No matter where in Australia you’re travelling, there are a number of smartphone apps that one can’t leave home without downloading. (words Ryan Auberson-Walsh

1. Posse

A bit of an underdog in the app-crazy world of social hunters and gatherers (crazy kids seeking out new eats, shops, bars and services in many cities around the globe through mobile technology) Posse is emerging as a free Australian-made gem. Founded in ’10, users can follow people (including the rich and famous) in their network and head to locations they recommend.

2. Historypin

All true city explorers will be happy to see this free history-packed app. Thousands of images and stories are pinned to an easily navigated map run through Google technology, where you can check out a past era and compare it with today’s reality by snapping your own photos and adding captions. It’s essentially a new-age global encyclopaedia, and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

3. Kayak Pro

This is the top-dog of travel apps. You can compare flight, hotel and car rental deals, book hotel rooms and access info about baggage fees, your flight status, and even manage your itinerary. The Pro version includes bonus airport terminal maps for 99 cents.

4. Airbnb

Listed under the App Store’s Best New Apps, Airbnb is a brilliant free travel resource for the adventurous not wanting to stay at your typical hotel or campsite. Boasting thousands of listings in more than 34,000 cities, you’d be hard pressed not to find last minute accommodation in vacation homes and apartments.

5. WikiCamps Australia

A camper’s delight, this $2.99 beauty is a user-generated godsend with over 10,000 listings of campsites, caravan parks, backpacker hostels, information centres and points of interest Australia-wide. Extra knick-knacks include a chat forum, compass and camping checklist.

6. GateGuru

Admit it. You’ve been stuck in an airport on many occasions without a clue where to find your favourite coffee, locate an ATM or even spot the closest toilet. Say no more – GateGuru doesn’t just have a handy airport map; it also includes a live flight board with push notifications, journey planner and last minute car rental bookings, all for free.

7. First Aid by Australian Red Cross

For mere mortals without basic medical training, knowing what to do in an emergency situation could actually mean life or death for your travel companions. A massive thanks to the Red Cross, this free app comes in more than 20 languages and has information on how to handle many medical situations.


The folks at the NRMA have whipped together a convenient free app that helps out anyone needing roadside assistance in NSW or the ACT if they’re unsure of where they are, traceable through their smartphone’s GPS. It also means there’s a crucial time saving without the need to wait on hold when the line’s busy. A win for the impatient and utterly lost!

9. Pocket Weather Australia

As good as we insist default smartphone apps are, Pocket Weather Australia certainly gives the iPhone weather app a run for its money. At just $1.99, info is updated directly from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and users can see forecasts for every Australian suburb, review the current location’s details, and check out a synoptic chart among many other geographic goodies (Available on iPhone & iPad only).

10. Packing Pro

Sure enough, we can all reminisce on that quick getaway to some faraway location where we ended up forgetting half of the essentials. Packing Pro costs only $2.99 and ensures we’ve brought along the necessities through building a customisable list based on where we’re headed. Now there’s no more excuses for ‘misplacing’ your bikini.