Travelling solo around Australia – My trip in 2011

Written by on November 5, 2014 in Solo Travel, Solo Travel Stories

My Australia Trip in 2011

This is a photo of the map to show you where I have been during my first 4 weeks of travel across Australia. On separate section you will learn more about each single trip leg. A short recap on how I have been travelling across Australia in the first 4 weeks:
  • 3100 km by car
  • 5400 km by air ( 3 domestic flights)
  • 100 km by train
  • 50 km of walking tracks

This image with the Google Australia Map, gives you an ideas of the areas I have visited. A giant loop crossing 4 australian states. Below a detailed report of the first part of my travel across Australia.


A short stay in Melbourne – Arriving from Europe

My travel across Australia started in Melbourne, where we landed after a long flight from Dubai to Australia. The first days have been slow, as I was pretty much jetlagged. I like Melbourne, what I most enjoy is strolling through the arcades and walking along its Yarra’s river banks. The first day I needed to fill my lungs with fresh air and try to adjust as quick as I could to the southern hemisphere time zone. We arrived early in the morning, that meant waiting at least 12 hours for bed time:( uhm… so I decide to take a stroll along the Southbank of the Yarra River and stopped to watch some young girls kayaking. And I did a lot of walking for the most of my time in Melbourne. This time I did not enjoy Melbourne as usual, I could not get any sleep, since the hostel were we stayed was loud backpacker hostel, with ongoing wild parties, and on top of this the surrounding area was pretty loud too, due to road works. The drilling on the road at 6.00am in the morning was our free weak up alarm clock. Not really a relaxing start! So, we were happy to leave after 4 days in Melbourne to reach our second destination: The GOR.


Exploring the South East Coast of Australia by car

A Road Trip along the Great Ocean Road Although it was my second time on the GOR I honestly did not have a vivid memory of the beauty of this coastal drive! The first time, seven years ago, I went on a 3,5 day tour, which was good, but this time I was keen to drive by myself, so we rented a car and headed off from Melbourne. The benefit of driving by yourself is huge, not only you stop wherever and whenever you want, you can decide spontaneously what to do and adjust your plans according to how things evolve on your way. From Geelong to Lorne there are a few places really worth a stop for taking photos and enjoying a stunning view over the ocean. What it most struck me was the variety of things you can do there. Read more about what the Great Ocean Road drive has to offer here.

“Back Home” – Returning to Adelaide after over 30 years

Adelaide – a family get together This time Adelaide was the primary stop for my friend, a place to see family and friends after a long time and for me to enjoy their company, by listening to their stories and their memories. It was fascinating and really enjoyed this time in Adelaide. The weather was not on our side, it rained, so the ideal time to hide and discover the beauty and treasures of the South Australia Museum.


Ayers Rock is not just a ROCK

Savouring the peacefulness of the Red Centre I have been traveling extensively in Australia and had been there 7 years ago. I was keen to show this spectacular part of Australia to my friend. This time I experienced driving 1500km from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon and forth to the Ayers Rock resort. A memorable experience! Read more about my road trip to the Red Centre.

One of my favourite Areas of Australia

Darwin – the TOP END of Australia. This time was a bit of a disappointment! Cannot tell why, but this is how I felt! First of all the hostel did not work out so as expected. The weather that prevent us from going to the Kakadu National Park. 4 days spent in the city and trying to making the most of our time. Meeting people and relaxing.


Some beautiful places of Tropical North Queensland

From Port Douglas to Daintree National Park, Cairns and the Atherton Tableland If Darwin let me down on this first part of my trip across Australia, Cairns definitely was full of nice surprises. We could not do exactly what we had planned, again due to the heavy rain, which made it difficult to access Cooktown and other regions. This area in North Queensland is very unique but you can only enjoy it fully if the weather is good.

For my second visit to this Australian region, we managed to see the Moosman Gorge and Daintree forest north of Port Douglas. And eventually from Cairns we headed off to the Milla Milla Falls. Cairns itself is a nice small town, for the ideal base for discovering the surrounding area, to go on a Great Barrier Reef tour or taking a walking trail into the rainforest. There is so much too see and do in this area, you can plan a whole week there! Cairns itself has developed to a a very well organized city offering literally everything you may need during your stay.

After 4 weeks the first part of my Australia Trip my friend returned home from Sydney. And from that day I was travelling solo again, as I used to do and as I love most.

How I spent the last 4 weeks of my Australia Trip

The third leg of my Australia Trip was focused on The Northern Territory and the Kimberley Wilderness Region. I had not been able to visit much of these areas during my previous travels because of bad dweather conditions. That’s why I decided to go back during the dry season. May is definitely a good time of the year to visit the Top End of Australia and the Kimberley Region. In May the landscape still retains the beautiful colours of the lush green vegetation, gorges are still filled with water and not many people are around. The ideal setting for a visit. Read how I traveled to the Top End and what I have seen. Here you can read about my trip to the Eastern Kimberley.

So how does the travel distance chart looks like for the final part of my travel in OZ ?

  • 7100 km by train
  • 1700 km by bus (Greyhound Bus)
  • 1150 km by 4WD
  • 400 km by aeroplane
  • 140 km by car (2WD)


A Train Trip across Australia on the GHAN – From Adelaide to Darwin

An epic train trip on the Ghan across the country Travelling on The Ghan Train across Australia from south to north or viceversa is probably the wish of many australians and overseas travellers. For a series of reasons this time I chose to travel by train from Adelaide to Darwin. When I arrived in Australia in March I found out about the special offer australia rail was launching on their website to all overseas travellers. Moreover I investigate a bit more and learnt about the improvements made on the Ghan Red Service. So I was very much looking forward to getting onboard of the Ghan again for the second time. My memories about my first train trip across the country back in 2008 were not so positive so I was eager to try it out and have another go. And I tell you I was pleasantly surprised of the huge improvements that have been made on this train. Learn more about my train trip on the Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin and back.


The Top End of Australia – The Kakadu National Park and The Kimberley

The Kakadu National Park and The Eastern Kimberley are not really close to each other, just about 1000km 🙂 But geographically they are at the very Top End of Australia. I had planned to spend a whole month there, in the end it turned out to be a bit less than 3 weeks. To be honest you would need alone for the Kimberly a whole month. The region is as bis as Germany, so you can soon figure it out how vast this area is. However I am really pleased I managed to see the Eastern Kimberley this time and the Kakadu National Park. Much is still there to be explored on future travels. The important thing is for me is to get a feel of the place rather than cram too much into my itinerary.


Back from Darwin to Adelaide – again on the Ghan Train

Enjoying the outdoor Lifestyle of Darwin I really love Darwin, always, at any time of the year. I simply feel “at home” in Darwin and love spending time there. Darwin is one of those places I miss when I leave. It is a city of party, for great outdoor lifestyle, restless buzz and creativity, a place I could love to settle down for a while! 🙂 I had a great time there meeting people, discovering new places and enjoy its beaches its, aweseome sunsets, its lively markets. When I left Darwin beginning of June I knew my time in Australia was coming to a close. Feeling sad for a while I knew in my deepest heart that I will coming back one day soon in the future. The return train trip to Adelaide on the Ghan was also magnificient, this time I upgraded to a Red Cabin. Read more about my experience aboard the Ghan train


Winter days in Adelaide and in Melbourne

Bringing my trip to a close in Adelaide and in Melbourne. I touched base in Adelaide when arriving from Darwin on the Ghan and spent one night there, just to readjust myself to the winter temperatures and be ready to get on to the next train off to Melbourne, where I spent the 4 last days of my trip. Melbourne is always a fun city full of live and entertainment of all kinds. In my opinon Melbourne is the most visitor friendly town in Australia, ffering lots of free services to travelers and lots of free information throughout the city.

Where I have been in Australia – April to May 2011

Middle of April, after 4 weeks with a travel companion, my solo travel adventure could start. I had not made any fix plans for this second part of my travels. Queensland was my focus and was keen to see as much as I could of it. Queensland is a huge state with the most diverse landscape you can imagine. First step was to make my mind on how I wanted to travel for the rest of my time in Australia. in 2004 I travelled from Cairns to Brisbane on the Greyhound bus stopping at Mission Beach, Whitsundays Islands, Harvey Bay, Fraser Island. This time I wanted to see more places on the coastline and of the outback too.

After 3000km of driving, and a few flights within Australia, I was very much looking forward to exploring Australia on a more comfortable way so as to suit my solo travel needs better.

Australia is a huge country with endless travel distances; as a solo traveler you are bound to be on the road for a long time and of course completely alone! I find driving in Australia pretty tiresome, unless you have a travel companion with whom you can swap the drive and have a chat I would not welcome driving solo long distances on the australian roads.


How to travel around Australia when not flying or driving

There are ways, bus and train. I am a huge fan of train travel. In Europe I travel on train by 90% of my time. This time I was keen to experiencetrain travel in Australia too. And this exactly how I traveled for the rest of my time in OZ. It has been an awesome experience, a rather different experience from the type of train travel I am used to in Europe. I will tell you more about my train travel experience in Australia on the next posts.

For now I am giving you a recap of what I have been doing during my solo travel experience in Australia: I love travelling alone and here you can read about the pros and cons of travelling solo in Australia. The picture above shows you where I travelled by train across Australia.

From the North to the South Queensland along its coastline

The first leg of my train travel in Australia covered the whole of the coastline from Cairns to Brisbane. The first stop was Magnetic Island where I stayed 3 days. A little island in the dry tropics of Queensland with beautiful little beaches and secluded bays, over 10 walking tracks and plenty of sports activities. Learn more about my travel experience on Magnetic Island here.


From Townsville to Rockhamprton on the Sunlander and the Tilt Train

The Sunlander and the Tilt Train run their service from Cairns down to Brisbane twice a week. I took advantage of my Ausrail Pass to get on and off these 2 trains. My second stop was Rockhampton and from there I proceeded to Landsborough on the Tilt Train. Beerwah is where I spent 5 days over Eastern doing some volunteer work at the Wildlife Hospital in Beerwah An amazing experience I want to share with you. Click on the link to read more.


Brisbane and the Queensland’s Oubtack Cunnumulla

One goal of my solo travel in Australia this year was to explore Queensland’s Outback and dirve along the Savannah Way. Unfourtunately I could not find any travel companion to share with me this long route: 2500km from Cairns to Darwin, I was hoping to drive through. It as a pity, I will have to do it another time. So I changed my plans and decided to discover some hidden places out in the remote dusty inland of Queensland.
The remote Outback area of Cunnumulla


Cunnumulla was one of the highlight of my travel in Queensland. I love the australian outback. I think this is the most attractive landmark of Australia. There are countless places to explore and Cunnumulla was one of those places that stays in your heart, off the beaten track, you wish to return one day and discover more of the place.

Brisbane, Byron Bay and the inland’s forest….

After a short stop in Brisbane relaxing I visited Byron Bay! I was very impressed of Byron Bay, I found the place very beautiful and not as touristy as one could imagine. Byron Bay is a small village known for its long sandy beaches and its surfing waves! You can visit Byron Bay is through a 6km walking track that takes you to the Lighthouse. Byron Bay waves are something unique! extremenly high and persistant ocean waves all around the bay, definitely an excellent place for surfers! I was lucky to see more of the surrounding area and ventured out to Mount Warning south of Brisbane.

Sydney and Broken Hill

The XPT Train took me from Brisbane to Sdyney city, on over 1000km train journey. A very long journey and yes a tiring one. Sydney was beautiful as usual. It is always a pleasant experience to be there and see places I have already been to, as well as to discover new areas and gain more knowledge about this impressive city. I love Sydney, it is one of those cities I can never get enough of it!

Broken Hill is another beautiful place in the australian outback, the town has an interesting mining history. But its surrounds with Silvertone and the Living Desert Sanctuary with the Broken Hill Sculptures are the milestones of the area. I reached Broken Hill on the daily Explorer Train from Sydney.

Of the 6.500km travelled on board of various trains from Cairs to Adelaide the explorer train ride was absolutely the most exciting and interesting one. The train travels through the most various landscape I have experienced in Australia. More about this train route on a separate page.

Here a recap of the travel distances covered during the second part of my travels in Australia:

  • 6700km by train, across Queensland, NWS, South Australia
  • 260 km by bus in Queensland
  • 150 km by car in New South Wales
  • 70 km by bike in Queensland
  • 35 km walking tracks in Queensland

Here is a guide with useful information for travelling alone around Australia



About the Author

About the Author: A solo travel junkie, sharing her adventures, bizarre travel .


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