1. Be as flexible as you can be
Unless you really have to, don’t plan your itinerary in too much detail. You might arrive somewhere which you’d planned to stay for 3 days in and fall in love with it, make friends who you want to stick with for slightly longer, or have bad luck with the weather and want to stay a bit of extra time. Equally, you might have set aside a week for somewhere you thought you’d love but it just doesn’t float your boat. Although it’s important to be organised or have a rough plan to a certain extent, I would say leave it open and flexible as much as you can.
2. Go off the beaten track
Sure, you’re going to want to visit Melbourne, see the harbour bridge and opera house in Sydney and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. I’m not saying don’t visit the main tourist attractions – they are amazing cities and destinations and 100% worth going to, but it’s nice to also plan to visit those places that the average tourist or traveller doesn’t get to. West coast of Australia is a classic example. I would say the majority of backpackers just head to Queensland and New South Wales, and the occasional trip to the Red Centre. The West coast is more than worth spending some time in – it’s absolutely beautiful. The beaches are rugged and untouched, the vibe in general is a lot more chilled, and there is so much to do and see including wildlife, waterfalls, deserts and national parks.
3. Choose overland travel over flights
It depends where you are and how much time you have, of course, but I’d choose a bus or a car over flying any day! Including Australia, most of the best trips I’ve taken anywhere have been mainly overland travel (Southeast Asia, India, Cuba)…Why? Well, flying from place to place sometimes is the only choice, but if you’ve got the chance to hire a car or campervan between Sydney and Brisbane, or take a bus from Perth down to Margaret River or wherever it is you’re headed, go for it! Adapt it to where you are. The parts of the country you’ll see this way are sometimes some of the most secluded and most beautiful – vast, open landscapes, lush scenery and small deserted towns. If you’re not tight on time, it’s the best way to really get a feel for the place and region and create memories that you most likely wouldn’t in airport after airport.
4. Variety is key
Australia is so vast a country. And there’s so many different things to explore and ways you can explore them! There’s vast deserts, cosmopolitan cities, lush national parks, outback towns and tropical beaches. One of the reasons I enjoyed my year-long travels there so much was because I tried to experience as many different things as I possibly could. I snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef, met quokkas in Rottnest Island, climbed the Sydney Opera House, trekked around Uluru and Kings Canyon, saw rare Tasmanian devils, fed kangaroos and cuddled koalas, did wine tasting in Margaret River, water parks in the Gold Coast, rode camels on Cable Beach, experienced the night life in Sydney, the hippie lifestyle of Byron Bay, ate Croc Dogs and Kanga Bangas in Freemantle market, drove a campervan up the Queensland coast, lived and worked in Melbourne, and slept under the stars in the outback… Grab every single chance you get to experience something new – these memories you create will be the ones which stay with you forever!