AUSTRALIA TRAVEL GUIDE - PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO AUSTRALIA

06.41.00

We’re finally at the second part of my Australia trip blog series! Incase you’re wondering, I still haven’t gone through all of my photos, there are just so many to edit, but so little time to open everything, the life after coming back from my trip has been nothing but super duper hectic. Spare me more time I promise to have everything ready soon!

My 2-week Australia trip itinerary -> CLICK HERE

Australia is a very popular (if not one of the most well known) travel destination and it is known for so many interesting things. So far I have been to four states: New South Wales, Melbourne, Queensland and Tasmania (island), I absolutely have different experience on each state, but all have one thing is common: they’re AMAZING in their own way. It’s almost like Australia can cater to your interest and your need: beach, nature, sea, art, food, you name it, and I can assure you that one single visit to Australia is never enough, this country is just so addicting.

Before I give you my guide to the each of the state, I want to start by sharing you the general guide to Australia, with the hope that this can help you plan your trip to Australian easier, as well as giving more insight. You know one of those days when it just gets closer and closer to d-day and you just have these butterflies in your tummy and going to the airport is just the highlight of that particular day!

Do note that the guide is written based on my personal experience and point of view, and if you have anything to add, you’re more than welcome to comment on the comment box below :)


CURRENCY & EXCHANGE RATE
Australia currency is AUD or Australian Dollar.

By March 20th 2016 (as this post is written) 1 AUD = IDR 9.992, but definitely changing on a daily basis, check this web to update the exhange rate value.
WEATHER
Winter: June to August
Spring: September to November
Summer: December to February
Autumn: March to May

COMMUNICATION
This is always the first thing that I look for as soon as I checked out my luggage as I just can not NOT live without the internet #firstworldproblems, haha just kidding, I have to stay connected most likely for work, so that I can always connect to my assistant who is taking care of the works at home, as well as updating on social medias (still work at certain point), some of my recommendations would be:
- OPTUS
If you’re on budget, simply opt for Optus! They have this mobile data service where you will get 500MB of data to spend everyday just by paying 2 AUD x (times) the length of your stay.

Let’s say if you’re staying for a week, then you only need to pay 2 AUD x 7 days = 14 AUD, it’s already pretty affordable.

Cons: 500MB can be a piece of cake for some people, especially those who have a lot of social media platforms to update, some days 500 MB can stay the whole day, but the other days it ran out in the middle of the day and I was left with no internet the rest of the day.

- TELSTRA
If you have more budget to spend on (relatively) faster and more reliable connection, then go for Telstra. It’s clearly more expensive than Optus (spent around 50 AUD), but the spending align with the fast internet connection that I had. Short to say: you got what you paid for.

I honestly can’t say that Australia generally has fast internet, it’s not that it is slow, but it’s just not fast (almost Indonesia like if Jakartans can relate), but it’s nothing comparing to my internet experience in Korea or Japan.

ACCOMODATION
Average cost for:
Hostels in Australia: 17 AUD/night, private room in hostels: 50-75 AUD/night
Boutique hotels: 85-100 AUD/night
City hotels or 5-star hotels: 270 AUD++/night
The accomodation in Australia is not the cheapest, but somehow still (relatively) affordable. I have experienced staying in the boutique and 5-star hotels in Australia and from what I saw, the typical standard/deluxe room of the 5-star hotels in Australia is not spacious (even Jakarta has more spacious deluxe rooms), the boutique one is definitely smaller.

TRANSPORTATION
Average cost for:
Local city bus: 1,5 AUD/ride
Local city train: 2,5 AUD/ride
Melbourne tram is mostly free
G-link day pass card: 10 AUD for unlimited ride within 24 hours
Car rental: 55-70 AUD/day
Airfare to different states: 80 AUD+ (Virgin Australia) depending on the season.

To be completely frank, if you can drive and travel in group of 4/5, the cheapest alternative would be renting a car as you can practically go anywhere you want in and out of the city, or simply just Uber. On my first visit to Sydney, I rent a car to the Blue Mountains and stayed overnight there, the advantage of renting a car is that you can definitely tour the town and explore what it has in store, something that you can’t really do (or not very effective to do) by bus or train.

On my last trip to Australia, I tour the city using bus almost all the time, but not until the moment where I feel it’s too hot to handle (I travel in February and it was summertime) that I had to order Uber to save me from the heat.

FOOD AND EATING OUT
Eating out in Australia is not cheap, for sure. If you love cafe hopping like me and has done that in Singapore before, the cost that I spent to eat out in Australia was pretty much around the cost that I spent in Singapore. Singapore has got crazy expensive lately.

Average restaurant meal (with no other drink but tap water) will cost you around 25-30 AUD, degustation menu on high end restaurants might run you 85-140 AUD, up to 300 AUD when you opt for wine pairing. If you stay in an apartment during your time and want to save up, I would suggest cooking your own meal. My cousin who has lived in Australia for 7 years told me that the typical weekly grocery shopping cost is around 70-90 AUD, and that already includes carbs (rice, pasta), vegetables, meats, and some other basic ingredients.

MONEY SAVING TIPS
Uber
Unless you have tons of money to splurge, DO NOT TAKE TAXI IN AUSTRALIA! I got ripped off by the Sydney taxi ride to the airport and spent 60 AUD on a 20 minute ride. Uber is definitely the cheaper alternative to go around the city if you don’t fancy city bus or trains, and if you travel in group, you can share the fare!

Consider taking train or bus
But if you want to save more money, consider taking city train and bus to tour the city. Google Maps really give clear intruction on which bus and route to take, the downside is that sometimes you need to walk further to your destination from the station, but hey walking is healthy ;)

Drink tap water
Considering drinking in Australia is not cheap, I notice you can save more money while eating out by having just tap water. Tap water in Australia is clean and very drinkable. Bottled mineral water in Australia is very expensive (especially for Indonesians like me), normally we can just spend 30 cent (IDR 3000) on a bottle, but here you have to spend 2,5 AUD on a single botttle #heartbreaks

Cook your own meal
Another money saving tips if you are on budget: cook your own meal and shop for groceries.

SPOTS TO CHECK OUT
The Blue Mountains
I am a city person and always will, but sometimes it’s just nice to go somewhere quieter with a more laid-back atmosphere and breathe a different kind of air. When you’re planning a trip to Sydney New South Wales, spare one or two days to the Blue Mountains where you can enjoy beautiful nature view. I personally would suggest staying at the Lilianfels, it’s a nice luxurious resort with pretty room, you would literally feel like you’re on a classy countryside.

Bondi Beach
I love Bondi Beach, and I think it’s a pretty cool and beautiful beach in Sydney where you not only can enjoy your time tanning and chilling, but also enjoy the beautiful view of the sea and Bondi Iceberg from their cliff points, even more, the beach area is surrounded by awesome cafes and restaurants.
Goldcoast
If you’re the mix of city and beach person, then Goldcoast is the destination you shouldn’t miss! The ultimate thing to do to enjoy the beautiful beach and skyline view is to have it seen from the Sky Point. An open air observation deck, also the highest point in the entire Goldcoast.

The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road will always have a special place in my heart as it was the very first time I had my helicopter experience. The view from up there wasn’t anything shabby! I literally floated above the 12 Apostles and enjoy the beauty of the blue water mixed with a little emerald green! Talk about life-changing view.
Hobart
Hobart is the capital of Tasmania, and it’s just the perfect place to find peace as the ambiance is very laid back with less population comparing to Sydney or Melbourne. I will talk more about Hobart on my upcoming post.
Melbourne
Melbourne, I don’t even know how to begin explaining about Melbourne as it’s literally the city of my dream, especially if you love food & coffee. More on what not to love about Melbourne on my upcoming post.
Sydney and The Sydney Opera House


Taronga Zoo
I am an animal lover, while I believe each state has their very own zoo, but I only went to Taronga Zoo in Sydney. It was a spacious zoo complex and the visit was special for me because it was my first time seeing kangaroo and koalla. They’re so cute!
Uluru
Still on my bucketlist!

Yarra Valley
Located in the state of Victoria, Yarra Valley is another recommended destination if you have special interest towards farms, wineries and dairies! Book a day trip here and indulge on the beautiful valley view while having delicious ice creams at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, or the fresh stone fruits from Rayner’s
Last but definitely not least, COFFEE SHOP HOPPING!
Australia is the coffee capital of the world, at least for me. Enough said!

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