Travel diaries

Super 22-day free travel guide to Australia


Australia It has it all: cosmopolitan cities, tropical forests dating back to the dawn of time, underwater wonders, inhospitable deserts, bucolic landscapes and incredible wildlife. 22 days for a trip to Australia They are few, but we have squeezed them to the fullest, like our portfolio, to make one of the trips of our life. In this extensive article we bring you the super 22-day free travel guide to Australia with all the useful information of the trip. Who wants to travel to Australia? 😀

Day 1: Flight Barcelona - Melbourne
Day 2: Arrival in Melbourne (night in Melbourne)
Day 3: What to do a day in Melbourne (night in Melbourne)
Day 4: The Rock Tour from Uluru to Ayers Rock (night in Uluru)
Day 5: Kata Tjuta and route through the wind valley (night in camp)
Day 6: Kings Canyon (night in Alice Springs)
Day 7: Alice Springs (night in Cairns)
Day 8: Snorkel in the «Outer Reef» of the Great Barrier Reef (night in Cairns)
Day 9: In campervan to Cape Tribulation (night in Cape Tribulation)
Day 10: Daintree Forest (night in Cape Tribulation)
Day 11: From Daintree Forest to Atherton Tablelands (night at Lake Eachan)
Day 12: Route through Atherton Tablelands (night in Lake Eachan)
Day 13: From Lake Eacham to Magnetic Island via Cairns (night on Magnetic Island)
Day 14: Magnetic Island (night on Magnetic Island)
Day 15: From Magnetic Island to Sydney (night in Sydney)
Day 16: Sydney (night in Sydney)
Day 17: Sydney (night in Sydney)
Day 18: Sydney (night in Melboune)
Day 19: Ballarat and Great Ocean Road (night in Anglesea)
Day 20: Great Ocean Road (night in Peterborough)
Day 21: Great Ocean Road (night flight to Barcelona)
Day 22: Arrival in Barcelona

Flights to Australia from Spain

More than a country, Australia is almost a continent in the antipodes of Spain. Flights are not usually cheap, and less if you travel in the month of August. In January or February, the fare to travel from Barcelona to Melbourne or Sydney was about € 1100, but when we finally confirmed the holiday in March, the cheapest fare was to Melbourne with AirFrance via Paris and Abu Dhabi for € 1260. It is advisable to buy the flights with the maximum advance, since to move around Australia, if you have little time, you have to do it by plane. There are companies low cost in Australia and the earlier flights are booked, the cheaper the fares are. The internal flights we made were:

Melbourne Tullmarine - Ayers Rock (Uluru): $ 262 (20kg suitcase included) with the Jetstar company
Alice Springs - Cairns: $ 535 (20kg suitcase included) with the Qantas company, it is the only company that has direct flight, but in the final itinerary we saved an internal flight and thus only cost us € 75 more in the global flight calculation.
Townsville -Sydney: 167 $ (20kg suitcase included) with the Jetstar company
Sydney - Melbourne Avalon: 71 $ (20kg suitcase included) with the Jetstar company

On flights from Jetstar You have credit in the bar service on board. Depending on the price of your ticket, you have a minimum of $ 5 to spend at the bar. Ask the hostesses what credit you have. For example: a coke costs $ 4, a $ 5 muffin and a $ 5 chai latte, so at least you can access a snack of this type.

Visa to travel to Australia

This information is for those traveling with a Spanish passport. First: the passport must have a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of travel. Second: it is necessary to process the electronic visa before traveling to Australia. The tourist visa (model 651) is free and must be processed through the website of the Australian Government Immigration Department and has a duration of one year. If the visa is not processed in advance, you cannot travel to Australia. In fact, in Barcelona, ​​Paris and Abu Dhabi they checked if we had the visa in order before boarding the flight. Once on the plane, you must fill out a form to deliver in immigration. And once at the Melbourne airport, the passage through customs was quite fast.

Change currency in Melbourne

Australia's currency is the Australian dollar. The change at Melbourne airport is horrible. To give you an idea: $ 1 changed it to € 0.98 when the official change is € 0.65. We change in the United Currency Exchange Melbourne East at 228 Flinders Street. It has a very good rate (€ 0.67 in August 2017). As there are always many people, you have to stand in line and they are also a bit slow. We took about 40 minutes. They open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., except Saturdays and Sundays, which is from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. If you need to change currency at the airport, the best rates are at the departures floor, along with billing.

What plugs are used in Australia

The sockets in Australia use a Type I plug, which is one that has three pegs, two of them inclined. You can see it in the photo. The voltage is 230V so you won't need a power adapter.

Melbourne was the airport we used to enter and leave Australia. We spent the first two nights of the trip in this city, and two more after Sydney. In total we spend two whole days visiting what is considered the best city in the world to live.

How to get from Melbourne Tullmarine airport to downtown Melbourne

We take the Skybus, which connects Melbourne airport with the train station Southern cross in 25 minutes (depending on traffic). The one-way ticket costs $ 19 ($ 18 if you buy on their website). Round trip costs $ 36. The bus runs 24 hours. From 6 am to 11:30 pm and passes every 15 minutes, starting at midnight every 30 minutes. You can buy the ticket at the ticket office outside the airport.

How to get from Melbourne Avalone airport to downtown Melbourne

Fifty minutes from Melbourne is the Avalon airport that Jetstar also flies to. Skybus connects this airport with the station Southern cross from Melbourne for $ 22 and with the population of Geelong for $ 18. Avalon Airport is the closest to the Great ocean road, is only 40 minutes from the start. So if you want to tour this area you can fly to this airport and rent the car there.

Melbourne Free Tour

The first day we booked a guided tour with Melbourne Free Walking Tour at 10:30 a.m. in front of the State Library. These tours are free (you have to give the will at the end). The guided tour lasted almost three hours and we learned about the history of Melbourne, from the days it was a British colony to the modern city it is today.

See the penguins on the beach of St. Kildas

In the afternoon we went to the area of St. Kildas, a beautiful residential area that still has Victorian houses and buildings from the early twentieth century. At sunset we went to the end of the pier to see the fairy penguins. These are tiny penguins that inhabit that area and that at night leave the rocks of the breakwater.

Learn about the past and present of the first settlers at the Melbourne Museum

One of the exhibitions of Melbourne Museum It connects the knowledge of the aboriginal tribes of the area with the current inhabitants of Melbourne and its surroundings. From the hand of an aborigine who is presented to us on screens, you can learn the heritage of the first inhabitants of Australia and how they mixed with the newcomers. It includes first-hand accounts of several Australians who tell the stories of their grandparents and great-great grandparents.

Visit the Melbourne State Library

One of the libraries Most impressive we have visited is the one in Melbourne. You can not miss the dome room, a room created in 1903 and designed to house more than one million books and 600 readers. The library has an exhibition area where we can see Captain Cook's manuscripts, newspapers of the founders of the city and the authentic armor who used the outlaw Ned Kelly.

Have tea at Hopetoun Tea House

It is the oldest tea house in Melbourne, established in 1892 and is named after Lady Hopetoun, wife of Victoria's first governor. The tea house is in the Block arcade, one of the most stylish galleries in the city, and where wealthy people were going to be seen at the end of the 19th century. The appetizing cakes on the sideboard attract you like a magnet, and it is worth sitting down to have a drink in this place with so much history. The piece of cake cost us $ 9.5 and hot chocolate $ 4.5.

Go shopping at Queen Victoria Market

In addition to the food market, it is the best place in Australia to buy souvenirs at a great price. It is also used as a multipurpose space housing in winter the Winter night market.

Eat or dine in Chinatown

The Chinatown area seemed to us one of the best areas in Melbourne to eat. Here we will not only find Chinese food, but also Japanese, Korean or Taiwanese. Our recommendations are the Fukuryu Ramen, a design place that serves one of the best ramen from Melbourne ($ 15). As for Chinese food, the Shanghai Street, Specialized in xiaolongbao and Chinese dumplings.

How to get around Melbourne

The city center is quite compact and the downtown area (CBD) can be visited on foot. However, the coolest thing about Melbourne is that the trolley car in the center is gratuitous. Yes, you can get on and off the tram without paying. It is called Free Tram Zone. If you want to move by public transport through the areas beyond the center, you must buy the card Myky and load it The card costs $ 6 and is loaded on the machines in some stations. When you get on the tram you have to validate it, and when going down too. Then the amount of the trip will be deducted from the card.

To go to St. Kildas Beach you can take the tram in Federation Square (end of free zone). The trams that go there are 16 from Federation Square or 96 from Southern Cross Station and to pay you have to use the Myky. If you want to take a taxi, from Federation Square to St. Kildas it costs approximately $ 20.

Where to sleep in Melbourne

We stayed in a studio next to the South Central station. For this accommodation we were looking for everything that was central and easy to access the airport. We booked it in Airbnb for € 175 both nights. The studio is small but quite cute and also had the essentials for two people. For us the best thing was the location, near the train station and with a tram stop in front to be able to move around the city for free. If you do not have an account in Airbnb and you want try ityou can do it with this discount. The worst was the traffic noise at night and the seagulls.

If you prefer stay in a hotel, a very good area is the Melbourne CBD, is in full commercial heart. To have more comfort, your thing is to look for a hotel in the area of Southern Cross Station.

To visit Uluru It was one of the essentials of the trip and what made it more expensive. Uluru is a huge sacred rock in the middle of Australia. Getting there is not easy. On the road are three days of driving in which you only stop to sleep and refuel. Even so, it was the place we had to visit, however it was and we did.

The closest airport to Uluru is Ayers Rock. There are not many airlines that fly there and the cities where it leaves are mainly Sydney and Melbourne. The companies that fly direct are Jetstar and Virgin from Sydney; and Jetstar from Melbourne. We flew with Jetstar from Melbourne. We bought the tickets in March (five months before) and each cost us $ 262 (20kg suitcase included). Jetstar flights depart from Tullmarine - Melbourne airport, at terminal 4 (Domestic), and check-in must be done by yourself at electronic counters that open two hours before. What surprised us most is that they never asked us for our passports.

The Rock Tour: three days from Uluru to Alice Springs

Everything that surrounds Uluru is expensive. The hotels in Uluru They are incredibly expensive and the quality is quite mediocre. TOrent a car to visit the nearby attractions, it also leaves by a peak. So after searching, we decided to hire this adventure tour from the agency The Rock Tour which included visits, transportation, camping accommodation and meals for $ 370. At the price you have to add $ 25 entrance to the national park and $ 20 more to rent the sleeping bag. And to guarantee the place you have to pay when you book. The good thing is that you don't have to worry about anything. They come to look for you at Ayers Rock airport and you are starting the tour. This is an adventure tour where you sleep in the open, in sacks called swags and where the amenities are scarce, but it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the outback Australian in a very authentic way. However, these agencies squeeze the resources to the maximum and when a piece of the gear fails, you can go a little to the badge, as it happened to us.

Day 1: The Rock Tour (arrival at Ayers Rock airport)

Our Jetstar flight arrived on time to the airport and at the departure we were waiting for Reid, our guide from The Rock Tour. We packed our bags in the van trailer and headed towards the Uluru National Park - Kata Tjuta. We stop at him Cultural Center to eat and later took us up Uluru. There were five of us, and the rest of the group (up to 21) came on the Sydney flight a few hours later. We meet the guide where we would start the walk base from Uluru and that, if it did not reappear in about 45 minutes, we were waiting for the end of the circular walk. We started to walk but as nobody showed up we kept on walking, like this until we completed almost the entire return to Uluru (two and a half hours). When we arrived at the main parking lot we found Reid, who was very stressed because he had lost a group of 10 Koreans (!).

After 30 minutes he reappeared (with the Koreans) and we ran to the sunset view. There we enjoyed the sunset in Uluru and had dinner. In the end, with the stress of the day, we had run out of the explanatory walk, but luckily we could see Uluru in full and the Mutitjulu waterhole. Instead, the rest of the group could not do it. When it got dark we returned to the minibus and when we went to the campsite the change of gears petó and we were lying at night in the national park. At that moment Reid wanted to die (without a doubt that was his worst day as a guide). We all got off the minibus and started pushing but it didn't help. 40 minutes later came the minibus from another group of The Rock Tour that was making the route to take us to the Ayers Rock Campground. Reid lit the fire, we arranged the swags and sleeping bags. August is full winter in Uluru and at night it is very cold (-2 degrees). I thought the swags it would be enough not to be cold, but no, at least to sleep in the open. So I had to put on all the clothes I had available and it still cost me a lot to get an eye on.

Day 2: Sunrise in Uluru and hiking in Kata-Tjuta

In the morning we had to go to watch the sun rise from Uluru. As we still had no replacement minibus we had to take turns with the other group. We arrived when the sun had almost risen, and we had to wait there until the bus left the other group at the base of Uluru and came to pick us up. That wasted our time and in the end we couldn't visit the Cultural Center of Uluru. It was a shame because it is one of the best places to learn many aspects of aboriginal culture. We went to the nearby park Kata-Tjuta NP to make the three-hour path called Valley of the Winds. We liked the trail a lot, maybe more than Uluru itself, and we enjoyed it.

Two people from the group had to take a flight at the Ayers Rock airport (because he had only hired the one-day tour) and at twelve we left the park towards the airport. We returned to the Uluru campsite to stop to eat (wraps) and follow the itinerary until Kings Creek Station, where we would camp that night. Luckily there were some canvas tents and we were able to sleep inside in groups of four. Reid cured dinner at the campfire embers, in the purest outback style, and we had dinner around the fire. It was great. That night was very cold but I could sleep without problems.

Day 3: Trekking through Kings Canyon

We get up at half past five, have breakfast and head towards Watarraka NP or Kings Canyon NP. Here we made a three-hour trail through the canon, which is a pass. We really liked this national park, the orography, the garden of Eden and the cliffs.

After the visit we drive to Ghan to Mount Ebenezer Roadhousewhere do we prepare wraps to eat and we continue driving until we reach the Camel farm in Hugh. Whoever wanted could ride a camel for $ 9. After the experiences in Egypt and India, we give up. We continue driving until Alice Springs, end of the tour, but before we took some pictures at the entrance symbol to the city.

Do you recommend doing the three-day organized tour from Uluru to Alice Springs?

Yes, despite the poor organization of the group, which made us waste time the first day and the bus was broken (because it was old), we recommend it. It is a great way to tour the area to low cost and besides living in an authentic way he australian outback. In addition, our guide did everything possible to solve the insolvent, and made our stay unique. Of course, some tips: wear winter clothes and thermal. I forgot to take the thermal meshes and I missed them to sleep.

In addition to The Rock TourThere are many companies that organize exactly the same tour. Here we leave some for you to see prices and comments: Emu tours, Mulgas Adventures, Wayoutback and Topdeck. For a luxury experience, you can hire the tour with AAT Kings.

Tour Uluru for free

It's possible. If you only want to do Uluru and Kata Tjuta you can search hotel in Uluru and move with rental car or with Uluru Hop on Hop Off. The entrance to the Uluru and Kata Tjuta national park costs $ 25 and is valid for three days. You can rent a bicycle in the cultural center of Uluru if you do not want to walk the base. The one-day rental costs $ 45. By the way, water costs $ 5 (1.5l) at the cultural center, but this is a standard price in Australia unless you buy it at the supermarket.

To visit Kings Canyon Rental car is necessary. Admission is free, but keep in mind that in the warm months after 11 in the morning you can not start the trails. In addition, one must be very careful not to approach within two meters of the edge of the cliffs since more than one has fallen and has not counted.

Where to sleep in Alice Springs

We stayed at the Diplomat Motel, which is in the center of Alice Springs. The double room without breakfast cost us $ 120. If you pay by credit card you will be charged 1.5% of the price. The hotel is very good, and the room is large, although a bit retro. It was not bad, but for the price what you end up paying is the location that as I said, is excellent.

What to see in Alice Springs in one day

As our flight to Cairns did not leave until 6pm, we dedicated the morning to visit Alice Springs. First we went to the The city's tourist office, where they explained what we could visit and gave us maps.

We did the Riverside Walk (3.6 km) to the Telegraph Station. It is the oldest area of ​​the city and the one that gave rise to it. Until 1873 the news of the old continent arrived by ship, but when the telegraph line was built, the news from London took only two days to arrive. Alice Springs station connected southern Australia with Darwin, Indonesia ... until it reached London. There are guided visits to the Telegraph Station that cost $ 13.

Back we take the path Bradsaw Walk (3.6km) to Alice Springs. On the way we could see several kangaroos released in the river park. In Alice Springs it is also popular to visit aboriginal art galleries. However, we did not have time to visit them.

Central Australian Parks organizes guided tours in the Alice Springs area. Prior reservation is required.

One of the main attractions of Alice Springs is the kangaroo sanctuary. They only do guided tours at sunset and by hours it was not good to go. If you want to sign up, it is necessary to book in advance, since the tour is very popular.

Where to eat in Alice Springs

At the end of the tour we ate the whole group in The Rock Bar. The bar is fine and offers reduced prices to people who have enjoyed the tour. We take a schnitzel Chicken ($ 10) and a beef burger ($ 10). The glass of cider cost us $ 6.

For breakfast, we did it at the mall near the hotel. We bought some cookies in the supermarket (5 for $ 2.5) and we had coffee with milk in the Food court ($ 5)

To eat we went to Page 27 Cafe, a very cute restaurant with terrace. The pumpkin and quinoa salad cost $ 15.90 and the mushroom rissotto $ 17.90. Café 27 has breakfast and brunch, and the kitchen closes at 2pm.

How to get from Alice Springs to the airport

There's a shuttle bus which connects the center with the airport. It costs $ 16.50 one person, $ 33 two people. We, being four, hire a «maxi taxi». The journey from the hotel to the airport cost us $ 40. If you need a large taxi, book it in advance as ours took 40 minutes to pick us up.

Two nights in Cairns

How to get from Cairns airport to downtown

There is no public transport connecting the airport with the center of Cairns. A taxi costs approximately $ 30 and the cheapest option is to hire a shuttle shuttle in the airport. Sun Palm Shuttles It has the counter at the airport exit. The price per person is $ 5.50 and leaves you at your hotel, and it is cheaper to book it at the airport than on its website. If you want to go to Port Douglas, you can hire the transfer with Exemplar Shuttles.

Where to sleep in Cairns

We stayed at the Cairns Queens Court, a hotel that is about 30 minutes walk from the port, about ten from the train station and 30 minutes from the Britz motorhome rental location. The double room with breakfast cost us € 60 a night. The hotel is a bit outdated, but the truth is that the hotel park in Australia is fair unless you spend a fortune. To spend two nights was fine.

Snorkeling excursion in the Great Barrier Reef

Cairns It is the main base for excursions of snorkel or diving to The great coral barrier. There are a lot of companies that offer excursions. We did it with Silverswift which dives in three points in the Outer Reef, the outside of the Great Barrier. This company recommended it to us Is, since a family member of his had worked as a diving instructor in the area and knew the subject.

The excursion It cost us $ 222 per person and once there they asked us if we wanted to do a diving baptism for $ 77 more (the second for $ 67). I had wanted to try diving. Adding that amount could release me in the best place on the planet and with a highly qualified staff, so I launched. The ship departs at 8.30am, but you have to go to the ferry terminal at 7.30am to get the boarding pass, and in our case, pay, as we made a reservation without prior payment.

Photo by David G.C.

At eight o'clock you start boarding and at 8.30 a.m. the ship sails on time. First navigate an hour and a quarter to stop at the first dive point. Here i did snorkel, but the tide was high and the waves strong, and it was difficult to access the coral. Here we stop an hour and a half. Twenty minutes of navigation later, we reached the second point and this place was simply AWESOME. The magnitude of the corals, the amount of fish, was incredible and far exceeded the experience we lived in Maldives. Also, this is where I made the diving baptism. I had a monitor just for me and another girl, who explained the basic principles and when we had them under control we started to descend. We did not pass ten meters deep and enjoy the corals and fish so closely it was An incredible experience. At this point we were two hours, although the dive only lasted 30 minutes plus the mini-course. The third point where the ship stopped was also very good.

Photo by David G.C.

The excursion of snorkel with Silverswift to Outer Reef includes breakfast, lunch, snack, snorkeling equipment rental, whole snorkeling suit (to avoid sunburn and jellyfish bites in season). There is a photographer on board: 1 printed photo costs $ 20 and USB-shaped Nemo $ 40.

If you are interested in doing snorkel in The great coral barrier the best point to do it is Cairns, since from this point you can access incredible dive points. If you want, you can do the PADI course for $ 500. For immersion trips, the company that we have recommended is Pro Dive, which makes 5-day trips for $ 1000.

Fly over the Great Barrier Reef

In Cairns There are hundreds of travel agencies that sell all kinds of excursions and activities in the area. We didn't have time d