Travelling alone can be daunting in a big country like Australia. Even if you’ve always dreamed of visiting Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef or Sydney Harbour, you might be delaying the trip of a lifetime because you don’t have a companion. So here are some easy ways of meeting people for the solo traveller.
Packages that roll transport, food and accommodation in with sightseeing and organised tours can take a lot of hassle out of travelling alone. With everything from daytrips to several weeks of touring available, from bush to city to coast – you’ll find something to fit your budget, time constraints and personality. And of course, you won’t be doing it on your own!
There are many networks that help travellers link up with organisations requiring volunteers in Australia. You could be working with native animals in a rainforest or in the outback. If you’re more an indoors type, you might prefer to take on an internship or work for a charity.
If you have a green thumb or an eye for ethics, WWOOFing – “Willing Workers on Organic Farms” – is a distinctive way of experiencing a country and a great way of meeting fellow travellers. This worldwide network of organic farmers host guests who work on their farms in exchange for board and an immersive experience in their lifestyle.
Many choose Australia for an extended holiday. You might stay a few months, even a year. Considering the breadth of the continent, it makes sense to spend plenty of time becoming immersed in the natural environment and culture. You might fall in love with the place – or with a person. And who knows, maybe you’ll even settle down there.
But without networks of friends or work colleagues, it can be difficult to meet people suited to you. With online dating Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth are all cities you will discover to be bursting with singles. If you visit eHarmony Australia and its potential partners will suddenly seem a whole lot more accessible.
Choice of accommodation
If you’re travelling alone, one of the best ways to meet people is to stay in a youth or backpackers hostel, since they are designed with the solo adventurer in mind. And it’s not all 20-bed dorms and questionable communal bathrooms. Many boast affordable private rooms, and there’s a growing number of “flashpacker” hostels – so called for their stylish décor and well-kept rooms for a fraction of the cost of a hotel.
Caravaning, campervaning or camping is also a great way to meet people, especially in summer. In Australia, you can turn up at most caravan sites and stay a night or two in a caravan or cabin for a bargain.
For those who are very keen to meet the locals in their native habitat, Couchsurfing is a website with a growing network of people all over the world. You can sign up and be hosted in people’s spare rooms or on sofa-beds for free.
So if you were hesitating about solo travel in Oz, pause no more! The locals and other lone adventurers are waiting for you.
Vivenne Egan is a journalist and editor born and raised in Sydney, now based in the UK.