Beach to Bush, Great Barrier Reef to Ayers Rock, Kangaroos and Koalas - Australia has so much to offer for a short or long holiday. Multiple international flight routes link Australia with the rest of the world, making it a popular gap year destination to visit on a round the world flight or as a destination in its own right. Travellers are drawn to the extensive coastline 25,800km long and dusted by 7000 beaches many of which are picture postcard pristine white sand bays washed by turquoise surf. Australia is also home to 500 national parks including rainforests, empty outback, coastal dunes and rugged mountain ranges - you can experience the highlights of the country and do something unique on one of our holidays. Plan a gap year to Australia today.
While many visitors will enjoy a traditional beach BBQ (or Barbie) of steak and prawns washed down with a beer or two during their stay, for the more active Australia is also home to some of the great waves on the planet, world class surf and some of the hottest surfers. One of the worlds natural wonders, the diversity of Queensland's Great Barrier Reef is legendary and a boat ride out to the reef from Cairns or Port Douglas is an unforgettable experience. The reef which comprises thousands of individual reef systems, coral cays and literally hundreds of picturesque tropical islands is home to a spectacular abundance of marine life including colourful coral gardens, sponges, rays, dolphins and a mind boggling array of tropical fish. Australia has such extensive coastline that 112,600 surf lifesavers are employed to keep watch!
Away from the coast many people head out on an Outback Odyssey or Bush Walkabout to explore Australia's vast empty interior bush landscapes of burnt, bare and beautiful ochre. The most famous sites of all is Uluru (Ayers Rock) - a celebrated icon of Australia. No matter how many times you've seen it in postcards nothing prepares you for seeing the solitary and impressive landmark yourself - it appears as an ochre brown colour and at sunset becomes illuminated a burnished orange and burnt red.
Wildlife lovers will delight at meeting wallabies, wombats, possums and of course the famous kangaroo. Another well know antipodean animal unique to this part of the world is the Tasmanian devil which is actually type of hyena. Hiring a car which is a popular way to get around - the surf and sun run from Sydney to Cairns takes in 2864km of beaches, national parks, theme parks and surfing and can be completed in a few weeks. Another popular run the Great Ocean road in Victoria loops and curls along Victoria's coastline with surf beaches and golden sands on one side and dense rainforests on the other.
Sydney offers great nightlife and culture including concerts at the iconic Opera House and a fireworks spectacular centred on the landmark harbour bridge. Perth is know for its great pubs, bars and restaurants and foodies will love getting stuck in at the Melbourne's internationally renowned food and wine festival held each Feb and March. Wine is one of Australia's great exports and vineyards can be found in a number of regions. In New South Wales for example the Hunter Valley is the oldest wine region in Australia where Shiraz, Semillon and Cabernet Sauvignon vines have been grown since the early 1800's.
With a relaxed lifestyle and a favourable climate, the idea of a holiday in Australia sounds great. But what does it take to make all the arrangements beyond an airline ticket? Here’s what you need to know to plan a gap year in Australia. Travel visas are for people hoping to visit the country for a short or long term, perfect for people taking a gap year in Australia. Just to travel in Australia you will need to apply for a visa, this applies even if you are just visiting as a tourist. Please don't expect to arrive at the airport without a visa and be let into the country.
Visas fall into a further tier of categories; short and long stay tourist visas or short and long validity business visas. The tourist visas are for those visiting the country for the purpose of sightseeing or to stay with relatives, the business visas are for people entering the country on business terms only. An Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) can be applied for online and they are added to your passport instantly, meaning there isn’t a huge application process and hence they are the easiest of the Australian visas to obtain. Around 30,000 British citizens apply for a permanent visa every year, and many more for travel, business and student visas. Whether you are venturing for a short, permanently or you are one of the many spending your time in the sun, Australia visas are essential when it comes to travelling Down Under. Tourist visas permit you to stay in the country for up to three months and the only thing you need in order to be eligible for a travel visa is a valid passport from an eligible country. Business visas are on a similar basis; short term business visas permit you to enter and conduct business within Australia for three months. Student visas are probably the ones that are most likely to be useful to people who are planning to go and study in Australia (these are not for people simply going on a gap year).
Student visas are again divided into sub-sections; ELICOS sector student visa, school sector student visa, vocational, higher education, post grad and many more. ELICOS is for students wishing to study an English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students; vocational is for diplomas and visas like the higher education option are for people wanting to move to Australia in order to complete a university degree. The requirements that you are able to obtain and maintain one of these student visas is that you must complete the full course you are moving to and that you can also provide sufficient proof that you are able to afford the tuition fees and living costs.
There has never been a better time to visit Australia so the tourist adverts say and this is one of our most popular destination. Expect a warm climate, friendly locals, new cities, beautiful beaches, lots of international travellers, a relaxed atmosphere and also so much to see and do. Our programs are open to students, graduates, career breakers and for people looking to see more of this country. Australia is one of the most popular gap year destinations in the world for a reason - this country is an amazing place to explore. Highlights can include being more than just a tourist, visiting Ayers Rock on a camping tour, riding jeeps around Fraser Island, sailing in the WhitSundays, snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef... the list could go on and on!
If you are looking for somewhere to base yourself or settle we recommend Sydney or Melbourne - both have a lively atmosphere and lots to do. These cities have great nightlife and cafes, most backpackers stay here the longest. In Melbourne you have to do the Neighbours tour and pub night, you might even get to meet Dr Karl or Toadfish. We highly recommend going to learn to scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef, you can set this up through a dive school on arrival or before departing. If you are looking to learn to surf you can choose from almost any coastal place like Byron Bay or Surfers Paradise. Adelaide is a nice city but don't expect much to do, its probably best to visit if you know someone who lives there as they will be able to show you around, popular things to do include visiting the local museums and also climbing Mount Lofty.
If you would like to visit Tasmania, flights are cheap but taking the ferry from Melbourne to Devonport is more scenic and a much better option. You can hire a car or join tours here, we recommend visiting the Bay of Fires, the Freycinet National Park, the Tasman Peninsula, the Central Plateau Conservation Area, Mole Creek Karst National Park and the remote Lake Mackenzie. Visit Ayers Rock, its a long way in the middle of nowhere but it really is spectacular especially if you see it at sunrise or sunset - the rock changes colour it looks really magical. Book your flights or train tickets way in advance though as spaces can fill up quick. There isn't much to do in Alice Springs so don't plan to stay here a long time but there are also overland tours up to Cairns which are a lot of fun and you can experience the real Australian Outback. If you have a flexible schedule you might also like to book a flight and take a gap year in Fiji which is recommended country to visit nearby.
If you apply advance through an international sending agency they will be be able to help arrange flights, transfers, accommodation and provide placements to help you have a dream experience.
Australia is a huge country with a lot of different places to see, on our website you can find inspiring ideas for a backpacking adventure. You can visit a range of destinations like the big cities and go to more remote areas like the Northern Territory. There is a lot of choice for all budgets and you can book holidays in advance to avoid spaces being full and departures are all year round. The Outback is one of the most spectacular places in the world, think desert and a few remote outposts and towns. You can experience this for yourself and join thousands of other backpackers and travelling to visit places like Ayers Rock near Alice Springs and Darwin.
The legendary East Coast route is recommend to do on an organised tour too, this will be a wild and crazy experience seeing some stunning locations along the way. Some people start in Sydney and travel North. Alternatively, if you prefer to explore the country at your own pace and you have the finances to be able to do so, then a great way to do so is by taking advantage of cheap car rental options available. This is a good idea especially if you are planning on travelling long distances between major cities, or if you are staying in one place for a period of time and wish to explore the surrounding area in greater depth than you would be able to on foot or via public transport.
Sydney is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It is a cosmopolitan destination that mixes natural scenery with city life. If you are wondering what do you want to do while on a gap year in Sydney then you should find our guide helpful. There is something for everyone and Sydney make a great place to stay while seeing everything the city has to offer on a gap year. There is so much to do and see in Sydney, that it is impossible to list it all here. Instead, booking in advance and spending enough time will allow you to take in everything the city has to offer. From pristine beaches with play areas just for kids to camping in the bush to seeing all of the native flora and fauna, Sydney is the perfect place for a nice winter gap year too. Don’t forget the hustle and bustle of the city when it comes to nightlife and dining. Sydney has great clubs to visit and there are also many shops to explore during the day if you are looking for that unique gift to bring home as a reminder of your time Down Under.
Sydney offers so much for tourists and you can plan an itinerary for all schedules. We highly recommend going for a walk around the Rock area which has bars, resturants and a relaxed atmosphere. For music, you have to look no further than the symbol of the city, the Sydney Opera House. This famous building opened in 1973 and houses seven venues, including the main concert hall. Despite its name, it hosts performances of theatre and ballet as well as classical music and opera, and is now one of the most distinctive and iconic buildings in the World. Alongside the opera house sits an equally iconic structure in the form of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The two together make the city’s harbour an attractive place to sail, yet another of the city’s outdoor activities, and carries cars, trains and pedestrians from the city’s business district to the North Shore. As such a focal point of the city, the frame of the bridge is lit up each year for the city’s New Year’s Eve display. Each year a different theme is used, such as a disco ball or the Yin and Yang symbol, and the end result is a spectacular show for the entire city to see.
Sydney is also one of only two cities in Australia (Brisbane being the other) that has professional teams representing all four forms of football: rugby league, rugby union, soccer, and Aussie rules. In fact, nine of the 16 top flight rugby league teams are based in Sydney. As well as this is the Sydney Cricket Ground, which hosts tests in the Ashes series, when England tour the country. Watching a live sporting event here is highly recommended. All of these influences can be witnessed in the Sydney Festival, an annual event held in the scorching heat of January, where there are indoor and outdoor music performances, exhibitions and specially organised events. It is one of the largest of many festivals that happen in the city. Depending on what interests you, there is the Sydney Film Festival, the rock festival Big Day Out and Australian Fashion Week.
Australia is a very safe country to visit with a great modern health system and quite low crime compared to other worldwide destinations. If you are a UK resident you will get free medical treatment in emergencies throughout Australia but you will need to pay for doctors appointments though. Buy a good travel insurance policy to make sure you are totally covered. Here are some tips: