Trip Advice and Review of Top Australia Tours and Sites
This article was originally posted June 29, 2018, and has been updated March 20, 2019.
Visit the land down under and have an amazing time in Australia. There’s lots to see and do on your trip – we highlight the best and offer our advice!
If you’re an experienced traveler, you’re going to be familiar with the trials and tribulations of preparing for a tour of anywhere. But for the newbies, travel can be a daunting prospect, especially when it’s somewhere quite far away from home. Take Australia tours for example. Australia is a massive island country in its very own corner of the world. Somewhere almost everyone wants to see yet is a scary undertaking.
This article aims to get you prepared for your trip to Australia. We will detail the things you need to be aware of before taking your tour of Australia. This includes the best places to visit in Australia for landmarks, shopping, and dining. We will also discuss the climate and how to acclimate yourself, as well as the best ways to get about.
So…welcome to your Australia travel guide!
When is the Best Time for Australia Tours?
It is well–known that seasons in Australia do not follow the same pattern as is expected from the western world. Because it is vast, the climate across Australia depends on the region. For example, the northern states experience a year-round warm climate, whereas the southern states, which are further from the Equator and closer to the Antarctic, experience cooler weather in the winter months, which are actually in June through August.
As such, the best time to go to Australia is more a matter of personal taste, where specifically you are starting your tour, and your tolerance for the climate. Especially if this is your first trip to Australia, you are going to want to visit at a time where you are going to feel consistently comfortable with the weather. No point in traveling – in some cases – halfway around the world if you are going to hate the climate half the time.
If Australia is too hot or too cold, remember, the northern hemisphere seasons run opposite. Perhaps Europe might be an ideal destination? Check out our guide, Top Tips, Advice, and Destinations for the Best European Tour.
What Are the Most Affordable Cities to Visit in Australia?
The best way to tour Australia is to visit a number of cities. If it’s a long-term trip, you may want to find an apartment, in which case you will be looking for the affordable places to live in Australia. For this, Melbourne and Sydney are the most recommended, as they are regarded in the top 150 cheapest cities to live in the world. Of all the Australian cities, its capital, Canberra, is the second cheapest in the world for supermarket shopping – rather surprising for a capital city. If budget is important to you, you may also be interested in future travels in Asia. It, too, it quite affordable – check out our Top Tips and Advice for Planning An Affordable Asia Tour.
When it comes to looking for work over in Australia to supplement your income (if you mean to stay there over a prolonged period), people have been drawn towards agricultural work. Farms and vineyards, primarily.
Places and Things You Simply MUST See in Australia
Seeing sights is the whole point of going on Australia tours in the first place. And since this is an Australia traveling guide, we are going to run through a load of places in Australia that you should not leave without at least having seen.
We will be naming the best cities in Australia for landmarks, for shopping, and for dining or entertainment, plus the best ways to get around while you go on your Australia tours. The “what”, “why”, and “transport” information for each sight are listed below!
WHAT: Parliament House, Australian War Memorial, Kemal Atatürk Memorial, Black Mountain, Telstra Tower, Mount Ainslie
WHY: Canberra is the capital city of Australia, as we have already mentioned. Sydney is NOT the capital, as many wrongly believe. Canberra is full of historical and cultural landmarks, but also a number of natural sights, such as the Black Mountain and Mount Ainslie. All of them are in quite close proximity to one another – either on foot or in a car – so ideal for a day trip if you’re not planning on staying for too long.
For shopping, the Canberra Centre is the go–to. Tons for choices of stores for clothes, shoes, and travel accessories. Everything you can possibly want in a shopping center.
As for dining, being the capital city, Canberra is obviously full of restaurants of every caliber and cuisine. For local cuisine, the best recommended is Maestral Mediterranean Seafood Restaurant or, for affordable eating, The East Kitchen.
TRANSPORT: As aforementioned, most of the Australian tours taking place in Canberra can be done on foot or via car if you choose to hire one for your stay.
WHAT: Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach, Darling Harbor, Sydney Harbor Bridge
WHY: Selfie cameras at the ready! Obviously, the two things you can’t visit Sydney without at least seeing and taking a photo of are Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach. Sydney should be the place on Australia tours where you go to relax. The famous Bondi Beach should be the place to do it.
Now, we know that this should be an affordable Australia tour guide, but believe it or not, there are events and shows on at the opera house that are within a minimal budget – 50 Australian dollars and under. Just have a look on their website for the details. Even if it’s not normally your sort of thing, why not give it a try? You only live once, and then you can say you have done it!
In addition to those landmarks, think of all the other scenic views and sights to see. These include the Sydney Harbor Bridge, Darling Harbor and, of course, Sydney Tower.
Sydney has a thriving shopping community, dominated primarily by two malls – Westfield Sydney, which plays host to nearly 300 shops and restaurants, and Broadway, which has a further 100. Anything required in terms of fashion or food can be catered for in one business.
Aside from eating at one of those aforementioned shopping centers, the restaurants that often get the recommendations in Sydney are Hubert and Ester Restaurant and Bar.
TRANSPORT: The only “issue” presented with anything we have suggested above comes from your trip to Bondi Beach. Everything else is within minutes of one another, either by car or on foot. But getting from the beach to central Sydney is a bit more time-consuming. It’s a matter of half an hour, give–or–take five minutes or so assuming traffic is on your side. That’s driving or, if you have decided against a car–hire, via train.
WHAT: Crown Melbourne, Luna Park, Melbourne Zoo, Queen Victoria Market, Puffing Billy Railway, National Sports Museum
WHY: If you didn’t have a good enough time in Sydney, Melbourne might be the place for you. Especially if you have a few days to spend there. Remember, it is regarded as one of the top 150 affordable cities to live in the world, ranked above Sydney. Ideal if you’re thinking of making this point on your Australia tours prolonged.
Let’s start with the real fun. Like the amusement park Luna Park, known for its carousel and roller coasters. There are also aquariums and the Melbourne Zoo to enjoy while there. For the good–time guys and girls, the nightlife, including casinos, can be found at Crown Melbourne.
For day trips, combine the shopping and dining out experiences by taking a trip on the Puffing Billy Railway, which has a luxurious dining car, before disembarking to take a walk around the famed Queen Victoria Market.
TRANSPORT: Apart from the Puffy Billy Railway, which constitutes a 50–minute train journey, most of the sights worth seeing in Melbourne are quite near one another. Not quite as much as Canberra or Sydney, but still in the sort of 15–or–20–minutes–on–foot region. By no means anything to complain about, but maybe have a hire car on standby for when the journeys get a bit arduous.
Other Things Not to Miss When On Australia Tours
Australia Zoo, Queensland
This is the zoo made famous by the late, great Steve Irwin, founded by his parents. A true icon of the state of Queensland. It is worth a visit, not least for the reputation of its former owner but for the 1000+ creatures that lie within its walls, which make up an area of 100 acres.
Naturally, being the zoo of “The Crocodile Hunter,” Australia Zoo is the home of a number of crocodiles and relatives. These include the largest reptile of them all, and a danger to humans in the wild, the Saltwater Crocodile. Other reptiles, including a plethora of snake and lizard species, can also be seen. But it’s not all about them – there are mammals and birds available for your viewing pleasure, too.
The Great Barrier Reef
While you happen to be in Queensland, maybe you have had it in mind to visit one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. I refer, of course, to the Great Barrier Reef, something so large that it can be seen from outer space. It is sometimes the sole reason people undertake Australia tours or at least dedicate a substantial portion of their budget for visiting it. To get a first–hand look at that sprawling system of colorful corals is a must.
If you have considered planning a trip to see the reef, I would suggest following through on it. Such a diverse array of life thrives within its waters, some of which you are unlikely to find anywhere else. And for all the zoos and aquariums in the world, taking a dive into something as legendary as the Great Barrier Reef is an idea too irresistible to pass up.
Do I Need a Visa to Enter Australia?
Anyone who wishes to travel to Australia must have a valid passport and a visa. That includes travelers from Commonwealth territories such as the UK and Canada. There are no exceptions to this rule at all.
China, on the other hand, has several exceptions to their visa rules. This trend may spread to countries like Australia in the future, but for now, a visa is an absolutely must.
Do I Need Any Vaccinations Before Traveling to Australia?
Australia does not require tourists to have any vaccinations prior to travel. Standard ones such as those for diphtheria or tetanus may be advisable, but this is in general, rather than specifically for your Australia tours.
Don’t Forget to Buy…
In some cases, it can take close to 24 hours to travel to Australia. In that time, you are going to want to sleep in between in-flight movies, food, and maybe even those touch screen games. But it’s not always as simple as sitting back and relax and eventually you’ll fall asleep is it? Some people can’t sleep at all in that seated position.
Luckily, the Ultimate Travel Pillow from Travelrest is very versatile. It can be worn across the body, letting the head rest comfortably on one side. This helps save the risk of a stiff neck from a short nap or long sleep. It can also be tethered to the headrest of your set. Very few products like this can cater for so many sleeping positions.
It’s one of the most frustrating things to happen when traveling. You find your phone is at 5% battery, and go to recharge, and – uh oh! You only brought one charger and an adapter that only suits European plug sockets. Not so useful when you’re traveling halfway across the world to Australia.
Have all bases covered for your travels in one purchase with the SOONPAM Worldwide Charger Adapter Plug. You will never have to worry or stress out about the battery life of any of your electronic devices while on your Australia tours again.
Maybe our information has not quite satisfied your information needs regarding Australia tours. Or perhaps you want a reference on hand while you’re traveling in Australia. Whatever your needs, you can’t go wrong with Fodor’s Essential Australia.
This particular book is the definitive guide to traveling around Australia. It tells you what is worth seeing and what isn’t, and helps you plan your itinerary. It’s also great to have on hand while you’re there!
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