Australia travel guide

Australia? How about Australi…YAH! Eager to visit this unique continent (yes, it’s a continent…) but can’t tell your cork hats from your kangaroos? Don’t fret, we made this Australia travel guide with you in mind. Koalas. Boomerangs. Slang. Plenty of memes spring to mind when you hear ‘Australia’ spoken out loud. But there’s a reason Aus is so cartoonified into our pop culture… it’s got everything. Coastal big cities, jaw-dropping national parks, deadly and non-deadly creatures, surfing, plus an infectious way of life that’s renowned all over the world.  Most of Australia’s buzz is concentrated on the east coast. Queensland is home to Brisbane and the Gold Coast while Sydney, Canberra and the Blue Mountains reside in New South Wales. South Australia is home to Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. Across the outback, you’ll find Gibson Desert National park and Perth on the coasts of Western Australia See below for things you simply MUST see, do, experience and eat on your trip down under.    Fast Facts Language: English Currency: Australian dollars Electricity: Plug type I (three flat pins in a triangular pattern) Visas: Click here to see if you need a visa to enter Australia Dialling Code: +61 Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time (EST)  

Best time to visit

It depends why you’re there. Summer (Dec-Feb) won’t be the best time to visit Australia if you’re planning an active trip. Your beach walks and national park trips will be much less sweaty during spring or autumn. 

Summer can be humid and stormy, but it’s the ideal time if you’re there for the wildlife, the NYE celebrations or the cricket. Besides, what’s a bit of heat when you have electrolytes? 

Autumn (Mar-May) and Spring (Sept-Nov) are the most popular months—so you’ll meet plenty of fellow downunderers as you hit up the food fests and the grand prix. 

Travelling on a budget and willing to sacrifice gleaming sun for some peace and quiet? The Australian Winter (June-Aug) is still warm enough to surf and explore coral reefs. If in doubt, pack a jumper and sizzle a few extra steaks on the bbq. That’ll keep you plenty warm.  

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Things to do

  • Snorkel at the great barrier reef

    Head to the Queensland coast for a dip in the world’s largest coral reef system. You’ll find fishes, turtles and even underwater artwork.  

    Queensland

  • Mardi Gras

    Towering across Sydney Harbour, this bridge looks out onto one of the world’s major cities… and its Opera House. Best enjoyed at sunset. 

    Sydney

  • See saltwater crocs

    Don’t miss this bastion of biodiversity in Aus’s Northern Territory, with over 200 bird species, 2,000 plant species and 20,000-year-old aboriginal artwork.

    Kakadu National Park

  • Surf's up!

    A backpacker town known for its laid back beach vibes. You’ll want to dive right in, whether you’re making waves or stomping on the ocean floor.

    Byron Bay

  • Party and master the waves

    A fellow surf spot with max energy levels… where the surfers’ clubs are for partying till the early hours, and the beaches are for zzzzzzzing.  

    Surfer's paradise

  • Explore rainforests

    The Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. Breathtaking tropical rainforests. UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Wildlife, mountains, seas. The works. 

    Cairns

  • Get spiritual

    See the famous red rock in this spiritual sanctum, where you’ll get to pay your respects to the traditions and cultures of the indigenous people.

    Uluru

  • Become a cattle rancher at a farmstay

    Say howdy to the cattle and enjoy an evening in the outback with a home-cooked feast and karaoke. There’s no udder way.

     

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    The outback

Top 5 festivals in Australia

  • Splendour in the grass fest

    Aussie’s biggest music festival. Travelling with Contiki? You’ll enjoy cooked brekkies, a private performance, and we’ll even put up your tent. You lucky duck.  

    Byron Bay

  • Mardi Gras

    One of the world’s biggest LGBTQ+ festivals + the iconic Sydney backdrop = unmissable. Expect myriad parades, parties and Bondi Beach Drag races. 

    Sydney

  • Eat & Drink festival

    Fresh seafood. A beach bbq by the sunny Noosa Coast. All washed down with prime Aussie wine. You just drooled, didn’t you? 

    Noosa

  • Good food month

    Welcome to October, where the entire city of Sydney transforms into a ginormous food market, showcasing Aus’s jazzy food scene. Dee. Lish. 

    Syndey

  • Falls festival

    Kickstart your New Year the rock, indie, hip hop AND blues way with a trip to Australia’s iconic NYE celebrations. Circus, comedy, cabaret in 3 locations.   

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    Various

Top 5 museums in Australia

  • Australian museum

    Digging deep into Aus’s history? Don’t miss the continent’s first ever museum, established in 1827. With nods to early civilisation, culture and the natural world. 

    Sydney

  • Queensland Museum

    There’s something for everyone at the state museum of Queenstown – providing you’re into your natural history. And by national history we mean: dinosaurs. 

    Brisbane

  • National Sports Museum

    This one takes balls… plus rackets and trophies, and pops them on display at the Melbourne cricket ground to celebrate Aus’s many (many, many) sporting triumphs.

    Melbourne

  • Powerhouse museum

    Music. Tech. Space exploration. That’s what happens when art and science collide. See for yourself here in Sydney’s most shimmering museum. Copy that!  

    Sydney

  • Scienceworks

    Love your hands-on experiments and immersive experiences (and already partied at Surfers Paradise?) Don’t miss this fortress of science. 

    Melbourne

What to pack:

Before you lead the pack, you must learn to pack…

  • 1. Insect repellent

    The itch to explore? A good itch. Mozzie bites? A very bad itch. Very bad. 

  • 2. Aloe Vera / soothing lotion

    Plus a friend kind enough to do your back.

  • 3. A hat

    Great for keeping your head cool, and taking off to the surfers you most admire. 

  • 4. Good socks and shoes

    You didn’t do all that work preventing sunburn and mozzie bites just to end up with blisters on your feet, did you? 

  • 5. Refillable bottles

    Small bottles are great for taking sunscreen with you on day trips. Reusable water bottles are great for the planet. 

  • 6. Tote bag / wash bag

    To keep your Tim Tams in, to keep you from using more plastic than you need… these are just great all round. 

  • 7. Universal adapter

    “Hey Nan, just checking in. I – oh wait, the battery’s dead…” Nobody wants that (except Nan). 

  • 8. Hydration tablets

What to eat

  • 1. Vegemite

    You’ll go from vegemiteing your toast to toasting your vegemite… or you’ll hate it. Either way, you MUST try Vegemite in Aus. 

  • 2. Pavlova

    Meringue-based with a fruity, whipped cream centre? Desserts don’t get more delicious than this. Calm down, ’lova boy. 

  • 3. Meat pie

    Iconic Aussie comfort food, containing diced/minced meat and gravy. Best served with chunky chips and veg. Or on the go. Or both. 

  • 4. Tim Tam

    Deliciously smooth cream, sandwiched between 2 chunky biscuits and covered in chocolate. It’s the legendary biscuit of the Aussies. And the Gods.

  • 5. Anzac Biscuits

    ANZAC (Australia & New Zealand Army Corps) biscuits were sent to soldiers by their wives during World War 1, and they’re just as popular over 100 years later. 

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