For a few years, I had wanted to travel to Australia but wasn’t overly sure about going on my own. I spent several years looking into it and even trying to coordinate my travel plans with some of my friends and colleagues but for various reasons cost, vacation time not matching up & work to name a few, they kept falling through.
So one Saturday evening in late February 2015 I found myself sitting alone in my living room watching TV and randomly decided to have a look at flights to Australia for when I was next due to be on vacation. A few hours later I had booked my flights with Qantas and been approved for my e-Visitor visa for Australia.
I spent the next few days pre-booking hotels for my travels, I took advantage of, at that time a fairly new website/application, Booking.com to find various hotels in the cities that were near to the centre. The big plus at that time to using Booking.com was that they had the app for your phone and pretty much all of the hotels on their site offered free cancellation up to the day of arrival so I could change my mind and stay somewhere else if I wanted.
Over the next few months at work, I spoke to colleagues from Australia and got some recommendations on where to go and what I had to do while over there.
July 2015 came around quickly and early one Monday morning I was jumping on a plane at Edinburgh airport and starting my 23-hour journey to Melbourne. I had chosen to fly with Qantas via London on the QF10, this flight is operated by an A380 and has a brief (one hour thirty minutes) stop over in Dubai so they can refuel the aircraft before continuing on to Melbourne.
I got into Melbourne at around 2030 in the evening, after going through immigration, collecting my luggage and getting out through customs I found the transfer I had arranged in advance and was off to my hotel, getting there a little after 2230.
I had planned a few days in Melbourne before flying on to Ayers Rock Resort (Uluru) in the heart of Australia for a few days and then onto Sydney for a little over a week. In total, I was away for 16 nights, given that 4 of them were flying it certainly wasn’t long enough to see all of Australia but it was a good first taste for me travelling on my own.
Before heading out I was quite apprehensive, which is why I did a lot of pre-planning and booked a lot of my activities in advance, but I can honestly say it was one of the best vacations I have had and it’s made me more confident to travel on my own. Australia is extremely safe, probably safer than your home country and there’s plenty of solo travellers out there. Staying in hotels you’re probably a lot less lightly to meet younger ones but you certainly won’t be alone.
I took advantage of a deal that Qantas offer when you book directly with them. If you have booked long haul flights from the UK to Australia they allow you to combine internal flights within Australia (and sometimes New Zealand) with your booking under a ticket type they call a Walkabout Pass. This is a massive money saver as it pretty much allows you to book your internal flights for around AUD 90 – AUD 130 each and in most cases you get your same luggage allowance on them. The only downside to this is that they aren’t flexible flights, so you do have to plan your itinerary in advance of your travel out to Australia but when you compare the cost of cheap flights within Australia with booking them this way it is a massive saving.
My Flight Itinerary
- Edinburgh – London Heathrow – Melbourne
- Melbourne – Ayers Rock Airport
- Ayers Rock Airport – Sydney
- Sydney – London Heathrow – Edinburgh
- Melbourne – DoubleTree by Hilton Flinders Street
- Ayers Rock – Desert Gardens Hotel
- Sydney – Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay