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Best way to travel within Australia?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Best way to travel within Australia?

1. Posted by Libertas (Budding Member, 11 posts) 26 Aug '07 19:01

I am not old enough to rent a car in Australia, so I am wondering what a good method of travel is between cities and towns? Easy and cheap are preferable...

2. Posted by Linger (Full Member, 59 posts) 27 Aug '07 00:58

The options that you can consider would be the bus or the train.

Train
The trains are pretty comfortable for overland travel but are not as frequent and do not operate to as many locations as the busses. http://www.backpackerrailpass.info/
Railway offers backpackers discounts when you show your HI/YHA card and sometimes it can make the train a cheaper alternative to bus travel.

Bus
There are various types of bus pases, depending on your budget and where you are hoping to travel. So, check out the greyhound website.
http://www.greyhound.com.au/bookings/passListing.aspx

All the best!

3. Posted by bex76 (Moderator, 3600 posts) 27 Aug '07 02:55

Virgin Blue and Jetstar are the main budget flight carriers- you can get some good deals if you book in advance.

4. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru, 1281 posts) 27 Aug '07 05:49

What is best and cheapest depends on where in Australia you are wanting to travel to and from and also how long you are spending in Australia. For example if you wanted to really torture yourself and get the train from Sydney-Perth that'll set you back AUD428.00 (if you are backpacking and only got a seat) or AUD933.00 for the cheap sleeper also at a backpack/YHA card holder rate. If you aren't in possession of that card and need to pay the full adult rate it'd be AUD680.00 for a seat or AUD1320.00 for a cheap sleeper! A really cheap promotional fare on Virgin Blue could set you back as little as AUD175.00 (that's extremely cheap normally it is more than that) and be a hell of a lot quicker than the train.

If you came to Tasmania a cheap flight usually sets you back about AUD69.00 from Melbourne-Hobart, but the Spirit of Tasmania ferry will set you back a lot more than that normally unless a special is on (and would also require you to spend quite a bit on bus fees to reach where you'd want to go). Once in Tasmania if you can't hire a car you'd have to rely on expensive buses or tours, so your bank balance would be hurt a lot from it. It is also possible to get direct flights from Brisbane, Sydney and in summer one service a day from Adelaide to Hobart.

Apart from Canberra-Sydney or vice versa, normally it'd be cheaper to get a flight on Virgin Blue or Jetstar if you book in advance. If you leave it later than about 1 month prior to departure you'll be spending a lot more on the flight than you would have had you booked earlier.

Bus passes are good if you want to see a lot and do it all overland (they won't work if you come to Tasmania unless you buy a seperate one when you reach Tasmania) as Greyhound doesn't exist in Tasmania. Another thing with buses is that in places like Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland it can be extremely time consuming and involve a lot of back tracking to get where you want. For example if you wanted to get from Adelaide to Perth, you'd be required to go all the way up to Darwin and then back down through Western Australia to Perth instead of going across the Nullabor Plain to Perth. This will mean many days of extra travel (not to mention quite a few thousand extra kilometres) on the bus when a flight would have only taken a couple of hours.

I'd personally rely mostly on flights but get a few buses along the way where either flights are more expensive or flights don't operate with Virgin Blue, Jet Star or Tiger Airways. Sometimes like between Cairns and Surfers Paradise it'd be best to get buses to allow you to stop over at many nice spots along the way. If you get to Surfers Paradise and want a flight, look at flying out of Brisbane because in all probability it'll be considerably cheaper and is only like a bit over an hour away on a train that goes direct to the airport.

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 27, 2007, at 5:53 AM by aharrold45 ]

5. Posted by scarlette (Budding Member, 19 posts) 30 Aug '07 19:09

If you're going to be covering long distances then jetstar/virgin blue would be the cheapest and fastest. Unless you really like trains I wouldn't suggest it. Busses are alright if you're planning on visiting the big cities and the east coast, but if you're thinking of going to western australia, the northern territories or tasmania, car is by far the best way. Ask around at your hostel, or read the notices and find some other travellers with a car. You'll see more than you would in a bus, you'll have more fun and it should work out to be cheaper.

6. Posted by hmclehto (Full Member, 142 posts) 31 Aug '07 03:18

How long you're coming here for? Are you old enough to drive a car? Just can't hire a one? Why don't you just buy one, they are fairly cheap here and just sell it after your travels....You can stop wherever you want and not tied into any schedules. Just a thought... Travelled myself around Oz the coastal way and absolutely loved it....

Posts 7 & 8 were removed by moderators