Hello, I leave on my travels in 12 days! I arrive in Sydney on 12th Feb and so far have booked just a week of accommodation. I fly out of Melbourne about 8 months later (mid - October time) and was wondering if anyone out there would have any ideas as to which way round Australia i should travel? I am dying to see Uluru and the West coast, and would like to keep in as best weather as possible I plan to work on a WHM visa during my stay. Any suggestions would be great, cheers!
Australia is a VERY big place (it is as big as the continental US, but with FAR fewer people and many large uninhabited areas). As a result, long distance land-based travel is not sensible/realistic in many places. If you want to travel up or down the east coast thats fine, but when you go to Uluru and the west coast, unless you're willing to rough it a bit and expect some long uninteresting drives/bus trips then flying is the way to go. The "romance" of traveling the whole country certainly has appeal, and you'll be amazed at the barrenness of some parts of this country, but after 2 days of non-stop barren plain with nothing more than fuel stops, you might regret wasting your time.
I would go south to Tasmania and spend a while there (either fly, see the link below of taek the ship. Flying is cheaper, but if you like boats or if you have a vehicle then the overnight voyage makes sence, it is also a good way to meet people (on the boat).
The major airlines in Australia are Virgin, Qantas, and Jetstar . Jetstar are the cheapest, but Virgin blue are much better, and not that much more expensive. Qantas is the most expensive.
After visiting Tasmnaia (before the winter comes) head back to Melbourne and then up the east coast if you want to see the east coast (great barrier reef?).
Since you're keen on the west coast and Uluru, I'll mention that you should probalby do them around May, June, July or August, as it won't be so hot then.
Have fun, and if you want any info on Tasmania message me and I'll help you out.
Shazfraz, Carl is right when he says that long-distance travel after a few days can become boring and very much a time waster, not to mention downright dangerous as many tourists are totally unaware and unprepared for the vast distances of Australia. What he failed to mention though, is that a drive up the Western Australia coast is quite unbelievable with many sights to see along the way.
There is the the Ningaloo reef if you like diving/snorkeling, the dolphins at Monkey Mia, termites nests that sometimes stand five feet high from the ground and boab trees not to mention great fishing. The East coast is awesome as well, very diverse, but more populated and not as barren/desert-like as the west.
Perhaps a suggestion is to spend short times in between working on the East Coast and visiting NSW and Queensland, and then spend up to eight weeks driving from Melbourne to Perth and the West coast via the Great Ocean Road. Good to have someone to help with this trip, and keep you company.
But far better to spend time doing either one or both of these trips, and fly into Uluru. Uluru is extremely difficult to climb (taken from someone who has done that), and you can see so much from the ground including caves with Aboriginal carvings, bush tucker,etc.
There are some very reliable traveller businesses in Sydney that sell cars at very reasonable prices to tourists already set up with camping gear and then you can sell the car back to them at the end of your trip.
Whatever you do, good luck, and you will usually find plenty of advice and help from us Aussies.
Thank you both for your replies, very helpful I had intended to take a few internal flights during my time down under as it's far too massive to rely on wheels, but i just was worried that my traveller's budget wouldn't stretch to cover these! Cannot wait to visit - read a Wanderlust supplement about Tasmania and i shall definately get out there at some point. Cheers!
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 15, 2007, at 10:54 AM by shazfraz ]