Australia is the first country on the list for many taking a gap year, whilst it is also a dream holiday destination for just about every age demographic. It’s easy to see the appeal of this vibrant country and it clearly has so much to offer.
As well as must-see bucket list attractions like Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia is a popular choice for nature lovers, foodies, sports fans, beach bums and hipsters who can’t get enough of cosmopolitan city life.
This vast and beautiful country is awash with highlights. Unmissable experiences for many include the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island, a yachting trip to the alluring Whitsundays, a journey along the Great Ocean Road, drinking in the biodiversity of Kakadu National Park and the vineyards of the Hunter Valley. Add in the fascinating, mystical Australian Aboriginal culture and the abundance of unique wildlife and you have the makings of a gap year or career break that will stay with you forever.
Australia might be a fair distance away (it is 10,553 miles from London to Sydney, if you’re interested!) but the minor inconvenience of such a long haul trip is most certainly worth enduring. What’s more, with non-stop flights now available between the UK and Perth, it’s closer than ever.
Australia has so much to offer in terms of work opportunities, volunteer projects and adventure travel activities. Those on a Working Holiday Visa may find more specialist roles but generally casual work in the farming, retail and hospitality industries are easy to find and a great way to meet people.
Australia is a country that leads the way in ecological and environmental conservation and so the range of volunteer projects in these areas is vast. Tree-planting, national park maintenance, marine conservation and beach-clearing, and working with animals are just some of the options taken up by those on a gap year.
On any gap year project you will inevitably have a fair bit of free time, and in Australia you really will be spoiled for choice as to how to use it. Sydney and Melbourne are cosmopolitan, eclectic cities that combine sensational food and nightlife, art and culture and stunning modern architecture. Compared to many lauded cities around the globe they are also incredibly clean and safe, and there is always a beach within easy reach.
Thrill-seekers are extremely well catered for in Oz: Bungee jumping, sky diving, surfing, trekking and rafting are just some of the options. Australia has so many highlights but checking out some of the less obvious choices like the Ningaloo Reef or Purnululu National Park in Western Australia can add to the sense of adventure.
Australia welcomes around eight million tourists every year and almost all of those experience safe trips. The country has a unique feel and its locals are famously friendly and open. The crime rate is low compared to most areas of the world, but of course common sense safety precautions should be taken, just as they would be in the UK, at night or when travelling alone.
Getting round is easy with a good and cheap domestic flight network meaning the size of the country is no impediment to seeing a lot in a relatively short space of time. Bus and rail travel also offers good options whilst many tourists choose to hire a car or campervan, especially if travelling to the Outback.
Most visitors to Australia will require a visa but usually if you intend to stay for no more than three months this is a simple online process and is free of charge. There are a range of long-stay and working visas also available so check directly with the Australian government site if you plan to stay for longer than three months.
Malaria is not a concern in Australia and nor should you need any vaccinations but checking with your doctor or a specialist travel clinic is, as for all trips, advised.