, the main event: The Great Ocean Road . Take your time for this leg of the journey! It’s totally normal to stop every few minutes and take photos of the unbelievable coastline. But, make sure you’ve allocated enough time to see all its classic sights — the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, the Arch and the Grotto.
As you drive back inland, stop at the Grampians , another must-visit attraction. The National Park is popular with outdoor lovers and travellers, who come to rock climb or conquer its adventurous treks.
If you only have time for one hike, make it the Pinnacle Lookout , one of the park’s highest peaks. The journey from Wonderland Car Park is moderately challenging, but filled with scenery that makes it a highly Instagrammable spot .
For a less gruelling hike, head to MacKenzie Falls . It’s one of the largest waterfalls in Victoria that flows all year round.
Read more: 8D Melbourne Road Trip Itinerary — The Ultimate Road Trip Around Victoria’s Best Adventures
If you’re craving more coastal scenery, extend your Victoria road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide . The route includes Port Fairy , a whimsical seaside town, and picturesque Mount Gambier .
7) Hidden gems in the Australian Capital Territory — Canberra and Coast road trip
Journey time: 5–6 days (~650km) Starting point: Canberra Airport (8hr flight from Singapore)
For an unhurried escape, go on a picturesque road trip around Canberra and the South Coast . This round-trip route meanders from the city to the countryside and coast, topped with a mix of culture, adventure, and best of all — food!
As the road trip is relatively short, it’s great for beginners. Depending on your itinerary, you might be driving for a maximum of three hours a day. But there are many places to rest and take a breather along the way.
Photo credit: @balloonaloftcanberra via Instagram
Canberra is Australia’s capital, but not many travellers get to know the place! Rent a car and explore the city, teeming with friendly locals and cultural gems.
If you’re big on views, sign up for a fancy hot air balloon ride over the city. If not, tour around the impressive Australian Parliament House or the scenic National Arboretum .
Photo credit: @avenuehotelcbr via Instagram
After ticking off the city’s attractions, drive out to the peaceful countryside. There’s an abundance of fresh, farm-to-plate produce to savour, so bring your biggest appetite! During truffle season (Jun–Aug), many truffle farms offer hunting experiences, where you get to team up with a cute truffle dog that’ll sniff for this superb delicacy.
Other places to check out include traditional cider from Sully’s at the Old Cheese Factory , and Tilba Real Dairy for some rich, premium cheeses.
Get some peace and quiet with some overnight glamping! There are many sites to choose from in the South Coast, but the one that holds a special place in our hearts is Tilba Lake Camp . Located in the middle of a sprawling green pasture, you get a cosy lotus bell tent, a comfy bed and a delicious homemade breakfast.
Further down the coast, dip into the beautiful Bermagui Blue Pool . The good news is the natural rock pool offers some of the best views of the ocean, but be prepared — the waters can be quite chilly!
Once you’ve soaked up enough of the coast, end your road trip in Canberra.
8) Fun-filled Western Australia road trip — Indian Ocean Drive from Perth to Kalbarri
Journey time: 5 days (~1,800km) Starting point: Perth Airport (5hr flight from Singapore)
Few road trips are as vibrant as the Indian Ocean Drive . From Perth to Kalbarri , you’ll get a splash of colour driving past earthy landscapes, pink lakes and rich, red gorges. Arrive between Jul–Oct, and there’s also an explosion of multi-coloured wildflowers.
This route is part of Australia’s Coral Coast , and highlights some of the most exotic things you’ll ever see in the country. It’s also fairly easy for first-timers as there are many rest stops along the way. If you’re a seasoned traveller, don’t overlook this stretch — you might just discover something new!
Photo credit: @szjanko via Instagram
Just two hours from Perth, kickstart your adventure with some rad sandboarding at Lancelin Sand Dunes ! It’s a great winter sport substitute if you’re not a fan of cold or frozen snow. Plus, the fine sand makes a soft landing too!
Like the ruins of an ancient city, the Pinnacles Desert at Nambung National Park is one of Western Australia’s definite must-sees. Each limestone structure stands perfectly unique, eroded by centuries of wind. You can stroll around in the daytime, but we’ve found that this place makes an exceptional stargazing site once night falls.
Hutt Lagoon is a classic case of “you must see it to believe it”. The high salinity is what gives the lake its striking pink hue, which changes with the seasons and time of day. Naturally, it’s an Instagram hotspot — so dress your best and get snapping!
The final stop in the Indian Ocean Drive is Kalbarri National Park . It’s one of the most spectacular parks, with beautiful natural attractions around every corner.
Peek through Nature’s Window at the rocky gorge beyond, or check out the Kalbarri Skywalk . The park’s newest addition hovers more than 100m over the Murchison River, offering panoramic views of the arid landscape below.
If you’re here between Jul–Oct, wander around the Everlasting Wildflower Trail . The space comes alive with a burst of pretty, blooming wildflowers .
Photo credit: @roadtrippersaus via Instagram
Afterwards, follow the road back to Perth on your final day. But, if you have more time, extend your road trip down the Coral Coast .
Read also: 11D Western Australia Itinerary — Coastal Road Trip From Perth To Ningaloo
9) Epic Queensland road trip — Great Beach Drive from Noosa Heads to Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island
Journey time: 4–7 days (~420km) Starting point: Noosa Heads (~1.5hr drive from Brisbane Airport, 8hr flight from Singapore)
Here’s something for the young, wild and free! The Great Beach Drive to Fraser Island is as rugged as Aussie road trips get. In a comfy 4WD, you’ll cruise over 100km of beaches, sandwiched between wild bushland and the dazzling Coral Sea.
As the road trip requires a 4WD for off-road driving, it’s perfect for seasoned travellers. The backseat drivers can handle the road trip playlist and the vehicle access permit 😛
Photo credit: @t.becs via Instagram
Starting from Noosa Heads, take a 5-minute ferry ride from Tewantin or make a 40-minute detour to Noosa North Shore . In this unspoilt paradise, enjoy some beachside activities, or play a game to see who can spot wild kangaroos the fastest.
Photo credit: @manuelo.pro via Instagram
Further up, bask in the endless white sands of Teewah Beach . It’s only accessible via a 4WD so this is where your beachy journey begins! It’s also largely undeveloped — check that you’ve packed enough water and supplies, especially if you’re camping overnight .
Photo credit: @tracks.we.travel via Instagram
Continue on to Rainbow Beach . The lovely coastal town is famous for its coloured sand cliffs, caused by minerals staining the sand over thousands of years. Take a slow stroll and observe the natural swirl of colours ranging from white to ochre and red.
Photo credit: @alexxsadventures via Instagram
Finally, brace yourself for the grand event! From Inskip Point, take a short ferry ride across the ocean to Fraser Island . It’s the world’s largest sand island, and many come to conquer the glorious ‘highway’ that is 75 Mile Beach (that’s ~120km, FYI).
During your drive, swing by the Maheno shipwreck for photos and the Champagne Pools for a natural bubbling ‘jacuzzi’. Be sure to visit Fraser Island’s amazing rainforest too — it’s the only one on this planet that grows on sand!
10) Legendary Pacific Coast Touring Route from Sydney to Byron Bay
Journey time: 9–14 days (~1,000km) Starting point: Sydney Airport (~8hr flight from Singapore)
The Legendary Pacific Coast is another iconic route. The drive from Sydney to Byron Bay up to Brisbane is full of quintessential Aussie experiences — bucket-list-worthy adventures, soft, sandy beaches, and countless places to surf.
The route itself is a 10-hour stretch, but it’s pretty manageable if you break the distance down over two weeks. Following this, beginners would drive for a maximum of two hours every day on smooth, sealed roads.
If you’re not keen on exploring the famous Blue Mountains , opt for the quieter Bouddi National Park . Hop on the many scenic tracks , which feature sandstone cliffs, isolated beaches and vibrant native bush.
Photo credit: @sand_dune_adventures via Instagram
Further up north, the adventures begin! Port Stephens is where you’ll find the Southern Hemisphere’s largest moving coastal dunes — and there’s no better way to explore this shifting desert than with quad bikes (your first step to a 4WD!).
Read also: 9-Day Australia Road Trip Itinerary Around The Best Of NSW — Sydney, Blue Mountains and Beyond
Warning: Once you’re in Byron Bay , you might find it terribly hard to leave. The sun-kissed seaside town is arguably the best-kept secret in New South Wales , and there’s absolutely no shortage of things to do.
Read also: Byron Bay Guide: 25 Things to Do in NSW’s Ultimate Hipster Paradise
Experiences we 100% recommend include surfing at Main Beach , dining on fresh seafood at Catch-A-Crab , and watching the sunrise at Cape Byron Lighthouse . Meanwhile, Chris Hemsworth recommends diving at Julian Rocks (no kidding!).
Photo credit: @goldcoast_themeparks via Instagram
If you’re itching for more road trip adventures, drive a little further up to the Gold Coast or Brisbane in Queensland . Take your pick from hair-raising Gold Coast theme parks or the mellow Brisbane Brewing Co .
Read more: 2-Week Australia Road Trip from Sydney to Byron Bay — Discovering NSW’s Legendary Pacific Coast
Driving tips and planning for an unforgettable road trip in Australia
In a land so vast and wondrous, not exploring Australia on a road trip is a real shame. Even then, whether you decide to stay in the cities or hit the road, this country won’t have any problems curing your wanderlust !
All you need to do is find underrated things to do , or seek out socially-distant natural wonders . Hey, safety is sexy, no?
Speaking of safety, here are some useful driving tips for the long road ahead 👇 (1) Rent a GPS or download offline Google maps. Mobile reception isn’t available in remote places like National Parks. (2) Follow the speed limit — even in rural areas. Take it from us, the fines are hefty. (3) Watch out for wildlife on the roads. Drive at the recommended speeds, so that you can slow down or brake in time if an animal crosses in front of you. (4) Similarly, avoid driving in the dark as animals are more active then. If you do, use your high beam to see further ahead. Drop it when there are cars in the other direction (they’ll do the same too).
Need more ideas to plan your next Australia road trip? Find more guides and detailed maps for self-driving itineraries here !
Featured and Facebook image credit: @tracks.we.travel via Instagram
Which Australia road trip are you keen to go on? Share your plans in the comments!
This post is brought to you by Tourism Australia .
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View this post on Instagram A post shared by thetravelintern.com (@thetravelintern) on Jul 29, 2020 at 4:31am PDT
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7 Adventurous Australia road trip itineraries
If you’re thinking of heading down under, an Australia road trip has to be one of the best options for seeing the most of this diverse (and pretty enormous!) country.
Grab some wheels and set out into the unknown, either through the western outback, along the beautiful, rugged coastlines or deep into the heart of the red centre of Australia .
1. East coast: Cairns to Brisbane
This drive between Cairns and Brisbane is one of the most popular road trip routes in Australia. The winding drive stays close to the coast and passes some of the country’s most impressive natural highlights – Fraser Island , the Whitsundays and of course, the Great Barrier Reef Islands . A great introduction to Australia, Queensland is the adventure centre of Oz, with skydiving, bungee jumping and rafting being just a few of the adventures you can choose.
The stunning shore of Queensland is reason enough to drive the entirety of the coastal route from Cairns to Brisbane, but the myriad of beaches and islands accessible from the road is another game-changer if you're thinking of choosing this route! The road is well maintained with sections so close to the coast you’ll almost skim the water’s edge, so make sure you include Cairns to Brisbane as a surface sector of your round the world trip.
Highlights: Cape Tribulation, Mission Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Fraser Island.
Stop at Seventeen Seventy; a stunning little town along the Capricorn Coast where Captain Cook first landed in 1770 which offers fantastic coastal walks.
When to go? Australian winter (June-September) is the best time to see Queensland. The hotter summers bring humidity where the warm winters are dry and pleasant, especially for driving.
How long? Take your time with this one; a minimum of two weeks will make sure you see the highlights at the relaxed pace that Queenslanders are used to.
2 weeks in Australia: Sydney, rock and reef holiday
Family Great Barrier Reef holiday from Brisbane
Family fly-drive Australia: Brisbane & the Sunshine Coast
2. pacific highway: brisbane to sydney.
This route takes you between two of Australia's largest cities, Sydney and Brisbane. Once you’ve left Brisbane you’re basically just hopping from beach to beach as you journey along the Pacific coast. The pretty rocks of Bouddi National Park and wide open beaches of Lennox Head and Byron Bay lead you south, with locals and travellers alike taking to the waves with their surfboards.
The east coast drive runs parallel to the humpback whales' migration route towards Antarctica, so you can stop almost anywhere along the route and book on to a whale watching trip. Head inland to the Hunter Valley for a vineyard tour and sample a fine glass of Chardonnay before cruising into Sydney and settling into a quayside bar to watch the sunset behind the sails of the opera house.
The rugged shore of the Pacific coast shelters many beautiful inlets and coves that are begging to be discovered and driving is the perfect way to explore! Using public transport or flying means that huge chunks of the idyllic seashore remain unseen and believe me, it’s you that will be missing out. The locals along this populated shore are friendly and happy to share their paradise with you – the ball’s in your court!
Highlights: Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Hunter Valley, Lennox Head.
This drive includes the Bouddi National Park, Seal Rocks and Lennox Head which are off the beaten track and make this amazing coastal drive all the more memorable.
When to go? For comfortable temperatures, stick to spring and autumn to drive this heavenly route.
How long? 5 days is probably the minimum but as soon as you hit Byron Bay and the Hunter Valley, you’ll want to extend it to 9 or 10.
Classic 4 week trip to Australia and New Zealand
East Coast Australia road trip with Heron Island
Luxury Brisbane, Whitsundays and Queensland holiday with Spicers Hotels
3. great ocean road: melbourne to adelaide.
One of the world’s most scenic coastal drives, the Great Ocean Road weaves its way alongside the windswept Southern Ocean. Home to some of Australia’s most famous surf meccas (Bells Beach near Torquay holds major championships) and the limestone towers known as the 12 Apostles in Port Campbell National Park, you’ll discover an unblemished coastline within an easy drive of Melbourne. Venture into the pristine rainforest for a bush walk to find an astonishing variety of native wildlife including koalas, kangaroos and maybe a platypus or two.
Discover delicious local produce in the quaint village of Port Fairy, see Cape Otway Lighthouse - Australia’s oldest mainland lighthouse, and learn about ancient aboriginal life at the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
Highlights: 12 Apostles, London Bridge, Tower Hill Reserve
"The best way to get a bird's eye view of every one of the Twelve Apostles and the shipwreck coast is with a scenic helicopter flight."
When to go? The summer months (December and January) see hot temperatures and chaotic tourist spots. Consider visiting in the quieter winter months (June to August) when whale sightings are common, sunsets intense and the roads are quieter.
How long? Don’t rush. Day-trippers from Melbourne are a common site but you’ll want to spend 3 days exploring everything along the way.
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4. adelaide to darwin: the stuart highway.
This classic route echoes the journey made by John McDouall Stuart to get from Adelaide to Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory on the coast. Follow the lonely road through the heart of Australia and watch the scenery change from the mountainous Flinders Ranges into the red rock of the central desert and the huge gorges of the north. Nearly 3000km of road, this is the ultimate road trip that will lead you through the heart of the Australian outback.
Nothing says road trip like the deserts of Australia, where the best way to experience true Aussie spirit is to set off into the distance and not look back. This route through the wilderness to the northern coast of Australia was only completed by John McDouall Stuart and his team 150 years ago and travelling through the vast centre of the country is still seen as a huge achievement!
Highlights: Flinders Ranges, Uluru, Kings Canyon, Katherine Gorge.
Katherine Gorge is amazing. Kayaking amongst the birds and wildlife by day, camping under the Milky Way by night. Stunning.
When to go? April to early October is the most popular time to drive, when temperatures are cooler and humidity lower, and once you get to the far north, it’s much cooler to explore Darwin and surrounds . The rest of the year is the rainy season and daily rainstorms are fairly common - that said, visiting during the rainy season also gives a unique view of Central Australia that few tourists experience.
How long? You’ll need ideally a minimum of 10 days although trips to Uluru and Kings Canyon may mean you take this route a little slower than expected.
Tip: If you’d prefer not to drive this route – check out the Ghan train which covers the same route .
Take the train across Australia: Adelaide to Darwin on The Ghan
Sydney to Uluru & Darwin: city and outback experience
Outback and beach: Bali and Darwin holiday
5. southwest edge: adelaide to perth.
The long route along Australia's southern coast is one of the most impressive drives on our list, largely thanks to the plains through which it snakes its way from Adelaide to Perth. The Nullarbor Plain (null – no arbor – trees) is a huge expanse and one of the harshest environments in the country, with stretches of road where you won’t see a soul or building for hundreds of kilometres. One 90 mile section of road is completely straight – you’d have to have pretty good eyes to see the end though! Don’t forget to stop in Cape Le Grand National Park for the beautiful beaches and Kalgoorlie to see the gold panning.
‘Crossing the Nullarbor’ is one of the classic Australian outback experiences and one of the ultimate Aussie drives. The open road and absence of cities mean it is one of the best places for stargazing – pull over, lie down on the bonnet and see if you can spot the ‘The Emu in the Sky’ and the Southern Cross. You won’t see these views if you fly from Adelaide to Perth!
Highlights: The Nullarbor Plain, Kalgoorlie, Cape Le Grand National Park, Wave Rock.
Don't miss cage diving with sharks in Port Lincoln - what an amazing experience!
When to go? In the searing heat of the Australian summer, this trip would not be so pleasant. Instead, pack your bags for this trip sometime between July and September.
How long? Allow around ten days from Perth to Adelaide will mean you have enough time to soak in the solitude of this beautifully scenic road.
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6. tasmania's ocean loop.
Tasmania’s island status often excludes it from collections of great Australian road trips but we saw no need for that here. Tasmania is an easy ride from Melbourne on the ferry or a simple 1hr 15-minute flight and the ocean road loops right around the island meaning you can stay close to the rugged beaches that encase this beautiful isle. History, culture and wildlife await you in the jewel of Australia.
There is no better way to see Tasmania than to drive. The opportunity to stop and explore wherever you please is a massive bonus when visiting the island. Rather than sticking to the city, driving gives you the chance to uncover areas of Tasmania that are inaccessible by public transport. The distances are short and the views incredible; Tasmania has the recipe for the perfect road trip!
Highlights: Wineglass Bay, Port Arthur, Table Mountain, Hobart.
A fantastic stop on this route is Kate's Berry Farm on the east coast. Stop here for beautiful views and homemade milkshakes and cheesecake!
When to go? Summer and early autumn in Australia (December to April) are the most pleasant seasons to visit Tasmania, with warm days and cool refreshing nights. You can easily fly into Hobart or get the ferry from Melbourne across to Devonport. We can arrange the ferry tickets for you, just ask us!
How long? You could technically drive round Tasmania in 3 days and rush past everything, but your best bet is to stretch it out for 8 – 13 days and enjoy everything the Apple Isle has to offer.
Self-drive tour of Tasmania: Launceston and the magnificent north
Wild Tasmania itinerary: Hobart, Launceston & the West Coast
Tasmania trip package: Hobart and the beautiful south
7. the west coast: perth to broome.
If you really want to get off the tourist trail, head west to drive the amazing road between Perth and Broome. This route takes you through the bush into the real wilderness of Australia, hugging the coast as the road heads north through the gorges of Western Australia. Spot wild dolphins in Monkey Mia and dive on the Ningaloo Reef before arriving in Broome to relax on the red beaches of Roebuck Bay.
Western Australia is much less visited than the eastern coast which means that the impact of tourism is less noticeable on this side of the country. Driving through the untouched outback, hopping between national parks and empty beaches is a brilliant way to get to know his area, rather than simply visiting the main city of Perth. With so much to offer, this drive will allow you to fall in love with the deserving west of Australia.
Highlights: Monkey Mia, Ningaloo Reef, Karanjini National Park, Shark Bay
Don’t miss swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef and exploring the gorges in Karijini National Park
When to go: Spring (September – November) and autumn (March – May) are the best times to drive, avoiding the hot, dry season and the rainy season.
How long: Around 12 days will cover this drive but the stunning national parks and beaches on the road to Broome may tempt you to stay longer.
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Coast to coast: Indian Pacific Perth to Sydney
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About the author Milly Gill
Fresh out of high school, Milly left her home comforts behind and set off to work in a school in Thailand for a year. Whilst working in Thailand she managed to explore Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and China before uni. In the breaks from her English & American Literature degree she interned for Travel Nation, eventually joining our team in 2014. Milly is fascinated by wildlife and food and weaves these elements into both her own trips and those she plans for others. Her natural instinct for building fascinating trips that take you off the beaten track inform the trips she plans and she currently works as our Product Manager sourcing great hotels and itineraries for our customers.
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Home » Oceania » Australia » 10 EPIC Australia Road Trips: Big, Bold, and Beautiful
10 EPIC Australia Road Trips: Big, Bold, and Beautiful
Australia: a continental landmass of crocodile-wrestling locals, man-eating dropbears, and gigantic expanses of endless red dirt. Maybe only one of those things is true.
That said, there is truly, truly massive amounts of red dirt. On any Australian road trip through its gargantuan “Red Centre”, you will see endless horizons of ochre hues. Words cannot describe the scope of this untameable land.
In Australia, one can easily drive for days on end without the scenery changing at all and with only the occasional roo – jumping out in front of the car on a suicide mission – to break up the routine. But if you can handle the distances and duck the kamikaze kangaroos, the country can be one hell of a setting for some epic Australian road trips.
Of course, embarking on Australia’s road trips isn’t so simple. First, you’ll need a vehicle. You’ll also need to manage the equally untameable cost of travelling in Australia. (Damn you fuel prices in Oz!)
And of course, you’ll need to decide on which of the best road trips in Australia you’ll be Mad Max-ing. Spoiler: they’re all bloody magnificent.
So that’s why I’ve written this guide to travelling Australia by car (or van). A roundup of the most epic Australian road trips you can possibly sink your teeth and adventurer chomps into!
Fire her up cause we’re headin’ out back, mate.
Exploring Australia: Prepping for the Road Trip
Top 10 epic australia road trips: she’ll be right, 10. kangaroo island, some safety advice for australia, let the great australia road trip commence.
The word Australia is now pretty much synonymous with the word “backpacking”. This is primarily because countless backpackers from all around the world now flock here annually, either to take long working holidays (yay for obscenely high minimum wages) or to try and start a new life.
Meanwhile back in the rest of the world, (certainly in India, South-East Asia and South America) it often feels like most of the other backpackers you meet are Australian (closely followed by Germans then Israelis). In summary Australia = Backpacking . Right?
Despite this, the former prison colony has still not really been properly explored save by only a handful of very brave and foolish souls. Australia is massive, it’s red, it’s angry, and it’s often damn well deadly and therefore, most folks (residents and visitors alike) end up sticking to the coastlines .
However, if you want to discover the real Australia then you need to head away from the beach and into that deliciously daring ‘outback’ . For a proper adventure, you gotta get away from humanity and into the sheer undulating arid heat. If you’re going to do that, then you’re going to need to get yourself a car and set off for an epic road trip in Australia.
The road is calling.
How to Travel Australia by Car
Firstly, you will need a driving licence . A serious traveller may even want to get an International licence although most “Western” licence (US, EU, etc.) will be perfectly valid down under . Be sure to get this back in your home country because everything is expensive in Australia.
You’re also going to need a vehicle for a road trip in Australia – no brainer! There are three ways to go about this:
- Hire a car or van in Australia – Renting a car in Australia is easy albeit expensive and much better suited to a short trip. There are heaps of car rental services in Australia but I recommend Wicked Campers . They’ve been in the game as long as I remember and gypsy travellers parked by the beaches of Byron Bay is a time-honoured Australian tradition almost as much as a beer and fish and chips. Probably also in Byron.
- Buy a car or van – This is option two and the true backpacker way to have a road trip in Australia. Backpackers buying and reselling vehicles in Australia is incredibly common (given the sheer scope of Australia) and acquiring a pre-loved gypsy warhorse and selling it again later is super viable. The best way to go about this is through online listings: social media groups, car sales websites, Gumtree , traveller/hostel message boards, or even dipping into your personal network.
- Steal a car or van – Jokes, don’t do that. Remember how I said Australia was an ex-prisoner colony. Dem fuckers be crazy.
Travel Australia by Van or Car
Right, so you may have noticed how I specified van OR car. That’s because both are viable, however, I do have a special love in my heart for living and travelling in a van. And truth be told, Australia’s barren empty wilderness and endless beaches are simply built for the vanlife.
Ultimately though, the choice is yours. A car is cheaper to acquire (generally) and requires less mechanical knowhow, but you won’t have the sheer magnificent awesomeness a home with wheels. That said, vans can be absolute primadonnas and konk out on you at the worst possible time so it’s a matter of choice and desire.
Lastly (and most importantly), it is worth noting that not ALL of Australia will be open to you in a standard van or car. A lot of Australia’s landscape is incredibly harsh and some of the absolute best road trips will only be doable with a four-wheel drive.
Either way, the vehicle type you choose is going to affect your packing for the great Australian road trip . To that end, here is some more recommended reading:
Car Camping in Australia Resources:
- The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List
- The Camping Master Checklist
- Best Budget Backpacking Tents
- Best Sleeping Bags
- And don’t forget a sleeping pad!
Van Travel in Australia Resources
- The Full Guide to Vanlife
- Campervanning in New Zealand Guide
(Yes I know it’s New Zealand but bar the much smaller scope and lack of murderous animals, the countries are quite comparable.)
Oh, and here’s a kickass post discussing the cost of a road trip in Australia . Ta-dah!
A Word on Australian Visas
Pretty much everybody will need a visa to enter Australia. The immigration policies and staff are zealous and you will be given the once over.
Travellers from most Western Countries can enter for tourism purposes on an Australian ETA (subclass 601) . Whilst these are amongst the easiest type to obtain, do remember to apply before you fly or you risk deportation
Ok, no more blabber-blabber: the best road trips in Australia! Let’s hop to it and get this show on the road!
So. Many. Puns.
So. Little. Time.
1. Gibb River Road – Western Australia
Accessible only by four-wheel drive, and completely impossible to do in the wet season, this road is one hell of an adventure. Bringing you 660 km down a dirt track from Broome to Kununurra , you’re likely not to see another soul on the road.
Countless waterfalls and natural springs greet you along the way – just make sure to check for freshwater crocs before you hop in! It’s one of the best routes you can take for an Australian road trip.
2. Cairns to Cape York – Queensland
At the northernmost tip of Australia, practically touching Papua New Guinea, lives a place called Cape York . Far from the backpacker trail, it’s an amazing place to explore. (Other than the saltwater crocodiles lurking in the water. Australia’s wildlife: the reoccurring theme of this guide).
The road travels down dirt roads with many river crossings, so you definitely need a four-wheel drive, much like most of the best spots in an Australia road trip. As you travel up from Cairns , you’ll pass through Cape Tribulation – a tiny town nestled in the rainforest, with the Great Barrier Reef a mere 30-minute boat ride away. It doesn’t get more idyllic than that.
3. Darwin to Uluru – Northern Territory
While this one can be done with an ordinary two-wheel drive vehicle, the route is definitely far from ordinary. A hundred kilometres south of Darwin , you’ll reach the gorgeous Litchfield National Park . With more waterfalls than you can handle, a ton of different bush walks, and a unique (and odd) type of termite mound, you could spend weeks in the park.
Continuing south you’ll get a true taste of the Outback, with roads stretching far into the horizon. But don’t worry, you won’t get bored; those suicidal kangaroos will keep you on your toes as you cruise to the red hot centre of Australia. Be sure to stop in at Alice Springs on your way to Uluru – yes, the famous giant red rock – to check out some traditional Aboriginal art as well as the stunning views you won’t catch anywhere else on earth. You’ll find a few great hostels in Alice Springs as well. A great route to choose for an Australia road trip!
4. Great Ocean Road – Victoria
The Great Ocean Road is widely mooted as the “greatest” amongst the epic Australian road trips, and one of the best road trips in Victoria . For all those in love with the ocean, this road is an absolute must. Gliding along from every surfer’s paradises to massive plunging cliffs, the road is nothing short of spectacular.
Starting 275 km west of Melbourne , you’ll find the world-famous Twelve Apostles , where huge rock stacks rise from the waves. Love surfing (or the movie Point Break)? Get to Bells Beach , the setting of the last scene of the film, as well as Rip Curl’s surfing competition.
Be sure to stop in at some of the villages along the road as well; from Victorian-era buildings to small fishing communities, there are some great destinations along the Great Ocean Road.
5. The Greater Blue Mountains Drive – New South Wales
Mountains in Australia? Blue mountains ? Yep, they’ve got more than just kangaroos and koalas out there.
Taking you from the metropolis of Sydney right up the middle of the Blue Mountains , this drive is anything but ordinary. From Jenolan Caves , filled with crazy limestone formations, to the Three Sisters rock formation in Katoomba , you will find plenty to do in the area.
And if you get bored of the main route, no worries! The Bluies (a bit of local lingo for ya there) is an absolutely massive mountain range with awesome hostels to stay at tonnes of branching tracks:
- Running from Sydney to Lithgow is the Great Western Highway (the main route).
- Parallel to the Great Western on the other side of the Grose Valley is Bell’s Line of Road .
- There are heaps of dirt roads and fire trails running into the bush everywhere to explore.
- And tonnes of branching roads in other directions. Check out the Megalong Valley or head towards Oberon for some more eye candy.
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6. The Nullarbor Plain – West Australia
The long road to Perth takes in 2000km of red Australia at its harshest. It’s flat, it’s long, it’s arid, and it’s a big wide open space so don’t get acrophobic on me now. It’s also an utterly rewarding adventure and one of the best of the epic Austrian road trips you can do.
It’s fair to say that doing the proper crossing of Australia by car is both an Australian and backpacker rite of passage. Take a friend or get used to your own company because it’s a lonely journey and not for the faint of heart. But my god is it a journey.
If, however, this all sounds like too much then see number 7.
7. Tasmania’s Heritage Trail
Tasmania is Australia’s best-kept secret. The region boasts beauty in abundance but has somehow escaped consumption by the backpacker trail. It’s also a lot smaller and compact to travel; like a miniature New Zealand!
This was once the gateway to Australia and was where the original convict chain-gangs were set to work colonising the country. The highwaymen that once haunted these high-ways and by-ways are now gone but you still need to be mindful of those damn roos who may surprise you! This is quite a short and pleasant drive – it’s a lot greener too – so is the perfect contrast to the above Australian road trip.
8. The Alpine Way – New South Wales
Did you know you could fit the entirety of old Wales into New South Wales several times over? However, this route is only 121km long so should only take you a day (plus stops).
The best time to come here is in early spring when the snow is melting (yes, Australia gets snow) but you still get the alpine scenery. There are also loads of great, and safe, places to wild camp along the way.
9. Sydney to Melbourne
Ok, so we did kind of dissed the folks who stick to the coast back there. However, the reality is that if you’re gonna fly all the way to Australia, you will most likely either fly to Sydney or to Melbourne first – two of the best places to stay in Australia . Therefore you may as well make a road trip out of it, right?
There are loads of little coastal towns along the coastal route (think Summer Bay from Home & Away) as well as idyllic little spots for fishing and bird watching. This trip is also perfect if you’re short on time, an inexperienced explorer or if your car is not up to the harder, inland roads.
If the mainland somehow feels too big, then take the ferry from Adelaide across to Kangaroo Island . As the name suggests, it’s an almost untouched animal sanctuary so you can expect more kamikaze kangaroos then we care to mention. To battle stations, comrades: they’re rebelling!
You can take your car onto the ferry (it’s the same deal for Tassie by the way) but if you are renting one, please check that the rental company allows you to do this.
Seriously, there’s a whole other post in this but ok. Pickpockets, terrorists, murderers: these aren’t a concern so much in Australia (Ivan Milat notwithstanding) . There are other concerns, however. Especially for travellers unwitting to Australia’s harshness.
The wildlife is, of course, the bad joke of the global community. Crocs, jellyfish, snakes, spiders, sharks… hell, an emu can kill you if it wants. Generally, you stay away from them, then they’ll stay away from you. The big exception is crocs.
Any area where crocs are common in the water (northern areas of Australia in particular), be hella safe swimming. In fact, probably just don’t swim. If a croc gets you, you’re dead: end of story. Australia isn’t some landscape of bloodthirsty man-eating monsters like people seem to think, but you need to pay attention.
Next, swimming safety. A lot of the beaches are rough and tourists have died going past their limits. Be careful swimming on Australia’s beaches: swim between the lifeguard’s flags, watch out for surfers, and if you get stuck in a rip, let it take you until it subsides. Common sense prevails when swimming in Australia.
Are you done, Dad? No. Two more things
One More Thing: Australia Road Trip Safety
Road trips in Australia are very different from the States, Europe, or most other places for that matter. Maybe it’s comparable to a hot Siberia.
Populated coastlines are different but in rural areas and especially in the Outback, there are a number of things to be careful about:
- Supplies – Always have enough food, petrol (including extra tanks), WATER ; it’s quite possible to go days without seeing another human in Australia’s most vast areas and if you breakdown without these things, she’ll probably not be right.
- Stop, revive, survive – Famous safety motto in Australia: take frequent rest breaks and naps if necessary when driving. It’s actually amazing how many people die on Australia’s long, straight, empty roads – counter-intuitive, right? It’s easy to lose concentration when you’ve been driving in a straight line staring at the same dot on the horizon for 6 hours. It’s easy to fall asleep at the wheel and flip your car or smash into a pole at 120+km/h. Be smart.
- Watch out for wildlife – All the jokes aside about suicidal kangaroos, imagine hitting one. That can be 6+ feet and 80+ kilograms of proper red-blooded Australian muscle and bone crunching your bonnet and coming through your windshield. It’s the same as hitting a person. Hitting wildlife on an Australian road trip can be just as bad for you as it is for them. Plus, they’re so damn cute! Just watch out for them.
- Roadside Drug Testing – Can be common in some states and areas and the laws are an absolute mess. Just sayin’…
Last Thing! Get Insured Before Travelling to Australia
What if the kangaroos really do form an army and rise up. Do you know how many kangaroos there are in Australia? We’ll never stand a chance!
Na, you’ll be fine. You know why? Because you’re a smart cookie and you got travel insurance!
A wise man once said that if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t really afford to travel – so do consider backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure! Traveling without insurance would be risky. I highly recommend World Nomads .
World Nomads ’ mission is to support and encourage travellers to explore their boundaries. They offer simple & flexible travel insurance, and safety advice to help you travel confidently.
They’ve been doing it since 2002 – protecting, connecting, and inspiring independent travellers just like you.
Get a quote below or read our in-depth review!
World Nomads provides travel insurance for travelers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
There! Done dad-ing you now. Now you can go and get yourself killed in Australia!
Kidding! You’re not gonna die. You’re gonna have an amazing time. You’ll see some sights like no where else in the world, you’ll face some challenges that’ll help you grow, and at the end of it you’ll say:
“Strewth, mate! Too bloody right. That was pretty fuckin’ orright!”
Have fun, amigos. Australia is truly breathtakingly beautiful and she offers something no other country in this world can. Truly, she is special.
So go hit her up! Take her for a drive – some epic Australia road trips – and go see something you never have before! Take some weed too. It’s a long fucking drive.
Updated: February 2020 by Ziggy Samuels at Zigz Writes Things .
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!
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Travel Better, Cheaper, Longer
Australia Travel Guide
Last Updated: July 6, 2023
Australia is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. It’s known as a major backpacking, camping, road tripping, and diving destination.
Backpacking Australia is considered a “must do” for backpackers. It’s a central highlight on the round-the-world trail. I started coming to Australia in 2008 as a backpacker. It hooked me and, since then, I’ve visited over five times and have crisscrossed the country three times. Every single trip I discover something new about this country to love.
But this isn’t just a country for backpackers. Its huge diversity means every traveler can find something they love here.
Australia is filled with incredible natural beauty: Uluru and the Outback, rainforests and pristine white sand beaches, and of course, the Great Barrier Reef. Sydney’s Harbor Bridge and Opera House are iconic man-made wonders, and Melbourne’s café culture will make you feel like you’re relaxing in Europe . You have surfing, hiking, camping, boating, and a ton of other activities available to you. It makes some of the best wine in the world. Australia has it all.
However, the country’s size and limited transportation options, makes it hard to get around. And it’s not the cheapest place to visit, even if the currency is a tad weak right now.
Fortunately, this extensive Australia travel guide will show you how to save money, plan your trip, and make the most of your time Down Under. Because this country is worth taking the time to explore – and doesn’t need to cost a fortune!
Table of Contents
- Things to See and Do
- Typical Costs
- Suggested Budget
- Money-Saving Tips
- Where to Stay
- How to Get Around
- How to Stay Safe
- Best Places to Book Your Trip
- Related Blogs on Australia
Click Here for City Guides
Top 5 things to see and do in australia.
1. See Sydney
Australia’s largest city has a range of activities to keep you busy. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, surf at Bondi Beach, party in King’s Cross, sail across the harbor, visit the Opera House, and take in world-class innovation in Darling Harbor. There’s a ton to see and do here and it’s worth spending a few days here to soak it all in. Other popular beaches nearby include Manly (wide and beautiful), Bronte (small and quiet), Coogee (fun), Palm (chill), and Dee Why (surfing). And, if you’re feeling adventurous, tours that climb the iconic (and massive) harbor bridge cost 250 AUD.
2. Visit Uluru
This beautiful red rock formed over 550 million years ago. Tourists have been visiting the rock since the 1930s and it’s of great spiritual importance to the local Aboriginal peoples. Formerly known as Ayers Rock, the best way to visit is by going as part of a multi-day tour of the area or driving on your own. You’ll be able to walk around the rock, learn about its cultural importance, and watch the rising/setting sun splash against it. Admission is 38 AUD per person and is valid for three days. Note: Climbing on the rock is prohibited.
3. Dive the Great Barrier Reef
Don’t miss diving or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. It’s the largest living organism on Earth, spanning some 344,000 square kilometers (133,000 square miles). The reef is brimming with wildlife, including giant clams, manta rays, sharks, turtles, clown fish, and more! Cairns is the most popular jumping-off point for dive trips to the reef. I was blown away by the abundant wildlife and coral. It did not disappoint! Dive trips start around 230 AUD.
4. Explore Melbourne
Melbourne is much more relaxed than Sydney (and, personally, I like it more). This is the place to relax by the river, walk through the city gardens, eat amazing food, enjoy the art, and party in St. Kilda. It’s a fun, chill city with a youthful vibe and a ton of backpackers.
5. Sail the Whitsundays
The Whitsunday Islands are a collection of 74 islands off the central coast of Queensland. They’re one of the most popular destinations in the country. It’s a popular region for sailing trips and since the vast majority of these islands are designated national parks, you’ll find numerous pristine beaches and dive sites here. It’s a postcard-perfect region. Expect to pay between 399-499 AUD per person for a three-day/two-night sailing trip. While expensive, it’s worth doing (I loved my trip).
Other Things to See and Do in Australia
1. explore fraser island.
The world’s largest sand island is a popular spot for camping, swim, hike, and seeing dingoes. You can hire your own 4WD car or take an overnight tour through the island that’s famous for its freshwater lake (and dingoes). The island is beautiful and filled with lakes, hiking paths, and sweeping vistas. Sadly, you can’t go in the water nearby as it’s rough and full of sharks, but there’s plenty of fishing, cool sand dunes, the stunning 75 Mile Beach, and a cool shipwreck for snapping photos. Camping on the island is super cheap too (less than 10 AUD per night!).
2. Visit Cairns
Cairns is Australia’s gateway to northern Queensland. From here you can visit the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree rainforest, the Atherton Tablelands, Cape Tribulation, and much more. Cairns is a pretty typical tropical city and life here focuses on taking the time to smell the roses. With so much to see, the city deserves a very long stay. Plan to visit for a week, which should give you enough time to explore the area and allows some downtime by the city’s awesome pool.
3. Wander Brisbane’s South Bank
Brisbane is a “business city.” Unlike Sydney or Melbourne, there isn’t a lot of “culture” here. But it’s a popular stop on the backpacker trail due to its location. Be sure to explore South Bank, which has some nice restaurants and decent pubs. There’s also an educational koala sanctuary here as well as a relaxing botanical gardens.
4. Hike the Daintree
The world’s oldest rainforest (yes, it’s older than the Amazon) offers hikes that range from easy to challenging, with dense jungles, beautiful mountains, waterfalls, and lots of wildlife. Spend a few days hiking around and getting out of touristy Cairns. If you really want to get off the beaten path, head up to Cape Tribulation and enjoy some real peace and quiet (just watch out for jellyfish when you go swimming). There are all kinds of day and multi-day trips available here with two-day guided trips costing around 350 AUD per person.
5. See Perth
Perth is Australia’s west coast capital and is often overlooked by most travelers. It’s expensive to get out there from the east coast (it’s a 5-hour flight from Sydney) so most travelers avoid it. But I love it. In fact, it’s probably my favorite city in all of Australia. Perth feels more like a large town than a city and is the best place to have a “Sunday Session” (an Aussie tradition of drinking on Sunday afternoons). From the beaches, food, and beer (be sure to take a day trip to Freemantle), Perth is just awesome.
6. Explore the Outback
No trip to Australia is complete without a trip to the Outback to see crocodiles, valleys, lakes, and the red desert. Find your own Crocodile Dundee as you explore the Red Center and Western Australia. And be sure to visit some of the places I love: Karijini National Park, the Kimberleys, Kakadu, and Litchfield National Park. The landscapes are stunning and there are all kinds of epic hikes to enjoy.
7. Surf on the Gold Coast
Australia is famous for its surfing, and one of the best places to learn is on the Gold Coast near Brisbane. You’ll find world-class waves, a wide beach, and lots of available lessons. If you don’t like the Gold Coast , there is always Noosa, Byron Bay, Bondi Beach, Perth, and, well, you get the idea. There’s a lot of surfing in Australia! A two-hour group lesson costs around 75 AUD. If you don’t need lessons and just want to surf, you can rent a board for around 60 AUD per day.
8. Take a wine tour
Whether you go down to Margret River, Hunter Valley, or the Barossa Valley, you will have many chances to taste Aussie wine right from the source. Visiting the wine country should be on your list of things to do. If you rent a car, you can stay longer or you can do guided tours from major cities. I think it’s best to base yourself in the area and spend about 3-5 days in each area tasting as much wine as possible. Day tours with Colorful Trips that visit three wineries in the Hunter Valley cost 199 AUD.
9. Admire the Ningaloo Reef
The Great Barrier Reef gets all the hype, but the Ningaloo Reef on the west coast is a far better reef system. Because it’s less developed and attracts fewer tourists, there are actually more fish and wildlife here — you can even swim with whale sharks . Plus, at some points (like at Coral Bay), the reef comes so close to the shore that you can swim right up to it on your own. Half-day trips start around 120-225 AUD per person.
10. Visit Western Australia
The most overlooked area in the country is the west coast. Here you can escape the crowds of the east coast, explore the Outback, see the Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay (one of my favorite spots in the world), Broome, Perth, and the Margaret River. It’s much less developed than the east coast but if you take one piece of advice away from this guide, it should be to visit this part of Australia. It’s the version of the country you picture in your head and is an amazing region for road trips, camping, hiking, and enjoying nature.
11. Tour Tasmania
Despite everyone knowing its name, hardly anyone ever makes it down here. (It’s far from the main tourist trail.) Tasmania has amazing hikes, beautiful bays (Wineglass Bay being the most famous), small towns, and excellent people. It’s just a ferry away from Melbourne too. The island is about the size of Ireland (or West Virginia in the USA) yet it’s home to just under 545,000 people. If you have the time, explore this terribly under-visited part of the country. It’s amazing. The ferry from the mainland costs around 100 AUD each way and takes 9-11 hours.
12. Hike the Blue Mountains
Right outside of Sydney , the Blue Mountains are an awesome place to explore. Over millennia, the ancient sandstone of this national park has been weathered into gorges lined by steep cliffs and separated by narrow ridges. The area is free to visit and you can get there by train, which takes around two hours. Spend the day admiring the magnificent rock formation of the Three Sisters (particularly stunning at sunset and under evening floodlights) and hiking along the paths that offer excellent views of the valley, sheer rock walls, tumbling waterfalls, and magnificent forests. For a guided tour, Get Your Guide offers full-day wildlife-spotting tours for 155 AUD.
13. Learn about pearling in Broome
Broome used to be the largest pearling port in the world. Founded around 1880, pearls were an important commodity used for making cutlery, buttons, and jewelry. By 1900, there were 300 ships here, though the industry fell into decline during World War II (and then, after the war, plastic was invented, which diminished the need for pearls). You can learn all about the region’s rich history at the Pearl Lugger Museum (tours for 30 AUD). If you want a more hands-on experience, Willie Creek Pearls also offers a two-hour boat tour for 129 AUD. You’ll learn about the risks and challenges of the industry while also getting to hold and touch all kinds of valuable pearls.
14. Visit the Kimberley
This area is known for its wilderness, so if you love the outdoors and don’t mind things getting rugged, add this to your itinerary. Located near Broome, this outback region is three times bigger than England that’s filled with stunning gorges, beautiful waterfalls, and a vast desert landscape. It was one of the first areas settled in Australia some 65,000 years ago (Europeans didn’t arrive here in the 1830s). There are all kinds of day trips and hikes here that you can do solo, as well as multi-day guided tours. Expect to pay around 1,200 AUD for a three-day guided excursion. If you’re going solo, popular overnight hikes include Piccaninny Gorge and Lurujarri Dreaming Trail.
15. Explore Kakadu National Park
The enormous Kakadu National Park is a biodiverse nature reserve in Australia’s Northern Territory. It encompasses wetlands and rivers and is home to saltwater crocodiles and flatback turtles, as well as many different bird species. Rock paintings (dating back to prehistory) can be viewed at Nourlangie, Nanguluwur, and Ubirr. You can find a lot of tours departing from Darwin. Be sure to spend at least a night in the park! Three-day tours cost around 735 AUD.
For more information on specific cities in Australia, check out these guides:
- Alice Springs Travel Guide
- Brisbane Travel Guide
- Broome Travel Guide
- Cairns Travel Guide
- Fraser Island Travel Guide
- Gold Coast Travel Guide
- Melbourne Travel Guide
- Perth Travel Guide
- Sydney Travel Guide
- Whitsunday Islands Travel Guide
Australia Travel Costs
Accommodation – Hostels dorms start around 25-30 AUD per night, though they get as high as 40 AUD in the big coastal cities. Private rooms with a double bed and a shared bathroom in hostels range between 65-100 AUD per night, though in larger cities they can be as high as 150 AUD. Expect basic amenities like free Wi-Fi and self-catering facilities. Only some hostels include breakfast.
For those traveling with a tent, a basic tent plot without electricity starts around 7 AUD, though most are 10-25 AUD per night.
For budget hotels, expect to spend 100-120 AUD per night for a two-star hotel. Amenities usually include TV, Wi-Fi, and AC. Some hotels have a pool.
Airbnb is available around the country with private rooms starting around 40 AUD (though they average closer to 90 AUD). Entire homes/apartments cost at least 140 (though they are usually double or even triple that price so be sure to book early). Expect to pay about 10-20% more in the coastal cities.
Food – Food in Australia is diverse, with each region having its own specialties. While you can find cuisine of all types here, popular traditional choices include BBQ meat (especially sausages), meat pies, fish and chips, seafood, chicken parmigiana (chicken schnitzel topped with tomato sauce, ham, and melted cheese), and, of course, the infamous vegemite on toast.
Food prices vary per region, but generally, you can expect to pay 20-25 AUD for a meal at a casual restaurant. A fast-food combo from somewhere like McDonald’s costs 13-14 AUD while a pizza costs around 16-20 AUD. Chinese, Thai, and Indian food cost 12-20 AUD for a main dish.
If you want to splash out for something more upscale, a expect to pay around 55-70 AUD, including a drink, per person.
A beer is around 8 AUD, latte or cappuccino costs around 5 AUD, and bottled water between 2-3 AUD.
If you cook your own meals, expect to pay around 75-95 AUD per week for groceries. This gets you basic staples like pasta, rice, seasonal produce, and some meat.
Backpacking Australia Suggested Budgets
On a backpacker budget, you can visit Australia for 70 AUD per day. This assumes you’re staying in a cheap hostel, cooking all of your meals, using public transportation to get around, and doing mostly cheap or free activities like hiking and enjoying the beaches. If you camp, you can lower this budget by around 20 AUD per day. If you plan on drinking, add 10-20 AUD to your daily budget.
On a mid-range budget of 200 AUD per day, you can stay in a private Airbnb or hostel room, eat out for a couple of meals, enjoy a few drinks, take the occasional taxi to get around, bus between cities, and do more paid activities like taking surf lessons or going diving.
On a “luxury” budget of 385 AUD or more, you can stay in a hotel, eat out for all your meals, drink more, rent a car or camper van to explore, and do whatever tours and activities you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!
You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in AUD.
Australia Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
Australia can be a very expensive country to visit. If you aren’t careful, you’ll blow through your entire budget in no time as activities, food, and transportation all adds up fast here. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to save too. Here are some ways to save money when you visit Australia:
- Drink goon (box wine) – Goon is infamous on the Australian backpacker hostel trail. This cheap box of wine is the best way to drink, get a buzz, and save a lot of money at the same time. Drink this before you go out and save on spending money at the bar.
- Cook your own meals – The best way to reduce your costs is to cook as many meals as possible. Hostels and Airbnbs usually have kitchens and, while it’s not glamorous, it will save you a ton of money!
- Car share – Australia is a big country that can be expensive to get around. If you are traveling with friends, it’s smart to buy a used car or campervan (or rent a new one from one of the many rental companies in the country) and split the costs of gas. You can also hitch a ride with other travelers using sites like Gumtree, Jayride, or hostel message boards.
- Book tours as a package – This country has a lot of exciting activities and tours that eat into any budget. Booking activities together through a hostel or tour agency can get you a discount and save you hundreds of dollars.
- Work for your room – Many hostels offer travelers the opportunity to work for their accommodation. In exchange for a few hours a day of cleaning, you get a free bed to sleep in. Commitments vary but most hostels ask that you stay for at least a week. Check with the staff when you arrive to see if there are any opportunities available.
- WWOOF – WWOOFing is a program that allows you to work on organic farms in exchange for free room and board. Everyone I’ve met who stays in the country long-term does it for at least one month. It’s a great way to reduce your expenses and can a deeper look into local life.
- Stay with a local – Accommodation in Australia is pricey. If you plan ahead, you can usually find a Couchsurfing host that will host you for free. It’s the best way to connect with a local and get insider tips and advice.
- Camp – Camping is very affordable here, with basic tent plots costing as little as 7 AUD per night!
- Bring a reusable water bottle – The tap water in Australia is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle with you to save money and lower your plastic use. LifeStraw makes a bottle with a built-in filter to ensure your water is always clean and safe.
Where To Stay in Australia
I’ve been a backpacker here for ages and have accumulated a long list of places to stay. Here are my suggested places to stay in Australia if you’re looking for a hostel:
- Base St. Kilda (Melbourne)
- Space Hotel (Melbourne)
- Wake Up! (Sydney)
- YHA Rocks (Sydney)
- Bunk Brisbane (Brisbane)
- City Backpackers HQ (Brisbane)
- Kimberley Travellers Lodge (Broome)
- The Shiralee Hostel (Perth)
- Aquarius Backpackers (Byron Bay)
- Gilligan’s Backpacker Hotel & Resort Cairns (Cairns)
- Nomads Noosa (Noosa)
- Alice Lodge Backpackers (Alice Springs)
How to Get Around Australia
Public transportation – All of Australia’s cities have reliable, affordable public bus systems. In the bigger, cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, you’ll even find subways and tram systems. This is the cheapest way to travel the cities. Fares cost between 2.75-4 AUD.
Many cities offer day passes that include unlimited public transportation for under 10 AUD.
Bus – After driving, this is my favorite transportation option in Australia. On the east coast, this will be your cheapest option too. On the west coast, buses are surprisingly expensive as there are not many people moving up and down that coast and there’s limited competition. However, on the east coast, you can find really cheap bus tickets, especially if you book in advance.
The two main bus companies in Australia are:
- Greyhound Australia
Greyhound also offers several bus passes. Their Whimit Passes range from 15-120 days of unlimited travel and are perfect for traveling around on a whim (hence the name). They come in 15, 30, 60, 90, and 120-day passes costing 349-729 AUD.
Backpacker Bus – If you want to party with other backpackers as you travel, book a seat on the Magic Bus . This backpacker bus departs with 25 backpackers aged 18-35 for 3-4 weeks of exploring the country’s national parks, camping, bonfires, and non-stop parties and shenanigans.
Trips go from Perth north to Broome or east to Melbourne each month, so you have to time your trip accordingly to line up with the set departure. The itineraries are always flexible so every trip is unique. They try to keep a balance of 50% men and 50% women, as well as a balance of different nationalities, so there is always a diverse group. Prices vary so contact them for departure dates and ticket prices.
Train – Between city trams, commuter trains, and long-distance and trans-continental trains, Australia can be seen extensively by rail. Train lines exist mostly on the east coast with only two other major lines in the country: one goes north/south from Melbourne to Darwin and another east/east from Sydney to Perth.
For reference, Sydney to Canberra takes 5 hours and is 40-50 AUD while the 11-hour trip from Sydney to Melbourne costs over 200 AUD. Sydney to Brisbane takes 14 hours and costs 100-140 AUD.
Beyond the east coast, trains aren’t as plentiful and long-distance trains can be very expensive.
Flying – With Australia spanning over 7,000,000 square kilometers, it takes a long time to get around the country. Flying is one of the most efficient ways to city hop, but it’s not the cheapest. Australia’s major airlines include:
When booked in advance, flights can be very affordable here. Sydney to Melbourne is just 55 AUD and takes 90 minutes while Sydney to Cairns takes 3 hours and costs around 100 AUD each way. To cross the country, flights last around 5 hours. Sydney to Perth, when booked in advance, can cost as little as 150 AUD each way.
When not booked early, however, flights can easily double or triple these prices.
Rideshares – Every hostel has a bulletin board where travelers post rides and websites like Gumtree have active ridesharing sections where people look for cars or riders. I HIGHLY recommend this way of traveling when in the country. CoSeats is another good resource for finding rides.
Car rental – Car rentals start around 40 AUD per day. You don’t need one to explore any of the cities but if you want to travel the country then a car is best. Just remember that they drive on the left here.
For the best rental car deals, use Discover Cars
Additionally, you can also purchase a car from backpackers leaving the country or locals selling used cars. You can usually find a used car for under 3,000 AUD. It might seem a lot, but there are always backpackers looking to share rides, which can cut down on our expenses.
When to Go to Australia
Temperatures vary across the country (it’s a huge landmass after all), but generally speaking, average summer temperatures range from 20-37°C (68-99°F). Remember that summer is from December-February here in the southern hemisphere. This is the most popular time to visit so expect big crowds and higher prices.
June-August (winter) is the low season. Prices are lower and there are fewer crowds. The temperature dips as well, hovering around 1°C (52°F) in the south while going as high as 30°C (86°F) in the north.
Spring and fall (March-May and September-October) are the shoulder season and the best time to visit. Crowds aren’t as big and prices aren’t as high and the weather is still enjoyable too, rarely dipping below 17°C (63°F).
Note that October to April is also “jellyfish season,” making waters unsafe for swimming or any other water sport. If you’re planning on enjoying Australia’s coast, this probably isn’t the best time to come. The season lasts from October to April in Northern Australia, and then from November to March elsewhere.
How to Stay Safe in Australia
Australia is an incredibly safe place to backpack and travel around. Violent attacks and petty theft are rare here so you’re unlikely to get into trouble.
Most incidents in Australia tend to occur because visitors are not used to the country’s unique climate and wilderness. Be sure you have plenty of sunscreen and stay as hydrated as possible. This is especially true if you’re driving through the Outback. There are long, long distances without any towns in sight, so if you break down, you’ll want to be prepared. Always make sure you have enough gas in your vehicle for long drives.
If you’re hiking, make sure you know what to expect ahead of time. Be on the lookout for snakes and spiders. If you’re bitten, seek immediate care.
If you’re swimming, heed the red and yellow flags. Yellow flags indicate swimming conditions may be dangerous; red flags mean the beach is closed.
Mother Nature in Australia is NOT a force to be reckoned with in this country. Don’t be a hero.
Solo female travelers are generally safe here, however, the standard precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone at night intoxicated, etc.). Consult other solo female travel blogs for specific advice.
If you’re worried about travel scams, you can read about common travel scams to avoid here . There aren’t many in Australia though so I wouldn’t worry too much here.
If you experience an emergency, dial 000 for assistance.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:
Australia Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
- Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
- Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
- Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
- Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. Just enter your departure and arrival destinations and it will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost. It’s one of the best transportation websites out there!
- SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
- LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
- Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
- Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!
Australia Travel Guide: Related Articles
Want more information? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Australia travel and continue planning your trip:
The Best Walking Tours in Melbourne
The Best Walking Tours in Sydney
Where to Stay in Melbourne: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit
The 6 Best Hostels in Melbourne
The Best Tour Companies in Australia
Where to Stay in Sydney: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit
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- Where To Stay
- Booking Resources
- Related Blogs
Road Trip Around Australia | Getting Set Up
Posted on Published: October 14, 2020
- So you’re planning a road trip around Australia?
We’ve been through that same exciting process of planning to travel Australia by road: but finding the answers to the many questions I had, proved time-consuming and a little bit frustrating. Though we searched high and low, the answers were all over the place.
So we decided that we wanted to help others; those that are as excited about travelling around Australia as we were, who have a seemingly insatiable desire to read everything they can about the topic, and who love planning everything that they possibly can before they go.
I mean, if you’re anything like me, then the planning, the anticipation, the lining-all-your-ducks-up, is almost as fun as the going.
But don’t get too bogged down in planning your road trip.
Sure, do it because it’s exciting and helps the time before the trip pass more quickly. But don’t wait until you have absolutely everything sorted out.
And that’s half the fun of a trip like this, the learning and experiencing and changing tack because you discovered something new.
So heads up, this is a loooong post…
So before you start reading, I just want to warn you that this is not a short post.
Coming in at over 16,000 words, this is the most comprehensive post I’ve ever written and it covers EVERYTHING I could think of that would be important for getting set up for a road trip around Australia.
I recommend that you use the table of contents below to guide you to the sections that are most important to you.
And bookmark this page so that you can refer back to it, or pin it on Pinterest.
1. The benefits of a road trip around Australia
2. the mistakes we made (that maybe you can avoid), 3. understanding the different types of vehicles, 4. how to rent a motorhome or caravan in australia, 5. how to buy a motorhome or caravan in australia, 6. how the camping works in australia, 7. how to set up your rig for self-sufficient camping, 8. being prepared for disaster, 9. how to keep in touch with friends and family when you’re on the road, 10. how to plan your route around australia, 11. how to pack for a road trip around australia, 12. how driving in australia is different to the rest of the world, 13. how much does it cost, 14. how to fund your road trip around australia, ready to make a road trip around australia a reality.
And at the end of the post, I’ve provided a planning checklist to help you gather together everything you’ve learnt and tick them all off the list as you go through them.
Since this post is so large and comprehensive I have to warn you that it is not for everybody!
DO read this post if you:
- Want to drive around Australia and will camp each night. That may be camping in a motorhome, caravan, campervan or tent and it could be in a caravan park, national park or a free camp.
- Are coming from outside Australia. International travellers, I answer all your questions in here too. With that in mind, there may be a few times where Aussies reading this article will think, ‘well duh, of course you can drink the tap water’ but that’s not obvious for someone from another country. (Whether it tastes any good is another story.)
- Are going for 2 weeks, 12 months or heading off full-time.
DON’T read this post if:
- You’re after a travel guide of all the things you must see while you’re in Australia . There is soooo much to see and it all depends on whether you’re a city person or a bush person, whether you’re into museums or waterfalls, and it certainly will depend on your budget. There is so much information to be found on the internet of all the places you can visit, so I’m not covering that here.
- You are already travelling around Australia. There’s nothing new or ground-breaking in here. There’s nothing you wouldn’t have already experienced yourself, whether by trial or error.
This post is full of the basic information that you just don’t know when you’re either from another country, or haven’t camped in Australia. And if you’re on the road already, that’s not you.
Let’s get stuck in!
Please note: some links in this post are affiliate links which means that if you decide to purchase I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our affiliate disclosure for more information.
The very fact that you’re reading this post tells me that you don’t need to be convinced that taking an extended road trip around Australia is a great idea.
You already know why you want to do this. You may want to spend more time with your family, or see more of Australia, or just not work for a while!
But here are some other benefits that you may not have thought of.
Problem solving skills
When you’re on the road and something goes wrong, you don’t always have the luxury of being able to call someone up to deal with it for you. You have to deal with it, you have to get your thinking cap on and problem solve. You have to reach out to people to ask for help. You have to research a topic you know nothing about to see if you can figure out what’s wrong. You have to try and fix it, and either be pleasantly surprised that you got it right, or learn one way NOT to do it.
And it’s not just you that benefits from this, your kids do to.
Have you ever had the time to teach them to fish, or to light a fire, or to dig a hole to go poop? In our increasingly fast paced and electronic world, they often aren’t given the time or opportunity to learn tactile skills. When you’re camping they can take the time to learn how to light a fire, and practice dozens of times until they’re confident.
All of you will learn great problem solving skills.
A new appreciation for nature
How many sunsets have you missed simply because you were inside and didn’t realise the sun was setting until it was time to turn on the lights? Or you couldn’t see it anyway because you’re surrounded by lots of buildings.
We may be a bit cuckoo, but we got so much enjoyment out of simple encounters with the local wildlife.
It was delightful to make friends with a magpie and feed her scraps of meat, and be totally entertained by her as she frolicked around our campsite.
And we felt special with each night that one frog would come and sit on our outdoor table and greet us (okay, frighten us me) as we headed to the toilet in the middle of the night.
I had never thought about ‘compromise’ as being something that was important for the attainment of my goals. But being on this road trip has certainly taught me that.
Doing this road trip has been a dream of mine for many years. But I thought that I only wanted to do it if I could be in a nice motorhome, with an onboard bathroom, and nice decor and a great solar set-up. And I wanted to do it without having to work or worry about money.
And so if felt unattainable.
But when we decided we’re going to do this trip anyway, there was certainly a lot of compromising that needed to be done.
A camper trailer instead of a motorhome, no onboard bathroom but staying at caravan parks and using their bathrooms, definitely no nice decor and an okay solar set-up.
While there was compromise, it certainly felt nice to not be compromising on our dream. For once.
Yes, a lot of people talk about the benefit of time when you’re on a road trip. Not only time with your loved ones and time to relax. But time to pursue the things that are important to you. Time to read. Time to create.
Time to discover what’s really important to you.
When we started on this road trip, we thought that it might be something we’d like to do for the foreseeable future, but we weren’t sure.
So we said that we’d try it for a year and then reassess.
We also gave ourselves the ‘out’, that if either of us didn’t like it, we could stop whenever we wanted. No harm no foul.
As it turns out, we LOVE this life, so a few things have needed to change in the way that we’re set up.
Picking the right camper for us
I think it’s pretty common, no one’s first purchase of a home-on-wheels is the ‘right’ one. It’s not until you’ve travelled in it, realised what type of travelling you like to do, the comforts that you don’t want to give up, and those features that you just don’t care about.
You have to take it around with you for hundreds of kilometres, set it up, pack it down, be stuck in it in the rain, sleep in it in the heat, cook in it, eat in it and clean it. Then maybe, you’ll have an idea if it’s the right type of vehicle for you.
For us, we got it quite wrong.
The camper trailer was great for a first-go because it was cheap and light, and it certainly was everything we needed for our first four months.
But now that we want to be on the road for at least a couple of years we’ve realised a few home truths about ourselves. We will happily get a caravan and sacrifice those hard-to-get-to places in order to have some more comfort, an easier time setting up and packing down… and a toilet.
Funding our trip
We have loved our trip so much that it’s made us want to live this life for the foreseeable future.
Six months, well, it was actually more like almost 5 months, just isn’t enough time for us to see this country. We don’t want to just drive through all these wonderful locations, we want to set up camp and stay for a couple of days, if not weeks. We want to live on the road.
So we have to figure out how we’re going to make money. I’ve got a whole section below on ‘ funding your trip ’, but in hindsight, it would have been better if we’d had that sorted before we left.
We’ll start off with a bang and get straight into talking about vehicles. This will be your largest one-off expense and determines so much about your trip.
We’ll have a look at the different types of vehicles commonly available here in Australia and the pros and cons of each.
Just a note for my North American readers, you’ll find that large rigs are pretty rare here. You’ll be hard pushed to find an RV or travel trailer over 30ft and fifth wheels are pretty rare, but becoming more popular.
The list below is in order of the most popular, widely available and most seen options, to the least seen options. (Based on our own travels around half of Australia. The point is, caravans are everywhere, Class A RVs and fifth wheels are not.)
Australia is definitely a caravanning nation (that’s a travel trailer to my North American friends). There are thousands of these traversing the country at any one time.
The pop top is also very popular. The little effort required to pop up the roof when setting up camp means that the overall caravan weight is reduced as well as reducing the wind-resistance/drag of the caravan. Which equals cheaper fuel bills.
We’ve done lots of research on caravans to help you decide which is best for you:
Motorhome / Class C
You’ll find lots of these mid-size motorhomes around Australia. They’re a popular choice for renting because they’re large enough to be comfortable, but small enough to be not too stressful to drive.
Check out my favourite motorhome here .
Camper van / Class B
These are great little units; small, compact and having everything you need for a road trip. (Except a toilet, and that’s a deal breaker for me.)
While many are built on a van chassis like the Toyota Hiace, I would also include in this category, the mini-vans or people-movers like the Toyota Tarago or Honda Odyssey.
You’ll see lots of these around Australia, the rented ones painted bright, and somewhat gaudy colours, so you won’t miss them
If you like the idea of a campervan but would only be interested if they have a bathroom onboard, this post on small campervans is for you. I’ve only included camper vans that have a toilet and shower.
These seem to be great for families.
With beds at each end, a small kitchen, a seating area and some built-in storage the pop-up trailer is a good compromise between quick set-up and light weight.
There isn’t too much set-up (well, not as much as a tent anyway) but they’re not as heavy as a caravan.
Camper trailers are very popular in Australia. They are light weight, manoeuvrable and stand up well to the rigours of harsh Australian roads and 4WD tracks.
They come in either soft or hard floor. The soft-floor are cheaper and allow you to have a large tent space (like ours) which is great for families who need the space for all the beds.
The hard-floors are quick to put up and bring the tent area off the ground but it does mean that the inside the tent space is limited.
There are lots of camper trailer manufacturers here in Australia, we’ve compiled a big list below, as well as the pros and cons of our own camper trailer.
Tent / Roof top tent
The roof top tent is a design that will not limit where you can go.
Quick and easy to set-up, your bed is off the ground (and away from any wild animals), yet it packs up into a compact unit that sits permanently on the roof of your car.
This is a great option for serious 4WD enthusiasts, not needing to worry about towing anything and not adding too much height to their vehicle. It’s perfect for the person that wants to be outside all the time (except when they’re sleeping), because that’s where you’ll be.
Bus / Class A
I do look on these a bit jealously sometimes.
With all that space, and huge windows, it’s as close to an actual home on wheels as you can get, I think.
But the idea of having to drive one of these things make me shudder, and then having to park it!
That’s why the bigger the bus, the more likely it is to have a car being towed behind.
There are not as many fifth wheels in Australia as there are caravans, but they are around.
While they are large in both length and height, they do look like they could have every mod-con (so you can get your laundry done without having to find a laundromat) you could want.
There are a couple of manufacturers in Australia but not heaps.
I can’t wait till they take off here in Australia and New Zealand and the prices start to come down (I might just be dreaming about that) because I would love one of these.
Love the idea of a fifth wheel, but not enthusiastic about their massive size? These are all the fifth wheels we’ve found in Australia that are small (less than 25ft).
To Rent or Buy?
You’ve got two options for a vehicle to road trip around Australia, you can rent one, or buy one. There are two main factors which will determine the option that will suit you best.
- How long are you coming for? If it’s only a couple of weeks, then it certainly doesn’t make sense to go through all the hassle of buying a vehicle. If you’re planning on staying for a couple of months? Well then it starts to make more sense financially, if you buy a vehicle.
- The other factor to consider is whether or not you’re planning to go off-road. If it’s a 4WD drive adventure that you want, purchasing your own vehicle may be best option.
Some of the best views and campsites can be found down the dusty dirt roads, if you’re looking to escape the crowds and explore the raw (and often harsh) Aussie outback, then you may want to leave the sealed roads.
Having said that… you can travel all the way around Australia without leaving the seal. Just keep this in mind when you’re deciding whether you’re going to rent or buy.
If your Australian road trip is a couple of months or less, and you want a campervan or motorhome, then renting a vehicle will probably be your best option.
Just a couple of things to note:
Insurance – particularly for off-road
If you’re going to go off the sealed highway (at all!) then make sure you get the right vehicle and insurance package to go with it. It will cost you more, but if anything happens while you’re on the unsealed road you could be up for a hefty insurance excess … and that’s if you’re lucky enough to still be covered.
You would need to fly into a main city and pick up your vehicle there. Main cities include: Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns or Darwin. But if you’re planning on doing a one-way rental, for example flying in to Perth, driving a rental vehicle across to Sydney and leaving it there, make sure to check out the costs. One-way rentals can be very expensive here in Australia.
Renting a caravan
There are places where you can rent a caravan, but then you’ll need to hire a tow vehicle as well. While it can be done, they are not as popular as campervan and motorhome rentals, and you will likely have to do a lot more searching for this. Campervan and motorhome rentals are everywhere, you can easily pick up your rental at the airport making it super easy and convenient.
Guaranteed Buy Back
There are some campervan hire companies that will sell you an ex-rental campervan and give you a guarantee to buy the vehicle back from you at an agreed price. They’ll buy it back at approx. 30-50% of the original purchase priced, based on when you bring it back (it needs to be within 12 months). You just have to have it regularly serviced.
This option looks like it’s set up to appeal to the young backpacking crowd, as I’ve only seen older vehicles in this category which are on the lower end of the price scale, but there’s no reason why it should be limited to the young. ☺
If you’re going to be in Australia for more than a couple of months, then this option probably makes the most sense for you.
Dealership or Private Sale
In Australia, there are two main ways you can purchase a vehicle, caravan, campervan. By buying from a dealership, or from a private party.
When you buy from a dealership it’s less hassle than buying privately. A dealership:
- Will have inspected the vehicle and made repairs if necessary
- Gives you more legal protection because they can only operate within strict laws
- Will handle all the paperwork such as transfer of ownership
- Must provide a history check of the vehicle
- Can offer extras such as warranties and road side assistance
I suppose the biggest turn-off about dealerships for most people, is that you’re dealing with professional sales people. While I don’t want to tar all used-car sales people with the same brush, many of us have had experience with that one salesperson that made us feel uncomfortable, or duped. Obviously, they’re not all like that and there are things you can do to protect yourself, such as getting a pre-purchase inspection.
Generally, the biggest benefit to buying private, rather than from a dealer, is that the seller may have more room to negotiate on their price. That can mean a saving of thousands of dollars, but offers less security for the buyer.
Petrol or Diesel
Having only ever bought regular 2WD cars before, I have never considered whether or not I should buy a petrol or diesel vehicle, they’ve always just been petrol. But once you start looking at 4WD vehicles, there are many that are diesel.
You can get both fuel types, pretty much everywhere around Australia.
Personally, I’ve found that in more metropolitan areas there are fewer diesel bowsers at the gas station. If there are 10 bowsers, then maybe 2 of them will be diesel. (But then, there are less diesel vehicles in metro areas too.)
The more rural you go, the more often diesel is found. I’ve read that in some of the really remote places, you can only buy diesel, and if you happen to get stranded with no fue, a passing motorist, local road workers or nearby farmhouse, is more likely to have diesel than petrol.
I like having diesel because I feel it’s safer to transport, and we have two 20L jerry cans which we carry with us.
Research before you get here
Once you’re figured out which city you’ll be starting from, start looking for the vehicle that you would like to buy, and follow the marketplaces websites.
These are the websites that I recommend keeping an eye on.
The reason why I recommend this, is that it gives you an idea of what types of vehicles are available, the prices, and which types of vehicles sell faster than others. This can help you to get an idea of prices, the condition you can expect a car to be in (at a particular price range) and the availability of different types of vehicles.
Gumtree.com.au – for cars, caravans and motorhomes. Gumtree is probably the equivalent of eBay or Craigslist and both dealers and private sellers advertise on here.
CarSales.com.au – for cars
CaravanCampingSales.com.au – for caravans, camper trailers, motorhomes etc
Just a note – I know that for Gumtree, I wasn’t able to contact any of the sellers (their contact details were hidden from me) because I was in New Zealand at the time that I was doing all the research. When we got to Australia, Gumtree still thought I was in New Zealand and still wouldn’t allow me to see the sellers contact details. A quick phone call to their Helpdesk confirmed that I was now in Australia and they were able to clear my account.
Checks that need to be done prior to purchase:
Rta checks for ownership – by different states.
If you’re doing a private purchase, then you must do a check of who is the legal owner and if there is any finance on the car. This is easily done online at: https://checkrego.com.au/
Regardless of whether you’re buying from a dealership or a private party, I would still recommend getting a pre-purchase inspection of the vehicle. If you’re confident to do that yourself, that’s cool, but if you’re as clueless as me about all things mechanical, you’ll need to book a pre-purchase inspection with a local mechanic or an organisation like the NRMA.
We chose NRMA , which is a nationwide organisation that does insurance and road-side assistance.
We ordered two pre-purchase inspections through them and found them to be great. It seems that they have inspectors out on the road all the time so once you book they’ve got a team of people they could assign the job to.
For us in Sydney, this meant that we were able to ring up for the inspection and have it conducted within 24 hours. They provide you with quite a comprehensive report (emailed to you) and give you a fairly good idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
We’re so glad we did this.
The first car we had inspected was, in our inexperienced opinion, okay. It was a good price and there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. The pre-purchase inspection showed that there were a number of items that would need some serious work in the near future.
The second vehicle we had inspected actually gave a glowing report and we’ve been really happy with our purchase.
The pre-purchase inspections, while not fool-proof, give a bit of peace of mind for those of us mechanically challenged.
Checklists for inspecting a second-hand caravan / camper trailer etc
I’d like to say that I have a comprehensive checklist for anyone purchasing a second-hand caravan or camper trailer. But I don’t, which is pretty much how we ended up with the camper trailer that didn’t have half the features that were listed on it’s ad. But it was road-worthy and safe, thank goodness.
Here are some checklists that will help you on your initial inspection.
Camper Trailer Checklist
CamperTrailerAustralia.com.au – Buying a Used Camper Trailer
AussieLeisureLoans.com.au – Checklist for Buying a Camper Trailer
Big4.com.au – Important Tips for Purchasing a Used Caravan
Outdoria.com.au – Ultimate Guide to Buying a Used Caravan Online
Camplify.com.au – Ultimate Guide to Buying a Used Campervan
RollingSolo.com.au – Killer Checklist for Buying a Motorhome or Caravan
Buying a second hand motorhome becomes a little bit trickier if you’re planning on buying privately. When buying privately, you have no recourse should you find issues with the motorhome. From my research, it seems that the sensible option for buying a motorhome is to buy one from a dealer. Unless you’re able to do the inspections yourself, of course.
There are companies that will do an inspection for you, however there are not as many as there are vehicle inspectors, which makes sense.
Of course, there is always costs associated with owning a vehicle. For any international visitors, here’s what you’ll need to consider for Australia.
Vehicle registration is different in each of the eight states of Australia. But here’s the general information:
- Registration lasts for a year
- You may need to have your vehicle inspected (at a registered inspection centre, such as a mechanic) for road-worthiness
- If the registration runs out while you’re on your trip, you may need to return to the state that the vehicle is registered in, to re-register.
- You are required to purchase Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance when you register your vehicle.
The rules and costs are different for each state, so if you already know where you’re going to buy your vehicle here are the links to each states vehicle registration information:
Australia is not like the USA where you need massive insurance in order to just walk down the street, but you will want to have vehicle insurance.
In Australia we have Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance which is paid when your vehicle is registered (you can’t register without it). CTP is not comprehensive insurance, it only provides the driver cover for any legal liability for injury or death as a result of an accident for which the insured is responsible.
You can easily purchase comprehensive insurance online. When we bought our car, I organized our insurance over the internet (on my phone) while Ben went through the sale process with the seller. By the time we drove off, we were fully covered.
This isn’t a pre-requisite of owning a vehicle, but it’s a very, very high on the list of ‘should haves’.
Unless you’re a mechanic yourself, travelling with all your tools… and spare parts, then you should have road side assistance. ESPECIALLY if you’re travelling to remote areas. You’ve got to remember that in some parts of Australia it could be 300kms to the nearest town, and by town I mean a pub, general store and a gas station. Getting a tow truck could cost you thousands and if your vehicle is broken down, you’ve got no way to tow your home. It gets very complicated, very quickly. Just get roadside assistance, okay?
The various RAC is each state:
Once you’ve got your vehicle sorted, you’ll be looking for somewhere to park each night…
I want to talk about camping in Australia, because the type of camping you want to do will help determine the type of set-up you need and any of the accessories you’ll likely want.
Caravan parks can be found all over Australia. In every city and town and sometimes even in the very smallest of towns that, if you blink, you’ll miss it.
All caravan parks will have the following facilities:
- Powered sites – where you can plug into 240V power and water, and drain your grey water.
- A facilities block – with toilets, showers & laundry room
- A kitchen – with basic cooking (sink, stove, fridge, bench space) but many have extra things such as toaster, oven, blender, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery.
- Dumping – so you can empty your toilet cassette or black tank.
Caravan parks can vary widely, from a basic campsite with not much appeal (or grass), to resort-like complexes with multiple pools, children’s play areas, cafes, games rooms and mini-golf.
Private Camping Sites
With the popularity of WikiCamps (an app that lists all the campsites around Australia – see section ‘How to find campsites’ below) it’s been much easier for people to set up campsites on their private property. Since campers will use the app to find their next campsite, the private campsite owners don’t need to spend a fortune on traditional advertising. They just list their campsite on WikiCamps and that’s it.
This could include farms, lifestyle blocks, the local pub with a big garden out the back or some other business with space out the back.
Since this is not regulated, you will get a huge range of options. It may just be grassy spot down by the river with no facilities, or a powered site with water and access to a bathroom block.
Prices are also variable, it can be quite pricey if you’re in a popular tourist area, or it may be ‘free’ but with the expectation that you will buy a drink and/or a meal in the pub.
There are National Parks all over Australia and they provide some of the best outdoor experiences. Each of the National Parks is managed by the state government, so they’re all different.
You will find that there is a huge array of camping options, from free camping with no facilities, to fully managed campsites with power, water, dump points and a kitchen.
Some of the National Parks require that you pay a fee to enter the park, and then you pay camping fees on top of that. But they’re all different, so search the website of the National Park for each state. These links should get you started:
Free or Low-Cost Camps
First lesson… you will not find free camps in very touristy areas.
For example, if you’re travelling anywhere along the east coast, don’t expect to find any free camps on the beach. For free camps, you will need to head inland and further away from the main touristy areas and then you’ll find HEAPS of free or low cost camping options.
The one caveat I have to not being able to find free camping along the east coast, is rest stops. There are quite a lot of roadside rest stops where you’re able to stop for the night. But they’re not exactly in scenic areas, can be noisy since they’re right beside the highway and may or may not have facilities. Most will have at least a long drop toilet, but that’s about it.
Oh, and don’t park in designated truck parking areas, these are rest areas for truck drivers only.
More info on free camping in Australia:
How to find campsites
Here are the two most common ways to find campsites in Australia:
This app is a crowd-sourced database of all the campground and caravan parks across Australia. It shows the details of the campsite, the facilities available, the cost, as well as other information such as whether they allow dogs, local sites to see and the proximity to other amenities. The value of the app lies in the comments, ratings, photos and updated costs of fellow campers.
The app also shows places of interest, dump points, day use areas and even has a map feature to direct you straight to the campsite.
At just $7.99 it is worth every single cent.
This is a physical book – now I haven’t used this myself, but people that I’ve talked to have been pretty happy with this book. They also have an app which is still only $9.99. I think that the main difference with the Camps Australia list of campsites, is that they’re all verified sites.
Okay, so now that you know the different types of camping that you can do in Australia, hopefully you’ve got an idea of the type that you and your companions will want to do.
If you’re going to be staying in caravan parks for the duration of your trip, then you will be fine with a more basic set-up; you can use the caravan parks’ toilet, shower, kitchen and laundry. You can charge up your electronic devices each night using the supplied power, you can get fresh drinking water and dump your toilet (if you have one).
But if you’re planning to do free or low-cost camping then you’ll need to be self-sufficient . And that means having access to the following things:
- Water supply
- Grey water disposal
When you’re free camping you probably won’t have access to drinking water, so you need to take enough for you and your travelling companions, for the number of days you plan to stay.
Your caravan/motorhome/campervan is likely to have a water tank already, but consider how big the tank is, and all the things you’ll be using that water for such as: drinking, cooking, washing (dishes and people) and the toilet.
In order to extend your stay you’ll need to think about ways to conserve water, carry more water or have a way of re-filling your water. This may include things such as:
- Taking navy showers, or no showers, especially if there is a river or lake where everyone can go for a swim. (No soaps in the waterways though!)
- Taking extra water such as a tank in the tow vehicle, water jerry cans, water bladder or even just extra plastic bottles of drinking water.
- It may be that you’re able to fill your water containers (e.g. jerry cans) when you’re out and about sightseeing and use these to fill up the tank in the caravan.
You’ve got to remember that in some areas of Australia (i.e. the whole middle of Australia) water is scarce and you need to be mindful of where you’re going and if there’ll be water.
It’s no problem in built up areas, but you’ll need to think about this fact when travelling in remote areas.
When we first set out on our road trip around Australia, I had thought that an on-board toilet wasn’t such a high priority. I figured that if we’re free camping with no toilet facilities, then I’d just go in the bush. But not all free camps are out in the bush. Some are beside the highway, or in an open field, or jam-packed with other free campers.
This is where it really comes in handy to have your own toilet on-board.
There are a couple of different types of toilet, that I think it would be handy to know about.
This is the most common caravan/motorhome toilet that you will find in Australia. It’s not too dissimilar to a regular toilet, you open the flap at the bottom of the bowl, you do your business and when you flush it empties into a small holding tank/cassette, and then you close the flap.
Emptying the cassette involves taking the cassette out (usually accessed from outside the caravan or motorhome) and dumping it into a dump station or in a toilet.
Holding Tank Toilet
These are the most commonly found toilets in large RVs in North America; where the toilet empties in a holding tank (black tank) and can be pumped out at a designated dumping point. These are not hugely popular in Australia, they are around, but cassette toilets are well and truly the most popular.
The porta potty or chemical toilet is a self-contained unit you can use anywhere. It works on the same principle as the cassette toilet above, but the porta potty comes in two parts with the holding tank or cassette part right under the toilet seat part. You can easily separate the bottom half of the toilet from the top half so that you can dispose of the contents.
The porta potty can be easily moved around (just pick it up, it’s not attached to anything and doesn’t have any hoses etc) which makes it a great emergency loo.
Store it anywhere on your rig and just bring it out when it’s needed.
In less populated areas of Australia, it’s acceptable to go to the toilet out in nature. However, there is a bit of etiquette involved in this.
Here’s some basic tips for going bush toilet in Australia:
- Be discreet. No one wants to see you flashing your bits around and definitely no one needs to see you defecating.
- Number two’s require you to dig a hole. Don’t just break ground , but dig a decent depth hole that isn’t just going to have the dirt blown away.
- Toilet paper – now this is really important. We have a little bit of an ongoing problem with toilet paper being disposed of incorrectly and creating a despicable scene at some of our most beautiful spots. DO NOT leave your toilet paper behind. Don’t bury it, because it will get dug up by some curious critter. You have two options:
- either put a match to your toilet paper and burn it (although not in the middle of a dry field or during a fire ban!) OR
- just put it in the rubbish. Take a little rubbish bag with you and put your loo paper straight in there after use. It’s so easy to do, yet some people seem to think they’re exempt from this problem and refuse to dispose of their toilet paper properly. Once you see toilet paper strewn around, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, and you’ll be as annoyed (and flabbergasted) by it as I am.
Central to your power solution is your batteries. You’ll use them to keep power hungry things going, like:
- Electronic devices such as laptop, phone, camera equipment
- Microwave, coffee maker, TV
But you’ll need to keep the batteries topped up, and you do this by recharging them by either:
- Charging from the car alternator when driving
- Solar panels
- Battery charger when connected to mains power or a generator
If you’re renting a motorhome or campervan, then this is most likely to be set up already. But if not, here are the BASICS of what you’ll need.
1. Battery – Deep-Cycle Battery
First question I get is: can you use the battery that’s already in your car – the one that’s used to start the car – to power everything?
No – you need another battery that is a deep-cycle battery. You may hear this referred to as an auxiliary, secondary, or a dual battery system. This is the battery that will be used to power the fridge, lights, devices etc.
A deep-cycle battery is a lead-acid battery designed to be regularly deeply discharged using most of its capacity. In contrast, starter batteries (e.g. most automotive batteries) are designed to deliver short, high-current bursts for cranking the engine, thus frequently discharging only a small part of their capacity. Thank you Wikipedia.
There are different types of deep-cycle batteries, the most commonly used types in Australia are the Lead Acid Battery and the AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery.
Lithium batteries are becoming more and more popular as they are more efficient, lighter (in weight) and last a lot longer. They are also much more expensive, you can read more about them in this article.
The deep-cycle battery can be fitted under the bonnet of some cars (if they have a space already available) or they can be fitted into the cargo area of your car or in the camper trailer/caravan. It will depend on the type of battery you have and the space available.
What do the different sizes mean?
The battery size is determined by the Amp Hours (Ah) of the battery. If the battery is 100Ah, this means that you have 100 Amp Hours of power available (theoretically).
If you have power consumption of 10 amps per hour (for example, you’ve got a fridge that uses 5 amps of power per hour, lights that use 2 amps per hour and other devices that are using 3 amps per hour) then that means the battery will last for 10 hours before it is completely flat.
Unfortunately it doesn’t quite work like that, AGM batteries should only be discharged about 60-80% before you need to recharge them again. But the Amp Hours is a good way of defining the size of a battery.
Now let’s talk about how a battery is recharged.
2. Recharging by Driving
Your deep-cycle battery can be charged by being hooked up to the start battery in your car, which is charged up by the alternator when you’re driving.
If you’ve heard of things like a DC-DC charger or VSR (Voltage Sensitive Relay) these are pieces of equipment that go between your car’s start battery and the deep-cycle battery, this is to make sure that the battery is charged enough, but not too much and to make sure that the start battery never gets drained.
3. Recharging with Solar Panels
If you want to recharge your batteries using solar panels you will need to have a solar controller or regulator between the solar panels and the battery. The solar controller ensures that the battery does not get overcharged.
The size of the solar panels you need, will depend on how much power your devices consume. A set-up with a large fridge, multiple lights and devices will need more solar panels than a smaller set-up. I’ve found a very informative article on Hema Maps on the The Basic Guide to Camping with Solar Power .
4. Recharging with a Battery Charger
When you have access to mains power, you can also recharge your AGM battery with an AC battery charger . You just plug the charger into the power point and connect it up to the battery.
Battery chargers come in different amp sizes, the larger the amps the quicker the battery will charge. For example, a 10A battery charger will take about 12 hours to recharge a 120Ah battery. Whereas a 20A battery charger will take 5 hours.
Or from a generator – If you have a generator, you can use the AC outlet to plug in the battery charger, and use it just like it were mains power.
5. Powering your 12v devices
Anything that uses 12v can be plugged straight into the battery . This includes things like your portable fridge or lights. You need adaptors or a battery box that are connected to the battery so that you can plug the cigarette lighter plug into the battery.
6. Using 240v devices – you need an inverter
There are other electronic equipment that doesn’t use 12v power, things like laptops, microwaves and toasters. They have the normal plug that you use in your house and run on 240v AC power.
In order to power these devices, you will need an inverter that will convert the 12v DC power of the battery, to 240v AC power for your devices.
The size of the inverter you buy, will depend on the power consumption of the devices you’re running (i.e. the watts). For example, charging a laptop uses less power than running a microwave, so you will need a bigger inverter if you’re planning to take a microwave with you.
Here’s a question that we’ve pondered ourselves as we’ve sweated away in hot and sticky Darwin, or fried in the dry, but 40°C heat of Dubbo: can we run an air-conditioning unit while we’re free-camping?
From batteries? NO
From a generator? Maybe. I’ve heard plenty of people are able to run their air-con from generators, you just have to make sure you get a generator that is rated high enough to power your air-con.
These should be part of every travellers set-up, as important as your batteries, or your hat, or your phone, but so many people forget these.
First Aid kit
Make sure you have a suitable first aid kit and check that everything is within date (i.e. not expired) and that you know how to use everything in there.
Have you all taken a first aid course? Don’t forget, when you’re out in the middle of nowhere (i.e. much of Australia) then you must all look after each other, and that includes having a well-stocked first aid kit and the knowledge to use it.
Search more first aid kits here.
Personal Locator Beacon / Satellite phone
Consider taking a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) with you.
Having this device with you can mean the difference between life and death, particularly in remote areas. PLBs are designed to be used on land, and are designed to stay with individuals rather than vehicles. You should make sure that you get one that has GPS as this means it will be much quicker for emergency services to find you. See the Australian Maritime Safety Authority website for more details.
Another option would be to either buy or hire a satellite phone.
While not as cheap as a cell phone, they do mean that you can make calls even when you’re out of cell phone coverage.
And there are satellite messenger devices like the SpotX , where you can send text messages via satellite.
Search more PLB / Satellite phones here
This one is a no-brainer really. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your vehicle and in your caravan/camper trailer.
Search more fire extinguishers here
Emergency Contact List
This is a simple, free and easy to do thing that will save you mountains of stress should you have an emergency situation.
A piece of paper that is easily locatable to you and those travelling with you, that has all the important contact phone numbers and details.
- Everyone’s mobile number – because you may not have memorised their numbers since they’re all in your mobile phone anyway
- Phone numbers of close relatives – like parents and siblings
- Your doctors name and number
- Your medicare numbers
- Your car insurance phone number and policy number
- Health insurance numbers
It’s simple stuff, but when it’s an emergency and your phone happens to be flat, you’ll be super glad to have all this info handy.
I’ve got a free emergency contact form template over here if you would like.
There are a couple of large mobile phone providers in Australia like Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Virgin as well as many smaller companies.
Without a doubt, the company with the best coverage around Australia is Telstra. They have the largest infrastructure network and therefore the largest coverage of Australia.
Update: I’ve been reading reports of Optus setting up cell towers in some remote towns so it will be worthwhile keeping an eye on them too.
Telstra Coverage Map
Vodafone Coverage Map
Telstra seem to have a bit of a reputation for not-that-great customer service, but that hasn’t been our experience at all. Yes, you’re going to get put through to a call centre in India, but each time they’ve been knowledgeable and able to help out with our situation.
Also, Telstra is certainly not the cheapest, but with the coverage they have (in both cell service and customer service) they really are the best choice.
If you live in Australia already, then you’ve likely got your phone sorted out already.
If you’re travelling to Australia from somewhere else, then you will probably want a prepaid service. The costs for prepaid phone are not too bad… it’s data that’s the big cost.
Ahh, the bane and blessing of every travellers existence!
Getting internet in Australia isn’t too hard, especially if you don’t need lots of gigs and you’re not in a remote area. But if you need/want heavier internet usage, things get a little bit trickier, and a lot more expensive.
Here’s how you’re going to get internet in Australia:
Free Wi-Fi can be found in all the regular places: shopping malls, airports, MacDonalds, hotels and libraries. Most often this will be capped, so of course this is only good for checking email, social media and browsing.
Hot Spot from your phone or mobile modem
This is a popular, and easy solution. If you’re with Telstra you’ll be able to get internet most of the time. For those on pre-paid it may be your only option.
If you’re not on unlimited data, then please take note, you must change your internet habits!
We found that on the road we had to be a lot more conscientious of our internet usage. You can’t watch whatever you like, whenever you like. You’ve got to stop going down the rabbit hole of endless Facebook or Youtube videos and make the most of free wi-fi when you get it, buy cheap DVDs from the second-hand shop, or read a book. Seriously, you have to get off your laptop / devices for this trip. I think you’ll find that it’s not hard though, there’s so much to see you’ll be glad to see how much you don’t need the internet.
TV in Australia
I think people who watch TV while their on their road trip around Australia cop a bit of flak for doing so.
I used to be one of those people that gave them flak. :-/
But now that we’re on the road ourselves, I totally understand peoples desire to watch some TV.
After a day of adventuring and exploring, it’s really nice to be able to relax in the evening, catch up with the news, watch your favourite TV shows and maybe even a movie.
We do exactly the same thing, but we don’t have TV, we use our laptops and internet.
Since TV isn’t my thing, I’m going to refer you to Free Range Camping who know more about it than me. See their article all about getting a satellite TV kit here .
So you’ve arrived in Australia, you’ve got your home on wheels, you’ve packed in your clothes and bedding, you’ve stocked up the cupboards and fridge and you’re ready to hit the road!
But which way do you go?
Well, that will depend on a few factors; where you’re flying in and out of, the time of year that you’re visiting, how long you’ve got and your bucket list of must-see places. But the main factor that you’ll want to keep in mind is the weather.
Because Australia is so large, it has a wide variety of landscapes… and weather. In the north you have tropical rainforests, in the south and east you have mountain ranges and the centre is one huge dry desert.
So you’ll want to consider the timing of your visit to some of these areas.
The north of Australia is semi-tropical, making it very hot and humid in the summer (Dec-Feb) and subject to monsoonal type rains and tropical cyclones. The rainy season runs from approximately November to April and can severely hamper travel in the region. Some roads become impassable, being either washed away or totally underwater.
The vast expanse that is the middle of Australia is desert or semi-arid. In the summer, temperatures can be in the high 30’s to 40°C (104°F) during the day.
The winter months are a popular time to travel to the centre of Australia because the day time temperatures are comfortably warm, but you do need to be aware that at night the temperature plummets and you’ll want to have warm clothing and bedding.
A more temperate climate is found in the south-east and south-west regions of Australia. While it’s cold for us, it will rarely get as cold as 0°C (32°F) so it’s not nearly as frigid as our northern hemisphere visitors would be used to.
Southern Hemisphere Seasons
The southern hemisphere seasons are:
- Summer – December, January, February
- Autumn – March, April, May
- Winter – June, July, August
- Spring – September, October, November
You will find that many, if not most, people travelling around Australia will travel to the northern half and centre of the country in winter, and enjoy the warm tropical weather while avoiding the monsoonal rains and heat of summer.
Then in summer, they’ll head back south again where it will still be a hot summer, but not as hot.
We found ourselves travelling in the north of the country during the spring shoulder season (August/September) and we loved it. While literally hundreds of caravans were heading south as we went north we got to enjoy much less crowded camps but still pleasant temperatures.
Public Holidays & School Holidays in Australia
Being mindful of the public holidays will most likely help you with ‘crowd-control’ more than anything.
Starting your trip in Sydney? Well you DO NOT want to be picking up your campervan from the airport at 2pm on the Thursday before Easter and be heading north. You will be joined by every Sydney-ite desperate to leave the city limits on their first long weekend since summer.
Sure you could do it, but it will save yourself a heap of stress if you knew it was a long weekend and decided to stay the night near the airport instead.
You can find all the public holidays here and since it would also be best to avoid school holidays, if possible, here’s the link to them here too .
Bucket List items
And then, of course, the other thing to take into consideration is those ‘bucket list’ places that you’ve always wanted to see.
Planning the actual route
For our trip around Australia, it was a case of ‘head north’ and then figure out the rest as we go.
However, if it’s a shorter trip, or you have limited time then you might like to plan out your itinerary a bit more.
Online Trip Planners – these are where you can input your start and finish points, and stops along the way, and it will show you your route along with some tourist attractions along the way. I find them to be a little bit limiting, but they can be a great way to start your planning and give you some ideas.
Here’s one from the NRMA that you may find helpful: Holiday Finder
Pre-made Itineraries – you’ll find lots and lots of itineraries already planned out for you, if you’d like to go that route. For example, Tourism Australia has some great self-drive itineraries here , that you could just follow these trips and you’ll have a great time.
But chances are, you’ll use them as a guide for planning your route, taking note of the things they recommend that appeal to you, and ignoring the rest.
Google Maps – if you enjoy the planning process, you could use something as simple as google maps and enter in your start and finish points, and the places on your bucket list in between.
It’s great how google maps gives you the drive times so you’ll be able to gauge how far you can travel each day.
While you’re there, you can search for local accommodation, restaurants and things to do. You can have a look at the map and see how far away the water is, the next town, the next interesting site to visit.
You can use the information that you find from itinerary examples and online trip planning tools to give you some idea of what would make a good trip, but then totally design it to your own needs, desires, budget and timeframe.
Personally, it’s my favourite way of planning for a trip because I’m in total control.
Packing is a bit of a personal preference and I’m certainly no fashionista, so I won’t be listing out the clothes I think you’ll need. But rather, some of the items that you may not think about bringing.
So of course, bring the shorts, t-shirts, nice dress, button up shirt, comfy undies and high heels if that’s what you want, these are the other things:
Protection against bugs
Light coloured and loose, long sleeve top and long pants.
As dusk approaches and you want to sit outside with your glass of chardonnay or tinnie of VB, there’s a good chance that the mosquitoes or sand flies are also thinking of settling in for their happy hour feast… of you!
It’s no fun wearing longs when it’s so hot, but it’s either that get eaten alive. Or sit inside.
This is a particularly sore point for me, because the insects seem to LOVE me. Insect repellent and long everything doesn’t seem to deter them. They find their way in and it’s no fun.
This photo is what happened in Darwin when we left our window flaps open. All the doors and windows had fly screens but on one side the weave of the fly screen was a bit bigger than all the other openings, we normally kept it shut but it was so hot we made sure that every one was open. The tiny little blighters got through the bigger weave (which happened to be right beside me) and had a feast of my legs. Itchy. For. Days.
Everyone says that the only insect repellent that is any good must have DEET in it to be effective. While I’ve been happy enough to buy this at the supermarket I have to admit, it is a pretty ‘corrosive’ product. We had a roll-on insect repellent that leaked and while I can’t remember what it corroded or stripped, but it was dramatic enough that we did quickly decide that it need to be stored in a zip lock bag from now on. And we put this stuff on our skin!?
I’ve read quite a few recommendations for natural products available here in Australia. I’m not endorsing them, because I haven’t tried them; but I’ve heard them mentioned a quite a few times so I’m putting their website links here for your reference: Good Riddance & The Locals
Heat & Sun
Okay okay, everyone sees pictures of sun-kissed Aussies enjoying the beach, splashing around in their next-to-nothings and looking youthful and happy.
That picture is not so common anymore.
More and more people are becoming painfully aware of our harsh Aussie sun and seeking protection from it.
While a cap may look cool, if you’ve got a favourite wide-brimmed hat then I’d bring that with you. If not, you’ll be buying one when you get here anyway.
Long sleeves and pants
You know, when you see anyone that works out in the Australian sun all day (think road workers, farmers, those crazy cyclists and hikers that walk through the outback) they are most often wearing long pants and sleeves and a wide brim hat. Take your cue from them, especially if you’ll be spending your whole day outside in the summer.
In the water is where we are usually having the most fun and so forget to reapply sunscreen. Rashies are so, so popular now, so join the trend. They are especially great for kids, and everyone is wearing them, so you won’t be the odd one out.
It’s not as effective as staying out of the sun in the first place. But if you can’t/won’t keep your skin out of the sun then at least find a high SPF sunscreen and reapply regularly.
Yes, it does get cold!
I’ve reminded you a few times throughout this post that it can get really hot in many parts of Australia, but it’s certainly not hot all the time and in all places!
If you’re going to be in the middle to south of Australia during the winter months, then you’ll need to pack your warm clothes too. Average winter temperatures would get as low as single digits in ° Centigrade (34-48°F).
And don’t be fooled into thinking that the middle of Australia is hot all the time. In the winter, while day time temperatures may be warm, it can get down to zero (°C) overnight and take a couple of hours to warm up again in the morning.
There are a few considerations that you need to be aware of when it comes to driving in Australia. Things that may be quite different to where you come from, so let’s list them out:
In Australia we drive on the left side of the road and the majority of vehicles have the steering wheel on their right side.
You can use your overseas license in Australia for your entire visit, as long as you remain a visitor. If your license is not in English you must also carry an English translation or an International Driving Permit (IDP). Information on the IDP can be found here .
Australian Road Rules
Just like you would in any new country, it makes sense to familiarise yourself with the local road rules. A good article which outlines the major parts of the road rules (especially those pertaining to international drivers) can be found here . (Scroll about a third of the way down the page to get to the heading ‘Australia Road Rules’).
Driving at dawn or dusk
What might be quite different for our international visitors is that it if you are in a country area, it is recommended that you don’t drive at dawn or dusk times of the day. This is when the wildlife is the most active, and the chances of you hitting a kangaroo, wallaby, wombat or other creature, increases greatly.
You may not think that hitting a wallaby is that big a deal, but if you were to hit a large kangaroo that’s decided to bound across the road at the last minute, these can be big enough to cause serious damage to your car.
In some parts of Australia you can be driving for hundreds and hundreds of kilometres, with little change in the landscape and huge distances to cover. Don’t push it. If you’re tired, there are plenty of designated rest stops, so make the most of them.
GPS and maps
You may think, like us, that phones are so useful now and that getting a GPS is a waste of time and money.
Or you may have figured out already, unlike us, that in the middle of the outback a phone is useless if you don’t have any reception. So at the time when you really need reassurance that you’re heading in the right direction to your intended campsite… you have no idea.
Unless you’re able to use an app that doesn’t require an internet connection but still uses the GPS function.
Otherwise, I’d recommend getting a GPS so you can have your navigation running all the time and there’s no arguments when you want to use the phone to take pictures and videos to post on Instagram!
And don’t forget the good old paper map. You remember them, right? You know that a paper map isn’t ever going to leave you stranded because it can’t get an internet connection, or doesn’t have a line of sight to the sky or has gone flat. There is nothing quite so old school, yet safe and practical, as having a physical map. You’ll find these in every Information Centre around the country.
Most Useful Apps
There are gazillions of apps that you could be using to plan and navigate your way around Australia. But for us, there were just a handful that I couldn’t do without:
I mentioned WikiCamps in the camping section and this is, without a doubt, the most used app on my phone. Ok ok, maybe facebook and Instagram are used more often, so I should probably say that WikiCamps was the most important app on my phone. I used it everyday that we needed to find a new camp.
It’s just $7.99 and worth every cent.
This app used to be part of the WikiCamps app but they’ve separated it out into it’s own app. There were a couple of times that we became a little concerned that our fuel was running low but we weren’t sure how far it was to the next town. Or we were at a town with half a tank of diesel left but diesel was $1.55 per litre. A quick look on the app assured us that the next town was 130 kms in the direction we were going and it was $1.42 per litre. So we kept driving. It helped us to save money and, more importantly, keep the stress and anxiety levels in check! This app is free.
Special Considerations for Outback Travel
I’m just going to put this map of Australia here, superimposed over a map of North America, to remind you of just how large Australia.
But while the population density of the United States is 33 people per km 2 , the population density of Australia is a measly 3 people per km 2 .
Population Density – Australia Map ( Source )
Once you have a look at the geography of Australia, it all starts to make sense when you see that most of the middle of Australia is largely uninhabited. Sure there are small towns, and even a large town (Alice Springs) but no cities, and lots and lots of space in-between.
See all that pale yellow expanse in the Population Density – Australia Map above? All of that space has a population density of less than 0.1 person per km 2 . So that’s just one person per 10km 2 . That’s hardly any people.
I think I’ve made my point. You get it, that much of Australia is large and remote.
It’s not only remote and sparsely populated, it’s also desert or semi-arid. Which means you MUST ensure that you have enough drinking water on-board your vehicle so that, should the unforeseen happen, you can at least stay alive.
It’s also going to be hot. Depending on the time of year that you travel, it’s going to be really hot. Make sure you’ve got appropriate clothing, that your set-up affords you some shade when you stop, and that you have ways to cool down when you need to.
Some of the ideas we had are a 12v fan, a fridge or freezer for cold drinks, and a spray bottle with water that you can squirt on yourself every now and then.
Fuel & Other Spares
Use the FuelMaps app to see where your next fuel stop is. Carry extra fuel if possible.
Make sure your vehicle is in good working order before you leave on your trip.
Make sure to take the common spares such as oil, water, spare wheel & wheel changing kit, some basic tools.
Anyone who’s driven on an unsealed back country road will know the displeasure of road corrugations / washboards. Having everything shaken to within an inch of your life is bad enough… doing so for over 500km is just soul-destroying!
We found this out ourselves due to some less than stellar planning. On the road from Burketown QLD to Boroloola NT, I couldn’t understand why the Maps app kept wanting us to go the longer 1,255km route instead of the more direct 523km route.
If I’d taken just a few moments to notice the time difference between the two routes, I might have put two and two together.
And hence, we had two days of bone rattling corrugations. Our car and camper trailer handled the corrugations with aplomb – even though EVERYTHING was covered in red dust – but imagine if we’d had a caravan. I think that would have, literally, shaken a caravan to pieces. With our light little camper trailer we could afford to make mistakes like that and be none the worse for wear.
When we get a caravan, we’ll have to be more careful and aware.
We have no regrets taking that road though. What ensued was a great little adventure that involved a lot of laughing as we shuddered down the road, a couple of exciting (to us) river crossings and picking up three locals in the middle of nowhere to give them a ride to the next town… 150kms away!
Alcohol Restricted Areas
Here’s something you may not be aware of:
There are parts of Australia where alcohol restrictions are in place. You will come across these areas in parts of the Northern Territory, Far North Queensland and some parts of Western Australia. The restrictions vary in each state and area, and are constantly changing, but can be a total ban on alcohol consumption or a limit on how much you can buy, when you can buy and what you can buy.
There will be signs on the road as you enter into these restricted areas, but you’ll also be made well aware of any restrictions when you buy alcohol. If in doubt, just visit the nearest Information Centre and they’ll have all the info you need.
In one bottle store I heard a lady complaining loudly that she was a visitor to the area and shouldn’t have to be subject to the same restrictions as the local people.
But you’ve got to remember that while these restrictions may be a bit of a nuisance to you as a visitor because they limit how many drinks you can have at your daily happy hour; the restrictions are certainly not for your benefit.
It’s for the benefit (in terms of safety and health) of the local community. In the aboriginal communities where these restrictions are in place, the goal of the restrictions is to minimise the dreadful harm caused by rampant alcohol abuse and misuse, and associated violence.
Now, this is going to be the hard section to write. Of course you already know that everyone is different so eveyones road trip around Australia budget is going to be wildly different.
If you’re on holiday for a limited time, you may not be so worried about costs because you’re going back to work as soon as you get home anyway; compared to the person who has made being on the road their new lifestyle, and is now a lot more selective about what he spends his limited resources on.
First up, particularly for our international visitors, Australia is expensive.
All cost estimates are in Australian Dollars.
I think the most helpful thing I can do here is to share our budget with you, tell you how we came up with this budget, and whether it proved to be practical on the road.
Setting a budget
This is the budget that we had set ourselves before we’d even left New Zealand . Setting a budget for something when you don’t even know what you’re getting yourself into, can be quite hard. But I did lots and lots of research and did the best I could.
Our budget was divided into two parts, the One-Off or Set-Up Costs that we would incur within the first few weeks of arriving in Australia, and then our Living Expenses for six months on the road.
Getting to Australia $2,100 – Fights, rental car, hotel etc. This will be zero if you live in Australia already, significantly more if you have to come from the other side of the world.
Vehicle $10,000 – I had a look at sites like carsales.com.au and gumtree.com.au to see what type of vehicles were available and the price range. While $10k is on the low side for a 4WD vehicle, we were recommended a Hyundai Terracan so I did a heap of research on them and we decided it would be perfect for us and our small budget.
Camper trailer $5,000 – Once again, it was only by looking online at lots and lots of camper trailers, caravans and campervan etc that we came up with a budget of $5,000. We realised that we could get a good quality camper trailer for that price and still afford all the things we thought we’d need.
Toilet & Tent $300 – This is for one of those pop-up shower tents and a porta-potti.
Solar, Battery & Fridge $3,000 – We were hoping we’d get lucky and find a camper trailer that already had a dual/portable battery system, but we weren’t banking on it. So we set this budget of $3,000 after doing lots of looking for batteries, fridges & portable solar panels online and figuring out how much it would cost us.
Insurance $500 – I just used www.iSelect.com.au to figure out what insurance would cost if I purchased one of the cars I’ve been looking at.
Roadside Assistance $250 – through NRMA
Maintenance $2,400 – I guessed this one. Based on $100 per week for 6 months…ish. Oil changes, punctured tyres, ummm other stuff?
Misc – because there’s always miscellaneous!
Business costs $1,700 – this won’t apply to everyone, but for us I needed to keep some money aside for regular payments for things like hosting, domain name renewals and other business costs.
Other bills or giving – mortgage, car or caravan loans, charitable giving – anything else that you will keep paying regardless of the fact that you’re heading off on a trip of a lifetime.
Six Months Living Costs
When trying to come up with a ‘living budget’ for our road trip around Australia, I racked my brain for all the things I thought we’d need to pay for. I started with the things we already pay for in our lives – rent, food, petrol, phones, internet, entertainment, gifts, subscriptions. And then added all the things that would be extra being on this trip.
The thing is, you won’t know everything. You’ll get some of it wrong, when you’re on the road you’ll realise that you needed to allocate more money to one area and you allocated too much money to other areas. But figuring out a budget beforehand, allows you to know how long your money is going to last you. If you’re waaaay overspending your weekly budget you’ll be able to know in advance that you’re likely to run out of money. Either that’s fine… and you break out the credit card. Or you tighten your belt and cut back on the less important things.
I probably did things a little bit backwards, but I calculated (sometimes guessed) how much we would spend each month and therefore for the whole six months. Then I divided it by 26 weeks to come up with the weekly budget.
So here’s how I determined our monthly budget:
Camping fees $400 – would be just like paying rent, or paying for a hotel/motel every night. From some quick online research I could see that $30 per night for a caravan park (unpowered site) was reasonably normal. Ben and I talked about trying to free camp for four nights per week and staying in a caravan park for the other three nights per week. That gave us a budget of $90 per week for camping fees, which I rounded up to $400 per month.
Not exactly a science to my methods, but at least it gives us something to work with.
Food $1,000 – we’ll still eat generally the same things as we do now and in the same quantities, so that shouldn’t change too drastically. Having lived in Australia previously we knew that the food prices between NZ and Australia are reasonably similar.
For any international readers, I would suggest taking the time to go through one of your regular weeks grocery list and jumping on to an online shopping site like www.shop.coles.com.au to price each of the items. It’s a time consuming exercise for sure, but it will give you a really good idea of what you should budget for.
Fuel $800 – it’s gonna be a lot, I mean you are driving around Australia. Here’s how I roughly calculated how much fuel would cost us.
Expected KMs – I used google maps to give me an approximate kilometres for a half loop starting in Sydney, following the coast up to Cairns, across to Darwin, down through the middle via Uluru to Adelaide, and then across to Dubbo.
This came to 10,175km. Since this amount is just direct distances between major cities I added on another 50% to account for the fact that we wouldn’t be on the main highway the whole time, and for sightseeing etc. It’s just an aroundabout figure so that I knew we were talking about 15,000kms rather than 5,000kms.
Fuel Consumption per 100km – I found some figures online as I was doing all the general research for this trip, that showed people reporting fuel consumption of 12-20L per 100km. I just took a stab and guessed that ours would be 18L/100km. I guessed this because:
- we wouldn’t be in a vehicle with a huge engine, towing a massive (heavy) caravan, so it wouldn’t be the highest number
- but we would be in an older vehicle which I just presumed we have worse fuel consumption
- I was guessing so I thought I’d better err on the generous side (notice a pattern here?)
Cost of diesel – $1.60 per litre. Online I found people quoting an average diesel price of $1.55 per litre, so I added another .5 for good measure.
Add all those figures into my calculation and this is what I got.
I rounded the per month cost up to $800 (because I’m continually adding in padding when I’m doing lots of guessing like this).
Electricity $0 – will now be zero as it’s covered in the nightly rate at caravan parks, or our battery system with solar will cover our needs
Gas – we didn’t have a budget for this because we only used gas for cooking so it was hardly anything. But if you’ve got a gas fridge or water heating system you’ll need to factor that in.
Phone / Internet $100 – presuming you’ll be going with Telstra, just look up their website and see which pre-paid or contract plan (depending on which suits your circumstances) works for you. For us we figured we’d have two phones with each one on the $50 per month pre-paid.
Spending $400 – yeah, this one is a total guess. You’ll need to think about what kind of travel you enjoy.
While we love a good tour or attraction or night at the pub as much as the next person, we also get a lot of joy from a bundle of newspaper-wrapped fish and chips while sitting on the beach. If it happens to include a glass of Veuve Clicquot then you’ll find me in a world of happiness!
While we would LOVE to have a much bigger budget here, we knew this was the most flexible area of the budget because it is all about our ‘wants’, not our ‘needs’. Just because we’re tight-arses, doesn’t mean that you have to be.
You may find it helpful to break this bucket down even further. Here are some other categories that could go under ‘Spending’:
Coffee – although I love a good coffee, I would only buy one as a treat, so I don’t need a separate budget for it.
Alcohol – this on the other hand… we probably should have budgeted for. :-O
Sightseeing Trips – you’ll need to factor in museum or attraction visits or any of the we’re-only-here-once-so-we’d-better-do-it visits.
You know, things like swimming with whale sharks, a scenic flight over Uluru or a sunset cruise on Sydney Harbour. If there are must-dos on your list, then I would find out the price of each of those attractions (online) and add them to the budget.
Eating out – any takeaways, pub, café and restaurant meals.
Hair and beauty – haircuts and styling, nails, waxing – anything that you know you’ll want to get done while you’re on the trip.
Dog sitting services – if you’ve got an extra family member with you
Kid expenses – I don’t know what extra costs kids have, but I hear they’re expensive. ☺
It cost us…
I kept pretty good records of our expenses for our whole trip and I’m pleased to report that I wasn’t too far off. I had way under-budgeted for in one area, but we made up with my over-budgeting in other areas.
Here’s how it panned out at the three month mark:
Not too shabby.
We’re happy with this, we didn’t stress over every dollar, but we did keep an eye on things.
And here are the ‘Living Costs’ for the first three months. Though it fluctuated wildly each week, it averaged out to being on budget .
Every person and family will have a different budget, but by taking the time to at least price out what you think it will cost you, it will help you the plan your trip.
This is the question that has always stumped me the most.
For us, not only did we need to save for the caravan or motorhome, but also for our living expenses while we were on the road.
I had always thought it would be at least $100k for a motorhome and then $50k to travel for a year. While that is a HUGE amount of money and already felt out of our reach, the idea of then having to go back to work, well, I think that might have been the most frightening prospect of all.
So a few things had to happen before we could even contemplate setting out on this trip.
- We had to downsize our motorhome expectations A LOT, and
- We had to either figure out ways of making money online, or get comfortable with needing to stop and work as needed.
Downsizing our motorhome expectations
I’ve always been obsessed with RVs.
I love reading about all their features and new developments. I love reading blogs from people that have been travelling and working in them. And most of all, I love looking at RV floor plans, trying to decide which layout, size and type would be best for us.
So I decided to start my own blog about RVs, appropriately titled RVObsession.com.
Now, I could read anything and everything on the subject of RVs, all in the name of research!
It was this obsession with RVs and all my reading from so many different types of RVers that it started to dawn on me that we didn’t need the fanciest rig in order to travel. We just needed something we could afford and then we’d figure it out from there.
When I started looking for something that we could afford , rather than something we wanted , a world of options opened up.
We realised that a camper trailer was the cheapest option (while still being a step up from a tent because the bed and much of the kitchen was already set-up) for a road trip around Australia but we would still be reasonably comfortable.
Our budget for a camper trailer and car was $15k… a far cry from the $100k I thought we’d need for a motorhome.
Downsizing our expectations meant we could get on the road in three months… not three decades.
Figuring out ways to make money online
In all honesty, we’ve been trying to make money online for years (and years).
We’ve spent thousands of dollars on programs and tools and information products (probably enough to afford us a nice caravan by now :-O) and, while we’ve made some money here and there, it hasn’t been much.
And only recently we started making enough money from our blogs to cover our living expenses.
You can read more about how we’ve been making money to fund our travels here:
Just a caveat about making money online: we’ve been involved in some really good quality programs and learnt from some really great people.
We’ve done everything from MLM, blogging, affiliate marketing to advertising, creating courses and sponsored posts. We’ve bought ads and traffic, learnt copywriting, created autoresponders and email newsletters.
We’ve done lots of stuff, but we totally recognise that we have lacked focus, discipline (argh) and the tenacity to consistently apply these things to one business idea.
We’ve learnt that we have to fix those things (discipline etc) first, and then consistently apply all the technical skills we have.
All that to say: just because we’ve not seen much success with making online money YET, we still believe it’s a valid and valuable way to fund your travels, and we’re still working very hard at it.
Phew, caveat over.
Okay, so on to what we are doing to create an online income:
We have two blogs (this one and RVObsession.com) where the aim is to make money from advertising on the blogs, affiliate marketing and sponsored posts.
Both RVObsession and this blog make money through ads and affiliate marketing.
It’s always been my goal to make money from blogging, and it’s a slow, long and hard process… not helped by the fact that I’m very inconsistent at posting new content.
Blogging is the long game.
So in the short term, the two other ways we make money online is through offering virtual assistant services and freelancing.
It can be a little tricky to define exactly what a virtual assistant is/does but in a nutshell:
A virtual assistant is someone who helps you run your business, whether a traditional or online business, by doing any online tasks that you need.
This could be ANY tasks that can be completed online.
It could be admin tasks anyone in the corporate may undertake like: diary management, minute taking, email management, answering the phone, ordering stock, managing a database, customer service or cold calling.
Or it may be scheduling posts on your blog, social media management, email marketing or running ads.
Currently, I help one blogger by running her Instagram account, and the other client I have is a motorhome manufacturer who’s Pinterest account I have set up and manage.
I think that being a virtual assistant is a fantastic way of creating an online income. It what I’ve done and this is how I got started as a VA .
Generally this is someone who has a specialist skill that they provide to businesses on either a one-off project or an ongoing basis. This includes services like: writing, website development, design, app development and more.
Currently I have one freelancing gig where I write articles for a motorhome manufacturer every month.
Casual & temping work
This is our least favourite way to make money as we road trip around Australia, but it’s what we’re the most used to and there’s plenty of it around.
When we stopped in Dubbo, Ben had a casual job at a tyre shop. And I had a casual admin job and then a temping contract for a couple of months.
It’s not our favourite way of working because it means we’re tied to the one location, plus you have to wear work clothes every day.
But it’s easy and familiar and as I said before, there’s plenty of it around.
This is the main way we’ve made money on this trip so without it we’d be screwed.
This is just what we are doing to make money and hopefully it will give you some ideas about what you could do if you also need to make an income while you’re travelling.
This topic could be a whole ‘ultimate guide’ in itself, but I’ve written a bit more about ways that I’ve seen people making money while on a road trip around Australia. You can read that here .
I realise that’s a lot to take in and maybe you’re stuck in the stage of, ‘yeah that’s great to know all that stuff… but what to I do now!?’
I’ve put together a timeline planner to help you go through all the steps that you need to think about and set up, in order to turn your dream into a reality.
I wish it could be as easy as saying, ‘follow these steps, and in one year you’ll be on the trip of a lifetime!’, but we all know that a cookie-cutter approach will not work for everyone. We’re all so completely different, with different needs, wants, budget and level of compromise!
This planner will help you to determine what things you should be thinking about, and at what stage. Just go to our Free Resources page to download it.
If you want to download this huge post as a PDF, you can purchase it below for $9.
Phew, that’s my take on Getting Set Up for a Road Trip Around Australia ! I really hope you got some value out of this tome. If you have any questions, please feel free to add them in the comments below and I’ll get to them as soon as I can.
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Tuesday 15th of December 2020
Hi Michelle and Ben.
I’ve stumbled across this blog and have found it a brilliant read. So well done! And just what I need! Thank you. I’m all inspired and more confident in giving it a go and making my dream a reality. Thank you x
Friday 3rd of April 2020
Just lucky I found your blog! Great, thanks for the beginner's guide on planning an Australian trip! I hope after quarantine I can do it.
Saturday 4th of April 2020
Yes, once this is all over (who knows how long that's gonna take?) I can't wait to get out on the road again! M :-)
Monday 25th of March 2019
Great content, you should also include the removalist services that are somethimes necesessary when moving on Australia. Thanks and looking back for more informative articles.
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Being such a large place, Australia has a wide range of climates, so all year round, there is somewhere great to visit.
Summer (December to February) can get very hot but is perfect for beach-going and other outdoor activities. In the far north, it is also the wet season, which can get quite humid, and some beaches may be closed due to jellyfish or 'stingers'.
Winter (June to August) is pleasant and dry in the north but can get quite cold in the south, especially in Tasmania and Victoria, where snowfall is common.
Spring and autumn are great times to visit Australia as the weather is milder but still warm enough for swimming in northern areas.
Regardless of daytime temperatures, nights can get very cold in the desert areas of Central and Western Australia, so prepare accordingly.
The main school holiday period is from Christmas to late January and is considered the peak travel time within Australia; expect popular tourist spots to be crowded during this time.
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From large malls and boutique shopping strips to weekend arts and crafts markets and vintage shops, Australia is a top place to shop. Shopping in Australia may not be cheap, but there are plenty of unique finds and original souvenirs to bring home. Before heading home, check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to import certain items back into your home country. New Zealand, for example, has strict quarantine laws.
Things to buy in Australia
1. First Nation art
The quality of Aboriginal art is excellent in the Top End and Central and Western Australia. Be sure to buy from reputable galleries and organizations to ensure authenticity and fair prices for artists. Community-run organizations are typically the better choice.
If you’re looking for one, Coober Pedy has the best quality and variety on offer.
These precious gems are plentiful in Broome due to the booming pearling industry.
4. Modern art
Melbourne and Hobart are modern art and craft hot spots, making them great places to pick up one-of-a-kind mementos.
Top 10 places to see in Australia
Nothing will prepare you for seeing Australia's most famous landmark for the first time. An important part of Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, this ancient monolith is a photographer's dream as it changes colors with the sun; from dazzling orange to dusty purple.
Combine First Nations' culture and the magnificence of Australia's desert wonders on a 6 day Red Centre & Uluru Explorer tour.
2. Great Barrier Reef
See the world's largest reef system - so big it can be seen from outer space! This World Heritage site, just off the coast of Queensland, is home to whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks, colorful coral and more than 1,500 species of fish. Go scuba diving or snorkeling to explore this incredible underwater world.
See the beauty of the reef and its residents on our 5 day Best of Cairns, Great Barrier Reef & Daintree tour.
3. Twelve Apostles
Although there are actually only eight 'Apostles', these spectacular limestone rock stacks are a popular tourist spot along Victoria's Great Ocean Road. Formed by erosion that began 10-20 million years ago, the stacks rise majestically from the churning Southern Ocean. Hit the boardwalks, tracks and viewing areas for spectacular views.
Set off on a Twelve Apostles journey when you 7 day Hike the Great Ocean Walk.
4. Kakadu National Park
This region is a place of breathtaking beauty and incredible biodiversity. Steeped in Dreamtime history, Kakadu nurtures a staggering variety of landscapes and wildlife. Venture deep into the wilderness and discover gushing waterfalls, deep gorges, shimmering waterholes and rocky outcrops adorned with 20,000-year-old art.
Combine the best of history, wildlife, culture and beauty while venturing through a 6 day Top End & Kakadu Explorer tour.
5. Sydney Opera House
Set against a backdrop of that famous bridge that spans the sparkling harbor, the Opera House is one of Australia's most iconic sights. Those familiar sails, adorned with more than a million white tiles, host thousands of events and performances each year. Catch a show to admire the ornate interior, or take in the spectacular view from a ferry.
Climb the Opera House steps or tour the harbour as you start an exciting 18 day East Coast Encompassed tour.
From deep gorges and dusty Outback roads and lush rainforests to idyllic billabongs, the landscape of this beautiful region is truly enchanting. A trip to the Kimberly can be as active or relaxing as you wish - hike past the strange 'beehive' domes of the Bungle Bungle Ranges, explore underground caves at Tunnel Creek or simply relax on white sand beaches.
Be swept away by the beauty of the Kimberley on a 11 day Wild Kimberley Overland tour.
With verdant tropical rainforest stretching to white, sandy beaches, the Daintree is nothing short of spectacular. This complex ecosystem in Far North Queensland is home to a prolific amount of wildlife, including frogs, reptiles, bats and butterflies, as well as the highest concentration of primitive plant species in the world. Australia's largest rainforest is a true natural wonder just waiting to be explored.
Walk among the diverse ecosystems of the Daintree Rainforests while on our 5 day Queensland Daintree Explorer tour.
8. Wineglass Bay
With its white sand, crystal-clear water and distinct crescent shape, Wineglass Bay on Tasmania's gorgeous Freycinet Peninsula is a pristine paradise. It's easy to see why it's often voted as one of the top 10 beaches in the world! Hike a trail to the summit overlooking the bay for breathtaking views, or descend to the beach and set up camp. Go snorkeling to discover colorful fish and perhaps some playful dolphins.
Stroll by the waters of Wineglass Bay on a nature-lovers 6 day Tasmania Adventure tour.
9. Clare Valley
This beautiful wine-producing region is famed for its delicious local produce, picturesque scenery, friendly people and, of course, its fabulous wine. Explore back roads lined with vines and go wine tasting to sample the very best drops this region has to offer.
Cycle and sample your way through one of Australia's oldest wine regions on our 6 day Cycle South Australia's Wine Regions tour.
10. Blue Mountains
Covering over one million hectares, the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains is rich in verdant rainforest, dramatic waterfalls, looming forests and an abundance of wildlife. Greet the iconic Three Sisters and wander the boardwalks to soak up this breathtaking area of Australian bush.
Walk, trek, and discover the beauty of the rugged New South Wales region home to the Blue Mountains on a 4 day Walk the Blue Mountains trek.
Top destinations to visit in Australia
1. ikara-flinders ranges national park.
Discover Ikara with an Adnyamathanha guide on a tour that shines a light on Adnyamathanha history, uncovers the park’s more recent past, and looks towards the future.
Wander through Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park on our 7 day Flinders Ranges Explorer tour or on our 7 day Walk South Australia's Flinders Ranges tour.
2. Arnhem Land
Explore the rugged wilderness of Arnhem Land , where Australia’s First Nations people have lived for thousands of years. Share Dreamtime stories, learn how to gather local food and create traditional paintings.
Experience Arnhem Land for yourself on our 8 day Walk Kakadu National Park tour.
3. The West Coast
The West Coast of Australia certainly feels like the Final Frontier. Perhaps visit the red rock gorges of Karijini National Park, take in a camel ride on Cable Beach, or unwind among the vineyards of Margaret River.
Marvel at the beauty of the West Coast on our 8 day Hike Western Australia's Cape to Cape Track.
4. Tropical North Queensland
Join an Aboriginal painting class at Janbal Gallery and hear East Coast Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime stories about the animals, environment and language of the Indigenous rainforest people from Mossman and the Daintree rainforest.
Dive into Tropical North Queensland on our 7 day Queensland Coast Adventure or on our 8 day Brisbane to Cairns Adventure.
5. The Kimberley
While Broome could keep you occupied for days, it’s really the Kimberley’s natural beauty that lures you in. Away from the stretches of Cable Beach, you find a region that rapidly unrolls into a world of dense rainforest, underground caves and boab-dotted horizons straight out of Africa.
Discover the beauty of the Kimberley's on our 14 day Kimberley Trail or on our 5 day Kimberley Family Holiday.
Kakadu National Park is packed with billabongs, waterfalls, strange rock formations and all types of native wildlife. ‘Roos bounce through the bushland, dingoes are spotted along rocky outcrops, dugongs wallow off the coast, and, despite the name, crocs patrol the waters of Alligator River.
Explore Kakadu National Park on our 8 day Walk Kakadu National Park tour or on our 4 day Kakadu, Katherine & Litchfield Adventure.
7. The Red Centre
Also known as Central Australia, the Red Centre is where Uluru rises from the landscape in all its beauty. But there’s far more to this region than the iconic rock of the Outback. Discover Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and its 36 stunning red domes; Kings Canyon , with its natural amphitheater and the East and West MacDonnell Ranges.
Uncover the magic of the Red Centre on our 6 day Premium Red Centre & Uluru tour or on our 4 day Uluru & Kings Canyon Family Adventure.
8. The Outback
Experience the untamed beauty of Outback Australia, hear tales of the Aboriginal Dreaming with a First Nations guide, cross incredible scenery in a 4WD, and walk among a carpet of wildflowers in the Flinders Ranges.
Explore the Outback on our 5 day Best of Uluru & Kings Canyon tour or on our 10 day West Coast & Karijini Overland Adventure.
9. K'gari (Fraser Island)
K'gari (Fraser Island) isn’t just the largest sand island in Queensland, it’s the largest one in the world. Explore the rugged headlands, silica sand beaches, lush rainforests hugging the shore and freshwater lakes that lay hidden throughout this World Heritage-listed island.
Experience K'gari for yourself on our 14 day Sydney to Cairns Adventure.
10. Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a winding coastal route of sandstone cliffs and dense rainforest hinterland that stretches all the way from Torquay in the East to Allansford in the West. While the region is famous for its Twelve Apostles, there are plenty of local secrets to be discovered if you’re willing to take the time.
Drive along the Great Ocean Road on our 6 day Great Ocean Road & Grampians Adventure.
This island state turns heads thanks to its thriving gallery and gastronomy scene, plus its bounty of natural wonders. Boasting some of Australia’s finest beaches, mistiest mountaintops, loneliest patches of wilderness and most elusive animals, Tasmania is a nature lover’s wonderland.
Discover Tasmania on our 6 day Highlights of Tasmania tour, on our 4 day Hobert & Southern Tasmania Explorer tour or on our 6 day Trek the Cradle Mountain Overland Track.
See the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, take a dip at Bondi Beach, explore the historic Rocks area and discover everything this cosmopolitan city has to offer.
Marvel at Sydney's iconic sights on our 7 day Sydney to Brisbane Adventure.
13. South Australian outback
Explore the South Australian outback at Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary on a 4WD tour that takes in science, education and conservation and showcases this incredible and unique wilderness area.
Delve into the South Australian wilderness on our 10 day South Australia Outback Adventure or on our Outback South Australia & Eyre Peninsula tour.
14. The Great Barrier Reef
Be inspired by the beauty of the world’s largest coral reef – The Great Barrier Reef. Go snorkeling in the warm waters with exotic sea creatures and colorful coral.
Go swimming on our 12 day Brisbane to the Daintree Discovery.
15. The Daintree Rainforest
Explore the world's most ancient rainforest, the Daintree in Far North Queensland , with a local family who lives in a privately owned part of it.
Experience the serenity of the Daintree Rainforest on our 5 day Daintree Family Holiday or on our 8 day Daintree & Cape Tribulation Adventure.
Geography and environment
The continent of Australia is known for being one of the flattest, hottest, and driest places on earth, but despite this, there is an astounding variety of terrains and environments on this island nation. While large areas of Australia are covered in desert, there are also tropical rainforests, alpine snowfields, dense bushland, beaches, gorges, lakes, and rivers to be found.
Australia’s national parks are home to many species of birds and mammals not found in the wild anywhere else in the world, including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, and wombats.
Boasting many stunning white sand beaches, Australia has a coastline like none other. From busy Bondi to surfing icons like Bell’s Beach and Tasmania’s stunning Wineglass Bay , there are endless places to swim, surf, snorkel and paddle.
Despite Australia’s large landmass, most people tend to live in urban, coastal cities. Faster-paced cities like Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne hold much of the population, as do regional satellite cities such as Albury, Dubbo, Bunbury, Townsville, Newcastle and Geelong.
Outback towns have a unique flavor and a distinct way of life; things are slower here, and due to smaller populations, space is plentiful, with most locals relying on agriculture for a living. Venturing away from the city to visit the Outback and rural areas of Australia is highly recommended, as it gives travelers the chance to see a different side of Australia. Traverse the northern regions of Australia's iconic outback landscape on a 11 day Darwin to Broome Outback tour.
Culture and customs
With a strong history of immigration, modern Australia is made up of people from many different cultural backgrounds. This mix makes Australia an endlessly fascinating place to visit, as travelers will be exposed to a variety of different customs and cultures during their stay. From the ancient, spiritual ways of the First Nations population to the wide array of faiths, foods, and festivals on display in the big cities, Australia is a cultural melting pot.
Despite the differences, there are many things that unify the people of Australia. Sports, in particular cricket, soccer, and football (Australian Rules), are played and watched by the masses, irrespective of age, race, gender, or income. Large sporting events like the AFL Grand Final, Melbourne Cup Day, and the Boxing Day Cricket Test have universal appeal for Australians.
Australians relish public holidays, with national and state holidays offering locals time to relax with friends and family over a barbecue or picnic. Making use of Australia’s natural environment is also paramount during this time, with outdoor activities like bushwalking, swimming at the beach, or lazing in the park popular with locals.
Eating and drinking
Intrepid believes that one of the best ways of experiencing a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savoring a cheap eat, or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.
Australia is a land that has been built by immigrants, and these multicultural influences are evident in the wide array of food available. In the cities, it’s possible to find world-class Vietnamese, Turkish, Italian, Greek, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and Indian restaurants, as well as excellent gastro-pub fare. Head to the Outback, and you’ll find authentic ' bush tucker ', simple campfire meals, and sizzling barbecues.
Food to try in Australia
1. Fresh seafood
With such an impressive coastline, it’s no wonder fresh oysters, prawns, mussels, and ‘balmain bugs’ are devoured by locals and savored by visitors. For those on a budget, there’s nothing wrong with eating fish and chips on the beach.
Australia creates some of the best wines in the world at South Australia’s Barossa Valley , Western Australia’s Margaret River , and New South Wales’s Hunter Valley .
Whether you’re downing a can of VB in Victoria or sipping micro-brewed ale in Sydney, sharing a beer with mates is a social experience not to be missed when in Australia
4. Hot pies
An Australian classic – savory meat pies (or vegetable pies for vegetarians) are best eaten with tomato sauce and are easily found and served in city cafes, country bakeries, and football matches around Australia.
Read more about Australia's must-try foods
Festivals and events in Australia
Anxiously anticipated by many – the Australian Rules Football Grand Final is a great time to be in Melbourne. Tickets are notoriously scarce but pubs, clubs and backyards overflow with people watching the ‘Big Game’ and celebrating (or commiserating) afterwards.
Feeling hungry? Tasting Australia is a food festival that takes place once a year throughout South Australia and showcases the culture, producers, and regions that make this state such a delicious destination to explore.
Vivid Sydney lights up the harbor city with a Festival of Ideas featuring inspirational speakers, performances by local and international artists, and light installations that transform buildings and cultural icons into colorful works of art.
Margaret River Pro
See your favorite professional surfers at work against the backdrop of the beautiful Margaret River region in South Australia at the Margaret River Pro.
State of Origin
Turn your Brisbane, Perth or Sydney adventure up a notch by experiencing a State of Origin game.
Switch your Cairns holiday to sustainable mode at Cairns Ecofiesta: an eco-conscious festival that celebrates and supports the environment through eco workshops, live music, local produce markets, and vegetarian food options. Suitable for the whole family, this festival aims to both encourage a sustainable lifestyle and leave you with plenty of eco-inspo so you can start your very own planet-protecting journey.
Alice Springs Beanie Festival
Celebrate the very best of Aboriginal talent, creativity, and skill at the Alice Springs Beanie Festival. Bursting with silly and colorful handmade beanies, this festival aims to encourage and appreciate the work of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people with various textile workshops and demonstrations on sight to help you understand and learn how to make local arts and crafts.
Barunga is a closed community in the Northern Territory that you usually need a permit to enter, but for three days they open up to the world to celebrate life in Katherine's remote Indigenous communities. With a jam-packed program featuring storytelling circles, art and bush medicine workshops, and some of Australia's best First Nations musicians, Barunga Festival is a wonderful opportunity to connect with the vibrant community.
Promising to give you a real taste of the Northern Territory, the Darwin Festival brings together a myriad of performances, shows, concerts, and exhibitions for you to enjoy. From comedy shows to art galleries, this bubbling festival will have you wanting to come back again and again and again.
Inspired by Australia but still browsing? Why not check out these incredible destinations:
- New Zealand tours
- Should I travel to Australia or New Zealand?
- Canada tours
- The United Kingdom
Australia travel faqs, do i need a covid-19 vaccine to join an intrepid trip.
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travelers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
What's the weather like in Australia?
The weather in Australia varies depending on where in the country you are. For example, winter in Victoria and Tasmania tends to be very cold (around the 32 °F -59 °F mark), whereas, if you head further north to the Northern Territory and Queensland, temperatures in the winter months are much nicer (usually around 64 °F -77 °F ).
This pattern also applies to summer, where the southern states tend to experience lower temperatures (but still warm), while the northern and western states are warmer, with temperatures reaching as high as 104 °F +.
Do I need a visa to travel to Australia?
AUSTRALIA: Belgium: Yes - required in advance Canada: Yes - required in advance Germany: Yes - required in advance Ireland: Yes - required in advance Netherlands: Yes - required in advance New Zealand: Not required South Africa: Yes - required in advance Switzerland: Yes - required in advance United Kingdom: Yes - required in advance USA: Yes - required in advance
All travelers, except New Zealand citizens, must obtain a visa or travel authority before traveling to Australia. Failure to do so means you may not be allowed to board your flight to Australia. Most nationalities can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority via the internet before arrival. Please check with Australian Immigration or with your relevant Australian visa issuing office for your nationalities requirements.
Is tipping customary in Australia?
Tipping isn’t mandatory in Australia; however, rounding up the bill or leaving spare change is common practice. Restaurant staff, taxi drivers and other service workers welcome tips for good service.
What is the internet access like in Australia?
Internet access is widely available in most parts of Australia, with internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot spots commonly found in urban areas. Please note that internet access won’t be available in Outback and remote areas.
Can I use my cell phone while in Australia?
Cell phone coverage is excellent in most parts of Australia, especially in large cities and urban areas. Remote, rural and mountainous places may have limited to no coverage, so be aware of this before venturing away from the city. Ensure global roaming is activated before leaving your home country if you want to use your cell phone, or you can purchase a sim card when you arrive. The provider that will have coverage in the majority of Australia is Telstra, secondly Optus and then Vodafone. A hot tip – when you are in remote areas and don’t have cell phone signal, turn your phone to flight mode which will conserve battery and prevent your phone from using data trying to search for internet signal.
What are the toilets like in Australia?
Western-style flushable toilets are the norm in Australia, and many of our campsites have proper facilities with flushing toilets. In remote areas such as the Kimberley, there is no established plumbing and therefore we have installed ‘drop toilets’. Some campsites we use are managed by the National Parks and have either eco-toilets or drop toilets, most of which are maintained regularly.
What will it cost for a…?
Newspaper = AU$2.50-$4.00 Cup of coffee = AU$4.00-$7.00 Pint of beer in a pub = AU$11.00 Basic lunch at a mid-range cafe = AU$20.00
Can I drink the water in Australia?
Drinking water from taps in Australia is considered safe, unless otherwise marked. For environmental reasons, try to use a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water.
Are credit cards accepted widely in Australia?
Credit cards are widely accepted by shops, restaurants and cafes in Australia. Smaller establishments may only accept cash or require a minimum purchase for credit card use, so be sure to carry enough cash for smaller purchases.
What is ATM access like in Australia?
ATMs are commonly found in large cities and regional towns in Australia. ATM access will be very limited in remote areas so be aware of this before heading into national parks or the Outback.
What public holidays are celebrated in Australia?
- 1 Jan New Year's Day
- 26 Jan Australia Day
- Good Friday*
- Easter Monday*
- 25 Apr Anzac Day
- 25 Dec Christmas Day
- 26 Dec Boxing Day
*Please note these dates may vary. See the current list of public holidays in Australia .
This list does not include State governed public holidays.
Do I need to purchase travel insurance before traveling?
Absolutely. All passengers traveling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Who are the First Nations people of Australia?
There are two distinct groups of First Nations peoples in Australia - Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islander people - both of which have lived on this land for centuries. While there are only two Indigenous groups, there's actually a wide range of language and location communities that are made up of Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islander people including the Adnyamathanha people of the Flinders Ranges (Aboriginal Australians) and the Badu people from the Near Western Group (Torres Strait Islander people).
Is Australia LGBTQIA+ friendly?
Australia is an extremely friendly country for travelers of the LGBTQIA+ community because of its strong anti-discrimination laws, social acceptance, and a wide variety of cultural events organized throughout the year including pride festivals and celebrations.
What's the transport like in Australia?
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun. Depending on which trip you're on while in Australia, you may even find yourself traveling overland.
Australia is a big place – like, huge. Overland tours involve a lot of time on the road covering long distances, and sometimes the landscape can be pretty barren, so bring a book or some tunes to keep you company.
What's the accommodation like in Australia?
Traveling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavor to provide travelers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When traveling with us in Australia you may find yourself staying in a:
Our lodge accommodation is located outside major cities, such as near the entrance to a National Park, and has its own amenities such as a restaurant or dining room. Lodges are comfortable places to stay and offer a good night's rest after a day spent exploring the natural beauty of Australia.
Permanent Tented Campsite
There's no need to put up your tent when you spend the night in a Permanent Tented Campsite. You'll have a roof over your head and will bunk down on sleeper mats on the ground or stretcher (camp) beds, with access to a toilet/shower block. Tent sizes can vary depending on the trip you're on and the location you're visiting. Some of our permanent tented campsites are a little bit fancy, others are very simple. Sometimes you'll be sharing a tent with others in your group.
Our bush camping experiences are as diverse as Australia itself. Some offer swag camping under cover or under the twinkling stars. You could be sleeping in a tent with access to simple toilet or shower amenities or you might not have access to a shower at all. However, the scenery at these magical spots makes it worth going without a bath for a day or so. Sometimes a trip has participatory camping where everyone pitches in to help. Other times, a staff member is on hand to look after things like cooking.
We provide accommodation at a wide variety of hotels around Australia. Some are quite upmarket, others less so, but all of them offer a comfortable stay and ensuite facilities.
We use hostels on some trips which means your bed could be in a twin room or a shared dorm room. Some of these rooms come with their own facilities while others have share facilities.
How do I stay safe and healthy while traveling?
Go to: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
Go to: https://travel.gc.ca/
From the UK?
Go to: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
From New Zealand?
Go to: https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/
From the US?
Go to: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html
The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.
What is it like traveling on a small group tour?
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or you’re about to embark on your first trip, traveling can be as intimidating as it is exciting. That's the beauty of a small group tour. From handling the logistics and organizing amazing cultural activities to local leaders who know each destination like the back of their hand (like which street has the best markets and where to get the most authentic food), traveling on a small group tour with Intrepid will give you unforgettable travel experiences without the hassle that comes with exploring a new place. Plus, you'll have ready-made friends to share the journey with. All you have to do is turn up with a healthy sense of adventure and we’ll take care of the rest.
Does my trip to Australia support The Intrepid Foundation?
Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. In fact, we make a donation on behalf of every traveler. Trips to Australia directly support our foundation partners, Blue Carbon Lab and Greening Australia.
Blue Carbon Lab
Blue Carbon Lab is helping to mitigate climate change by restoring and protecting blue carbon in coastal wetlands. We've already lost 65% of wetlands globally, and multiple impacts, including urban development, agriculture, industry, and more, threaten these crucial blue-carbon ecosystems. Donations from our trips help Blue Carbon Lab to restore the natural coastal wetland areas in Victoria, Australia.
Find out more or make a donation
Greening Australia is taking action to rebuild resilient ecosystems across Australia, from the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef to the cool island ark of Tasmania. Donations from our trips help them tackle Australia's complex environmental challenges through large on-ground restoration projects and innovative research initiatives that help scale their impact.
Find out more or make a donation
Does my Intrepid trip include airfare?
While our Intrepid trips include many modes of transport, from tuk-tuks to overland vehicles, bullet trains and feluccas, airfare to and from your home country is not included in your tour package.
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Marrawah, Tasmania © Tourism Tasmania
Getting around Australia
You may have heard Australia is a big country, but did you know, despite its size, it's easy to get around?
Getting around by plane
Qantas A330 over Sydney Harbour, Sydney, New South Wales © Qantas
Flying is the best way to cover Australia’s large distances in a short time. Australia’s domestic airlines – including Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Rex – serve all state capital cities and many regional cities, making it an easy way to travel between Australia's iconic destinations . Competition between domestic airlines means that some great value fares are available, especially if you book in advance.
Getting around by car
Canungra Valley, Gold Coast, Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland
Australia has a vast network of well-maintained roads and some of the most beautiful road trips in the world. When travelling long distances, you'll find rest stops and service stations at regular intervals.
You’ll find car rental companies at major airports and central city locations; so hire a car, 4WD or caravan and hit the highway.
Learn how to hire a car in Australia
Public transport and tourist bus services
Big Bus Tours, Sydney, New South Wales © Big Bus Tours
Take the pressure off travelling around the city by utilising public transport and hop-on hop-off tourist buses. Services are inexpensive (children generally pay a concession fee) and will take you to all the major attractions without the hassle of finding parking. Some services, such as Melbourne’s City Circle Tram, are completely free! In Sydney, there are caps to weekly transport rates, so you will never pay more than the maximum weekly fare, regardless of how often you use the transport network. Most buses, metros, trains and trams can accommodate prams and other access requirements, making them a great option for getting around.
Coach travel in Australia is comfortable, efficient and reasonably priced. Australia’s national coach operator, Greyhound , offers a range of travel passes.
Getting around by train
The Ghan © Heather Dinas Photography
There are spectacular rail journeys in Australia, such as The Ghan and Indian Pacific , which sweep across the continent, offering comfort and a sense of nostalgic romance. The Indian Pacific travels between Sydney and Perth, stopping at Broken Hill, Adelaide and Kalgoorlie; the legendary Ghan travels between Adelaide and Darwin, taking in Australia’s Red Centre and the tropical Top End.
Embark on a luxury train journey
Getting around by ferry
Spirit of Tasmania © Spirit of Tasmania
The Spirit of Tasmania operates a nightly passenger and vehicle ferry service between Geelong, Victoria's second-largest city, and Devonport in Tasmania with extra services during peak periods. SeaLink ferries connect Cape Jervis in South Australia (approximately 108 kilometres/67 miles south of Adelaide) and Kangaroo Island several times a day. There are also ferry services in our capital cities, connecting suburbs around Sydney Harbour, on the Swan River in Perth and on the Brisbane River.
Finding your way on foot
Murray River Walk, South Australia © Murray River Trails
Australia's cities and towns are great for exploring on foot, with well maintained footpaths and scenic walkways that will take you through parklands, along coastal cliffs and through urban laneways.
You can also tackle some of the longest tracks and trails in the world here – impressive journeys of a thousand kilometres (620 miles) or more that can take several weeks to complete. From the Overland Track through Tasmania's World Heritage-listed wilderness to the Larapinta Trail across the West MacDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory, these hikes let you discover spectacular landscapes while stretching your legs.
Explore Australia's best walks and hikes
Travelling with a disability
Deep Creek Conservation Park, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia © John Montesi
In Australia, airlines, trains, buses and ferries are accessible to people using a wheelchair or mobility device. Australia’s airports provide services for people with disabilities and are able to assist with baggage, getting around the airport and getting on and off the plane. For more information visit the Australia For All , Can Go Everywhere and People With Disability Australia websites.
Distances and journey times for common routes
Travelling from Sydney
*Via Melbourne and Adelaide
Travelling from Melbourne
Download our Australia Visitor Map
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Acknowledgement of Country
We acknowledge the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners of the land, sea and waters of the Australian continent, and recognise their custodianship of culture and Country for over 60,000 years.
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How to travel to Australia with points and miles for 2023
Nov 6, 2023 • 18 min read
Hiking near Esperance in Western Australia © John Crux Photography / Getty
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What comes to mind when you think of Australia? For me, it’s watching the surfers at Bondi Beach , that first glimpse of the Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road and visiting Steve Irwin’s beloved Australia Zoo .
For those with limited vacation time, a trip to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane is a terrific introduction to Australia . Each city is a fabulous base for day trips to national parks, nearby beaches and other popular attractions within the region by car via guided tour.
If you’ve got a flexible schedule — or the ability to spend a year doing the Working Holiday Visa (for 18 to 30-year-olds, or up to age 35 if you’re from certain countries ) like I did — catch a short flight to remote locales such as Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra, Alice Springs or Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park to experience everything Australia has to offer.
Worried this might be an expensive endeavor? There are plenty of ways to bring costs down, from sticking to your budget to using points and miles to pay for your flights, hotels, car rentals and tours.
Here’s everything you need to know about traveling to Australia with points and miles.
How to get started with travel points and airline miles
The cheapest award flights to Australia
If the idea of spending an entire day on an airplane makes you sweat – 15.5 hours from Los Angeles or San Francisco and roughly 17.5 hours from Dallas or Houston – I don’t blame you. But I promise you it’s worth it.
While jet lag likely won’t spare you, I find it helps to get as much sleep as I can on the way there so I’m ready to hit the ground running when I land. On the way back to the US, try and stay awake as long as possible (movie marathon!) so you can go to bed close to a normal time when you land.
Also keep in mind that you’ll need to apply for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) visa for about 20 AUD (US$12), which lets you visit Australia for up to three months each time you enter the country within a 12-month period. For peace of mind, apply early, as processing times vary.
As for booking flights with points and miles , you’ll find the best deals from airport hubs in cities with nonstop flights to Sydney (SYD), Melbourne (MEL) or Brisbane (BNE). That means Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Honolulu (HNL) or Vancouver (YVR).
If you’re planning to venture out to other Australian cities, check Google Flights to see what prices are like on domestic carriers like Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Rex and Bonza.
You might also be able to use points and miles to cover short hops, as Jetstar is connected to Qantas (and partners), and Virgin Australia is partners with United Airlines. Signing up for travel credit cards so you can maximize welcome bonuses and booking with airline partners are the key ways to grow your pile of points and miles and save money on a trip to Australia.
- Cheapest economy class ticket to Australia: 75,000 ANA Mileage Club miles round-trip
- Cheapest business-class ticket to Australia: 110,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles round-trip (to fly on Qantas)
- Cheapest first-class ticket to Australia: 140,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles round-trip (to fly on Qantas)
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Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
While Alaska Airlines doesn’t operate flights to Australia, you can still use Mileage Plan miles to book trips on its Oneworld partners, Qantas and American Airlines. Here’s how many you’ll need to fly on American Airlines:
- Economy Class: 80,000 miles round-trip
- Business Class: 160,000 miles round-trip
- First Class: 220,000 miles round-trip
Here’s how many Mileage Plan miles you’ll need to redeem flights on Qantas:
- Economy Class: 85,000 miles round-trip
- Business Class: 110,000 miles round-trip
- First Class: 140,000 miles round-trip
When it comes to award availability, it’s going to be tougher to book a flight redemption with Qantas than American Airlines, so look early and often.
To earn Mileage Plan miles quickly, sign up for one of two cobranded credit cards to make the most of the welcome bonus. Thanks to a new partnership, Bilt Rewards can be transferred to American Airlines, while you can also sign up for a cobranded credit card to build up your AAdvantage miles stash.
Alternatively, you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Mileage Plan and AAdvantage at a 3:1 ratio.
- Alaska Airlines Visa® card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening — and earn Alaska’s $99 Companion Fare (plus taxes and fees from $23) each year after you spend $6,000.
- Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card: Earn 50,000 bonus miles, plus Alaska’s $99 Companion Fare, after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card : Earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first three months of account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card : Earn three free nights (worth 50,000 points each) after you spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bevy® American Express® Card : Earn 85,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card : Earn 95,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
- Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee within the first 90 days of account opening.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months of opening your account.
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn 65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first four months of account opening.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive Mastercard®: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
- The Bilt Mastercard®: No welcome bonus, but you can earn points on rent and transfer to a number of airline and hotel partners.
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Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qantas Frequent Flyer opens its availability options 353 days ahead of time, giving the first choice to its members when it comes to redeeming points for business- and first-class seats (compared to those redeeming via partners).
While you might find a better deal by booking Qantas award tickets with other Oneworld partners like American Airlines or Alaska Airlines, it’s still worth checking the Qantas points calculator on its website, as it usually depends on the distance you’ll be flying.
Here’s an idea of what you’ll find for a sample flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD):
- Economy Class: 83,800 miles round-trip
- Business Class: 216,800 miles round-trip
- First Class: 325,600 miles-round-trip
For comparison, here’s a search for a flight from Dallas (DFW) to SYD):
- Economy Class: 102,400 miles round-trip
- Business Class: 253,000 miles round-trip
- First Class: 379,600 miles-round-trip
Qantas points can also be redeemed for flights on Jetstar and American Airlines, among other Oneworld airline partners.
Several flexible rewards programs, such as American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Capital One Rewards, let you transfer points to Qantas at a 1:1 ratio, while Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred at a ratio of 3:1.
- American Express® Green Card: Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 within the first six months of opening your account.
- American Express® Gold Card : Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 within the first six months of account opening
- American Express® Business Gold Card : Earn 70,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express : Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 within the first six months of opening your account.
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express : Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of account opening.
- Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card : Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card : Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
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All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club
While All Nippon Airways (ANA) is the flag carrier of Japan, you can still use ANA Mileage Club miles to book flights through its Star Alliance partners, such as United Airlines and Air Canada.
There is one catch: you’ll need to book a round-trip award redemption, as one-ways aren’t allowed. Here’s how many ANA Mileage Club miles you’ll need to redeem a round-trip flight on either partner airline:
- Economy Class: 75,000 miles round-trip
- Business Class: 120,000 miles round-trip
The easiest ways to earn ANA Mileage Club miles are by using the 1:1 transfer ratio from American Express Membership Rewards or by maximizing the welcome bonus of either The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card from American Express, which would each provide enough points to cover your round-trip flight.
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Using Avianca LifeMiles to book flights on Star Alliance partners United Airlines and Air Canada is one of the best points and miles sweet spots, especially after United devalued its MileagePlus program this summer.
To rack up Avianca LifeMiles in a hurry, transfer points at a 1:1 ratio from Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, or from Marriott Bonvoy at a ratio of 3:1.
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card : Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card : Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
- American Express® Gold Card : Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 within the first six months of account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bevy® American Express® Card : Earn 85,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
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United Airlines MileagePlus
While admittedly this isn’t your best redemption option, I’m including it because it’s still a good one for those who rely on transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to United and its many Star Alliance partners.
- Economy Class: 110,000 miles round-trip
- Business Class: 200,000 miles round-trip
Several cobranded United credit cards offer lucrative welcome bonuses, as do the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® , to help you get started on your United MileagePlus miles-building journey. United is also a partner of Bilt Rewards (1:1) and Marriott Bonvoy (3:1).
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card : Earn 60,000 bonus points once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® : Earn 60,000 bonus points once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
- United Gateway℠ Card : Earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within the first three months of account opening.
- United℠ Explorer Card : Earn 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
- United Quest℠ Card : Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 500 premier qualifying points (PQP) after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening.
- United Club℠ Infinite Card : Earn 80,000 bonus miles once you spend $5,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
- United℠ Business Card : Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening.
- United Club℠ Business Card : Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening.
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Australia hotels you can book with points
Some of the best points hotels on earth can be found in Australia, no matter which part of the country you’re in. With options from most chains available in every major city, plus a few Accor properties outside Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park , there’s no need to go without the usual creature comforts, even in the middle of the Australian Outback.
You’ll encounter hotel and resort options from Marriott Bonvoy, IHG One Rewards, World of Hyatt, Hilton Honors, Choice Privileges, Wyndham Rewards and Accor Live Limitless. It’s free to sign up for all of these, and if you happen to have your preferred brand’s hotel rewards credit card , you’ll be able to rack up a ton of points in no time, thanks to their respective welcome bonuses.
Several travel credit cards really go the extra mile to help you cut costs. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® includes a $300 annual travel credit. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers an included benefit of $200 in statement credits, which can be put toward resort fees and other purchases made at Hilton hotels two times a year.
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Stop 1: Sydney
Most travelers will start their big Aussie adventure in Sydney , New South Wales, home to the famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Once you’ve checked out the oldest part of the city, a neighborhood known as “The Rocks,” unwind with a relaxing stroll through Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
If time allows, head to Bondi Beach , where you can have a swim and see the surfers do their thing. For a real treat, plan a day trip (by train or car) to Blue Mountains National Park and hike out to the Three Sisters viewing area in Katoomba for incredible views of the rock formation and the valley below.
The Park Hyatt Sydney, a category 8 World of Hyatt property located right in the heart of all the action in Dawes Point, has room rates from 35,000 per night. With 155 rooms and suites (many of which offer views of Sydney Harbour), a swanky rooftop pool and a luxurious spa, it’s a terrific place to lay your head after a long flight — or a big day of sightseeing.
The welcome bonus from the World of Hyatt Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® would be enough to cover one night (or two nights if you sign up for both – just make sure you aren’t violating Chase’s 5:24 rule, which won’t let you add a new Chase credit card if you’ve already signed up for five cards in the last 24 months).
If you’re still short, you can always transfer Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt, as it’s one of Chase’s hotel partners.
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Stop 2: Melbourne
Located in Victoria, Melbourne is home to lively coffee and foodie scenes, world-class museums and incredible nightlife throughout the Central Business District and just a tram ride away by the beach in St Kilda.
Keep your eyes peeled for colorful murals and street art as you wind your way through the city’s many laneways. Don’t leave without doing the 90-minute Aboriginal Heritage Walk at the Royal Botanic Garden, which offers a chance to learn more about local flora as well as the history, culture and modern-day experience of Australia’s Indigenous people.
Five-star hotel Le Méridien Melbourne came onto the scene in March 2023, offering room rates from 31,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. With 235 guestrooms, a chic pool deck and a location within walking distance of the Melbourne Museum, Fitzroy Gardens and Melbourne’s busy central business district, it makes a great base for exploring the rest of the city.
Since Marriot Bonvoy is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can switch points over from either loyalty program to bump up your balance.
The welcome bonus alone from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card would take care of a free night (up to 95,000 points). Members earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after using their new card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership. Card members also receive up to $300 annually ($25 per month) in credits for dining at restaurants and a free night on their anniversary.
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Stop 3: Brisbane
Located in Queensland, Brisbane is best known for its farmers' markets, public art museums, zig-zagging Riverwalk and vibrant live music scene.
It’s also a great base for making day trips to Mount Coot-Tha, the Glass House Mountains, Crocodile Steve Irwin’s beloved Australia Zoo in Beerwah or one of Australia’s many theme parks – Dreamworld, Warner Bros. Movie World, WhiteWater World, Wet’N’Wild or Sea World – near the Gold Coast.
Hotel X Brisbane Fortitude Valley, part of the IHG One Rewards Vignette Collection, has room rates from 26,000 points per night, putting you within walking distance of the scenic Story Bridge, the Wilson Outlook Reserve, and all the shopping and nightlife the Fortitude Valley neighborhood has to offer.
The welcome bonus from the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card offers enough points to cover a whopping five nights at this hotel, while the IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card’s would cover three. Alternatively, the welcome bonus from either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® could cover two nights.
To top up your IHG Rewards One points balance, you can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards or Bilt Rewards at a 1:1 ratio.
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Activities and ground transportation
If you’re planning to rent a car, be aware that you’ll need to drive on the left side of the road and from the right side of the car.
Whether you decide to go for it or rely on public transportation or ridesharing apps like Uber to get around, you’ll be able to “wipe” those transportation charges if you have certain travel credit cards.
The Capital One Venture and the Capital One Venture X allow cardholders to redeem points to cover travel expenses, typically at a value of one cent per point. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® also offers a $300 annual credit, so you’ll receive statement credits meant to cover certain travel charges.
To help lower the cost of car rentals, guided tours and other activities, Chase Sapphire Preferred® and Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can redeem Ultimate Rewards points to cover them at a rate of 1.25 cents per point or 1.5 cents per point, respectively, through the Chase travel portal.
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There’s no reason a dream trip to Australia has to break the bank. By being aware of airline alliances and the many ways to save on points and miles redemptions through booking with transfer partners, you’ll be able to cover your flights and hotel stays in no time.
Signing up for travel credit cards with generous welcome bonuses and focusing on flexible rewards programs with transferable points will help boost your balance in a hurry, freeing up more of your hard-earned dollars for fun activities like a night out on the town or dinner at a fancy restaurant.
*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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Everything you need to know about driving in Australia
Book your individual trip , stress-free with local travel experts
written by Andy Turner
With its stunning Outback scenery, arrow-straight roads and stupendous scale, driving in Australia is the ultimate way to see it the country up close and personally. Whether you're driving a souped-up Land Cruiser capable of crossing a croc-infested creek or a humble hatchback more at home in a Melbourne suburb, you'll find a route to suit.
What car to choose when driving in Australia
To buy or not to buy, rules of the road for driving in australia, route idea #1: the red desert one, route idea #2: the great ocean one, route idea #3: the one to the tropical tip, route idea #4: the city to city one, route idea #5: the cross-country beast.
Use this guide to driving in Australia to plan your trip, particularly for long-term travel. If you're looking for a self-drive vacation, get inspired with these signature trips created by local experts in Australia .
Tailor-made travel itineraries for Australia, created by local experts
12 days / from 1565 USD
Explore Western Australia from Perth to Broome
Western Australia is the country's largest state, covering more than a third of Australia. This self drive itinerary allows you to explore sunny Perth, stunning national parks and waterfalls, the remote wild west outback, empty beaches and much more.
16 days / from 2065 USD
Explore South Australia and the Northern Territory
Explore South Australia and the Northern Territory on this self-drive adventure. Start in Adelaide and make your way over the Ayers Rock, Kings Canyon, and Alice Springs to the Kakadu National Park and ultimately Darwin.
23 days / from 4150 USD
Cross Western Australia to Darwin
Western Australia offers wonderfully remote outback experiences: from spectacular national parks to sandy deserts, pristine beaches to working cattle stations. This itinerary allows you to explore the way from Perth to Darwin in depth and at your own pace, in your own rental car.
Choosing what to drive usually boils down to time, budget and where you're planning to go. A standard hire car will get you surprisingly far in Australia, as you'll find well-paved roads and roadhouses (a garage with attached pub/pie-shop and accommodation) along all but the most remote sections of coast, even deep into the Outback.
For the romantics among you, hiring a campervan allows you greater freedom, and a true sense of adventure. Bear in mind, though, that the lack of space and the joys of a chemical toilet mean you'll often be craving the facilities of a campsite (aka campground) kitted out with power points, BBQs and hot showers. If you do go for a campervan, invest in air-con and preferably a fridge. There's nothing more Australian than cracking open an ice-cold VB beer under a star-strewn sky.
For anything truly gnarly, a four-wheel drive (4WD) is your best bet – in Australia that generally translates to the 'bulletproof' Toyota Land Cruiser. For the basics on 4WD driving print out the safety card produced by the National 4WD Association and read our Outback driving tips .
Driving into the Australian outback © fotosaga/Shutterstock
Many travellers on a longer trip decide to buy a car or campervan, hoping they can offload it at a reasonable price down the track. Apart from the usual suspects such as Gumtree and eBay, Sydney's backpacker car market in Kings Cross has a huge range of road-worthy (and importantly) state-registered cars for sale. If you don't fancy the hassle, Travellers Autobarn offer guaranteed buyback on cars and campervans.
If you prefer to rent instead, check out our tips on where and how to rent a car worldwide .
Despite its epic and often empty roads, there's a maximum speed limit of 110kph, or 68mph, across Australia. Police do not need a reason to pull you over for a breath test and you'll often find roadblocks testing every driver on the approach to big cities, especially if there's a big rugby, AFL or cricket match on.
Parking fines can also be a headache for those with a campervan who expect to be able to park anywhere (and don't expect to escape a fine once you've left the country - the authorities are great at tracking people down). Petrol and diesel, though a major expense on any road trip, are both cheaper in Australia than the UK or Europe.
The incredible Uluru, Australia © Uwe Aranas/Shutterstock
While most visitors now fly direct to Uluru (Ayers Rock) , approaching this monumental Aussie icon is even more exciting by road. The route from Alice Springs via the Stuart Highway and Ernest Giles Road (4WD only) takes you past otherworldly meteor craters, across the dry Finke River bed and offers a tempting detour to the unmissable Kings Canyon. Along the way you might spot thorny dragon lizards skittering across the road, emus and beefy red kangaroos (it's best to avoid driving at night when they can be spooked by headlights).
What to drive: Standard car/4WD for Ernest Giles leg
When to do it: April–October
Beautiful beaches are your reward along the Great Ocean Road © Shutterstock
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An all-time classic for jaw-dropping coastal scenery, the Great Ocean Road west of Melbourne, combines gorgeous vistas of crashing surf and rocky pinnacles (notably the Twelve Apostles) with wildlife-watching opportunities, including whales and fur seals. Try and time your visit around Easter so you can drop in at the Rip Curl Pro surfing competition at the legendary Bells Beach.
What to drive: Standard car/camper
When to do it: November–April
Daintree National Park, Australia © Marco Saracco/Shutterstock
There are some wonderful drives in Australia's tropical "Top End", especially the Northern Territory's stunning national parks. The ultimate option, though, is the near 1,000km ride from Cairns to Cape York, the very northern tip of Australia. Passing through remote Aboriginal settlements, virgin rainforest and roaring waterfalls, you'll likely to see saltwater crocs and bizarre-looking cassowary birds along the way. If you're pushed for time, the route from Cairns to the Daintree National Park via Mission Beach provides similarly epic tropical scenery in a more modest 390km.
Distance: 1,000km or 390km (Daintree only)
What to drive: 4WD only
When to do it: May–October
Wilsons Promontory National Park © Julia Kuleshova/Shutterstock
Melbourne to Sydney can be done in a butt-aching nine hours if you stick to the M31 Hume Highway. Much more fun is to take your time and explore the wonders of Wilson's Promontory National Park, before heading north through the rolling and occasionally snowy Snowy Mountains via Mount Kosciuszko, the country's highest peak at 2,228m. Between Kosi and Sydney, Canberra makes a perfect pitstop and an opportunity to check out one of the world's quirkiest capitals.
What to drive: standard car/camper
The Rough Guides to Australia and related travel guides
In-depth, easy-to-use travel guides filled with expert advice.
When to do it: year-round, though July/August may bring snow on Mount Kosciuszko
Undara Volcanic National Park near Cairns, Australia © M.Kuehl/Shutterstock
If you're dead set on crossing the whole continent, the 3,500km Savannah Way links Broome in Western Australia to Cairns in northern Queensland, and provides every type of Outback driving, from parched desert to humid tropics. While you could feasibly drive this within a week or less, it's best to allow two to three, and stop off along the way (there are an amazing four UNESCO World Heritage sites to drop in at). While much of the Savannah Way is on paved roads, there are also a few sections requiring 4WD.
What to drive: standard car/4WD
Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip
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Travel advice for Australia
From travel safety to visa requirements, discover the best tips for traveling to Australia
- Eating and drinking in Australia
- Getting around Australia: Transportation Tips
- Travel Health Australia
- Sports and Outdoor activities in Australia
- How to get to Australia
- Travel Tips Australia for planning and on the go
- Travelling with children in Australia
- Best time to visit Australia
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An epic rainforest road trip along North Queensland's Cassowary Coast
A rooftop tent adds the comfort of a campervan to the manoeuvrability of a car — allowing travellers to head further into the wild — and the rainforests of Queensland, Australia provide ample opportunities to explore.
Its electric-blue feathered neck draped in a bright raspberry-hued wattle, a beautiful southern cassowary gives me a hard stare from a few metres away. I’m momentarily mesmerised — then I spot the dagger-like claws beneath its lustrous black plumage.
I’d pulled into a seafront pitch at Etty Bay Caravan Park, south of Cairns on Queensland’s rainforest-fringed Cassowary Coast, and, right away, the region had lived up to its name. But after a few minutes, the bird thankfully resumed pecking at the fallen fruits lining the shoreline, in time with the thumping rhythm of the waves.
As a resident of New South Wales, I’d long itched to see this far-flung stretch of coast, known for its wild swathes of rainforest as well as its endangered, human-sized namesakes. But, reluctant to trade my trusty Subaru Forester for a campervan, I’d opted for the next best thing: a rooftop tent.
The tent attaches to the rack of almost any vehicle, morphing — with a smooth pop-up motion — into a comfortable bed. In Australia, it’s a budget-friendly alternative to the traditional campervan, and equally popular for those not keen to take the wheel of a bulky vehicle. Travellers can rent one as part of their car-hire package, leaving plenty of room in the vehicle for baggage.
After a barbecue on the shore, I nodded off to the sounds of the Pacific Ocean, a salty breeze washing in through vents in the canvas.
The plan was to continue north along the coast. There were tempting side trips along the way that I wasn’t able to do without a 4WD, but my compact home-on-wheels was generally more than up to the task, navigating backroads and squeezing into tight pitches with ease. After a bit of practice, I fell easily into the routine, and could pack down the tent in less than 10 minutes.
I’d particularly looked forward to reaching Cape Tribulation, the remote headland where Lieutenant James Cook’s ship the Endeavour struck a reef in 1770. This wild stretch of coast, in the heart of the ancient Daintree rainforest, is home to rare Australian wildlife, including duck-billed platypuses, echidnas and tree kangaroos.
A car ferry across the crocodile-infested Daintree River — the only way to reach Cape Tribulation from the south — transports travellers into a dense tangle of fan palms and giant butterflies. Where the road south of the river is framed by vast, golden fields of sugar cane, here the route is coloured in infinite shades of green.
On arrival, I traced the road that snakes up into the tangle of greenery as far as the Mount Alexandra Lookout, which offers views that swoop across the canopy to the deep blues of the Great Barrier Reef. The air, thick and warm, felt alive, as if the rainforest were breathing.
For many visitors to this special corner of Queensland, that lofty lookout is the first stop in a fast-paced day trip from Port Douglas or Cairns. But with my temporary home securely strapped to the roof of my Subaru, I was in no hurry to get going. I shifted into slow gear, pulling over whenever a shady rainforest trail or palm-fringed beach appealed. I scanned placid, turquoise creeks and waterholes for lurking saltwater crocodiles, before jumping in for a swim. The frenetic pace of everyday life seemed to slow here, deep in the forest — a place where muscles can relax and lungs can exhale.
At the jungle-shrouded Safari Lodge, one of several campsites on Cape Tribulation, I was welcomed by a chorus of frogs, rising steadily over the incessant drone of the cicadas. As I stepped into the fading twilight to pop up the tent, an indiscernible shape emerged from the shadows beneath my car. A bandicoot? Then there was a screech from the rainforest canopy. A fruit bat? After my cassowary encounter, I was ready for anything.
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U.S.-Australia Business Travel Jump Seen – Here’s What’s Driving It
Selene Brophy , Skift
November 7th, 2023 at 8:28 AM EST
Business travel may finally return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024, and a boost in flight connectivity is helping.
Trips taken by education consultants and technology providers serving colleges and universities led business travel this year between the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.
Corporate bookings have surged 44% this year through October. Sales from the education sector were up 150%. Other leading drivers of corporate travel were government or nonprofit, IT, services, mining, and oil and gas companies.
The numbers come from Flight Centre Travel Group ‘s Corporate Traveler and FCM divisions.
The highest travel expenditures have been recorded by colleges and universities, followed by technology providers serving educational needs and education consulting firms.
Australia’s Business Travel Boost
Company earnings filed in August show Flight Centre Travel Group’s corporate division outperformed its leisure travel bookings, with $7 billion (AU$11 billion) in sales for the fiscal year ended June 30. That marked a 24% rise over pre-pandemic business travel performance levels.
The company’s leisure travel division reported $6.4 billion (AU$11 billion) in sales for the same period.
Overall, global business travel spending is expected to surpass its pre-pandemic spending level of $1.4 trillion (USD) in 2024, according to the Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) recent 2023 business travel outlook .
GBTA data showed construction topped the corporate travel sector list globally, with education second, while travel by professionals involved in scientific and technical activities remained resilient following the pandemic.
Air Capacity Boost for Business Travel
The uplift in travel between the nations has also coincided with increased airline capacity.
This past year, United Airlines announced non-stop services between Australia’s East Coast and Los Angeles, increasing its direct route from San Francisco.
In New Zealand, business travelers have the option of flying from Auckland to New York through Qantas or directly between San Francisco and Christchurch.
Most Popular Routes
This year, the most popular flight route between the United States and Australia has been Los Angeles to and from Sydney. Los Angeles to and from Melbourne, which held the top spot last year, is now second on the list for 2023. Sydney rounded out the rest of the top five.
Top routes between the U.S. and Australia
- 1) Los Angeles – Sydney
- 2) Los Angeles – Melbourne
- 3) New York – Sydney
- 4) San Francisco – Sydney
- 5) Boston – Sydney
According to the data, Auckland is the undisputed hub for Americans wanting to do business in New Zealand. The top five flight routes this year between the countries are below.
Top routes between the U.S. and New Zealand
- 1) Los Angeles – Auckland
- 2) San Francisco – Auckland
- 3) Chicago – Auckland
- 4) Honolulu – Auckland
- 5) Las Vegas – Auckland
Business Travel Beyond Australia
The U.S. accounted for 25% of the global business travel annual growth, with spending for the year up until August sitting at $329 million, GBTA said.
China has led the sector’s recovery with $360.7 million in business travel spending in the first eight months of the year. That came despite outbound flight capacity to the country sitting at half of 2019 levels.
Airlines Sector Stock Index Performance Year-to-Date
What am I looking at? The performance of cruise and tours sector stocks within the ST200 . The index includes companies publicly traded across global markets including network carriers, low-cost carriers, and other related companies.
The Skift Travel 200 (ST200) combines the financial performance of nearly 200 travel companies worth more than a trillion dollars into a single number. See more airlines sector performance .
Read the full methodology behind the Skift Travel 200.
Ask Skift Is the AI Chatbot for the Travel Industry
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Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch
Tags: australia , business travel , flight centre , flights , los angeles , new zealand
Photo credit: Business travel within the education sector has surged between the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. Andrew Neel / Unsplash
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Featured Events in Australia in 2023 (Continuously Updated)
In 2023, Australia will be a vibrant hub of diverse and exciting events that are sure to captivate both locals and international visitors. The calendar is packed with a variety of popular events, each offering a unique glimpse into the rich culture and dynamic lifestyle of this beautiful country. From the pulsating rhythms of music festivals to the thrilling action of sports tournaments, the exhilarating world of fashion shows to the intellectual stimulation of academic conferences, there is something for everyone. The events are meticulously planned and executed, reflecting the country's commitment to excellence and its passion for creating memorable experiences. These popular events in Australia in 2023 are not just occasions, but opportunities to connect, learn, and celebrate. They are the heartbeat of the nation, drawing people together and fostering a sense of community and shared identity. As such, they are eagerly anticipated and widely recognized as highlights of the Australian social and cultural calendar.
Emo Night Tour 2023 Tour Concert (Albany)
The good life city blues festival 2023 (albany), berwick, pa | poppa lou's place proudly presents the pub & grub comedy tour, dr. marilyn gewacke and zazar come to albany, the fixx 2023 tour concert (albany), wwe | raw (albany) | dec 4th, armor for sleep 2023 tour concert (albany), milton comedy homecoming, the bacon brothers 2023 tour concert (albany), once upon a dream, more polular topics, featured events in richland county in october 2023 (continuously updated), latest events in the museum of russian art (continuously updated), popular events in 2023 (continuously updated).
Featured Events in United States in 2023 (Continuously Updated)
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Edc orlando 2023, r&b only live - 21+ 2023 tour concert (raleigh), the greatest show on earth 2023 (savannah), rod wave - nostalgia tour 2023 tour concert (raleigh), t-mobile zone at sphere 2023 tour concert (las vegas).
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From travel document requirements to tips on what to pack, find out what to know before you go..
- Prepare for Your Cruise
An overview of the latest passport, customs, health and other essential requirements to help you prepare for your vacation.
The OceanReady® Process
Get ready for your Princess Cruise with the OceanReady® steps
Princess® MedallionClass makes cruising effortless. It all begins with the Medallion®, a quarter-sized device that never needs to be turned on or off. Download the Princess® app to complete the OceanReady® steps before you sail. You'll want to complete the following steps to ensure access to the Green Lane in the terminal for faster check-in with less waiting:
- Order and Customize your Medallion*
- Personal Information & Travel Docs
- Payment Information
- Security & Profile Photos
- Emergency Information
*Currently, only available for shipping to addresses within the United States and Puerto Rico. Medallions will be available for pick-up at the terminal if one was not mailed to you.
Guests who don't complete all of the above steps in the app will access the Blue Lane for check-in, where our Navigators will help ensure all steps are complete and issue guest Medallions.
Visit Cruise Personalizer® to book flights and transfers, reserve shore excursions and make spa appointments, and purchase any packages if they are not already included in your booking. Before you leave for your cruise, you can print your luggage tags from Cruise Personalizer.
When you enter your personal information and upload your travel documents in the app make sure your name appears in your OceanReady® Profile exactly as entered in your passport. If the name does not match, it's important you contact your Travel Advisor or the Princess Reservations Department at 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237) to correct this information. Also, verify that your passport details and emergency contact information are complete and correct.
Princess Future Cruise Packages and Princess Promotions
- What are Princess Future Cruise Packages? Princess Future Cruise Packages are the newest, most flexible way to bundle your next Princess cruise, even if you aren’t sure when or where you want to go! Each Princess Future Cruise Package includes a fixed amount of Future Cruise Credits (FCCs) to use when you are ready to book your future Princess Cruise, pre/post hotel certificates when you cruise, Onboard Credits (OBCs), 5- to 7-night land vacation certificates, and more.
- What are the Future Cruise Credits (FCC) included in the Princess Future Cruise Packages? The Future Cruise Credits you receive in your Princess Future Cruise Package allow you to purchase your Princess cruise(s) once you are ready to book. Each FCC is worth $1, can be used toward any future cruise booking with Princess, and may be applied to one cruise or multiple cruises.
- How do I redeem the Future Cruise Credits (FCC) I received with my Princess Future Cruise Package? Your FCC balance can be found in your My Princess account and may be redeemed directly on our website or by calling 1-800-PRINCESS. If you have a travel advisor or Cruise Vacation Planner, you can contact them directly to use your Future Cruise Credits.
- What is Princess Promotions? At Princess, we are always looking for ways to provide our guests with the best value while creating new and innovative cruise products, experiences, and programs. Princess Promotions is a new program that offers guests access to products that add value to your Princess vacation and complementary products like pre- and post-hotel stays, Onboard Credits, and more!
- How do I redeem my Princess Future Cruise Package Stays Certificates and Hotel Credits? Once you purchase a Princess Future Cruise Package, you can redeem your certificates and Hotel Credits by calling 1-800-PRINCESS and choosing option 5.
- Do my Future Cruise Credits (FCC) and Stay Certificates expire? FCCs and Stay Certificates purchased as part of a Princess Future Cruise Package must be booked within 18 months of the package purchase date. However, you can travel up to 24 months from when you purchased the package.
- What are Princess Future Cruise Packages Hotel Credits? Hotel Credits are the easiest way to save on all your hotel stays. Each Hotel Credit is equal to $1 and can be redeemed for significant savings on hotel rooms booked on our hotel booking engine or by calling 1-800-PRINCESS. Choose from thousands of hotels worldwide with exclusive savings available only through Princess.
- Can I cancel my Future Princess Promotions Package? You have seven (7) business days after the purchase of the package to cancel (Florida residents have thirty (30) business days to cancel the package). Cancellations can be made by calling 1-800-PRINCESS and choosing option 5.
- Princess Vacation Protection
Enjoy some peace of mind with Princess Vacation Protection, which provides both a cancellation fee waiver and travel insurance benefits as a simple way to ease your worries before setting sail.
For guests that have Future Cruise Credits, visit our Princess® Cruise Credits page to learn about how to use them.
For the latest updates regarding cancelled cruises, view the Impacted & Cancelled Cruises page for more information.
Visa requirements for U.S. and Canadian citizens are listed on the guest's Travel Summary under "Notices," if applicable. All other nationalities, including those with U.S. or Canadian resident status, are responsible for verifying visa requirements for each port visited during the cruise.
Visas may be obtained directly from the consulate of the countries visited. Some visas are available to be obtained on board. Passport holders of the United States, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom may obtain visas through CIBTvisas . Australian and New Zealand passport holders, please use http://visalink.com.au .
IMPORTANT: Visa and documentation requirements vary by destination and change from time to time without prior notice. Guests should check with the consulate of each country they will visit or a visa service to verify current regulations. It is the guest's responsibility to have proper travel documentation. They should reconfirm visa requirements with the consulate 14 to 30 days prior to the cruise.
The following information is provided as general guidance for U.S. and Canadian passport holders. Because governmental travel requirements change periodically, you must check with your Travel Advisor or the government authorities for all countries you will visit to determine or verify the actual requirements at the time of sailing. Princess assumes no responsibility for advising guests of such requirements.
Visa fees and requirements are subject to change without notice
Travel Document Requirements
Travel Document Requirements*
Nothing gets in the way of a good trip like paperwork issues. So we want to make sure you know you’re responsible for meeting all the documentation and proof-of-citizenship requirements for your travel. Check out the guidelines below, as the last thing we want is for you to be denied boarding.
In many cases, you’ll need a valid passport, but even if you don’t, we really recommend traveling with one. You never know when the unexpected might happen – like leaving your ship before the end of your cruise – and it’s always better to be prepared.
Make sure the name on your booking matches the name on your travel document exactly. If the names do not match, contact your Travel Advisor (for bookings through a travel agency) or the Princess Cruises Reservations Department (for direct bookings) at 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237). To avoid check-in delays or even denied boarding, please provide Princess Cruises with this information at least 45 days before your cruise.
For non-U.S. passport holders or non-U.S. permanent residents disembarking in a U.S. Port, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires that before your cruise, you provide the address at which you will be staying in the U.S., post-cruise.
Travel document requirements vary by destination and citizenship. Below are document guidelines for both domestic and international voyages. Once a booking is made, you may view voyage-specific requirements on the Cruise Personalizer.
Document Requirements for U.S. and Canadian Citizens/Nationals
A valid passport book is required for all international itineraries including:
- Australia & New Zealand
- Central and South America
- Panama Canal (partial and full transit)
- Caribbean (any sailings that visit Martinique or Guadeloupe)
- South Pacific & Tahiti
- World Cruises
If your cruise involves international air travel (including flights between the U.S. and Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda or Mexico) you will be required to present a valid passport when departing from or returning to the U.S. by air.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) governs acceptable travel documents for entry into the U.S. by sea from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico or within the United States. We highly recommend a passport. We also require a passport for all guests in a travel party when minors are traveling with only one adult (21 years and older). † However, for U.S. and Canadian citizens/nationals on select itineraries a passport is not always required. In lieu of a passport book, these individuals must present one of the following valid WHTI-compliant travel documents at cruise check-in:
- U.S. Passport Card
- U.S. or Canadian Issued Enhanced Driver's License (EDL) (A REAL ID is not the same and doesn’t fulfill this requirement.)
- U.S. or Canadian Issued Identification Card (issued to minors and non-drivers)
- NEXUS Card Air travel is limited to participating airports (for entry to Canada)
- SENTRI (for entry to Mexico) and FAST cards
- I-872 American Indian Card or Enhanced Tribal ID Card (ETC)
†We have implemented this requirement because we want to ensure that your party remains together should an emergency arise that requires one or more members to be disembarked in a non-U.S. port. We cannot guarantee that all members of your party will be allowed to disembark with just a WHTI-compliant document or birth certificate. Failure to present a valid passport for all guests traveling together will result in denial of boarding without refund of the cruise or cruisetour fare.
On select U.S. roundtrip (sometimes called “closed-loop”) voyages, U.S. citizens ages 16 and above may also travel with an original or certified copy U.S. birth certificate (or U.S. Certificate of Naturalization if foreign born) presented together with a valid U.S. government-issued photo identification . U.S. and Canadian citizens ages 15 and younger may travel with a birth certificate.
- Alaska roundtrip from San Francisco, Los Angeles or Seattle (roundtrip Seattle cruisetours excluded)
- Canada/New England roundtrip from New York
- Caribbean roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale^, Galveston^ or New York (voyages that do not call to Martinque or Guadeloupe only)
- Hawaii roundtrip from Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, or Seattle
- Mexico roundtrip from Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego
^Voyages that call to Central or South America are excluded and only passports are accepted. All voyages that call to Martinique or Guadeloupe require a passport.
For information regarding WHTI-compliant documents, visit the US Customs and Border Protection website .
U.S. Permanent Residents are required to present one of the following at cruise check-in:
- Permanent Resident Card (ARC/I-55 card)
- Temporary ARC/I-55 card and valid government-issued photo identification
- Expired ARC/I-55 card and form I-797 and valid government-issued photo identification
- Passport with “ARC” stamp
Canadian Permanent Residents are required to present a valid passport and Landed Permanent Resident Card at cruise check-in.
Non-U.S./Non-Canadian Passport Holders: A valid passport is required for all non-U.S. and non-Canadian citizens for all itineraries.
Many countries require passports be valid for six months after the completion of your travel. Check your passport to verify it will be valid for this period of time. Additionally, make certain that your passport contains blank pages for entry and exit endorsements and any visas that may be required. If necessary, allow sufficient time to renew your passport and/or obtain additional pages. (It may take longer than you think it will!) U.S. and Canadian passport holders sailing on a domestic cruise should ensure passports or other travel documents are valid through the completion of travel. There may be occasions where we retain your passport at check-in. This is to ensure that you are not inconvenienced by immigration clearance during your cruise and where face-to-face inspection is not required. We recommend you bring a second government-issued photo ID if you want to have one with you while in port.
There are over 7,000 Passport Application Acceptance locations in the U.S. You may locate the one closest to you by going to the U.S. Department of State website . The United States Postal Service also provides passport services. Visit the U.S. Postal website to find a post office location, get a list of fees and download a passport application .
For information regarding passport applications, please visit the U.S. Department of State travel website or call the National Passport Information Center at 877-487-2778 (M-F, 5 a.m.–5 p.m. PST).
*This information is provided as general guidance. Because governmental travel requirements change periodically, you must check with your Travel Advisor or the government authorities for all countries you will visit to determine or verify the actual requirements at the time of sailing. Princess assumes no responsibility for advising guests of such requirements.
Guests are advised not to bring any prohibited items to the ship. Prohibited items will not be allowed or stored on board the vessel with no exceptions. Guests are fully responsible for either storing these items ashore or disposing of them prior to embarkation.
The following items will not be allowed on board without a valid lawful reason:
- All firearms including non-firing weapons. An exception to this rule is law enforcement agents acting in an official capacity and certified armed security guards acting in an official capacity (with full permission of the ship’s Master).
- All forms of ammunition, explosive materials and propellants, projectiles of all kinds, cartridges.
- All imitation or replica weapons including de-commissioned weapons, those not capable of being fired and realistic imitation/toy weapons.
- Air/Pellet guns or any other variety of projectile firing weapon.
- Stun Guns, Tasers or any other electroshock device.
- All explosives and explosive device components including but not limited to military, civilian and safety devices, detonators, detonation cords, blasting caps, smoke cartridges, grenades, mines, imitation explosives/devices.
- Fireworks, Flares and Pyrotechnics
- Knives (with a blade over 6.35 cm (2 ½ inches), or 1.25 cm (½ inch) at widest point). bladed weapons, sharp pointed weapons, daggers, sabers, swords, axes, ice axes, hatchets, straight razors (shaving safety razors are allowed), razor blades not in a cartridge, box cutters, ice picks, meat cleavers, and utility knives, (unless specifically authorized for personnel who in the normal course of their duties on board the ship require to be in possession of a knife with a more substantial blade i.e. Galley Staff and Deck Ratings).
- Flick knives, gravity knives, switchblades or lock knives. Small locking pocket-knife with blade lengths less than 6.35 cm (2 ½ inches) and widths ½ inch or less are allowed.
- Concealed bladed weapons such as belt buckles knives, cane and umbrella knives/swords, pen knives and credit card knives.
- Recreational Diver’s Knives unless accompanied by other diving/snorkeling equipment and a valid diving ID card/license (must be held in the custody of the Security Officer). Dive knives may be checked out/in by the owner for dive excursions during the cruise whereby 24 hours’ notice is provided.
- Diver’s spears and spear guns/slings.
- Ceremonial knives/swords as well as entertainment props are at times permitted with prior notification from the Fleet Security Department (must be held on-board in the same manner as dive knives).
- Scissors with blades longer than 4 inches.
- Telescopic or regular truncheons/batons/clubs/coshes/nightsticks/billy clubs/blow pipes/ASPs and or any other item made, adapted or intended for use as an offensive weapon.
- Archery equipment including crossbows and bolts.
- Martial Arts Equipment including flails, throwing stars, nunchakus/nunchucks, kubatons, bostaff, etc.
- Knuckle Dusters, brass knuckles, or any other item constructed for use as a weapon in hand-to-hand combat.
- Items containing Incapacitating Substances such as gas guns, tear gas sprays, pepper/mace cartridges, phosphorus, acid and other dangerous chemicals that could be used to maim or disable.
- Flammable Liquids and hazardous chemicals/substances including gasoline/petrol, cooking fuel, acid, spill able batteries (except those in wheelchairs), phosphorous, oil, lighter fluid (common lighters are permitted), methylated spirits, paint thinners, acid, turpentine, spray paint, chlorine, bleach, spray paint and any other dangerous chemicals that could burn, maim, incapacitate or disable.
- Compressed gas bottles/cylinders including propane tanks and aerosol cans (except for personal care or toiletries in limited quantities). Dive Tanks are not permitted, empty or full. Medical gas bottles are allowed in connection with a certified medical condition but cannot be packed in baggage. Oxygen cylinders must be delivered to Guest Services and stored in a designated safe area. Oxygen cylinders are not x-rayed.
- Drones also referred to as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicle (RPA), and any other remote-controlled aerial devices/toys. (The exception is when permitted for company sponsored events when approved in advance by Fleet Security).
- Any other item made, adapted or intended for use as a weapon.
- Hookah and Water Hookah Pipes, candles and incense, strike-anywhere matches.
- Items brought on board the vessel and not supplied by the Company containing any kind of heating element, such as but not limited to: immersion heaters, heating blankets, flat irons, water heaters, coffee machines with heating / hot plates, etc.
- Alcohol in violation of the company alcohol policy.
- All illegal drugs, including medications without proper prescriptions.This includes legal intoxicant synthetic or “designer” drugs also known as “Legal Highs” such as Lysergamides, Opioids, Methoxetamine, Synthetic Cannabis, Betel Nuts or Kava (Cava).
- Medical Marijuana
- Noxious Items
- Baseball bats, hockey sticks, cricket bats, lacrosse sticks, pool cues, ski poles, and skateboards.
- Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB), Ham radios, transformers, lasers, laser pointers.
- Bicycles, including electric bicycles
- Tools of trade/hobby including any type of hand or power tool. This includes hammers, drills, drill bits, crow bars, saws, power saws, chef/cooking knives/utensils, tools greater than 7 inches in length such as screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers (unless prior authorization is provided by Corporate Headquarters and strict controls are maintained on-board).
- Surfboards – (Boogie boards no longer than 42 inches in length are allowed).
- Coolers - only coolers approximately 12 x 12 x 12 in size (holds 6-12 cans of non-alcoholic beverages) are allowed. Guests carrying larger sizes will be directed to return them to their vehicle. If the guest is without a vehicle, the cooler will be destroyed in the same manner as other prohibited items. Exception: if the cooler is larger and contains baby food/formula, kosher food/special dietary food or medication - these must be hand-carried. Coolers cannot be accepted as checked baggage. Whenever there is doubt an embarkation supervisor or shipboard personnel can be contacted to make the decision.
- Scooters (only permitted if used for mobility), boats/canoes/kayaks, Segways (only permitted ashore if used for mobility limitations – cannot be used on board the ship), Heely Shoes, Hoverboards/self-balancing scooters.
The above list is not exhaustive. The Ship Security Officer and Staff Captain are authorized to make a professional judgment as to the legality of any item, declared, detected or discovered.
*Electrical devices such as small fans, multi plug box outlets/adaptors, power strips/extension cords without surge protectors and electric extension cords with surge protectors are allowed onboard when used with proper caution and following inspection/tests from the onboard electrical department. However, if such devices are determined to pose a hazard then they will be removed and returned the last day of the cruise prior to debark.
As our guest, please follow the above precautions while traveling on any of our ships, and please refrain from taking these devices with you on board.
One of the best things about cruising with Princess is the convenience of being able to charge all your onboard expenses to your stateroom.
You will receive your OceanMedallion before you board. Guests will either receive it in the mail or pick it up in the terminal during the check-in process. The Medallion allows you to make TrulyTouchless™ purchases on board and is linked to your personal shipboard account where all purchases are charged.
Guests who have a credit card on file for their shipboard account, an authorization hold of $100 is placed on the credit card to ensure validity of the account. While you are on board, your daily charges will be authorized at close of business each day with your card provider. These authorizations can remain on your card for up to 30 days. Due to this, on extended voyages (in excess of 30 days) your credit card on file will need to be settled at or before the 30-day mark as a result of this authorization timing limit. Following this mid-voyage settlement, a new authorization will be placed on your credit card on file and be settled again at the end of your voyage. 3rd party credit cards will not be accepted for charges on board since the cardholder needs to sign for the charges.
Card must be valid for the length of the cruise. This information will be kept confidential. Princess Cruises use a “pre-authorization” system to charge credit and debit cards for onboard spend. This is standard hotel practice and places a “hold” on your credit or debit card, although your bank does not actually release any money to us. At the end of your cruise, your onboard spend will be charged in one transaction, and the holds will then be released by your issuing bank. Please note, some banks hold pre-authorized funds for up to 30 days limiting the funds available in your debit or credit account. We strongly recommend you check your bank’s pre-authorization process if you have any concerns about this system. To avoid your bank or credit card company blocking onboard transactions, please alert them of your travel plans ahead of time.
An itemized statement will be emailed to you post cruise. By providing your credit card in advance, you are automatically registered for Express Check-Out. There is no need to visit the Guest Services Desk to settle your account. We accept all major credit cards in most currencies. Those paying by traveler's checks or cash will be required to leave a cash deposit with the Guest Services staff at the beginning of the cruise.
Onboard charges are in United States Dollars (USD) with the following exceptions: for guests on sailings operating roundtrip from Australia, all onboard charges are in Australian Dollars (AUD)
If you are using a credit card to pay for your onboard charges on an AUD currency sailing, a surcharge fee of 1.1% will be applied (regardless of cardholder nationality). Debit cards do not incur a surcharge.
Princess EZpay Cruise Payment Plan
The Princess EZpay Cruise Payment Plan allows you to spread out the cost of your cruise with monthly installments and budget your vacation the easy way – with no extra fees! It’s easy to enroll in and easy to use; Princess EZpay simply charges the credit card on file every month until final payment is due – you can set it and forget it.
Charges for obtaining chips and tokens in the casino are limited to $3,000 USD per day, up to a total limit of $21,000 USD per person, per cruise and are only available if you have pre-registered a credit card with the Guest Service Desk for Express Check-Out.
Guests requiring extensions to daily or cruises limits should contact our Casino Department on 1-888-772-6697 prior to cruising for further details. Information and application forms for a casino credit line can be found at Ocean Players Club website under 'VIP Services'.
The minimum age for gambling on board is 18* years old.
*20 years old in Japan
Princess Luggage Valet delivers your bags from your home to your stateroom, and then back home again. The service is offered in partnership with Luggage Forward® in order to make your travel experience easier. No more hauling baggage through the airport, no more long check-in lines or waiting for your luggage to arrive at baggage claim, and no more risk of being held up in lengthy bag inspections at Customs. With Princess Luggage Valet you can enjoy the ultimate in ease and convenience when you travel. Make it a carefree escape with the new Princess Luggage Valet Service.
Luggage Valet includes:
- Worldwide service to and from more than 170 ports
- All-inclusive rates charged at the time of booking, no hidden fees
- On-time arrival with a full money-back plus $500 guarantee
To book, visit the Luggage Forward web site . Inquiries can be sent via email to [email protected] or you can call Luggage Forward directly at: 1-860-866-4172.
Please review our Passage Contract for full details. You’ll need to accept the terms and conditions of the Passage Contract before your cruise.
Pre-/Post-Cruise Hotel Packages
Pre- or post-cruise packages offer hotels chosen for their excellent service and prime location, close to major attractions — and near to your embarkation port so you’ll be sure to board your ship on time.
You’ll be met by a Princess® representative who ensures all transfers and baggage handling are taken care of. You can also choose to stay on after your voyage to do some sightseeing. Either way, it’s a great option for extending your vacation with the peace of mind that Princess has handled all the details.
See your Travel Advisor, contact Princess , or visit Cruise Personalizer for details.
Health & Accessibility
Spend your time onboard focused on relaxing, experiencing all the benefits of MedallionClass® cruising and creating lasting memories with your family and friends. The following information and resources are available to help you plan for your Princess vacation.
Our ships offer accessible staterooms designed for wheelchair maneuverability and feature wider doorways than a standard stateroom in both the stateroom and the bathroom. Bathrooms are equipped with a roll-in shower with a fold-down bench seat, a distress alarm, handheld shower head and grab bars. The stateroom also has an easy access closet and writing desk with wheelchair access. Additionally, all staterooms feature Medallion touchless entry, which unlocks the door as you approach.
We can help you with your accessible stateroom request by calling us at:
United States: 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237) Canada : 1-800-LOVEBOAT (1-800-568-3262) United Kingdom: 0344 3388 674 Australia: 13 24 88 New Zealand: 0800 780 717
Or contact your Travel Advisor.
Tip: Additional amenities can be requested for standard non-accessible staterooms including handheld shower heads, shower stools and raised toilet seats. For your convenience, these can be requested directly in the MedallionClass app under Preferences.
- Onboard Experience
Access-friendly design across our fleet makes it easy to enjoy each vessel's restaurants, theaters, spas, lounges, and open deck space. Elevators have 36- to 42-inch doorways, and wheelchair seating is available in show lounges and other public spaces. Onboard, make reservations and requests using the MedallionClass app on your personal electronic device or interactive in-stateroom TV.
We have a designated computer terminal equipped with JAWS Professional software equipped with a reader program available in the available in the Internet Café. A headset is available upon request. For assistance, contact the Internet Café team once onboard.
Braille/tactile signage is available on all ships. Large print, braille, and electronic menus are available upon request with 60 days advance notice. If you prefer to have items read to you, please do not hesitate to ask a team member onboard, who will gladly assist.
Tip: View our ship overview pages for accessibility guides and deck plans.
With advance request to our Access team, we provide “all-in-one kits” with TTY that can be used in guest staterooms. When requested for an Alaska Cruisetour, TTY kits will also be provided for your stay at our Alaska Wilderness Lodges.
Televisions on board have closed captioning capabilities. Onboard theaters have assistive listening devices. Requests for interpreting services should be made at the time of booking through the Access team and are subject to the availability of qualified interpreters. If there are other guests onboard who also require the assistance of interpreters, they are shared. American Sign Language interpreting services may be requested in advance for guests traveling on itineraries that visit at least one port in the USA. Australian Sign Language interpreting services may be requested in advance for guests traveling on itineraries that visit at least one port in Australia.
Mobility Equipment Guidance
Here are some important things to know about bringing a mobility device onboard.
If you will be using a mobility device or have special needs, we strongly recommend you travel with a person physically fit to assist with your needs both onboard and ashore.
Although we do not offer mobility devices onboard for personal use, you are welcome to bring your own device. Alternatively, we do partner with the following companies who provide wheelchairs and other medical equipment for rent, and they can deliver directly to the ship. If a rental is a better solution for you, please do contact them directly.
- Special Needs at Sea: 800-513-4515 or 954-585-0575, or visit the Special Needs at Sea website
- Scootaround: 888-441-7575 or 204-982-0657, or visit the Scootaround website
Please ensure that your mobility device meets the following specifications:
- Maximum device width: 22” for standard staterooms, 31” for wheelchair-accessible staterooms
- Maximum combined weight of the wheelchair, including guest: 600 pounds (weight may vary outside the United States)
Your mobility device must be securely stored in your stateroom when not in use. This will ensure that hallways and other public areas are clear for other guests and crew to safely move throughout the ship. We do not offer alternate locations for mobility device storage onboard. For assistance onboard with charging your equipment in your stateroom, please contact your stateroom attendant.
If you are bringing other mobility equipment onboard or if you have booked Princess transfers, pre or post hotel stays, Cruisetours or shore excursions you must complete our Mobility Questionnaire (PDF) and return it to us at least 60 days prior to sailing.
Please be advised that filing out the Mobility Questionnaire is to ensure that our Access team can properly assist you with your accessibility and mobility needs. It is not an approval or confirmation of any request, nor does it guarantee being booked into or moved to an accessible cabin. Please ensure that you discuss your cabin needs with your Travel Advisor or our Reservations department.
Princess welcomes service animals that are trained to perform tasks including the support of vision, hearing or other specific needs as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Note that emotional support animals are not permitted on Princess ships.
Here are some important things to know about travelling with your service animal.
- Travel Documents. Entry regulations for service animals vary by port. The regulations concerning the entry of service animals to the ports you visit vary and there are some ports where animals may not be allowed ashore. You will need to check with each country visited and obtain the necessary documents to travel. These may include vaccination records, medical certificates and other travel documents.
- You will need to bring food, equipment and supplies.
- We will provide a relief area with material onboard. The types of litter material are limited and may vary by ship.
To begin your request, write to us at [email protected] . Include your booking number, ship, sailing date with a brief description of the service animal, including the specific work or task the animal has been trained to provide.
Let’s chat about what you can expect as your plan your experiences ashore. There are varying levels of accessibility around the world. Some ports are more accessible than others, and accessible vehicles may be limited. We are here to help you navigate and deliver the best possible adventure ashore.
Getting to the ship: If you have purchased a Princess pre- or post-cruise hotel package or transfers, we will assist with arranging accessible transportation. Accessible transportation may be limited or not available in some foreign ports of call. Please be sure to submit a Mobility Questionnaire (PDF) so that we can make the appropriate arrangements for you.
Going ashore: Most ports provide easy access ashore via gangways. Due to various conditions including the steepness of the gangway, weather, shore-side facilities, tidal and sea conditions, guests using mobility devices may be required to transfer to a stair climber. Our team will guide you based on local conditions to assure your safety. For the safety of our team, crew members are only able to physically lift up to 50 pounds (22 kg).
In some ports, the ship anchors offshore and guests transfer to shore by water shuttles. When a water shuttle is required, guests using mobility devices will not be transferred into or out of the water shuttle, if lifting in excess of the above limitation is required. Many water shuttle ports do not provide wheelchair access so even if the guest can board the water shuttle, they may not be able to disembark ashore. Again, the shore-side facilities, movement of the water shuttle, weather and tidal conditions can also preclude the use of the water shuttle.
The final decision to allow any guest to board a water shuttle or disembark the ship will be made by the Captain on the basis of the safety and welfare of all involved.
Water Shuttle Ports:
- Airlie Beach, Australia
- Akaroa, New Zealand
- Alta, Norway
- Armacao dos Buzios, Brazil
- Bali (Benoa), Indonesia
- Bar Harbor, United States
- Bay of Islands, New Zealand
- Belize City, Belize
- Bora Bora, French Polynesia
- Boracay, Philippines
- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- Cannes, France
- Catalina Island, United States
- Champagne Bay, Vanuatu
- Conflict Islands, Papua New Guinea
- Cornwall (Falmouth), United Kingdom
- Crete (Aghios Nikolaos), Greece
- Dravuni Island, Fiji
- Dublin (Dun Laoghaire), Ireland
- Easter Island, Chile
- Edinburgh (South Queensferry), United Kingdom
- Elba (Portoferraio), Italy
- Exmouth, Australia
- Falkland Islands (Stanley), Falkland Islands
- Fuerte Amador, Panama
- Geiranger, Norway
- Geraldton, Australia
- Giardini Naxos, Italy
- Gizo Island, Solomon Islands
- Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
- Grundarfjordur, Iceland
- Guernsey (St. Peter Port), United Kingdom
- Gythion (for Sparta), Greece
- Hellesylt, Norway
- Helsingborg, Sweden
- Huahine, French Polynesia
- Ilhabela, Brazil
- Isafjordur, Iceland
- Ishigaki, Japan
- Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
- Juneau, United States
- Kaikoura, New Zealand
- Kangaroo Island, Australia
- Ketchikan, United States
- Kiriwina Island, Papua New Guinea
- Kitava, Papua New Guinea
- Ko Samui, Thailand
- Komodo Island, Indonesia
- Kona, United States
- Korsakov, Russian Federation
- Kotor, Montenegro
- Kumano, Japan
- Lifou, New Caledonia
- Lofoten Islands (Gravdal), Norway
- Lombok, Indonesia
- Loreto, Mexico
- Maldives (Male), Maldives
- Mare, New Caledonia
- Margaret River (Busselton), Australia
- Maui (Lahaina), United States
- Mayotte, France
- Mayreau (Saline Bay), St. Vincent / Grenadines
- Miyakojima, Japan
- Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Monterey, United States
- Moorea, French Polynesia
- Mystery Island, Vanuatu
- Nanortalik, Greenland
- Newport, United States
- Nha Trang, Vietnam
- Nosy Be, Madagascar
- Olden, Norway
- Phillip Island, Australia
- Phuket, Thailand
- Port Arthur, Australia
- Port Douglas, Australia
- Portofino, Italy
- Princess Cays, Bahamas
- Puerto Chacabuco, Chile
- Puerto Montt, Chile
- Puerto Quepos, Costa Rica
- Punta Arenas, Chile
- Qaqortoq, Greenland
- Rangiroa, French Polynesia
- Red Bay, Canada
- Saint Helena, United Kingdom
- San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
- Santa Barbara, United States
- Santorini, Greece
- Sardinia (Alghero), Italy
- Savusavu, Fiji
- Seychelles Islands (Praslin), Seychelles
- Seydisfjordur, Iceland
- Shetland Islands (Lerwick), United Kingdom
- Sibenik, Croatia
- Sihanoukville, Cambodia
- Sitka, United States
- Sorrento, Italy
- St. Barthelemy, French Overseas Territories
- St. Johns, U.S. Virgin Islands
- Stewart Island, New Zealand
- Toba, Japan
- Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
- Wewak, Papua New Guinea
- Willis Island, Australia
- Yorkeys Knob (Cairns), Australia
- Zanzibar, Tanzania
Shore Excursions: As your destination experts, we offer a variety of experiences ashore. We recommend you review our shore excursion offerings and make your selections. Each excursion is noted with the level of mobility. Accessible shore excursions may not be available in some international ports, and not all port facilities are designed with accessible features. Do contact us in advance with any questions or for assistance with your accessible shore excursions. A completed Mobility Questionnaire will help guide us with these arrangements. Once onboard, our shore excursion team is available to assist with your adventures ashore.
For general questions about your cruise vacation, visit our Contact Us page .
Send Mobility Questionnaire (PDF) , requests for Sign Language Interpreters, Accessible Transfers and Shore Excursions to our Access Office. Email: [email protected]
In the event of unexpected travel delays and emergencies, please remember to bring additional prescription medication for at least 2 weeks beyond the length of the cruise. Also bring a list of the names, strengths and dosages of all medications in case refills are required.
Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting diarrhea. You can get norovirus from having direct contact with an infected person, consuming contaminated food or water, or touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth. There are several measures which have been placed to prevent and contain illnesses on our ships that meet or exceed standards set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The simplest way for you to stay healthy is to frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, especially before eating and after using the toilet. You’ll also find hand sanitizers located throughout the ship for your use after washing your hands. If you feel ill during your voyage, please immediately the ship’s medical team. For more information on Norovirus, visit the CDC’s website .
Information regarding required vaccinations for your cruise or cruisetour is listed on your Travel Summary (if applicable).
We recommend seasonal influenza vaccinations for all guests. Furthermore, you are strongly urged to seek advice from your healthcare provider or an approved public health advisory service to identify any specific vaccination or health precautions required for each port of call. For example, you may wish to reference the World Health Organization (WHO) or the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) . Some countries strictly enforce certain health requirements, in which case you may be required to present a completed and original vaccination certificate. Failure to present appropriate vaccination documentation at embarkation will result in guests being denied boarding.
IMPORTANT: Vaccination requirements vary by destination and do change from time to time. Guests should check with their Travel Advisor or contact the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to verify current regulations.
COVID-19 vaccination may be required for your cruise during, and after the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please refer to the latest local public health authority guidelines.
*This information is provided as general guidance. Because governmental and medical vaccination requirements and recommendations change periodically you must check with your Travel Advisor, government authorities for the countries you will visit and/or medical professionals to determine or verify the actual requirements and recommendations at the time of sailing. Princess assumes no liability for the guest's failure to do so.
Guests undergoing dialysis should be aware that our ships’ medical facilities are similar to those of an urgent care center. While we do have trained medical professionals on board, they are not equipped to provide specialized care for dialysis patients. Should an emergency situation arise during your cruise, it is recommended that you be prepared to provide a complete list of medical conditions, medications, and allergies to the medical center.
Although we strongly recommend against undertaking the risks involved, Princess Cruises will allow a guest requiring peritoneal or hemodialysis to travel on our ships at the guest’s own risk . It is recommended that a guest requiring dialysis consults with his or her nephrologist prior to making travel arrangements. You should be stable on your dialysis treatments for a period of at least 12 months prior to sailing.
- Among the many recognized risks to dialysis patients are:
- Cardiac tamponade
- Congestive heart failure
Recognized risks associated with hemodialysis used in the treatment of kidney failure include but are not limited to:
- Low Blood Pressure
- Clotting of the vascular access
- Muscle cramps
Before booking a cruise, the treating nephrologist should consider carefully the following:
- There is no nephrologist available on any of the Princess cruise ships for dialysis patients.
- Ships are not equipped with back-up battery support for dialysis related equipment.
- A guest may be at sea for several days without any immediate hospital and/or specialist back up, and if the itinerary is not within the U.S., the availability of specialized shore side facilities can be extremely limited.
The risks to the guest who misses an appointed treatment are very serious, with little recourse available while at sea. The guest assumes these risks when a ship is prevented from entering a planned port of call for any reason.
Guests are expected to make all arrangements regarding dialysis, whether self-administered on board or at a shoreside facility. Environmental Officers can assure that dialysis waste disposal policies are followed, including providing the stateroom with a closed lid waste receptacle lined with a bio-hazardous bag for care of bags or pouches of bio-hazardous waste.
Finally, you should be aware that there are charges associated with being treated in the medical facility during your cruise, and that ordinary trip travel interruption insurance does not generally cover such treatment costs if you require medical consultation or treatment. An itemized bill will be provided which can be submitted to the guest’s health insurance company after the required treatment is charged to the onboard account.
If you will require oxygen supplementation during your sailing, please contact our Health Services Team by emailing [email protected] . You will be asked to send a letter or prescription from your doctor. You will also be required to let us know the type of equipment you will be using and whether you will be bringing your own supplies or if you will be having the equipment delivered to the ship.
Pregnant women are not allowed to sail if they are entering the 24th week of their pregnancy by the last day of the cruise.
All pregnant women are required to produce a physician’s letter stating that mother and baby are in good health, fit to travel and the pregnancy is not high risk. The letter must also include the estimated date of delivery (EDD) calculated from both Last Menstrual Period (LMP) and ultrasound (if performed).
Please ensure you have your doctor’s letter with you when you embark.
Restrictions or precautions may apply to pregnant guests, during the COVID-19 Pandemic – please review the COVID-19 section.
If you will be using sharps of any kind, including needles, lancets, or blades, for your safety and the safety of others you must utilize a sharps container . To dispose of sharps while on board, request a sharps container from your stateroom steward.
Before You Leave for Your Cruise
Complete the pre-boarding OceanReady® steps and access Cruise Personalizer to book shore excursions, onboard reservations such as Lotus Spa and much more!
OceanReady® QR code and Luggage Tags
If you’ve completed the required OceanReady® steps and have your Medallion® device, you can expect a streamlined embarkation.
If you have not received your Medallion wearable ahead of time, you will be asked to show your OceanReady QR code to terminal personnel during the health screening process and once again at check-in. This code can be accessed through the MedallionClass® app on your smart device. To streamline the check-in process, we ask that you print your OceanReady QR code. Your OceanReady QR code only becomes available once you complete your health questionnaire and accept passage contract and acceptances.
Please remember to have your Medallion device, mobile device with the MedallionClass® app downloaded, and your luggage tags when you get to the terminal.
Printing your luggage tags is fast and easy! Beginning 75 days prior to sailing, you can print your luggage tags once the booking is paid in full and we’ve been provided with all your guest immigration information and credit card registration.
Simply log-in to Cruise Personalizer® to access and print this information!
Age Requirements/Traveling with Children
Age requirements Guests under the age of 21 years must travel in a stateroom with a guest 21 years or older who shall assume responsibility for their care during the cruise. For family groups booking multiple staterooms, the minimum age for each stateroom is 16 years of age, provided they are traveling with a parent or legal guardian. We are unable to accept group reservations for student or youth groups that do not conform to our minimum age requirements. Each guest agrees and warrants that he/she will supervise any guest in his/her care at all times to ensure all policies, along with all other rules of the Carrier and ship, are strictly adhered to by all guests under their supervision.
Passport requirement when minors travel with one adult on voyages governed by the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (includes travel within Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico & United States)
When minors (any guest under the age of 18) are traveling with only one adult 21 years of age or older, Princess requires that all guests possess a valid passport. Carrier has implemented this requirement so that your party remains together should an emergency arise that requires one or more in your party to disembark in a non-U.S. port. Carrier cannot guarantee that all members of your party are allowed to disembark with just a WHTI-compliant document or birth certificate. Failure to present a valid passport for all guests traveling together results in denial of boarding without refund of the of the cruise or cruisetour fare.
Minimum Age Requirements: Infants must be at least 6 months of age at the time of embarkation in order to sail. Children must be at least 12 months of age at the time of embarkation to sail on trans-ocean crossings and remote itineraries, where there are more than 2 consecutive sea days.
Cruisetours: The minimum age for escorted cruisetours is 5 years.
Car seats US and Canadian regulations require that children up to the age of 8 years old may be required to travel in a car seat, booster seat or other child restraint system. When being transported by car, taxi, limo, van or shuttle, it is your responsibility to know the regulations and provide the applicable child restraint system.
Infants/Young Children and Swimming Pools Parents/guardians are reminded to bring their children dressed in appropriate attire with towel and sunscreen. Youth staff will not conduct children's activities in the adult or splash pools. Parents must supervise their children at all times when using the pools. Infants and young children in diapers and/or swim diapers, and children who are not toilet trained are NOT permitted in any of the pools or spas due to public health concerns.
Our policy is strictly observed on board and is intended for the public health safety of all guests.
Documents for guests under the age of 18 Several countries require special documentation for children traveling with only one parent or with neither parent; these requirements are subject to change without notice. Many foreign countries require any single parent or guardian to bring a permission slip for the minor to travel abroad. It is your responsibility to ensure that you possess the proper documents for all of the countries that you will visit. Please verify requirements with the consulates of the countries visited prior to your cruise.
For guests under 21 years of age or those who are traveling with children, please note:
- Entry into the disco after 10 p.m. is limited to guests 18 years and over. Be sure to check with the Youth and Teen Centers for special dance parties designed for kids and teens.
- Children who are toilet-trained and accompanied by a parent or guardian are permitted in the sauna and hot tub(s) unless otherwise specified.
- Guests under the age of 13 are allowed in the evening entertainment show lounges if they are with their parent or guardian.
- In line with domestic U.S. age limits, as well as our company policy, the casino, cash prize bingo and horse racing are reserved for guests 18 years and older. Picture identification may be requested.
- Guests under the age of 18 are prohibited from purchasing cigarettes or tobacco products while on board.
Youth programs Princess offers our Camp Discovery Youth Program, where your little ones will have engaging, supervised activities designed specifically for them. The Treehouse (for ages 3-7) and The Lodge (for ages 8-12) give kids the chance to enjoy everything from arts and crafts, game tables, movies, and more.
Children are welcome on all Princess ships, facilities vary.
Don’t miss the orientation and registration meeting on the first night of your cruise. You and your children can meet the Youth and Teen staff and learn more about our exciting shipboard programs. Parents are always welcome to join their children in the Youth and Teen Centers.
ADDITIONAL REMINDERS Children under 3 are not permitted in the Youth Center unless accompanied by a parent at all times. Youth counselors cannot administer medication, bottle-feed, change diapers, or provide meal service. Private in-cabin babysitting is not available on any Princess ship. All children participating in the Youth Program must be potty-trained. Children who are not potty-trained are not permitted in hot tub or pool facilities.
CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS Princess welcomes all children and teens ages 3-17 to participate in our programs. Let our counselors know of all medical and/or special needs for your children. We will make every effort to accommodate them. Please be advised that Princess Youth counselors do not offer individual one-on-one supervision.
JUST FOR TEENS And for cruisers age 13-17, we have The Beach House, a contemporary surf-themed lounge just for teens. The Beach House offers teens a range of activities including teen only dance parties, sports tournaments and talent shows. Or, have fun meeting other teens with the Dating Game. Those seeking a creative retreat will enjoy hip-hop dance classes, T-shirt painting, casino nights, mocktails, pizza parties or special teen-only dinners.
During voyages with a high number of families on board, we will make all efforts to accommodate interested parties. However, participation in our program cannot be guaranteed. Hours of operation may change to better serve our guests.
Pre-pay your Crew Appreciation
For your convenience, if your fare did not include pre-paid crew appreciation, we're pleased to offer you the ability to pre-pay the crew appreciation that is included in your folio on board at the end of your cruise. You can also utilize this service as a gift for someone else who may be cruising.
To simplify the tipping process for our guests, a discretionary crew appreciation of $16.50 per guest for suites, $15.50 per guest for mini-suites and $14.50 per guest (including children) in all other staterooms, per day, is automatically added to your shipboard account on a daily basis. The crew appreciation is a daily (adjustable) amount added to your onboard account and pooled in order to recognize the many crew members in the Bar, Dining, Entertainment, Housekeeping, Guest Services, Galley and Onboard Revenue areas and entertainment areas throughout our fleet who contribute to the guest experience.
To take advantage of this service, login to Cruise Personalizer to pre-pay online , or simply call 0344 338 8663 and reference Special Service Item #0591. Pre-payment is available up to 2 days prior to departure.
Pre-pay Beverage Packages
Pre-paying beverage packages offer a great way to save time at embarkation, if one was not included in your fare. From a bottle of wine to beer specials to our Plus Beverage Package* option that features cocktails, fountain sodas and bottled water, there's a beverage package to quench every thirst.
To take advantage of pre-payment, login to Cruise Personalizer to pre-pay online , or simply call 1-855-500-7690. Pre-payment is available up to 3 days prior to departure.
*Please note: Beverage Packages are calculated based on the total number of days of your cruise. Plus Beverage Package does not include bottles of wine; however, wine is available at a 25% discount from the menu price when purchased from bar or dining room locations by guests with a Plus Beverage Package.
Package is NOT available for purchase within 3 days of sailing and is NOT available for voyages 2 nights or fewer. Package must be purchased for full length of voyage, cannot be shared, is non-transferable, and is non-refundable within 3 days of sailing. Alcoholic drinks are limited to 15 beverages per 24 hour period (non-alcoholic beverages do not have this limitation).
Pre-reserving Lotus Spa Appointments
The Lotus Spa offers a tranquil environment where you can renew your mind and body with restorative spa therapies from around the world.
To help you unwind, the Lotus Spa offers a full range of personalized spa treatments, including hair and beauty services, massage, sensuous wraps, aroma therapies and even teeth whitening.
Spa advance reservations are accepted between 120 to 7 days prior to departure. Guests must be 18 years or older to indulge in any body treatments and at least 16 years of age to utilize the fitness facilities. Other Spa services are available to guests 13 years and older when accompanied by an adult.
Booking Shore Excursions
Book a shore excursion with Princess® to make the most of your time ashore in your destination. Princess offers a variety of experiences perfect for those visiting a port for the first time, experienced cruisers, families, and more. We offer excursions focused on sightseeing, culture & history activities & adventure, and nature & wildlife – many endorsed by our partners, Discovery and Animal Planet. You can book your shore excursion online with Cruise Personalizer® when you book your cruise and up to 5 days before you depart. Please note, unless otherwise specified, shore excursions are advertised and booked in US Dollars. Learn more about our ports and excursions .
Guests with disabilities should email the Access Office for assistance with accessible shore excursions. The Access Office works in partnership with our Shore Excursion department who will assist and advise you directly of your options. Please be advised that accessible shore excursions may not be available in some international ports.
Ship Deck Plans
We make it easy for you to get to know your ship, so that you can start your vacation on the right foot. With interactive deck plans and virtual tours, you’ll be able to see your ship before you board.
Port Driving Directions
Visit our Cruise Ports & Hotels page for general port information (including driving directions to the port) and hotel packages.
- Travel & Transportation
Before you board, make your vacation as seamless as possible with some helpful details on booking flights, transfers and port driving directions.
If you purchase a Princess airport-to-ship transfer, you’ll be met by a uniformed Princess representative at the embarkation port airport.
For domestic U.S. flights, you’ll be met near the luggage claim area. For international flights, you’ll be met as you exit the secure customs area. Make sure you claim all your luggage prior to exiting the luggage claim area.
From the airport, you’ll be transferred to your ship or hotel. But if you haven’t purchased your air travel arrangements from Princess, you must provide us with flight details prior to purchasing your transfer.
And if you require special assistance, be aware that lift-equipped transportation may not be available in your port of embarkation or disembarkation. Arrangements must be secured in advance to accommodate your needs.
For transfer arrangement details, please contact your travel agent, call 1-800-PRINCESS or visit Cruise Personalizer® .
For the latest information regarding what to bring, what to leave at home, and what to generally expect while traveling, please visit the Transportation Security Administration website .
For current travel warnings issued by the State Department for countries Americans should avoid, please visit the U.S. Department of State website .
For general travel information issued by the State Department, please visit the U.S. Department of State website .
Book Air Travel
We are pleased to offer Princess EZair℠ program, featuring low prices with flexible fares that can be changed up to 45 days prior to departure with no fee. † Princess EZair offers real-time, competitively-priced flights that are customized to when and where you sail. It also offers Late Arrival Protection – something not offered by other major air booking websites.
- Flights That Fit Your Cruise – Get personalized suggestions based on when and where you sail.
- Low Fares on Flights – Access fares lower than most public prices. We pass the exclusive savings we enjoy because of the high volume of flights we sell on to you. See for yourself!
- Flexibility to Change Flights – Cancel flexible airfare up to 45 days prior to departure with no fees. Plus, book flights now with no amount due until cruise final payment.
- Same Day Late Arrival Protection – Rest easy that you'll make your cruise if flights are delayed or canceled on the day of travel and get home if you miss flights because of your cruise or transfer.
- Getting flight quotes is simple – Visit princess.com (1. Find a Cruise 2. Select "View Details" 3. Select "Flight Quotes"), contact us or ask your Travel Advisor about Princess EZair.
If you have not booked a cruise yet, search for cruises and airfare.
†No charge penalty until 45 days prior to departure for Flexible fares only. Restricted fares are non-refundable and must be paid in full at the time of booking.
Seat assignments are not guaranteed and are subject to change without notice due to schedule changes, equipment changes or other unforeseen circumstances. Princess has no control over seat assignments, and any changes are at the discretion of the airline. We recommend that guests contact the airline(s) directly, once you receive your air notification, to request specific seats.
Flight Guidelines for Non Princess Flight Guests
Princess Cruises has established the following air flight guidelines for guests who choose to purchase air from a source other than Princess. Please select the port(s) of embarkation and/or disembarkation from the list below to view the air flight guidelines.
The times listed below are subject to change.
- Beijing (for Tianjin)
- Buenos Aires
- Ft. Lauderdale
- Keelung (Taipei)
- Kobe, Japan
- Le Havre (CDG Airport)
- London (Dover)
- London (Southampton)
- Los Angeles
- Nagoya, Japan
- New York City
- Osaka, Japan
- Perth (Fremantle)
- Quebec City
- Rio de Janeiro
- Rome (Civitavecchia)
- San Francisco
- Santiago (Valparaiso/San Antonio)
- St. Petersburg, Russia
- Warnemunde, Germany
- Yokohama, Japan
Flight or Weather Delays Contact Numbers
If you encounter unforeseen flight or weather-related delays, you’ll need to advise accordingly:
- If you have booked EZair, please contact the Princess En Route Desk for assistance with rebooking options.
- If you have made independent flight arrangements and have not booked Princess Vacation Protection, please contact the Princess En Route Desk so they can inform the ship of your delays.
Princess En Route Desk Contact Info:
- Within the U.S. or Canada, please call 1-800-545-0008.
- Outside of the U.S. or Canada, please call 1-661-284-4410.
- Within Australia, please call 13 24 88.
If you have booked Princess Vacation Protection and have made independent flight arrangements (have not booked EZair) call the travel assistance provider under the plan:
- Within the U.S. or Canada: 1-877-303-5909.
- Outside of the U.S. or Canada, call collect: 1-516-342-4594.
- What To Pack for a Cruise
Items you may need to pack to make your time with Princess the best vacation ever!
You should dress for a cruise with Princess the same way you would for any stylish land-based resort.
Casual sportswear, including shorts, lightweight pants, sundresses, will keep you feeling fresh and looking your best while at sea and ashore in hotter climates.
We recommend you bring a sweater, a jacket or an all-weather coat for cool evenings, and for shore excursions, depending on your destination. Due to unpredictable weather, don't forget a hat or visor and a collapsible umbrella. Please be sure to bring proper clothing for visits to religious sites. You'll also want low-heeled, rubbersoled shoes for strolling on deck, as well as comfortable walking shoes or sandals to wear.
Princess makes it easy to know what to pack and what to wear when you’re dining on board our spectacular ships. There are two designations for dress codes: Smart Casual and Formal.
Smart Casual Guest attire should be in keeping with what they would wear to a nice restaurant at home.
- Skirts/dresses, slacks, blouses, and sweaters for women
- Pants and collared or dress shirts for men
Pool or beach attire, shorts, ball caps or jeans with fraying and/or holes are not welcomed in the dining room. Shoes must be worn.
Formal When formal nights are held, please observe the dress code in the dining venues for the enjoyment of all our guests.
- Evening gown, cocktail dress or elegant pant suit for women
- Tuxedo, dark suit or dinner jacket and slacks for men
Packing for Your Cruise
Follow these important luggage reminders:
- Essential medicines, travel documents, valuables and breakables should be hand carried in your possession at all times.
- Many domestic airline carriers now impose excess baggage fees for one or more bags and bags weighing over 50 lbs., so check with your carrier regarding weight restrictions.
- Princess will make every effort to assist you in safeguarding your belongings. But remember, you are responsible for your things at all times. Princess is not responsible for money, jewelry, cameras, binoculars, documents or any other articles you retain in your personal control.
- All luggage should have a sturdy personal identification tag that will not be lost or damaged in the course of typical airport and trucked luggage handling.
- On journeys including air travel, luggage will be subject to a considerable amount of handling and we would recommend that your luggage be of sturdy construction.
- Princess recommends that your travel protection is adequate enough to cover any possible loss or damage which may occur. Any loss or damage caused by Princess or an airline must be reported immediately to the responsible party.
As provided in the Passage Contract, on the day of embarkation, guests are permitted to bring one 750ml bottle of wine or champagne on board per voyage, which will not be subject to a corkage fee if consumed in your stateroom. Additional wine or champagne bottles are welcome, but will incur a US$20/AU$30 (depending on shipboard currency) corkage fee each, irrespective of where they are intended to be consumed. Liquor, spirits, or beers are not permitted. Please remember that luggage will be scanned and alcohol outside of our policy will be removed and discarded.*
Alcoholic beverages that are purchased duty free from The Shops of Princess, or at ports of call, will be collected for safekeeping and delivered to the guest's stateroom on the last day of the cruise. A member of the ship's staff will be at the gangway to assist guests with the storage of their shoreside alcoholic purchases while The Shops of Princess staff will assist guests with shipboard alcoholic purchases.
*Princess is not responsible for any alcoholic beverages removed and discarded by shoreside security staff. Such items are not eligible for monetary refund or replacement. Guests found with prohibited items, including alcohol outside of the policy, may need to collect their luggage at a security checkpoint on board.
We strongly recommend you hand-carry all valuables and breakables, including jewelry, electronics and cameras as well as any medications. Please read the Passage Contract for limitations and responsibilities for lost items and baggage.
- Shore Excursions
Exploring destinations around the world is one of the highlights of your vacation, and the best way to do this is on a Princess Cruises Shore Excursion.
Our primary concern at Princess is your health, safety and security. We are in continuous contact with authorities concerning any travel advisories that might impact our cruises.
If the U.S. State Department advises against travel to specific locations we visit, we would make the necessary changes to the published itinerary. Although such itinerary changes occur infrequently, please understand that these changes are for your own safety and security and are beyond our control.
We remind all of our guests that they must ultimately assume responsibility for their actions while ashore. In this regard, we would like to remind you of some common sense precautions when visiting ports-of-call:
- Stay in the normal tourist areas and don’t travel to out-of-the-way places without the benefit of a guided tour.
- Do not leave any of your belongings unattended in public areas.
- Be generally aware of people and activities around you.
- Do not accept packages from anyone you don’t know personally.
- Keep a low profile–dress and behave conservatively.
- Be careful when eating and drinking ashore.
We will always adhere to local guidelines and protocols regarding the health and safety of our guests and crew.
We thank you in advance for following these recommendations, which we believe will enhance the enjoyment of your cruise.
Cancellation of Pre-Paid Shore Excursions:
If you have pre-paid a shore excursion and wish to cancel, the following shall also apply:
If a pre-paid shore excursion is cancelled five (5) days or more prior to sailing a refund of the pre-paid amount will be made in one of the following ways:
If there is a shore excursion balance for the guest named on the reservation being cancelled then the pre-paid amount shall be applied to this balance.
- If there is no shore excursion balance for the guest named on the reservation being cancelled then the pre-paid amount will be refunded to the credit card used to pre-pay the shore excursion. All refunds will be processed in due course, but delays should be anticipated. Please allow sufficient time for us to manage this process and know we are doing everything in our power to expedite where possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
If a pre-paid shore excursion is not cancelled within the above time frame or is cancelled during the voyage prior to the "Closing Time for Cancellation" listed for the particular excursion you wish to cancel, then the pre-paid amount will be refunded to the guest named on the pre-paid reservation as a shipboard credit on this guest's shipboard folio. Please note this is done regardless of which guest pre-paid for the shore excursion.
Cancellation of Pre-Reserved Shore Excursions
Due to the nature of excursions involving hotel accommodations, flights and private vehicles, these excursions are not refundable after the closing date, which is 30 days prior to sailing.
Due to the limited capacity and high demand for helicopter flights, any excursion involving a helicopter flight is not refundable unless cancelled no later than 12:00pm on the day after embarkation.
For other excursions in each port of call, a "Closing Time for Cancellations" is listed on the Shore Excursion Order Form found in your stateroom. This is the time when the bookings for the excursions in that port close and we notify the local operators of the final excursion requirements. You may cancel an excursion if it is prior to the closing time whether you reserve an excursion in advance of the cruise or book on board. However, we cannot cancel an excursion if it is past this closing time, nor will we refund an excursion on which you have reserved but do not to attend.
Cancellation of Alaska Land Excursions
Alaska Land Excursions, purchased through the Cruise Personalizer, may be cancelled up to three days prior to travel without any cancellation fees. Land Excursions cancelled prior to the cancellation deadline will be refunded to the credit card that you provided in the Cruise Personalizer to purchase your tours. Excursions cancelled within three (3) days prior travel are subject to a 100% cancellation fee, unless the operator, at their sole discretion, is unable to operate the program due to unforeseen circumstances. All sales of tours booked while on your land tour are considered final at the time of purchase and are 100% non-refundable except in the case of an operator approved cancellation.
Multiple Excursions in One Port
If you choose to book more than one excursion in a single day, please allow at least 60 minutes between each excursion. All excursions depart from, and return to, the cruise ship pier. By scheduling in this manner, you will have sufficient time to take multiple excursions.
Tipping on Excursions
Tipping is a discretionary matter. It is, however, customary around the world, if one is pleased with their excursion, to tip the guide.
Here are suggested ranges (in U.S. dollars) to assist you in determining what amount is appropriate:
Please extend any tips on an individual basis, not as a group.
One very important feature of taking an excursion organized by Princess is that we closely monitor the departures and returns of all excursions. Therefore, our ships do not sail until all of our organized excursion transportation has returned, so you can be assured that you won't miss the ship. Please keep in mind that when you make your own arrangements in port, or if you leave an organized excursion, we will no longer be aware of your whereabouts; so be sure to schedule yourself with ample time to return to the ship before it sails.
All excursions are operated by local, independent companies and not by Princess. We selected only the most reputable companies available to provide your excursions. The companies providing your excursions are selected by Princess based on their excellent reputation for service and safety.
Children’s Excursion Pricing
Select excursions offer child pricing. Our reservation system will automatically apply a child rate if one is available on eligible tours when you make your reservation. Once on board, check your excursion tickets to ensure you have received the correct number of child tickets. If you have received the incorrect number of child tickets, visit the Shore Excursion Desk as soon as possible to make any necessary adjustments. Child prices are not available for excursions involving flights or hotel stays. Toddlers aged 2 and younger sitting on a parent's lap (not occupying a seat), are not charged for most excursions. If a parent would like their infant to occupy a seat or would like to utilize a safety seat, the parent must purchase an excursion ticket for the infant at the published excursion price. Parents are also responsible for bringing a safety seat for their child.
Excursion Age Restrictions
For most excursions, there is no minimum age for children as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Guests under the age of 18 years cannot participate without a parent or guardian. A few operators may allow an unaccompanied minor on an excursion if a waiver is signed by the parent or guardian in the operator’s presence.
All excursions include local English-speaking guides except for "On Your Own" excursions and where otherwise noted.
Where possible, time for shopping has been allowed within the framework of some excursions. However, excursions are not primarily designed for shopping, and time allowed for this purpose may be limited.
You May Also Like
- Before You Leave for Your Cruise
- Cruising with Family & Kids
- Dining & Nightlife
- Keeping in Touch
- Report a Lost Item or Luggage
- Alaska Cruisetours
- Asia Cruisetours
- Australia Cruisetours
- Canada & New England Cruisetours
- Europe Cruisetours
- South America Cruisetours
Common questions and topics
Princess MedallionClass® FAQ
Dress Code and What to Pack for a Cruise
Future Cruise Credits (FCC)
You may also like
- Princess EZair®
- Cruise Tips, Advice and Information
- Military Cruise Benefit Program
- Princess Cruises® Rewards Visa® Card
- Onboard Gifts & Services