Every day I get messages from travellers and future travellers asking me about my experiences and tips for backpacking through Australia. So I decided to write a blog post that I can refer to, so I don’t need to answer the same questions again and again.
Because there is a lot of information that I want to share with you, I decided to do a series of informative blog posts in the next weeks:
- Q&A – Backpacking Australia
- Q&A – Work & Travel Australia
- Q&A – Solo Travelling
- Planning your own Work & Travel Year
- About being an AuPair
So I hope I will answer as many questions in all these posts as possible and give you guys the information you may want and need for your own adventures.
If you have more questions or ideas what I should include into the following posts, please comment them down below or message me on Instagram @mind.wanderer
What have you done/seen so far?
I flew from Germany over Doha to Melbourne and stayed in the city for 2,5 weeks to settle in and also because I met some lovely people and my first friends on my journey that I am still in connection with now.
Then I did another tour for 6 days that lead me through the Red Centre and Outback of Australia to see the famous Uluru / Ayers Rock.
From Alice Springs I flew to Sydney to spend a week with one of the German girls from the Great Ocean Road in Bondi Beach, Sydney before I had to say goodbye and welcome my Cousine Lisa to Australia that visited me for three weeks.
We spend 5 days in Sydney, went to the Blue Mountains and then started our journey to Brisbane with stops in Port Macquarie, Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise before we explored Brisbane for a few days and then flew back to Syndey.
When Lisa left me I wanted to take a flight to Perth, but it got cancelled and I had to stay in Bondi Beach for a few more days before I finally got to Western Australia.
I experienced one very lonely week in Perth and then went to another 6-day tour to Esperance and see Wave Rock, Margaret River and Albany before I returned to Perth and finally meet a nice girl from Korea that I hang out with for another week in Perth before I flew to Cairns.
In Cairns, I met my parents and brother after 3 months of travelling thousands of miles apart of them. We travelled three weeks with a campervan from Cairns to Sydney over Christmas and arrives for New Year’s Eve in Sydney to watch the world famous fireworks over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It was a lovely time together with them and I am very glad that I was lucky to spend some time with them, especially for the Holidays.
Afterwards, I stayed in Sydney for a few days before I started my journey along the East Coast for the third time, but solo travelling for the first time. I also now have a lot more time and can stop wherever I want.
So my first stop was Newcastle where I had two amazing days and wished I could stay longer because I got to meet and do Yoga together with @sjanaelise my favourite Yogi.
Afterwards, I went to Woolwolga aka Mojosurf Spot X where I did a surf camp for 5 days and learned to ride the waves which is so much fun!
Then I continued my journey to Byron Bay and was lucky to meet some amazing people in my hostel room that I hung out with for 6 days. It was an amazing time and I was glad to travel along with two guys to Surfers Paradise where I spend 5 more days with them and then finally met my first friend I met in Australia: Sabrina from Italy that I met in Melbourne again and we spend a wonderful weekend together.
Then I had three last days travelling and exploring Noosa on the Sunshine Coast before I met and moved in with my AuPair family that lives in Mudjimba on the Sunshine Coast and that I am now going to spend 1,5 month with.
Your favourite places?
Not a ranking, because I could never decide:
- Byron Bay
- Sunshine Coast
- Fitzroy in Melbourne
- Bondi Beach in Sydney
The best memories you made?
Again, I can’t rank them, but here are my favourites:
- the time with Sabrina and James in Melbourne
- the Twelve Apostles
- Sleeping under the stars in the Outback on my Red Centre Tour
- Living in Bondi Beach for a week
- Travelling with my family and my cousine
- Sailingtour on the Whitsundays
- Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
- Doing Yoga with @sjanaelise in Newcastle
- Learning to surf
- Lots of fun and a wonderful time with friends I met in Byron Bay
- Spending four days with Sam, a Canadian guy, in Surfers Paradise
- Weekend in Surfers with Sabrina and Keith
- Experiencing having an Aussie family
Are you travelling solo?
Yes, I am mostly travelling alone, but I travelled three weeks together with my Cousine that visited me from Germany and three more weeks with my family that came over for a road trip along the East Coast over Christmas and New Years.
Sometimes, when I meet some nice people I stay together with them for a few days/ a week or two, but I have not found a long term travel buddy as I oftentimes everyone has their own plans and I prefer doing my thing.
Is there anything that you completely dislike about Australia / Backpacking / Work & Travel?
To be honest… there is only one thing that I don’t like and that is being away from my family and friends for so long. Everything else is only so small and gets defeated by all the great things here. And even being away and not seeing friends and family is so worth it for the life that I am living now… at least for a year.
What do you miss about Home/Germany (besides friends & family)?
I miss… German bread, a fridge with a variety of food, a kitchen to myself to cook, bake, test recipes with all the ingredients I need, my own bed and room for some privacy and relaxed & calm times alone, having a routine, cozy cold days for long winter walks, drinking tea and going to the sauna (at least for a weekend), my cat, not having to pack/live out of a backpack, always having washed and fresh clothes/towels if I need them.
What is the cheapest/best way to travel around?
As I am travelling alone the best way for me is taking a Hop-on-Hop-off bus. I can make as many stops as I want along the way and see all the places that I want to. The Greyhound bus is the more known Backpacker bus, but I am taking the Premier Motor Bus because it is a lot cheaper and besides that you don’t get Wifi it is just as good.
When you are travelling with a friend / a group it is for sure cheaper to rent or even buy a car/van because you can also sleep in it and save the costs for a hostel bed. And you are more free with the time and places you go to and can explore some unknown or further away places.
Where are you staying?
I usually stay in Hostels as they are easy to find and book everywhere in Australia.
With my cousin I stayed in AirBnBs which usually is a bit more expensive than a dorm hostel room but also more private and when you are lucky, book early or travel outside the season you may find some super cheap and very nice places.
When I travelled with a campervan with my family, we stayed at campgrounds. They are around 60$ per night but there are also free campgrounds or parking spots where free camping is not prohibited.
I also tried Couch surfing in Surfers Paradise with my friend Sabrina for the first time and had a great experience. She found the offer over Facebook and already stayed with this guy once and he invited us to stay with him again and took us on a little adventure in the rainforest to a waterfall and surfing at the beach on the Gold Coast. I hope to be able to do couch surfing more often as it is super interesting (and cheap) but you need to find good people that you feel safe with.
Where do you book your hostels and what do you look for?
I always book over the Hostelworld App as they have a great overview over all hostels available at a destination for the time and you can choose the best/cheapest one over a rating, read about the hostel and see reviews of past travellers.
A nice central location, Wifi and maybe free breakfast is what I usually look for as well as a good price (between 22-35$ depending on weekend/weekdays, holidays, season and place) and then I read the comments to see if there are many bad reviews on the cleanness, kitchen, facilities and if the hostel is a major party hostel. But I always keep in mind that some travellers are just not used to hostel life and write bad reviews.
How do you try to stay healthy while travelling (and not having access to a full fridge and a variety of foods)?
As you know healthy, fitness and nutritious eating is very important to me. I try to live as healthy as I can while travelling, but that’s not always easy. Especially when you are meeting friends and going out with them or relying on the free breakfast or free food options that hostels have to save money.
When I cook and make food myself, I try to get as many nutrients and vitamins in as possible. Frozen veggies, fresh baby spinach, canned beans or lentils, seasonal fruit and oats are my staples. They are the cheapest and still wholefoods and nutritious.
I already made a blog post on some healthy, easy, cheap and vegan lunch/dinner meals and showed you my go-to healthy breakfast recipe, as well as a blog post on healthy and cheap food shopping in Australia. In the category ‚What I Eat‚ you also find some What I Eat in a Days from Melbourne or Perth.
For working out there has been a lot of up’s and downs on my travel. It’s not always easy to stay on track with it when you are moving places and cities a lot, trying to see and experience, meeting and hanging out with friends and not knowing where to go for a run or workout.
It is definitely easier when you stay at one place for several days and can find a park to run in / workout like I did in Bondi Beach, Perth or Melbourne. As well as when you have an AirBnB hence space to do a home workout without fellow roommates staring weirdly at you.
A lot of parks here in Australia have some outdoor fitness devices which can be handy to use after a run or in addition to your bodyweight exercises. Some backpackers also join Gym chains that exist in whole Australia and that they can use wherever they are, but for me, that’s not worth the money and I rather go to a park.
The good thing is that you are usually very active when you travel, walk a lot or do hikes.
Surf camp was another thing that kept me fit and where I had a daily and very fun workout in the waves.
I also went to different Yoga classes which is another great and fun workout and if you look for good deals, it doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, in the Yoga Loft Newcastle I paid 20$ as a new member for as many classes as I wanted in 10 days. I only stayed there for 2 days and joined 3 classes, but it was still a good deal. In Byron Bay there was the option to join future Yoga teachers in a teaching practice class and I only paid 5$ for 90 minutes of yoga.
Some hostels also offer free Yoga once a week or at least Yoga mats to use for free.
What should I pack when backpacking Australia?
There will be an update of my “What’s in my Backpack” soon when I am leaving my AuPair family as I will probably go shopping a bit now that I am settling down and I will give you some tips and suggestions that I learned travelling with under 15kg for over four months now.
I love to hear how many people are planning to travel through Australia soon and I hope my tips and suggestions can help you a bit, take your insecurities and make you even more excited for your journey! If you are ever in the same area as I am (stay up to date through my Insta stories @mind.wanderer) please message me and maybe we can meet and hang out together!