It’s liberating to travel solo. It can really change you as a person, open your eyes to different cultures and in my opinion, it makes you a smarter traveller as well. I learnt many things on my trip to Australia for Vivid Sydney, from how to travel conveniently to how to live like a local. So, if you’re planning a visit to the Land Down Under, here is a list of things you should know before you touchdown.
The best way to explore a destination is to get behind the wheel. I got an international driving license before I left for my vacation to explore Sydney and the Gold Coast. As soon as I landed, I rented a car from the airport and drove towards the beautiful Cabarita region. Those two days, I drove close to 150km in and around Queensland and the drive was super comfortable because I decided my route and breaks.
How to apply for an IDP (International Driving Permit): Visit a nearby transport office and apply for an IDP by submitting a copy of your tickets, passport, visa and photographs. You will most likely get the IDP in 10 days.
A quick tip: While you’ll find numerous car rental services in and around Australia, Hertz Car Rental is a good option. They have the latest cars, a fully functional GPS system, and the entire renting process takes less than five minutes.
There isn’t a particular season when you choose to drink beer in Australia. They absolutely relish it! Instead of ordering a pint of Corona, opt for their homegrown brand Carlton Draught or Coopers Pale Ale. Team it up with a portion of fish and chips and you’re sorted.
Recommended bars: When in Sydney, visit Baxters Inn, which has an old school vibe and is buzzing with energy even on a weekday evening. You can also go to All Hands Brewing House, which has its own microbrewery and a great selection of local and imported beers. Try out their French or Modern Australian entree menu.
During my stay at the Insta-worthy boutique hotel, Halcyon House, I depended on the front desk to share their insider tips about local experiences and things to try and voila! I learnt that there is a din distillery in Cabarita that makes a unique gin called ‘Ink Gin’.
I booked a 45-minute tour of the Husk Distillery (35 AUD). It was a thrilling experience to see all the action that goes behind in the making of gin, right from fermentation and distilling to bottling. The famous Ink Gin is made using only organic botanicals. It is a beautiful concoction of 13 botanicals such as lemon myrtle leaf, coriander seed, Tasmanian pepper berry and sun-dried sweet orange peel. These ingredients give Ink Gin its fresh piney, spicy and citrusy aroma and flavour. Of course, like any other gin, the dominant ingredient is juniper berries. The petals of the butterfly pea flower are steeped for 24 to give Ink Gin its distinctive colour. We winded up the experience with a glass of classic gin and tonic. Quick Tip: Have it with a slice of grapefruit/orange bitters to savour the taste.
How To Get There: Husk Distellery is a 45-minute drive from Byron Bay. You can take an Uber or drive down if you have hired a car. You can book your tour here.
The Opal Card makes commuting in and around the city hassle-free and cheaper. The Opal Card can be recharged online, so you can use it on buses, metros and ferries.
Where Can You Buy The Card: The Opal Card is available in 1000+ retail stores like 7Eleven or Woolworth. You can even buy it at local stores at the gas stations as well.
How Much Does It Cost: The minimum cost of an Opal Card is AUD 10 for adults and AUD 5 for kids.
When you’re in Australia, it is most likely that you’ll be attracted to the beaches and Australians love to picnic out in the sun. So, carry a supply of sunscreen and keep yourself hydrated to avoid getting sunburned. Also, you get some really chic hats to keep you away from the strong sun. They’re super stylish and will be a nice accessory in your photograph by the beachside.