Hey! i will be travelling round Oz this june alone, im female, 22 and a little scared! prob going to book with greyhound/YHA as they seem cheapest, but will there be people my age i can travel with? Want to do a dive but have no experience will that be a problem? im travelling on a budget how much do ppl recommend me to budget per day? im arrive sydney 02.06.04 and have to get to cairns by 21st june. flying to aryes rock staying a day and nite (coz heard there wasnt much to do there really) then flying to melbourne for last 4 days. anyone any MUST do see things? Tips for travelling alone and being female? any thing would be greatly recieved!! thanks!
i understand your concerns totally - i left england last june aged 22, headed for NY, Los Angeles and Las Vegas all on my own and was petrified - everyone was telling me id be fine and meet people - and you don't quite beleive it until it actually happens! Every new place i landed i had made friends within minutes - staying in hostel environments everyone is in the same boat as you and a surprising amount of girls our age now travel alone. I then went on to New Zealand and made some of the best friends and had a great time travelling the north island. You will have so much fun and definately not regret travelling out here.
Im now in Oz, I havent done much diving really - only a shark dive at Oceanworld in Sydney! Crazy! But i don't think you will have any problems further up north on the east coast (cairns.. great barrier etc.) I'm pretty sure they would have different programs, i.e introductory dives and you can probably get certificated pretty easily.
I've not been to Ayers Rock yet - but yes your right i too have heard although amazing as it is - its just a rock at the end of the day and can be enjoyed in a day or two. A friend of mine did a 3 day camping trip in Kakadu(left from Darwin) which she highly recommends. I could probably find out the name of the tour company if you are interested.
In Melbourne i would recommend to stay in St Kilda - gorgeous little cafe beach area, theres a cool english pub here (elephant and wheelbarrow) where every monday night they have a neighbours party where you meet a few of the stars - although a bit cheesy we had a really fun night. Also a must if you have time is take a trip to Phillip Island (bout 1.5hrs south east of St Kilda) to see the Penguin Parade - its heaps of fun. Every evening at dusk the penguins all come out of the sea a scurry across the beach, its really popular and theres a great little set up there to watch.. its hard to describe but a lot of fun... and its a pretty cheap activity too. I had a car and drove there so not sure if they do bus trips from the city.
The hostels are great in oz they have sooo much information on stuff to do you will never be bored.
If you end up having enough money - do a sky dive! Apartently there is a good one you can do over Mission Beach - although im not too sure where that is... i did mine in NZ and there a few in Sydney but im not sure you are coming here eh?
Not sure on budget im afraid - i've been working and living with family over here so i've been lucky in that sense.
Hope this helps
p.s if you can afford not to i would avoid the Greyhound. You can sometimes pick up cheap Oz Experience tickets from people selling unused passes in the hostels on the notice boards and sometimes on tntmagazine website. You will meet far more people in the same boat as you this way. I not sure if Contiki run in Oz but they are meant to be pretty good if you are looking for a quieter bunch of people!
YHA's all seem to be pretty good in Sydney.
I haven't done any diving myself, but at the backpackers expo recently there were some people from Cairns going on about their diving, which of course would be fabulous. I couldn't think of a better place to have a dive!! Anyway, there seemed to be PLENTY of options for first time divers and they also said they figured it was the cheapest place in the world to get a diving license, so you may even want to consider that - not to mention probably the prettiest classroom (great barrier reef) to get it in sorry about all the second hand information -- hope it helps though.
I came back from doing a dive in the Great Barrier Reef about 2 months ago and I fully fully fully recommend it to anyone!!! I had never dived before and it didn't matter- they cater to any level. They can even just hold your hand while they do all the kicking so you can just basically float around- you don't even need to swim!
Oh, and you don't need to fall backwards off a boat either- we just jumped straight in with the fishes and other backpackers!
Hope this helps a small part of your question anyway!
I can understand your nerves but don't worry - it's impossible to backpack around Australia without meeting loads of cool people so starting off alone isn't a problem. One of the big advantages Australia has is that in terms of places to visit it's basically a figure of eight, so generally when you meet people there's a fifty-fifty chance that they'll be heading in the same direction as you.
I would totally recommend Greyhound for travelling from Sydney to Cairns as they have about five departures per day and there's always plenty of spare seats so you can generally give them a couple of hours notice and get a seat. Not only this but they are far cheaper than Oz Experience.
My mate did Oz Experience and wasn't very impressed with them, to say the least. They go to lots of nothing towns, purely so they can stick you in hostels which would otherwise get no business, just so they can take their cut from the hostels. Also, in their advertising Oz Experience quite cleverly play on single traveller's fears about being alone and say that doing the Oz Experience is a great way to meet people. It is - but so is travelling on the Greyhound. As is hiring a car for that matter. You might meet a few people travelling on a bus, but generally speaking you meet far more people in hostels. And like I've said, because of the geographics of Australia, half the people you meet in the hostels will be travelling in the same direction as you. To sum it up, why do you think you regularly come across backpackers trying to sell their Oz Experience passes? You rarely, if ever, meet someone trying to sell a Greyhound pass.
I wouldn't limit yourself to YHA hostels though - most are okay but VIP hostels tend to have more of a party atmosphere. Most backpackers in Oz are fairly young (especially on the East Coast) - a lot of people are taking a year off after uni (or before) so you'll meet lots of people the same age.
You'll probably come across lots of hostels on your way up the coast trying to get you book a dive through them, but I'd wait until you get to Cairns before doing a dive as the further up the coast you get, the better it gets.
When I was in Australia a couple of years ago I spent £2100 over three months (not including flight). As a benchmark, this was doing quite a few tours and drinking quite a bit, but on the other hand I was also eating very cheaply, i.e. living on noodles for most of the time. My mate spent a lot more though (without doing as much) so it depends how good you are with money.
If possible I would try and allow yourself more than 19 days to get from Sydney to Cairns, but if you're tied into 19 days then my must see places to visit would be Fraser Island, Great Keppel Island and the Whitsunday Islands, as well as a few days in Sydney and Cairns. Don't tie yourself into a definite fixed timeframe though, i.e. 2 days in x, then 3 days in y, as you'll no doubt meet other people along the way who'll you want to stick with, so try to have a bit of flexibility in your schedule if poossible.
At Ayre's Rock itself a day and night is fine, but if you haven't booked your flight ticket yet then I'd recommend flying to Alice Springs and booking a three day tour of the Red Centre with Mulga Tours, as I had a brilliant time on this tour. As well as Ayres Rock you also visit the Olgas and King's Canyon, which are well worth seeing, and the tour guides are generally full of enthusiasm, well-informed and an excellent laugh.
In Melbourne I would also definitely recommend a trip to Philip Island - watching hundreds of penguins waddle out of the sea, then across the beach and up to their burrows is totally amazing. St.Kilda is a really nice area, but I personally preferred the city centre. And after the East Coast you'll probably have had enough of beaches.
My tip for travelling alone is to remember that most of the people you meet are in exactly the same situation as you, and are therefore also looking to meet people to travel with.
Flip! I waffled on a cany bit, like.
Just wanted to say a HUGE thankyou to all of you that have posted tips and advice!! Massive help!! thanks so much!!
i'm female, living in cambridge but will be in oz 24th june- 3rd august, travelling up the east coast. i'm goin on my own too, and will be 21 this year!
lemme know if u wanna meet up!