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Getting Around Australia

Australia is huge and if you’re thinking about travelling in Australia and getting to where the work is it’s important to think about how you’re going to get around.

Here are some of the most common and best ways to get around Australia:

 

Bus

Australia has a great bus network with most places (within reason) being easily accessible by bus. Greyhound is the biggest bus company in Australia, but each state also has their own regional bus companies. Most regional bus companies cover routes that Greyhound don’t already cover.

Bus trips from one city to the next can be quite long; for example, a Greyhound bus from Sydney to Melbourne takes about 12 hours. Most buses will have air-conditioning and toilets. They will also stop for short breaks depending on how long the journey is.

Cost:                           
Bus travel in Australia can be relatively cheap and there are plenty of ways to save money. However, the further you are away from major cities, like in central or western Australia, then the more expensive a Greyhound bus journey will become.
Greyhound does offer kilometre passes, which are hop-on/hop-off passes that can be used wherever you want. The also do backpacker discounts (for which you have to become a member and costs around $37.) If you buy your tickets online it can work out even cheaper.

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Tour Buses:

Tour buses, (also known as backpacker buses) like Oz Experience, can sometimes work out cheaper than using regular bus companies, especially if you are planning on travelling the length of Australia’s east coast, so they are well worth checking out.

 

Train

Most backpackers probably wouldn’t consider train travel as a way to get around Australia, but think again. Trains are a lot more comfortable than buses and in some cases it can be easier to get a train than a bus. For example, if you wanted to travel from Sydney to some parts of rural NSW, such as Moree, it would actually be more convenient to get a train.

Riding a train across parts of Australia, particularly in the outback, can be a great travel experience in itself and routes like The Ghan, The Overland and The Indian Pacific are popular tourist attractions.

Cost:               
Train travel is usually more expensive than bus travel, but you can buy rail passes, which can work out cheaper. A Rail Explorer Pass costs $450 for 3 months and $590 for 6 months. If you buy your Rail Explorer Pass before you leave for Australia you can even get a 10% discount.

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Plane

If you’re travelling from one large city to another, it can be easier, and certainly faster, to travel by plane. There are also smaller airline operators, operating in more remote areas of Australia. The main domestic airlines in Australia include:

Cost:   
Unlike Europe, flying from one destination to another in Australia isn’t dirt cheap, but it can be affordable. The cost of air travel in Australia all depends on where you’re flying to. If you’re flying from city to city it can be affordable. However, if you are flying to or from outback areas it can be a lot more expensive.

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Car or Van Rental

Australia is huge and public transport can’t get you everywhere, so driving from one destination to the next is another option to consider. It’s also a great way to see parts of the country that you normally wouldn’t on public transport.

Related: Find out how to buy a car, wagon or campervan.

When renting a vehicle you also need to think about what type of vehicle you will need; for example you may need a 4WD vehicle if you’re planning on driving on unsealed roads.

Cost:  
 
The costs of hiring a car or campervan in Australia vary greatly, depending on where you are and what type of vehicle you want. To bring costs down you can always share your rental vehicle with friends or fellow backpackers.

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Relocation Rentals

All around Australia there are rental companies that need their car and campervans moved from one city to the next. Instead of hiring staff to drive these vehicles back, the companies let customers rent them for a fraction of the price, sometimes costing only $1 a day.

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The cost of relocations can vary, but most are extremely cheap compared to renting a car the conventional way.

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Buy Your Own Vehicle

This option is perfect for long term travellers and people looking for rural work in Australia. Many backpackers have purchase a car (usually an estate or van) to travel around Australia.

This is a very common option but it does have challenges - Find out how to buy a car, wagon or campervan.

Cost:                           
Depends on what you type of vehicle you buy and where you buy it. The cost can also depend on whether or not the car needs to be registered for tax purposes (also known as "rego")                 

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