I arrived in Australia, fresh from my Southeast Asia adventure, with no intention of doing a tour. Although I do love tours, I hadn’t budgeted for a one because people I had spoken to beforehand had told me it wasn’t necessary.
“It’s easy to get around so you can do everything yourself for a lot cheaper… Australia is full of backpackers so you meet loads of people in hostels… Tours are a bit redundant.”
I also reasoned that after 3 months of travelling in Asia, Australia should be a piece of cake.
It was one week in Australia before I booked myself on a tour.
I spent that week wandering around Perth, visiting the beach and Fremantle for a few days, generally becoming accustomed to the Aussie way of life… But it wasn’t as I had expected. I should point out that I’m talking about Western Australia here, I think the East Coast and around Sydney might be a bit easier.
I’m pretty happy being on my own, and had accepted that travelling solo meant spending some time alone, but after a week I was over it. I made an effort talking to people in my dorm rooms but no-one was really interested – they all worked so weren’t up for going out in the week or socialising really. You can’t blame them. I was the same when I got around to working in Oz. But it also meant that hostels were deserted in the day.
Also, unless you were staying for work, Perth wasn’t really somewhere you could stay longer than a week. It’s a nice enough place to live but there’s not a whole lot to do when you’re a solo backpacker to be honest.
So I spent half a day in an extortionate Internet cafe researching tours and reading every brochure in the YHA’s reception. I figured out pretty quickly that Western Australia is hard to get around and a tour was my only option. The conclusion I came to – Aussie Wanderer.
The tour was 9 days long trailing the coast from Perth up to Broome, stopping at some unbelievable places I would never have been able to visit otherwise. In that time I visited the Pinnacles, went sand-boarding, saw wild dolphins on the shore of Monkey Mia, saw a shark feed, semi-snorkelled ningaloo reef (I’m not good with water), went quad biking on the beach, hiked the gorges of kalbarri and karijini national parks, had the frightening experience of watching crocodiles be fed, and saw the most beautiful beaches. It was an amazing 9 days. Just take a look:
I should mention here that even if you don’t fancy doing a tour, Western Australia is beautiful and I definitely recommend a visit.
Of course if there’s a few of you and you do a bit of research, you could do this on your own in a campervan. But you know I’m a fan of tours and I just love having a guide who can recommend things to do and take you to places you hadn’t heard of. For example, I did an Aboriginal Tour in Monkey Mia, which sounds pretty tacky but was just such a magical experience that I wouldn’t have done if I wasn’t on this tour. Yes I just used the word magical.
I admit it took a chunk out of my budget at £950 but I definitely felt it was worth it and as I was working in oz, reasoned I would be earning soon anyway. I actually managed to get the tour for £800 with an online offer so it’s worth keeping an eye out for. And that included everything – accommodation, food, tickets for all of the attractions, etc.
There is actually another tour company called Western Xposure that does a similar route and is popular among backpackers. But after comparing the two, I found Aussie Wanderer much better value for money and it has less camping! But definitely look into them as well if you like the sound of my tour.
You can check out the Aussie Wanderer tour here.