Depending on what kind of experience you’re looking for, Australia has a lot to offer. For those interested in spending time in cities, you might travel along the east coast of Australia where most of the major population centers are located. Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are all amazing cities that are easy to travel between by train, bus or hitchhiking.
Sydney in particular has some terrific suburbs (including Newtown) and interesting architectural features. If visiting Newtown while in Sydney, make sure to check out the old graveyard just several blocks from the metro station. Urban exploring is also quite popular throughout the major cities. The “Cave Clan” is a large group in the country that has done a lot of exploration both underground and above-ground, and has a website at CaveClan.org.
While traveling between these three major cities, you’ll pass through many other popular areas. One of such is the Gold Coast, located about 60 miles south of Brisbane. With a subtropical climate, extensive sandy beaches and offshore coral reefs (including the Great Barrier Reef), this is an area that you shouldn’t miss.
If traveling south from the Gold Coast, you can either take the larger, more coastal route 1 or you might travel inland along the old road; route 15. You’ll pass through some spectacular forests before the road heads back toward the coast as you reach Newcastle.
The Blue Mountains to the west of Sydney are absolutely beautiful and are accessible by train or by road. Accommodation is sparse in this region, but if you plan on camping you’ll be able to see a lot of the area on a budget. Also accessible by train from Sydney is the Royal National Park. Plan on camping just an hour or two south of the city on high cliffs overlooking the ocean. As you head toward Melbourne, take the smaller route 1 if you have time. It winds through beautiful coastal towns, whereas the major route 31 cruises through Aubury down to Melbourne at high speeds. Both roads are good for hitchhiking; 31 is better if you’re in hurry.
A ten hour ferry ride south of Melbourne will bring you to the island-state of Tasmania. Tasmania is roughly a four and a half hour drive from top to bottom. The capital, Hobart, is beautiful. In the colder months, you’ll find snow up on the mountains. There are places to camp all over Tasmania.
West of Melbourne is The Great Ocean Road. Also known as “The Shipwreck coast”, this 243-kilometer (151 mi) stretch of road along the south-eastern coast traverses rainforests, beaches and steep cliffs. You’ll pass through eucalyptus groves teeming with koalas, parrots and other wildlife. Check out the 12 Apostles; a stunning natural sandstone formation along this southern coast.
More inland you’ll find Flinders Ranges and Ayers Rock, two stunning natural landscapes located in central Australia. They and are well worth the trip out, though it’s a bit more difficult to find a way out depending on the time of year. There are several bus lines that operate to Flinders Range, or you might try hitchhiking. Plan on camping in rural areas and waiting long lengths of time for rides. (Travel during the summer months to Flinders Ranges will be considerably easier due to the many backpackers making their way to this location.) Ayers Rock is easier to reach and is located near Alice Springs in central Australia.
In Western Australia, visit the Coral Coast on the Indian Ocean and the city of Perth. In Australia’s south west, there are many national parks, towering forests and rivers. Check out the Tingle Trees in The Walpole-Nornalup National Park. These amazing trees can live over 400 years and grow up to 75 meters in height.