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.
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.
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 go along 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.
The city trains run both above and underground, around the inner city and out through the suburbs. The navigation system is colour coordinated and really easy to use.
In some states there are machines which at the press of a button will tell you when the next train will arrive or even put you through to an operator to speak directly if you wish. This can be handy if you're at an unmanned stop and you need assistance.
The stations/platforms are generally well maintained and clearly sign posted to make it easy to find your way.
Tickets are usually purchased from a ticket machine so it's advisable to have enough change to cover the cost of the fare because they don't accept notes. You can also buy tickets in the stations from the ticket office and from certain shops in town.
Alternatively to buying tickets, there are smart cards available in certain states if you intend to stay in one area for longer (i.e, if you're settled and working). The smart card can make the cost of travel a fair bit cheaper and takes the hassle out of purchasing tickets each time you want to go somewhere.
You can find time tables, route maps, fares and other information for the locations listed below by following the links. If you need information for services not listed here, do a Google Search for 'train services' followed by the 'location' (i.e, 'train services melbourne').
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 Interstate train services in Australia can take you all around the country and with the right package can be very cost effective. The three main lines are, The Ghan, The Overland and the Indian Pacific. These three services are all connected via Adelaide and have routes which will take you to Darwin, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.
There are also services that can take you all the way up the East Coast as far up as Cairns travelling from Melbourne via Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Townsville. Tickets can be purchased online or with an agent.
The Ghan line runs from Darwin (up in the Northern Territory) all the way down to Adelaide in South Australia. It passes this vast distance via Katherine and Alice Springs which is good for anybody who wishes to get a connection to visit Ayers Rock (Uluru).
The Overland line runs between Adelaide in South Australia and Melbourne down in Victoria. This service is a direct journey and has no other stops.
The Indian Pacific line runs between Perth over in Western Australia and Sydney on the East Coast in New South Wales.
For these three services, bookings can be made in advance online at the Great Southern Rail website.
You can find a map of the interstate train routes and other major lines at the Rail Map Australia website.
There's a number of train services that travel up the East Coast and you can buy tickets that will allow you to use all of these services (within a given time period).
Australia has tram systems in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. Trams are easy to get around on and the frequency is generally consistent. Tickets can be bought from a number of sources, ticket machines, ticket offices, the news agents and of course on the trams themselves.
Melbourne is home to the biggest tram service in Australia, which is provided by Metlink. The system in Melbourne is split into two zones, Zone 1 (yellow) is a fairly broad zone encompassing the inner city and Zone 2 (blue) extends further into the suburbs.
In some cases (depending where you need to travel to), it may be necessary to get a ticket that allows travel in both zones (i.e, to get a tram from outside the city to the centre). The double zone ticket allows travel on all tram lines anywhere on that service which costs a bit more but at least you won't get fined for not having the right ticket. Plain clothed transport police do pull random ticket checks!
Every Sunday you can buy a ticket know as the 'Sunday Saver' which will cost around $3.90 AUD and allows you to travel on all public transport (trains, trams and buses), all over the city, all day long.
Any day during th week, if you buy a ticket after 6:00pm its is valid until the services finish that night (although, Sydney and Adelaide each have only one tram line at this time).
More information, time tables and fares for Melbourne can be found at the MetLink website.
Sydney has a fairly good tram service which is provided Metro Light Rail. There is also a mono rail system which does a circuit above the city run by the same company which can be quite fun to travel on.
More information, time tables and fares for both of these services can be found at the Metro Transport website.
The tram service in Adelaide is provided by Adelaide Metro. More information, time tables and fares can be found at the Adelaide Metro website.
There are a number of really good visas available to people from other countries around the world who wish to spend time in Australia. Each visa has a set of criteria for you to meet before a visa is granted.
The good thing for people on a Temporary Working visa is that you can make a claim for all of the employment tax you have paid when you leave the country.
Unless you have booked your flights months in advance the dates you choose will make all the difference to the cost of your flight. Pack weight is also something to consider for your journey.
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.
Storage space is quite an important factor to consider when choosing which provider to go with. Why? Because you can use an e-mail account to store your media safely when you travel.
Travellers cheques are widely used to safely transport money to a foreign country where they can be 'encashed' when you need them. They can be ordered in a shop front (bank, post office, etc...) or online.
When you go to Australia you're bound to take your camera with you. With it you will be showing friends and family back home all the great things you have seen. Learn how to keep your travel snaps safe.