Backpacking in Australia: where to go, where to stay, what to do

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Australia is a popular destination for backpackers. It has the ideal warm climate, fabulous landscape and wildlife and well set up to accommodate backpackers.

Companies compete for the backpacker dollar and so there is a wide choice of reasonably priced accommodation, restaurants, guided tours and other amenities with offerings specifically designed for backpackers.

Where to go

Australia has over 11 000 beaches around 37 000 km of coast and some of the most amazing scenery and unique history and culture in 500+ national parks, mountains, deserts and rainforests. With its distinctive wildlife and variety of cities with different vibes and activities, Australia is the perfect destination for the backpacker who wants to sample a small slice of the great range of what it has to offer or for those who want to spend a longer period making their way around the whole vast continent. The challenge will be fitting in everything you want to do! And remembering that there are often large distances between destinations!

There are many organised backpacker tours, particularly in areas around the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, e.g. The Whitsunday Islands, Fraser Island, Cairns, Cape Tribulation and in New South Wales, e.g. Sydney, Byron Bay.

Budget transport is readily available by bus, particularly if you buy a bus pass. There are also low cost cars for sale in popular backpacker areas. If you want to cover the larger distances more quickly, travel by air is an option.

Where to stay

You can choose accommodation to fit your budget and your requirements. All around Australia you will find backpacker hostels and camping grounds, with a range of accommodation from budget dorm rooms sleeping a number of people to more expensive private rooms, some with ensuites and TVs.

If you have a tent there are thousands of campsites around Australia, some are part of backpacker hostels. And if you decide to stay in one location for a long period of time, you may want to consider renting a house with other backpackers or with locals.

What to do

Do you want to experience the outback camping in The Kimberleys in Western Australia or in Kakadu in the Northern Territory, learn to scuba dive off Airlie Beach in Queensland or hike around Uluru (Ayers Rock)? Or would you prefer to take in the wine regions of Margaret River in WA or the Barossa Valley in South Australia?

The choices for the backpacker are endless so some planning can help make the best of your time in Australia.

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