Above all methods of transport, driving in Australia will easily provide you with the most freedom. Having your own vehicle you can go anywhere, at any time without the hassle of public transport or having to compromise on any of your arrangements. Learn everything you need to know to start driving in Australia.
When you are backpacking around Australia you will find lots of ferries dotted all over the country. There are river boats/ferries like the Sydney City Ferries which cross the Parramatta River or the Brisbane CityCat service which stops off at various wharfs along the brisbane river.
Unless you have booked your flights months in advance the dates you choose will make all the difference to your price, if you can afford to be flexible, make sure you check the prices a few days either side of your original date to have a chance of getting the best deals.
There are a number train services that operate in Australia, you have the trains/trams that travel in and around the cities/suburbs, those which traverse the coasts which are a collection of joining services and the interstate trains that travel vast distances from coast to coast through the centre of the country.
Backpacking around Australia is so much fun! Australia is a huge country and when you visit with the aim to explore, the way you get around becomes a part of the experience. The way you travel will depend on the usual factors like time, cost, availability, etc... but theres more to getting around then just travelling from A to B. Read our handy guides to getting around Australia.
There are some really good visas available for backpacking in Australia. They vary in price and each visa has a set of criteria to meet before a visa is granted. The working holiday visa is very popular because you can travel and work in Australia for 12 months. In this article we share which visas are available, how to apply and how to extend the working holiday visa for an extra year.
Bus services in Australia include public transport buses, shuttle buses, backpacker buses, long distance Greyhound coaches and plenty of other private tours and day trips.
The cost depends on the service but is usually competitive with other modes of transport, some of them even being free like the Central Area Transit (C.A.T) in Perth.
The pubic transport services are generally well kept and punctual. Local bus routes will take you to most places and can be a relatively cheap means of getting around.
Tickets can be purchased from a ticket office but more often than not (for this type of service) as and when you board the bus. It's best to have some change for payment as the drivers will rarely accept notes and it will avoid any unnecessary hold ups.
You can find time tables, route maps, fares and other information by following the links below. If you need information for services not listed do a Google Search for 'bus services' followed by the name of the location (i.e, 'bus services perth'). Alternatively if you're in Australia, you can visit a ticket office or the local information centre/kiosk in town and get the information from them.
The central area transit services are the high frequency free bus lines in Perth, Fremantle, Joondalup and Rockingham (W.A). The CAT buses are colour coded for easy navigation and each bus stop usually has an audio recording of service times.
To hear the time for the next bus you can press the information button (on a pillar at the bus stop) and the audio recording will tell you when it will arrive. You can learn about the routes, operating times and service frequencies at the TransPerth website.
Shuttle bus services are generally provided to get people to locations where there are no public services. This usually means airport runs to and from hostels and linking between different transport hubs. They almost always work out cheaper than a taxi and will often take you directly to the place where you're staying.
Many of the major airports will have shuttles which runs fairly frequently to the local town or city which can be found outside the airport when you arrive. You can sometimes book in advance (online) and print out a ticket like the SkyBus super shuttle in Melbourne for example.
If you're making your way to the airport from a hostel, you can arrange a placement on the shuttle at reception (remember to do this at least 24 hours before you wish to depart). For the more remote locations it's advisable to book ahead as early as possible because the placement availability and scheduled transit times can change a lot.
After booking, you will be given a time when they will pick you up. Make sure you're ready in good time and stand where the driver will be able to see you clearly because they don't tend to wait around for long.
Backpacker buses have become a convenient and flexible option for people who are travelling longer distances but still want to visit all the popular destinations along the way. This tends to appeal to the adventurer/backpacker because they also get you to and from the hostels you stay in at each stage of the trip.
On these services you will be travelling with other backpackers who will be sharing all the experiences at the variety of different stops with you. Oz Experience are the largest operators in Australia and have services which stretch right the way up the east coast.
On the west coast you have Easy Rider Adventure Travel also you have the Nullarbor Traveller which takes you along the south coast from Adelaide to Perth and vice versa.
The site seeing/tour buses can be fairly good value, they usually operate in the major cities or at other locations where there are interesting things to see.
Tour bus services take you around the local area showing you all the major sights with commentary and lots of photo opportunities, stopping at various stages along the way. You can find out more about tour buses on the web or at the local information kiosks.
Other tour buses are more specific and take backpackers out on day trips or for longer periods to attractions in more remote locations like Uluru for example.
Some privately owned tour buses cater for backpackers when there is no other transport available or the location is inaccessible by any other means (i.e, the four wheel drive buses that visit Fraser Island from Hervey Bay where cars cannot go).
The Greyhound services are long distance coaches which span the length and breadth of Australia. They operate 365 days of the year taking people to over 1100 destinations nationwide. The coaches are air conditioned, comfortable and are an affordable option for getting to all the places you could possibly wish to visit.
They always have offers and promotions available on their website which appeal to backpackers of all interests and ages. The Oz-flexi passes for example are good, they can take you to any and all Greyhound destinations in Australia.
These passes are valid for 12 months from the first day of travel and can be purchased before you arrive in the country. They are a reasonably cost affective way of getting around Australia, wherever you want, whenever you want.
You can find more of the latest deals, time tables and price lists at the Greyhound Australia website.
If you're going to be driving in Australia it's worth finding out what you will need to get on the road. This article explains how to get started and has some handy tips for backpackers driving in Australia...
When you're out on the trail anything can happen and it's advisable to take measures to protect yourself in case of an emergency. Learn about different types of backpacker insurance.
As far as a backpacker travelling around Australia is concerned, a superannuation fund is like a savings account you can claim back when you leave Australia.
There's more to getting around then just travelling from A to B. Australia is a huge country and the way you get around becomes a part of the experience while you explore Australia.
Driving in Australia will easily provide you with the most freedom to explore. Having your own vehicle you can go anywhere, at any time without the hassle of public transport.
There is quite a lot of preparation you can do to maximise your chances of getting work when you need it. Work can be easy to find as long as you know where to look and take every opportunity you get.
To make calls to international numbers from Australia it helps to understand the different dialing codes required to connect your call. Learn how to call home while backpacking around Australia.
Whatever plans you have made for backpacking in Australia you will need to take some cash with you. The amount you take will depend on what you have managed to do in the planning phase (i.e, prebooked accommodation, shuttle, opened an Australian bank account, etc...). Learn how much cash you will need to take to Australia to see you through the first 2 weeks.