Planning a trip to Australia? Are you undecided on what to do or where to start?
We were exactly the same… I personally headed to Sydney with a few things pre-booked – but I had no concept on what I was going to do or what I wanted to see – it’s just such a huge country with SO many options.
Decide where you want to start?
Sometimes this is not up to you as it’s where the cheapest flight goes into, or how the schedule falls – however the main ports of entry by plane are Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
Sydney is the most visited city in all of Australia, as its reputation precedes it with iconic landmarks, glorious beaches and bustling city centre. Melbourne is a little more relaxed, however boasts easy access to many hotspots, rugged beaches and has actually been described as Australia’s city of culture. Then you have Perth, the most remote city in the world, standing alone on the western coast. Deciding between west and east is a heated debate, as the east has easy access from Sydney and Melbourne but the West is far more remote. In all honesty it doesn’t matter which one you chose; you can always fly from east to west via the internal airlines or catch a train or bus if you want a change.
All three of these options provide a great base in which to start from, all offering a huge range of tourist routes, connections and a finely tuned and defined tourist infrastructure.
Depending on your priorities really will define where you want to start!
- If it’s the well-trodden sun-kissed east coast and iconic Opera house you desire then Sydney is ideal.
- If you fancy more of the laid back culture including surfing and access to the rugged southern coastline – Melbourne is a great choice.
- If you lust for real wilderness, or quaint seaside towns and something a little different, then Perth has the best of both worlds.
There are of course other towns and cities in which you can decide to stay, the most popular being Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide and Darwin all which offer some international flights. In all honesty none of these stack up to the big three, but they do have their plus points.
Located in the middle of the east coast, Brisbane is a small-sized city yet offers an easy access to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and is usually a pleasant temperature all year round. The town of Cairns is further up the east coast and usually represents the end of the east coast backpacking route. Although coast based, it has no beach and suffers from sometimes overwhelming temperatures (esp. in mid-summer). Cairns hold the trump card of being a primary gateway to the Great Barrier Reef which entices millions of tourists every year.
Darwin follows Cairns’ trait in weather terms but is located in the centre north of the country. Its temperatures have known to soar into the high 40’s (centigrade) and the humidity can be a true burden. Again it’s a gateway city to the remote outback and Kimberley regions of Australia, but also to the wondrous Kakadu national park.
Last on the list is Adelaide which in our opinion is the best alternative option, lying in the central south. The city is again very small in size and represents easy access into the red centre and also the Great Ocean road with access to Melbourne.
From our experience the best Base to start in Australia is usually Sydney, as it holds such an iconic stature in the minds of all travellers. The city itself is very eclectic with a huge range of adventures and attractions that can easily take weeks/months to fully experience. It has a vast tourism network that includes Cyber Cafes, job agencies, travellers contact points, friendly hostels and a perfect infrastructure for travel. If after a few weeks here you are not feeling the city, then there are so many options to explore.
If the city life is not for you – see our next blog regarding our favourite places to visit in Australia.
Please see the Essential Australian series on A Wandering Memory below:
- Essential Australia – Fraser Island
- Essential Australia – Broome
- Essential Australia – Uluru
- Essential Australia – Cape Range
- Essential Australia – The Great Ocean Road
- Essential Australia – Kalbarri
#wheretostart #australiatips #wanderlust