There has never been a better time to visit Australia for us Brits! While the land down under may have seemed like a distant far-off dream land for most of us for the longest time, with the introduction of the first non-stop flights to Perth coming very soon it is about to become a lot more popular and accessible as a holiday destination. In fact now might be the exact time to start thinking about planning your ultimate Australia holiday itinerary!
As many of you will know if you’ve been following the blog for a while around a year ago now (how time flies!) I returned from a whole year spent travelling around and experiencing all of the wonders that Australia has to offer. I returned so enamoured with the country that you’d be forgiven for thinking I’d been employed as an ambassador by their tourism board (sadly not but I would LOVE that job if it exists… anyone?)
If you’re not already convinced that Australia should be top of your bucket list take a quick gander at my 12 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Australia and then return to this post for one of my favourite parts of travelling – the planning!
The thing is that booking a trip to Australia from the UK is not as simple as booking a trip to Europe… a holiday down under is likely to be one of the most expensive trips you make and definitely the furthest, which means you’re going to want to make sure you plan your perfect Australia holiday itinerary for this once in a lifetime occasion.
Things to consider
Before we get started on the fun planning aspects of your Australia holiday itinerary, there are a few things you need to know and a few things that will be very helpful to know whilst in the early planning stages of your trip.
- You need to apply for a tourist visa to visit Australia. Make sure you do this in plenty of time before your trip.
- Certain UK airports will offer cheaper flights to Australia than others so investigate whether it is worth travelling to a less convenient airport to make a substantial saving.
- Likewise it is sometimes cheaper (and always shorter) to fly to airports closer in Australia, such as Perth or Darwin… but of course this is not going to work out any cheaper if you then want to fly to Sydney as internal Australian flights are not cheap.
Do your research early and generally plan ahead! There is a lot of information out there with useful advice, such as this infographic from Flight Centre with tips for holidays to Australia specifically for travellers from the UK.
The length of your trip
The average Brit now visits Australia for around 2 weeks on holiday. This has decreased from 3 weeks, which just goes to show how the country is becoming more accessible as a travel destination for us (especially for those of us who work full-time and can’t take a 3 week break from work!)
Whilst 2 -3 weeks is an adequate amount of time to explore part of Australia don’t think that you can see it all in that time… if you try you will only end up spending more time travelling than seeing anything as the country is so huge! You’ll also completely exhaust yourself, especially as you need to account some time to recover from jetlag, a curse that makes it impossible to enjoy anything.
My advice is to choose one or two areas/states and focus on exploring them fully. Stuck on where to pick? No worries, here’s how to narrow down your Australia holiday itinerary…
Choosing where to go
THE EAST COAST
If you like… amazing beaches, rainforests, the main tourist sights
Places of interest: Sydney – Byron Bay – Gold Coast – Brisbane – Sunshine Coast – Fraser Island – Whitsundays – Cairns
Highlights: Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Blue Mountains, Fraser Island, Sailing in the Whitsundays, Snorkelling/Diving on the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest
Best time to visit: Temperatures remain moderate all year. The heat and humidity will increase as you head up the coast towards Cairns so it is best to avoid that area in the height of the Australian summer. This also coincides with the rainy season as the weather is tropical near the rainforest region.
If you like… indigenous Australian culture & history, amazing remote natural phenomena
Places of interest: Darwin – Kakadu National Park – Katherine – Tennant Creek – Alice Springs – Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park
Highlights: Katherine Gorge, MacDonnell Ranges, Uluru base trek & sunset at Uluru, Kings Canyon ridge walk, Kata Tjuta,
Best time to visit: The temperatures in the Northern Territory can reach 50 degrees celcius in the summer so I would advise travelling there during the Australian winter (when it can still be 30 degrees). Not only is it too hot to experience the wonders of trekking Uluru and Kings Canyon in the summer temperatures but the amount of flies might just ruin your whole experience.
If you like… amazing beaches and nature, the best diving opportunities, fewer tourists
Places of interest: Perth – Fremantle – Kalbarri National Park – Shark Bay – Coral Bay – Exmouth – Broome
Highlights: Rottnest Island, The Pinnacles, Monkey Mia, Hamelin Pool, Shell Beach, Turquoise Bay & Cape Range National Park, Ningaloo Reef
Best time to visit: The west coast has pretty great weather all year around. It is generally warmer than the East Coast but similarly temperatures increase as you travel towards Broome. Exmouth actually only has a few days of rain a year! You may wish to plan your trip based on activities, for example Whaleshark season is May-July so if you want to swim with whalesharks plan to go then!
If you like… trendy laid-back cities with lots of culture (music, comedy, art and sports festivals galore), amazing food and good beaches
Places of interest: Melbourne – Phillip Island – The Great Ocean Road – Adelaide
Highlights: St Kilda, The Grampians, Twelve Apostles, Mornington Peninsula, Penguin Parade at Phillip Island
Best time to visit: South Australia is the place where people usually discover the myth about Australia always being hot is exactly that. It has been known to snow in Melbourne in the winter (I know!) and at the least you should prepare yourself for temperatures on par with the British winter. If this doesn’t appeal then make your trip in the Australian summer months (that way you also avoid UK winter – score!)
If you like… wilderness, nature, hiking, mountains, remote destinations
Places of interest: Hobart – Launceston – Freycinet National Park – Port Arthur
Highlights: Mount Wellington, MONA, Cataract Gorge, Cradle Mountain, Wineglass Bay, Port Arthur Convict Site
Best time to visit: You know what I said about South Australia being cold? Take that advice and exaggerate it because Tassie is more like New Zealand weather. Go in the summer if you can, but still bring your coat as the mountains make the chance of rain a real possibility.
Once you’ve decided whereabouts in the country you will visit and at what time of the year then you’re ready to get that pesky flight booking out of the way and focus on planning your Australia holiday itinerary in more detail. Having visited most of the places I mention above you can find information about (almost) everything here in further detail on my blog.
Of course if you would like any specific destination recommendations or advice on anything further to do with travelling to Australia from the UK just leave me a comment or contact me via email or social media and I’ll help you out!