Australia: The best ways to get around
Australia, known for its diverse landscapes and vibrant cities, offers a wide range of transportation options to explore its vast beauty. With well-developed infrastructure and efficient transport systems, navigating our beautiful neighbour is relatively easy. Whether you’re after a city staycation, an outback escapade, or tick off some iconic landmarks, Australia has you covered.
Arriving in Australia
Given Australia’s geographical location, you’ll likely arrive to Australia by plane (although cruise ships are also very popular!) Australia's major city airports are large and well-equipped, which should make your entry into Australia smooth and easy. You can expect easy service and sufficient facilities, with help desks should you need assistance. Make sure you’ve planned your transport from the airport in advance to avoid any hassles when you land – especially if you’re relying on WiFi once you land.
If you want to cover long distances quickly and efficiently, domestic flights are the way to go. Australia has well-developed air travel infrastructure, and major cities and regional centers are well-connected. Domestic airlines such as Jetstar, Qantas and AirAsia offer frequent flights, and there are often special deals and discounts available. Keep an eye on their websites for sales.
If you’re on a budget, it’s possible to get long-haul busses between towns and cities, using Greyhound Buses or Firefly. Greyhound is a popular long-distance coach service that connects major cities and regional towns across Australia, and slightly newer company, Firefly, usually offers more affordable prices. If you don't mind longer travel times, buses are a scenic and economical way to get around.
Australia boasts iconic train journeys like the Indian Pacific, The Ghan, and the Spirit of Queensland, offering scenic views across the country. While trains are more common in certain regions, they provide a unique and leisurely way to experience Australia's diverse landscapes. Train travel can be quite lengthy, so if you’ve got the time, taking a scenic train could be a perfect option.
Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace and venture off the beaten path. It's an excellent option for road trips and exploring rural areas, national parks, and coastal drives. Just remember to familiarise yourself with local driving laws and road rules as they may be slightly different to what we’re used to in New Zealand. You don’t require an international license if you hold a full New Zealand drivers license, but it pays to check the exact requirements for your current license.
Major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth have well-developed public transport systems, including trains, buses, and trams. The Opal card in Sydney, Myki card in Melbourne, and TransLink card in Brisbane are convenient options for accessing public transportation. Journey planner apps are also available to download so you can plan your journey and check departures in real time.
With its beautiful coastline and numerous islands, ferries are a common mode of transport in Australia. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth all offer ferry services, providing scenic rides and access to various attractions. A ferry ride is a simple way to combine transport and a cheap sightseeing trip, so it’s worthwhile to check if taking a ferry is an option to get from A to B.
Uber and Rideshares
Uber and other rideshare apps operate in major Australian cities, providing convenient transportation options. Make sure to download the relevant apps before your trip and familiarise yourself with the pickup points and prices. Remember that prices can vary vastly on rideshare apps due to surge pricing, so check all options before booking through the app.
RV and Campervan Travel
Exploring Australia by RV or campervan is a popular way to experience the country's vastness and natural beauty. Many areas offer designated RV parks and campsites, making it easy to plan your road trip. Rental companies such as Britz or Apollo offer a range of sizes and are well-known brands. Be sure to know what you’re looking for in a motorhome before you make your decision. Camping amongst nature allows you to wake up to stunning views in national parks and remote locations, making campervan travel ideal for the adventurous traveller.
Quick tips for getting around Australia
- Always wear your seatbelt, as it's mandatory in Australia.
- Obey local driving laws and speed limits to ensure a safe journey.
- Check for damage before renting a vehicle and document any pre-existing issues, no matter how minor – this will safeguard you against any potential disputes.
- Fuel up strategically – Australia is vast, so plan your fuel stops to ensure you’re covered for your distances between towns.
- Be cautious of wildlife on roads. If you’re driving in rural outback areas, stay vigilant and aware of any wildlife on roads – kangaroos, wombats and wallabies can unexpectedly dart in front of your path.
- Download maps and transportation apps before you go – this means you’ll be ready to navigate cities and plan your trips efficiently, without having to worry about getting them when you’re there.
- Be prepared for delays at busy airports and plan for extra time during security screenings.
Your adventure around Australia should be enjoyable and filled with diverse landscapes and unique experiences – follow these tips for your next trip, and you’ll be rewarded with the ultimate Aussie holiday!
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