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Feewheeling Adventures


Aussie Backpacking
A Woman's Point of View...


Dubliner Janet McGarry came to Australia for a year of backpacking and sun seeking - and never quite made it home! She's travelled to all states in search of the perfect hostel bed, great cappucinos, sparkling beaches and pristine rainforest. Janet writes...

Backpacking around Australia is no longer just the preserve of a few savvy travellers, but more of a mass movement. Independent travellers have heard the news -- this is one great destination for backpacking. A lot of the visitors to Oz are backpacking females -- some perhaps on their first trip to this part of the world. To all I offer some tried and true do's and don'ts from a woman traveller's point of view...


Don't hitch hike, especially in remote areas --it's not worth it and there are alternatives.

consult hostel notice boards for share lifts, car pooling etc. Assess your potential travel companions with appropriate caution. Trust your instincts.

Don't just fly around Oz -- you see nothing from 20,000 feet up! It's safe but oh-h-h so boring.

Do investigate bus passes -- there's an option to suit your itinerary and they are great value.

Don't stay in motels -- you meet no one in a room by yourself and you'll blow your budget.

Do stay in hostels -- there are heaps to choose from, they're great value and a guaranteed way to meet people

Don't pay your money at reception until you see your room -- dodgy operators have good lobbies and lousy rooms.

Do use hostel kitchens to cook those healthy meals, and meet fellow travellers over stirfry two minute noodles.

Don't accept a bed in a shared (mixed sex) dorm unless you know your companions --you'll feel more comfortable in a single sex dorm.

Do book your first night before leaving home -- it's a long flight from just about anywhere to Australia and you'll want a shower and bed in that order on arrival.

Do get yourself an e-mail address and a phone card to stay in touch with home -- it keeps your parents from worrying and makes them happy! Don't pack the kitchen sink -- you won't need it!

Do buy a good quality, well fitted travel pack -- suitcases are only good for sitting on.

bother with the cocktail or party dress -- Aussies are very casual.

pack swimmers (bathing suits), sun hat, sandals, sarong -- the beach essentials.

Don't try and work illegally -- the Government is cracking down on it and it's not worth being deported.

investigate if you are eligible for a working holiday visa (currently available for UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Canada and Japan citizens).

Don't be unadventurous --you too can learn to abseil, bushwalk, dive, horse ride, snorkel and bungy jump with the best of them!

join YHA/Hostelling International in your home country and use this as a discount card for every type of activity imaginable.

And finally.... Australia is the most friendly place imaginable! It's also a country of unimaginable beauty and contrast -- a great destination for anyone who is willing to give it a go. Just say "G' day," strike up a conversation and you're on your way.

Check out these Aussie websites...

Kangaroos ...Great Websites!Janet McGarry is the Editor of Backpacker Essentials, The Real Independent Travellers Magazine published by YHA in Australia. This is a great little mag and I’m always delighted when the latest issue finally arrives by mail from the other side of the world.

That's why I was especially pleased to read that Backpackers Essentials is now publishing on the web. No, the site does not replace the magazine but it does publish archived articles. Expect lots of interesting reading about Australia as well as topnotch highlights from the rest of the world. Highly recommended! Visit

And, if you are looking for detailed Australian hostel information or need inspiration to help plan your itinerary, then take some time to visit

We're always happy to point you to Teena, a Sydney Journeywoman, who maintains a fab list of links designed to help other travellers. Check her out at:

Going to Australia and not sure what to pack, where to stay, what to see? Wish you could run things by an Australian women in the city you're visiting? Simply make your way to At last count there were over 250 Journeywomen living Downunder who have volunteered to answer your e-mail questions. It's simple and the service is FREE with no strings attached. Just log on and follow the directions.

There's lots more woman-centered information about Australia. Click here



More hostelling and packpacking goodies to enjoy

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