Things to Know About Backpacking in Australia
I have been travelling alone for over 30 years, 15 years of solo travel in Australia. I love travelling solo and loved backpacking in Australia on my early trips.
Now that I’ve been enjoying solo travel for over 50, I’m still backpacking now and then, although it’s not my favourite way of travelling because I love the freedom of the great outdoors or longer hikes.
Backpacking alone is the best way to experience Australia alone and make friends on the go. The fact is, you will meet many backpackers in Australia from all over the world.
I know that many women would like to travel on their own and also go backpacking solo, but many feel uncomfortable about travelling solo in the first place.
I recently wrote a post about the best travel modalities at fifty-plus. I hope this will help you identify the type of travel and the top destinations to travel alone in Australia for their first solo adventure. As an old saying says:
How to Get Started with a Solo Backpacking Trip around Australia
To inspire you to travel alone as a woman in Australia, I have put together a list of valuable travel tips to get you started with your solo travels in Australia. It provides you with the knowledge, experience, and tools to choose from great itinerary ideas for Australia.
I have also written a guidebook for the Solo Traveller to Australia that helps you quickly create your Itinerary around the country, with no little effort and minimum time invested in online research.
“Age doesn’t matter, it’s the spirit that rules our adventures, not our age”.
Tips for Backpacking Alone in Australia
Now a list of my best tips for backpacking alone around Australia.
Plan accommodation wisely
Ensure you have booked the first 2-3 nights before leaving your country. This takes the stress off you while recovering from jet lag. Remember your flight from Europe will take approximately 18-21 hours, and from the USA, roughly the same depending on how you fly. If you manage and stop overnight in Asia at the connection airport, you will naturally overcome jet lag.
Prefer Staying in Hostels
There are hundreds of hostels in Australia. They are of great value and an excellent way to meet other travellers. You can book your hostel online. Most of them have a website or phone them to check for availability.
Book your bed in a female sex dorm, and avoid a mixed dorm. Or if you prefer a twin room, do not like to share. Female dorms are not a guarantee in all hostels. They can, under the circumstances, turn into mixed-dorm. I’d recommend inquiring with the reception and ensuring the female dorm is 100% female.
I have used YHA hostels for years and had 95% only positive experiences.
Get a YHA Membership Card
YHA stands for the youth hostelling association in Australia. Among all backpacker hostels, staying at YHA is the safest and best accommodation option for female backpackers. Remember to state your YHA card every time you book a bed in a hostel in Australia.
Also, check out for discounts offered for various activities. You can check this on their website; they have a comprehensive list. And another good reason to stay in YHA is that they are the only hostel chain that can always guarantee female dorms.
Make good use of hostel facilities.
Some hostels are big and well-equipped. After long travelling days, cooking yourself a good meal will give you the feeling of being at home and maintaining a healthy diet.
But you may also prefer the vibrant city vibe and taste the yummy Australian food in dining venues, pubs, restaurants, and food malls. Melbourne is by far my fave city for food in Australia. With its outstanding and varied offers, it’s hard to have a shortage of dining places to suit all tastes and budgets.
Try out Airbnb Australia
If sharing a hostel dorm is not your thing, there are many ways to stay in comfortable private homes and rent out a room or a private apartment.
This is a great way to meet the locals and make friends with friendly Aussies. I have used Airbnb Australia a dozen times, and I have always been pleased with my Airbnb hosts. You can read how to use Airbnb in Australia and have a great stay.
Pack your backpack with essential stuff.
Your suitcase weight should not exceed 10 kg, a maximum of 15 kg. Pack only private belongings you must take with you and leave what you can buy in Australia. You need good walking shoes, comfortable sandals and the right things to wear in Australia.
What to Wear when backpacking
Choosing what to wear in Australia is a bit tricky. First, we must debunk the myth that Australia is warm and sunny everywhere and anytime. It is far from true. And many areas in Australia can be unforgivingly cold, even in the middle of summertime.
Pack this outdoor wear
1. Wind and Rain Jacket
2. Warm fleece jumper and long pants
3. Technical Shirts or T-Shirts
4. Base layer for underwear
5. Good hiking or walking shoes
How to travel around Australia
Bus Travel in Australia is convenient for backpackers, and many bus passes are available. Greyhound Australia is the best company for offering good-value backpacker passes. If you prefer driving, then you can look for carpooling or lifts.
There are usually notice boards with a wide choice of posts in hostels; if you prefer self-driving, check out this website site with all tips about driving solo in Australia.
Avoid too much flying.
Travelling by bus or car is the way to go depending on the time frame and destination. This is a better way to allow you to enjoy the beauty of the century. But if you have to cover long distances of +1000 km, it makes sense to book inland flights.
For long travel distances, a good option is travelling by train, next to the known Australian train journeys like the Ghan Train from Adelaide to Darwin through Alice Springs. You can also cross the country from Sydney to Perth on the Indian Pacific train.
Stay in touch with family and home.
Let your family or close friends know about your travelling route and destinations in Australia. You can either send an e-mail or phone. Get an international phone card. They are cheap. For 10 AUS, you can call Europe or the USA for at least 6 hours.
For local calls, you can either use a national phone card or get a local Travel Sim card for your cellular phone. It is worth it if you stay longer than four weeks. Use Telstra.com.au for your SIM card. It’s the most reliable in terms of country-wide coverage but a bit more expensive than other providers.
Stay Safe in Australia
Make a scan of all your documents, such as passport, ID, health insurance and travel insurance, in a word doc and send it to your private mailbox. Furthermore, I suggest storing all private documents on USB flash drives convenient for downloading photos and videos from your camera.
Do not walk alone in remote areas.
Australia is a safe country for solo travellers and backpackers. That being said, you should always beware of your surroundings, either in cities or suburban areas, and do not walk alone at night and when off the tracking paths in national parks. It’s easy to get lost. In Australia, mobile phones don’t work in remote areas, so for your safety, always stick to the marked walking trails.
Protect your skin with sunblock.
Australia is a sunburnt country, and you should beware of this. Use +30 sun protection, even on a cloudy day. The sunlight in the southern hemisphere is powerful, and you quickly get sunburnt. Be careful and do not underestimate this aspect. It’s crucial for your skin health and overall trip enjoyment.
Follow these simple beach safety tips; when sunbathing or bushwalking, it is advisable to wear good functional wear, long pants, and long sleeves; the more covered you are, the better. Check this post for travel safety tips for your Australia Trip.
Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water
Depending on the environment, at least 1,5-4 litre per day. In the Australian Outback, you will need at least 4-5 litres daily with temperatures of 35-40°C. As a backpacker, you will walk for long hours in sun-scorched areas or along the beach.
So your body is bound to lose water and, more importantly, minerals. So to avoid dehydration, it is essential to you the lost minerals and vitamins with salty beverages too. You can add citrus like lemon or fresh orange to your water and eat salty food, natural energy bars like nuts, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in minerals and vitamins. Read about healthy travel tips for travelling in Australia.
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Articles about Backpacking Alone At 50+
If you are interested in backpacking alone in Australia for a longer time than the usual 2 or 3 week-itinerary, here are more helpful articles for you:
First published in 2010, last updated in Jan 2023
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