Transportation in Australia
The fact that Australia is home to some of the world’s top universities is only one of the many reasons students from around the world choose to further their education in this diverse, intriguing country. With geography that ranges from barren deserts to tropical rainforests and an eclectic blend of cultures found throughout the country, learning and exploring outside of the classroom bring a whole new depth to the education that students studying in Australia will receive. To take full advantage of the range of experiences available during your stay, it is necessary for you to familiarize yourself with local, regional and cross-country options for transportation in Australia. This will allow you to determine the options that are most affordable and convenient for each excursion.
The type of transportation that will best suit your needs depends on the type of travel you plan to embark on while in Australia. For example, while renting a car may be the best option for weekend road trips exploring parts of Australia’s vast Outback, urban adventures in one of Australia’s major cities can be easily undertaken using only public transportation. It is important to remember that Australia encompasses 2,988,902 square miles (7,741,220 kilometers) and that you should expect to travel great distances to go from one major city to the next.
Arriving in Australia
Prior to partaking in any type of travel within Australia, you first have to get there. This is almost always accomplished by plane, although it is possible to arrive by boat as well. Major airports are located in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Cairns and Darwin, with each of these destinations serviced by major airlines generally connecting from the U.S.A., Europe or Asia.
If your university is located in your city of arrival, you will likely find a taxi or bus to be the most convenient means of transport between the airport and your campus. Before planning your ground transportation, check with your school to determine if it is one of the many that provide arrival services to new students, including having a representative meet you at the airport or arranging for a shuttle service to campus.
Plane Travel in Australia
Due to the great distance between major cities and different regions of the country, plane travel is a popular option for transportation in Australia. While this option will not allow you to enjoy a scenic journey along the coast or through the wilderness, it will allow you arrive much more quickly than with other transportation options. If you plan to travel long distance while in Australia, search online for deals on domestic flights. Students can often find affordable fares on Jetstar, although Qantas and Virgin Blue are also good options.
Rail Travel in Australia
If your travel schedule allows more time for transportation, you may want to consider traveling by rail. Rail transportation in Australia is well-established and is a cost-effective means for traveling within each state, as well as across the country. Choosing to travel by rail will allow you to enjoy a scenic journey while en route to your destination, but it will take considerably longer to arrive than traveling by plane.
There are a variety of rail passes available that allow for multiple travel dates for up to 90 days, depending on the pass you choose. Rail passes are a great option for students who plan to travel frequently and can assist you in saving money on both long and short journeys.
Bus Travel in Australia
Students who choose bus travel for long journeys are generally more concerned about cost than a quick arrival. While traveling by bus can be a bit slow and tedious, it does allow you to enjoy the scenery in comfort while on the way to your destination. This cost-effective option for transportation in Australia is an excellent choice for getting around town and short journeys, and is a viable option for traveling between major cities if you are not on a tight schedule.
Car Travel in Australia
Renting or purchasing a car during your stay in Australia provides the most freedom and convenience of any option for transportation in Australia. Opting for car travel allows you to choose how quickly or leisurely you arrive at your destination and allows you to explore Australia unfettered by train schedules and bus routes.
Whether you choose to rent a car for a weekend drive up the coast or a week camping in the bush, you will find that this convenient option allows you to add impromptu side trips, explore villages and see a different side of Australia that is not necessarily found along major roads between cities.
The key to convenient transportation in Australia is to plan ahead. Know your options, establish your travel budget and determine the amount of time you can allow for transportation. Then, make sure you plan for transportation to and from your destination, as well as transportation during your stay.