When it comes to travelling around Oz on a backpacker’s budget, we all want to get to those amazing places for as few dollars as possible. There are many ways of travelling the East Coast and going by bus/coach is definitely a valid option.
For my tips on how to Survive the Greyhound, watch here:
Greyhound is the company that I personally used for a number of reasons. The main ones being that they stopped in more of the places I wanted to see and had better and more frequent times of departure. For some places you had a lot of choice, as to what time of day you wanted to travel.
The coaches were comfortable with reclining leather seats, enough leg room (more than on a budget airline), USB chargers for your phone, Air Con, free WiFi, a toilet on board and regular rest stops to stretch your legs or buy supplies.
You can buy your ticket on their website and have the option of either:
For most backpackers the Hop on- Hop off pass allows you the better value for money, greater flexibility and the choice to stop wherever you please.
This is why I bought a Hop on Hop off pass between Cairns and Melbourne and it was definitely the right choice for me. The pass cost me $519 (roughly £260) and meant I got to see and stay at 12 different towns/cities and could have stopped at many more if time and budget had allowed. This was by far cheaper for me than if I had paid for flights and I actually got to see the country as I moved on through.
On the whole our journeys were great. We only had a couple of grumpy drivers but most were friendly, helpful and at times quite hilarious. We had some extremely long journeys (I’m talking 12 hours) that were quite hard going, as I was struggling with back pain at the time, but the rest stops really helped in regards to that as I could get out and stretch.
Overnight buses have both Pros and Cons. They were great in as much as you could spend the whole day sightseeing wherever you happen to be and then have a night where you don’t need to pay for accommodation, as you are on the bus. WINNER! I definitely don’t recommend that you do a journey at night if you have trouble sleeping on public transport however, as getting to a new place at 5am and waiting until 2pm to be able to check in at your hostel, on zero sleep…is not that fun!
At night the buses were quiet as most people were sleeping and the driver switched off the lights inside the bus to enable this. The WiFi during the day can be rather slow and sketchy but at night you have a much greater chance of it working, as there are less people connected. On the majority of our night buses we completely lucked out and often had two seats to curl up in to try and sleep, which definitely helped. This wasn’t the case around Christmas as the buses were VERY busy (book on early), as there were also Australians heading home to visit family, not just backpackers travelling from place to place. If you do a journey at night please make sure you have a jumper, or something warm to pull on as the Air Con gets very chilly and you won’t be able to sleep!
It’s extremely easy! You can book your ticket online, or through any of the Greyhound operators/shops, which were in every place we stopped. Once you have your ticket paid for, you just need to log in with your PIN number that they e-mail you and you can book your specific journeys online. You can also cancel or change them if you need to. If you don’t have internet access, you can ring Greyhound or book onto your bus through one of the operators. Peter Pans Travel can also book the journey for you.
The important thing is that YOU MUST BOOK ON! Yes, you have already paid for your Hop on- Hop off ticket, but if you just show up at the bus stop and your name is not on the list for that specific journey, you won’t be going anywhere!
When you have booked your journey online and received a confirmation e-mail that you are on that bus, I recommend taking a screen shot. Before you board the bus, you will have to give the driver your name and proof of travel. For some of our drivers a screen shot was enough but most wanted ID too, so make sure you have your passport handy.
Using Greyhound was a great choice for us and I definitely recommend the company. We only had one late bus out of all our journeys and that was due to an accident blocking the road. If you have any other questions, please comment below and I will do my very best to answer them.
Take care my little travellers,
**** Disclaimer: Prices listed as were of 2015 and may have changed.I’d also like to point out that I have no affiliation to Greyhound Australia at the time of writing this article.*****
Creative unicorn ninja; Travel vlogger/blogger. Green tea enthusiast and lover of dance and art. Currently be found back in England planning the next adventure! Southeast Asia Odyssey coming very soon!
Where I can be found: UK