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Australia: Know Before You Go

Australia is a big, BIG country

Since it’s an island, people often forget exactly how big Australia is. It’s the sixth largest country in the world and is its own continent. Saying that you’re traveling to Aussie is like saying you’re traveling to the US. The next question will be, “Which part?” Even several months won’t be enough to adequately explore this massive and unique country, so chose a few regions and save the rest for a return visit.

Plan to rent or buy a car

While cities like Sydney and Melbourne have nice (though crowded) public transportation systems, much of what you’ll want to explore here is accessible only by vehicle. Bus tours are common, but we enjoyed renting our own vehicle. Many Europeans exploring for several months even buy one on arrival. Driving on the left side of the road (and the right side of the car) may take a little practice, so consider saving your city driving until the end of your travels. Also beware of the possible flooding from November-April in the northern regions which will close roads with no detours. The bush is, well, the bush, so be sure to pack extra supplies and fill your tank when gas is available.

Consider extended stays in remote regions

Many places in Australia only see tourists for a day or two before they pass along to the next place. With so much travel required to reach these unique places, we decided to really explore regions like Exmouth, Margaret River, and Coober Pedy once we arrived. By getting to know the locals and having a few extra days, some of our favorite unique experiences happened in these places with no crowds. Also check for lodging discounts for extending your stay.

It’s not always hot down under

The Outback. The Bush. Sweltering scenes often fill our minds as we think of life in Australia. And while a good portion of the country is desert like, you’ll likely be surprised by the cool climates most of the year in the tourist hot spots. Even in their spring, October-November, we found ourselves wearing hoodies and pants for the vast majority of our visit. Make sure to check seasonal temperatures before you pack to ensure you won't be freezing your fanny.

Don’t miss out on Tassie

Tasmania, or Tassie to the locals, is a large island of the southeast coast of Australia and well worth a visit for nature lovers. With the duck-billed platypus, echidnas, and the renowned Tasmanian devil, one of a kind nature is everywhere you look. Only two main towns provide much in the way of accommodations so we suggest Airbnb and a portable cooler for groceries. Just smaller than South Carolina, drive times can be deceptively long so make sure you allow plenty of time for your planned activities.


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