Category Archives: Travelling

The Top 3 Best Jobs in Australia 

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The best jobs in Australia are the jobs you know well, and may even do back home, but also jobs you haven’t tried yet. Part of the adventure of travelling and working as you go is getting out of your comfort zone, and trying something you’d never normally get the chance to try back home.

So if you’re in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa and need some inspiration, we reckon these jobs are the ones to go for, both in terms of the money you’ll earn and the (relative) ease with which you can get them.

Here Are The Top 3 Best Jobs in Australia For Everyone

Good with people and know a mai tai from a mojito? Be a bartender

Australia has a lively drinking culture and if you’re an experienced bar tender it’s easy to find work in the bars of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and beyond. This is one of the best jobs in Australia for meeting people, plus the salary you get for this kind of work blows fruit picking out of the park. If you can land a job in one of the more reputable bars in Sydney or Melbourne the money will match the plush surroundings. 

A lot of travellers prefer to work in backpacker bars mostly due to the relaxed atmosphere, chance ot meet fellow travellers and less requirements in terms of experience. You can also get work in more rural areas in local pubs which opens up the chance to speak to locals and gain an insight into rural life. This one’s a winner if you have the right experience.

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bartender fixing up a cocktail

After that second year working holiday visa? It’s fruit picking for you

Fruit picking, or just general “regional work” often gets a bad rap and is rarely considered to be one of the best jobs in Australia. It’s definitely hard and is usually paid according to the amount of fruit or vegetables harvested rather than with an hourly salary. But the reason travellers are eager to find regional work is to complete the golden 88 day regional work requirement in order to gain a second year working holiday visa.

Completing this requirement and getting a second year in Australia doesn’t only mean more adventures but a much better chance of getting well paid office work (more on that below). It also squarely fits the bill as a job which you are unlikely to do back home, or ever again. There is a shared sense of camaraderie on most farms and the mates you make picking pears could be some of the closest you’ll have during your time in Australia. Fruit picking can be hard work, but the benefits out weigh the negatives.

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fruit picker

Want job security, great money and will be around for a while? Office work is your best bet

Working in an office may sound dull but when it comes salary, working conditions and the potential for longer term employment, office work is hard to beat. Positions can be hard to find for travellers but having a two year working holiday visa definitely helps. There is good job security with this one and higher wages means more money to spend travelling and adventuring when you do decide to move on. Working in an office is one of the best jobs in Australia for job security, good wages and the chance to further your career!

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office work

If you are backpacking Australia then definitely check out these best backpacker jobs in Australia too!

Written by Kate Moxhay at katemoxhay.com

Why we should all remember that TripAdvisor is run for profit

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TripAdvisor has become so synonymous with travel it’s now difficult to remember life without it. Not only do we seek its advice on where to travel, who to travel with, where to eat and stay, we do so trusting that what we read is the truth, and what the site recommends to us is based on user experience. 

Today we have an incredibly insightful article written by, Kate Moxhay, who is an English travel writer currently living in the murky depths of Manila, Philippines. Despite being based in Asia, she spent a year in Australia and loved it so much she’s planning on coming back permanently next summer! Kate has travelled all over Asia, the Middle East, the US and the Pacific and is a great supporter of locally run, small tour operators, and always values local knowledge over anything else. This is her first guest post for Drop Bear.

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Written by Kate Moxhay at katemoxhay.com

Here is why we should all remember that TripAdvisor is run for profit by Kate Moxhay

The travel realm is a complex one, with myriad options for every element of the experience from transfers to hotels, tours to top sights and everything in between. It pays to research ahead of time in many respects, after all who wants to be stuck on a badly organised, over priced tour when there is a far better option just over the horizon, had we bothered to check. But when it comes to our most trusted ally amongst this dizzying array of choice and potential bad decision, it’s worth remembering that TripAdvisor is, above all, a profit making enterprise. In fact, some would argue it is slowly morphing into more of an online travel agency than a review site. So, what does that mean for us?

 

Top results will not always show the best options as voted for by real travellers

TripAdvisor remains a place to look to for real, honest reviews. This is its bread and butter and it rightly takes fake reviews extremely seriously. They know that the reason we look to the site for advice is because we trust that, on the whole, the reviews we read are truthful and honest. And they generally are. But this kind of blind trust in reviews can blinker us into believing that every search we do will provide us with results based purely on user experience, which it definitely does not.

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TripAdvisor bought tour company Viator back in 2014 and is very savvy at promoting Viator tours through the site. The companies that advertise tours and activities through the Viator platform pay around 20-30% in commission, which means it is in TripAdvisor’s interest to promote these tours and activities above all else, including smaller independent operators and, sadly, other tours that often have more positive reviews provided by people who actually experienced them. This sort of self promotion on TripAdvisor’s part makes sense from a business perspective, but the result is a list of seemingly popular tours that may not necessarily be the top tours as voted for by real, independent users. 

 

Booking through TripAdvisor means being on your own when problems occur

There is a decent amount of pressure by TripAdvisor for users to use their own booking system for things such as tours and hotels. They are often cheap, good deals which makes sense when faced with many options from various sites. But its worth remembering that you’re pretty much on your own if anything goes wrong. This is especially true when booking tours, as the booking is first run through TripAdvisor’s booking system, and then through Viator before it gets to the actual tour company, so if anything were to go wrong with the tour or the booking, TripAdvisor is just a long distant memory.

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The vast majority of bookings go  without a hitch, but whenever a tour booking is that far removed from the tour operator, getting compensated when things go wrong can be very difficult. Whereas booking directly with the tour operator themselves leaves no doubt as to who is responsible when things don’t go according to plan. It’s also far easier to get a feel for what to really expect on a tour when communicating directly with operators, not to mention a far more personal experience. 

 

Use it for the reviews, above all else!

This mighty behemoth has so far managed to turn itself from an Expedia spin off into a $7billion (and counting) business, and it has done so by intelligent marketing and a lucrative business model based on advertising and revenues from tour operators, hotels and more. It is not purely a repository for authentic reviews, there is now much more to the modus operandi to be aware of. 

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But authentic reviews are still very much there, more than ever. The thing to remember is that finding them can be more difficult than it used to be. The smaller, independent tour operators who struggle against the giants like Viator deserve to be recognised. 

Trust the reviews, and not necessarily the search results. Check that you’re not looking at just a business or hotel that has paid to be up there at the top, rather than one organically grown from user experience. Because it is the reviewers that made this site so popular and useful, not the ads or revenue boosting tactics. 

Look to the reviews above all else, delve a little deeper beyond the initial search results, because that is where you’ll find the best of the bunch.

Written by Kate Moxhay at katemoxhay.com

Flying Taxis Due to Launch in Australia

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Uber is as ubiquitous now as it ever was. We’ve all reached for that handy little app countless times after a night out or just because we feel too damn lazy to take the bus. But how about taking a taxi to the sky? Well, you may well get your chance very soon when Uber’s first airborne taxi service (known as Elevate) opens for business in Australia in the next couple of years. Joining the ranks of Los Angeles and Dallas, Melbourne has been chosen as the first city outside of the US for the American giant’s helicopter taxi service. Test flights are due to take off next year, with commercial operations predicted to start from 2023, as announced by Uber at their annual “flying car conference”  – yes, that’s a thing.

The idea behind taxis by air is that city dwellers are sick to death of sitting in traffic, and that already dwindling personal car ownership figures will continue to fall. Melbourne has its fair share of tail backs, especially on popular routes like that from the airport to the CBD, but with an Uber air taxi that journey which would otherwise take about an hour would be cut down to just 10 minutes. The fun factor is a huge one too, who could resist making an entrance via a helipad rather than the door?

Granted the costs are likely to be pretty steep, but knowing Uber (who knows us very well) it won’t be completely out of the realms of possibility that you could finish your night with a quick flight home through the clouds, rather than on the tarmac.

This is exciting news for Melbourne and potentially other cities in Australia in the future. So if you can’t have a jetpack, take the next best thing – Uber Elevate is big news for Australia.

5 Health Tips Everyone Should Follow While Travelling

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While most people travel to relieve stress, the whole process of travelling can actually be very stressful. From the possibility of cancellations, missing your flight, getting lost in a city you’ve never been or having an accident. You constantly need to be on top of everything to ensure your trip goes smoothly which can often lead to stress. This could not only ruin your trip but impact your mental and physical health too. And let’s be honest, travelling should be fun and exciting!

As a traveller, you can take certain measures to reduce stress and while it may not be possible for everyone to travel stress-free, you can come close with the following tips.

Travel Insurance

While you may not be able to have any control over accidents and cancellations, you can have both covered on your trip with travel insurance Canada. The insurance will provide you with medical coverage which can save you tons of money in case of an accident or other health problems. It will also cover money lost due to cancellations or even lost baggage. Knowing that you are insured will help you reduce stress and not worry too much about any medical problems and allow you to travel with more ease. You can also compare leading travel insurance companies on www.comparethemartket.com.au

Get enough sleep

Travelling to a new location can be exciting. So exciting that you overlook the need to get a decent night’s sleep. A lot of travellers like to enjoy a night out to socialise with new friends which is great! But it’s very easy to get stuck in a cycle of late nights, early mornings and those pesky hangovers. Whilst it’s good to socialise and have fun, make sure you dedicate yourself to having a few good night’s sleep to keep your energy levels and your mental health steady. Most people need to get an average of 7-8 hours of sleep a day as this allows your mind and body to rest and rejuvenate for the day that is ahead. Along with sleeping, be sure to also eat well balanced meals.

Include some form of physical activity in your itinerary

Even if you are travelling for just a few days, make sure you get some form of physical activity in. Whether it is going hiking, camping or swimming in the local pool or a nearby lake, keeping your body active is a must. Going for walks around a new place is the best way to explore and meet the locals. You see so much more when you walk then when you drive around. A lot of cities also have running groups that take you running around the city and it’s the perfect sightseeing/fitness activity! By keeping physically active during your travels, you will help your body and mind stay energetic throughout the day, whilst also giving yourself some time outside to catch some sun and fresh air. Both of which, as we know, are good for your physical and mental health.

Disconnect yourself from technology

Constantly checking your social media or messages on when travelling can take a lot away from it. One of the reasons why you travel is to disconnect and relax, so do just that. Keep your phone on you for emergency purposes only and disconnect yourself from social media altogether while you are out. You can allocate 15-20 minutes at the end of the day to socialise on it but the rest of the time you should try and enjoy your trip and stay present.

Listen to your mind and body

Only you know your mind and body so listen to it when it’s telling you to slow down. It’s great enjoying lots of activities and excursions but it’s also not so fun when you’re too tired to take anything in. Have a balance of relaxing by the beach, reading your book and taking in your surroundings, with going on tours, out for drinks and dinner with new friends. By having a balance, you will have more of an appreciation for your surroundings, for the places you visit and for the people you meet.

 

Author

Natasha is a world traveller who never says “no” to adventuring to a new location. As a globetrotter from Canada, she’s engaged in being a writer with Best Quote Travel Insurance where she shares her experiences and travel tips with fellow travellers. Her favourite saying is, “Home isn’t where you were born, it’s where you feel the happiest.”

Where Best to Sky Dive in Australia

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Australia has a stunning array of landscapes that are impressive enough from the ground, but become even more mind blowing from thousands of feet up in the air.  Ranked as one of the best places to sky dive in the world, Australia isn’t short on places to take the plunge with sites ranging from pristine beaches and coral reefs, to mountains, deserts and more. Each place has its own merits and all are guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping, but where should you choose? These are just some of our all time favourites.

 

Great Ocean Road, Victoria

The Great Ocean Road is well known for being one of the most spectacular drives in the world, but from above this breathtakingly beautiful coastline really comes into its own. Only a birds eye view can allow you to take in the enormity of the Southern Ocean waves crashing onto the rugged coastline, the many weird and wonderful rock formations that line the coast as well as the lush green forests and soaring cliffs that travellers from all over come to see. The 360 degree view also takes in the pretty towns that line the coast, as well as the famous surf spot of Bells Beach, the beautiful sweep of Port Philip Bay and the sky line of Melbourne in the far distance. There are a few sky diving spots in Victoria but none that match the iconic splendour of the Great Ocean Road. She’s a beaut.

 

Uluru, Northern Territory

The enormity of Uluru can never really be fully appreciated until you see it from above. The circumference of Uluru comes in at just under 6 miles, and her sheer size and awe inspiring presence rising out of the barren desert landscape like an eerie monolith is breathtaking. Depending on what time of day you decide to dive here, Uluru’s myriad colours could be anything from red to orange to earthy brown, and everything in between. This iconic, much revered rock is somewhere that should be on every traveller’s itinerary and seeing it from above gives a completely different perspective. Highly recommended.

 

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

“Rotto” is one of the most beautiful islands in the whole of Australia, and the only island you can skydive in Western Australia. Just off the coast of Perth, this quintessential island paradise is fringed by white sand beaches, bays of turquoise waters and bears a not dissimilar resemblance to one of the Greek islands. Western Australia’s coast is as wild and untouched as its interior, with Ningaloo Reef to the north with its amazing marine life and corals and Rottnest to the south. Skydiving over Rottnest allows you to see how the deeper ocean waters turn from rich, dark blue to light green as it shallows towards the shore, and witness the reef that borders the island in its full glory. Just a short ferry ride from Perth and a doddle to get to, Rottnest Island is one of the most unique dives you can do in WA, and the country.

 

 

 

5 ways to travel more sustainably in Australia

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With more and more of us getting out there and exploring every corner of the planet, more often and travelling further and further away from home, it’s now more important than ever to consider our impact on the environment. Back in the days of the single two-week package holiday a year, the global environmental impact was pretty minimal and localised. But today far flung travel, especially to remote corners of the globe like Australia, is an almost universal right of passage. It’s about adventure and experiences and creating incredible memories, but when you’re out there having your jaw dropped at every turn, the environmental impact of just being there is often far from our minds. But planning a trip with a more eco conscious approach pays dividends down the line. Smart decisions on how to travel from A to B, where to stay and how to make more sustainable choices in general benefits not only the planet for now, but for future generations of travellers.  And it’s pretty damn easy to be honest.

Share the ride

Need to get across the Nullabor Plain or from Melbourne over to Sydney? The next time you’re planning a trip, truly consider your options. Travelling with other like-minded travellers cuts back on the amount of cars on the road, the cost and your impact on the planet. Consider joining a group tour or just ask around and see who’s going in the same direction. Flying may be quick, but it means missing out on all that good stuff in between. And it’s the places you find along the journey that are often the most memorable. Grab a bus ticket rather than a plane ticket, or hire a car and cram it with new mates. Avoid the skies and the planet will thank you.

Bike it

If there’s one piece of kit that will keep on giving in terms of eco kudos, it’s the humble bike. Dirt cheap, readily available and by far the best way to explore a new place on your own terms, bikes have zero environmental impact and are good for your health too. Download the local city bike rental app or just rent one locally. Getting around by bike is one of the best choices you can make.

Watch your water

Often overlooked but one of the biggest environmental concerns around is water waste. Invest in a cheap shower timer and limit your shower to 3 minutes – yes, it’s possible! Only wash clothes when they’re truly dirty and save the baths for sub zero temperatures only.

Stay sustainably

Choose locally run, independent guesthouses and hostels. This not only supports local communities but the more simple a place is, the less impact you’ll be having on the planet. A fan cooled room is a more eco conscious choice than an air conditioned one, and nothing beats the personal touch of a local guesthouse.

Travel with reusables

Endless plastic water bottles are clogging up the ocean, literally. Bring your own water bottle with you and refill it whenever you can. Put shampoo, shower gel and any other liquids into reusable bottles and choose environmentally friendly washing powder when it comes to laundry.

Little changes make a big difference. It’s simple and so true! Want to travel in a more sustainable way? Chat to the eco conscious folks over at Bare Travels for some impartial advice on the best eco tours around.

A day out of the city: The Perfect Day Trip from Sydney

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Sydney-siders will probably wonder why you’d want to leave their gem of a city. Gorgeous sunny days, beaches on your doorstep, and of course that jaw dropping harbour are pretty hard to beat. But every now and then we all need to take a break from the city madness regardless of how great the city in question is.  So, if you’re momentarily tired of Sydney, where should your day trip take you?

The areas surrounding Sydney are well known for their stunning natural beauty and the plethora of outdoor activities on offer. From sky diving to hiking and everything in between. The mighty Blue Mountains are rightfully one of the first places city weary folks come to dust off the pollution and breathe in some fresh mountain air. But popular spots like this attract hoards of people, all crowding into otherwise quiet and serene look out points and quiet mountain roads. But head into less well chartered territory and you’ll soon have be able to avoid the day tripper crowds and have a unique experience all to yourself.

The Royal National Park is one of those places, the path here is less well trodden and it is all the better for it. Just 23 miles from Sydney and a world away, the park is probably best known for the unique natural rock pools found along its coast, known as the Figure 8 Pools. Reached via a moderately difficult, but rewarding coastal track which passes through rainforest and beautiful coastal views, the pools are an awesome natural phenomenon where it’s possible to swim at low tide. No two pools are the same and each one is a distinctly different weird and wonderful shape. Once you’ve snapped a few insta-worthy pictures hike further up into the mountains and on to Wattamolla. This picturesque little spot boasts a beautiful waterfall, lagoon and beach where you can relax after the hike. There are numerous look out points in the park where it’s possible to get a good look at this wild area of coastline, and marvel at just how close you are to the city.

When it comes to escaping the city for a day, the Figure 8 Pools are hard to beat. A natural phenomenon that you can literally immerse yourself in, surrounded by a pristine national park without the crowds. If this sounds like the day trip for you, the good folks over at Barefoot Downunder have you set. They operate the only day tour to the pools and are on hand to answer any questions you might have. Explore away here!

 

How to Travel the Wild West Cost of Tasmania

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The West coast sums up why travellers come to Tassie in the first place. Stunning natural wonders are to be found at every turn, from the tallest waterfalls to the deepest lake and more weird and wonderful critters than you can shake a stick at (don’t shake a stick at the poor guys). The area is also blessed with a rich cultural history to go along with all that spectacular natural beauty – the west coast has something for everyone.

One of the top sights is the highest waterfall in Tasmania, the gorgeous Montezuma Falls. Located near Rosebury towards the north end of the coast, Montezuma Falls lies at the end of a very do-able hike which winds its way through pristine rainforest, past myrtle and giant tree ferns. Wildlife can be seen along the way including many species of colourful birds. Huge amounts of water pound into the ground from the 104 metre drop every day, and the cool mist is a real treat after the hike. The creek at the base of the falls was once crossed by a wooden bridge which eventually collapsed, leaving a eerie scene of derelict timbers covered in dense moss hiding rusty old nuts and bolts. The falls are one of the west coast’s top sights and should definitely feature on any itinerary to the area.

For a place that delves into Tasmania’s dark(ish) past, head over to the pretty seaside town of Strahan. Built on the banks of the Macquarie Harbour, Strahan today is a charming place perfect for hanging out for a few days taking in its pleasant waterside cafes, shopping at cute stores and learning more about its history. Once belonging to the UK, as did all of Tasmania, the town was one of the most distant outposts belonging to the British Empire. Home to many early pioneers it was host to infamous Sarah Island. Just offshore in the harbour, Sarah Island was the location of a brutal convict prison with a particularly fierce reputation. Thankfully, these days it’s more beaches and sunshine than prisoners and brutality, but Strahan is still a fascinating place to learn about Tassie’s history.

Another top sight not to be missed is Mount Field National Park. Famous for being Tasmania’s first national park, there is incredible wildlife and beautiful scenery to be explored including the thundering Russell Falls. This beautiful waterfall even featured on Australia’s first stamp! It’s an easy hike through the forest and a gorgeous sight. Other waterfalls include Lady Barron and Horseshoe falls. Look out for critters such as the rarely seen platypus, which looks like something between an otter and a giant duck. Many of Tassie’s endemic bird species live here too so keep your eyes up as to the skies, as well as down on the forest floor. The park is a nature lover’s dream.

Convinced yet? If you are, and you should be, check out the marvellous Wild West Coast Tour run by the good folks over at Jump Tours. This excellent tour takes in all of the above and more. Get wild out west – you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

2019, a new year, a new you?!

January is probably the worst month to start a new year. For most of us in the Northern hemisphere, January is the coldest, darkest month in the calendar which can leave us feeling lethargic and uninspired. But hold the darn phone. Those first few weeks after the madness of Christmas and New Year are also the perfect time to contemplate the year ahead and plan everything we can, and should, aspire to achieve. Slow down, reflect and set a path towards a year full of achievable goals and a happier mindset.

So, where do you start? The best answer is, start small. Set aside that pipe dream plan to climb Everest – unless you really, really want to – and make small changes that will have a big impact on your life.

Take a break from technology

Taking regular time away from the glare of a screen is something all of us could benefit from.  A recent study in the US estimates that each of us spends more than 10 hours a day on social media, working at a computer or just plain staring at our phones and tablets. Screens have our full attention, but should they? Think of what other more fulfilling activities you could be doing with all that time. Whether it’s something as simple as taking the dog for a walk, signing up to a new dance class or just picking up your phone and actually calling someone you love. Start small and make a commitment to spend less time participating in the virtual world and more time having real, tangible experiences in the real world.

Do more of what you love

This seems like such a simple idea, but something a lot of us fail to do. We all have something that we enjoy doing above everything else so taking the time to do more of it is a bit of a no brainer. Most of us live for our annual dose of world travel – escaping the comforts of home and immersing ourselves in a different culture for a few days or weeks is endlessly inspiring. So, instead of the standard two weeks in the sun, why not break up your travels and pledge to head somewhere new and interesting every 6 weeks? Even if it’s just a few nights or a longer break, something little and often is guaranteed to beat cramming all your travel goals into one trip.

Be conscious of your impact on the planet

There are very few things more important for the state of the planet than living a more eco conscious life. Taking a more responsible approach to your daily routine will have far more reaching consequences and also make you feel pretty damn good about yourself. Small changes like ditching the plastic bags for life and taking a reusable bag where ever you go could prevent tonnes of non-biodegradable plastic entering the sea for years to come. Turn the heating down a notch, take the bus instead of your car and better still opt to travel with people rather than solo. Every change can make a huge difference.

Feeling suitably inspired and looking for adventure? Give us a call and let us impart some sound advice on making your Aussie travel dreams a reality. That’s one goal you truly can achieve!

 

 

 

 

Australia Travel Advice for First-Timers

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If you’ve never been to Australia before and are planning a trip Down Under, then you’re in for a treat. Australia is as popular as ever with more and more travellers making the long journey south for an adventure of a lifetime. 

Here is Some Top Australia Travel Advice for First-Timers

Why it’s worth the journey

The diversity of the land, the warmth of the people, the vibrant cities and the opportunities for adventure are huge draws. From the misty beauty of the Blue Mountains to camping under the stars while listening to dingoes howl on Fraser Island, it’s a place for unforgettable adventures.

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outback road in australia

But there are a few things to consider before you arrive. Here is some Australia travel advice to set you on your way.

It’s bigger than you think

No matter how many people may tell that Australia is a big place, you still can’t overestimate the sheer size of the country. It’s actually bigger than all the European countries put together! It also has one of the lowest population densities in the world, but that’s not because there aren’t many people here. There are around 25 million people in the country, but only 3 people per km. 

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vast australian beach

So what does this mean for you?

Basically, you will need a long time to see everything there is to see here. Don’t expect to cover the whole country in two weeks. Aim for at least 3 – 6 weeks to be able to cover the east coast, Outback and southern Australia and even longer for the top end and Western Australia.

Take your time getting around

With so much to see and do, one of the best pieces of Australia travel advice you can take on board is to take it slow. This is especially true when it comes to the coast. Most of Australia’s population lives along the coast line and many of the best sights are to be found here. So if you’re travelling from Sydney to Cairns, for example, don’t try and rush it. If you’ve only got a couple of weeks then spend the whole time doing that one stretch. Places like Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island deserve at least a few days of your time.

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road map australia

There are places you can’t miss, and places you (probably) could

Be aware that there is a whole lot of nothing in Australia. The central part of the country especially is mostly desert, interspersed with amazing sights along the way (Uluru for example). But you could easily spend days travelling through an area that has little or nothing of interest. Having limited time means making the most of the best sights. Just a few places that qualify as absolute must sees are the Whitsunday Islands for the Great Barrier Reef, the Gold Coast for surfing, Fraser Island for wildlife and unspoilt wilderness, Sydney for a taste of Aussie city life and Uluru to learn about indigenous communities along with probably the most iconic view in Australia.