After her first trip to Australia more than a decade ago, blogger Michela Fantinel fell passionately in love with the Land Down Under, especially its outdoors.
She recently published her first e-book for female solo travelers over-40, Your Australia Itinerary – The Ultimate Guide for Female Solo Travellers.
I was pleased to interview Michela about solo travel in Australia for women over-40. Her thoughts will be especially interesting to anyone planning a solo trip to Australia.
What motivated you to become a solo traveler? What are its unique gratifications at midlife?
I became a solo traveller when I was an expat in UK, and eventually in Germany. I appreciated the freedom to do my own things without having to discuss them or compromise. This was a liberating and rewarding feeling.
Now, at midlife, I think solo travel has become even better. You know exactly what you want, you feel more confident, and you also can inspire other women who are starting to travel solo.
What are the special concerns of women travelers over 40?
I suspect they think that they are not going to enjoy their solo trips. You must love or learn to love your own company; otherwise, you won’t enjoy your solo trip. You must be naturally independent and confident as a person.
Depending on the destination, safety can also be a concern. On top of this, the cost of traveling solo can be daunting. While it can be expensive to stay at hotels, solo travel does not have to cost a fortune. Nowadays, there are many ways to travel on a budget and save money on accommodations—like private home-stay, hostels, house-sitting—and on transportation.
If a woman from the U.S. were planning to visit Australia for a week, what type of itinerary would you recommend?
It takes at least 20 hours to fly to Australia from the U.S so I wouldn’t recommend going for only one week unless you have already been there and are visiting again.
On a first trip, you need at least 2-3 weeks. I would definitely start any solo trip to Australia from a major city like Sydney or Melbourne and then explore its surroundings. Travel distances are huge in Australia and often underestimated. So the best thing is to have a time frame and identify one or two areas you want to visit.
If your time is limited, these are my suggestions: I would start in Sydney to discover the city and its surroundings, e.g. the Blue Mountains, Northern Beaches, and maybe Jervis Bay. When starting from Melbourne, I would explore the Great Ocean Road and the Wilson Promontory. If you love hiking and the beach, this is an amazing place. If you don’t fancy spending much time in cities, you can head inland to Alice Springs and drive to Ayers Rock and Kings Canyon, for an extraordinary Outback experience. If you are a food and wine lover, then Adelaide, Perth and tropical Australia will be your top destinations. If you intend to travel to Australia between June and September, you may want to visit beautiful Northern Australia with Darwin and the Top End, as well as North Tropical Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef.
Would a midlife female traveler travel differently in Australia than a couple or family?
I wouldn’t say it is completely different. When you travel with kids, they have different needs, of course. But the travels of couples and female solos tend to be similar. I meet lots of couples on my solo travels and we often do exactly the same things.
The major difference I see probably lies in the purpose and the spirit of the trip. As a female solo traveler, you’re more likely to meet locals and fellow travellers than when travelling as a couple. It’s easier to be approached and strike up a conversation with strangers as well as to be offered help or advice (even when you haven’t asked for). So there are many perks to be a solo traveller.
What is the #1 reason for an American to visit Australia?
I don’t know how to answer this question. So I am guessing. The desire to see a far away, an amazing country with stunning contrasts, a wealth of natural treasure and wildlife, a quirky outback lifestyle and good natured, loving locals 🙂
You can follow Michela’s adventures on her blog for over-40 solo travelers, Rocky Travel.