AUSTRALIAN DESTINATION INFO
Want to travel to Australia? Here’s some useful travel information to help plan your trip.
Australia is one of the world’s most popular backpacking destinations, and brought in over 7 million international visitors in 2015. The national capital is Canberra, and it is located in between Melbourne (state capital of Victoria) and Sydney (state capital of New South Wales). Currency in Australia is measured in Australian dollars (AUD).
Queensland is the only Australian state, which does not participate in daylight savings time. That means, for half of the year, Queensland is at least 1 hour behind the rest of the states. Because of this, we do have slightly-changing Loka timetables to best suit the time of year. We recommend checking to ensure you have the latest copy of the timetable and pick up places documents before you begin your trip.
Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a visa to enter Australia. If you just plan on visiting, you can apply for a visitor visa, and can spend up to 3 months in the country at a time.
If you plan on working while in the country, you must apply for a Working Holiday visa. A Working Holiday visa will enable you to work and travel in Australia for up to a year, and if you are a citizen of a qualifying country, you can even complete 88 days of farm work in order to gain an additional year to work in the country.
You can find more information about visas here: http://www.border.gov.au/.
Australia is the world’s largest island and is surrounded by 8,000 smaller islands. With over 10,000 beaches along Australia’s coast, you won’t run out of places to soak up the sun.
As the 6th largest country by area, it may be surprising to learn that Australia is one of the least-densely populated countries in the world. Most Australians either live in large cities or along the coast, and not many live in the desert of the outback, centred in the middle of the country.
Australia’s highway is the longest highway in the world, stretching 14,500km. It runs along the nearly the entire diameter of the country and is called the Highway 1. Loka travels along the Highway 1 in the long stretches of our New South Wales route.
In addition to beautiful coastlines and scorching deserts, Australia is also home to lush rainforests and mountains. Visit the Tully Gorge National Park at the Indigenous Camp for a beautiful, rainforest camping experience.
Australia is located on the southern hemisphere, which means the seasons are at opposite times to the seasons of countries in the northern hemisphere.
Because Australia is such a large country, the climate varies immensely. Most of the country is covered in desert, meaning the weather is very hot and dry. Desert regions can be found in the middle of the country, as well as in Western Australia.
The climate is temperate on the southeast and southwest corners of the country. Here you will have quite mild temperatures, without extreme hot or cold.
In the northern coastal areas of Queensland, the climate is tropical: hot and humid. The dry season takes places during the winter (May-October) and the wet season in summer (November-April). During the wet season, you can expect regular, heavy rain and even cyclones.
Best time to travel: It’s arguable that the best time to travel in Australia is during the shoulder seasons (Sept-Nov and Mar-May) because the weather is typically warm but mild, and tourism isn’t quite as busy. Peak season takes place in the middle of summer (December/January/February) and many tours and accommodation are fully booked weeks in advance. If you avoid the busy summer season, you’ll have more freedom and less stress to travel your own way, however even in peak season Loka guarantees you accommodation, as hostels hold spaces for Loka customers.
The Great Barrier Reef – the largest living reef in the world, located off of the coast of northern Queensland. There are fantastic snorkel and dive trips to visit the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns.
The Whitsunday Islands – a group of 74 islands, located on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef and known for their incredible beaches covered in white silica sand. Access the Whitsunday Islands from Airlie Beach. There are 1 to 3 day sailing options that we can recommend and help book for you.
Fraser Island – the world’s largest sand island and an iconic area to spot dingoes in the wild. You can access Fraser Island from Noosa or Rainbow Beach. There are 1 day tour options or 2-3 day 4WD tagalong trips and inclusive tours that Loka can organise special deals for you.
Blue Mountains – region located west of Sydney covered in varying stunning landscapes including steep rock cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls, and gardens.
Loka’s trips to the Blue Mountains: LOKA Blue Mountains day tour
Hunter Valley – one of Australia’s most famous wine regions. Loka visits the Hunter Valley on the first day north out of Sydney and stops for some wine tasting at a famous Australian vineyard.