Posts Tagged ‘Oz Experience’

h1

Hop Around Australia On a Student Budget

May 1, 2008

Australia is heaps big. (If you’re headed there, get used to saying “heaps” instead of “really” or “very”. It’s heaps fun.) If you want to see more than just Sydney, you’ll have to have reliable transportation that won’t eat into your whole budget. You don’t want to spend so much getting from the Outback to the Reef that you can’t afford to scuba or sail once you arrive.

Luckily, Aussie tourism is heavily dependent on backpackers and there are a few good options for student travelers who want to see it all and have enough money left at the end of the day for a quick bungee or skydive or bush trek.

Have a look at what these operators have to offer:

Oz ExperienceOz Experience: Don’t just get from point A to point B; stop and see the dozens of sights in between. The Oz Bus has several passes and routes to choose from at very reasonable prices, and they can take you around New Zealand too.

Wayward Bus: Same idea as the Oz bus, but with different paths and stopovers. You may want to compare routes and prices to see which one is going to be right for you.

Countrylink: If you’re short on time, and want to be able to eat at a snack bar, the train may be a better travel option. Countrylink operates in New South Wales, with extensions into Melbourne and Brisbane. Single tickets can get pricey, but they’re 40% off if you have an International Student Identity Card(ISIC); perfect if you need a one-way to Canberra, or just want to do a weekend in Byron Bay.

For longer trips, look into their Backtracker Rail Passes. You can get a three-month pass, good for unlimited travel anywhere on the network, for AUD$298. Six-month, one-month, and 14-day passes are also available. Another option is the East Coast Discovery Pass, which covers travel in NSW and connecting service along the coast of Queensland, as far north as Cairns. Prices range from AUD$130 to $500, depending on how far you plan to travel. It’s good for unlimited stopovers, but only going in one direction.

Sydney Opera HouseIf you’re backpacking with friends, other options include buying a used car once you arrive (you can sell it before you go and make some of your money back), or renting a car. Getting your own car means taking care of the car though, and that can be more stress than it’s worth. It also means that if you and your friends all wake up hung over or sunburned or otherwise too exhausted to drive, you’re stuck. 

It could be the ultimate road trip, giving you more freedom with your itinerary and destinations, but it could also be a colassal headache, leaving you with more responsibility and no professional driver to rely on. Think hard about who you’re traveling with and decide which style of travel will work best for your group.  

h1

See Fiji (Free!) When You Book New Zealand

March 3, 2008

I haven’t been to Fiji, but then I didn’t have a deal like this when I booked my trip to New Zealand:

“See New Zealand with Kiwi Experience and we’ll throw in a free Fiji trip with Feejee Experience. Just purchase any Kiwi pass that takes you to both islands (which you’re going to do anyway), and you’ll get a free ‘Hula Loop’ tour pass for Fiji. It’s a $300 value and well worth it.”

Big KiwiThis deal comes from our friends at Travel CUTS and is one you should take full advantage of. I was lucky enough to win a free Kiwi Experience pass in an essay contest when I was a student in Australia. It allowed me to see most of the South Island, hike Franz Josef glacier, cruise the breathtaking Milford Sound, do a Lord of the Rings day trip from Queenstown (to feed the geek in me), and take all the pictures you see here.

If you aren’t familiar with them, the “Experience” buses area  great way to travel. They are hop-on, hop-off tours, meaning that you get to decide which days you get on the bus, and which days you stay right where you are. If you want to do a whole tour in a week or so, then get on every day and head for the next town. If you have weeks, or months to spend, then you can hop off when someplace looks good to you and stay as long as you like. Just call up and let the bus know when you’re ready to get back on again.

Matt and DanI toured most of Australia on the Oz Experience bus and loved it. I met people from all over the world and still keep in touch with many of them, years later. If you start out traveling alone, you won’t be for long. For me, it was nice to get to a strange town, but have people to share a hostel room with, go to dinner with, and hit the pubs and bars with. And if you don’t like those people, you can let them get on the bus without you and wait for the next one to come through with a whole new load of backpackers to meet. (I did that once and was much happier with the second load of people I met. Fewer drunk, English rugby fans, more cheery Canadians and Swedes.)

QueenstownThe bus drivers can also help plan activities like bungee jumping, scuba, snorkelling, surfing lessons, and other experiences. You can participate in as much or as little as you like, which means your itinerary and your budget are in your hands.

If you know you’re headed to New Zealand, book the extra stop in Fiji and get the full Feejee Experience. The spelling is lousy, but the adventure is sure to be incredible.

h1

Where to Go from Melbourne?

December 14, 2007

Once you’ve seen all that “Mel-bin” (never say “Mel-bourne”) and St. Kilda have to offer, where will you go next? Adelaide is a nice drive to the west, Canberra a decent road trip to the east, and there are at least a dozen tour companies willing to take you either direction. Here are some of your better choices:

Twelve Apostles Great Ocean RoadOz Experience: Don’t just get from point A to point B; stop and see the dozens of sights in between. The Oz Bus has several passes and routes to choose from at very reasonable prices, and they can take you around New Zealand too.

Wayward Bus: Same idea as the Oz bus, but with different paths and stopovers. You may want to compare routes and prices to see which one is going to be right for you.

Countrylink: If you’re short on time, and want to be able to eat at a snack bar, the train may be a better travel option. Countrylink operates in New South Wales, with extentions into Melbourne and Brisbane. Single tickets can get pricey, but they’re 40% off if you have an International Student Identity Card (ISIC); perfect if you need a one-way to Canberra, or just want to do a weekend in Byron Bay.

For longer trips, look into their Backtracker Rail Passes. You can get a three-month pass, good for unlimited travel anywhere on the network, for AUD$298. Six-month, one-month, and 14-day passes are also available. Another option is the East Coast Discovery Pass, which covers travel in NSW and connecting service along the coast of Queensland, as far north as Cairns. Prices range from AUD$130 to $493.90, depending on how far you plan to travel. It’s good for unlimited stopovers, but only going in one direction.