If you are planning a trip to Australia or are already there, this blog is sure to help you out. Unfortunately, I cannot cover all you need to know about Australia in one blog (otherwise it would be a book), however I'm going to give you some hints, tips, recommendations and information that will enrich your experience.
First, some information to help you settle in if you are staying here for a while. Some of this is common knowledge within the backpacking community, but hopefully you can pick up something you haven't seen or heard of before.
Resources to help you settle in...
This is where you will find cheap (sometimes even free!) new or second-hand necessities and luxuries. Anything from cars, surf boards, clothes, and pretty much anything you could think of will be on Gumtree. Gumtree also has a jobs and accomodation category, so finding somewhere to make some quick cash, or a place to rest your head, can be a few clicks away.
Gumtree also allows you to post your own ads, so when your time has come to move on, getting rid of your no longer needed things can be super quick and easy. Gumtree is 100% free when buying or selling, and is simple to use.
All those Red dots are places where you could eat and sleep free in return for some work. Most of us have heard of Woofing, this is very similar with the exception that it includes a larger variety of jobs. From farming to hostel receptionist, this is a great way to meet local people and travel on a really tight budget. If you are on a working holiday visa this could also be a way to find work on a farm.
This is not for every type of traveller, but it can be a great way to meet local people and go to some amazing off the track places.
Australia is huge, and while it's a well developed country its sheer size makes for some pretty horrible reception at times. Maps.me allows you to download offline maps and only uses your internal GPS. Meaning you don't need reception or even a sim card. It works very similar to Google Maps. In the offline mode you can still get route directions and much more. In addition Maps.me has introduced 'Travel Guides'.
4. Wikicamps Australia
If like many, you plan on a huge road trip around Australia, then this app will help you out a lot. It has location details of campsites all around Australia. This includes free and paid camp sites, and includes information about the camp site, rules and directions.
Thats it !!!
Nah not really, but that's a quick summary of some websites and apps that mights help you when you're settling in. Other to consider are:
I will keep this nice and short. When buying a car in Australia, things to take into considerations are:
1. State of registration - NSW is the most expensive and difficult for registration, it requires yearly safety checks, 3rd party compulsory insurance in addition to normal registration.
Financially, the best state to buy a car in is Western Australia, because you don't need safety checks, as long as you pay your registration before the next year is due. In addition, it is the cheapest and easiest to sell.
In my opinion, Victoria is second best, you don't need safety inspections unless you are selling a car.
11. If you come from Europe and love europeans cars, but plan on a road trip around Australia, take into considerations of repair costs. It's always best to go for big brands like Mitsubishi or Toyota, especially with 4x4. LandRovers, Jeeps, and other non Asian brands might have an appealing price tag, but the price of fixing them is phenomenal.
111. Gumtree.com.au and Carsales.com are the best websites for finding used cars, in addition to Australian Backpackers Facebook page and other 'Buy Swap Sell' Facebook pages.
Short Stay - Must See and Do
If you are in Sydney for only a couple days then it is hard to get the real feel of Sydney, however, once you have seen the usual tourist stuff, the below is a list of some things you could do to immerse your self in the Sydney culture.
1. Coogee to Bondi walk
Leaving Bondi and heading towards Coogee, this amazing walk will take you through some of Sydney's best beaches and views. Not only a favourite of tourists, but this is the track that hundreds of locals walk every day and it's perfectly understandable why.
11. Beach life- Eastern Suburbs
If you truly want to get the feel of the beach life in Sydney then continue your walk or catch a bus a further 3km south to a beach called Maroubra. Almost identical size to Bondi, but with almost no tourists. This is where I go to surf, enjoy a coffee, smoothie or evening walks. If you are looking for a little tucked away beach which feels miles away from civilisation then one of these beaches are well suited: La peruse, Yarra Bay and Little Bay are great. In summer even these beaches can get extremely packed :(
111. Bar with views
If it's Harbour views and drinks you are after, then Blu Bar on 36, at Shangri-la hotel is the place for you. You will be awarded with spectacular views and prices a little on the heavy side, but this is not where you come to get drunk anyway.
Like in any city around the world, the locals very rarely travel to the inner city to go for dinner but rather choose local hidden secrets. Sydney being a city of over 4.2million people, it would be a mission to try list all the local classics. Below are some of my recommendations;
1) Bella Vista - Brighton le sands - a desert bar that anyone with a sweet tooth will truly fall in love with. When you walk in the first thing you notice is a fountain of liquid chocolate. The only thing thats harder then choosing from the jaw dropping menu is finishing the rich and generously sized meals.
11) This one is not one restaurant but rather a location with an amazing selection of restaurants. The Spot in Randwick is a bus trip from the city and a true local favourite. Some of the restaurants in The Spot are: Pinocchios Restaurant, The Spanish Fly, Blue monkey Thai, and Del Punto (there are many more great ones).
111)By far my favourite, and if you are a budget backpacker most likely your favourite will be No Names. Located in Bondi and Kings cross, this dodgy looking restaurant is the places were my mates and I go to get a NO BULLSHIT good value meal. Don't expect presentation to be great, but expect great value food.
1v)Five O's is another great value food option. Located across from the beach at Coogee, this restaurant is guaranteed to satisfy your hunger and you bank account.
v)If you are a vegetarian or vegan then Concreteplayground site has a great selection of vegan friendly restaurants.
Nightlife in Sydney over the past couple years has been killed thanks to government "lock out laws" and restrictions. Kings Cross, once Australia's party capital is now a museum (not literally). The few clubs left still kicking it in Sydney are: The marque, Chinese Laundry, Ivy, The Argyle and Retro bar. There are more clubs open in the city, but these are the biggest.
Like many Australians I have turned away from clubbing and now much rather prefer a drink with friends in a nice bar. My favourites are:
Coogee bay hotel - They have an awesome beer garden, where you can be in thongs and a singlet during the day enjoying the beach views. On weekend nights they open a Dance floor with Clubbing music, have a live acoustic performance in a different area and a outside area. Its the ultimate chill bar, where you will meet locals and backpackers.
Coogee pavilion - Much like the above choice its an ultra chill place, however with the establishment being renovated only last years, its must more popular with the locals. The bar is on two floors, and has a restaurant, ping pong tables, live dj's, and roof top bar.
3 wise monkeys - Its a bar in the city, its not huge and it can get very crowd, however for some reasons if we every head into the city this is where my friends find me if I get lost.
Biggest rule in Australia is that " a man's favourite beer is a cold one, and the only better is a free one", in that spirit Australians (as rest of the world) love a good happy hour. SydneyHappyHour is a website which tells you most of the happy hour deals around Sydney, and where there is a happy hour, there will be true blue Aussies.
DAY TRIPS FROM SYDNEY
Most of these can easily be multi day trips if you have the time. I won't go into too much detail with these because there is soo much information out there about them, I'll just give you some ideas as to what to look for.
Above - Centennial Pass walk - Blue Mountains
Above - Three Sisters, Blue Mountains
1. Blue Mountains
1.5 - 2 Hour train ride west of Sydney is the Blue mountains. 1200m above sea level, here you can expect to see ancient rock formations, waterfalls, valleys and canyons. Blue mountains are filled with breathtaking views, some accessible by vehicles and others by foot. Some of my favourite walks are; Great Canyon Walk and Centennial Pass Walk. In addition to the spectacular views, the Blue Mountains are a gateway to Aboriginal Culture. The Waradah Aboriginal Centre have Dance performances throughout the day, and is a great way to experience the culture.
Above - Wottamolla Clif, Royal National Park
Above - Garlie beach, Royal National Park
11. Royal National Park
1 hour south of Sydney CBD is a perfect way to get away from the hustle of the city. The national park is home to waterfalls that you can jump of, Instagram famous figure 8 pool's and Wedding Cake Rock, the road which drives over water and spectacular lookouts and beaches.
111. Palm beach
Less than an hour north from Sydney CBD is the world famous palm beach. It's nothing short of paradise, from crisp waters and gold beaches, to lush evergreen bush. You can take one of many walks around palm beach and even find a small hidden beach that you could have all to your self.
1v. Hyams Beach
The Guinness Book of Records reports Hyams Beach as having the whitest sand in the world. About 3 hours south of Sydney this should be up there on your 'To do list'.
v. Kangaroo valley
Located two hours south of Sydney is one of Australia's most beautiful valleys. It's beautiful landscapes and friendly town make it a great day trip.
If you want to know great places for photography around Australia, follow my Instagram for great tips.