- Written by Dan
Australia Travel Insights
Photo by Rapidtravelchai
Travel advice covering the basics when preparing to travel to Australia.
When to Go
The tropical North is known as the ‘land of two summers’—lots of sunshine year-round. May to September is the most popular time to visit since humidity is at its lowest and the nights are relatively cool, but the wet season (October to April) delivers the region’s best scenery. Central Australia, on the other hand, has little rain and low humidity through the entire year. Traditional seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere.
Several routes depart from Toronto and Vancouver daily. Expect to make at least two connections, usually at Los Angeles and Sydney, and a very long flight (which can take up to 39 hours—sorry, mate!).
Public transit around the Greater Darwin area and in Alice Springs is frequent and clean. One of the most convenient ways of exploring the outback includes renting a four-wheel drive vehicle, campervans or taking a self-driving tour, but be careful of the dead-straight roads and their long distances: there are no speed limits, the monotonous driving can lead to driver fatigue, and driving at night is most dangerous because of road trains and animals. Consider hopping on board the legendary Ghan train.
What to See and Do
The Ghan railway runs between Adelaide in the state of South Australia and Darwin in the north. It might not be cheap but it offers a comfortable ride and an opportunity to take in the territory’s beautiful and varied landscape. Rolling green hills change to desert, then to tropical oases.
The territory boasts two national parks recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites along with more than 50 other national parks, nature reserves, conservation areas and marine parks.
The Kakadu National Park, close to Darwin, has been inhabited continuously for more than 40,000 years by large Aboriginal populations and abounds with nature, wildlife and aboriginal rock art.
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, near Alice Springs, is named after the 348-metre high Uluru/Ayers Rock, which is sacred to the Aboriginals. Immense and ruggedly beautiful, Uluru is best visited at sunrise or sunset and offers plenty of adventure with hiking trails, camel and motorcycle tours.
Goway Travel offers a variety of tours ranging from two to seven days in both the Red Centre and the Top End (goway.com). Intrepid Travel also has a selection of small group Australia trips, including a two-day Kakadu camping safari (intrepidtravel.com). World Expeditions does a seven-day Kakadu and beyond trip (worldexpeditions.com). Adventure Travel Company offers a ten-day Kakadu to Uluru Safari (atcadventure.com).
Lords Kakadu and Arnhemland Safaris (lords-safaris.com) is also a good option for exploring the Top End’s heritage and culture. Further south, in the outback around Alice Springs, Wayoutback Desert Safaris (wayoutback.com.au) is similarly excellent for small group interpreted touring.