Australia is a vast continent with a small, English speaking population. From the sparsely populated west coast to the hives of activity on the east coast and the island state of Tasmania, there is something for backpackers of every persuasion to do and see in Australia. Where do you start? We all have to start somewhere. These top 5 backpacking locations in Australia are your jumping off points for exploring the Lucky Country.
Australian Backpacking Locations
Perth Western Australia
Perth, the capital city of West Australia, is the remotest capital in the world. A vibrant, modern city, this is where your exploration of the whole of the west coast of Australia will begin. Make it a point to visit Margaret River while you’re in the area. It is gaining a reputation as the “Byron Bay of the west coast” and has great facilities for backpackers, not to mention a world class surfing beach. Intrepid backpackers with a taste for adventure will find all they could ever want if they make Perth the starting point for their exploration of the Indian Ocean coast north of Perth. Make your way up to Exmouth and the magical Turquoise Bay on Ningaloo Reef and you’ll have the experience of a lifetime.
Gold Coast Queensland
If you like to combine heavy partying with laid back days in the sun, then head straight for the Gold Coast. Surfers Paradise is where most of the action is located. By day, Surfers is dominated by holidaying families, but by night the streets are taken over by singles, who flock to the pubs and entertainment venues throughout the town. If you’re looking for surf, sun and entertainment in a more relaxed environment, then stay in Coolangatta on the southern end of the Gold Coast. Coolangatta is the real surfer’s paradise and is ideal for beach loving backpackers.
Sydney New South Wales
Sydney is a no brainer backpacker destination. For one thing, it is the largest city in Australia and the one you are most likely to land in if you come by plane. For another, you can easily stay busy for weeks on end in and around Sydney. The top backpacker locations in the Sydney area are the CBD, Kings Cross, Bondi Beach, Manly and Coogee. Kings Cross is a little on the seedy side, but from there all of Sydney is at your feet. Bondi Beach needs no introduction – it is one of the world’s most famous urban beaches. Manly, on the north shore, is Sydney’s largest beach and is just a stone’s throw by ferry from the heart of Sydney. Coogee Beach, just a few miles south of Bondi, is a more relaxed version of its famous neighbor and is perfect for backpackers who want access to the urban jungle, but want to stay someplace a little more laid back.
Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, is cooler than Sydney in every sense of the word. The climate is cooler, except during the height of the summer. The water is much cooler, making Melbourne less attractive to beachgoers, but if you’re a surfer, nearby Bells Beach in Torquay will already be on your list of places to go in Australia, since it’s one of the world’s most famous surfing spots. Sydneysiders will argue this point, but the arts and entertainment scene in Melbourne is arguably the coolest in Australia, too. Melbourne suburbs like St. Kilda attract artists, writers, actors and musicians like honey attracts bees. While many of them migrate elsewhere after they become successful, Melbourne is where a disproportionate number of Australia’s most famous artists and entertainers got their start.
If you love a place that is clean and green, you’ll love everything about Tasmania. Start your Tasmanian adventure in Hobart, where you’ll find everything you need to get your bearings. Don’t miss the Salamanca Market in Hobart and don’t be afraid to join the other tourists who visit the spooky but fascinating historical prison sites in and around Hobart, where ghost sightings are a regular occurrence. Once you’ve covered Hobart, head for the National Parks of Tasmania. Tasmania has so many of the world’s great wilderness areas, they are too numerous to count, but be sure to put Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clare and the Tarkine Wilderness high on your “Must See” list of Tasmanian destinations. Tasmania is a small island, so everything is virtually at your fingertips, even the wild, unspoiled southwest coast, which is said to have the least polluted environment in the world.
Rob Schneider writes for ‘Book It Now’ about travelling in Australia. If you are planning a visit to Australia, check out our Melbourne accommodation or read our where to stay in Sydney guide to help you find the best places to stay on your vacation to Australia.
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