Western Australia remains one of my favourite regions in Australia when it comes to travelling. It has moving sand-dunes, white sand beaches, some 100,000-year-old sandstone formations, massive gorges, mountain ranges, vineyards, historical towns, indigenous communities and what not! The only problem is, however, transportation is a big problem in the region unless you are driving.
If you’re going to and from the main cities, like Perth or Albany or Broome, you still find a bus connection or a train, but if you’re going off the beaten path, consider yourself screwed because there will be no public transportation. And if you still manage to find a bus or a train, the cost of transportation will be so heavily overrated that you are anyway going to regret it.
On the east coast of Australia (regions like Queensland and New South Wales) buses and trains are still affordable, but on the west coast, the case is rather the contrary. Here buses are surprisingly expensive, due to limited competition. At times, you will feel that it’s cheaper to fly out in the Western Australian region than travelling by land. For example, a 250km ride between Perth and Margaret River, which takes less than 4 hours can cost a whopping 77 dollars if you aren’t eligible for a student or a senior citizen discount — which, as a traveler, will most likely be your case.
I remember when I backpacked in Western Australia and used public transport, I regret moving from one city to the other, as I consumed most of my travel budget in taking buses.
But fret not, the basis on my travel experiences, these are a few Tips On Travelling Through Western Australia If You Aren’t Driving. These tips will help you save a little money.
Use Facebook Rideshare Groups
One of the quickest, convenient and cheapest way to travel in Australia is ride sharing. Find someone who is going in the same direction and chip in some fuel money. Moreover, in a country where people are always struggling to travel, ride sharing is more active.
Facebook groups can be a great way to find people to travel with. For example, I used a facebook group caled ‘Margaret River Ride Share’ to find someone driving from Margaret River to Perth. And the group helped me find a ride for only 20 dollars. A bus would have cost 77 dollars. Pretty sweet deal, right? Search similar Facebook groups, targeting the city you are going to or leaving from, and you never know if you may go lucky just like I did.
Find Someone In Your Hostel
If you just happen to check the notice board of your hostel, chances are you may find a sticky note humbly asking you to share a ride. If not, why not stick a note for yourself, or ask at the reception of your hostel, and moreover of a few motels nearby you. Forget sharing fuel cost, some kind people sometimes even drop travellers for free.
From Bunbury to Margaret River in the south, I found a humble lady in my hostel who was driving to Margaret River. Not did she drop me right in front of my hotel doorstep in Margaret River, but also quickly toured me around the city and took me to the beach to grab a quick sunset.
Use Transwa, They Have The Widest Network In Western Australia
Though you may find a few other bus companies operating in a different part of WA, for example, Southwest Coachlines in the Southwest region and Integrity Coachlines in the Northwest, among others, Transwa has the most widespread network of national and regional buses and trains, particularly in and around Perth. They’re moreover slightly cheaper than others, so if nothing works out, give their website a visit and see if have a service where you’re going.
What About Hitchhiking?
Honestly speaking, I never tried hitchhiking in Australia. Though the idea struck me a few times, other people always discouraged the idea by saying it’s not safe anymore. Speaking of legal matters, to the best of my knowledge it’s not actually illegal to hitchhike in Australia, although some states (particularly Victoria and Queensland) make you believe it is. In Western Australia, on the contrary, this is definitely not the case and is comparatively okay to hitchhike. On highways, it will most certainly be illegal to do so as people are not allowed to walk on them, so be careful. Moreover, since obstructing traffic is an offense throughout Australia you need to have your wits about where and how you’re doing it.
All in all, hitchhiking never felt like a good idea to me, not because it felt unsafe, but because road laws in developed countries have always been too complicated for me to handle.
That’s all I’ve to share. But is there anything you’d like to add? Any suggestions, spill in comments below.