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Australia Backpacking and East Coast Traveling Tips

Traveling the East Coast of Australia is a must in my eyes.  The different scenery, people, and experiences are definitely key components to completing your Oz experience.  I traveled from Cairns all the way down the Byron Bay over a period of two and a half weeks in early November.  I went to some of the most amazing places, saw some of the most beautiful beaches, and met some of the most interesting and amazing people.  Also with this I experienced some of the worst weather ever and it definitely affected a lot of my trip- Damn Australia and your crazy rains!!  For tips on where to go check out my blog: “My Australian East Coast Itinerary Recommendations.”

Flying is an option but can be expen$ive!

Transportation

Unfortunately Australia is not quite up to speed on their transport options around their huge and undeveloped country.  Your options are very limited.  Taking a car can be very expensive with the cost of fuel or petrol as they call it.  Either renting or buying a van or car can have issues such as a high chance of it breaking down every 500 km.  Flying can be quite expensive but really isn’t practical for most cities because they’re so small and without a major airport nearby.  If you are going to make a long distance trip Virgin Blue, Jet Star, or Tiger Airways are the cheaper airlines, and you can get some good deals if you book far enough in advance.  I found the most economical and easiest option is to take the bus- ew yes I know the bus.  I bought a Hop on Hop Off Pass from Greyhound, which is based on an amount of kilometers that can be traveled within 90 days.  My pass was from Cairns to Byron Bay and cost me about $250 AUD.  Although bus travel does suck and takes ages, the pass is very flexible and you only need to book about 24 hours in advance.

Ready for the next adventure on the Greyhound

But hating my way of transportation....ew

Backpacking Culture

So 99% of people that do this trip or are traveling through Australia are “Backpacking.”  I am not quite one to have a backpack and was called numerous times a “Flash packer” with my red matching rolling suitcase, numerous bags, and of course my purple pillow.  Just a tip- Don’t bring that much stuff with you!!  Not only is it a pain to lug from hostel to bus to hostel, it’s also horrible to be repacking every few days!  Although I didn’t have the backpack aspect of it- I still was living the lifestyle.  Go to a new location and check into your hostel, meet some people, cook or buy a cheap meal, party a little and do it all over again the next day.  Although it was a blast it got to be exhausting getting up and changing locations every 2 or 3 days.  And of course the mornings that you had an early bus your hangover was always horrific and the bus ride a constant struggle to keep down what you had eaten.  What I love about this culture is how open and friendly other travelers tend to be.  Most people are either going up or down the coast so you tend to bump into people you’ve met before a few towns down the coast and that’s always a great experience.  Also I can’t mention the topic of backpacking in Oz without explaining “Goon” to you.  Basically goon is boxed wine that’s super cheap- like $10 for like 2 or 3 liters and everyone drinks it.  I was able to steer clear of it for the most part, but had a bad night being an angry drunk on it and the hangover is just horrrible.  So my advice is to splurge a couple extra dollars and buy the cheapest bottle of wine they have! 😉

No backpack for me...Matching luggage please! :)

Too much baggage! Travel LIGHT!

$ Saving Money $

My main tip for saving money is booking everything as a package.  There are heaps of companies out there like Travel Bugs, Peter Pan’s Travel, Wicked Travel etc. etc.  We ended up getting the best deal and booking with Nomad’s Travel while still in Cairns.  The way it works is the more you book, the more you save with packages.  Even if you don’t know the exact dates you want to be certain places- you are given vouchers and are able to book them when you are ready.  Our trip was all mapped out so we had all our excursions, hostels, and buses booked and ready for action when we purchased.  To give you an idea- our package was about $1,500 total which included the bus down the coast, all accommodation, and all the excursions we went on.

Hope this article was helpful to those that are looking to cruise down the East Coast of Australia! :)

 

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