The age of smart phones and tablets has lead to an unprecedented level of convenience and a wealth of information at our fingertips when we travel. While apps such as Google Translate, Google Maps, Facebook, and the like are near universal – there are obviously a lot of more region specific apps available.
A visit to Australia might not require a translation app (although you may wish to consult my guide to Australian slang) or a VPN, but there are quite a few apps that will make your time – be it a short visit or a year long working holiday – a lot easier.
If you’re here for more than a few weeks, it’s likely you’ll be opening an account with one of the Australian banks. All of the major Australian banking chains have apps that allow you to handle day to day banking, check your balance, or make transfers. While ATMs are easily accessible in the cities, it’s always handy to be able to do your banking on the go.
‘Credit’ is the Australian way of measuring how many minutes of talk time, how many texts, and how much data remains on your mobile phone. While most companies these days now provide you with on the go SMS updates as to your balance, it’s always handy to be able to check your usage when you’re on the go – especially if you’re on the road and can’t afford to drop off the radar unexpectedly.
Telstra and Optus are by far Australia’s two biggest mobile phone vendors, and both have apps packed with features both mundane and specific.
If you’re not venturing too far from the city, you can also consider looking at phone providers such as Vodafone, who don’t have stellar coverage in rural Australia but are fine for the city.
Public transport can be a daunting prospect when you first arrive in a new city, so taking some of the guesswork out of the equation is always handy.
In Sydney, TripView (which has both a paid and a lite version) is the go to app for your train, tram, and ferry schedules. In Melbourne, you’ll want the PTV app. In Brisbane, you’ll want to grab Go Brisbane, and in Perth it’s TransitTimes.
If you’re in a hurry and want to take a taxi, I’d recommend the very handy GoCatch, which handles taxi bookings for every major Australian city. While there are region specific options available as well, none offer quite the level of convenience that this one does.
Staples such as FourSquare, Urban Spoon, and Yelp are still going to be the best bet for finding a restaurant on the go while in Australia. TripAdvisor is also quite popular with Aussies.
When it comes to food delivery, I’m an advocate of Menulog. This app has over 4700 restaurants across Australia listed in it (most of them in capital cities, so it’s not much use to you out in the sticks just yet) and lets you place orders quickly and conveniently. Many restaurants on Menulog also have deals exclusive to those using the service, so you’re going to save some cash as well.
You can find Menulog on both the iTunes Store and on Google Play.
Things to Do
Sometimes the wealth of online content and travel blogs aren’t quite enough to get you motivated and give you the information you need. In these cases, there are a few handy apps that can provide you with local info or even plot out your trip for you.
The Appy Travels series has guides for nineteen cities and regions in Australia; ranging from Sydney and Melbourne to regions such as the Yarra Valley, Byron Bay, and The Kimberley.
For those with a desire to go on an epic Aussie road trip, the Australian Road Trips app has over 350 unique treks for you and your friends to embark on.
Do you have any favourite apps that are specific to Aussie life or Aussie travel? I’d love to hear about them!