In this Australia travel guide for nomads, we’ll take a look at one of the biggest and most exciting countries on earth – one which millions of travelers from all over the world flock to in droves every year in search of adventure!
Australia is truly a place like nowhere else. It’s got everything you could imagine and then some – from staggeringly beautiful underwater worlds to dry, empty desert to bustling skyscraper filled cities to untouched tropical rainforests.
Living the nomad lifestyle in Australia is also extremely easy. It’s a country built and made for backpackers and travelers. There’s a culture in Australia that holds deep reverence and respect for ‘going walkabout’, and Australians are some of the most prolific travelers in the world.
So what should you do in the land down under? Let’s explore!
Australia for Nomads – A Snapshot Guide
Australia is unthinkably huge, in a way you can’t fully understand until you get there. It’s a country where major cities can be days apart by vehicle through nothing but desert, yet it has a population just about on scale with some cities in Asia.
Australia is home to some of the most unique natural wonders on earth, and there are some truly unbelievable creatures roaming it. From blind wombats running around the forest at night to kangaroos bouncing across the open desert to terrifying, poisonous snakes and spiders, Australia is a nature lover’s dream come true.
Australia is also home to some of the world’s best cities, from laid-back Perth on the West coast to the world’s most livable city, Melbourne, in the East. Sydney is home to the iconic Opera house and Sydney harbour bridge, while Brisbane is the gateway to the tropical paradise of Queensland, host to adventure destination Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.
Many travelers are eligible for a 1-year working holiday visa in Australia, meaning extended travels and the chance to pocket some extra cash into the bargain. For those who aren’t, tourist visas can be arranged with relative ease and are valid for 3 months.
The truth is you could spend a lifetime exploring Australia, and many return numerous times to drink in more of what’s on offer. It’s a place I’m extremely fond of and have considered settling in many times.
For those just looking to blast through and see the best of it, here are some things you just can’t miss in Australia.
Must See Destinations in Australia
Sydney Harbour & the Rocks
I know, I know, it’s about as touristy as it gets, but this place truly is beautiful and you’ve got to experience it while you’re down there.
Sydney harbour is probably one of the best-known tourist sites in the world, and it truly is amazing. While the architect who created the Opera house was banned from the country for life for going over budget by tens of millions, I’d say the investment has probably paid off by now as millions flock to see it every year.
The fit and adventurous can actually scale the bridge (by guided tour, of course) and get a great vantage point over one of the world’s most spectacular harbours. If the weather is good, you’ll see white sails dotted all over the water, making the sight even more splendid.
St. Kilda Beach – Melbourne
Some places just have ‘funk’ written all over them, and St. Kilda is one of them. This is a cool little backpacker enclave in Melbourne and a place that comes alive in festive celebration every year at St. Kilda Festival.
When you reach St. Kilda, just unpack and enjoy the beach and the laid back atmosphere. If you can time your arrival for the festival, you’ll be in for something special as party goers arrive in droves and dance for days straight, but make sure you book well in advance if you want to catch it because everyone else does too and hotels, guesthouses and hostels fill up quickly as it approaches.
Uluru – Ayers Rock
For those who want to experience one of Australia’s most epic train rides, head to Adelaide and take an 18-hour journey through the red centre of Australia to the infamous Ayers Rock, aka Uluru.
To be honest, it’s just a big rock in the middle of the desert, but if you’ve come all the way down to Australia and you don’t make the time to see it, it will be a shame. There’s also plenty of other cool stuff to do after you’ve taken your obligatory tourist snaps, including outback camping under some unreal skies, and lots of Aboriginal art galleries, cultural centres and museums to visit in nearby Alice Springs.
Do be aware, this is one of the hottest and most inhospitable climates on earth, so travel safe, swallow your indie travel pride, and take a guided tour! Plenty of travelers have perished trying to make the journey alone, and I don’t want you to be the next one because I recommended you visit the highlight of the Aussie outback.
The Great Barrier Reef
The destination which needs to introduction, the Great Barrier Reef deserves to be named one of the most beautiful destinations on planet earth, let alone Australia.
The reef is something that has to be experienced to be believed. Brightly coloured underwater worlds await, with some of the most unique marine life in the world inhabiting it.
While the reef is beautiful and is vital to Australia’s tourist industry, PLEASE exercise caution when visiting. Unsustainable tourism is quickly destroying large parts of it and leaving the once living coral dead as an old bone.
I for one wouldn’t want to begrudge anyone the experience of seeing the reef in the name of environmental protection, and I’d be a hypocrite to do so, but there are choices we can all make to lighten the load we place on the planet. Spend a few extra bucks to go on eco-tours and leave the reef in tact for future nomads and travelers.
This one gets overlooked by far too many in a rush to head north from Sydney, but it’s one of my favourite places in Australia and I’ve made a point to go back a couple of times.
Byron Bay is just a tiny little town on the Pacific coast, but there’s something about it that causes many people to fall in love with it and stay a lot longer than they anticipated.
The main beach is just OK, but with a little exploring and the help of some friendly locals you might be able to find Tallow Beach (I’m not giving away the directions), one of the most awe-inspiring beaches I have come across anywhere in the world.
Byron Bay is a hippy paradise, and for those looking to partake in some of the more extreme elements of the 1960’s ideal, Nimbin is another town not far away happy to facilitate that!
While in and around Byron Bay, it’s a good idea to start inquiring about Whitsunday Island tours. You’ll have to go a bit further North to jump off, but taking a cruise around these unspoiled, gorgeous little islands is a treat you can’t miss out on.
The Whitsundays left me feeling like I was Captain Cook himself, even though I was on a party boat with 8 other 10 other travelers. I also highly recommend doing the night SCUBA dive, if you’re qualified, or at the very least the night snorkel. It’s something special!
Australia’s South West
The majority of people who visit Australia never make it across the Nullarbor Plain to the West coast. That’s fine by me, because it means more unspoiled natural beauty for those of us willing to go the extra mile.
I recommend checking out Perth, one of the most laid back, clean, appealing cities I have ever visited, but while over in the West, it’s also worth exploring the Margaret river region to the South. There’s not much going on, but you’ll be traveling through some towns that time forgot, walking through forests which are home to some of Australia’s tallest trees (one even has a canopy bridge) and generally soaking up some of the most beautiful nature in Australia.
Miss it at your peril!
Australia Travel Guide for Nomads Summary
This has only been a glimpse into the indescribable country known as Australia. Truthfully, I stopped during writing this and checked out the price of flights because it made me so nostalgic.
Australia has it all. Some hardcore nomad types grow to resent it because it is too easy and touristy, but they’re just being snobs and traveling in Australia is never a mistake.
If I could recommend any destination I’ve been to for both new or seasoned travelers alike, Australia would be it!
What other places would you add to this Australia travel guide for nomads? What are your favourite places in this vast, mesmerizing country?