I’m back with another solo travel-focused post today. This time, we’re talking about my beautiful home country. Here are my recommendations for the best places to visit in Australia alone.
My solo travels are not limited to overseas destinations. Yes, I’ve travelled solo across Europe and North America. But I’ve also visited many Australian cities alone as well. Don’t be daunted by solo travel in Australia, because I guarantee you can have a great time Down Under with or without a travel companion. Based off my personal experience (and wishlist), here are the best places to visit in Australia alone. Can you tell I’m a Queenslander? 😂
Note: Australia is a big country and most people will recommend hiring a vehicle to see all the best sights: from cute country towns to cosmopolitan cities. However, I chose these solo travel destinations as you can visit them without hiring a car and still have an unforgettable vacation in Australia.
The best solo travel destinations in Australia
Let’s start with my current home, Melbourne. Thanks to the immense amount of things to do and its great public transport network, I believe Melbourne is the best place to visit in Australia if travelling solo. However, I would recommend spending more than just a weekend here. Some of my favourite things to do in Melbourne include visiting St Kilda, having brunch and a browse of the boutiques in Fitzroy, spotting street art in the CBD and going for walks through the city’s many gardens. You also shouldn’t leave Melbourne without doing a trip along the Great Ocean Road. I did an organised tour a few years ago and thought it was excellent.
Where to stay: I have a post on where to stay in Melbourne. But my parents have stayed at the Atlantis – great location, good price and comfortable beds. I also recently stayed at Space Hotel, which has dorms and private rooms. The central hostel is fantastic and has a rooftop deck, lounge and gym. I’ll be back on return visits to Melbourne for sure.
2. Magnetic Island
This may be a surprise entry, but I couldn’t not add Magnetic Island to this list. Located a 20-minute ferry ride from my hometown, Townsville, this is where my parents live. I love the island and it’s a great weekend getaway. It’s also the perfect solo travel destination, as it’s a total tourist hotspot. With public buses and two great hostels located in different bays, Magnetic Island is one of the best places to visit in Australia if you’re travelling alone.
On Magnetic Island, I recommend doing the Forts Walk, seeing the sunset at Horseshoe Bay, feeding the rock wallabies at Geoffrey Bay and swimming at Alma Bay. You can get to Townsville by flying or taking the Greyhound bus from two other destinations on this list: Cairns and Airlie Beach. The bus even drops you directly at the ferry terminal – now that’s convenience 😉.
Ah, Melbourne’s rival and Australia’s biggest city. Sydney is another great destination for solo travellers visiting Australia. Although I personally think Melbourne has more things to do, Sydney does have the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach. Although it can take a while to get around using public transport, it is possible as I’ve done it. You can get the bus to Bondi and do the Bondi to Bronte Walk. Then you can hop on the train to Instagram’s favourite place: The Grounds of Alexandria.
Read more: Fun things to do in Sydney.
I know Hobart isn’t the first place you think of visiting in Australia. But if you have the time, it’s a short flight from Melbourne and a totally different city. It’s home to unique architecture, Australia’s most unique museum and some delicious food. I recommend visiting Mount Wellington, getting up close to Aussie animals at Bonorong Sanctuary and wandering around Salamanca.
Where to stay: I stayed at The Pickled Frog and wouldn’t recommend anywhere else. They offer free day trips to both MONA and Mount Wellington, and the hostel is conveniently located in the CBD.
So Cairns is located a five-hour drive north of Townsville (the two cities have been frenemies forever). Thanks to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, it’s the fourth most-visited destination in Australia. Because it’s such a tourist hotspot, Cairns is one of the best places to visit in Australia when travelling solo. The city centre is compact and easily walkable, and there are plenty of tours available. Top attractions near Cairns include Port Douglas, Daintree Rainforest, Mossman Gorge, Kuranda and Fitzroy Island. You could easily spend a week enjoying Cairns and its surrounds.
Where to stay: I’ve stayed at Gilligan’s before for a friend’s 21st and it’s a total party hostel (there’s an onsite nightclub). If that’s not your style these days (I feel you), check out Traveller’s Oasis.
I visited Adelaide solo in 2018. It was my first time in the city and I really enjoyed my long weekend. I found there were plenty of things to do, the people were very friendly and the public transport network was great. Any city with cheap public buses to the airport is a winner in my book. Don’t miss visiting Glenelg Beach at sunset, checking out the free museums and art galleries, and heading to Hahndorf for lunch.
Where to stay: I stayed at the Adelaide Central YHA in a female dorm room and would stay there again.
Read more: My Adelaide weekend guide includes all the good stuff.
Brisbane was my home from 2012 to 2013 – before I ran away to Vancouver. I used to visit the city all the time when I lived in Townsville and have returned a few times in recent years. Although there are things to keep you occupied within the city over a weekend, I think the best thing about Brisbane is that it’s sandwiched between the Sunshine and Gold Coasts. Although it’s easier to drive to these locations, it is possible to catch the train from Brisbane to both coasts. Use Brisbane as a base and do a beach-hopping day trip to either coast (although I’ll always be partial to the Sunny Coast).
Fun fact: I was born in Perth. My family lived in WA (with a brief stint in NSW) until I was nine, which is when we moved to Queensland. We’d regularly return to Perth to visit my grandparents, but I haven’t been back since 2012. Nonetheless, if you find yourself across the country in Western Australia, Perth is worth a visit. While in Perth, I recommend checking out King’s Park, beach-hopping, doing a day trip to Rottnest Island and visiting Fremantle as well.
Where to stay: The reviews for this place are something else.
When I was a kid, I totally took for granted the fact we got to spend our school holidays in the Whitsundays on a couple of occasions. It’s hands down one of the most beautiful places to visit in Australia – whether you’re travelling solo or not. Thankfully, you can easily get from Whitsunday Coast Airport to Airlie Beach via a shuttle, and then from there the 74 Whitsunday Islands are your oyster. Do a day trip out to the Great Barrier Reef, spend the day lazing by the Airlie Beach Lagoon (where I got MAJORLY sunburnt one Christmas Eve) or head to Hamilton Island for the weekend. You won’t regret visiting the Whitsundays.
Where to stay: Magnums is located in the heart of Airlie Beach, where everything is within walking distance.
Read more: The best places to visit in Queensland to see the Great Barrier Reef.
10. Byron Bay
Finally, Byron Bay is the one place on this list that I STILL haven’t visited. I know, I know. But, I would totally go there by myself. Like the Whitsundays, you can easily get a shuttle from Ballina Byron Airport to Byron Bay. Once in town, I’ve heard you can see a lot on foot. I think I’d basically spend my time in Byron alternating between relaxing at the beach and eating delicious food.
Visiting Australia alone
Well there you have it, my top places to visit in Australia as a solo traveller. Did any destinations surprise you? No matter how long you visit Australia or where you go, I think you’re guaranteed to want to return for more. If there’s other Aussie blog posts you’d like to see on Hayley on Holiday, please let me know in the comments below or find me on Instagram.
P.S. Do you sea (😉) a theme in these photos? It was unintentional, but apparently I’m a sucker for a good Aussie beach.
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