• Gemma Fottles

Third time lucky: I finally like travelling in Australia!

Updated: Aug 29, 2020

Travelling in Australia is one of the best travel experiences you can ever give yourself... from the red wilderness of Uluru and Alice Springs to the sun-kissed shores of Cairns and the buzzing cosmopolitan cities of Sydney and Melbourne. As many boxes as Australia ticks, however, it took three tries for me to truly fall in love with the beauty of Australia. Now coming to the end of my time travelling in Australia as a See the World with SPAR travel reporter, here's why I finally fell in love with the Land Down Under.

First impressions of Australia

The first time I visited Australia, I was 10-years-old and I travelled with my family to go visit a long-lost relative living in Perth. We stayed for three weeks in Perth, explored the surrounding area, but mainly stayed with our warm and welcoming extended family members. The second time I visited Australia, I was 19 years old, fresh out of my first year of university, and with a laughably tight budget. I travelled with my 1st-year housemate, and together, we painfully rationed, scrimped and sacrificed everyday amenities such as food and sleepable beds in order to experience a camping tour of Uluru on a wild trip to Alice Springs, head out to sea on a sailing trip on the idyllic Whitsunday Islands, snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef... You know, all the usual things top things to do on your first backpacking trip in Australia.



We had a fantastic time, came back very broke, but very happy that we had spent our summer backpacking didn’t really understand the raving reviews of the country every other person on the planet seemed to uphold.I didn't like the backpacker scene in Australia the first time I travelled there on my own. It was... intimidating. It felt like everyone we met down the East Coast just wanted a giant, crazy party every second of every day. I thought there would be a bit more adventure involved.


Because of this opinion, I didn’t ever imagine myself coming back to Australia. Ever. I wasn’t sold. So when Australia popped up on the itinerary for the SPAR world trip, I wasn’t particularly enthused. Not just for the fact that I wasn’t Australia’s biggest fan, but because it seems almost a waste to return to a country you’ve already travelled when there’s so many more to explore.


I’m currently sat typing this in a beautiful campsite in Apollo Bay in the South West of Australia. There are cows 20 meters ahead of me, parrots all around, a river full of fish next to the van, and I can hear the sound of the ocean on the beautiful beach behind me. I’ve just driven the Great Ocean Road, seen incredible rain forests and coastlines, and am about to spend Halloween in Melbourne.


Last time I was here, I travelled from Perth to Alice Springs and then did the well-worn backpacker route down the East Coast of Australia from Cairns all the way down to Sydney. There were beaches… but they’re not the same. There were also rainforests, but again, not the same. Why I thought this huge country had nothing else to offer is beyond me.


Should you return to a country that you've already travelled?

I guess coming back to a country after a few more months of backpacking under your belt is always going to be a different experience. No longer as naive, my mind a little it broader… and of course it also definitely helps that my budget has expanded substantially. But I’ve learned that almost every country is worth a return. You never know, your perspective might change and you’ll end up falling in love with a place you previously couldn’t have cared less for.

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