Getting Around Australia

Australia is the world’s smallest continent. It is also the sixth-largest country in the world and it is an island. It has a well developed transportation system since the distances are long and the population density is low.

Air

The quickest way to cover long-distance journeys through Australia is by plane. Fares are not cheap, but many people opt for plane for larger distances.

The main hub is Sydney Airport, also called Kingsford Smith Airport. It is served by a large number of international airlines, with flights to many destinations. Sydney Airport is the main hub for Qantas Airlines. It is also a hub for Virgin Blue and Jetstar (low-cost subsidiary of Qantas Airlines).

Domestic flights are served by a number of companies, including the low-cost carrier Tiger Airways. You can find a lot of promotions and special fares for domestic flights which can considerably reduce the price of your trip.

Other major airports in Australia are Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Rail

Traveling by Train in Australia can be rather expensive, but it is a great way to see the country’s landscapes. Trains are not widely used, because people prefer to fly rather to cover large distances by train.

There are two rail services that span the country from coast to coast. The Indian Pacific covers the route from Sydney on the east coast to Perth on the west coast, via Adelaide and the trip lasts 3 days. The Ghan runs between Adelaide and Darwin, via Alice Springs and the journey lasts 2 days. Trains on both routes offer 1st and 2nd class sleeping cars, with restaurant and bars.

There is also a number of express service links from the state capitals. Bear in mind that these services not always run daily.

Rail services in Australia are offered by different companies in each state. If you plan to use often the trains in Australia, you can buy different rail passes which can be bought at the Rail Australia website.

Buses

Buses are the cheapest way to travel in Australia. The bus network is well developed and it offer services with air-conditioned buses, with toilets, videos and adjustable seats.

Greyhound is the major bus operator in Australia and it offers daily services to 1100 destinations throughout the country. The bus network in Tasmania is served by Redline Coaches. Some bus operators offer travels around the Australian continent.

Tickets have a fixed rate and depend on the distance, road conditions and the popularity of the route. You can buy various bus passes if you plan to use bus transport frequently. For example, The Aussie Kilometer Pass allows you to travel anywhere in the national network up to a certain number of kilometers.

Major cities have public transportation systems which are used to move around the city.

Road

The Australians drive on the left and speed limits are as following: 60 km/h in urban areas and 100 or 110 km/h on open road. Not all roads are in good condition, so you should have that in mind when deciding where to go next. It is advisable to carry spare water and petrol since distances between cities are very large.

There is a large number of car rental companies with reasonable prices. To rent a car in Australia you need to be 21 years old. You can use a driver’s license from your country, but it is better to hold an international driving license.

Water

Australia has more than 34000 km of coastline (excluding all offshore islands) and it offers different water transportation options, ranging from paddle steamers along the Murray River to deep-sea fishing cruisers. The Spirit of Tasmania is an overnight car-ferry service which connects Melbourne with Tasmania on a daily basis.

There are also ferries connections suburbs in the capital cities (Sydney, Brisbane, Perth).

Links

Find useful links when planning journeys within Australia:

Qantas Airlines – http://www.qantas.com.au/

Virgin Blue – http://www.virginblue.com.au/

Jetstar – http://www.jetstar.com.au/

Rail Australia – http://www.railaustralia.com.au/

Greyhound – http://www.greyhound.com.au

Redline Coaches – http://www.redlinecoaches.com.au

Tourism Australia – http://www.tourism.australia.com/

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