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Advice for female traveling alone

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Hello!

I am visiting Australia in Mid-late September. While I will be traveling with a friend in Sydney for the first week, I will be there an additional week alone. I was looking up fares on Greyhound and saw that there was a ticket you can buy from Sydney to Cairns making multiple stops along the way. I have a week to travel and was wondering if it would be safe for a 23 yr old female to do this trip alone? I currently live in Chicago so I am very comfortable in large cities. I would plan on staying in hostels at each city I stopped in.

-Is the Greyhound system in Australia safe?

-Approximately how long would it take to get from Sydney to Cairns via Greyhound? (Assuming I have a weeks time and could make a few stops, would that be enough time?)

-What would be the best places along the way to stop? (Here is a map of the route http://www.greyhound.com.au/Help/types-of-passes/maps/map-mini-traveller-syd-cns.aspx)

-Do you think I should take small flights up along the coast (Maybe Sydney-Brisbane, then Brisbane-Cairns) instead? I thought the Greyhound experience might be cool and I could sight-see during the ride!

I would appreciate any help or insight! This would be my first trip to Australia and while I am sure it is a wonderful and safe country, I am just nervous to embark on this journey alone seeing as I am a female (and pretty small! haha).
If anyone has gone up the East coast on a Greyhound or know anyone who is doing this similar trip please let me know! I would love to meet up!

Thank you so much!

-Very excited lady from Chicago :)

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