Erica and Matt Chua: Australia

The land down-under, a sunburned country, home of deadly animals, no matter what you call it, Australia is known for many things.  No matter what your expectations, Australia will impress you, with cosmopolitan cities, untouched wilderness and rich marine life.  It is a country that many visitors fall in love with and rightly so, with something for everyone.  To see and understand it though, takes a commitment of time, money and, of course, getting to the most remote continent.  The rewards of making the trip are worth it, but make sure to plan and prepare your trip lest you be surprised by the $20 USD 6-packs of beer, $4 coffees, and $22 fish and chips.

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DON’T MISS: Tasmania, it is one of the few places we’ve ever visited and wanted to call home.
MUST SEE: Great barrier reef, Great Ocean Road, wineries near Adelaide, and the fabulous cities of Melbourne and Sydney.
MUST TASTEPavlova and meat pie.

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TRIP PLANNING: Australia is huge, it takes at least a few weeks to visit the key sights (Great Barrier Reef, Great Ocean Road, Melbourne and Sydney).  If you want to see any more of the country plan for at least a month.
GETTING AROUND: Virgin Blue Airpass, for as little as $90 a flight, you can fly from city to city in Australia.  Once you land in a city renting a car is a good option as an economy car for the day costs the same as the airport bus/train links to the city centers.

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OUR COST PER DAY (2 ppl): $123.76, the most expensive country we’ve visited on this trip.
COST OF A BEER: $3 from a liquor store, $6 at a bar.  A six-pack at a liquor store costs at least $18 AUD, making Australia probably the most expensive Western country to buy beer in.  Wine is much more accessible at under $10 a bottle.
KEY MONEY-SAVING TIP: Couchsurfing.  We paid for accommodation three of 31 days as we couchsurfed, this not only saved money, but allowed us to meet locals, see interesting places, and have a lot of fun.

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YOU NEED TO KNOW: Airport transfers are ridiculous, it cost us about $60 AUD (round-trip) for the both of us to get between the airport and most Australian cities.  If you need a car in any of the cities rent them from the airport and save the excessive transportation cost to the city.
IF WE KNEW WHAT WE KNOW NOW: We would have given ourselves more time to visit Perth, Ayer’s rock, Darwin and to just slow down.  Four weeks was not enough to comfortably see all we did.
HELPFUL LINKS TO LEARN MORE: Aussie money savers, tips to free things to do in AustraliaAustralia’s best wineriesAustralia Tourism Board (they have exceptional information), Wikitravel AustraliaVirgin Blue Airpass.  Any suggestions?  Please let us know by sending them our way!

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WE WERE THERE FOR: Four weeks.
OUR HIGHLIGHT: Tasmania.
WHERE WE WENT: Sydney, Townsville/Magnetic Island (Great Barrier Reef), Brisbane, Tasmania, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, Adelaide
WE REGRET MISSING: The Outback.  Had we known that there were affordable tours such as these, we would have made the trip up to Ayer’s rock.

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