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When you arrive in Australia, you will soon realise that there are many ways to experience your time Down Under.

Hostel folk will always tell you that their way was best – “You have to travel first…” “No, get a job and save some money first…” “Farm work first, then fun stuff later….”

While advice is nice, pay as little attention as possible to anyone who tries to tell you how to travel. It is entirely up to you, there is no right or wrong way to go about it and whether you decide to work in the city or the country first and then head off or vice versa is totally fine!

People travel in different ways, they enjoy seeing and experiencing different things and like staying longer in different places so don’t worry if that noisy guy at the hostel bar thinks you’re mad for wanting to work first and travel later!

With that being said, we at Ultimate Travel like you to be able to make as informed a decision as possible when it comes to travelling in Australia.

There are two main options for your travelling delights – campervan or bus (more specifically, the Greyhound). With the Ultimate Travel East Coast Package, we take care of pretty much everything you are going to want to do throughout your time on the East Coast. Make sure you have a look through the package as, by booking up in advance, you can save heaps of cash!

Both campervans and buses have their merits and they suit certain people perfectly. A 6 hour bus ride may be your idea as hell, just as sleeping each night in a van may be too, so we’ll try and break down the pros and cons of each and see what you think!

Remember, it is up to you and just get travelling! If you need any more information about either campervan travel or Greyhound tickets – get in touch!

Basics

Obviously, the only thing you need to get on the Greyhound is the money for the ticket! There is a luggage allowance of 20kgs which you should bear in mind too but luggage on the Greyhound is a bit of a grey area. They aren’t like an airline and don’t take the luggage allowance too seriously but if you turn up with two surf-boards and 12 bags – you’re going to get charged more! Other than that, you are good to travel anywhere in Australia via Greyhound.

When travelling the East Coast, a Kilometre Pass offers the best value for money, outside of our Ultimate East Coast trip, and let’s you travel between Sydney and Cairns effortlessly!

With a campervan, you’ve got to be able to drive! You do not need an Australian driving license but you do need a full driving license from your home country – if you are on a provisional license then you will be unable to drive unfortunately!

There are different insurance options which are long-winded and can be explained far better in person so if you need any more information on that – get in touch!

Just a little road trip primer – Australia’s drive on the left hand side of the road and their speed limits are in kilometres per hour, rather than miles as are the road signs. You will be looking at 100-120kms/h on highways and 40-70 on other roads but make sure you keep your eyes open for speed limit signs as you’ll still get fined even if you are a traveller!

Comfort

With the Greyhound comfort comes with experience. Your first bus journey is likely to feel pretty painful, especially if it is a long one! Make sure you check out our guide to surviving the Greyhound before you even think of setting foot on the bus!

Once you are used to the Greyhound seats and know what you need to make each journey as comfortable as possible, you should be fine. The beauty of the Greyhound is you’ll probably be sitting next to or near someone in your exact position – heading north to Cairns or south to Sydney or Melbourne.

There is a kindred spirit with travellers and you’ll pick up friends and knowledge as you head further along the road.

With a campervan, driving comfort is great! You’re either driving or sitting in the passenger seats, messing about with the radio and trying not to get lost!

The comfort issues come when the journey ends! Depending on the van you choose and the number of people you travel with, it could be a tight squeeze when you bed down for the night. Bear in mind when you are booking your campervan that you are going to get very close to whoever you choose to hit the road with…

Heat is a campervan problem that is difficult to get around. You can open as many windows as you want but getting the airflow through the van is tough. You’ll get used to the campervan quite quickly though and it becomes more bearable as the trip continues.

Campervans offer a lot more comfort for the actual travelling part of the journey but the bus offers the chance for more comfort once you arrive.

Freedom

One of the best thing about having a campervan is being able to stop and go as you please. If you drive past a cool sign and checking it out, you’re free to do so! Fancy an ice-cream or need a bathroom break? You’re in charge!

The bus isn’t exactly like that. You stop when the driver stops and you are limited to the Greyhound schedule. There are a heap of buses that leave each stop on the Greyhound map and there is extensive coverage right the way across Australia with a big focus on the East Coast – so you’ll be fine getting to all the major stops – but it is only the major stops that you get to explore.

If you do love the freedom to see a tourist information sign and turn off to find something a little more secluded then you’ll love a campervan but if you want to hit the big stops up the coast, a Greyhound is a great way to do it.

Accommodation

With the Greyhound, you’ll either be staying in hostels or sleeping on night buses. As I’m sure you all know, hostels are awesome! We can help you out with any bookings or any hostel recommendations you need.

Overnight buses also offer the chance to save a night on hostel costs and keep moving along the way. These are only available for the long journeys, which we’d recommend avoiding if you have the time to do so, so bear that in mind.

With the van, you’re accommodation is slightly different. You’ll be sleeping in the van obviously, but you have a variety of choices of where you stop.

Certain hostels offer really cheap parking where you can stay overnight, plug in and charge and have all the best of the hostel atmosphere. Campsites and caravan parks are a little quieter and more expensive but you can still meet fellow campervan travellers and enjoy some luxuries like a pool, a kitchen area and a game room – if you so desire.

There are certain road-side or beach-side stops you can stay overnight for free. These are sign-posted and and will often be filled with fellow travellers so keep your eyes peeled!

The beach side locations are awesome as they have bathroom facilities, showers and most of the time, free BBQs that you can use to cook your meals. Not to mention that you wake up at the beach!

I don’t want to sound like anyone’s Mum or Dad here but be careful. Make sure you lock your doors at night just in case and remember, you can’t just stop anywhere and sleep. Airlie Beach, for example, is very strict about campervans staying overnight in car parks and setting up camp anywhere they shouldn’t be. If you get caught trying to bunk a night somewhere around Airlie, you could be in for a hefty fine!

People

It is much easier to meet fellow travellers if you get to stay in hostels which makes it easier to meet people travelling by bus.

That isn’t to say that if you are in a campervan, you are on your own – far from it! You’ll see a tonne of campervans going both ways on the Pacific Highway and every stop you make, it is almost a certainty that there will be some other van nomads somewhere near by.

Much like a hostel, you just have to have the guts to start a conversation. With the campervan, you are able to meet people you wouldn’t normally get in hostels whether they are Grey Nomads (pensioners on road-trips around Australia) or groups of Aussies on holiday at different sites along the coast – you will have a different experience to the usual hostel life.

Experience

In terms of experience, it is a case of what you are hitting the road for.

If you are travelling the East Coast to hit the big spots, move on, go out, meet people similar to you and repeat then you will be fine on the bus. If you are looking to save money, have more of a structured arrival and departure pattern and spend time in some of the best hostels in the world – the bus could be for you too.

You may like the idea of managing your own time, stopping where and when you want and living out of a van for as long as you can! A massive part of the van experience is your co-pilots. If you are in a couple or have a group of close friends that you desperately want to travel with, then the van is a great way of splitting the cost of travelling and spending time with people you already love!

When it comes to the two coolest trips on the East Coast (Fraser Island and Whitsunday Islands) both are easily accessible by bus or by van. You’ll have to find somewhere to park your van before you go on the trips – there is secure parking near each departure point – but you are good to go either way.

With the bus, any side trips you want to go on will cost more just because you can’t drive yourself there. With the van, your only cost will be a map and petrol if you want to go somewhere without an official tour group.

Price

The big question really – how much does it all cost!?

Well, with a campervan it varies week to week, even day to day. To get the best rates, try and plan ahead and get in touch with one of our travel gurus as soon as you know when you want to go. We can talk you through the different van options available, the different companies to use and the different types of insurance cover you can buy. Even if you leave it until the last minute and want to book a van to leave in a couple of days, we’ll do our best to get you the best deal we can!

Another thing to remember with the van is the cost of petrol. While petrol isn’t astronomical in Australia it can soon add up. From personal experience (and this shows the nerd in me) I spent $536 on petrol from Cairns to Sydney in November 2013 travelling for a month. If you split that between two, three or four people – it is entirely manageable.

While you don’t have this cost on the bus, you do have hostel costs which soon add up. You will probably need to pay for the majority of campsites you use along the coast if you do choose a campervan but at least you have the option of free accommodation.

You’ll need to buy food for both and both options allow you to cook rather than eating out which saves a lot. With the campervan, you are able to buy food without worrying about the hostel fridge getting cleaned out but the fridges or coolers in each van vary in size as does how long the battery lasts without being charged up.

With everything that you get included with the UltimateOz East Coast package it is definitely worth considering if you want to travel by bus. You are given extra savings by booking all of the stuff you want to do in one go rather than breaking it up into chucks. You can add and take-away things you want to do or don’t fancy and add days on to your package but for that, you need to speak to one of us!

Decisions

Hopefully, this has given you a bit of a balanced view of the ways you can travel Australia!

The campervan or bus debate will long rage on and you’ll hear conflicting stories from both sides of the battle! Some will say the only way to experience Australia is driving it yourself, while others will tell you how much fun they had travelling by Greyhound not worrying about getting lost!

As I said earlier it doesn’t matter how you travel just as long as you do it! Whether you want a van or to jump a bus it is entirely up to you and remember we are here to help you every step of the way!

Let us know your best and worst bits of travelling by either campervan or bus! What would you do if you were travelling and if there are any questions left unanswered then fire away!

It seems to be an age old argument with Australian working holiday travel – should I travel alone or in a group?

Well, I’m glad I asked.

There are positives and negatives for both options and, ultimately, it is a personal decision whether you travel alone or with a more organised group.

When making this decision, that could completely shape the adventure you are about to embark on, you have to consider many things.

This isn’t a post trying to change your mind. If you are dead set on coming to Australia alone, I’m sure you’ll have an absolute blast! If you are thinking of coming to Australia as part of a group, here is why we offer a service that you won’t soon forget.

Relax!

The beauty of an UltimateOz tour is that it’s hassle free. Especially when moving to Australia long term, there’s a lot of niggly paperwork and processes to go through. If it’s your first long-term trip abroad, it is much more reassuring to have an experienced guide.

You will have nothing to worry about, we do this stuff for a living. You’ll arrive in Australia and we already have the information we need to get the paperwork you need sorted.

Booking your arrival week in Australia with us allows you to take a load off. If you are planning on staying in Australia for a prolonged period, we can help with all the boring bits that everyone would rather not have to go through. We apply for tax file numbers (which let you work in Australia), bank accounts and mobile phone numbers so as soon as you arrive in Australia you are ready to hit the ground running.

It is a strange thing moving to a country thousands of miles from home on your own. Some people thrive in the uncertainty, the not knowing what comes next. Others like a little more structure and that is what we offer.

We provide the tour, we aren’t an agency so you know what you are getting with us and you know where to look for any other help and advice that you need. There is no need for the middle man and you can contact us directly.

We are here for however long you’ll be here. If you finish your UltimateOz week and want to move to Melbourne, we are a phone call or email away. Want to head north, look for farm work or find a place in Sydney? Give us a shout. Even if you just want to come in for a chat and some wifi head to our shop and relax.

Speaking of WIFI….

It’s a tough mother to find in Australia. Aside from the fried goodness of McDonalds, free wifi is difficult to come by but UltimateOz travellers are given access to free wifi in our shop.

Of course, no-one books a life-altering trip just to spend time checking your Tweets, but it is nice to know you’ve got somewhere to fall back on wifi if you need to email your mum every once in a while so she’s knows you are still alive.

Did We Just Become Best Friends?!

UltimateOz is a great way to meet people. Whether you’re the most confident person that walks into a room or a little on the shy side, our groups are a great way to get together with like-minded people.

Having moved to Australia from England a year and a half ago, it was more difficult meeting people than I had expected. You have hostel buddies, people you make idle chit-chat with over breakfast or go out for a few too many beers with, but friendship is harder to find.

With UltimateOz, you can meet your group before you leave for Australia using our Facebook Groups. Everyone is in the same situation before they leave for Australia and by meeting the group first, you can see where people are coming from and where they have been before.

The group size of UltimateOz is kind of a perfect middle ground. The groups aren’t too big or small, you can get to know everyone during the week and spend enough time together to get to know one another well.

No two groups are the same so don’t think you are too young or old to come and enjoy an Ultimate week in Australia. As long as you are fun, open-minded and willing to meet other people then you are good to go!

When the week is over, many of our group members either travel together or move in together in Sydney. Whether you want to travel by campervan or Greyhound, we can help you and there is probably someone in your group that wants to do something similar.

UltimateOz Basecamp!

The best thing about the UltimateOz experience is that you are able to see more than just Sydney. While Sydney is an incredible city, one that has a habit of drawing you in, it is good to get a feel for somewhere else in your first week in the country.

After each group draws to a close, 9 times out of 10 the highlight has been UltimateOz Basecamp – our secret hideaway where you spend 2-nights during your first week. It’s paradise! Golden sands and crystal clear waters, dolphins playing in the water and koalas sleeping in the trees – its awesome!

While Basecamp only lasts a couple of days, it gives you a taste of what is to come on the East Coast of Australia, and it is close enough to Sydney that you won’t spend a day on the coach to get there and back.

Us Vs Them

In case you haven’t already Googled this – we aren’t the only people offering a welcome week in Australia. Let’s get down to brass tacks, why should you choose UltimateOz over competitors?

It all boils down to what we offer and how we provide the service. When in Sydney, you stay in the best hostel in the city (WakeUp!) and then head off on the amazing Basecamp in Port Stephens.

We focus on group activity. Many providers of similar tours have a heavy focus on the paperwork side of things – they help you get settled and then leave you to it. While we are fine with this if it is your choice, we want to give you a first week in Sydney that you’ll never forget and the reviews speak for themselves!

The job service we provide (more on that later) is an award winner and helps thousands of travellers a year find work right the way across Australia. We also have staff dedicated to help finding you work – they will help with your CV and applications making you the strongest possible candidate for any work you go for.

If you are just here for the fun times and travelling, we are more than capable of helping with that too – discounts anyone?!

Experience

UltimateOz has been around for 22 years and has seen the changing tourism industry in Australia. The company is not just a flash in the pan, make money quick deal, we really know our stuff.

One of the best things about UltimateOz is that we have been there, and done it all. I’m a backpacker myself and have been in Australia for just over 12-months. The rest of our work and travel gurus are a mixture of working holiday visas and sponsored workers from across the globe with a couple of Aussies thrown in for good measure!

We’ve all had to make those tough decisions – To farm or not to farm? Where to go and when to go? Where to live and how to find an apartment? How much tax should you be paying and how do you claim it back?

Our experience is here, so use it!

Whether you want to work first and then travel or vice-versa is completely fine. There is no right or wrong way to travel, Fraser Island will still be there in 3 weeks or 3 months. Do what is right for you and let other’s do the same.

A word of warning, you will get those massive pangs of Facebook jealousy. If your fellow UltimateOzers head straight up the Coast and you decide to work in Sydney for a few months, they’ll be exploring tropical paradise and you’ll be working a normal job.

Don’t let this put you off Sydney, Melbourne or any other Australian city though. Each has their own character and are filled with things to do and see – it just probably won’t sound as impressive as scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef!

Working

We help to prepare you for your time in Australia with our work and travel information talk. This gives you all the different options at your disposal, whether you want to hit the road or stay a little while, we have all the information you need.

If you’re heading to Australia looking for work, we’ll help you with your CV and job applications, and you’ll have access to our extensive backpacker job database. Many people arrive in Australia expecting work easily, and we don’t want to sugarcoat this: it is more difficult than people expect to find work in Australia, so a little help is always handy.

Don’t let this put you off, hundreds of thousands of travellers find work in Australia each year (myself included), just remember that it isn’t easy finding work. With our TAW service, we can help you along the way wherever you want to settle in Australia.

My Story

In the interests of full disclosure, I came to Australia without a tour group. I have family in Sydney and my interest in Australia was from a ‘living somewhere else’ mindset than an ‘let’s put the backpack on and see where I end up’ way of thinking.

I’d been to Sydney before and I absolutely love it, so I wanted to spend as much time as possible in the city. I’ve traveled the East Coast, done my farm work and am on my second year visa. I’ve been to Melbourne a few times too and I loved it there as well and a trip to Tasmania is on the horizon.

For me, with my mindset and family connections, it was a no-brainer to come alone. I wouldn’t change my decision but having worked at Ultimate Travel for over 6 months, I have seen how awesome the UltimateOz experience is. You might think that this is only a week long experience but it totally isn’t.

People stay in touch with us right the way through their time in Australia, whether they need help with travel plans or finding work or they just want to chat through their options with someone who has been in a similar position.

If you do decide to embark on your adventure alone, we’re still here to help! Come in to our shop and say hi, ask us questions on Facebook and Twitter, follow us on Instagram. We are here to help and we actually mean that!

If you arrive in Australia and all isn’t going well, don’t hesitate to contact us! We can help you with the paperwork, the tough decisions and the fun stuff too!

Whether you come alone or with us or anyone else, Australia is a great place to live, work and travel. The UltimateOz group gives you the best of all three (and wifi to boot), so what are you waiting for?!

Make a decision and get the hell over here!!

When you come to Australia, you don’t just want to take the standard photos.

“Here I am with the Opera House.”

“That’s me next to a kangaroo/holding a koala.”

“I don’t remember taking that photo, I think goon was involved.”

The bog-standard snaps of your amazing Australian adventure just will not cut it, you’ve got to go the extra mile and these seven natural wonders of Australia are the perfect places to pack an album, and learn something about yourself in the process.

Australia is one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. When many think of the country, they see red dirt, desert and not much else but Australia offers so much more, so much in fact that keeping this list to seven places is nearly impossible!

There are several, incredible parts of the Australian landscape that couldn’t make the list. From the Pinnacles desert of Western Australia, as the rock formations rise out of the sand, to the pink lake of Lake Hillier.

Kangaroo Island in South Australia is another amazing place. Packed with native species such as fur seals, koalas, platypus and (obviously) kangaroos, the island is a haven for nature off the southern Australian coast.

The Bungle Bungles of the Northern Territory are as cool as they sound. A crazy rock formation in that makes the ground look like it is a moving wave – it is another site not to be missed.

So, what did make our list of the seven natural wonders of Australia? Without further ado….

1) The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

It had to be number one. It is the largest living thing on Earth and stretches nearly the entire coast of Queensland. The Reef is home to thousands of species of fish, mammals and coral and is one of the best diving sites in the world.

The Great Barrier Reef is accessible from several stops on the Queensland coast with Cairns being the easiest spot to take a dive or snorkel trip. A full day on the reef is a must-do, and if you get the chance to scuba dive – even if you have never done it before – you have to give it a go!

2) Uluru, Northern Territory

Another must on any list of natural wonders in Australia, Uluru is one of the most sacred sites in Australia for many Aboriginal groups and really is a sight to behold.

The biggest monolith in the world is one of the lasting images of Australia and a trip to Uluru offers an outback experience that is totally unique to Australia.

A trip to Uluru has to be taken for a minimum of three days and the longer you can spend there the better as The Rock is only one of the amazing natural sights in this area of the Northern Territory. You need to see Uluru at either sunrise or sunset (preferably both) so bear that in mind on any trip you are thinking of booking and be prepared for your jaw to hit the floor!

One of our travel legends Max recently visited Uluru and you can read all about his trip here.

3) Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

About a fifth of Tasmania is World Heritage listed by the United Nations and over 40% of the island state is National Park or Wilderness. Tasmania is pretty much the epitome of natural beauty.

It is tough to pick just one place in Tasmania to make this list – the Bay of Fires is an awe-inspiring coastline, Wineglass Bay is  world-class and the Franklin River is an adventure in itself – but Cradle Mountain makes the list.

Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park looks like it has come straight from Middle Earth by way of Westeros and it is the start or end point of one of the monster hikes of Australia – the Overland Track. While it may not be everyone’s idea of fun, a 65km hike over a mountain sounds a little too strenuous to me, the Overland Track attracts 8000 hikers a year from the world over. If you don’t fancy a five day slog, there are much smaller walks, with awe-inspiring lookouts to take your fancy.

The pictures of Tasmania speak a thousand words and if natural beauty, great food and wine and a whole heap of animals are your thing – speak to one of our travel experts and book yourself a trip!

4) Daintree Rainforest, Queensland

The most ancient rainforest in the world, the Daintree of Far North Queensland is another spot of beauty around Cairns. A rainforest is a strange thing if you’ve never been to one and definately something worth checking out if you are planning a trip to Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef.

Giant trees and lush rainforest skirt the coast with crazy animals like the very rare Southern Cassowary calling the Daintree home – it feels like something out of Avatar!

Port Douglas, an hour north of Cairns, is the perfect starting place to explore the Daintree and many tour companies offer day or overnight trips to the rainforest where you can see some of the rarest creatures in Australia!

5) Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

One of the most exquisite and untouched areas of Australia, Kakadu National Park, is like another world!

The size of a country in itself, Kakadu is a maze of waterfalls, crocodiles and awesome views and has to be seen to be believed!

Trips leave from Darwin and we recently sent one of our finest travel experts to explore the area and she confirmed what we have long though – Kakadu is not to be missed.

6) Twelve Apostles, Victoria

One of the finest road trips in the world can be found on the Victorian coast along the Great Ocean Road and the Twelve Apostles are the highlight of the trip.

Just off the craggy Victorian coast there are actually only eight apostles left so get to Victoria quick before anymore fall! Erosion made the 45m rocky stacks and it is also felling them with no-one knowing how long the other stacks will last.

Several tour companies operate in the Area or you can speak with one of our experts about hiring a campervan and touring the Great Ocean Road with your mates!

7) Fraser Island, Queensland

Ah, Fraser Island. Every backpackers favourite adventure on the East Coast.

The biggest sand island in the world is an incredible place to visit, a big slice of wilderness just off the Queensland coast and a rite of passage for any backpacker.

Whether you stay overnight or just for the day, Fraser Island cannot be missed. The beautiful freshwater lakes of the island, and the crystal clear Eli Creek are highlights and four wheel driving around the island is an adrenalin rush like no other.

If you are camper-vanning down the coast, you can securely park your van before exploring the island as only four wheel drive vehicles are allowed on the island, you’ll find out why as soon as you arrive!

Keep your eyes peeled for dingoes as they roam the island and make sure your camera has a full-battery – you’ll take a lot of photos!

If you want to book any trips to anywhere on the list (and you should want to book all of them!), get in touch with one of our Ultimate Travel gurus and we help you with all your travel needs!

Where is your favourite natural spot in Australia? Crazy for the Blue Mountains or Phillip Island? Let us know in the comments below!

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