I've been searching around, googling and all sorts and am not really coming up with much for what i'm really after.
I think i've hit the point where a couple of friends have done it/or doing it and i've heard and seen all the stories and pictures and it's sent me over the edge or 'would like to do it' to 'badly wanting to do it'. I think my only stumbling block is work and the full time job i'm in and have been in.
Anyway i move on. In all honesty i have had friends who have travelled/backpacking for a couple months to 6 months to a year and i'm really not sure on how long i should be looking at doing it, i'm siding with 6 months at the moment but one place i've always wanted to go was Oz. The problem is i have no idea where to start, in terms of where in the country, what to see etc and then how and where does it all get set up? Travel operator etc? I would look at moving on doing NZ and the surrounding areas that i think a fair few do but can anybody point me in the right direction to start with? What's the very first thing i should be doing as i haven't got a clue on where to start.
The best place to start is Cairns (cheap flights from Syd) then head south down the East Coast hitting a lot of awesome stuff like the Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef, Magetic Island, Fraser Island, Brisbane, Surfers Paradise, Byron Bay and then heading into Sydney. From there head to Melbourne, jump over to Tasmania and jump back, take the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide, head to Alice Springs, see Uluru and the Olgas etc. After that keep going north to Darwin. Around Darwin is Kakadu National park, Katherine Gorge and heaps of awesome landscapes, Aboriginal culture etc. From there to Broome in Western Australia and travel down the West Coast to Perth passing through Exmouth, Ningaloo Marine Park, Karajini National Park and Monkey Mia. If you have the money and the time you could travel the Great Australian Bite back to Adelaide or catch the Indian Pacific train (with the lonest stretch of straight train track in the world). You can do this in 3 months or more. After that head to NZ and Fiji! NZ would take a 4-6 weeks to do well and Fiji...how ever much you like relaxing on a beach! If you want any more info I would be more than happy to help! I'm a travel consultant in Sydney and have done a fair bit of that trip myself. You will love it!!
I'm in the same boat as TrevUK. I'm not sure where to start either. The itinerary you suggested seems like a great route to go. Just one question - if one was to start in Cairns - would April be a good month to start this itinerary? I want to avoid the wet season in the North, and also don't want to end up getting colder weather when heading south.
[ Edit: Edited on 14-Jan-2010, at 09:49 by Goska268 ]
I think knowing the places to go is another problem, as although i know i want to go to Oz (mainly), Fiji, Thailand and NZ i haven't a clue what to go and see. The sights etc etc etc. I mean of course you have the Great Barrier and that big rock thing...(Ha )but i think planning that is also a problem. Should the first stop be a travel consultant then here in the UK and then speak to somebody like yourself over there?
The places you have suggested friends have mentioned, but what goes on at each of them i wouldn't be able to tell you. I think for me it's about exploring parts of the world, different cultures like the aboriginies(sp), and having fun doing it.
How long do you recommend staying at in each place? I don't want to over do it obviously but don't want to do it in a mad rush cramming everything in. 3 months seems a fairly long time? What sort of money are we looking at...a £1000 per month?
Also would like to go when it's hot so i'm guessing that Oz should be done around November/December?
Sorry...so many questions!!!
I would recommend going to the library or a secondhand book store and grabing a travel guide, like lonely planet, and having a read. I could tell you about all the places but it would take pages and hours of descriptions! Once you've had a read you will have a much better idea of what things you would like to see. This is what I do whenever embarking on my next travels. Depending on the age of the book you get I would not take much notice of the prices because they fluctuate quite a bit.
To give you an idea of $$....An awesome product I sell a lot of is hop on hop off bus passes. These can be valid for up to 12 months (not that you would need it for that long) and to travel pretty much everything I suggested it would cost up to $2000 but if you did say just the east coast it would be $350. Then you will have to add any tours (must do's are Fraser Island, around $350 for 3 days, Uluru (the big rock) $350 3 days, Whitsundays sailing $450 3 days etc just to give you an idea. These prices include everything for the time of the tour). There are always budget options and not so budget options so if say someone comes to me and says I want to do this, this and this and I have this much money then I would find the products to best suit the budget. Some things are always worth spending a few extra dollars on tho.
Australia is not cheap. It is so hard to say how much money you will need. I mentioned the bus earlier, accommodation in dorms is an average of $25 per night and food can be cheap if you cook yourself but eating out will cost you about $12-$25 for a meal. Mind, in alot of backpacker meccas there are backpacker bars that have awesome specials, $10 for a feed and a beer. 3 days in each place is a good guide.
You can do a fair bit of OZ in 2 months but you would need closer to 3 to do all of it. It is better (and cheaper) for you organise all your travel once you get here. Because there are SO many travel agents that deal with the backpacker market, you can get some awesome deals.
In regards to when to come to OZ....Any time is good except winter (jun, july, aug). It has a very varied climate all over the country so there is not 'the perfect' time to come. If I were to spend say 2 months then I would probably do Feb/March or Sept/Oct.
Wow, you are probably getting sick of reading this!lol.
If you have more questions feel free to email me. It should be in my profile
The rainy season is pretty much over by April so that is a good time up in the north. Queensland is warm pretty much throughout the year but once you come to the southern states, especially Victoria, it gets chilly so try to avoid the south in winter (Jun, July, Aug). Sometimes the wet season is a great time to be in the north. It's known as one of the best times for water visibility when diving and snorkling and there are some awesome thunderstorms. If you wanted to be in the north in April then I would change the itinerary around. Start on the West coast in Feb and work your way over to the East coast and then head north towards Cairns. Does this help?
Hi Trev, Jess has outlined some great things to see while you're in Oz. In terms of actually travelling, I'd look at splitting it into the north and south. Ideally you'd travel above the tropic of capricorn from may-aug if you travel from dec-feb it will be very hot and humid and there is also the possibility of heavy rain, cyclones, closed roads and a reduced number of tours especially in Kakadu and remote areas. As Jess has already said, Victoria and NSW are best visited in the summer months (nov-feb), while it's hot it's not unbearably humid and you can spend a heap of time at the beach.
To start planning your trip talk to your friends, get a lonely planet guide and a big map of Australia then start marking where you want to go on the map. Decide when you can come, if it's winter start up north and if it's summer then start down south. For a complete loop I'd allow 3-4 months, probably july-oct starting in perth and going clockwise or feb-may starting in sydney and going anticlockwise so that weather is favourable for you. Have a look at the Australia '07 travel map in my profile, this was a 3 month trip and it felt like it was a tiny bit rushed and I skipped most of NSW because I live near Sydney.
I took my own car and shared costs with my travel partner, our combined total costs were about $800AU per week ($400 each) including food, fuel for a thirsty 4x4, camp costs and tours. We had a National Parks camping book and made up our own route.