So how big is Australia, really?

We recently spent 5 months in Europe, 4.5 of those months in the UK. We were constantly surprised how close cities, towns and villages were to each other which made our travels very easy as wevare used to travelling vast distances at home.

People often asked us about where we lived in Australia and spoke about their desire to visit Australia for a couple of weeks. It was at that point we would say “don’t bother, it’s a waist of your money to travel all that way for only 2 weeks as you won’t see much of Australia, you really need to come for 2 months!” To explain how big and vast Australia is we would then show them pictures of maps of the UK inside our state of Queensland and the whole continent of Europe, including the UK, well inside Australia. Their response was always one of great shock.

We have had similar conversations with Americans who don’t realise Australia is roughly the same size as mainland USA, although the USA has a population (332 million) more than 10 times that of Australia (23 million).

I could throw a whole lot more statistics at you now to explain but the pictures below tell the story!




But don’t let that stop you, come on over and say g’day!


I think I sent you a message when I was in Brisbane/Queensland but didn’t hear back. Shame….
I’m currently in Dapto for 3 weeks, then have a few nights break before a 2 week sit in Canberra.
Btw, the first time I visited Australia was 30 years ago. I was here for 3 weeks and did the touristy Sydney to Port Douglas, stopping off en route, by Greyhound bus then flew back to Sydney, a night at the Opera House before flying home. That was preceded by a 3 week Contiki tour of NZ, which just gave me an idea what NZ was like & I promised myself I’d return to do it properly. This is my 5th visit and happy to do sits off the tourist trail and see other places I wouldn’t have otherwise.


Thank you @Crookie. Those graphics really do but the vast size in to perspective!


I’d say it’s worthwhile to visit Australia even if people can spend only two weeks. You don’t have to see everything at once, and many people don’t have the luxury of spending months abroad. I’d also suggest not waiting for retirement, when most people would theoretically have more time — none of us knows for sure how much time and health we’ll have. What you can enjoy now, better to do it, even if in smaller bites than you’d like.

And I’d love to return to Australia at some point. An amazing country, from what I’ve seen.


I agree, despite the long flight. But it would be wise to just pick one area to explore, not try to take several flights all over the country.


Hi @Crookie, another Brissie girl here :person_raising_hand: I agree with everything you have said, I myself came back from six months in the UK and Europe recently. It was unbelievable that I could travel on a bus or train from one country to another in such a short time or fly for a song throughout the whole of Europe.
It takes us approximately 18 hours to fly to Europe from Oz, the fastest way, and around $AUD1200 one way! So having the freedom, ability and budget to see so much of Europe in a short time on a relatively small budget was amazing.

I am planning my next trip back in 2024, I find that I can actually live cheaper overseas than I can in Oz which is another issue about Australia currently. The cost of living here is HIGH! Flights between cities are not cheap like in Europe and buses and trains are nowhere near anything like Europe, not even a train between Brisbane and Sydney and buses are more expensive than flights and few and far between. Driving between Brisbane and Sydney for example is like ten hours, I could almost drive from top to bottom of England in that time, and we are only talking about driving between two cities here.

So how does one choose where to go to in Oz when coming from overseas for two weeks? A return airfare is really expensive, jetlag coming from west to east is bad (for me anyway personally) the cost of living is high as is transport and accommodation.

BUT!! How darn lucky we are to live in this amazing and diverse country and I would recommend it to anyone, be it two weeks, two months or longer. Our winters are mild (in Brisbane the average daily winter temperature is 24° c) the country is more diverse than anything you can imagine, oh and did I mention the temperature? Lol But you can go snow skiing in NSW or Victoria then take a flight to Queensland and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef in 28°, the same day.

Lots of house-sitting available here for everyone, people today buy caravans and do what we call “the loop” which obviously is going around Australia. Generally that takes at least six months and even then you wouldn’t see everything. So I, like Crookie, encourage everyone to take the time and visit this amazing country called Downunder, it’s a heck of a long way but oh what an adventure :grin::australia:


Errmmm, what year/month? :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
Might have photos of you.


I doubt it but it was December 1992 - January 1993!

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This really is shocking. I didn’t realize it was that big. I just took a screenshot so that when I’m ready to go to Europe and Australia in the future, I will get a grasp at the distance


It really is THAT BIG @IHeartAnimals :grinning:

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yes to all you say @ziggy I knew our Australia was an amazing place but it was really reinforced when we travelled overseas. Shhh, don’t tell as everyone will want to visit :rofl:


Hi @ziggy I have to disagree with you that transport and flights in Australia are high. I’m from the UK and am currently housesitting/travelling in New South Wales. I’m amazed how cheap bus and train fares are, and so many of them! I also don’t find flights that expensive. I’m guessing you didn’t travel by train in the UK because it is mega expensive and not at all reliable. I either take National Express buses when I can or drive, rarely train apart from the underground in London, although I walk in London as much as possible.
I find that by housesitting I save a fortune. Sure, I have to pay for hotel/Airbnb accommodation now and then in between sits but I save so much by sitting that it doesn’t matter. I’m also lucky in that 8 have a reasonable income while travelling as have rented my home out, have a police pension and recently got my state pension. So it virtually evens itself out.


I was in NZ in April-May 1994. And actually, I did the “Kiwi Experience” bus, not Contiki.

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G’ Day Mate, I Just returned to Switzerland last week after spending three months in Queensland. Truly an amazing adventure. In fact, it was during my time on Maggie that I joined Trusted Housesitters.

I agree with what has been said about the size of Oz. The price of jet lag is too much for only two weeks. It’s a beautiful place, and the people extremely accommodating, and driving on the left was bearable. Just watch out at T intersections.:grimacing:


We are going to Australia for the first time in December for 6 weeks. The plan is to base ourselves in Sydney and Melbourne for most of the time (cat-sitting) with one additional week touring. I accept that we won’t see much of Australia but feel that we have seen many images of the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock and cannot justify the long flights just to see these. Any recommendations for our touring week?


Sorry @Londongal but you won’t see the real Australia in the big cities of Sydney & Melbourne. You may as well visit London or New York! Most tourists make the mistake of only visiting these. Do yourself a favour and spend the money to fly to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory (NT) & visit Uluru (previously called Ayres Rock) you will be blown away. We have the oldest indigenous population in the world, over 60,000 years old. That’s the real Australia.

If your budget can’t stretch to that, get a car and drive 3-4 hours inland from Sydney for a few days, visit Blue Mountains, Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo. Then you get a taste of Australia.


I think Sydney is the best city in the world and it is definitely worth even just 2 weeks to swim in the northern beaches and bondi and eat the best oysters and seafood. It’s truly awesome. Just go!!!

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@Londongal when my husband and I were last in Oz we took a beautiful drive from Melbourne to Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road. It’s a great drive!

Also, while in Sydney, if you like wine you might want to explore some Hunter Valley wineries. The Blue Mountains are also near Sydney and worth exploring.

Have a great trip!


My husband and I took a three-week cruise that stopped at various points in Australia and New Zealand. It was great — relaxing, because we were delivered everywhere in comfort and ease and had terrific meals without effort.

We had two quick flights during our cruise, to see Alice Springs and Uluru, during which we stayed at a nice hotel, along with other passengers. We hiked through some of the Outback. One night, we even opted for dinner right next to Uluru, which was catered, beautiful and fun. Stargazed once night fell.

We saw a great mix of cities and smaller towns. In New Zealand, for instance, we did a distillery visit on our own, so we could get some great Tasmanian whiskey.

It was a small cruise ship and we saw loads of stuff and had a bit of free time as well at various points. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and tasted enough of Australia that we know we’d happily return. I was actually thinking about using a paid work sabbatical for that, when the pandemic unfortunately struck.

Similarly, we did a three-week cruise in Russia several years ago. It’s also a huge country, but we saw plenty enough to make us want to return, though not in the current political climate / during wartime aggression. Even though it was only three weeks, we’re super glad we went, because you just never know what the future holds and I wouldn’t wait till I could take months off or retire.

To me, when people say don’t go to X until you can afford months, that’s like saying don’t eat a delicious appetizer, because you can’t get it as a main course. Odd. Me, I’m happy to have appetizers and can return for more if I want later. Like I took a couple of months off between jobs and went to Dubai and Singapore and know I’ll want to return at some point.

About “just” seeing big cities, nothing wrong with that in my book, either. To me, if you must “do all or nothing,” you’ll miss out a lot in life, unnecessarily.

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Hi @kathy99 I think Vancouver, Canada is the best city in the world :wink: but you are so right Sydney is AWESOME, I cannot wait to go back again … and again … and again.

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