As all backpackers know, Australia is certainly not the cheapest place to spend a month or two, even when frequenting hostels and guesthouses. So when planning travel from A to B, it is important to find a cost-effective method of getting to where you want. Fortunately, in Australia there is a coach company called Greyhound who travel pretty much everywhere in the country.
I enjoyed my first stay in Sydney, and visited many touristy places such as Taronga Zoo and the Botanical Gardens, but one thing that was always on my mind was the cost of accommodation. Sydney seems like London, in that it has higher costs than anywhere else in the country. So I was actually happy to get out of the CBD and experience life in another city – namely Brisbane. Rather than fly on this journey, I decided to book with the ever-reliable Greyhound Coaches, who are very well-known among backpackers of all nationalities and of all ages.
Brisbane can be reached from Sydney on the famous and reliable Greyhound Coaches for about $75AUD. I actually made two journeys: one from Sydney to Byron Bay, and then another from Byron Bay to Brisbane CBD. I still don’t know if it is possible to go direct on the Greyhound Buses, but it is worth looking into. It is a 12 hour drive overnight to Byron Bay (bus leaves Sydney Greyhound Station at around 19.50hrs and arrives the next morning at around 08.00hrs), and then from Byron Bay to Brisbane it is another two hours. Trains are available between Sydney and Brisbane but they are slower than the buses, so I don’t recommend them.
With Greyhound Coaches, you can be sure of wifi onboard (and unlike such promises in Asian countries like Laos and Vietnam, the wifi aboard the bus does work properly in Australia!), clean toilets towards the rear, and comfortable reclining seats. As a solo traveller, I found the journey to be a good chance to strike up a conversation for a while with fellow like-minded backpackers, although there is always the opportunity to turn your head away from the chatterboxes and fall asleep, if you prefer.
If truth be told, over 12 hours on a bus (even in Australia) does take its toll on you, so I was glad to finally get to Brisbane. I also found the bus way too cold overnight for my liking, and I didn’t have a jumper with me (plus I was wearing shorts!), nor was a blanket provided, which was kind of disappointing. Still, it is one of the memory bank, I guess!
I stayed in Brisbane for a matter of days before heading north again with Greyhound to Cairns (but I’ll save that for another blog entry). Despite the hefty price tags of transport in Australia, it is comforting to know that such a reliable and safe method of travel exists down under!