Australia is one of the most popular gap year destinations in the world. With its varied landscape and attractions such as the Great Barrier Reef and miles of pristine beaches it attracts thousands of gappers looking for some sun and a great time!
The Working Holiday Scheme allows young people from the UK to work and travel across Australia doing work such as fruit picking and hospitality to help pay for your travels. Visas are easy to get hold of and Australia is a safe place to travel with no language barriers and a Western society. Many gappers also visit Australia as part of a round the world trip so you can also get a visitor visa if you are only there for a short time.
All UK travellers need a visa before being allowed entry into Australia. There are two main visas used by gappers heading off to Australia:
Short Term Visitor Visa – British citizens can stay as a tourist in Australia for up to a year. With this visa you are not allowed to work so it’s best for people who are passing through for a few months. If you plan to be there for less than three months you can easily apply for your visa online by visiting www.eta.immi.gov.au. Your visa is then electronically stored and accessed when you go through passport control in Australia. You can apply anywhere in the world so its useful if you have already started your trip!
Working Holiday Visa – This specialist visa is designed for gappers and young travellers to be able to undertake casual work as they travel their way around Australia. The visa is applicable to British Citizens who are between the ages of 18-30 and the visa is valid for a year but in some cases can be extended to two. You can either apply online to the Australian Immigration office yourself (http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/index.htm) or get a company to do this for you.
Australia is on the major airline routes so there are many companies that can get you out there. Direct flights to Australia range from £800 – £1200 and fly from most airports in the UK. Somewhere along the way the plane will have to land and refuel usually in Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Dubai or Tokyo. Its worth considering taking a stopover and getting some extra travelling in on the way out or on the way home. You may also want to look into getting a round the world flight if you are visiting more countries than just Australia. A round the world ticket will save you money and be more flexible than a direct one.
Health and Safety
I’m sure you’ve heard that Australia has a lot of dodgy animals and creepy crawlies! Bites and attacks are very rare and many local hospitals have serums and antivenoms in case something happens. Australia has a great health service and if you head out on a Working Holiday you can sign up for a Medicare Card. As with all gap years we recommend that you take out comprehensive medical insurance for your whole trip.
So what can you get up to in Australia? Here’s some ideas:
Sport Lived (www.sportlived.co.uk) – provides young people with the opportunity to play and coach sport in Australia
Flying Fish (www.flyingfishonline.com) – trains and recruits yacht skippers and sail, dive, surf, windsurf, kiteboard, ski and snowboard instructors.
Itoi – (www.i-to-i.com) – learn to teach English in Australia with a TEFL course
Australia is a great option for the first time traveller or gapper. The Working Holiday Scheme means you can spend a whole year there and see what its like to be a true ozzie and really get a feel for the country. Thousands of British travellers head there every year so you wont be alone either!
After taking a gap year in New Zealand, Chris got the travel bug and has spent lots of time travelling through Australasia and Europe. With 5 years at the company he has lots of gear experience to boot!