Getting Around in Australia
Australia is a vast country with a massive array of thing to see. For such a large country many people consider leasing cars. This provides an affordable and easy way to travel this beautiful country without having to rely on public transport. If you are intending on staying longer than 3 months an alternative to leasing a car would be to buy one. There are many backpackers wanting to sell their cars quickly so you will be able to pick up a cheap deal. However these cars will have clocked up a few miles so you will want to check how much repair costs will set you back before buying. The good thing about buying a car in Australia is that individuals aren’t required to have insurance. Anyone can drive the car with no additional costs.
Driving in Australia
Driving in Australia is actually easy but don’t be surprised if you have to make a few U-turns along the way. It seems as though many road signs in the outback appear exactly where you are supposed to be turning and by the time you have seen the sign you might have driven straight past your junction. A few things you should be aware of are the long driving distances, the big heavy road trains which stop for nothing (hence the huge bull bars fitted to the front of each truck). Make sure you carry with you some spare fuel, lots of water and food, more than one spare tyre and some tools if you have room. You might want to consider purchasing a few other extras such as fan belts and engine oil. These could help you avoid breaking down and waiting for help.
Travelling by Bus
Where public transport is concerned there are a few different options that you may want to consider as alternative to renting a vehicle. Probably the most economical way to travel long distances is by Greyhound bus although this can be rather time consuming. It can easily take days to travel between some of the major cities. Whilst buses leave everyday or two they usually won’t run with the same frequency they would in Europe or North America.
Lots of people choose to make use of domestic flights to travel between some of the furthest corners of Australia. There are a good amount of internal destinations and flights available, which will save you a lot of extra time that would normally be spent for overland travel. If you are holiday in Australia then the downside to this form of travel is that you will not get to see any of this wonderful country that you came to visit on your travels. On the other side it takes 5 hours to get from Sydney to Perth by flying which would take two days solid driving across the Nullabor Plain without stopping.
Travelling by Train
The train network in Australia is very limited and runs two major routes. These are Sydney to Perth and Darwin to Adelaide. The trains do not run often and should be viewed more of an attraction rather than a convenient way to get around.
For these reasons many people do opt to go for a rental car which provides them with the flexibility to go where they want when they want to. On top of this Australia does have some amazing driving scenery that you risk missing by using public transport. The Great Ocean Road, situated on Australia’s South coast and starting just below Melbourne, in one of these sights that you simply could not see without your own vehicle.
If you are going to be backpacking in Australia a good method of getting around is by sharing lifts with other travellers. Once you get into the backpacking circuit you will learn the ropes quickly and finding people to share lifts with is easy. In most hostels around the country drivers will advertise on notice boards wishing to find other backpackers to share fuel costs. This is a great way to get around and get to meet new people if you are travelling alone.
There are many options for getting around Australia but driving has to be the best way to experience the outback and to see sights unaccessible by bus or train.