Australia as you know is a very big country, bigger than India. But it has only 7 major cities and population equal to the size of Chennai. Rest is all desert, 95% of the people live on the coastal lines. All these facts mean nothing to a tourist, but just giving a basic idea about Australia.
We moved to Melbourne in 2017 and it’s a permanent shift from India.
Apart from Melbourne, the major cities we visited in Australia are Gold Coast and Launceston. We’ve did a fair amount of road trips inside Victoria (the state in which Melbourne belongs). We would be more than happy to guide & help you when you plan a trip Down under.
Trips we’ve planned: Perth, Hobart and Whitsunday Islands
Cities We've been to
Things to Know before you Go
Visa: Prior Visa has to be arranged for Indian passport Holders.
Currency: The currency in Australia is called the Australian Dollar. 1 AUD is equivalent to about 50 Indian rupees.
Climate & Seasons:
One thing you have to watch out while travelling to Australia. December- Feb is Summer, June- August is winter. You will experience warm weather throughout the year travelling to great barrier reef or Darwin. Moving South towards Sydney, Melbourne & Hobart, temperature will drop down in winters, Summers will be warm
So what is the best time to Visit?? Spring (October-November) & Autumn(march to May) would be the best, you will experience dry & mild weather. Its is not the holiday season & particularly no school holidays. Hotels/Accommodations are not pricier. Winters are not harsh either except for the odd chilly days. We would say this is the best time to Hike
Geography: Perth is the major City in the West coast and flying time between east & west coast is approx. 4 1/2 Hours. Other major destinations are on the east coast (Sydney, Melbourne, cairns, Gold coast). It also has a time difference of 2 hours(3 hours during day light saving). So trips need to be planned carefully based on your interests.
Travelling around Australia:
No two major cities are closeby, considering the huge size of the country. Air travel is not cheap when compared with the budget carriers in Europe, but it the best way to go around. Jetstar is the budget carrier and almost connects all major & second tier cities. Average return journey cost from Melbourne to Sydney will cost AUD 150 (offer prices will be around AUD 90 return)
Qantas & Virgin Australia are the regular airlines.
Interstate trains are available, but time consuming & expensive.
Travel Tips, Cost, Do's & Dont's
Australia is not a cheap destination, be it Food, Accommodation, Travelling around, drink!!! but you should not have problems travelling in a budget. There are always options
Dorms are the best and prices ranges from 30~75AUD based on shared rooms & private rooms. This will get you friends from all over the world. Mid range hotels starts @100 AUD, will give you the extra bit of comfort & privacy
We prefer AIRBNB's very much. It gives you good value for money if you want to book the entire apartment (bigger space) with 3 or 4 friends sharing. It also gives you a chance to interact with the host.
Average meal in Australia will cost AUD20. Asian & Indian restaurants are comparatively cheaper @ AUD12~15. There are plenty of fast food joints across the city. if you staying in a dorm, the best option to get into Coles/Woolworths (the two largest supermarkets in Australia) and buy frozen meal starting @ AUD5. Healthy & cheap
Coles Liquorland & BWS are the two most popular places inside the city. Most often they are present inside Codes & woolworths making it easy to buy your Booze & groceries. Beer Cost @ 20AUD/case of 6, Wine Starts & 8AUD. Minimum age to buy liquor is 18. ID proof is a must
Tours & Activities:
If you don't have a plant o rent a car or take a campervan, it is best to book organised/group tours. Look for offers in groupons/klook. You can get the city boat tour in Melbourne which costs AUD25/person for AUD 10. Also try & talk with the tour operator, if you are booking couple of day trips, they will definitely give you a discount. Book Ahead if you are planning to rent a car, remember driving is on the left (similar to India)
Water: Tap water is Clean 7 safe. Do carry reusable bottles and refill it anywhere.
Wifi & Mobile data: There are plenty of free wifi spots if you are in the city. if you tend to do road trips, we recommend to buy Aldi Sim cards for 5AUD and top it up with a 25AUD plan. It gives you free unlimited calls & 18 Gigs of data (more than sufficient if you intend to stay for a month)
Credit Cards and ATMs: Most restaurant and retailers in the big and small cities will accept credit cards as payment. If you need to draw cash, you can find ATM’s almost everywhere: bank lobbies, on the streets, shopping malls, convenience stores and petrol stations
Australia is a safe country. We have travelled extensively in Melbourne, its suburbs & regional Victoria and have never faced any sort of issues. Keep your wallets & passports safe. Always be mindful of your surroundings & stick to your instincts. if you feel something is not right, don't do it. You would have certainly read this somewhere before coming to Australia "It is home to some of the worlds dangerous Animals". But in the past three years we haven't come across any of them going around. Travelling into regional areas & national parks, do watch for the warning signs. if you are in water, check for the currents, signs of jellyfish & sharks.