10 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Australia
Need a few reasons to visit Australia? The country is famous for its beaches, laid-back lifestyle and unforgiving outback. It’s the driest and most inhospitable continent; which makes it also the emptiest!
Even though much of Australia’s beauty is in the main tourist hotspots, there’s plenty of astounding things to see elsewhere as well. Each coastline has an immense beauty, there’s tons of off the beaten track (quite literally – think very seriously about exploring Australia in a four wheel drive) things to do and the craziest wildlife going.
But there are a few things you should know about Australia before visiting. These will help you prepare for the harsh climate and the culture of life down under!
1. The country has a harrowing past
The history of Australia makes me deeply ashamed to be British. The Aboriginal people suffered enormously at the hands of imperialists, with massacres, land stolen and children being taken. It’s heart-breaking to know how these people’s lives were destructed by settlers, and I believe it’s every traveller to Australia’s duty to educate themselves about what happened and learn how to travel in a way that respects its surviving indigenous community.
Just one example of how you can do this is to respect ancient Aboriginal sights, such as the famous Uluru by recognising them as sacred grounds and treating them how you would treat any religious building or monument.
2. The middle really is a whole load of nothingness
Whether you’re doing a trip through the red centre or driving across the Nullarbor, you’ll be met with a lot of nothing while travelling Australia. Parts of the country are completely inhospitable, and great care needs to be taken when visiting them – take way more water than you think you need and a very reliable vehicle! Distances in Australia are longer than you think and destinations to get supplies few and far between; so make sure you plan accordingly.
3. The prices are high
Coming from China, the Australian prices were pretty shocking. You can pay over $40 for an 8 bed dorm room in the big cities, drinks can cost up to $15 for one and meals out can easily set you back $50… It’s not easy to do any of the big cities like Sydney or Melbourne on a budget.
4. if you know some tricks, it’s very easy to live cheaply
However, it is very possible to road trip Australia on a budget. Wikicamps is a fantastic app that locates free campsites, which are in abundance in Australia – and where, thanks to the mostly warm climate and somewhat little rain, it is very feasible to camp.
Food bought from the supermarket can sometimes be cheaper than European prices, and other times expensive, but a lot of ‘budget friendly’ meals can be made. Coles and Woolworths are Australia’s big chains, and more and more Aldis are popping up. Only purchase food from an IGA if you’re planning on re-mortgaging your house.
The famous goon costs between $7 and $12 for 3-5 litres of boxed wine. It’s kind of vile, but it can be mixed with lemonade or coke for a better flavour and still serves as a drink. Bottled wine can be bought from as little as $5 too.
A lot of attractions in Australia are free too; like a lot of national parks on the East Coast, various art galleries and towns with natural and manmade wonders.
Australia can be cheap if you know the tricks of the trade.
5. The best of Australia is not in the cities
Sure, there’s the opera house of Sydney and Melbourne’s street art, but the huge majority of Australia’s beauty is in its small towns and countryside. The entire state of Tasmania – which was the butt of mainlanders’ jokes for years until they realised it may be the most beautiful state of the lot – is absolutely incredible.
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