Going solo down under
If there’s anywhere that’s known for its solo travel culture, it’s Australia. Fun-loving, sunny and eclectic, Australia draws solo travellers in with its promise of every day being different, thanks to the multitude of sceneries including golden beaches, rich rainforest, dynamic cities and arid desert. You name it, Australia’s got it, and an adventurous journey with endless possibilities always awaits.
Whether you’re an avid solo traveller or wanting to try something new, Australia boasts plenty of opportunities, and it’s guaranteed that you’ll meet other solo travellers along the way. So, what are you waiting for? Here are our favourite recommendations and things to know when booking your solo trip down under.
Where to go
Australia comprises of six states: New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania, and it’s your choice whether to hop between these, or spend your time delving into just one. Either way, you’re guaranteed an incredible trip.
If you’re looking to journey across the length and breadth of the country, our Australian Highlights escorted tour is just the ticket, offering a chance to discover two trendy cities – Sydney and Melbourne, explore the outback in Alice Springs, drive along the cool Great Ocean Road, and encounter incredible marine life in the Great Barrier Reef, all in one holiday.
Queensland is where self-confessed surfer dudes and beach dwellers find their calling. This sun-dappled region is home to Australia’s iconic coastal attractions, including the famous Great Barrier Reef, the beautiful Whitsundays, adventurous Fraser Island and luxurious Cairns, promising days filled with blazing sunshine, salty hair and sandy toes.
New South Wales is a very popular choice with solo travellers, namely due to it being the home of one of the country’s most well-known and well-loved cities: Sydney. Attractions like the Opera House and trendy Bondi Beach are always brimming with people, and you’ll soon be enjoying an authentic Aussie BBQ or drinking beers on the beach with other travellers.
These two states are our favourites for those who are new to the solo travelling scene – you’re much more likely to meet other people on these more beaten paths. Remember, staying near the tourist spots doesn’t make your holiday any less adventurous, it just means you’ll be safer and able to find more to do on your own. How about booking out East Coast Islands and Rainforest to see the sights, party with locals, and practice your surf.
Australia’s outback is the ideal location for those seeking adventure. While you’re exploring the country, book yourself on our Outback Australia tour and meet other solo travellers as you marvel at the sun rising over Uluru and hike around Katherine Gorge. If you’re well versed in solo travelling and fancy going somewhere away from the norm, Tasmania is a naturally stunning island with a booming foodie scene and fun outdoor adventure, whilst South Australia offers wonderful wildlife encounters in Kangaroo Island and a relaxing city experience in Adelaide.
Most travellers fly across a variety of states to get a true taste of what Australia is all about, so why not combine a few short tours together and explore as much as possible?
How to get around Australia
The joy of a solo trip to Australia is the ease of travelling around the entire country. Driving alone can be a nerve-wracking experience, but if you’re used to driving around a new destination solo, then there are plenty of fantastic car hire deals – or you could even rent a caravan.
For novice solo travellers though, we’d recommend sticking to the public transport. From buses and ferries to cheap flights, you can get anywhere in Australia just on public transport alone – and it’s no surprise that it’s a great way to meet other people too. Travelling alone via bus, plane or train also gives you the opportunity to change your plans day by day, depending on who you meet and the things you find along the way.
If you’re not wanting to journey on your own the entire time, we’d recommend booking yourself on a few short tours. There are so many escorted tours that incorporate a wealth of iconic attractions and fabulous excursions, for all budgets and tastes.
Enjoy local activities and excursions
When travelling through Australia, it’s all about the active lifestyle. Australians and travellers alike find the joy in being outside, whether that be catching the waves on their surfboards, diving into the water for an afternoon of scuba diving, or even dining at a local food truck right by the beach.
Sign up to a few excursions during your trip, and you’ll be well on your way to meeting new people and experiencing something unique and exciting. Some of our favourites include an adrenaline-fuelled 4x4 drive across Fraser Island’s sand dunes, a sophisticated afternoon of wine tasting in the Barossa Valley, diving in the Great Barrier Reef, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, gazing at the Blue Mountains in a cable car, and dolphin watching in Monkey Mia.
Be sure to book some of these excursions in advance too – they book up rather quickly.
Food is the way to anyone’s heart, and that includes the Australians. The country has a huge foodie scene, offering the perfect way to meet new people and feel less alone while travelling. Take a trip to Mindil Beach Sunset Market in Darwin, or head to Barangaroo in Sydney and find a restaurant with a friendly communal table.
Be mindful and safe
With its low crime rate and very friendly locals, Australia is arguably one of the safest places for a solo traveller to visit. Even so, you will need to remain cautious and always keep your safety as your main focus. Here are some tips on staying aware and vigilant whilst travelling solo:
- Always stick to public places, and don’t walk alone at night
- Though much of our guide discusses making new friends whilst travelling, always stay cautious when first meeting strangers
- Try to stay sober, and stay alert at all times
- Book your flights and public transport so that you can arrive in new places at daylight
- Pre-book transfers to your hotel, and make use of hotel safes
- Try not to take too many valuables with you on your trip, and keep any valuables in your hand luggage whilst travelling
- People are less likely to pickpocket a local, or someone who looks like they know what they’re doing, so try to blend in with the locals
- Check in with loved ones back at home regularly, so someone will always know whereabouts you are.
Australia’s charm is the ability to travel to as many places as you like with ease. Because of this, it’s always best to pack as light as possible – no one wants to be dragging around a 20kg suitcase every few days. Take a large rucksack with you and only bring the essentials – you’ll be able to wash your clothes and buy more items as you go.
Download a few helpful apps
Apps are a great way to ensure that you’re always organised whilst you’re away. TripIt is a fantastic app where you can put all your bookings in one place, adding all your flight, hotel and excursion details and watching as it creates a great itinerary for you to check whenever you need.
You could even pin a few locations on Google Maps and then download your finished map so you can check it whilst offline, eliminating the worry of not knowing where you are with no WiFi signal.
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