|Travel Tips For Overseas Visitors: Australia is a big country with vast distances to cover between its major cities, tourist centres and the famous natural attractions visitors come to see. Click here for our advice on the best ways to get around and see what you want to see on your vacation to Australia. >>
Choosing a mode of transport:
Tips on getting around cheaply and stress-free
Self Drive: Australia is a nation of car drivers and in our day to day lives, we'd rather jump in the car to get from A to B ahead of any other mode of transport available. Surprisingly then, when it comes to holidays, the modern Aussie family is less likely to pile into the family car and head off to their destination than any previous generation. In part, this has a lot to do with travel times. In our busy, modern-day society where we expect everything to happen instantly, travel time is so often seen as an inconvenience and a waste, rather than an opportunity to take it easy, relax, stop and smell the roses. By catching the plane, we miss so many opportunities to see and do things at all the places along the way.
When you take into consideration the time (and stress) it takes to get to the airport, the pre-flight wait in the terminal, the flight itself, the wait to collect your baggage and then the time it takes to get to your accommodation from the airport, there is often little time saved by flying unless you are travelling vast distances. Taking all those things into consideration for a trip between Melbourne and Sydney, for example, it takes around 5 hours - the best part of a day - to fly, compared to about 9 hours to drive. And if there are two or more travelling, the cost of a tank or so of fuel is far less than the airfares. A further cost saving is the hire a car at the other end, a major advantage in bringing your own transport with you.
Train: trains, like road trips, are seen by many people today as the slow way of getting from A to B. Sadly, trains are often left for pensioners and backpackers to use, but those who do this miss out on the many benefits of rail travel. To them, it's best to get the journey over and done with as quickly as possible. That's because they have a perception, often based on personal experience, that travelling is a hassle. They've often felt like turning around and going home upon arrival at their destination after a cramped, hassled or stressful journey. These people have clearly never experienced rail travel, and the sheer pleasure of relaxing and unwinding during the journey, and then arriving at the destination relaxed and refreshed, rather than stiff, tired and irritable. On a train you can read a book, listen to some music, chat to fellow travellers, walk around or just watch the countryside flash by your window. Fares these days are generally on a par with air travel, but the advantage of rail is you get far more legroom, you can walk around as you please and you feel relaxed upon arrival. There aren't many better ways to start a holiday.
Public Transport: there's no cheaper way of getting around, particularly if the place you are attempting to get around is a capital city. Most regional towns and centres have some form of public transport - usually buses - but it is usually geared towards the requirements of locals, and so is in most cases not an option for the visitor. Such is not the case in the capital cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, where public transport can take you to just about anywhere visitors are likely to want to go. In both of those cities, and to a lesser degree in the other capitals, you can leave your car at your hotel (or if you have flown there, don't even bother hiring a car unless you want to do some serious exploring) and do all your travelling by bus, train, tram or ferry. You can buy a day ticket for less than $10 per person that allows you unlimited travel across the public transport network. Avoid travelling in peak hours - aim to do your travelling between 9am and 5pm - and you'll find public transport to be very cheap, easy and stress free.
City by City guide to what you can see by public transport in Australia's capital cities >>