Australia Travel Basics

Below is a primer on Australia covering Visa Requirements, Accommodation, Food and Transportation.

Visa Requirements

Prior to traveling to Australia check to make sure that your passport is valid for the duration of your trip in Australia. Different Visa requirements apply to different nationalities. Below is quick guide to visitor visas available to Australia:

  • Citizens of New Zealand can freely travel and work under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.
  • E-Visitor Visa: An E-Visitor allows the holder to travel to Australia as many times as required within the validity period (12 months from issue date). The maximum length of each visit is three months. You can apply online, there are no fees for the application and approval is usually instantaneous. You can apply the for the visa here. The following countries are eligible for this visa.
    • European Union
    • Andorra
    • Monaco
    • San Marino
    • Vatican City
  • Electronic Travel Authority (ETA): An ETA allows the holder to travel to Australia as many times as required within the validity period (12 months from issue date). The maximum length of each visit is three months. An ETA is stored electronically and no stamp is required on your passport. You can apply online, there is a 20 AUD service charge and approval is usually instantaneous. You can apply for the visa here. The following countries are eligible for this visa.
    • Brunei
    • Canada
    • Hong Kong
    • Japan
    • Malaysia
    • Singapore
    • Republic Of Korea
    • United States
  • Citizens of all other countries need to apply for visitor visa from their local Australia consulate.

 

Food

Food and drinks are not cheap in Australia. If you plan to eat out and go the local pubs everyday then you’ll need to setup a separate budget for this expense.

  • Big Mac Meal – 9 AUD
  • Cheap take out – 12 AUD
  • Sit down meal in pub – 25AUD
  • Pint Beer:  6 – 8 AUD

If you have access to a kitchen or fridge, then consider eating in as much as possible. If you want to eat out then do it during lunch time rather than dinner, the prices tend to be cheaper and there may be more specials to be had.


Accommodations

There are a variety types of accommodation you can consider while visiting Australia.

  • Hostels – Prices for hostel rooms will vary based on how many people you share the room with. Generally it ranges from 30 – 50 AUD a night. Private rooms will likely be double the shared rates.
  • Budget Hotels – There are number of budget hotel chains in Australia (such as Ibis or Travelodge) their rooms average 130 – 160 AUD per night.
  • Airbnb – Rates will vary based on whether you rent a full apartment, private or shared room and the city that you’re in.
    • Apartments: Prices will vary on city but generally average 240 AUD per night.
    • Private / Shared rooms: Personally, I’ve found AirBnb rates to be competitive with hostels and they usually offer better quality of accommodations. For example I rented a private room in a nice house in Melbourne for around 60 AUD per night for two weeks which I felt was a good deal.
  • Campers – If you’re the adventurous type then you could consider renting camper. But there will be a number of expenses to consider including car rental, gas consumption and campervan parking fees.

 

Transportation

Australia is a continent and you may be shocked at the travel time required to get from one to city to the next. Below are your transportation options, to help plan your travels within Australia:

  • Airlines: For the longest time there wasn’t competition with internal flights in Australia. There was only Qantas and Virgin, so prices were expensive. But recently budget airlines Jetstar and Tiger Airlines have come onto the scene, helping drive down the domestic airfare costs. Use skyscanner.com to find the cheapest flights on your route and then book with the airline directly.
  • Buses: There are a number of bus services that you can use inside of Australia to travel between cities. They include: Greyhound, Oz Experience and  Premier. They sell individual ticket, hop-on hop-off tickets and tour tickets. Check out their sites to see the latest prices and offers.
  • Driving: This is a popular way to travel Australia especially when you have the luxury of time. If you rent a camper then it can double as accommodations. Check out campertravel.com for camper price quotes. A camper for 2 people can start at 60 AUD a day.
  • Train: Traveling by train is not cheap and is definitely a slower mode of transport. You can check out routes and prices on southern rail company.