Solo Travel in Australia
Solo travel in Australia is so easy that we've given it a 5 out of 5 star rating. Australia is known for its travelling culture so wherever you choose to start travelling you’re guaranteed to meet others en route. Backpacking Australia is really popular especially along the East Coast which is famous for its party atmosphere. Because of its ease, many gap-year and younger travellers choose to visit here to experience life down under before entering the job market.
Travelling solo in Australia as a woman is fine as most people are friendly but be prepared for some strange souls in the outback, especially in Katherine and Tenant Creek. Oz is great for a first timer. There are endless supplies of hostels and hotels and everyone speaks English. It really is a traveller’s dream.
“Australia is absolutely full of solo travellers - you'll make friends in hostels right away.” - Jessica Elise Newton, a 25 year old solo traveller from the UK.
Below is our guide to how to travel solo in Australia as well as lots of practical information such as where to stay, which tour company to use and how to get around. Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place. All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article.
- Places to Visit in Australia
- Accommodation in Australia
- Tours in Australia
- Experiences in Australia For Solos
- Travelling Around Australia
- Australia Itinerary
- Best Time to Go To Australia
- Travel Insurance For Australia
- From Australia Airports
- Travelling Onwards
- Frequently Asked Questions About Australia
- Map of Australia
- Plan a Trip to Australia
Places to Visit in Australia
You can’t get much further from home than Australia and a trip down under is ideal for solo travel. It has sun, sand and plenty of surfer dudes to keep you entertained but with so many territories to see, where do you start? Follow our list of places to visit in Australia to help you to plan your trip.
If you like to party and meet other travellers then the East coast is the place to begin; fly into Cairns and travel down the Queensland coast. Cairns is also the gateway to Northern Australia where the rainforest meets the sea and from here you can explore Cape Tribulation which is home to thousands of mammals, reptiles and plants. Spend an evening in an eco lodge to get back in touch with nature.
Take the scenic railway through the Daintree National Park, see the waterfalls at Atherton Tablelands or take a stroll at the Mossman Gorge then relax at Cow Bay or the Four Mile Beach at Port Douglas.
The Great Barrier Reef runs along the Queensland coast and is a metropolis of coral and underwater life. Introductory dives are available for those who want to experience the reef for the first time from Fitzroy or Green Island (the instructor will even hold your hand). Once you’ve experienced this wonder of the world head South for the real Australia where you can sample some Bundaberg rum in the fruit picking region.
Magnetic Island is a boat away from Townsville and they say that once you come here, you won’t want to leave. It’s a great place to hire a moke (a golf cart) and drive around the island but apart from the secluded beach of Radical Bay and the dairy-free ice-cream parlour, this island is no different to any other (unless you want to horse ride in the sea).
Fraser Island is a definite must-see. It's a huge sand island with stunning lakes where you can drive a 4WD along the beach. This is more of a camping experience but beware of the dingos and the tiger sharks. Experience the great nightlife at Airlie Beach then take a sailing trip around the islands of the Whitsundays.
Whitehaven Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and you can see manta rays swimming along the shoreline. It’s also an ideal spot to clean any dull-looking jewellery in the crystal clear waters.
There’s not much in Brisbane except for the late Steve Irwin’s Brisbane Zoo and a riverside park. If you need more nightlife and some surf then Surfers Paradise is the place to be with its ‘Miami feel’ and has plenty of fun for a solo traveller.
This is the place to hang out, catch some sun and take a ride in the many theme parks. Choose from Dreamworld, Movie World, Sea World or Wet ‘n’ Wild. Stay in a hostel to find others willing to come along for the ride.
Just north of Brisbane is a region called Noosa with secluded beaches and cute arty shops with plenty of restaurants around Hastings Street. The main beach is great for swimming and there are no stingers here. If you prefer the hippy scene, visit Byron Bay for its incredibly laid back vibe or take a trip to Nimbin the ‘alternative capital of Australia’ for its arty, colouful community and lost souls.
Victoria is the next territory and known for its variety of sporting events. Melbourne hosts the Australian Open, the Grand Prix, Melbourne Cup and Aussie Rules football at the MGM. It’s also the fashion capital of Australia and is great for shopping and back-street cafe culture but you’ll need a local to find its exclusive hidden nightlife.
You’ll feel more at home in Melbourne with its four seasons in one day but if you’re looking for a more holiday-feel then take the tram to St Kilda where you can sit al fresco and watch people roller blading along the promenade.
From Melbourne you can cruise along the Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s epic drives. Bells Beach is en route and has great point breaks and was actually the setting of the film with the same name. Off the coast of Melbourne is Tasmania, which has so much to see that we’ve given it its own page.
New South Wales
Sydney lies in New South Wales and although it is not the country’s capital it has everything you would expect to find in one. Australia’s actual capital, Canberra, is 250km inland. The Parliament Building is the main focal point of the city which overlooks the lake but don't make the long trip here expecting too much as the capital is very understated.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House are a must see. Sydney makes solo travel in Australia so easy with so much to see and do. Take a boat ride around the harbour or travel across to Taronga Zoo for spectacular pictures of giraffes against a Sydney back drop. Darling Harbour at dusk is the perfect place to people watch and has some great bars. If you prefer somewhere more upmarket, Woolloomooloo has swanky restaurants and plenty of yachts to admire.
If you like markets, you’ll love Paddington market which is reminiscent of Covent Garden with arty stalls. Known for its surfing, Bondi is the most popular of the beaches but the waves of Coogee, Manly and Bronte are just as good. Dee Why beach is lesser known and is a great escape from the crowds.
Adelaide is the capital of South Australia and there is a lot to do both in and around this city which has a country-town feel. Get out into the Adelaide Hills to see waterfalls, fairytale villages and the world’s largest rocking horse.
Sample wines at the Barossa Valley and see how chocolate is made in the chocolate factory, camp overnight at Wilpena Pound, a natural amphitheatre within the Flinders Rangers. It’s a unique experience and you need an entry permit to enter the park.
Kangaroo Island is worth a visit and is only 90 minutes from the mainland. You can get up close and personal to seals on Seal Bay and join a wildlife safari to learn about the Australian animals. The beach-side suburb of Glenelg is worth a stroll and there are great restaurants here. If you don’t fancy getting any tan lines as you sunbathe, Maslin Beach is the place for nudists.
From Adelaide you can travel by train on the Ghan across the outback to the Red Centre, home to many aborigines or to the modern city of Perth via the Indian Pacific railway. Perth is popular with expats and is only worth seeing if you have the time as it’s a long way from the rest of the country. There are some great beaches such as Cottesloe and Scarborough. Kings Park is a tranquil place to relax and see black swans.
Fremantle is a vibrant little city with buzzing markets but the main attraction has got to be the old prison, which gives you an eye-opening tour of prison life. Rottnest Island is unique and you can cycle around this wildlife nature reserve.
When you stray away from the cities into the more male-dominated outback, you may find you get more attention as a woman travelling solo and being whistled at is not uncommon. If you don’t mind the attention, it’s worth a trip to see the real Australia. You shouldn’t miss Coober Pedy, the world’s only underground town where you can sleep in an abandoned mine shaft.
The Red Centre is steeped in Aboriginal culture and resembles a scene out of the Flintstones. Learn how to throw a boomerang, ride in a hot air balloon or play a didgeridoo at Alice Springs.
Visit the Flying Doctors Museum or the reptile centre to learn more about Australia’s snakes and lizards. Then it’s on to the wonder that is Ayres Rock or Uluru, as known by the Aborigines, which can be reached by a six hour drive or a flight.
There has been much controversy about climbing the rock but a walk around the burial caves and ancient art paintings at the base is a good substitute. Don’t forget to include Kings Canyon (the setting for the movie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) and the Olgas when you go.
Head north to Darwin via Lichfield or Kakadu National Park where you can see crocodiles and wetlands or hire a bike at Katherine Gorge and cycle to the springs. If you’re going to the Northern Territory it’s worth investing in a fly net for this tropical climate.
Tennant Creek is an odd little place and half of its population are aborigines. If you can handle the strangeness it’s worth a stop to see the Devils Marbles, an important site from the Dreamtime or visit Kalgoorlie for a real gold rush town.
Cruise past the rugged red cliffs of the Kimberley region then west to Broome, known for its pearling industry to drive a 4×4 along the northern stretch of Cable Beach. Many people leave out this region but if you have the time it is worth travelling to.
Australia is the place to sleep under the stars in a swag and experience a hot sunny Christmas. If you decide to spend the Christmas holidays in Australia you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Santa jet skiing along Sydney Harbour. There really is no other place like it.
Combine your trip to Australia with a stopover in Asia.
Beware of box jellyfish in the sea during wet season (December to February). Stinger suits are provided if you intend to snorkel.
Accommodation in Australia
Australia is brimming with accommodation and you'll never be short of places to stay whether you prefer hostels or a swanky city apartment. Finding accommodation in Australia is easy with motels, farmstays and even boat houses to spend a night or two. Booking.com offers BnBs and hotels from 3 star to the luxurious 5 star and even includes dorm rooms if you're travelling on a budget. Guest houses are a sociable way of staying in family homes.
Plus there’s Airbnb which connects you to unique travel experiences and isn’t just limited to staying in a local’s spare room. You can save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link.
Homestay is an alternative to Airbnb. They connect you to hosts in over 160 countries and give a real homestay experience instead of just handing over keys. They offer a unique mix of stays such as a stay in a beachfront townhouse or in a bus in Byron Bay. You can even video call your host family before you go to find the perfect host. Check homestays and prices here
All of the accommodation below have been recommended by solo female travellers from our Girls about the Globe community and come with a Solo Female Friendly endorsement.
Adelaide Central YHA is an award-winning hostel. It is right in the heart of the city and has air-conditioned rooms. Each bed has a personal light and a large locker to store your stuff. It’s sociable with a communal lounge and they have pizza and live music nights too. There is a 6 bed female-only dorm or you can choose a private room from £56 if you need more privacy.
- Prices from £20 per night for a dorm bed
- To book, check prices or availability for Adelaide Central YHA
If you are looking to socialise in Cairns, Calypso Inn is a great place to stay. They have a bar to meet others and a swimming pool to cool off from the Aussie heat. It is also close to the esplanade so you don’t have far to walk after a night out. They also arrange shuttles from the airport. Choose from a female only dorm, mixed dorm or a single room if you need your space.
- Prices from £15 per night for a dorm bed
- To book, check prices or availability for Calypso Inn Backpackers Resort
Located in the Central Business District (CBD), United Backpackers is in the perfect spot to explore the city of Melbourne. You’ll find lockers for your belongings and a manned reception which is open 24 hours. The onsite bar makes it easy to find others to explore with. They even have female only dorm rooms too.
- Prices start from £26 for a 12 bed dorm per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for United Backpackers
Wickham Retreat Backpackers is a great hostel for solos. It’s really friendly and feels more like a small family so it’s easy to make friends. They hold nights such as pizza nights and have a TV room. There is a free bus to the city which is just a short walk away. Breakfast is included and runs until lunchtime. The dorm rooms are heated and they have a 6 bed female-only dorm.
- Prices start from £12.00 for a 6 bed dorm room
- To book, check prices or availability for Wickham Retreat Backpackers
Situated opposite the Central Railway Station and next to a bus stop, this hostel is in a great location to explore the city whether you want to go to Bondi Beach or the CBD. The staff are really friendly and accommodating, and will help with whatever you need. Plus only guests are allowed in so it’s really safe. There is also a restaurant and a terrace too. Choose from a female-only dorm, mixed dorm or private room.
- Prices start from £24 for a 10 bed dorm per night
- To book, check prices or availability for Bounce
Tours in Australia
Australian Tour Packages
With Australia being such a sociable country, you’ll never be short of company travelling Australia alone. But if you feel more comfortable in a group for either part of your trip or the whole duration, G Adventures is a responsible tour company which mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most tours have an average of 10 people and there is no upper age limit. Once you book your trip you pay extra for any excursions you want to do when you’re there.
Adventures range from 3 days on the Great Ocean Road to 28 days for a complete Australia tour. Explore the east coast from Sydney to Cairns on a 16 day trip from £1849, or travel the Red Centre to Adelaide from £639 for 8 days. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each tour. Over 50% of people who book their trips are solo travellers. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels and have a more comfortable style of accommodation hence the trips can appear a bit more than G Adventures. Their tours range from 2 days to 22 days and include adventures such as an overnight camping trip in Uluru or overland from Darwin to Perth.
- World Expeditions – Offers trekking holidays to Australia and have a female only adventure to Tasmania for 6 days.
- 1770 Castaway – If you've ever wanted to experience life as a castaway on a tropical island, these 3/4 day tours are definitely not for the faint hearted. Remote, raw and with insects, this will be an experience that you'll never forget (for the adventurous Girl about the Globe).
- Bunyip Tours – If you are spending time in Melbourne and don't want to hire a car, this tour company offers 1-3 day bus trips along the Great Ocean Road. You can even see the little penguins on Phillip Island too.
Australian Day Tours
The following day tour companies have been recommended by solo female travellers.
- Lets Go Surfing – Fancy a surfing lesson on Bondi beach? Check out Let's Go Surfing.
- I'm Free Walking Tours – Enjoy 2.5 hours of easy walking around Sydney. Tip at the end.
- Big Bus Tours – See the landmarks of Sydney and the famous Bondi beach on this hop-on, hop-off bus.
- Visit.Org – Offers a taste and experience the culture of Chinatown tour. Experience a traditional Chinese tea ceremony whilst your funds support the disadvantaged youth.
If you prefer day tours, Viator has a plethora to choose from. As a TripAdvisor company each tour is handpicked and pre-vetted to make such you get the best experience. From biking around Melbourne, visiting Sydney's Harbour or delving into the history of Brisbane you'll find something for any kind of solo.
Experiences in Australia For Solos
If you are wondering what to do in Australia alone, we've picked our top 10 experiences that you shouldn't miss when you visit the country:
1. The Sydney Opera House
You can’t come all the way to Sydney and not see the Opera House! This iconic structure is now 60 years old and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you thought this was one giant opera house you may be surprised to know that there are more than 1,000 rooms within its famous sails. The hour-long tour includes a tour inside the theatres learning the history of Australia’s biggest icon.
Check prices and dates: The Sydney Opera House Tour
2. Sail The Whitsunday Islands
The Whitsunday Islands are some of the most beautiful islands in Oz and the best way to see them is on a sailing trip. You get to snorkel alongside turtles and stingrays and see Whitehaven Beach, one of the most stunning beaches in the world. The catamaran departs from Airlie Beach.
Check prices and dates: Whitsunday Islands Full-Day Catamaran Sailing Adventure
3. Great Ocean Road & Twelve Apostles
Instead of hiring a car along one of the world’s most popular costal roads, take a full day tour instead. See the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and the hear tales of shipwrecks as you see this spectacular coastline. The trip departs from Melbourne.
Check prices and dates: Great Ocean Road & 12 Apostles Full-Day Tour
4. Daintree Wilderness & Cape Tribulation
If you are planning to spend some time in Queensland, head out of Cairns to experience Australia’s rainforest and wetlands. Cruise along the Daintree River among mangroves, spotting crocodiles. Cape Tribulation has a gorgeous white sand beach that you can walk along or just view from the boardwalk instead. The trip departs from Cairns.
Check prices and dates: Full Day Daintree Wilderness Tour
5. Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge
If you want to see the best of Sydney, climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the most amazing views. The climb includes an experienced guide who takes you 134 metres above the water to the summit of the bridge. After a complimentary certificate and photo, you finish your climb with a great sense of achievement. No matter what time of day you go, you’ll be blessed with a great panorama.
Check prices and dates: Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
6. Go Whale Watching in Hervey Bay
If you’ve ever wanted to see whales up close, this experience is led by marine naturalists who tell you everything about whale behaviour during your trip. You can listen to live whale songs underwater and there is also a whale researcher onboard to help with any questions. The best thing about this experience is that whale sightings are guaranteed or you will receive a free ticket for another day.
Check prices and dates: Hervey Bay: Ultimate Whale Watching Experience
7. Wine Tasting in Barossa Valley
If you love wine then a trip to Barossa Valley should definitely be on your itinerary. This day trip makes it easy for you to go wine tasting as it’s all by coach. You get to experience wine tastings at three wineries and enjoy lunch in this famous region before heading to the Adelaide Hills and learning more about the region’s German heritage.
Check prices and dates: Barossa Valley & Hahndorf Day Trip
8. Cycle Rottnest Island
This little island off the coast of Perth is the perfect place for cycling. It takes 3.5 hours to peddle around this wildlife nature reserve spotting wildlife as you go. The island is only 4km wide and has secluded bays and unspoilt beaches. It’s a great day out and just a ferry ride from Perth or Fremantle. This tour includes your ferry ticket and bike hire. Just remember to pack some food and water.
Check prices and dates: Rottnest Island Ferry & Bike Trip from Perth or Fremantle
9. Snorkel The Great Barrier Reef
You can’t come all the way to Oz and not see one of the Seven Wonders of The World. Green Island is one of the islands in The Great Barrier Reef with transparent waters and a colourful reef. Snorkelling is the best way to see the marine life but if you prefer to stay dry then you can discover the reef from a glass bottom boat instead. The trip also takes you to the island’s rainforest. The boat departs from Cairns.
Check prices and dates: Green Island Reef Full-Day Catamaran Cruise
10. Climb Sand Dunes on Fraser Island
There’s a reason that this island is World-Heritage listed. As the largest sand island in the world it is begging to be explored. Cruise the Great Sandy Strait spotting dolphins, turtles and even a dingo or two. You may even spot humpback whales off the shores. If you are an active GatG you can snorkel, kayak, go tubing or just climb the sand dunes. Tours depart from Hervey Bay.
Check prices and dates: Remote Fraser Island Tour from Hervey Bay
Travelling Around Australia
The distances between places are vast and long when travelling around Australia. There’s a great bus network with Greyhound and epic train journeys and a rail pass is a good way of saving money. If you’re limited on time use internal flights between the cities: Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia operate domestically.
Renting a car is only recommended for either short distances or those long distances when you have company to travel with. With so many backpackers to choose from there are plenty of people to keep you company.
Coach tours are also a great way for travelling Australia. You get to see areas of the country and share the experience with your fellow passengers. Oz Experience is great for those who are sociable and like to party.
If you’re looking to see all of Australia’s sites in a single trip it can be difficult to achieve unless you have plenty of time. Most people when they solo travel in Australia start with Sydney and travel their way up the coast. You'll find more travellers along this route so pairing up with others is more likely than venturing to the Northern territory.
If it's your first time, we recommend these routes for your Australia Itinerary. For a cultural experience you have to visit the Red Centre (Alice Springs and Ayres Rock) to learn more about the Aboriginal culture and help support indigenous groups. Within two weeks you also can travel from Adelaide to Darwin or Sydney to Cairns.
a) Sydney – 5 nights, Alice Springs – 4 nights, Cairns – 4 nights (to visit the Great Barrier Reef).
b) Melbourne – 3 nights, Tasmania – 3 nights, Sydney – 5 nights, Uluru – 3 nights.
To plan a comprehensive trip to Australia, I definitely recommend Your Australian Itinerary which teaches you how to create your Australian itinerary and how much time you'll need in each place. You can earn learn how to travel to Australia on a budget and save money on your trip too! Click here for more details
Best Time To Go To Australia
Because Australia is in the Northern Hemisphere, the seasons are opposite to Europe so you can escape our winter. The best months to visit Australia are between October to December. As Australia is so vast, each region differs in climate with the Northern Territory being hot and humid all year round.
This chart shows the average maximum day temperatures for Sydney (from January to December). Find out the weather for other areas here.
Travel Insurance For Australia
Australia is such a safe country but travel insurance is always recommended, especially if you will be doing any active sports or venturing into the outback.
I recommend True Traveller for UK and European residents, and World Nomads for U.S. and worldwide citizens. Both companies allow you to buy insurance when you are already on the road, and offer different plans depending on your type of coverage.
From Australia Airports
There are a choice of airports to fly into when travelling to Australia. Below are the main Australia airports with information on how to get into the city.
Sydney – Airport Link departs the International and Domestic Terminals every 10 minutes and only takes 15 minutes to get into the city.
Cairns – Airport shuttle buses run from the airport to the city centre, Northern Beaches, Palm Cove, Cape Tribulation and Mission Beach. Some accommodation provide their own courtesy coach so check when booking. The time to the city is only 10 minutes.
Melbourne – SkyBus offer an express service to the city every 10 minutes or there are public buses and taxis for the 30 minute journey.
Brisbane – Coachtrans coaches offer direct transfers to Brisbane City departing every 30 minutes. Trains take 22 minutes to Brisbane City or 90 minutes to the Gold Coast (Nerang). For transfers to the Sunshine Coast, Sun-Air operate an hourly bus service until 8.50pm.
Perth – Public transport operates into the city. Check here for buses. You can hire a car if you prefer having your own transport to get around.
Adelaide – JetBus services travel from the airport to the city, Glenelg and the North-Eastern suburbs. Skylink Airport Shuttle offer a regular bus service for the 15 minute journey to the city.
Feel more confident with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solo females.
Travelling onwards (check visas before you travel)
With Australia neighbouring countries such as New Zealand, Fiji, Bali or Papua New Guinea, your trip doesn’t have to end here. There’s so much more to see! Fly to New Zealand, Bali, or the Pacific Islands.
If you prefer a leisurely pace, cruise from port to port in Australia and then onward to New Zealand or Tasmania. Asia and North America are also accessible by boat or sail back to the UK on a 40 day cruise.
November to March is the best season for cruises to Australia.
Where can I go from here?
Papua New Guinea – 4 hours
New Zealand – 5.5 hours
Bali – 4 hours
Frequently Asked Questions About Australia
To save you time searching, here are the most asked questions about Australia.
- Can I drink the water? Yes.
- Is tipping expected? No.
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed Price.
- Any ATMs? Yes.
- Which side of the road do they drive? Left.
- Good for vegetarians? Yes.
- Any seven wonders of the world? The Great Barrier Reef.
Map of Australia
If you are ready to plan a trip to Australia here are some useful links to help you plan your trip including airlines which fly there, where you can volunteer and eco accommodation. Capital City – Canberra Population – 22.4 million Language spoken – English Best Time to Go – Oct to Dec. The seasons are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere.
Plan a Trip to Australia
Budget – £50 a day
If you are ready to plan a trip to Australia here are some useful links to help you plan your trip including airlines which fly there, where you can volunteer and eco accommodation.
Capital City – Canberra
Population – 22.4 million
Language spoken – English
Best Time to Go – Oct to Dec. The seasons are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere.