The worst things about travelling in Australia

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is iconic in Australia.

OPINION: There’s plenty to love about travelling in Australia, plenty that you can and should appreciate. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet, a place most people have to pay a lot of money for the privilege of coming to visit.

Travel in Australia can be amazing. You can discover ancient cultures, beautiful landscapes, some of the world’s best beaches, cosmopolitan cities and friendly people. It’s something everyone should do.

However, it’s not perfect. In some areas Australia lets itself down.

Austria? France? Italy? No, Australia‘s Thredbo.

If you’re going to travel in Australia and you’re going to enjoy yourself, these are the things that, right now, you just have to accept.

:  Melbourne’s high voltage food

 Australia‘s new great walk

 A reminder of your place in the world

Sometimes you need to concentrate on the attractions that make Australia unique.

The prices are high

This is the most common complaint from visitors as well as domestic travellers: everything in Australia costs too much. The hotels, the tours, the attractions, the food, the experiences. Super pricey. Go to Spain and you can get a glass of wine for a few Euros. Go to Thailand and you can live like a king for a couple of bucks. But in Australia? You’d better get saving. It can’t match the prices of overseas destinations for a variety of reasons.

You have to fly


In Australia you wouldn’t travel by train. Unless you’re prepared to spend up big on a luxury adventure like The Ghan.

Plenty of travellers love to use trains when they’re travelling, whether it’s for short intercity hops in Europe, or longer multi-night adventures in Russia or Asia. In Australia, however, you wouldn’t travel by train. Unless you’re prepared to spend up big on a luxury adventure, there’s very little romance in train travel here. It’s just not a system of transport it really uses to cover the huge distances you find in Australia. Travellers are far better off using the budget airline network and just getting to their destinations fast.

The thrill isn’t the same

There’s no language barrier when you travel in Australia, unless you count the accents in country Queensland. There’s no challenge to navigating a restaurant menu here, or to ordering a drink, or to getting from one place to another. Everything in Australia is predictable, safe, and easy. And in some ways that’s great. For those who thrive on the dizzying confusion of foreign travel, however, that can be disappointing.

History is intangible

Australia‘s tangible history, its centuries-old buildings in places like the Rocks and Hobart, are fairly impressive – however, the past has a lot more to it than that. There have been human inhabitants in the country for possibly up to 80,000 years. The only thing is, however, that their history can’t be seen or touched. Ancient Aboriginal culture is not represented by churches or old monuments. It’s represented by stories and knowledge. That’s exciting and fascinating, but it does require viewing cultural tourism in a different way.

Snow is unpredictable

The Australian ski resorts are now coming to the end of what has been a cracker of a season; however, that’s not always that case. If you’re going to commit to a skiing or snowboarding holiday in Australia, you also have to accept that maybe the snow won’t be so good this time. Maybe it’ll be icy, maybe it’ll be slushy. Or, maybe it will be a powdery wonderland. You just never know.

The service isn’t always great

Travel in the US, and you get great service. Every time. Same in Canada. Travel in Southeast Asia and you’ll probably be pretty well looked after too. Same goes for a lot of Europe. Australia, however, isn’t quite so reliable. We don’t have an ingrained service culture here, and travellers have to get used to the idea that they won’t always be cared for in the same way as they would in a foreign country.

It’s different

Australia does have some truly great alternatives to the world’s most famous attractions. However, they’re not quite the same, and in some areas they’ll never be able to compete. It will never have the wildlife of southern and east Africa, or the art galleries of the European capitals, or the cultural exoticism of Asia or the Middle East. Sometimes it’s best to just accept that, and concentrate on the attractions that make Australia unique.

– Traveller

Next Australia story:

Eating through Melbourne’s famous laneways

Travel Homepage