20 Hardest Things about Backpacking Australia

Hardest Things About Being a Backpacker


Backpacking Australia is often sold as an easy life.

I mean, endless beach days, rocking nights in the city and in between maybe a spot of surfing, sky diving or stand up paddle boarding, what can be so hard?

But I know life is never that simple and even being a backpacker Down Under can have its strains!

Here’s 20 of the hardest things about backpacking Australia. How many do you agree with?!

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1. Being broke all the time, like all the time

2. Sleeping in dorms and never really getting any sleep … for months on end

3. Trying to find free wi-fi that actually works without resorting to buying another coffee you don’t want or sitting in maccers

4. Trying to work out the time zone difference when calling home – seriously a lot harder than it should be

5. Realising you should have brought a thick jumper with you, because Australia actually gets really cold in the winter, and then not having enough money to buy one (see #1)



#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop in Australia and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous country justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!

#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Australia – from cities to national parks! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish strolling, I love mine.

#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Australia edition is well put together.

#4 Good Water Bottle – Travelling in hot old Australia can be thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because tap water is drinkable… and free!

#5 Good Sun Hat – And there’s no denying you’ll need a good sun hat for protection in Australia too. In my opinion you can’t go past this Hello Sunshine one, which is both gorgeous and ideal for keeping the rays off your face.


6. Realising you are putting on weight at a time when you’ve never worn swimwear so much in your life

7. Becoming aware of how huge Australia is and how long it takes to travel anywhere

8. Getting lost when travelling anywhere

9. Having watched Wolf Creek the night before you start travelling anywhere

10. Having brought way too many clothes, none of which are a) appropriate or b) fit anymore (see #6)

11. Having to get a Tax File Number (TFN) when you’ve just got to the country, as you need to work because you’re already broke. But then realising you need a residential address to get a TFN, in order to work, in order to pay for the rent to get a residential address ARGH!

12. Being surrounded by couples in hostels all the time. Seriously, when did travelling Down Under become all about the lovebirds?

13. Getting your head around the fact that you have to pay banks in Australia to let them have your money – WTF?!

14. Trying to desperately find a farm that will actually give you 88 days of labour for your second-year visa. Impossible.

15. Being so far away from friends


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16. Trying to understand why people want you to put a thong on your foot

17. Understanding how fishing suddenly became cool … or bowls … or cricket

18. Trying to get your head around the fact that the capital isn’t Sydney or Melbourne but actually some weird place you’ve never heard of

19. Realising the Great Ocean Road isn’t that great

20. Hearing everybody tell you everything is “too easy” all the time, when it clearly is not!




Are you backpacking Australia?

Tell me about your hardest bits!


6 thoughts on “20 Hardest Things about Backpacking Australia

  1. Veronika F. says:

    Haha I love your article. So many true points! When I first got to Australia I experienced the same points. Your words made me laugh so much and brought back lots of great experiences I had back in 2008. 😀 Now I just work as a digital nomad on the Gold Coast and life is so much easier than as a backpacker. But I can still experience all the amazing things.

    • Steph says:

      Sounds like you’ve got it sorted Veronika! I agree, I’m kind of glad the backpacking Australia days are behind me too and I just live here now – although those days were a lot fun!

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