Australia is a big place with loads to see and do. You’ve got the magnificent coast line with its pristine beaches and reef. The outback and Central Australia. Then you have the vibrant cities plus everything else in between. How are you going to get to see it all? Usually the quickest option is the most expensive option. But depending on your time-frame you might want to include a number of travel options to get you around. To help you work out how to travel Australia, here are my top 5 travel options to travel Australia.
Note: This post updated August 2022 and includes affiliate links. Read full disclosure here.
#1 Flying within Australia
Flying is the quickest method to get you from point-to-point but you do miss out on what’s between A and B. If you’re limited by time, or don’t want to spend many hours or even days on a bus or train then this may be an option for you. Flying is great for weekend getaways and small holidays. But if you are limited for time, then flying from place to place is your best option.
The airlines servicing Australia are:
- Virgin Australia
- REX (Regional Airways)
To get the best deal on an airfare check out the airlines websites. Or visit a website / app where you can compare and book an airfare such as Skyscanner. I use this regularly when I need to get an airfare. I can compare all the airlines and find the best airfare at the best time and the best price.
TIP: Fly during the week (Tuesday – Thursday) as it is often cheaper.
#2 Coach / Bus around Australia
Some people call them coaches while others call them buses, either way, they are a great way to travel around Australia. Traversing Australia by coach or bus is a popular way to travel. The routes covered are extensive so you can count on being able to visit all the major places you want to see, and more. Different tickets can be purchased from a one way ticket to a flexible hop-on hop-off pass. The main downside of bus travel is they are slower than other forms of transport but are often the cheapest. The major coach lines include:
- Greyhound Pioneer Australia (for all of Australia)
- Firefly (Sydney-Melbourne, Melbourne-Sydney, Melbourne-Adelaide, Adelaide-Melbourne)
- Premier Motor Service (for the South Coast – Sydney-Eden)
#3 Organised Tours in Australia
Australia has many tour operators offering organised tours in and around Australia. They usually include your transport, accommodation, most meals and entrance fees. And take you to the places you want to see. Tour companies include (and are not limited to)
#4 Rail Your Way Around Australia
Rail map of Australia
Train routes aren’t as extensive as the bus routes but there are still some wonderful trips to take. You can purchase point to point travel i.e. Sydney to Melbourne, Sydney to Tamworth, Melbourne to Bendigo or you could purchase any one of a number of passes allowing you to hop on and hop off the trains. Queensland has some good passes available. Unfortunately Australia doesn’t have a national train system, they are state based. To find out more information about travelling by train in each state, check out their official websites.
One advantage to using the trains is that on the longer trips you can get a ‘sleeper’. This will offset having to pay for accommodation. Australia also has a number of famous train routes. The most well-known is The Indian Pacific which takes three days to travel between Sydney and Perth. There is also The Ghan which runs between Adelaide and Alice Springs to Darwin. These are great to sit in and watch Australia unfold.
#5 Car / Van / Caravan
Flexibility is the name of the game when you travel by car, van or caravan. You can go where you want, when you want and include out-of-the-way places that plane, coach and train travellers will miss.
Rent a Vehicle
There are various ways to get your hands on the wheel of a car. You could rent a car or campervan, relocate a car or campervan, buy your own vehicle or share a lift. There are lots of companies available offering vehicle rentals including Avis, Hertz, Britz, Budget and AutoEurope. Get a great deal on a rental through RentalCars.
Some people buy or rent a camper van or caravan so it is not only their transport but their home. Having your transport and accommodation all in the one place makes travelling considerably cheaper.
If you’d like to rent a Campervan check out the following:
- Britz Campers
- Hippie Campers
- Apollo Campers
- Travellers Auto Barn
- Camplify – this is a website/app where you can rent camper vans directly from the owners
Relocate a vehicle
There are organisations that need vehicles relocated. This could have been because a vehicle was rented one-way and it needs returning to its original rental office. These organisations often charge a lower daily rate for you to relocate the vehicle plus petrol. And you usually need to deliver it to its destination within a time-frame. If you are happy to relocate a vehicle at a cheaper rate check out the following:
Car sharing or ride sharing is a popular option to travel around Australia. Check out hostel notice boards where people advertise looking for or offering to share a lift. Also check out Facebook groups such as the Australian Backpacker Hub. Now car sharing is a great travel option to get you around Australia however, get to know your travel partner or partners first including what are their travel goals. If they want to stop at different places to you, you may have to re-think your travel plans with them.
So What’s The Best Way To Travel Australia?
The best way to travel Australia will depend on your circumstances. My biggest tip would be to mix and match your transport options. At a glance, and you need some inspiration, here’s my run down on my top picks for different travel types based on my own travels for you to consider.
- Cheapest way to travel around Australia – by bus or coach
- Most flexible way to travel around Australia – bus or coach has the most extensive and flexible options
- Best way to travel Australia for solo travellers – bus or coach pass
- Best way to travel for couples or families – by car staying in hostels or hotels or towing a caravan will give you the most flexibility
- Quickest way to get from A to B – flying
- Most comfortable way to travel around Australia – train
Are You Ready to Travel Australia?
Whatever mode of transport you choose to travel Australia, I’m sure you will have the time of your life. My best tip is to mix and match your travel options to work out the best for you. Happy travels around Australia! I’d love to hear in the comments following about your travel choices or answer any questions you might have.
And don’t forget to have appropriate travel insurance to cover you for your travels.