So I just finished a 1 month stint in Australia. I travelled from Melbourne to Brisbane including great ocean road, and so of course, I did not see the entire country.
After spending most of my time travelling in countries across Asia and South America, I was slightly disappointed with what I saw. I still had the best time thanks to some friends I went with – but would I return?
The answer is – no, I’m not rushing back to Australia anytime soon.
Here, I would like to share with you why I think Australia is overrated.
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So Many Beaches
Ok so this may seem slightly obvious. However, the main attractions in south-eastern Australia are the beaches.
Were they beautiful?
I suppose yes they were. For me, did they feel like Cornwall in the UK – YES!
Were the waters crystal clear?
No – the waters were blue but definitely not the same crystal clear waters I’ve seen elsewhere.
Was the sand as white as possible?
No – it was very much yellow sand!
Were they empty?
No – most of the beaches were overcrowded and busy. It wasn’t quite the same as a deserted one.
The above criteria are the three things I now look for in a perfect beach. That’s not to say they weren’t beautiful, but in comparison to the beaches I’ve seen across the world – they were nothing special. I enjoyed my time chilling out on them, but they weren’t the same slice of paradise I’ve seen on beaches in Asia.
I know northern Australia is supposed to have these type of beaches – perhaps in the Whitsundays. I will have to return at some point to explore the beaches there and see if they’re that desert island paradise I’ve come to love.
A Different Vibe
Australia did not have the traditional backpacker vibe that I’ve become used to calling home when I’m abroad. This gives a friendly open atmosphere, and it’s easy to find other people to spend time with.
Australia was not the same.
It is full of people living long term in hostels on working holiday visas. While the people we met doing this were still lovely – they weren’t interested in befriending people who were just passing through.
The other groups of people we seemed to meet were a lot of 18 year olds on their first trip away from home. While I so admire these people for getting out on their first trip – after-all I was in the same place when I was younger – it’s harder to get on so well with these people (I’m now 26).
I was so grateful for the fact I was travelling with two friends in Australia. They meant I had a great time there, and I firmly believe that if I had been travelling alone it may have been a very different experience.
Everyone is aware of the cost of Australia. It is one of the most expensive countries in the world – and travelling through it will cost you an arm and a leg.
To put it into perspective, during my 4 weeks in Australia, I spent £1400 ($1700).
During my 7 weeks in Vietnam, I spent £1300 ($1600).
I could spend over twice as long in a different country for less money.
I knew this fact before I left and made the decision as I wanted to travel with a friend. However, I don’t believe I got anything more for my money! The amazing things I saw in Vietnam so outweighed the things I saw in Australia. Therefore, the money is just one other thing that leaves me with the impression that Australia is overrated.
Low Quality Accommodation
I’m not fussy when it comes to accommodation. I can sleep anywhere! The floor of a hostel or a comfy hotel bed – it doesn’t make much difference to me. I’ve even slept in a hammock for two weeks – although I don’t recommend doing this! There’s one thing I’m always trying to do though, and that is save money.
Spending £20 ($25) on a dorm bed in a hostel did not sit well with me. Especially when said bed was an old bunk bed that looked like it would fall apart. The room had only one plug socket, no air conditioning and one fan between 16 beds. Not to mention the toilets – just one per 16 bed dorm. Breakfast was never included nor any other freebies. And you could say goodbye to curtains around the beds.
Maybe I’ve been spoilt in other places. In Vietnam you can pay £2 ($3) for a dorm bed with your own plug socket and fan, and air conditioning in the room. Breakfast is always included, as well as many other free options like a walking tour or a beer.
I understand the price difference – I am in a different country. But why could we not find anything close to the same quality despite paying at least 10 times more per night?
My message to Australia – open some decent hostels and deliver some great service!
My last point is regarding the tours we booked in Australia. We were completely mis sold a tour, and realised after arriving. Although we managed to claim some money back for this – I don’t believe it was adequate, given we were told about one tour and booked onto a different on completely.
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Not just this, but the tour was expensive and had many downfalls. We were camping and the tents leaked and didn’t work in the rain. Many people’s stuff got ruined and it put a dampener on the whole experience. While our guide was amazing, the problem lay with the company themselves.
However, after complaining once we arrived back, the company wanted to pin the blame onto our guide. He had been the most lovely guy and had tried his best to fix things with the bad equipment provided by the company.
If you take a tour to Fraser Island – do not book with Nomads or take a tour with Palace.
I always thought Asia or South America was where I was most in danger of having these experiences, but that stereotype was completely false.
Did I Have a Good Time?
I still had a great time in Australia. There are many amazing things there. Perhaps I didn’t see a lot of them – we were restricted by both time and the bush fires that were there when I visited.
I still loved my time on their beaches, great restaurants and quirky cities. I would consider visiting again in the future but to see the beaches and rainforest up north. However, I will never love Australia in the same way I love Asia and South America, and perhaps that is one of the negatives of visiting more and more places each year.
Some things I see now will always be more overrated than the unspoilt and hidden places I’ve been lucky enough to visit throughout the world.