For many people, a trip to Australia can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – which means you’ll want to try and see as much of the country as you can whilst you’re there. However, as many travellers soon realise, Australia is a HUGE country and getting around isn’t always easy. For those trying to plan their way around down under, here are a few options for getting around and the pros and cons of each.
If you’re only visiting Australia for a few weeks and are on a tight schedule, internal flights could be the fastest and most convenient ways of getting around the country. Whilst most other travel options take days, flying can get you across the country in a matter of hours, although you’ll miss out on exploring the outback. Flying can be expensive, but there are cheap deals around – several airlines such as Jetstar specialise in budget domestic flights across the country.
Australia’s Greyhound buses are another way of getting around the country. They’re cheap, comfortable and run frequently with routes all across the country. The disadvantage of these buses is that they are notoriously slow, often stopping every couple hours and taking days to get from city to city. If you have no time constraints, these buses could be the perfect option, but if time isn’t a luxury you may find that this eats away too much of your trip.
Another means of getting across the country is to take a train. The ‘Ghan’ is one such train that can take you from Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Springs. These trains tend to be very comfortable – some even have reclining seats for sleeping on. Taking a train will get your from A to B faster than using a bus, but it’s a little more expensive. You can also only catch these long-haul trains on certain days so this will require some planning in advance.
Hiring a car gives you the freedom to plan out your very own route on your own time schedule. You do need to factor in costs such as fuel, insurance and car hire, but overall the cost is usually worth the convenience. There are many hire car companies across the country that you can use such as Bayswater Car Rentals. For those planning on staying for a few months and doing lots of driving, you could find it cheaper to buy a car whilst you’re out there. Make sure to look up the rules of the road and plan your journeys beforehand (when travelling across the outback, places to stop can be few and far between, so you need to plan ahead).
It’s possible to walk and cycle small stretches of Australia – however going from one side to the other is a bit ambitious and could take you a a lifetime given the size of the country. When walking or cycling, always stick to the well-known trails where you’re likely to find regular accommodation. Sites like Velogear offer information on where to rent bicycles. This is a cheap option, but you need to be physically fit and up for the challenge.
Another cheap option is to hitch-hike or use a ride-sharing app like Coseats. This is a popular option amongst backpackers. Obviously, safety is an issue to be aware of – you need to be willing to trust strangers. There’s also no certainty in hitchhiking and ride-sharing, so it’s best for people that have no time constraints when getting from one place to the next.