Are you a solo traveller looking to adventure down under? Australia and New Zealand are known for being popular stop off points for backpackers, so wherever you choose to travel to you’re guaranteed to meet other solo travellers en route.
Despite the distance, Australia and New Zealand are especially great destinations for first-time solo travellers. The two countries are friendly, fun and full of opportunities to meet new people.
They’re also safe countries to travel alone as generally, the English speaking locals are helpful and the crime rates are low. This might be particularly reassuring if you’re a female travelling alone.
If you’re wondering where to start your solo adventure in NZ or Oz, here are a few must-see destinations that are perfect for lone travellers.
Solo travel to Melbourne
Melbourne is a charming mix of modern living and intriguing history. Here you can ride a traditional tram, visit the remembrance shrine, shop in a swanky mall and relax in a wine bar.
Alternatively, delve into the lives of the Aboriginals, visit the UNESCO-listed Royal Exhibition Building and the beautiful Carlton Gardens, and then enjoy a slice of modern culture in one the city’s comedy clubs.
If you’re a solo traveller, there’s plenty of opportunity to meet up with fellow travellers and locals to share in all that Melbourne has to offer. Women travelling alone are perfectly safe provided you use your usual common sense when visiting a large city.
Getting around Melbourne is easy via one of the most extensive tram networks in the world. The city offers around 300 bus routes and a comprehensive rail and metro network which makes it easy to find your way around. For a door to door service, you can also use the Uber app to arrange a taxi in minutes.
The LGBT scene in Melbourne is a busy one and there are plenty of clubs, bars and other venues to make the most of in this gay-friendly city. Don’t miss the Midsumma and Midwinta Balls, quite possibly the glitziest events on Melbourne’s LGBT calendar.
For a rest from the busy city, you might like to head to the mountains. An amazing day hike is up Mount Feathertop, Victoria’s second highest mountain and the views from the top are breath-taking. Wear stout walking boots and be well equipped for bad weather, which can turn at any time. Other excellent day hikes are in the Yarra Ranges National Park and the Grampians.
If you are looking to cool off and relax, beautiful beaches are plentiful in and around Melbourne. TimeOut gives a lowdown on some of the best beaches to unroll your towel on.
Solo travel to Sydney
If you’ve always wanted to tick Australia off your list, then you must visit the iconic city of Sydney. There’s plenty to see and do whilst travelling solo in Sydney and plenty of fun to be had on your own. The UNESCO-listed Opera House is the city’s world renowned structural masterpiece and is definitely a must-see.
The Hop-on Hop-off bus tours are a fun way to see the whole city at your own pace. You could also go on a guided tour of the sights if you don’t want to explore totally on your own – and it’s a great way to meet other solo travellers.
You might like to get away to the fresh mountain air for a day or two. The closeness of the Blue Mountains to Sydney (about 50 minutes’ drive away) make them a favourite, yet magical destination for solo travellers, nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Group tours from Sydney to the Blue Mountains are very popular if you’d prefer to walk with others.
Holidays to Sydney wouldn’t be complete without stepping out onto big-name sands like Bondi Beach. The city is also home to some equally stunning beaches that you may never have heard of. You’ll find tucked-away coves, sheltered bays and almost deserted stretches of sand too, enabling you to enjoy some time to yourself while being close to the hustle and bustle of the city.
Women solo travellers are relatively safe in Sydney, just take extra care at night if alone on public transport. If you feel like socialising and making new friends, there are plenty of meet up opportunities so you can share your experiences with like-minded fellow travellers and locals.
LGBT rights in Australia have moved in leaps and bounds since the end of the 20th century. In fact, partly due to the annual three-week Mardi Gras festival, Sydney has been named one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. TimeOut lists all the latest events and venues to try out while you are there.
Solo travel to New Zealand
There’s plenty for solo travellers to do in New Zealand’s largest and most diverse city, Auckland. It’s blessed with stunning natural features including two large harbours, Mount Eden, and the Hauraki Gulf.
Head to Auckland’s highest building and most prominent landmark, the Sky Tower for panoramic city views. Another must see site is Rangitoto Island, where you can spend the day exploring the caves around the volcano. Hiking and kayaking are also a favourite choice for solo travellers.
Getting around Auckland is easy thanks to an excellent public transport system. The CityLink buses serve the centre, with the InnerLink, OuterLink services and train network covering the rest of the city. Both the bus and train services use an AT HOP card, which you can top up as you go.
Auckland is very much a cultural melting pot when it comes to dining, with cuisines available from all around the world. There’s an extensive choice of venues available from fine dining restaurants to street cafés and trendier pop-ups and trucks – which are perfect if you’re not comfortable with eating alone in a restaurant.
New Zealand is a very safe country to visit on your own – the locals are known to be friendly and places are accessible and easy to get around. Females travelling alone are generally safe travelling around Auckland and New Zealand is praised as being one of the safest countries in the world for female visitors.
Again, if you enjoy socialising on your travels you can get involved in ‘Meetups’, allowing solo travellers to meet up with like-minded individuals wanting to explore Auckland. There are plenty of other solo travellers, some of them travelling alone for the first time, so it’s easy to make some new friends.
Auckland is incredibly LGBT friendly – the city hosts an annual Pride festival during February and has other events running throughout the year celebrating the LGBT scene. The city also had many gay bars and clubs including; The Eagle Bar, Wingate Club, Basement and Urge Bar.
Are you ready to go solo?
Solo travel gives a great sense of accomplishment and confidence. If you’re new to solo travel, a trip to Australia or New Zealand can seem daunting due to the distance. But they’re very safe and tourist friendly countries, so can be a good option for first-timers.
Ready for your solo adventure? Don’t forget to buy travel insurance for added peace of mind.