Backpacking in Australia: planning ahead

Just last weekend, over the Easter break, I was staying in a small coastal town when two groups of tourists approached me looking for accommodation that night.

The first was a family around lunch time who needed a place to stay. The only place in the whole town was an entire house for a rather expensive $400 a night.

The second were a group of young guys driving around at night, looking for a bar and literally anywhere they could rest their heads. All the motels and hotels and apartments were booked out. Even the tent campsite had no more free space on that cold night.

What I learned from these two encounters was to plan ahead. If not, you’ll either end up paying too much or not finding a place at all.

Backpacking in Australia is one of those things you have to try at least once in your life. The cities are great but the real Australia is found in the outback and coastal regions; for example, Broome in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The experience of the open roads, the scenic walks and most of all, the people you meet is something you’ll never forget.

However, the liberating experience of travelling with little more than a backpack of clothes can soon pale if you find yourself freaking out over where you’ll be sleeping. If meeting people is what you’re looking for (and let’s face it; what’s a holiday if you don’t meet anyone new?), then pre-booking hostels are a great way to go.


Staying in dorms with tourists equally as eager as yourself is an easy way to make friends. Not to mention, hostels often have many communal areas like swimming pools, bars and pool table and table tennis areas where you can meet people.


Another tip when staying at hostels is to check for extra costs. For example, many hostels charge extra for linen and lockers (for one in Broome that doesn’t charge extra, check out Kimberley Klub .

Also, always check the reviews. You can’t expect the royal treatment when staying at hostels, but that doesn’t mean you should be sleeping with bed bugs all night.

Backpacking in Australia is definitely an experience. Plan ahead on the simple things and it’s sure to be a good experience.


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