As you guys know, Australia is a destination that is extremely close to my heart. I’ve chased the sun and avoided the depths of the English winters for 5 years in a row now and I couldn’t be more of an advocate for the beautiful lifestyle waiting for you out there. If you’re looking for a guide to solo travel in Australia, look no further.
When I mentioned the words ‘Oz’ on an Instagram story the other day I was overwhelmed by how many of you asked about solo travel when it comes to the Land Down Under and so here we are…
Australia’s laid back lifestyle, the national parks and beaches, plus the opportunity for such versatile road trips are just a few of the things that make this country feel like a second home. I’ve been lucky enough to explore all over Australia, both solo and with friends, and trust me, a solo trip here is not to be missed!
My complete guide to solo travel in Australia…
Whether you are planning a 3-week solo trip, a couple of months travelling or even a whole year on a Working Holiday Visa, Australia is a world class location to do all three in. I don’t even know where to start luring you in with adventures I’ve been on here; I’ve had so many incredible ones. I even got to show the Global Travellers crew some of my favourite spots in Australia early this year. Check out our adventures here.
It’s in Australia that you’ll be able to sail the beautiful Whitsunday Islands, snorkel or scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef, explore Fraser Island, Skydive, hang out in Sydney or Melbourne and of course visit the ultimate surf town of Byron Bay…
Is solo travelling popular in Australia?
The answer is a massive YES.
If you’re part of the Global Travellers Facebook group (join here), you’ll see that the majority of the conversations about Australia are all about solo travel and even arranging meet-ups. There are SO many people doing it and there’s so many of you in the same boat – it’s just about putting yourself in the right places to find eachother. I got you!
I’m sure many will vouch for me when I say, ‘the moment you arrive in Australia, you realise how easy it is to navigate solo’.
I get it though, it’s a daunting thought going it alone and so it might seem super tempting to join, say a 30-day organised group tour instead. Group tours have their place in Australia for sure and if you really need to ease yourself in with an ‘intro’ one – by all means rock it. However you can end up paying a lot for these tours and then wishing you’d been smarter with your pennies.
Instead, I’d recommend simply booking small bits of your trips separately, e.g. transport, hostels and some of the main tours. All of the latter are all set up in a way that allows for backpackers to be spontaneous if they want. Then step out of your comfort zone, take a leap of faith and go solo travelling in Australia!
If you change your mind, you can always book onto a group tour when you’re there but… I believe in you!
How do I meet people in Australia?
Sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time but sometimes just have to get out of your comfort zone and simply say hello.
All of the hostels are totally geared up for solo travellers. The best way to meet people in hostels is at the organised events, in your room (choose a larger mixed dorm to meet people!), or in the common areas. If there’s a BBQ or a beer pong tournament, join in, and I am sure you’ll not only have a great time, but you’ll also meet awesome people. The best tip I can give you is to just smile and say hello or even compliment someone on how good their food smells if you’re in the kitchen.
It’s worth remembering that you’re all in the same boat; chances are other solo travellers are feeling just as nervous as you are. Be the one to make the first move (not in a creepy way haha).
Typically solo travellers and travellers in general coming to Australia will travel the east coast from Sydney to Cairns (or vice versa). This is the most popular route to take. So whether your travel dates tie in with new found friends or not, it’s not uncommon to bump into people several times along the coast! You become like one big family.
If you know your dates or locations, pop a message on the Global Travellers Facebook group and I have no doubt you’ll find a travel buddy to meet up with!
Should I go on group tours and experiences when I solo travel in Australia?
Absolutely! Like I said before… group tours definitely have their place in Australia.
For example when it comes to the likes of the Whitsundays or Fraser Island – group tours are second to none. 3 days with a group of backpackers in amazing locations, full of fun and incredible experiences is definitely going to bond you. You might even find you’ll be travelling in the same direction as others following the trip and you’ll have a new travel buddy!
Some of my favourite memories and bonds have been on these group tours in Australia. I’d definitely say get a Whitsundays group tour and Fraser Island group tour on your Australia bucket list.
Booking the Whitsundays:
The Whitsundays sailing tours leave from Airlie Beach and, depending on which boat you’ll choose, you’ll find yourself with a group of travellers from all over the world in a similar age range. The day times will be full of sailing, exploring beaches, snorkelling and the evenings are full of fun and drinks under the stars. You’ll be sharing large cabins with other backpackers on the tour as well as spending every day together, you’ll have instant friends and… people to help you get THE perfect shot!
Booking Fraser Island:
Oh, Fraser Island. If you go on one of the 4WD Tag Along tours, you’ll be in convoy of 4 jeeps with 7 people in each 4WDs. Road trip goals. Have an epic road trip playlist ready that includes some classic singalongs! Over the 3 days, you’ll be driving on beach highways, swimming in freshwater lakes and camping under the stars. Just like the Whitsundays, you’ll share accommodation, transport and spend every day with the group. It’s the perfect way to meet other backpackers who also love to explore.
Is solo travel in Australia safe?
I’ve always felt very safe in Australia when I’ve been travelling. The people here are kind and the cities are safe. Obviously, just like anywhere you travel, always have your wits about you and don’t put yourself in any situations that you wouldn’t at home. As a rule of thumb, I keep in touch with my family when I’m travelling and make sure I have data and battery on my phone (a power bank is really useful to travel with!)
How do I get around Australia?
I travelled by bus the first time I travelled around Australia. It was so easy and convenient, and every bus was full of backpackers sharing stories and tips. I got the Greyhound Hop on Hop off bus pass which basically allowed me to travel from Sydney to Cairns on any Greyhound bus and stopped off at all the destinations I wanted to visit, it’s definitely a way of travelling I’d recommend for a solo traveller.
If you prefer a bit of freedom, why not book a campervan through RatPack and road trip it!? I hired one from Sammy at RatPack when I did a 5-day Great Ocean Road road trip.
How much of my trip to Australia should I plan?
As a solo traveller, I always like to have a rough idea of where I’m going and what I’m doing. For Australia the choice is yours however I’d say it’s pretty essential to pre-plan your trip if you are going in the peak season (November – February). The popular trips trips get booked up around 3-4 weeks in advance during peak time. With everything else you can be super flexible with and keep it spontaneous.
What happens if things go wrong?
Whether you are travelling solo or with friends, there is always scope for plans to change or things to go ‘wrong’. The first thing to do is to not panic; there’s always a solution! It’s pretty normal when travelling to be faced with a few hurdles, be it weather affecting your plans, suddenly feeling lonely or needing to go and see a doctor. See my advice for feeling homesick when travelling here.
Medically, if you need to see a doctor urgently, the emergency number is 000. Save it to your phone! Find hospitals near you here. If you need to see a GP for something less urgent, most are open Monday-Friday 9-5, but you’ll need to book an appointment (it’ll cost 50-70 AUD). Make sure you get travel insurance – medical bills in Australia add up really quickly!
If you ever feel lonely, don’t forget that your family and friends are a quick WhatsApp or FaceTime away. The best way to overcome loneliness is to put yourself out there and socialise at the hostel events or common areas or join a tour with other backpackers. Don’t be scared though; feeling nervous before travelling is normal. Getting out of your comfort zone is one of the best things you can do. Get the flight booked and let the adventure begin…
The weather can’t be controlled, but try and check the forecast regularly before you make concrete plans, and if the weather calls off an activity you really wanted to do, embrace the storm and do that activity another day!
Looking for more top tips for solo travel in Australia?
Check out my video below, or my complete guide to budgeting for backpacking through Australia here!