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Top 10 Tips for First-Timers to Australia

Top 10 Tips for First-Timers to Australia

The phrase ‘holiday of a lifetime’ is an overused expression, and often incorrectly used.  One of the remaining cases where this idiom still often rings true is with a holiday to Australia.  For many, a holiday ‘down under’ is the ultimate holiday destination, a dream that may turn into reality upon retirement, semi-retirement or an unexpected windfall.  Many people will not visit this amazing destination again, so it’s essential that your first, and perhaps only, trip is memorable in every aspect.  Here are our top 10 tips for ensuring that your first trip to Australia exceeds all expectations:


The Three Rs – Research Research Research

Part of the fun of planning a holiday is reading up on all of the exciting must-see sights and attractions that have to be visited.  Nowhere is this more true than Australia.  Imagine coming home and being told that there’s this amazing sandstone monolith not far from Alice Springs (only 270 miles!) and you’d forgotten to add it to your list of must-see sights!  So invest in a good quality guidebook to really whet your appetite.  There is an excellent range of guidebooks available from the likes of Lonely Planet, Fodor and DK Eyewitness – pick one that’s written in the style of holidaymaker that you are! 

Don’t be fooled by how neat and tidy Australia looks on a map.  It isn’t small and perfectly formed – it’s vast and perfectly formed!  Plan your trip as if it will be your first and only visit and you won’t be disappointed.


Use a Reputable Travel Agent

Naturally, we would recommend ourselves, Travel Club Elite.  Our sales staff would love nothing more than to use their experience and expertise to help you put together the perfect trip.  And we only work with the best tour operators.  Not only do our preferred suppliers offer the necessary financial protection for their guests, but they are widely acknowledged as experts with substantial first-hand knowledge of holidays to Australia.  Book your trip with Travel Club Elite and we can also offer significant savings.


Don’t Rush Out There…

A trip to Australia will involve the longest flight (including connecting flights) that you’ve probably ever done.  There’s also the massive change in time zones (Australia itself has three separate time zones).  Do not underestimate the effect that this can have on your poor body clock.  One way to alleviate the exhausting travelling arrangements is to break up your journey (there and back!) with a stopover.  The most popular options are Hong Kong and Singapore, but you may also wish to consider Middle Eastern gems such as Dubai.  If time is no object, then a line voyage virtually eliminates all jet lag and gives you the opportunity to savour a leisurely voyage to Australia that harks back to the golden age of cruising – you’ll get two ‘holiday of a lifetime’ experiences.


…And Don’t Rush Back

A key cost for holidays to Australia, unsurprisingly, is the airfare.  The airfare will be the same whether you go for a long weekend (really?) or to escape the grim and grey British winter for a few months, so you should aim to visit for as long as you can.  In this respect it’s not too dissimilar to a visit to a theme park.  The ticket price gives you entry, then the more rides you do the greater the value for money the entry ticket offers.  In other words, the longer you stay in Australia, the greater the value offered by your flight ticket.  Remember that Australia is a continent as well as a country.


Must-Sees and Must-Dos

Uluru at sunrise (and sunset, or both!), the Great Barrier Reef, kangaroos, Sydney Opera House, duck-billed platypuses, Bondi Beach, driving along the Great Ocean Road and koalas.  And for those who wish to go from one extreme to another – ziplining in Queensland’s Daintree Forest and savouring a flat white – espresso coffee and steamed milk but without the foam of a cappuccino - Melbourne’s gift to the world’s coffee lovers.


Immerse Yourself – Go Aussie

Savour every second.  See everything and not just the major tourist sights.  Marvel at the natural wonders and enjoy seeing the wildlife, much of it indigenous to ‘Straya’, although you can also see camels in Western Australia and penguins near Melbourne.  Eat local delicacies, sample the local wines, explore the heritage and culture of this fantastic country, flick through the local paper, absorb all around you.  Any trip to Australia should include city, outback and coast.


Visit Friends & Family

Of course you’ll meet up with family and friends while you’re in the so-called ‘lucky country’.  Most escorted tours include plenty of free time to do your own thing, including meeting up with family and friends who may have emigrated to Australia.  Evenings spent in the company of Australia-based family and friends will give a fascinating insight into the way of life and may well be the highlights of your trip.  But rack your brains so that you don’t overlook a former work colleague or distant (literally) relative who would value the opportunity to catch up on news and wax lyrical about the joys of being an ex-pat.  Who knows, they may even persuade you to swell their ranks!


What’s On

Countless fantastic events take place throughout the year.  Don’t necessarily plan your visit around a particular event, but definitely build an event into your schedule if it coincides with your trip.  From sporting events – cricket (the Boxing Day Test at the MCG is an iconic sporting event), tennis (the Australian Open takes place in Melbourne every January) and Formula 1 (the traditional season curtain-raiser each March) – to cultural highlights such as Australia Day (January 26th), Sydney’s world-famous Gay Mardi Gras (usually around February and March) and ANZAC Day (April 25th), there’s something for everyone.  For music lovers, there’s even an annual Northern Soul festival.


Budget Carefully

There’s a saying in travel that we swear by at Travel Club Elite, when we’re all packed and ready to go: ‘take half the amount of clothes and twice the amount of spending money’.  With a trip to Australia it’s actually easy to pack fewer clothes than you would on a two-week holiday elsewhere as you will already have accepted that you will become regular patrons of Australian laundromats while you’re away.  But budget generously.  You don’t want the shine taken off the best holiday of your life by having to scrimp and cut out small luxuries on your last week or two.


Don’t forget New Zealand!

The flight time from Australia to New Zealand – around three and a half hours from Eastern Australia – is not dissimilar to the flight time from London to Moscow.  But, to take Fatboy Slim out of context, you’ve come a long way, baby.  And if you think it’s unlikely that you’ll be returning to the southern hemisphere anytime soon, you may forever figuratively kick yourself if you don’t include a visit to New Zealand too.


Let us help you plan the holiday of a lifetime to Australia.  Contact us today on 0800 707 6229 or


  • 8th January 2019
  • Gary Lloyd