Long-term travel in Australia may sound daunting, unrealistic and overly expensive. Being land Down Under an expensive destination, the cost of travelling to Australia on a long-term than the usual three or four weeks can become exorbitant and have a significant drain on your budget. That’s why going on long-term in Australia is only possible with a well-thought-out and sustainable plan.
A trip over 3 or more months in Australia is doable if you plan a long time thoroughly ahead and have in the first place a sustainable way of doing it that works well for you. After over ten years of solo travels with mostly 8-10 weeks trips in a row, I ventured on my first long-term adventure around Australia this year in May. I am now over my third-month trip and keep going.
So I have put together this guide for the female traveller to Australia to travel for a long-term, between three to six months or even longer.
There are a few things that you need to have in place before considering a long-term travel adventure in Australia. First of all, the type of trip you have in mind. As a traveller, you can spend up to three months on a tourist visa to Australia, which means you have to leave the country every three months if you wish to stay on a long-term. This is what I did. End of July, I had to go to Australia because my first three months stay had expired.
So I went on a short Bali Escape to extend my stay in Australia for three more months. This was the only viable way for me as I am on the eVisitor visa, the most current Australia travel visa for EU citizens travelling to Australia.
However, there are ways to stay longer without leaving the country, which I wasn’t aware of before going. I only found out about more options on Australia Tourist Visas when the issue with the Ash Cloud in Bali started and was looming over my plans too. I had to do my research on how to solve the problem I wouldn’t have been able to leave the country.
Here are the different types of visas to Australia for long-term travel.
If you intend to travel for more extended periods, you need travel insurance for Australia. You may not need it for the entire time, but you will need it when you are on the go. There is also a basic medical coverage called Medicare Card that you could get through your health insurance if you are a citizen of some EU countries like Italy, France, the UK, Germany.
To have full coverage, including med evacuation, you need to get affordable Health and Travel Insurance for Australia.
It’s essential to have good coverage when travelling in rural areas and remote areas of Australia. If you need to see a doctor or get medical treatment in a hospital or require med evacuation, it will cost you thousands of Australian dollars to pay straight away if you have no travel insurance.
If you travel solo around Australia, the only viable way is to keep accommodation costs down to a minimum. Even staying in YHA hostels in Australia will cost you money. Consider that a bed in a six-female dorm will cost you around 30-35 Australian dollars per night; you quickly come to 900-1000 Dollars per month. And this is a lot of money just for sleep.
While I recommend staying in hostels, I would also suggest doing your research into other viable ways. For instance, make good use of all your social contacts and networks: from friends to travel forums and networks.
Here are my recommendations for cheap accommodation in Australia:
Staying with friends is another great way of getting free accommodation. If you have friends or know someone who could host you in Australia, that’s the second-best option. In exchange, you can offer to contribute to the necessary expenses like water, electricity, internet and whatever you use. You can also do some work for them like cooking, cleaning the house, walking the dog, etc.
Using Airbnb is a great option if you cannot afford expensive hotels and look for more privacy than a hostel. I love Airbnb, and I have had fantastic experiences. I use Airbnb very often in Australia, not only to save money on accommodation but also to meet the fantastic Aussie locals. On this page, you can read about my tips for having a great stay with Airbnb.
How to stay with Airbnb in Australia
Housesitting is the best among all sustainable ways for funding and travelling long term in Australia. I had my first house sit in Sydney and loved it. This year I house sat in Perth twice and am looking forward to more house sit assignments in new corners of Australia. Housesitting is by far my favourite way of staying on long-term travels because it gives me full freedom of having a comfortable home for myself while looking after it and enjoying the company of one or two pets. Having plenty of time to focus on me and do solid work with no distractions is gold.
A travel network can be helpful for short stays from one to three days. There are women-only travel networks where fellow solo travellers meet up and exchange experiences. I have used broads abroad for over five years in Australia, met lovely women and made long-lasting friendships. This travel network stopped existing, though. On Facebook, there are plenty of Women Travel Forums and if you prefer using Couchsurfing is also a good option.
Volunteer work may not be for everyone, but if you are open to considering it, it can be the right way of travelling long-term in Australia in exchange for food and accommodation. Woofing is one of the organisations that offer volunteering projects on organic farms throughout Australia against a yearly subscription of about 60 Australian Dollars. One more organisation is helping worth checking out if you think of volunteering in Australia and staying in the long term.
Depending on the type of travel visa you have, you may be allowed to work while you travel to Australia and fund your travels on the go. If you are a resident of Australia or have Australian citizenship, are visiting on an Australian working holiday visa or a student gap year, you may want to consider location-independent work like babysitting or pet sitting jobs as a flexible option to help sustain your long-term travels. Looking after children in Australian homes is a fantastic way to connect and engage with the locals and participate in the community.
Transportation costs can be very costly in Australia. Being a big country, going from A to B will cost you a lot of money if you don’t plan and get domestic flight deals.
I plan more posts in the next months to share my experience and tips on avoiding a significant drain on your budget for Solo Travel Australia.
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If you are wondering if solo travel in Australia is safe? I have no doubt; my answer is yes. It’s safe and easy, provided you plan a well time. This is a general rule that is valid for long-term holidays like a gap year or a sabbatical.
I have been travelling for 15 years on my own around Australia, and these are the best sites I use all the time for planning all my solo road trips in Oz.
First published in 2015, last updated in April 2021
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