|Welcome to our site. This complete online guide for backpackers visiting
Australia presents photos, links and information about cities, towns and
attractions, backpackers hostels and other accommodation, transport and
tour operators, food and dining, entertainment and where the best parties
are at! Choose from our many pages on Australian highlights and why not
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New South Wales
Great Ocean Road
Far West Coast
Old goldfield towns
Old riverboat country
Photo: Sydney, New South Wales
Photo: Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Cape Tribulation, Near Cairns, Queensland
Photo: Ayres Rock, Northern Territory
Arkaroola, Fliners Ranges, South Australia
Photo: Liffey Falls, Tasmania
|OVERVIEW OF FEATURED
Australia is a big country with a big variety of things to see and do.
Some of the highlights are endless beaches, modern cosmopolitan cities,
lush tropical and sub-tropical rainforests and the world's longest and
most spectacular coral reef. Inland are vast cattle stations and
arid lands known as the "outback" with dramatic rock formations at the
NEW SOUTH WALES
Sydney, founded just over 200 years
ago in 1788 as a British convict settlement, is Autralia's oldest and largest
city and is the state capital. The city is built on a spectacular
harbour and is home to two of the world's more famous structures. The Sydney
Opera House with its bizarre sail-like architecture and the massive iron
arc of the Sydney Harbour Bridge are readily recognisable. Outside the
harbour, many suburbs, such as Bondi, have great surf beaches facing the
The Blue Mountains National Park
has a serious of deep sunken valleys surrounded by cliffs. Centred around
the town of Katoomba there
are exhilarating walks along the cliff edge and down seemingly endless
staircases into the valleys of gum tree forests. Located two hours inland
from Sydney by road or train.
Byron Bay is a lively and attractive
beachside town on the far north coast of New South Wales and one hour south
from the Gold Coast in Queensland by road. Byron Bay is particularly
popular with backpackers. It is a relaxed surfing, whale watching and party
town for those into the alternative lifestyle scene. Deep in the rainforest
of the surronding hills are various hippie and alternative lifestyle communes.
Between the Gold Coast and Sydney are numerous other attractive beachside
towns, all quiter than Byron Bay and orientated more towards families and
Canberra, in the Australian Capital
Territory, is Australia's modern purpose built capital city with numerous
monumental goverment buildings, museums and galleries. Loacted three hours
southwest of Sydney by road. Travelling further south is the high country
cattle town of Cooma, and onto the ski resort towns of Thredbo and Jindabyne
in the Snowy Mountains. Enough snow falls at Thredbo and nearby
Perisher Blue for a short winter ski season. For ski information refer
Melbourne is the large sophisticated
capital city of this cooler southern state with many graceful old buldings
from the 1880s gold rush set amongst the glass skyscrapers of modern Melbourne,
tree lined streets and many parks and gardens. The city has a Eurpoean
feel with an abundance of imported European trees, a multicultural heritage
and an abundance of outdoor cafes along the streets and laneways.
Mount Dandenong is a large lush green
area of native ferns and gum tree forests. Located just one hour
from Melbourne by road makes it a popular escape from the city.
The Yarra Valley is an attractive
grape growing region and has numerous quality wineries open for generous
tastings. Loacted one hour from Melbounre by road and close to Mount
Phillip Island is well known for
the fairy penguins come ashore after dusk and the bus loads of Japanese
and other tourists that come to see them. Loacted 90 minutes from Melbourne
The Great Ocean Road hugs
cliffs along a treacherous and spectacular western coastline with excellent
surf beaches in a number of places. It is probably the mian natural attraction
in Victoria. Along the way are the towns Lorne
and Apollo Bay and Port
The Far West Coast is windswept and often
cold. The two largest towns in the region are Warrnambool
and Portland, both originally established
as whaling towns.
Wilsons Promontory is a very large area
of unspoilt beaches and long hikes through the Australian wilderness and
forests where the scenery totally changes every couple of kilometres. It
includes the most southerly point of mainland Australia. Located 3 1/2
hours southeast of Melbourne by road.
Old goldfield towns are numerous around
the region about one hours drive northwest of Melbourne. The largest
of these towns are Ballarat where
there is a recreation of an 1860s Australian gold mining town and Bendigo
where there are underground mine tours.
Old riverboat country. The Murray river is
dotted with river port towns from Australia's early days. Paddle steamers
once plyed the rivers collecting wool from farms and delivering it to one
of the railheads for transportation to Melbourne for export. The towns
of Echuca, Swan
Hill and Mildura have retained
historic their historic river ports and offer paddle steamer trip.
The Grampians National Park is loctaed 4 hours west of Melbourne.
Victorian Alps. The ski field are located 3 to 6 hours by road from
Melbourne at Mount Buller, Falls Creek and Mount Hotham. Enough snow falls
for a short winter ski season. Refer http://www.ski.com.au
Cairns is a small city in far north
Queensland, a major tourist destination and has developed into a scuba
diving and snorkelling mecca. The immense 2,000 kilometre long coral reef
called The Great Barrier Reef that
runs much of the length of the Queensland coast is at its best offhsore
from the nearby upmarket resort town of Port
Douglas. From Cairns, tours also go into the lush green rainforests
that surround the city, including the tranquil Daintree
Rainforest and Cape Tribulation
World Heritage Area and up into the Atherton
Tablelands around Kurunda
and the remote Cooktown and rugged
undeveloped Cape York. Access to
Lizard Island, Fitzroy
Island and Green Island is
Mission Beach is a
quiet, isolated and pretty area with houses dotted between a couple of
long beaches and dense rainforest inhabited by the endangered large flightless
Cassowary bird. Loacted 2 hours south of Cairns by road. Access to Dunk
Townsville is a port city in north Queensland
that services a vast inland agricultural and mining area. Access to Magnetic
Bowen is a town with no tourist attractions
but has seasonal fruit picking work. Located 2 hours south of Townsville
Mackay is a sugar cane town where
backpackers may need to spend the night on the way to Airlie Beach.
Located 1,000 kilomteres north of Brisbane. Access to Brampton
Island is from Mackay.
Airlie Beach is a small town loacted
130 kilometres north of Mackay that is extremely popular with backpackers
for scuba diving and snorkelling access to the Great Barrier Reef. The
added attraction is to join an organised yacht charter and sail around
the numerous small Whitsunday Islands for a couple of days. Most
of the islands are unihabited and a quite a few have resort hotels.
Islands with resorts of various standards are Long
Island, Hook Island, Daydream
Island, South Molle Island,
Hamilton Island with multiple
resorts and airport and the upmarket Hayman
Island and Lindeman Island.
Rockhampton is a beef industry town situated
on the Fitzroy River exactly on the Tropic of Capricorn in 650 kilometres
north of Brisbane. Access to Great
Keppel Island is from Rosslyn
Bay outside nearby Yepoon.
Gladstone is an industrial
town with a major coal export port. Loacted 550 kilometres north of Brisbane.
Access to Heron Island.
Bundaberg is an agricultural
town with seasonal fruit and vegetable picking work. Located 350 kilometres
north of Brisbane. Access to Lady
is the world's largest sand island and lies just off the southern Queensland
coast. It is an almost unspoilt rugged wilderness and an exciting trip
to tackle in a four wheel drive vehicle tour organised from one of the
nearby beach towns on the mainland, such as the relaxing Hervey
Bay or upmarket Noosa Heads
on the Sunshine Coast. Hervey Bay is 6 hours north of Brisbane by road
and also has seasonal whale wataching. Noosa Heads is loacted 4 hours
north of Brisbane by road.
Brisbane is the state capital and
Queensland's largest city. The city is located near the southeast corner
of the state.
The Gold Coast is highly developed
with a jungle of high-rise apartments and hotels and multitude of nightclubs
and bars at Surfers Paradise
and three impressive nearby theme parks with exilarating rides. Loacted
one hour south of Brisbane by road.
This is a remote and sparsely populated region where the native Aboriginal
culture and art is most prevalent. The Northern Territory is still very
much a frontier territory and prices are high, even double in places.
Ayres Rock, called Uluru in
the native aboriginal language, is a giant red rock protruding from the
surrounding endless flat arid lands. It is in fact 600 metres high, can
be climbed and is the world's largest rock. The
Olgas rock formation, called Kata Tjuta in the native aboriginal
language, is close byu and is a number of giant domes and valleys.
Accommodation and facilities for tourists visting these two rock formations
are at the nearby purpose built and town of Yulara
which is very expensive. A further 300 kilometres into the deserted
remote arid lands is Kings Canyon
with 100 metre high red stone cliffs on either side. Our Ayres Rock
page also covers all the roadhouses between these sights and the nearest
town of any significant size, Alice Springs.
Alice Springs is a modern town in the
middle of nowhere in Australia's arid red cenre, and it gets very hot in
summer. West of the town, the West
Macdonnell Ranges have a number of impressive gorges and chasms, including
Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm, some with swimming holes.
Darwin in the far north is the small,
modern and monsoonal capital of the Northern Territory. Lichfield
National Park is nearby. There waterfalls drop off a high plateu into
swimming lagoons in the rainforest below.
Kakadu World Heritage Area Massive
monsoonal wetlands east of Darwin. The prolific birdlife becomes more concentrated
are the waterholes during the dry season. Massive waterfalls drops off
plateus in the wet season, but road are impassable.
Katherine and Tennant
Creek are the only towns of any significant size on the Stuart Highway
that runs the journey 1500 kilometres between Darwin and Alice Springs.
Thirty kilomtres from Katherine is Katherine
Gorge which is actually 13 gorges and rapids over 12 kilometres of
the Katherine River. The area is beautiful and the water level in the river
changes to a raging torrent during the Wet season. The
Devil's Marbles are giant boulders that rest on hilltops either side
of the highway 100 kilomtres north of the dusty town of Tennat Creek. Mataranka
Thermal Pools are 100 kilometres south of Katherine. Our Katherine
and tenant Creek page also covers all the roadhouses between Darwin and
Adelaide is the state capital and
has developed a big outdoor cafe culture and distinctly Australian cuisine.
It has also retained many of the distinctly South Australian style colonial
stone buildings giving the city a timeless feel.
Adelaide Hills. Mount Lofty overlooks Adelaide
city and the old Lutheran German town of Hahndorf takes advantege of its
history and is filled with craft and souvenier shops and German restaurants.
Loacted thirty minutes from Adelaide by road.
Barossa Valley is the Australia's most famous
wine making region, made mostly by German descendants. Many wineries
are open for tastings. Loacted two hours from Adelaide by road.
Fleurieu Peninsula makes an easy day trip
from Adeliade if you have your own car. There are a number of wineries
and Victor Harbour on the peninsula has a horse drawn tram to Granite Island.
Port Augusta is a road and rail freight
service town at the crossroads of major Australian highways and rail lines
loacted 400 kilometres north of Adelaide. Inevitably you will pass
through the town if you are in the area.
Flinders Ranges are a dry mountain range
northwest of Port Augusta in arid lands. In summer it is scorching hot.
The best time to visit is in early spring after heavy rain when the whole
region is alive with colourful wildflowers. The main activity to do is
Coober Pedy is a remote opal
mining town in the desert on the Stuart Highway to the Northern Territory.
The surrounding lunar landscapes and that most of the town is built underground
makes it interesting. Loacted 850 kilometres from Adelaide by road. Our
Cooby Pedy page includes all roadhouses on the Stuart Highway between Port
Augusta and the Northern Territoy and the military town of Woomera.
Oodnadatta Track. The adventurous
who want to get off the main Stuart Highway to the Northern Territoy can
take this track through the desert insteady and Lake Eire, the world largest
dry salt lake. Due to the extreme isolation of the area and intense hot
dry weather it is essential to take proper safety precautions. This really
is about as far into the Outback as you can get!
Eyre Peninsula has a number of tiny sleepy
fishing villages. At the tip of the peninsula is the pleasant beachside
holiday town of Port Lincoln. The main industry here is tuna fishing and
aquaculture for export to Japan.
Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest
island with lots of wildlife, sand dunes, eucapypt forest, scrub land,
cliffs and lighthouses. There are no large toens on the island.
This guide does not cover the state of Western Australia, though
we hope to do so in the future.
Tasmania is a small island state
south of Melbourne in Victoria. From a tourist perspective the state is
best known for its lush wet, cool temperate forests and the quiet old world
charm. Many of its towns have retained their colonial buildings, some dating
back to the early 1800's when Tasmania was a penal colony. The beautiful
Lake Saint Claire is in Cradle
Mountain National Park in central Tasmania. The Overland
Track in the National Park is spectaculer hike to do over few days in the
warmer months. Hobart is the state
capital and Launceston the other
Different people have different interests, but the following are popular
Sydney and Cairns: Two weeks
If you only have two weeks, fly from Sydney to Cairns and split your
time between them.
Sydney to Cairns: Five weeks
The most popular backpacker itinery is to spend at least a few days
in Sydney then travel by bus along the east coast to Cairns in far north
Queensland. To look at Sydney, spend a day or two at the nearby Blue Mountains
and then travel the 3,000 kilometres to Cairns stopping only at the highlights
along the way for a reasonable time, allow five weeks. It can be done in
four weeks by skipping some highlights, or six weeks orlonger if you prefer
a more leisurely pace. Of course there are many more things to see than
just he highlights and you could spend months.
Add on Melbourne
Many backpackers also visit Melbourne. Allow a few days or a bit longer
if also travelling along the nearby Great Ocean Road.
Add on Darwin and Kakadu
From north Queensland, a reasonable number of backapckers travelthe
long distance to Darwin at the northern end of the Northern Territory,
visiting wetalnds of the Kakadu National Park along the way. Access
by road to the Northern Territoy from the Queensland coast is from Townsville,
not from Cairns. Alow two weeks.
Add on the Red Centre
South from Darwin is Alice Springs and Ayres Rock in the centre of Australia,
known as the Red Centre. Allow two weeks.
By combining all of the above, a number of backpackers travel from Sydney
to Cairns, then across to Darwin, then through the centre to Alice Springs
and Ayres Rock and continuing onto Adelaide in the south and Melbourne
before retrning to Sydney. Allow at least 3 months.
Add on Tasmania
From Melbourne you could add on a two week trip to the nearby small
island state of Tasmania.
Listings and details about backpackers hostels are included with each
city, town and locality featured on this site. Select a featured location
listed at the top of this page.
All prices are quoted in Australian dollars (AUD). For current exchange
rates we recommend http://www.oanda.com
As a rough guide a bed in a dorm costs $27 and a single, double or twin
room with shared facilities in a backpackers hostel costs $75. Staying
is a central location is ofen convenient as it will save you travel time
and transport costs to visit the attractions each day.
Prices often increase in beachside towns around Christmas and during
January, sometimes double, and vacancies may be very difficult to find.
Caravan parks at beaches will more than likely be booked out at peak holiday
times. Bryon Bay in particluar has an acute shortage of accommodation.
Emergency phone number
The emergency phone number in Australia is 000.
The following list of precautions is not comprehensive.
Australia is big and road distances between places are often very long.
Driver fatigue is major source of fatal car accidents. Government
authorities recommend that drivers stop for a break at least every two
Watch for snakes on walking tracks and in long grass in the bush. Australia
has 9 of the world's 10 most venomous snakes. Australian snakes will almost
always slither away if they hear you coming. Do not accidently stand on
one or get too close before it can get out of your way as it will probably
There are two types of crocodiles in Australia. Salt Water Crocodiles
are big and eat people and animals in the water and next to the waters
edge. They are found in northern Australia. Despite their name Salt Water
Crocdiles do not just live in and around the sea, and in fact are more
often found in rivers. Obey warning signs, even if locals or tour guides
do not. The smaller Freshwater Crocodile is found far up rivers in northern
Drowning at surf beaches
People inexpereinced in swimming in the surf are more likely to get
into difficulties. Dangers include being smashed into submerged rocks,
undertoes and rips that wash swimmers out to sea. Surf life savers patrol
beaches between the red and yellow flags that you will see at almost every
popular beach. Signs at beaches advise people to always swim between the
flags. Surf boards are not allowed between the flags.
Due to the presence of deadly box jellyfish, beaches in northern Australia
are closed to all swimming in summer months except in netted areas.
The potentially deadly irikandu jellyfish is very small and fits through
nets. Vinegar is kept in a box at many affected beaches to douse on jellyfish
A dingo is a wild dog that lives in much of the Australian outback,
beyond the dingo fence built to protect the livestock in the more fertile
areas, and on Fraser Island. Dingoes are usually a dusty orange colour
and about the size of an alsasion or german shepperd, but a lot more vicious.
Though instances of dingo attacks are rare, they have been known to kill
children and babies. If approached by these dogs, stand up. They tend not
to attack if you look taller than them. Keep younger children and babies
Australian vegetation burns easily and on every hot day large bushfires
are likely to breakout and sweep across bushland areas. Walkers and
people in cars are particularly at risk. To reduce bush fires, some days
are declared as total fire ban days.
There is a hole in the ozone layer in the earth's atmosphere over Australia.
Skin can get sunburnt in just fifteen minutes or less, especially in tropical
places where the sun is overhead. You can get sunburnt on a cloudy
day too. Fair skin burns easier. Goverment authorities recommend that people
apply high rating sunscreen, wear a hat, good quality sunglasses and keep
out of the midday sun.
Heat exhaustion and dehydration
Many parts of Australia are hot. People unaccustomed to hot weather
should generally try and keep cool, stay out of the sun and drink more
Australian cities and towns have relatively low crime rates though
normal big city precuations should be taken, such as being wary of your
surroundings at night. Hitch hiking and giving lifts in your car to stangers
is not a good idea, particularly so in remote and isolated locations and
at night. Begging is illegal in Australia but there are still a few aggressive
beggars that are a nuisance in the big cities, particularly in the vicinity
of major transport locations in the early evening.
Email: [email protected]
The development of our site depends not just on our experience. Feedback
and information from other travellers and businesses who cater for backpackers
will be much appreciated.
Tell us about your business
If your business caters for backpackers,
or if at least some backpackers would be interested in it, please tell
us about it. We would be delighted to put in a brief summary and a link
to your website for free. Please provide us promotional details about your
business including name of your business, information about what you provide,
what is good about it, cost, operating hours, address, telephone number,
email, website address (if you have one) and photos if you desire.
If your business is featured on our site but you are unhappy with our summary
please let us know so we can fix it
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