7 Top Places To Go Backpacking In Australia
Backpacking in Australia is at the top of many bucket lists. Here is our take on the top 7 places to go backpacking in Australia:
Sydney can be the first stop if you have started your backpack tour. For many, the first sight of the Opera House or the Sydney Harbor Bridge is dream come true. Bondi, a must-see beach in Sydney, often witnesses enthusiastic surfer backpackers being rescued by lifeguards. While at Sydney as a backpacker, you can choose to stay at the Big Hostel.
With its mild and soothing temperatures round the year, Byron Bay is a great destination for backpackers. If you hit the surf in the beaches by the daytime, you can party away the nights at Cheeky Monkeys and Cocomangas nightclubs. Nimbin, the alternative lifestyle capital, is a great place to visit if you are interested. You can consider staying at The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge in Byron Bay.
This beach is as good as Byron Bay for the habitual backpackers. The small town has a good selection of places to stay in and provides a thrilling nightlife. An overnight sailing trip to Whitsundays caps up a great backpack trip. Beaches hostel is undoubtedly a good choice for the backpacker.
If you are backpacker looking for sun, sand and the surf, thrown in with a dash of glamour and glitz, Surfers Paradise will just suit you fine. This entertainment center at Queensland’s Gold Coast is likely to stretch a backpacker’s shoestring budget. Islander is a good hostel to stay in while at Surfers Paradise.
It is one of the more affordable destinations in the East Coast and the best time to visit Cairns is in the beginning of winter. Some backpackers choose to work here through the winter and enjoy the salubrious climate before starting on the next leg of the journey. You can think of staying at Calypso Inn while at Cairns.
If you want to get away from beaches for a while, Melbourne is the answer. The city has a vibrant nightlife, sprinkled with restaurants around that serve gourmet food. The Great Ocean Road and St. Kilda are must-visit destinations while in Melbourne. One of the best backpacker hostels to stay in is Base St. Kilda.
Hervey Bay and Fraser Island
The East Cost Backpacker’s trail is never complete without a visit to Hervey Bay. You choose from the many attractive self-drive deals to make a trip to Fraser Island where you can swim and drive through the sands. Another enjoyable stopover is the Rainbow Beach, now becoming more popular as the exit point for Fraser Island. Beaches Backpacker resort is a recommended place to stay in at Hervey Bay.
Perth: If you are looking for backpacker qualification, a West Coast trip is the right way to get it. Perth, the laid-back capital of the West Coast is a great backpacker’s destination. Rotnest Island and Fremantle are must-visit places in Perth. Billabong Resort is a place that you can think of staying in Perth.
No backpacker’s sojourn is ever complete without visiting places in the Red Centre such as Uluru and Alice Springs. A spectacular tour of Kakadu National Park’s wilderness, aboriginal culture, and arts are a must for backpackers. Annies Place at Alice Springs and Melaleuca on Mitchell at Darwin are places recommended for backpackers’ stay.
Aboriginal Events of Australia
The aborigines of Australia celebrate as well as share their culture through several colorful contemporary and traditional festivals through the year. Some of the Aboriginal Events of Australia:
Yabun Festival in Sydney, New South Wales, is the largest single-day local festival in Australia. It draws an audience of around 10,000 to 15,000 people in January on Australia Day. The music event features some of the best Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music in Australia.
Saltwater Freshwater Festival
The Saltwater Freshwater Festival is also celebrated on the Australia Day. The nomadic event is, however, is celebrated at a different location on New South Wales’ Mid-North Coast, providing healthy as well family friendly community activities. The 2013 Saltwater Freshwater Festival was held in Taree.
The Spirit Festival, celebrated in February in Adelaide, is South Australia’s major Arts and Cultural Festival of the Aboriginal tribes and Torres Strait Islanders. Over 100 singers and dancers and from all parts of nation participate in the festival. This festival has a great deal of cultural significance.
Native Arts and Cultural Festival
You can listen to Aboriginal bands as well as singers, enjoy contemporary dancing of world-class quality at Yalukit Willam Ngargee and visit art exhibitions. The event is conducted as part of the summer St Kilda Festival in Melbourne in February.
The multi-arts festival Message Sticks is held annually at the Opera House in Sydney in March to celebrate the performances of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. The festival features dance, song, discussion, film and art, mixing contemporary as well as traditional cultural art forms.
Ord Valley Muster
This is a two-week festival that is held in May in the distant eastern part of Kimberley region in Western Australia. It started off as a fun event for one night with a dinner for the businesses in the outback and has now become a festival with more than 50 events to celebrate Kimberly’s talent, spirit and cultural diversity. The festival includes sports, arts, music as well as nature-based events.
Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival
This festival is held every two years in the month of June. Thousands of visitors gather to watch hundreds of dancers performing in the small town of Laura located on the far-off Cape York Peninsula. Aboriginal communities not only celebrate, but also share their culture through song and dance performances and arts. Travelers come here to experience a culture that dates back to 40,000 years or more.
Mowanjum Festival is a one-day event wherein you can experience the uniqueness of the culture of the tribes belonging to Western Kimberly such as Worrorra, Ngarinyin and Wunumbal. The festival is held in July at the Mowanjum Center for Arts and Culture and features more than 100 native dance performers, didgeridoo workshops, magnificent corroborrees and boab tree nut carving.
Walking with Spirits
The festival is held in July at MalkgulumbuItu which is a waterfall and lakeside site. You can get to know of the story of the Jawoyn people through traditional corroborree and dance, puppetry, film, music and fiery images. You can camp in the midst of the paperbark trees and connect with the spirits of ancestors who shaped the animal, land, plants and seasons.
Some of the other major Aboriginal festivals include the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and Gunbalanya Festival in August; Indigenous Art Award from August to October; Alice Desert Festival and Desert Mob in September; and the Bangarra Dance Theatre which is a national festival held throughout the year.
Get a Taste of the Outback When Visiting Australia
Australia is a continent of extremes and there’s so much to see and do there that it’s hard to know where to begin. The Australian outback is the extreme of the extremes.
Many travellers head for the bright lights of the East Coast, where the majority of Australia’s population live. The main cities of Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Canberra are located on the East with Melbourne a short trip south. In between these there is an abundance of coastal towns, from the hippy mecca, Noosa to tropical Townsville. Small or large, the places between the cities are as much Australia as the cities.
The term ‘the outback’ refers to the vast, remote interior of Australia, sparsely populated, often arid and desolate. Locals also use the term ‘outback’ to mean anything slightly rural, including places that are technically in suburban areas but a little unruly.
There are many available holidays to Australia but without a visit to the outback it would be a trip that misses the metaphorical heart of Australia. It’s where all the unique wildlife of Australia can be spotted. Sure, many of them can be seen in one of the cities’ zoos but that’s not close to spotting unusual animals in their natural habitat.
Where to go in the Outback
The outback is so vast that even when you know what area you’d like to visit, there’s usually a great deal of travelling and planning to do. One way to take the hassle out of this is to consider an organised trip such as those offered by ANZCRO, which provide an itinerary, which includes transport and accommodation, allowing you to relax and enjoy the journey.
The central heart of Australia is fairly well known for one giant attraction; Uluru. The formidable red rock can be seen rising out of the flat, dry land for miles around and is well worth visiting close up. Visitors are able to hike around the rock to get a sense of it’s immense size. Nearby Kata Tjuta is just as splendid but less visited.
North of Uluru is Kakadu National Park, a glorious example of the non-arid part of the outback. It is a World Heritage site due to its stunning waterfalls, abundant rainforests and ancient cave art. The national park varies drastically depending on whether it’s the wet or dry season but the wonderful thing about it is that no matter what time of year you visit there’s always something to see. The rivers teem with crocodiles, with boat trips amongst them available for the more adventurous traveller. The wetlands are home to millions of birds with gloriously coloured plumages. Guides are available to indicate which watering holes are safe to bathe in, some with amazing waterfalls to swim behind.
These are just two of the outback attractions available in Australia; others include the gaping Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory, the tropical Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, the vibrant Murray River in Victoria, the former mining town of Broken Hill in New South Wales, the gold-rush town of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in Western Australia, to name but a few.
For those harbouring the illusion that the Australian Outback is a barren desert scrub, a trip to this world of extremes will be a true eye-opener.
How to Have an Amazing Time in New Zealand This Summer
If you’re looking for a cultural experience like no other this year, then have you considered the spectacular islands of New Zealand? This country is one of the most visited places in the world from backpackers to family vacationers, not least because of its wonderful scenery and amazing people. Furthermore, there’s so much to see and do in New Zealand that you’ll never be left twiddling your thumbs! No matter which island you visit, from the cities of Auckland and Wellington to the fantastic beaches, there’s no doubt that you’ll have an amazing time in New Zealand this year summer, so let’s take a look at some of the top attractions you simply can’t miss out on!
Sailing in Milford Sound
Milford Sound is one of the world’s top natural attractions, and it can be found lying at the north point of Fiordland National Park. Not only does it offer tourists scenery like nowhere else on the planet, but the range of activities available here is fantastic! With its dark blue waters and stunning peaks, Milford Sound is a photographer’s dream, and that’s before you even experience sailing across this majestic lake!
The Bay of Islands
New Zealand is full of natural beauty, so much so that it’s hard to keep up with at times, however one of the country’s highlights is the Bay of Islands. Consisting of 144 small islands, many of which are very secluded offering spectacular beaches and amazing marine life, the Bay of Islands is a must visit destination if you’re holidaying in New Zealand this year! From penguins and dolphins to whales and big marlin, fishing – especially at night time – is a great activity popular with tourists, and there are plenty of places to stay when it comes to accommodation too.
Tongariro National Park
New Zealand is full of beautiful national parks, however the Tongariro National Park is an attraction that stands out against the rest. Known for its extremely mountainous scenery as well as its unbelievable natural beauty, this park is visited by millions of tourists as well as New Zealanders every year, and continues to be one of the country’s top attractions. Offering a diverse range of ecosystems, hiking trails, active volcanos as well as untamed forests, there’s plenty to keep you entertained in Tongariro National Park, expecially if you’re travelling with the kids!
If you’re looking for great deals to New Zealand this year, make sure you check out the Cheapflights website! There are loads of great offers to choose from, and you could end up saving a small fortune on airfares.
Known as the thermal wonderland of New Zealand, Rotorua is one of the country’s top natural attractions. From hot springs to geysers, the city of Rotoura is basically a huge hot tub, and visitors can either sample the atmosphere from a distance or take a plunge into the warm pools! Although many of the hot water pools are located in Nature Reserves and parks, new mud pools are appearing all the time, and these are great if you want to look after your skin!
How to Keep Safe When Backpacking Across Australia
Australia is one of the biggest countries in the world, and the size of the country is amplified by the sheer unused space inland. When it comes to backpacking, there’s no better place to experience than Australia, however there are many things you’ll have to prepare yourself for if you want to get the most out of your trip.
Many travellers are shocked at how big Australia actually is once they get there, and combined with hot temperatures and challenging terrain, you have to ensure your safety before anything else. Check out this guide by cheapflights.co.uk that takes a look at how to backpack across Australia the right way.
Inland VS Coastal Backpacking
There are open spaces in Australia so big, that if you got lost in them it’s highly unlikely that you would be found. The country isn’t like North America or Europe, where there are towns or villages every few miles; if you’re pointing yourself in the wrong direction in Australia, there might not be signs of life for days or even weeks. Most backpackers make their way along the seaboard, as nearly all of Australia’s cities are located near the coastline.
Coastal backpacking offers so much more than inland, not least because it’s much easier. Not only are there great transport links, but from Sydney to Melbourne, Perth to Brisbane, the vast majority of Australia’s population lives along the coast. There’s so much more to see in the cities compared to the rough inland terrain, and your backpacking journey will have to be planned by local experts if you do want to explore the outback. If you get hurt in the outback, there may not be a hospital for hundreds of miles, compared to the city where medical treatment can be found everywhere.
When it comes to accommodation during your backpacking trip down under, it’s best to stay with like minded people who are also exploring the country. There are specific backpacker hostels that can be found all along the coastline, and many of them make up a natural route so you’ve even got direction on your journey. Not only are the network of hostels cheap, but they also provide a lot of information on the various backpacking destinations in Australia. You might be able to get your room even cheaper by booking ahead.
Taking Care of Yourself
Generally, backpacking across Australia is safe, and thousands of people do it every year, however there are a few things to remember. Never hitchhike, as it is illegal and frowned upon. There have been some very shocking cases over the years where backpackers were last seen hitchhiking in the outback, only never to be seen again.
Safety after dark is also another concern when travelling Australia, and some small villages or towns are unsafe at night due to wild animals. There are also some areas of Australia that are known to be unforgiving drinking locations, and they don’t take kindly to drunk backpackers. Always know your limits!