This post is probably going to sound super negative, so I’ll say this now, I don’t dislike Australia. Yet I find it impossible to love, and it’s exactly this indifference to it that leads me to write this post. Australia has always been pitched to me by friends, books and the internet as the ultimate backpacking destination. But in my opinion, it just isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful country, the landscapes are spectacular. I find it amazing how you can be in a desert one day, a rainforest the next, then onto mountain ranges and/or the best beaches in the world after that. Okay, Australia is huge! Maybe rainforests the day after the desert is a bit of an exaggeration.
But by far my favourite part of Australia is the wildlife! It has the most unusual selection of native animals I’ve ever seen, my favourite being the birds (feathered kind). Being from England all our birds are either black or brown and no offence UK birds you’re kind of boring. But arriving here I was amazed by the colours and diversity, my first thought was to call the RSPCA thinking someone has lost their beautiful feathered friend. I would recommend anyone to come to Australia just for that reason, you will see animals in the wild here you can’t see anywhere else. So do it.
Travelling through the outback, camping, exploring and working on farms and in roadhouses was good. It was exactly what I pictured Australia to be. red dirt, long empty roads and suicidal kangaroos. I loved my time here but didn’t really appreciate it till after I’d spent time on the east coast.
Australia is one big tourist trap. Everything along the east coast is geared up for it, you can’t get away from it. It’s a beautiful part of the world but the endless tours and what’s expected for you to see are a drag. Every other traveller I met “have you done Fraser island? The Whitsundays? Byron bay? What about cairns?” everyone is running around doing the same thing, leaving a beaten trail which is so worn in its literally really hard to do anything but the so-called must dos. To be honest they are all good, but I found way more spectacular things only a few kilometres away from the hotspots.
Another thing. Australia is SO expensive, like ridiculously expensive. Spending 50$ notes like they’re nothing and not getting much back in return. 18$ for two half pints of beer??? I find it hard to believe anyone could travel Australia without working. Being here feels like I’m walking around with all my money in big sacks (the kind you see in old movies with $ signs on them) only my sacks of money have holes in, and its falling out at an alarming rate. Even just walking around seems to cost money and I really don’t know how.
I know it’s a running joke “who said Australians have no culture” but honestly, it’s true. I found Australia weirdly bland. Everyday life here is just a bit boring. In my opinion there really just isn’t much to it. It’s the least foreign feeling foreign country I’ve ever visited, yet it doesn’t feel like England. It just feels empty of that thing that attracts me to visit different countries, the difference, the wide-eyed amazement of being somewhere new and exciting. But I didn’t have that with Australia, not at all.
All in all, I enjoyed my time here, I enjoyed it a lot, and if I had the chance to do it again I would. I did things I can only do in Australia. Seen Uluru, dived on the great barrier reef. Drove thousands and thousands of kilometres and didn’t hit a single kangaroo, no matter how hard they tried. But I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed now my time here has come to an end. I think if I came to Australia a few years ago I’d have liked it a lot more. 18 years old straight from school, I’d have had a great time. But now, at 25 years old, it doesn’t have the shock and awe and accessible history and culture that drives me to travel now.
It isn’t the ultimate backpacking adventure, it’s too easy to be that. There’s no sense of adventure when it’s this easy. It was a good experience and one I’ll cherish forever. But ultimate adventure? Nah get me back to Asia for that, make me work for it
Read about living in a van in Australia.