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A complete guide to solo travel in Australia

Updated On 18th April, 2021

Solo travel in Australia is a dream on many peoples bucket lists and well, it is not hard to see why,

Maybe it’s the tropical climates, the wildlife, the laid-back beachy lifestyle, the epic road trips or the backpacker goals lifestyle that has you dreaming of a trip down under, or maybe it’s a combination of them all?

Whatever it is, if you’re looking for a guide to solo travel in Australia, look no further. I got you!

I’ve solo travelled through Australia on 4 (fortunate) occasions now and so in this travel guide, I am going to share with you all the tips, tricks and knowledge I have from my solo travel in Australia.

Get your pen and paper at the ready, by the end of this post you will have all the inspiration ready to book your solo trip to Australia. You will not regret it!

Other blog posts/guides you may find useful:

 

My complete guide to solo travel in Australia…

A complete guide to Sydney, Australia
A day trip from Sydney to The Hunter Valley | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog

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. Here are a few blog posts to get you started…

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… and you can do it all solo!

Solo travel in Australia is so easy, particularly when compared to other countries so don’t worry about meeting people, being on your own or not having people to travel with. Australia is a haven for solo travellers. I’d say its one of my top 3 recommendations for a first-time solo traveller.

For the ultimate East Coast Australia bucket list, check out this post.

For an alternative East Coast Australia bucket list, check out this post.

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!

Don’t forget! My good friend Sammy owns RatPack Travel (a discounted booking platform for Australia and New Zealand Travels). They can help you…

– find the best prices and options for transport, trips and tours around the all the key destinations in Australia
– create a personalized travel calendar with recommendations for your trip
– answer any questions you may have
– have an incredible time!

Click here to send RatPack a WhatsApp message (+61 490 149 348) and to get the ball rolling.

Don’t forget you can use my code MOLLIE10 for 10% off any trip or transport booking you make.

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!

A 1-day roadtrip from Byron Bay: Minyon Falls, Lake Ainsworth and Lennox Head
Hostel Guide: Where to stay in Sydney

Worried about making friends while you’re solo travelling? Here are all my top tips!

If you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, click here for my hostel top tips and hostel packing essentials!

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!

See my guide to booking the best Whitsundays boat for you here.

A GUIDE TO THE WHITSUNDAYS – WHICH BOAT SHOULD YOU BOOK?

Don’t forget you can use my code MOLLIE10 for 10% off any trip or transport booking you make with RatPack Travel.

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. 

See my guide to booking the best Fraser Island trip for you here.

nomads-fraser-island-tag-along-tour

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!)

See my top tips for staying safe when travelling solo here.

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.

Another thing to remember is that domestic flights in Australia are super cheap, so if you are on a short timeframe check out Skyscanner or Jetstar for flights.

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.

The Great Ocean Road: A planning guide and 5-day itinerary

If you opt for the Greyhound bus pass, instead of booking direct, click here and use the code MOLLIE10 for 10% off the direct rate with RatPack Travel. You can also use the discount for campers!

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.

A 1-day roadtrip from Byron Bay: Minyon Falls, Lake Ainsworth and Lennox Head

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!

Top tip: RatPack Travel are the only agent that offers 100% full refund on any cancelled trips due to weather. RatPack knows that travelling sometimes isn’t perfect so if a big old storm rolls in and cancels your trip, you can expect all your money back.

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!

Have you solo travelled in Australia?

What are your top tips? I’d love to know about your experience!

Love as always + happy adventuring,

Mollie.

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A complete guide to solo travel in Australia
A complete guide to solo travel in Australia
A complete guide to solo travel in AustraliaA complete guide to solo travel in Australia
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I’M MOLLIE AND I STARTED THIS BLOG BACK IN 2013 WHEN I HEADED OUT ON MY FIRST BACKPACKING ADVENTURE. I’D LOVE TO SHARE MY STORY WITH YOU…

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