OzUltra Australia Backpacking Guide OzUltra Australia Backpacking Guide OzUltra Australia Backpacking Guide
Ferry Services In Australia -Backpackers Guide

Ferry Services In Australia -Backpackers Guide

When you are backpacking around Australia you will find lots of ferries dotted all over the country. There are river boats/ferries like the Sydney City Ferries which cross the Parramatta River or the Brisbane CityCat service which stops off at various wharfs along the brisbane river.

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Airport Considerations & Flights Guide for Australia

Airport Considerations & Flights Guide for Australia

Unless you have booked your flights months in advance the dates you choose will make all the difference to your price, if you can afford to be flexible, make sure you check the prices a few days either side of your original date to have a chance of getting the best deals.

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Backpackers Guide to Australia's Trains & Trams

Backpackers Guide to Australia's Trains & Trams

There are a number train services that operate in Australia, you have the trains/trams that travel in and around the cities/suburbs, those which traverse the coasts which are a collection of joining services and the interstate trains that travel vast distances from coast to coast through the centre of the country.

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Getting Around Australia - Backpackers Guide

Getting Around Australia - Backpackers Guide

Backpacking around Australia is so much fun! Australia is a huge country and when you visit with the aim to explore, the way you get around becomes a part of the experience. The way you travel will depend on the usual factors like time, cost, availability, etc... but theres more to getting around then just travelling from A to B. Read our handy guides to getting around Australia.

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Bus Services in Australia - Backpackers Guide

Bus Services in Australia - Backpackers Guide

Bus services in Australia include public transport buses, shuttle buses, backpacker buses, long distance Greyhound coaches and plenty of other private tours and day trips.

The cost depends on the service but is usually competitive with other modes of transport, some of them even being free like the Central Area Transit (C.A.T) in Perth.

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Backpackers Guide to Driving in Australia - PART 1

Backpackers Guide to Driving in Australia

Above all methods of transport, driving in Australia will easily provide you with the most freedom. Having your own vehicle you can go anywhere, at any time without the hassle of public transport or having to compromise on any of your arrangements.

If you intend to work, by having a vehicle you're already more employable because you can get to places where access by bus or other transport may not be possible.

You can also team up with some backpacking companions to share the journey and the running costs that go with it. Even if you don't intend to drive the entire time, a road trip through the outback or along one of the coastlines can be a brilliant experience to include in your holiday.

If it's a campervan you choose, you can obviously cut out the cost of accommodation and use it as your mobile home (even with a car you can sleep in it or buy a tent to throw down when you're outside of the cities).

When travelling in numbers, hiring a campervan can be very cost effective and there are plenty of companies who provide these services with the ability to book in advance so you can calculate The Backpackers Budget For Australia more accurately.

The other option is purchasing your own vehicle which can work out even cheaper with the advantage that you have it for the entirety of your trip (or at least for as long as you wish to keep it).

Another bonus of having your own vehicle is that after you have finished your adventure you can sell it and get some money back for the next phase.

For those on a short term tourist visa this may not be the most viable option but if you have a Working Holiday Visa or are staying for longer periods it can often be the most cost effective way.

What do I need to be able to drive in Australia?

This list contains both mandatory requirements and some recommendations for driving in Australia. Each of the following subjects are explained in greater detail below...

  • Driving license (mandatory) - Regardless of renting or purchasing a vehicle, a full driving license is required which must be legible in the English language. If your license is written in any other language you will also need to purchase an international driving license (necessary for the authorities to be able to read your details).

    You can lean lots more about taking your driving license to Australia and getting an international license (I.D.P) in our Driving Documents for Backpacking Around Australia article.

  • Motor Insurance (recommended) - Although motor insurance is not mandatory to drive in Australia, it's highly recommended that you purchase some cover before you set off on your journey.

    The problem with not having insurance is that even if you have a vehicle you can afford to loose, if you crash into the side of a shiny new Mercedes the costs are going to be enormous and it's you who has to find the money to fix it.

  • Registration/R.W.C (mandatory) - If you're purchasing your own vehicle it will also need 'rego' (registration) and a R.W.C (Roadworthy certificate). The laws which govern these documents are different for each state (more in a moment).

  • Breakdown cover (recommended) - Roadside assistance is a definite consideration for people driving in Australia. There are plans available to suit all circumstances (this is especially worth while if you're purchasing your own vehicle).

Taking your Original Driving Licence to Australia

As mentioned in the Driving Documents for Backpacking Around Australia article, a full driving license is required to drive in Australia. In some countries a driving license comes in two parts (a card and counterpart) and if this is the same for you, remember that you will have to take both parts with you.

You will always need your original driving license whenever you have to deal with the authorities (i.e, random stop check, registration application, changing license plates, etc...).

For the backpacker, your original license (from your own country) is valid for driving in Australia for up to 12 months. For any time after this period you have to obtain an Australian driving license to be legal on the road.

What is an International Driving License (I.D.P)?

What's commonly known as an international driving license is actually an international driving permit (I.D.P). If your original license is written in any language other than English you will need to purchase one before you can start driving in Australia. The function of the I.D.P is to enable people to drive in overseas countries without any further tests, exams or applications.

The I.D.P is a United Nations sanctioned document which is available in 9 different languages and is recognised in over 150 countries worldwide. They can be purchased online in preparation of your arrival or once in Australia. In Australia you can get your I.D.P from the National Roads and Motorists' Association (N.R.M.A) or associated members of Australian Automobile Association (A.A.A).

Hot Tips for Backpacking Around Australia The I.D.P is not a stand alone document! This means that although it enables you to drive abroad, you're still required to present it with your original license when it's requested by the authorities.

Motor Insurance in Australia

If you're hiring a vehicle, insurance is mandatory and should be included in the price you pay for the rental. If you do have an accident which is your own fault, you usually have to pay the initial excess which can be anywhere from around $300AUD upwards depending on the vehicle, hire company and type of cover. For this reason is may be a good idea to ask about the insurance policy they provide before you commit to anything.

Sometimes it's possible to pay the hire company an excess reduction amount to reduce the excess to zero. On an average vehicle this amount is around $20AUD - $25AUD per day and depending on the length of your trip may or may not be worth it.

If you're going to purchase your own vehicle you will need to make your own arrangements regarding motor insurance. The three major types of cover are as follows...

  • Third Party Liability - The most basic level of cover that you should have is Third Party Liability cover. This is designed to cover the cost of damage to the other party(s) vehicle in the case of you being responsible for an accident. Under certain circumstances an amount, usually upto $5000AUD, may be claimed for your vehicle (i.e, damage caused to your vehicle by an 'at fault' uninsured driver of another vehicle).

  • Third Party, Fire & Theft - The next level of cover is the same as above, with the addition of Fire and Theft cover. This covers you in the event that your car is stolen or damaged as result of fire. However any other damage to your vehicle is still not covered in the result of an accident.

  • Comprehensive Insurance - The best level of cover is going to be Comprehensive Insurance. This includes Third Party, Fire & Theft and also offers repairs or replacement (usually if the vehicle is under 2 years old) or a payout amount if the vehicle is damaged in an accident, regardless of fault.

There are varying levels of comprehensive insurance with some providers offering extras such as the cost of a hire car after loss or damage for a certain period of time. Sometimes you can also get extra cover for the financial gap between the insurance payout amount and any finance (i.e, personal loan etc) covering the cost of the vehicle.

Hot Tips for Backpacking Around Australia A certain amount of discount may be applied for loyalty. For example if you're staying in Queensland and have purchased roadside assistance from RACQ, you will eligible for a discount on your vehicle insurance from them too. You may also get a discount for making your application online (usually around 10%) as the companies save on the cost of administration fees.

On Excess

Each of the cover plans previously mentioned can have excesses applied. An excess generally reduces the initial cost of the policy. Excesses can range from $300AUD upwards. It should be mentioned however, that in the event of a claim, this amount is not removed from the payout figure/repair bill.

So although it's tempting to opt for the highest amount (to reduce your initial purchase cost), having to pay $1000AUD towards the cost of repairs may not look so attractive in the event of an accident.

Read Part 2 of the Driving in Australia Guide
Top OzUltra Articles Backpacking Australia
Contingency Funds - Savings when you need them - Backpacking Australia – PART 1

Contingency Funds - Savings when you need them - Backpacking Australia – PART 1

Anything can happen when you're backpacking around Australia and if something goes wrong, having a contingency fund will enable you to act quickly when you need to get things sorted out. In the case of an emergency (i.e, your money gets lost or stolen) or even if you simply over spend and just wind up broke, you will need access to money, accommodation, food, transport & identification documents to get everything back on track.

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Top OzUltra Articles Backpacking Australia
Recruitment Agencies in Australia - Getting Plenty of Work Fast

Recruitment Agencies in Australia - Getting Plenty of Work Fast

One of the best ways to get work while backpacking in Australia is using the recruitment agencies. A recruitment agency is a company that specialises in finding jobs for backpackers in Australia either on a permanent or temporary basis. There are loads of recruitment agencies that can help you get work all over Australia.

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Top OzUltra Articles Backpacking Australia
Appointed Person - Help from home - Managing Life in Australia And At Home

Appointed Person - Help from home - Managing Life in Australia And At Home

When you go to Australia it's important to have somebody you can trust at home to help you out when you need to get things done. Read our guide about choosing an appointed person before you go.

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Bus Services in Australia For Backpackers

Bus Services in Australia - Backpackers Guide

Bus services in Australia include public transport buses, shuttle buses, backpacker buses, long distance Greyhound coaches and plenty of other private tours and day trips.

Backpackers Driving in Australia - PART 2

Backpackers Driving in Australia - PART 2

Read part 2 of our backpackers guide to driving in Australia. More about vehicle registration in Australia, how to get your road worthy certificate and basic driving tips in the city and outback.

Staying In Touch - Calling Home Cheap - Backpacking Australia

It's always a good idea to know as many ways of contacting people as possible when you're on your travels. Learn the best ways of keeping in contact while backpacking around Australia.

A Personal Organiser For Backpacking Around Australia

Keeping a personal organiser will be very helpful while you're in Australia. You can use it to make managing you trip very easy. Learn how useful a personal organiser is for backpacking in Australia.

Travel Insurance for Backpackers Guide - Choosing the Right Policy for you

When you're out on the trail anything can happen and it's advisable to take measures to protect yourself in case of an emergency. Learn about different types of backpacker insurance.

About OzUltra Backpacking »

The OzUltra Backpacking Australia Guide has been complied by a small team of seasoned backpackers who love Australia and share this guide freely for all future backpackers heading to Australia.

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