By bus

By bus
By bus

Bus travel in Australia is cheap and convenient, although the distances involved for interstate connections are daunting. Greyhound has the largest bus route network.

By bus
Firefly Express
1300 730 740

Firefly Express has services connecting Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

By bus
1300 473 946

Greyhound travels to over 1100 destinations in Australia daily every day of the year. It has a variety of ticketing options allow you to travel at your own pace, hopping on and off as many times as your ticket allows.

By bus
13 22 51

Murrays has services connecting Canberra with Sydney, the NSW South Coast and snowfields.

Australia is huge but sparsely populated, and you can sometimes travel many hours before finding the next trace of civilisation, especially once you leave the south-eastern coastal fringe.

Almost all modern Australian maps, including street directories, use the Geocentric Datum of Australia GDA as their grid reference, which is for all purposes identical to the WGS84 used by the GPS. You can locate most things on an Australian map or street directory if you just have the "GPS coordinates".

By ship
By ship

Many major Australian cities have ferries as part of their public transport system. Some smaller roads in the regional areas still have punts to carry cars across rivers and canals. The islands of the Barrier Reef have some scheduled services, and there are a few cruises that cross the top of Australia as well.

However, large inter city transportation ferry services are not common.

The Spirit of Tasmania
(http://www.spiritoftasman...). The only long distance ferry route connects Tasmania to the mainland and runs between Melbourne and Devonport. The Spirit of Tasmania carries cars and passengers on the route across Bass Strait daily.
connects Kangaroo Island, Australia's second largest southern island with regular car ferries.
Sea SA
offers a shortcut across the Spencer Gulf between Adelaide and the Eyre Peninsula, running daily car ferry services.
By Motorail

Some trains allow you to carry your car with you on special car carriages attached to the back of the train.

The Ghan and the Indian Pacific allow you to transport cars between Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Perth, and Darwin. You cannot remove your car at any of the intermediate stations.

Queensland Rail have motorail services on the Sunlander and the Spirit of the Outback, allow cars from Brisbane to Cairns and Longreach.

By bike
By bike

Cycling the long distances between towns is not particularly common, and most long distance highways in Australia have poorly developed facilities for cyclists. Nevertheless some intrepid travellers do manage to cover the longer distances by bicycle, and have a different experience of Australia. Trips and routes need careful planning to ensure the correct supplies are carried. To cycle between Sydney and Brisbane you would have to allow 2-3 weeks with around 80-100km per day.

By train
By train

Visitors from countries with well-developed long distance rail systems such as Europe and Japan may be surprised by the lack of high-speed, inter-city rail services in Australia. A historical lack of cooperation between the states, combined with sheer distances and a relatively small population to service, have left Australia with a national rail network that is relatively slow and used mainly for freight. As a result, travel between major cities will not only be faster by air, but often cheaper as well. Train travel between cities is, however, more scenic, and tourists are likely to see more of Australia travelling by train than they would otherwise see, as well as cutting down on their carbon footprint. It is also often a cost effective way of getting to regional towns and cities, which don't have the frequent and cheap flights found between the capital cities.

The long-distance rail services that do exist are mainly used to link regional townships with the state capital, such as Bendigo to Melbourne, or Cairns to Brisbane. In Queensland, a high speed train operates from Brisbane to Rockhampton and Brisbane to Cairns. Queensland also has passenger services to inland centres including Longreach The Spirit of the Outback, Mount Isa The Inlander, Charleville The Westlander and Forsayth The Savannahlander. There are also inter-city train services operated by Great Southern Railways on the routes Melbourne-Adelaide The Overland, Sydney-Adelaide-Perth Indian Pacific, Adelaide-Alice Springs-Darwin The Ghan however as noted above, these are not "high speed" services, so if you do not enjoy train travel as part of your holiday in its own right then this is probably not for you.

Tasmania has no passenger rail services. The Northern Territory has the rail line linking Darwin to Adelaide through Alice Springs only, and the Australian Capital Territory has only a single railway station close to the centre of Canberra.

By road
By road

It is legal to hitchhike in some states in Australia, so long as certain guidelines are followed. However, it is less commonly done than in neighboring New Zealand. In Australia hitchhiking is often frowned upon by locals and police, especially in metropolitan areas.

Hitch hiking is illegal in Victoria and Queensland. It is also illegal to stand on the verge or walk along freeways often called "motorways" in New South Wales in all states effectively making hitchhiking illegal in many practical places, in all states.

If forced to hitchhike due to an emergency you may find a motorist willing to take you to the nearest town to obtain help. It would be rare to find a motorist willing take you further afield. Some major inter-city highways and freeways have telephones to request help.

It is most common to see a tourist hitching in rural areas. The best time to hitchhike is early morning. The best location is near, but not on, the main exit from the town you are in.


There are restrictions on carrying fruit and vegetables including honey between states and even between regions of states that are involved in fruit growing. If you are driving long distances or interstate, or flying between states, don't stock up on fruits and vegetables.

By plane
By plane

Due to the large distances involved, flying is a well-patronised form of travel in Australia. Services along the main business travel corridor Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane are run almost like a bus service, with flights leaving every 15 minutes during the day.

The only way to get the best airfare is to visit each of the airlines pages directly, and compare fares. Never assume that the Qantas fare will be more expensive, as their online deals are often the cheapest available on a route. The best fares are always available on the most competitive routes. Consolidator websites and travel agents almost invariably add a surcharge to direct booking. Use them to compare, but always check the airline website before booking.

There are four domestic airlines in Australia that operate jet aircraft linking capital cities and major destinations.

(, the only nation-wide full service airline, flying to major cities and some larger regional towns;
Virgin Australia
(http://www.virginaustrali...), a nation-wide airline, flying to major cities and a few larger regional towns;
(, Qantas's discount arm with limited service and assigned seating.
Tiger Airways Australia
(http://www.tigerairways.c...), one of Asia's largest LCC has a hub in Melbourne and flies to Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Perth, prices are very competitive. On 2 July 2011 Tiger Airways Australia was suspended from flying by Australian civil aviation authorities due to safety concerns. Tiger recommenced operations on 12 August 2011 but with a much reduced schedule and a smaller operational aircraft fleet.

Several airlines service regional destinations. Expect discounts on these airlines to be harder to come by, and for standard airfares to be above what you would pay for the same distance between major centres.

(, the regional arm of Qantas, covering the smaller cities in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia;
Regional Express
(, covering larger towns & cities on the eastern seaboard as well as country South Australia;
(, covering regional Western Australia, Bali and Darwin;
(, covering the Northern Territory;
Skytrans Airlines
(, covering regional Queensland.
Sharp Airlines
(http://www.sharpairlines....), covering several regional towns in Victoria and South Australia.
By car
By car

Australia has a generally well-maintained system of roads and highways, and cars are a commonly used method of transport. Most of the state capitals are linked to each other by good quality highways. Some parts are dual carriageway but many sections are one lane each way. Major regional areas have sealed paved dual-lane roads, but isolated areas may have poorly maintained dirt roads or even tracks. Distances and speeds are specified in kilometres and fuel is sold by the litre. There are no tolls on roads or bridges outside of the urban areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Australia drives on the left. Overseas visitors who are used to driving on the right should take care when they first drive, and again when they are driving on country roads with little traffic.

Generally, overseas licenses are valid for driving in Australia for three months after arrival. If the licence is not in English an International Driving Permit IDP is required in addition to your licence. Licensing regulations and road rules vary slightly from state to state.

Australia's low population density and large size makes for long driving times between major centres. Some indicative travel times, not including any rest periods, are:

Melbourne to Sydney: 9-10 hours 900 km / 560 mi

Brisbane to Sydney: 12-13 hours 1,000 km / 620 mi

Perth to Sydney: 45 hours 4,000 km / 2500 mi

Sydney to Canberra: 3.5 hours 300 km / 185 mi

Adelaide to Melbourne: 8-10 hours 750 km / 465 mi

Brisbane to Melbourne: 19-20 hours 1,700 km / 1056 mi

Melbourne to Perth: 40 hours 3,500 km / 2175 mi

Perth to Adelaide: 32 hours 2,700 km / 1677 mi

Brisbane to Cairns: 22-24 hours 1,700 km / 1,056 mi

It is almost impossible to predict your travel time just by knowing the distance. Seek local advice for the best route, and how much time to allow. Averaging 100 km/h or more is possible on some relatively minor highways when they are straight and there are few towns. On other national highways that traverse mountain ranges and travel through small towns, even averaging 60 km/h can be a challenge.

While major highways are well serviced, anyone leaving sealed paved roads in inland Australia is advised to take advice from local authorities, check weather and road conditions, carry sufficient spare fuel, spare parts, spare tyres, matches, food and water. Some remote roads might see one car per month or less. Cellular coverage is non-existent outside of major highways and towns and you should take some precautions in case of emergency. It is a good idea to advise a person you know and trust of your route and advise them to alert authorities if you do not contact them within a reasonable amount of time after your scheduled arrival at your destination. Carrying a Personal Locator Beacon PLB or satellite phone should be considered when travelling in remote areas, especially where you may not be able to make contact for several days. Police will not automatically start looking for you if you don't report in. Make sure you get one with a GPS built in. These can be borrowed from some local police stations, such as those in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. If you want to hire one, sort it out before you leave a major city, as you won't find hire places in small towns. Expect to pay around $100 to hire for a week, or $700 to buy one. Don't expect an immediate rescue even if you trigger a PLB. Heat and dehydration at any time of year can kill you. If stranded, stay with your vehicle and do what you can to improve your visibility from the air. Do not take this advice lightly; even local people die out there when their car breaks down and they are not reported missing. If you do have to abandon your car say you break down and then get a lift, call in quickly to the local police station, to avoid the embarrassment and cost of a search being started for you.