Getting Around Australia – Transportation Options for International Students

Getting Around Australia – Transportation Options for International Students

Getting Around Australia : An Introduction

Over the years, Australia has emerged to be a top international destination for higher studies. For prospective international students, crossing the initial hurdles of arduous application process and securing admission at a desired university is a big accomplishment. Next step is the most exciting yet nerve-wracking experience of traveling to a foreign country. A major challenge that one faces as an international student traveling to Australia is the unknown terrain and the cluelessness that comes along with it. Getting around Australia could be confusing given that you are in a foreign land and you are yet to figure out what to expect and how to find your way.

Thanks to Google maps, you can find the location but how does one figure out the low-cost options to reach your destination? As a student, it is not uncommon to take public transportation. While there will always be an option to rent a car and ease out any travel plans, it is not practical as you would be on a student budget and cannot afford private transportation.

Getting Around Australia - Transportation Options

Now, let us take the example of a country as large as Australia. It isn’t surprising that given its customs and terrains, a large part of this country/continent still remains unchartered. While the roads are well developed, you still need to figure out how safe those roads are; otherwise running into a Kangaroo will become imminent!

For a student, who is looking at pursuing a Master’s degree in Australia or even studying in Australia, it is thus very important to find the best commuting options for getting around Australia. Hence, in this blog, we will try to answer the standard commuting options which any international student studying in Australia can consider.

So, here we go!

The Commuting Options in Australia

If you are an international student from Asia or Europe, you are most likely going to be disappointed in the commuting options available for getting around Australia. The country has no high-speed trains or a very well-developed public transport system as a commuting option. Neither are the airfares too cheap for an average international student to afford.

However, the Australian roads are very well maintained and hence you can take at least fifty per cent less time in getting around the country as against other places in the world. That being said, let us explore the commuting options you can consider while travelling in Australia.

The Two Points to Consider while Travelling in Australia

With these two points considered, let us have a look at the commuting options available for getting around Australia.

Renting a Car for Getting Around Australia

Renting a Car for Getting Around Australia

Travelling by car to get around in Australia is one of the most common commuting options. Most Australians prefer going on long road trips and hence, needless to say, the car rental business is pretty affordable and common too.

Apparently, almost all of the world’s best international car rental brands are based out of Australia. As an international student, you may or may not require an international driver’s license to rent a car as long as the language of the license is in English. The industry usually offers longer duration hire options for people studying in Australia with special concessions being given to international students.

If you are looking for more pocket-friendly options, there are several local firms as well which offer rental services. A lot of such local rental firms have tie-ups with the universities where the students pursue their Master’s too. One such local operator is Bayswater Car Rental which has its depots in Sydney and Perth and is very common among the international students’ community.

Charges for Rental Car Option for Travelling in Australia

All the rental car drivers, irrespective of their student status, will have to incur a charge called an Excess in case they end up damaging the vehicle. This charge can be anything between hundreds to thousands of dollars. A smart way to work around such a thing is to take insurance instead. For international students, there are concessions on offer if you choose to take insurance service.

The charges for hiring a car usually start at $25 per day and can go up till $150 depending upon the car you choose and the number of hours.

To check for more details on this, you can visit:

A few Things to Consider while Travelling in Australia by Car

Train Journey for Getting Around Australia

Train Journey for Getting Around Australia

Source : Travelonline.com

Indian-Pacific (IP) and the Ghan are two of the most iconic train journeys you can go for in Australia. They are not really cheap and not an option for day-to-day commuting. Yet, if you are in Australia for your higher studies and living there for an extended period, we would suggest you to take this train journey at least once for the experience.

The Indian Pacific Link as a Commuting Option

The Indian Pacific links the Indian and the Pacific Ocean which means that it connects the twin cities of Perth and Sydney and takes roughly four days and three nights on its course. Hence, if an international student is shifting their base, they can take this option for the travel.

Other On-the-Rails Commuting Options for Getting Around Australia

The average charges for a train travel in Australia are given below : 

Distance Adult Opal card fare Adult Opal single trip ticket fare
0 - 10 km $3.61 ($2.52 off-peak $4.50
10 - 20 km $4.48 ($3.13 off-peak) $5.60
20 - 35 km $5.15 ( 3.60 off-peak ) $6.40
35 - 65 km $6.89 ( 4.82 off-peak ) $8.40
65+ km $8.86 ( $620 off-peak ) $10.80

Using Bus Service for Getting Around Australia

Using Bus Service for Getting Around Australia

Finally, buses are a low-cost alternative for anyone looking at getting around Australia without burning a hole in their pocket. Here are a few important things about an average bus journey :

The average bus charges for Bus Travel in Australia are as under :

Distance Adult Opal card fare Adult Opal single trip ticket fare
0 - 3 km $2.24 $2.90
3 -8 km $3.73 $4.60
8+ km $4.80 $6.00

For a detailed understanding of the various options, the concessions and the fares, please visit:

Concessions for International Students

The part which we wanted to make sure that every international student studying in Australia or pursuing a Master’s in Australia should be aware of – the concessions.


The ACT provides transport concessions upon showcasing the formal student identification card or upon approval of the application for an ACTION students’ concession card. Any student studying in Australia may please visit the website for the details.


This concession is specifically meant for school students. School students can get this concession by presenting a valid student card. The university and VET students can, however, take up this concession for a limited number of bus travel; no more than 3 hours at a time. Details for the same are available on the NT Department of Transport website.


A full-time international student studying in any of the courses approved by the Centrelink for Austudy, Abstudy or Youth Allowance is eligible for this concession. The details of the Queensland Concession fares are available on the Translink Website.

Note: Youth Allowance – a payment for full-time students and Australian Apprentices aged 16 to 24 years old. Austudy – a payment for full-time students and Australian Apprentices aged 25 years and older. ABSTUDY – a living allowance payment plus a range of extra benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.


An average international student in South Australia can avail the SA transport concession upon showing their valid student identification card. Details on the same are available on the Adelaide Metro website.


The Tasmanian Government offer discounts and concessions for international students, especially the students pursuing Master’s in Australia can apply for and avail the same on the TAS website.


International students studying full time in Western Australia are eligible for transport concessions. The details about the same can be obtained from the Transperth website.

The Parting Words

A decision to pursue your higher studies in Australia is a wise career move. Studying abroad not only enhances your academic experience, but also gives you a culture-rich experience living in a foreign land. As an international student, travelling within the country you live in forms an integral part of your entire stay. You may have to travel to and from the university, do grocery and/or other shopping for essentials, or simply explore the city during your free time. This article aims at providing all the pertinent details and options on getting around Australia.

Learn more about studying in Australia by visiting this link below:

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