When I Went: May 17, 2011-Feb 22, 2012
Was That the Best Time of Year to Go? The best time to visit is November to March. This is when things are warmer because it’s their summer, while we are in winter.
Why I Went There: I graduated from UT in 2010 and decided to work for awhile and then go backpacking. The majority of Americans do not take extended traveling trips, and I thought it would be cool to branch out. I got a working holiday visa, because I thought it would also be interesting to work in a foreign country. I chose Australia because it is a very laidback country with friendly people, as well as just a flat-out beautiful place. New Zealand is her neighbor, so I also felt it would be great to go there.
Who Went With Me? I went by myself. It is very easy to meet people. Many people from all over the world travel alone and do the same thing. When you stay in hostels and work, meeting people comes easy. Also, since there aren’t very many American backpackers, people seem to find you interesting.
We Stayed Here: I stayed in hostels all over the place. The hostels I’d recommend for someone going to Australia are the YHA Central in Sydney, as well as the Greenhouse Backpackers in Melbourne. These hostels are great for people of all ages. To be honest, I felt the majority of hostels in Australia and New Zealand had a wide variety of people, and they were very easy to interact with travelers. Hostelworld was my go-to site for hostel reviews.
You Won’t Want to Miss: If you visit Australia, you shouldn’t miss the Outback. The Outback has beautiful canyons and wildlife. When someone thinks of Australia, the Outback is what comes to mind first. It doesn’t disappoint. If deserts aren’t your thing though, Australia has some of the greatest beaches in the world. For New Zealand, I’d visit the South Island if you have a limited amount of time. Everything is beautiful, from Milford Sound to Abel Tasman National Park.
Eat Here: The local fish & chips shops in both New Zealand and Australia are amazing. My personal favorite was Carlisle’s Seafood in St. Kilda, which is a suburb of Melbourne.
Play Here: Brunswick Street in Melbourne is a great place to go out. The street is lined with trendy bars. Queenstown, New Zealand, is also a great place to play. It’s a big party town on the South Island.
If I Went Again: If I went again, I’d definitely go to Western Australia around Perth. Western Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches and amazing wildlife in the world. I didn’t get the chance to go, but next time I’m down under, I’m definitely going to head out there.
How Did You Get There From Dallas? I flew on Qantas direct to Sydney. It’s a great airline. I flew Air New Zealand back to the U.S. and had a layover in Los Angeles. Both are great airlines.
Other Tips For Fellow Travelers: Words cannot express how beautiful some of the places are. From the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia, to Milford Sound in the South Island of New Zealand, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. You will also not meet a friendlier group of people than both Australians and New Zealanders (Kiwis).