Visiting Yellowstone National Park is featured prominently on every sane traveller’s bucket list – but alas, it takes time and plentiful cash to get to Wyoming, USA!
But if it’s natural wonders that tickle your fancy, of course Australia came well prepared. We think your budget is better suited to fly to the Great Top End, to see the equally beautiful Kakadu National Park! Just a three-hour drive east of Darwin, Kakadu National Park’s 19,804 square kilometres make up Australia’s largest national park. The area is teeming with lustrous rainforest, 20,000 year-old rock art and flowing waterfalls. You won’t find any rogue moose or bison, but you’ll probably see a fair few crocodiles, wallabies and quolls – and what’s Australia best for if not the incredible wildlife? Seeing Kakadu and retracing the steps of Mick Dundee is a must for every Australian who is keen to learn more about the rich, indigenous history of the Northern Territory. The best part is, flights to Darwin are manageable and Darwin YHA is the best of the best when it comes to Top End budget accommodation. Go on – Yellowstone waits for thee.
We don’t blame you for having big dreams to visit the world’s largest tropical rainforest. But why not visit the world’s oldest? She’s just up in Queensland, after all!
The Daintree Rainforest is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. People travel from across the world to see it, and for you, it’s only a few measly hours on the plane! At just 1200 square kilometres, the Daintree is dwarfed by the 5.5 million square kilometres of the Amazon, but what the Daintree lacks in size, she makes up for in breathtaking natural delights. This tiny area alone contains 90 per cent of Australia’s bat and butterfly species, 30 per cent of its frog, reptile and marsupial species and 7 per cent of its bird species. On top of that, you’ve got vibrant emerald green canopies, awe-inspiring walking trails and cascading waterfalls for days. Though this idyllic paradise sounds otherworlds away, it’s only two hours north of Cairns Central YHA and an hour north of Port Douglas YHA. Oh BTW, the Daintree also provided the inspiration for the highest-grossing movie of all time, Avatar. Honestly – why haven’t you been yet?
So you have grand plans to visit the US capital, but when was the last time you’ve actually seen your own? Your Year 6 school camp?
Well, now that you’re old enough to visit Canberra without a permission slip from your parents, we’ll wager the Aussie capital has changed a tad since your last visit, and there’s plenty more for you to do besides tour the Parliament House and be in bed by 8:30pm. You can get right amongst the bar and foodie scene, for one! If brunch is your game, you’re spoilt for choice with chic cafés, such as The Cupping Room, whose incredible coffee makes American coffee look (even more like) liquid tar in comparison. When the sun goes down, hit up Hippo Co for divine cocktails and that dim-lit romantic vibe, or Hopscotch for a proper Aussie pub feed. If it was the arts and culture that was calling you to D.C., Canberra’s culture scene is unrivalled, with the National Museum of Australia, National Film and Sound Archive and Museum and Gallery and more just a free shuttle bus away from each other. Where are you staying? Right in the thick of the action at Canberra City YHA, of course! Eat your heart out, Mr President.
So you’re into big, long, beautiful walking trails, huh? No doubt Japan is home to some truly incredible ones, but haaaaave you met the Bibbulmun Track?
One of the world’s best long distance trails, the Bibbulmun Track stretches 1000 glorious kilometres from the outskirts of Perth to the quaint seaside town of Albany. You can hike the whole bloody thing or just do a day trip – however long you decide, you’re guaranteed to be positively mesmerised by the beauty you’ll encounter on this unique trail. We’re talking enormous karri and tingle forests, picturesque valleys, larger-than-life granite boulders and jaw-dropping coastal heathlands. The biodiversity of the Track is incredible – beautiful wildflowers, the enchanting songs of blue wrens and you may even spot a quokka (thanks to fox baiting, their numbers are slowly growing around the Northcliffe area)! If you love long walks but believe there’s nothing glam about camping, you’re in luck. Albany YHA, Walpole YHA, Pemberton YHA and Denmark YHA are some of the only budget accommodation options in the towns along the track. Real talk: you’ve been “meaning” to go to Western Australia for way too long now. It’s time to actually do it!
If your mates spamming your feed with Dubrovnik photos managed to pull themselves away from the boozy cesspool of their yacht, they probably visited Lokrum Island – a beautiful oasis solely inhabited by peacocks boasting some downright gorgeous views.
But honestly, who needs peacocks when you have native white wallabies? Right in beautiful Hobart’s backyard, Bruny Island is a slice of paradise mixed with rugged wilderness. Diverse wildlife such as fur seals, dolphins, penguins and wombats run rampant, and of course, the rare white wallaby you can’t see anywhere else. Though Lokrum Island provided a dramatic setting to the infamous Dracarys scene in Game of Thrones, Bruny Island has a unique history of its own. When European colonisation of Australia occurred, William Bligh planted some of the first apple trees on the island – thus beginning Tasmania’s nationally renowned reputation of being “The Apple Isle.” While activities on Lokrum are limited to cliff diving and peacock spotting, you’ll be spoilt for choice on Bruny. Enjoy the untouched landscapes, devour the gourmet delicacies (cheese, berries, fudge and oysters, anyone?) and snap photos of picturesque beaches and adorable animals. Yep, a day here beats a day trying not to step on peacock chicks any day. Base yourself at Hobart Central YHA and let the good times roll.
Gansbaai is well known for its epic shark encounters, but who needs to fly all the way to South Africa to get up close to Great White Sharks, when the best experience in the world is right in yo’ backyard?
Port Lincoln is a hidden gem right at the bottom of our great country, offering unrivalled ocean adventure possibilities. If you’re ready to face your fears and look a majestic Great White in the eye, you’ll be wanting to book a shark cage dive tour with Calypso Star Charters, for an experience you will not soon forget. Cruise past dolphins, seals and perhaps a whale if you’re lucky, and then it’s time to get down to business. Be lowered into your cage and enjoy 45 minutes of face-time with the sharks. If you don’t see one, you’ll dive again for half price! As you enjoy all meals onboard, you’ll also learn plenty about shark conservation from the experienced guides. However, if the idea of being up close to a shark has you shaking in your flippers, try swimming with the playful sea lions or intriguing tuna instead. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a water baby through and through or you just love a good time, venture to Port Lincoln any time of year for the adventure of a lifetime. Stay at Port Lincoln YHA while you’re at it – friendly beach vibes and epic paella nights all round!
If it’s the big city life for you, you’re obviously craving a trip to the Big Apple - those bright lights and high rises have been beckoning to you for a while. But if the taxman won’t fund your trip, we have an alternative for you – cool-as-a-cucumber Melbourne.
Melbourne with its dreamy skyline, incredible cultural scene, vibrant nightlife and all-round coolness has fast become one of the most popular cities to visit in Australia. The fact it was the exclusive opening destination for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child tells you something about its ever-growing world status. And boy, does she live up to her reputation! Around every corner you’re bound to find one or more of the following: a fabulous eatery, a cool rooftop bar, something super arty and/or indie, and quirky street art. You could spend the rest of your life here and never run out of things to do – from BBQing on a boat bobbing along the river, to collecting escape room experiences. Check out our expertly curated list of 10 Unique Things To Do in Melbourne for the complete lowdown. So if your tax won’t cover a hideously long flight and overpriced NYC accommodation, Melbourne – and Melbourne Central YHA or Melbourne Metro YHA – is the way to go. It’s all the excitement of NYC, less the subway rats and throng of annoying tourists literally everywhere you go. We don’t care if you’ve been before – go again!
Now, this one is controversial, but if you take a deep breath and really think, there’s very little that London offers that Sydney doesn’t.
Let’s just break it down for a second. That bustling big city life you’re craving? Check. An incredible selection of restaurants boasting cuisines from all over the globe? Present. A luxurious shopping scene? Got it. Vibrant nightlife? Sorted. People with cute accents? Affirmative. Enormous, world-famous, Instagrammable attractions? Correct – and may we just add – the sight of sparkling Sydney Harbour is just a little bit more dazzling than capturing the Big Ben in gloomy weather, with approximately two million tourists in the way. So basically, we’d really love to know what London has that Sydney doesn’t (at a fraction of the price, mind you, and Sydney isn’t exactly known for being cheap…so basically, London prices are pretty cooked). Alas, the only thing we can’t offer is a meet-cute with Colin Firth…but you can always watch his movies using the free fast Wi-Fi at our fabulous Sydney Surrounds hostels!