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travel to australia gap year

Planning a Gap Year Trip in Australia: Everything You Need to Know

travel to australia gap year

As the world’s largest island, you could spend a lifetime exploring Australia and barely scratch the surface, which is why it makes for the perfect gap year destination. If you’re about to graduate from high school, complete your university degree, quit your job, or you’re recovering from a messy breakup, Australia is the getaway you need. It’s on the other side of the world, so if you’re going to visit, you might as well go all out and make it a year-long adventure. If you’re ready to start planning a gap year in Australia, here’s everything you need to know.

Gap Year Trips to Australia: Sydney Opera House during the day with boats sailing around it

Do you need a visa for a gap year in Australia?

First and foremost, you need to start thinking about the dull side of travel; yes, we’re talking about visas. Before you arrive at the border, you’ll need to figure out if you’re planning to stay as a visitor (strictly no work allowed), or if you want to apply for a working holiday visa and make some cash during your travels.

  • Tourist visa: All travellers to Australia, other than Australian and New Zealand citizens, are required to hold a valid visa. Some nationalities, including Canada, the US, and the UK (just to name a few) can apply for an ETA that allows you to visit for up to 3 months per visit within a 12 month period. The visa is free, but you need to pay a service fee for the application.
  • Working holiday visa: If you are aged between 18 and 30, then you may be lucky enough to be eligible for a working holiday visa if your passport has a reciprocal arrangement with Australia. Casual work is allowed as long as you follow some restrictions, and you are unable to work for more than six months with one employer. The visa itself allows for holidaymakers around the world to stay up to 12 months.

There is a cost for the visa, and certain conditions you must read and adhere to. For more information go here . 

How much should you budget for a gap year in Australia?

Budget planning can be as difficult as predicting the weather, but with a bit of research and preparation, you can avoid any money woes on the road. Most travellers grossly underestimate the cost of living and travelling in Australia, but don’t let that deter you. Be realistic, and double whatever you think you may need, and be prepared for a few extra expenses along the way.

A male surfer stands on the shoreline of Bondi Beach with a surf board

Hostel dorm bed: $20–45 (depending on the location)

Cheap breakfast on the go: $7

Bottle of water: $3

Dinner: $12–15

Beer at a bar: $9-12

Short bus or tram ride: $4

Mid-range budget

Double room in a basic hotel or motel: $80–130

Cocktail at a nice bar: $15-20

Brunch: $25–40

Short taxi ride: $25-30

High-end budget

Double room in a top-end hotel: from $220

Dinner at a nice restaurant: from $100 per person

Domestic flight between two main cities: from $150-500+ depending on the season

Private day tours: from $100-500 depending on the style or location

If you’re looking to save money during your travels, try to eat one for just one meal a day and cook at the hostel or hotel where possible. As for tipping, it’s common but by no means compulsory, unlike North America and other parts of Europe.  

“Trial shifts are your best friend when you first get to Australia! I got my first job in my gap year by going around to shops on day one with my resume. Lots of retail or hospitality jobs will give you a ‘trial shift’ instead of an interview, so you basically just show up and fly with the punches to see if you’d be a good fit. I was lucky enough to score a job by the end of the week.” – Jillian, Team TourRadar

See Also: Australia vs. New Zealand: Which Destination Is Calling Your Name?

Where should you stay when you arrive in Australia?

When you’re considering where to stay for your first week or two in Australia, a hostel is a great place to start – especially if you’re travelling solo. Hotels are great if you want a night to recharge after a long flight, and you’re looking to enjoy your own space for a day or two, but it will be much harder to find new travel pals.

Two waltzing wallabies in Trinity Beach, Australia

“Definitely stay in a hostel when you first get to Australia! There’s always so many backpackers or people starting their gap year, so you’re guaranteed to meet someone to be your friend. When I first went to Australia I stayed in a hostel and this was where I met my travel friends.” – Darshna Nemane, Team TourRadar “Short-term rentals are tough, as a lot of apartment rentals are six months minimum, but I found success with long-term renting of holiday flats. We rented a holiday flat for 12 weeks, which was a great middle ground for stopping and working a bit but not getting too locked in” – Jillian Bailey, Team TourRadar

What to pack for a gap year in Australia?

First of all, remember that LESS is more. Everything you could possibly need to buy will be available in Australia, and if you’re hostel-hopping for 3-6 months you’ll regret lugging around a heavy pack or suitcase. If you’re moving to Melbourne, for example, and plan to stay there for a year, then you can get away with packing a large suitcase to set yourself up, but approach this strategy with caution.

A girl's leg rest besides her suitcase

Here are a few items you can add to your suitcase or pack:

  • Light, breathable tops and t-shirts
  • Skirts and/or dresses
  • A few nice pieces to wear at night
  • Comfortable sneakers or hiking shoes
  • A pair of sunglasses
  • Chinos or a light pair of trousers
  • Sandals or flip-flops
  • Bathing suit
  • Umbrella, scarf or wide-brimmed hat
  • Birkenstocks

Other items:

  • Facial and cleansing body wipes
  • Travel journal
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Suitcase lock
  • A quick-drying travel towel
  • A small backpack
  • Portable charger
  • Travel adapter and converter
  • A photocopy of your passport and ID
  • A smart outfit
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Insect repellant

See Also: We Rank Australia’s Best Beaches

Where should you start your gap year in Australia?

For most international travellers, Melbourne , Sydney, or Brisbane are the starting points for adventure seekers who are about to start a working holiday or gap year. If you’re unsure of where to start, remember that it’s easy to get around Australia, but the distance between major cities on the east coast is much further than you’d expect.

For years, Melbourne consistently topped the list of the ‘Most Livable Cities in the World’, which is mostly attributed to its unique culture and undeniable cool factor. This trendy city is famous for its world-class sporting events, bustling cafés, and unique nightlife – which is perfect for backpackers. St Kilda beach is a popular place for city dwellers to visit. However, there are no waves: the surf beaches are found much further down the coast.

Alleyway with Street art in Melbourne, Australia

There’s no denying that Sydney is absolutely beautiful. Where Melbourne is all about graffiti laneways and hidden cafes, Sydney truly sparkles. With icons like Bondi Beach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, this city has plenty to see and do. Just remember, choosing an arrival city doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever, but don’t be surprised if you never want to leave Sydney.

Orange VW Kombi on Manly Beach in Austrailia

Further north than both Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane is small but packed with reasons to start your gap year adventure here. Offering a similar atmosphere to Melbourne, If you’re into modern and unique art galleries or exciting rooftop bars, vibrant food markets, and nearby wineries, then Brisbane might be your best bet. If you want to immediately head to Byron Bay, it’s just a few hours south along the coast, whereas Airlie Beach (a famous backpacker area) is a considerable drive north of Brisbane.

“Start in Brisbane and go to Byron Bay, get a longboard or surfboard, a casual job and chill out. But don’t be surprised if your gap year lasts for five years.” – Roy Reif, Team TourRadar

Tours for gap year travellers in Australia

If you’ve decided to take the leap and book your flights to Melbourne, this 8-day tour with Welcome to Travel is a great starting point for travellers. Not only will you get a chance to meet other like-minded travellers and explore the sights of Melbourne with a local guide, this tour includes an ‘Australian starter pack’ to help you apply for a Tax File Number, set up a bank account, and register for a phone number without the stress of trying to figure it your for yourself.

If the beaches of Bondi are more your calling, this tour with Intro Travel starts in Sydney and covers 9 days of sightseeing, along with planning sessions and a starter pack to help you tailor your resume and prepare for your gap year in Australia. Once the tour is over, the Intro Travel team will be there to help support you on your journey to find work or any further assistance you need!

Coastal drive in Sydney beside the sea

If you’re not interested in working, and all you want to do is travel Australia, why not consider booking a short tour to help get your bearings without the stress or hassle of planning your own internal travel arrangements? Topdeck offers a 10-day tour starting in Brisbane and travelling further north to the must-visit places including Fraser Island, a sailing adventure in the Whitsundays, a visit to Airlie Beach, and Magnetic Island, travelling all the way up to Cairns.

“Just do it, and you won’t regret it! If you’re thinking about it, you’ve got nothing to lose so why not give it a go?” – Julianne MacDonald, Team TourRadar

Do you have any gap year planning tips for Australia? Let us know in the comments!

travel to australia gap year

Gemma Music

Gemma is a travel-lover from Melbourne. When she's not surrounded by the great outdoors, Gemma can be found spending her time with family and friends or planning her next trip overseas.

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Home » Oceania » Full Guide to Gap Years in Australia for 2024!

Full Guide to Gap Years in Australia for 2024!

Taking a gap year is something EVERYONE should do at least once in their lifetime.

I don’t want to hear a word of those narratives that says you should only be focusing on your career or future.

A gap year in a destination like Australia offers  a bunch of benefits  including new experiences, perspectives, skills and fan-bloody-tastic memories to last a lifetime.

There’s something beautiful that comes when you change the pace of life and dedicate yourself to doing things differently.

Whoever you are and whatever calls you,  come do a gap year in Australia!

Yes, I’m talking to you city people, country folk, beach bums, snow bunnies, mountain dwellers, and everyone between.

travel to australia gap year

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Why Take a Gap Year in Australia 

How to plan a gap year in australia, gap year in australia budget , visas for gap years in australia, what to do in a gap year in australia, expeditions and epic things to do in australia, and don’t forget your insurance…, final thoughts .

Halls Gap Australia

Are you fresh out of school and keen to learn from the school of life before getting back into studying? Or maybe you’re a professional in need of a sabbatical, and considering a grown up gap year . 

Whether you’re after a career boost, a damn chill time or a whole bunch of new and exciting memories, there are endless reasons why you should plan a gap year in Australia. Here’s a cheeky look at a few reasons why. 

Slow travel, baby – Australia is not a small country. Why rush? Spend some time to uncover all the magic. You can take it nomad style on the road in a van or use your weekends to explore the countryside from your city home base. Taking it slow will likely make it a cheap gap year too. Visiting Australia will be a dream come true.

Learn new skills for the future – You’re bound to pick up useful skills as you go. These could be the resilience you learn as a fruit picker, the industry experience you get at your internship or the multitasking you refine as an Au pair.   

Language immersion – Immersing yourself in a language is the best way to boost your fluency. If you’re a native English speaker or not, immerse yourself in the coolest of all English-speaking accents. Some may contest and say Australian’s don’t even know how to speak English. I beg to differ – embracing the drawn-out ‘O’ sounds, shortening your words and whacking mate, yeah or nah onto every sentence is bound to win you some street cred. 

Take a well-earned break – Whatever you’ve been doing before, it looks like you deserve a break to me. What better way to do it than by chilling on the beach, by a river in the bush or in a country pub. However you unwind, why not do it in Oz?

Global Work and Travel Promo Code

Where oh where do we start when it comes to planning?

Let’s break it down into sections to make the task seem a little less daunting. These aspects of travel are super important when you’re planning a trip of any kind, feel free to make your own notes!

1. Budget 

It’s worth knowing your budget before you travel anywhere, but especially before a destination like Australia!

Australia is known for many things, but being a budget destination is not one of them. It can be hella expensive.

So do you have a chunk of savings that can comfortably cover you to explore all corners of the country? If that’s you, good on ya! Feel free to shout the next round of drinks too.

If it’s not you, you might plan on earning cash with a job as you go or saving cash by volunteering along the way.  More on those topics to come! 

2. Your Criteria

A cool thing about travel jobs is that everyone does it differently. Before you head off, have a think about how you want to experience your gap year in Australia. 

Get ready to ask yourself all the questions. 

Will you be bringing your trusty backpack or a suitcase on wheels? 

Keen to rough it or enjoy the finer things in life? City or country?

Will you move around a lot or have a base?

Whoever you are and whatever you want, you can create your ideal experience. 

3. Pre-planned vs Winging It

I’ll be honest with you, I am not a planner. At the best of times, I may have planned out my life a few weeks in advance. The look of terror on the faces of the planners in my life when they consider this….it’s clear the ‘winging it’ approach to life is not for everyone. 

If that sounds like you, I know just the team of experts who can help you out. The folks at Global Work & Travel offer assistance for organising gap year programs in Australia, and other countries around the world. This includes help on work placements, visas, accommodation and all that jazz. They can even help you get job interviews with kickass local businesses. It’s nice to feel supported, right? As much as I am not a planner – you better believe I will jump at the opportunity to have people sort out that tricky bureaucracy for me. 

Alternatively, you could also go with  Worldpackers . It’s an online company that connects travelers with foreign volunteer hosts who then work in exchange for housing. You basically get to live for free by helping the company or business with a few hours every week. Worldpackers also offers a plethora of additional resources, a great support network, a blogging platform for collaboration, and a whole lot more – ideal for your gap year!

Now I know there are some of you out there who can’t stomach the thought of a regimented or even pre-planned trip. Don’t stop reading though, as you can totally wing a gap year with nothing more than a visa, some cash, and a (loose) plan! This option is great for those who don’t have too many financial limitations. 

4. Duration

How long do you have?

If you’re a student, you might be trying to fill in the time between your uni semesters. If you’ve got commitments back at home – like a house, pets or a family – your trip may be on the shorter end of the scale.

Heck, you might even just want to go with the wind and plan to relocate to Australia as long as it feels good! There’s no reason you can’t bend the ‘rules’ and go for a shorter, or longer time, than a 12 month year.

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Want more deetz on why these packs are so  damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

How should you budget your cash for your gap year in Australia?

Australia has the reputation for being an expensive destination, which isn’t untrue. If you’re interning abroad or travelling around and don’t plan to work, it will get expensive. But Australia didn’t get its reputation of Absolutely Epic Gap Year Destination by simply overcharging their visitors and sucking their bank accounts dry. Alongside all the natural and cultural wonders, if you’re able to work and earn $AUD, there’s potential to make some decent cash. 

Your budget will vary a lot depending on where you choose to base yourself and the lifestyle you live. For example, if you choose to rent in a share house in a rural area, your rent is going to be a lot lower than a studio apartment in the trendy neighbourhoods of a city. 

The cost of living in Australia is often vastly different between cities too. For example, Sydney and Melbourne are the biggest cities in the country, though the cost of living and exorbitant cost of rent in Sydney is bound to have any Melburnian trembling in their boots. It’s worth doing a bit more specific research if you have a particular destination in mind. 

We crunched down the numbers to give you a guide of what to expect for a monthly budget in Australia. Do remember though, budgets are subjective. If you’re the type to sip on cocktails and dine out on the regular, you better budget a bit more pocket money for your time in Oz. 

Your life will no doubt involve other costs, so consider this a skeleton budget.

melbourne-grafitti

A decent chunk of the time spent planning your gap year in Australia is likely to go to the visa process. I wish I had a magic wand to relieve you of this bit, but alas it is a hurdle you have to jump to get to the land down under. 

These are the visas options for this kind of trip: 

Tourist visa – If you’re planning on travelling in Australia but don’t plan on working, go for a tourist visa. They are usually granted for stays of three, six or 12 months. On this visa, you won’t be able to work but you will be able to enjoy the sights and have a damn good time. 

Working Holiday Visa –  This hot little visa is specially crafted for ‘young adults who want an extended holiday and work [in Australia] to fund it’. It’s for people aged between 18-30 (or 35) from certain countries. It gives you 12 months of working rights, though if you complete three months of work in rural areas you can extend it to 24 months. Sounds pretty good right? You can check if you’re eligible here .

Student Visa – A student visa in Australia allows you to study a course, and live and work while you study. You’re able to work up to 40 hours per fortnight with this visa. This leaves you with plenty of time to hit the books, earn some cash and live your best life in Australia. 

I’m not gonna lie to you, applying for visas in Australia is no walk in the park. The process involves various steps, potential tests, medical exams and maybe even a fee. Urgh. While the process has a few steps, it is completely possible to work through it on your own. 

Does that freak you out? Well, remember those helpful friends at Global Work and Travel that I mentioned before? Not only are they offering excellent gap year programs in Australia, they can also help you get there by sorting out your visa and all that fiddly stuff. 

If you are wanting to take a more relaxed gap year, and you’re not planning to book an organised program, you can still get help with your visa application with  Visa First . They will handle the nitty gritty while you sit back and look forward to your trip.

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Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and  ditch the plastic .

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I mean, we can’t all spend every day chilling out on a beach or climbing a mountain. 

So, we’re going to look into some projects or travel styles that you could throw yourself into while you’re on your Australian gap year. 

The good news is that Australia is a ripper destination for a work/life balance. You can get your job done and be only a few steps away from a natural paradise or cool urban scene. Whatever tickles your fancy. 

Take a read of these and come up with a plan that feels like you!

Working Holiday in Australia

The idea of a working holiday in Australia has brought many a traveller to Australian shores. For bloody good reason too! It’s a cool visa program that gives you a lot of flexibility. Once it’s granted, you have 12 months to work and can even extend that to 24 months if you do 90 days of work in rural areas. 

Most people on this visa will work in either hospitality or do farm work. 

It’s usually pretty straightforward to find these jobs. You can do a walk-in application, apply online, find opportunities through Facebook groups or by word of mouth. There are apps like Sidekicker which help you get hospitality jobs on a casual basis too. 

A day in your life while you work in Australia could look something like this:

Scenario one: You wake up to start work at a small neighbourhood cafe at 9am. You spend the day serving coffee and brunch to friendly locals and their cute dogs. In the afternoon, you go for a run along the bush trails in your area. You cook dinner with your fun and interesting housemates before heading to your local bar to listen to live music. 

Scenario two: You wake up early to the sound of Aussie birds welcoming the new day. You get dressed, have some breakfast and get to work picking apples and oranges in a small rural town. After you knock-off, you enjoy a hard-earned cold beer. You spend the evening chatting and exchanging stories with other travellers and your host family. You even plan a camping trip in the nearby Australian national park ! The job is hard yakka (hard work) but it’s a quintessential experience for work and travel in Australia.

Obviously, details will chop and change, but this is a totally possible day for you while you work abroad in Australia!

Of course, you’re not limited to these industries. It’s worth mentioning though, it can be more difficult to find positions in other industries as some employers are reluctant to hire travellers who won’t stick around. That doesn’t mean you can’t try your luck though!

If you would like a helping hand, Global Work and Travel can help you organise your Australian gap year and ensure the transition is seamless and stress-free. 

They help organise the big stuff like visas, the little details like an Australian sim card and Tax File Number, and the practical stuff like job interviews once you arrive. There’s also a lot of fun stuff included, like a welcome group orientation, initial accommodation with fellow working holidaymakers, trips to iconic spots like the great barrier reef and surf lessons. 

It’s reassuring to know you have community and support when you arrive in a new place, and that’s exactly what you’ll get as part of the deal.

Au pair in Australia

If you are good with kids and are keen on cultural immersion, working as an au pair in is a pretty sweet way to spend a gap year in Australia.

It allows you to really become a part of an Australian household, and make close and special connections. This kind of experience will get you off the worn traveller’s path and truly living like a local. 

This option is usually appealing to those who want a new experience and a sense of stability in a new country. It’s not likely to be a gig where you earn a lot of cash. The arrangements for au pairs in Australia often include your own private room in the family home, some meals, a set amount of work hours and a bit of extra spending money. You won’t necessarily be making the big bucks, but you won’t have huge expenses either. You might even get the chance to explore the country with your host family if they take a trip while you’re with them!

While the details vary depending on the family, some will require that you have things like previous experience with children, a drivers license, a Working with Children Check or a police check. This makes sense, right? They are trusting you with their kids after all. 

A day in the life for an au pair in Australia could involve getting the kids ready for school, doing school pick up and drop off, taking the kids on exciting adventures, tutoring, organising activities at home or helping with the groceries. These tasks will depend on the age(s) of the kids and the family. 

But you didn’t take a gap year in Australia just to raise someone else’s kids, you’ll obviously have time off too!

Spend your days off wandering through a world-class art gallery, picnicking in the park with your new friends, going to music gigs, camping in the bush – it’s your time to spend as you want.

It’s usually not too tricky to get set up with an au pair gig. If you want to sort it out yourself, there are some Facebook pages where families in a particular region make posts to find help. Try a search like “Au pair Brisbane” and see if you have any luck.

You may have some luck finding au pair/childcare-related opportunities on sites like Workaway and Worldpackers. These positions are likely to be less time demanding, though probably volunteer positions. 

If you want a hand, there are agencies who help you sort out the tricky part. It’s often a better idea to take this path as they verify the families to avoid arriving in a family where you feel overworked, under appreciated and unhappy. These agencies generally involve both the prospective au pair and the family making a profile on the site and posting ads to outline what they are looking for. 

For extra assistance finding a safe and welcoming host family, your mates at Global Work and Travel have got your back. Just like with other kinds of trips, they can also help you with visas and placements. They will even help you find a new family if you find yourself in a situation that isn’t working out. You’ll have the community aspect and potentially meet your next best friend at the program orientation. 

Interning in Australia

This kind of trip is perfect for academic achievers, and those who want to use their time to apply knowledge in a real-world scenario.

Australia is an amazing place to kickstart your career and gain experience on the job. Whatever your background is, chances are there are some sweet opportunities in Aus for professional development.

Perhaps you’re keen to use your uni break to earn some college credits or level up your professional skills. What do they say, there’s no rest for the wicked. It will look pretty good on the old resume once you’re done, too. 

In theory, finding an internship in Australia shouldn’t be too hard, right? I mean, you can just send off a few friendly emails to some companies you admire or like the sound of and wait till you’re showered in internship offers. 

Alas, sometimes things that make sense in theory don’t work out in practice. It can actually be tough to find internships, even when you’re offering your amazing skills free of charge!

If you want to try to track down some opportunities yourself, the approach mentioned above isn’t a bad option. Use the internet too, it’s your friend for finding local companies and businesses. Your university admin team might be able to line something up too. 

If you’ve got some industry connections to help, it pays to use them. 

If you don’t, it might be worth having some extra help on your side. Our mates at Global Work and Travel do an awesome job at connecting travellers with internships on the ground. They have industry connections across all industries, from Marine Biology to Engineering and Public Relations. 

They can even give you a hand with visa stuff and offer resume advice to make sure you’re heading into the experience with your best foot forward. 

Of course, you won’t be spending 24 hours a day interning. There will be plenty of time for exploring all the fun stuff that Australia has to offer. After all, that’s surely the biggest incentive of an Australian gap year.

A day in the life of an intern could look as different as camping in the bush working on an environmental research project to a 9-5 gig in a corporate office. Your time off will look different too. Consider amazing nights up in exciting cities, hiking in the mountains, learning about ancient Aboriginal culture and plunging into tropical waters.

Study in Australia 

Studying abroad is an amazing way to spend some time in another country.

Whether it’s an exchange semester, a study tour for college credits or you enroll to complete a course in an Australian institute, studying in Australia is bound to be a great time. You get the chance to live somewhere new while you level up your brain with exciting new knowledge.

With the right visa, you can take courses of all kinds, from short courses to a full university degree. 

If you’re learning English, you can take a course to boost your level or just soak up the language immersion you get when living abroad. You’re not just limited to language courses though, Australia has a world-class education system offering courses on anything from marketing to programming and astrophysics. 

Meanwhile, you can make the most of the student lifestyle and explore the country in your free time. 

You can track down the course of your choosing and apply on your own. There’s a bit of bureaucracy involved, but it’s definitely do-able. If you like someone to help with those bits, there are a bunch of agencies who help make the experience of getting to and settling in Australia all the easier. 

Volunteering in Australia

Volunteering in Australia is an experience you’re bound to remember forever. You could spend your days building a permaculture garden in a hippie community, helping nurse injured Australian wildlife back to health or empowering refugee-led businesses. Sounds pretty rewarding to me.

You may be drawn to volunteer as a way to leave somewhere better than you found it. You could also be interested in cultural immersion, to save cash or have a bit of routine while you’re travelling. 

Whatever your reason, volunteering can be an awesome way to spend your gap year in Australia.

If you’re wanting to find volunteer projects, have a look at Worldpackers or Workaway . There are a bunch of cool projects you can get involved in, offering some great opportunities to live like a local and do some good while you’re at it. 

You can also get in touch with certain organisations or groups to see if they take volunteers. Backpackers Facebook groups may have some leads too!

What you don’t earn in cash, you’ll have with you forever in lifelong memories. 

travel to australia gap year

Worldpackers: connecting travellers with  meaningful travel experiences.

where to stay in Brisbane

Things to do in Australia are endless, there are so many outback adventures to embark on and incredible sights to see.

Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world, and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. You simply cannot visit Australia and skip the spectacular Great Barrier Reef.

To best enjoy the reef, get out on the water and see it for yourself. You can join a boat tour and see amazing coral gardens and tropical fish from up close. 

See native Australian wildlife

Did you know that 90% of the animals native to Australia do not naturally occur elsewhere? From kangaroos, koalas, platypuses, crocodiles and Tasmanian Tigers, the animals in Australia are completely awesome. 

There are many sanctuaries around the country that work to help endangered species and educate visitors on the unique Aussie critters. But there’s nothing quite like seeing them in the wild.

Visit Tasmania

Just because it’s a little out of the way, you must NOT, I repeat must NOT, skip the small-but-mighty state of Tasmania. It’s often overlooked for other locations on the mainland, but I am going to spell it out simply – don’t be that fool. Visit Tasmania! From hiking the spectacular Cradle mountain to indulging in gourmet local delicacies, Tasmania is a must-do on your Australian gap year. 

A popular way to get around is to hire a car or van and visit the sights. You can also join day trips for sightseeing, food tasting and wine samplings.

travel to australia gap year

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Do you really need more tempting?

Hopefully, we’ve helped iron out any questions of how to take a gap year in Australia.

If you’re looking for something to do in your next phase, don’t look past a life-changing experience in the land Down Under. 

The range of things to do while you’re there is as vast as the country itself.

travel to australia gap year

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Alexandria Zboyovski

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Travel Guides

Taking a gap year in australia: everything you need to know, thinking about taking a gap year in australia here's the travel guide you need to read....

travel to australia gap year

Looking to set out on a gap year in Australia? Or not sure where to travel yet and want to find out if an Australian gap year lives up to the hype?

There’s a lot of information floating around about student travel down under, career break ideas, working abroad and gap year travel in general, so we thought we’d create the ultimate, easy to digest guide to everything you need to know about spending a gap year in Australia.

Whether you’ve done a lot of travelling before or not, as soon as you dream those immortal words, ‘it’s time to plan my gap year’, it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed about the process that lies ahead.

Well, stress no longer, because you’re in the right place. Here’s the low down on that gap year in Australia you’ve been dreaming of all your life. Thanks us later from the golden beaches of Oz.

What is a Gap Year?

travel to australia gap year

If you’ve been living under a rock for the majority of your life so far – which by the way is a great reason to now get up and go on a gap year – then this one is for you.

A gap year is a period of time taken out between life-stages, whether a career break or break from academic life as a student, to travel, volunteer or work abroad.

If you’re looking at this screen, still contemplating what to do with your life and thinking ‘should I take a gap year?’, the answer is yes, it’s a great way to get away from the rat race for a while, live out some dreams and see parts of the world that you never would have otherwise.

Australian Gap Year Experiences and Adventures

travel to australia gap year

Wondering what to do in Australia when you get there? Well, there are a whole host of reasons why a gap year in Australia could be the right one for you, and the sun, surfing and famously laid back culture of the country are only the start of it.

If the reason you’re taking a break in the first place is to get out there and see the world like you’ve never seen it before, a gap year in Australia could well be the one for you. It’s a big country, and the vast variation between the different regions really makes it stand out from the crowd.

The beaches in Australia are some of the best in the world. From the legendary Bondi Beach in Sydney to the Twelve Apostles in Victoria and less-trodden beaches in between, the place is basically a sun-lovers heaven. Think golden sand, golden sun, attractive members of the opposite sex and more surfing spots that you can point a bag of GoPros at.

Moving on from the beaches – which is something many of you are justifiably unlikely to do if you do ever make it down under – the wildlife down under is another common reason folk choose to take a gap year in Australia. Kangaroo Island, where you can see koalas, whales and dolphins as well as ‘roos, is just a short ferry ride from Adelaide, or you could even nip over to Tasmania and see an endangered Tasmanian devil if you’re lucky.

We should note that you may also see the odd 11-foot spider holding a giant, spiky boomerang in the corner of your bedroom, but don’t let that put you off…

Terrain-wise, the country is so diverse that a journey through the heart of it can be like a journey through the four seasons of the year – it’s the perfect mix for gap year travel.

travel to australia gap year

The eerie-redness of the Australian outback is famously bizarre and unlike anything else on the planet, with canyons and waterfalls popping up out of nowhere and aboriginal caves lending a bit more culture and history to that adventurous trip of yours.

On the other side of things, you’ll find both rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef near Queensland, and even the opportunity to go skiing or mountain biking a few hours north of Melbourne at Mt. Buller. To sum up, a gap year in Australia is effectively like travelling through a highlights reel of the planet Earth. All killer, no filler. Perfect for those wanting to get away.

Getting Around Australia and Where To Stay

travel to australia gap year

There are plenty of ways to travel the country as well, some of the best of which are hop-on hop-off buses that navigate across the country. Touring company Oz Experience offers 18-35 year old backpackers flexible bus travel, letting you stop off and spend as long as you want at each of your destinations before getting back on the road.

It runs multiple daily departures between Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and it’s massively popular with student and post-university travellers from Britain and indeed around the world. There are plenty of other services like it out there as well that let you make the most of your gap year in Australia!

You can also get a train pass for a bit more money from Rail Australia , and a lot of people like to rent or buy a car or campervan too, which while a little more expensive offers you even more flexibility.

travel to australia gap year

For all of the above options, the most popular form of accommodation for gap year travel is to choose one of the host of backpacker hostels planted in and around every major city in Australia, but there are also the usual international hotel chains and plenty awesome places up for grabs on Airbnb , which is definitely worth checking out before you head.

If you’re grabbing a job and staying in one place down under for a bit longer of course, or heading out with a gap year program, your options may involve renting a place or even being put up for free by your employer. Read on to find out more…

Working Abroad in Australia

travel to australia gap year

Often after committing yourself mentally to twelve months of gap year adventures, once you’ve dreamed of the wonder and freedom of it all, your thoughts may turn to the darker side of travel, and asking the dreaded question: how much does a gap year cost?

The answer, of course, completely differs depending on what your plans are, but fear not, because working abroad is often easy to organise and doesn’t have to be as strenuous as you might imagine.

Where should you start when looking for gap year jobs? Well, summer jobs abroad and gap year programs are all options for your working holiday in the sun… We’ll get to volunteer work later!

travel to australia gap year

One of the most common gap year jobs in Australia is fruit-picking. The main pros for this are that you get to work in the Aussie sunshine, meet a lot of new people, the majority of whom will be like-minded travellers, and the work is available across pretty much the whole of Australia. It’s also very flexible work and you don’t need any experience.

The good thing about this option is that most fruit farms will also provide accommodation and food with the temporary contract, but it is an early start, the pay is more often than not minimum wage, and you’ll likely be based an hour or so outside of the nearest city.

Working as a jackaroo – which will see you work with cattle and sheep at a ranch – has many of the same pros and cons as a fruit-picker, but both can be organised well in advance through a gap year program, and will more often than not save you a lot of hassle with accommodation.

travel to australia gap year

If you’ve got experience of course, you should be able to pick up bar work in one of the many cities in Australia, or you could even work as a diving instructor on the Great Barrier Reef if you’re looking for something a little more glamorous.

You do need to remember that working in any gap year job in Australia will require you to apply for a working holiday visa (WHV), which allows you to live in Australia and work in literally any job in the countrya for up to a year, or up to two years if you have a second WHV accepted after your first expires.

Once you’ve got your WHV, Australia is a blank canvas as far as jobs go. Depending on your qualifications, tastes and budget, the gap year jobs options really are endless…

Volunteer Work in Australia

travel to australia gap year

It’s also possible to get volunteer abroad in Australia, with many conservation sites offering work which also comes with accommodation and food included and will see you spend a lot of time around some of the most stunning scenery in the country.

Most free volunteer work abroad isn’t usually completely free – you may still have to pay your own way out there normally and you’ll definitely need spending money – but it is a great option for those who would prefer less responsibility, no hassle over accommodation and a gap year experience spent deep in the great outdoors.

The voluntary jobs on offer in the country range from working in parks and reserves to working on beaches and even deep in the Outback – and that’s only what’s on offer around Sydney and New South Wales.

travel to australia gap year

Western Australia, including Perth, offers similar experiences, while Queensland boasts rainforests, Brisbane and beautiful coastlines and Melbourne and Victoria offer access to the Great Ocean Road and the most famous coastlines of Australia.

There are also conservation volunteering jobs around the famous Ayers Rock in the North, working with wallabies in Adelaide or even with Tasmanian devils in, you guessed it, Tasmania.

Again, remember that you’ll need to sort your tourist visa before you head out for any of these!

The Basics: Australia

travel to australia gap year

Currency: Australian dollar

Average temperature: Varies vastly throughout the country, but South Australia’s summer runs from December to February, where the average is 28.3 Celsius but regularly rises above 30.

Emergency numbers: 000 is the national emergency number to remember in Australia.

Language: English

Visa Info: Working Holiday Visa needed.

Main attractions: Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock, golden beaches, rainforests, deserts and ski slopes. Take your pick!

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Work & Travel in Australia

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Australia is an incredible country with sun, beaches, friendly people and world famous tourist sites. If you want to take a gap year, go backpacking, work, intern, study or book an adventure find the best trips in Australia.

Australia Jobs, Courses, Internships & Tours

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Gap Years & Backpacking in Australia

Travelling, living or working in Australia on your gap year allows you to experience the country’s rich cultural heritage. There’s so much on offer. From vibrant cities to the rugged outback or the northern tropics.

A trip to Australia is the perfect way to spend a year abroad. You will be able to develop your skills and pursue new interests whilst enjoying your new surroundings.

If you are keen to spend a dream gap year working, studying, volunteering or doing amazing activities, arrange the trip of your life today.

Gap Year Jobs in Australia

Spend your  gap year  earning money in Australia. Apply for a working holiday visa and you can live and work Down Under whilst seeing the highlights of the country in your spare time.

Popular places to find employment include Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth although you can find jobs throughout the country even the outback on farms. There are lots of positions available including hotels, hospitality, tourism and agriculture work.

Some companies offering working holiday packages and help with visa, flights, accommodation, set you up with a bank account, help you find work, and plan your trip to make your experience hassle free. 

Internships & Work Experience in Australia

Are you looking to gain work experience? You can find internships with companies in all the major Australian cities in industries like media, marketing, law, journalism, architecture and more. This is a great way to boost your CV, help your career and integrate into Australian life. Some companies might even offer full time employment on completion of a placement. 

Volunteer in Australia

There are so many rewarding  gap year volunteering opportunities  in Australia, from helping kangaroos and animals to helping nature, coaching sports and conservation. This is a great way to experience a different side to the country, do something meaningful and meet friendly people. 

Study in Australia

Australia has some of the most reputable universities in the world and is a really great option if you are keen to expand your studies overseas. There are so many courses available to international students throughout the country.

Backpacking in Australia

Go travelling and experience the highlights of Australia. This is one of the  best places to visit on a gap year  and it is easy to see why it is so popular. These are some of the highlights:

• Explore amazing cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Perth • Take a working holiday and get paid to live in Australia • See the Great Barrier Reef • Volunteer with koalas • Go on an adventure in the Outback • Learn to surf • Get your backpack and tour the whole country!

Australia Tours

Heading out to Oz, whether on your own or with a friends is pretty daunting. Everyone tells you it’s easy to meet people in hostels etc, and it can be. But on a tour you get time getting to know a group of people while doing some amazing stuff with them, not just a passing drinking game in a hostel dorm.

You all in the same boat are everyone will be like-minded so its basically impossible not to make some good friends. It gives you a base to get you going, and you’re all probably hitting hotspots like the east coast. As well as sightseeing, activities can include: jet boating, city orientation, beach trips, surfing, dinners at restaurants along with all the obligatory nights out and pub crawls.

Australia is waiting to be explored, from world famous cities, to the Outback and Great Barrier Reef – just searching trip itineraries will get you excited. There are lots of small group adventure tours which are perfect if you are looking to go to the best places, meet other travellers and have the time of your life.

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Gap year australia.

The sheer size of Australia is a benefit itself, having all types of cities and towns providing diverse experiences.

Australia

Australia, along with New Zealand , is arguably one of the most exciting and popular gap year destinations for students. Looking at the activities that are on show, it’s easy to see why. The locals are friendly, there is plenty to do and students from the UK are often greeted with open arms.

Two of Australia’s most popular cities for backpackers are Sydney and Melbourne. Firstly, Sydney is famous for its Opera House and Harbour Bridge and not to forget the Westfield tower, where you can see a 360-degree view of the city, as the restaurant rotates continuously as you eat and drink.

Sydney has one of the most popular beaches, Bondi Beach, while Melbourne’s beaches are less favourable. It has been known for Bondi hostels to be booked up in peak times, as backpackers will be long-term, so be sure to book up well in advance.

Australia gap year

What is an Australian Gap Year?

So you’re thinking of taking a gap year in Australia - where to start? Standing as a popular holiday and backpacker destination, the country based in the southern hemisphere has been a go-to gap year destination for decades. As well as offering working holiday visas, which allows citizens of several countries to work legally, taking a gap year in Australia allows young people to explore the cities and nature on offer.

From the beaches to the deserts, ‘the Outback’ and ‘the bush’, gap year Australian opportunities are second-to-none. Whether you’re planning to travel for several months, work, or gain experience at an internship, everything you need to know about taking a gap year in Australia is in our guide below.

How much does a gap year in Australia cost?

The first thing you need to work out is how much money do you need for a gap year in Australia? It’s an expensive country, especially if you plan to commit to traveling all over the place. Gap year Australia funds should be saved before you go in case you can’t secure a job as soon as the plane hits the tarmac. Consider accommodation, bills, food, leisure and other-related payments you need to think about before jetting off - much like if you have rent to pay at home.

Depending on where you are going to stay and what you plan to do for activities and transport, a rough budget starting at £1,500 a month should keep you ticking over. This would include food, leisure and renting, but it can change based on where you live and what you plan to do during your gap year in Australia.

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge to do it, ask yourself ‘how much money do I need for a gap year in Australia?’ and start researching average rent prices in the areas you are interested in staying.

However, the amount needed for a tourist visa will be much more if you’re not planning on working during your gap year in Australia. Arriving on a tourist visa for three months, a starting budget should be no less than £4,500, whereas a working holiday visa in Australia requires the individual to have a certain amount of money for their trip - this can change depending on the immigration regulations. Therefore, how much money for a gap year in Australia can vary on the type of visa you’ll carry and what you've set out to accomplish during your travels.

Australia gap year

How to plan a gap year in Australia?

An Australian gap year requires a strong plan and months of research, from deciding where in the country you want to stay, or travel to, and how you’ll support yourself. We have various points below to get your brain juices flowing on the decisions you need to make while planning your trip. So, how to do a gap year in Australia? First, you’ll need to sort out your accommodation - are you going to choose an apartment to rent, Air BnB, a hotel or a hostel? Then you need to work out your visa options, from working holiday visas to tourist visa options.

Decide whether you will need to set up a bank account if you plan on working. Most of the banks are the same but the majority include a small charge between $2 and $4.

Then we have the Tax File Number (TFN), which is the equivalent to the UK’s National Insurance Number allowing individuals to work, it is free to apply for and it’ll make the whole process smoother if you want to earn some cash when out there.

Another important factor is your health and signing up for a Medicare Card . It’s free to apply and there are offices in major cities in the country, by having the Medicare Card will allow you access to subsidised health care.

Something many people who choose Australia for gap year travels forget is that they’ll need an unlocked mobile phone from the UK ready for an AU sim card, otherwise they might incur international calling and charge rates from their provider. But you are also able to buy a phone while you are out there which will already be set up to carry an Australian sim if you don’t plan on bringing a handset with you. Australia, like many other countries, requires evidence of certain vaccinations that you’ve had upon entry if planning a working holiday visa or tourist visa gap year.

Lastly, it’s hot down under! Even if you like a tan or think you’ll get used to the sun, exposure can result in sunburn and in severe cases can take weeks to heal. Be safe and use suncream of at least SPF 30 and be responsible.

How to organise a gap year in Australia?

There are so many options for Australian gap year candidates excluding solely working or travel. Another area is volunteer work, from rewarding wildlife conservation projects, tutoring, or working with the elderly. You could find yourself in the rainforest of North Queensland or with local charities like Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Although it is the smallest continent, it is actually the sixth largest country - it is as big as 48 states in the USA. The majority of the population is concentrated along the southeastern and eastern coasts, offering large areas to stay and work. This means there are even more Australian gap year programs to consider, from Melbourne to Canberra. Even though it has a large landscape, buses and domestic flights can take you to different areas, linking you to various gap year programs in Australia if you want to tick more than one-off your list.

Students looking to gap year to Australia may find that free gap year Australian programs aren’t very common. Graduates tend to pay for all-inclusive programs which provide housing, excursions, work, and volunteering, as well as other education and experiential opportunities. They can last a matter of months or a full year and can provide great experiences for your CV. Taking a graduate-type gap year program can help if you’re looking to apply for university after a gap year in Australia, as you’ll get to shout about the amazing experiences you had during your time.

What to pack for a gap year in Australia?

Now you’ve made the decision to get on the plane and travel to the other side of the world, you now need to work out how to have a gap year in Australia. What do you take with you, and what are the essentials? Australia is a developed country and pretty much everything you need will be available - but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to pack anything.

Pack tropical, tops, t-shirts, and shorts are advised, along with trousers, hoodies, or dresses - depending on your style and what you plan to do. If you want to backpack The Outback, evening gowns and black tie aren’t going to cut it.

Unless you have a job already lined up it’s best not to pack work clothes as you can purchase them out there when you know what type of work you’ll be doing. Gap year travel in Australia will need backpacking essentials - a sturdy kind of backpack you won’t mind dragging along with you throughout the trip - and small travel-friendly items you need daily.

What to do in Australia on a gap year?

We have covered most options for different desires, such as gap year work in Australia and traveling to Australia in a gap year.

For the adventurers at heart, the country offers unlimited activities, from scuba diving off the coast, driving on a long road trip, or even taking up surfing. You can even camp under the stars, spend time with the wonderful wildlife, or work and live the urban lifestyle with summer all year round. If you really wanted to you could play cricket in Australia for a gap year!

Are there gap year jobs in Australia?

We already know that you can arrive in the country under a Working Travel Visa so there are Australian gap year jobs available. Before you grab your passport you should decide on whether you’d like to spend your time exploring, working, or both while you’re down under. If you’re unsure on what you want to do ensure your budget covers the potential scenario if you don’t secure work, so the essentials like bills and rent are covered.

But if you really want to soak up the experiences of a working gap year in Australia then figure out what type of work you want to do. It’d be the same as the UK, looking for gap year jobs in Australia wouldn’t be that much different from the search you’d do at home. Students or young people will have to put in as much effort as they would anywhere they were while being realistic. There are gap year employment options in Australia and you should have the correct mindset when you decide you want to get a job because it might still feel like a holiday while you’re out there.

Gap year Australian work opportunities can be restricted by the visa you have, as you are only permitted to work for six months, and employers can only hire you for the same time limit. Employers also know this, so unless you are a strong candidate for a specialist field or a sponsorship, work in Australia for a gap year might end up being different to what you initially intended. Because of this you probably won’t be offered a permanent position and there is no use in applying for them if you’re not intending to be permanent, and you may not be considered if you’re on a temporary visa.

If you are in need of a job try the tourist and hospitality industry, the local paper, hostel notice boards, research online and get your CV out there. There is also farm work which is big in Australia which offers backpackers short term and temporary options. It’s hard work and requires a lot of physical labour but if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty it could get over the hardship of finding work.

Australia gap year

What gap year Australia advice do you need?

Firstly, working in Australia on a gap year is a great experience and you should be prepared to work hard to find the perfect job.

It’s not going to be a cheap experience but it also isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg, it’s the same in most countries where some items are cheaper and others are more expensive. Hostels and working to a budget will help your money last longer but if you want the life-changing experiences, either incorporate this into your savings or find temporary work to make it happen. Gap year Australia jobs are available, as thousands travel to the country on Working Travel Visas every single year.

However, finding Australian paid work gap years are common, but unless you have a sponsorship or have experience in a specialist field, the type of work may vary. Electronics can be expensive down under, so bringing over the technological essentials will help bring costs down - everything else can be bought.

To help bring your costs down to live the full experience try cooking and buying your own groceries instead of eating out, hang out at free venues like the beach or the National Parks during days out exploring, and cut back on the souvenirs as you’d have to bring it all back with you on the plane.

Is a gap year in Australia a working holiday?

It definitely can be and it’s one of the most exciting things that draws people to the country. The Working Holiday visa is available for ages 18-31, allowing foreign nationals from several countries to work for up to six months at a particular job. It can last for 12 months so you could work at two jobs.

Are there Australian gap year blogs?

If you want to find out what it is like backpacking or traveling around the country, read a gap year in Australia blog to discover what it’s really like. They can give advice on accommodation, food, working and travel - you could even set one up yourself.

Do I need travel insurance if I take a gap year in Australia?

Gap year insurance for Australia is important, even if you’re not sure what you’re going to do the entire time you’re there. You should protect yourself against lost or stolen items and health insurance. As mentioned above, applying to work and subsidised healthcare is important while you’re there.

Are there gap year projects in Australia?

Gap year options in Australia make your student CV and resume stand out, like internships or volunteering. International experience is something to boast about when you’re looking for a career afterwards. You can talk about the hardship of finding and securing a job abroad and your experiences during the time.

They are temporary too, so if you want to fit one in and travel during your gap year on an Australian working visa, you could spend time working, at the internship and then explore.

Do I need a gap year Australian working visa?

The visa should be the first thing you arrange if you’re planning on taking a gap year in Australia. If you’re eligible there should be no reason to receive a refused visa, but you should obtain that before booking your flights, just in case.

There is a visitor visa, which is valid for three months over a period of 12 months. It is free to apply for with an admin fee on top and you can apply online. Then there is a tourist visa, which is valid for up to 12 months and you have to pay for this.

If you are looking to work and travel at the same time then you can apply for the Working Holiday Visa, which lasts 12 months and allows each employer to take you on for 6 months at a time, maximum. This visa also costs and there are certain conditions involved. Second Working Holiday visas can be granted if a candidate has completed three months of harvest work - or 88 days, but you’ll need to get certain details from the farmer to show this.

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travel to australia gap year

Australian Urban Jobs for International Travelers: Unlock Exciting Opportunities in City Work

Rewarding paid farm work in australia: explore profitable opportunities in agricultural employment.

The vast country of Australia is so diverse that it has long been a popular destination for travellers and people looking to work abroad. Offering a laid-back and friendly culture, incredible natural wonders and a great outdoor lifestyle,  it really is an exciting and safe destination that provokes countless return trips.

Australia is renowned for blue skies, white beaches, awesome surf and ice cold beers. This country boasts amazing diversity from the rugged red deserts of the outback, to glorious mountainscapes and lush, northern rainforests. The vibrant and cosmopolitan cities are well worth a visit, as are the breathtaking underwater marvels of the Great Barrier Reef!

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Head for the sunshine in a “Land Down Under”

For those searching for opportunities in gap year travel, Australia has it all.  This easy to travel country is home to people who adopt the ‘no worries’ attitude to life. There is always someone who is willing to help out a traveller, neighbour or friend, celebrating the true meaning of the term, ‘mate-ship’.

This country is about 32 times bigger than the United Kingdom. This obviously means there is a lot to see and do whilst you work or volunteer in Australia! The width of the country expands the same distance as from London to Moscow, the largest farm is bigger than Belgium, and the most interesting thing is that 85% of the population live within 50km of the coast!

Work abroad in Australia on a gap year program

Our gap year programmes and career break options give you a full year for travelling in Australia so you are able to experience the iconic sites such as Ayers Rock or the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This is with money in your pocket following our help with finding a paid job in Australia.

The cities are energetic, animated and exciting, and very welcoming towards international travellers and workers alike. You can choose to work in Sydney and earn enough money to fund a great social life, or further travel by working in bars, restaurants, shops, offices or factories. The cost of living will be met by a well paid job.

In complete contrast, work in the iconic Australian Outback that covers almost the entire country. Here the skies are blue, the earth is red and wildlife comparable to nowhere else on the planet.  This programme offers an excellent chance to earn a good wage with food, accommodation and other expenses included with your job. Ranch work in Australia is the best way to see how the real Aussies live!

For somewhere in between and those who are horse lovers, head to a beautiful rural location to work in a professional stud with horses. With accommodation, some food and usually the use of vehicles, this job will ensure you have plenty of money in your pocket afterwards. Travel to polo games and yearling prep sales and see the country whilst getting paid for it!

With a number of gap year programs in Australia, we are confident that we have something to offer you! For more information about the country, check out our quick facts for first time travellers to Australia .

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How To Plan An EPIC Gap Year In Australia

Introduction.

Embarking on a gap year is an exhilarating opportunity to explore new destinations, immerse yourself in different cultures, and gain valuable life experiences. If you’re considering a gap year in Australia, you’re in for an unforgettable adventure. Known for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and laid-back lifestyle, Australia offers a wealth of opportunities for gap year travelers.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to plan an EPIC gap year in Australia. From choosing your destination to finding accommodation, exploring transportation options, and making the most of working holiday opportunities, we’ve got you covered.

Planning a gap year can be overwhelming, but with the right preparation and research, you can create an itinerary that suits your interests and preferences. Whether you’re looking to explore the vibrant cities, relax on pristine beaches, immerse yourself in nature, or experience the unique culture, Australia has something to offer everyone.

Before diving into the planning process, it’s important to keep in mind that a gap year is not just about ticking off tourist attractions. It’s an opportunity for personal growth, self-discovery, and stepping out of your comfort zone. Embrace the uncertainty, be open to new experiences, and allow yourself to immerse in the local environment.

So, are you ready to embark on an EPIC gap year adventure in Australia? Let’s get started!

Step 1: Choosing Your Gap Year Destination

The first step in planning your epic gap year in Australia is choosing your destination. Australia is a vast country with diverse landscapes and unique experiences to offer in every state and territory. Whether you’re drawn to the bustling city life, pristine beaches, rugged outback, or lush rainforests, there’s a destination that will suit your preferences.

Sydney, the largest city in Australia, is a popular choice for many travelers. With its iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach, Sydney offers a vibrant city atmosphere combined with stunning coastal scenery. Melbourne, on the other hand, is known for its artistic and cultural scene, with numerous art galleries, music festivals, and trendy neighborhoods to explore.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed and tropical setting, head to Queensland. The Sunshine State is famous for its stunning Great Barrier Reef, beautiful beaches, and lush rainforests. The Whitsunday Islands and Cairns are perfect destinations for those seeking adventure and underwater exploration.

For nature enthusiasts, Tasmania should be on your radar. This island state boasts breathtaking landscapes, including rugged mountains, lush forests, and stunning coastlines. It’s the ideal destination for hiking, wildlife spotting, and immersing yourself in nature.

Western Australia offers a unique mix of natural wonders and metropolitan cities. From the cosmopolitan city of Perth to the awe-inspiring landscapes of Broome, Margaret River, and the Pinnacles, there’s plenty to discover in this vast and diverse state.

If you’re after a true outback adventure, consider exploring the Northern Territory. Marvel at the sacred rock formation of Uluru, explore the stunning landscapes of Kakadu National Park, and learn about Aboriginal culture and history.

South Australia is another hidden gem, with its wine regions, rugged coastlines, and the vibrant city of Adelaide. It’s the perfect destination for food and wine lovers, as well as those seeking natural beauty.

Lastly, don’t forget about the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Beaches of Sydney. The ACT is home to the nation’s capital, Canberra, where you can explore national landmarks and immerse yourself in Australian politics and history. The Northern Beaches of Sydney offer a more laid-back coastal lifestyle, with stunning beaches and beautiful coastal walks.

Consider your interests, budget, and the type of experience you’re looking for when choosing your gap year destination in Australia. Each state and territory has its own unique charm and attractions, so take the time to research and discover which one resonates with you the most.

Step 2: Researching Visa Requirements

Before embarking on your gap year in Australia, it’s crucial to understand the visa requirements and ensure you obtain the necessary documentation to enter and stay in the country legally. The type of visa you’ll need depends on the purpose and duration of your stay.

If you’re planning to stay in Australia for more than three months and engage in work or study, the most common visa for gap year travelers is the Working Holiday visa (subclass 417 or subclass 462). This visa allows you to work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months.

To be eligible for a Working Holiday visa, you must be between the ages of 18 and 30 (or 35 for certain countries), have a valid passport from an eligible country, have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay, and meet health and character requirements. Additionally, you may need to provide proof of health insurance and undergo a medical examination.

For those who are interested in pursuing studies during their gap year, the Student visa (subclass 500) may be more suitable. This visa allows you to study full-time in Australia for up to five years, depending on the duration of your course.

If you plan to visit Australia for a shorter period, such as for a holiday or to visit family and friends, you can apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600). This visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to three, six, or twelve months, depending on the visa subclass and your individual circumstances.

It’s important to thoroughly research the visa requirements and ensure you apply well in advance of your intended departure date. Check the Australian Department of Home Affairs website or consult with your nearest Australian embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information on visa applications and processing times.

Keep in mind that visa requirements and regulations can change, so staying informed and being proactive in your visa application process will help avoid any unnecessary stress or complications.

Once you have determined the appropriate visa for your gap year in Australia, gather all the required documents, fill out the application forms accurately, and submit them online or through the appropriate channels. Remember to allow enough time for processing and be prepared to provide any additional information or undergo further assessments if required.

By taking the time to understand and fulfill the necessary visa requirements, you can ensure a smooth and legal entry into Australia, allowing you to fully enjoy your gap year experience.

Step 3: Setting a Budget

Setting a budget for your gap year in Australia is essential to ensure you have enough funds to cover your expenses and make the most of your experience. Australia can be an expensive country, so it’s important to plan your finances carefully.

First, consider your overall budget for the entire duration of your gap year. This includes costs such as accommodation, transportation, food, activities, visas, and travel insurance. Research the average costs for these items in the areas you plan to visit to get a better understanding of what to expect.

Accommodation can be a significant expense, especially if you plan to stay in major cities. Look into options like hostels, shared apartments, or budget hotels to keep costs down. Additionally, consider using websites or apps that offer discounted rates for accommodations.

Transportation expenses can vary depending on how you choose to get around Australia. If you plan to explore multiple destinations, consider purchasing a multi-city or regional transportation pass, which can offer savings on flights, buses, and trains. Utilize public transportation wherever possible, as it is generally cheaper than taxis or ridesharing services.

Food costs can also add up, especially if you eat out frequently. Consider cooking meals at your accommodation or opting for budget-friendly options like street food or local markets. Take advantage of happy hour deals or search for restaurants that offer affordable meal options.

When planning activities and excursions, research free or low-cost options available in each destination. Many national parks, beaches, and cultural sites offer free or discounted entry. Look for group discounts or package deals for popular attractions or tours.

Don’t forget to budget for unforeseen expenses or emergencies. It’s wise to have a contingency fund set aside for unexpected circumstances, such as medical expenses or last-minute changes to your travel plans.

Consider opening a local bank account in Australia to avoid additional fees when withdrawing cash or making local transactions. Look for banks that offer low or no fees for international students or travelers, and be mindful of currency exchange rates when transferring money from your home country.

It’s important to be realistic with your budget and monitor your expenses throughout your gap year. Track your spending and adjust your plans or priorities if necessary. Remember, your gap year is about experiences and personal growth, so finding a balance between enjoying activities and staying within your budget is essential.

By setting a clear budget and planning ahead, you can ensure your finances are in order and make the most of your gap year adventure in Australia without unnecessary financial stress.

Step 4: Planning Your Itinerary

Planning your itinerary is an exciting part of preparing for your gap year in Australia. It allows you to map out your adventures, ensure you don’t miss any must-visit destinations, and make the most of your time in the country.

Start by deciding on the duration of your gap year and the destinations you want to visit. Consider the time of year and the weather conditions in each region, as well as any special events or festivals that may be happening. Determine which cities, national parks, beaches, and cultural sites are on your must-see list.

Next, create a rough outline of your itinerary, keeping in mind that flexibility is key. Allow for some downtime in between activities to rest and recharge. It’s important not to over schedule yourself, as this can lead to burnout and hinder your ability to fully immerse yourself in each destination.

Research transportation options between destinations. Australia is a vast country, and depending on your budget and preferences, you can choose to travel by plane, bus, train, or even hire a camper van for a road trip adventure. Consider combining different modes of transportation to make the most efficient and cost-effective choices.

When planning your itinerary, be mindful of your interests and preferences. If you love nature and outdoor activities, allocate time for hiking, snorkeling, or exploring national parks. If you’re a city lover, plan to spend more time in the major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane to experience the urban culture, nightlife, and culinary delights.

Research local events and cultural experiences for each destination. This could include attending music festivals, visiting local markets, or participating in traditional ceremonies or celebrations. Immersing yourself in the local culture will enhance your overall gap year experience.

Consider incorporating volunteer work or taking part in a working holiday program. This can be a great way to give back to the local community, gain valuable work experience, and make connections with locals and other travelers.

Remember to build in some flexibility into your itinerary to allow for spontaneous detours or unexpected discoveries along the way. Sometimes the best experiences happen when you least expect them.

Keep in mind that your itinerary is a guide and not set in stone. Embrace the freedom and flexibility of a gap year, allowing yourself to change plans or stay longer in a destination if you feel a strong connection.

By thoughtfully planning your itinerary, you can maximize your time, ensure a well-rounded experience, and create lasting memories during your gap year in Australia.

Step 5: Finding Accommodation

When embarking on a gap year in Australia, finding suitable accommodation is a crucial aspect of your planning process. Australia offers a wide range of options to suit different budgets and preferences, so you can find accommodations that align with your needs and enhance your overall experience.

One of the most popular accommodation choices for budget-conscious travelers is staying in hostels. Hostels provide affordable shared dormitory-style rooms, as well as private rooms, communal kitchens, and common areas where you can socialize with fellow travelers. They are a great way to meet like-minded individuals and build connections during your gap year.

If you prefer more privacy and comfort, consider booking budget hotels or motels. These options often offer en-suite rooms and basic amenities at affordable rates. Look for deals and discounts when booking, and consider staying slightly outside the city center for potential cost savings.

For longer-term stays or a more local experience, consider renting a furnished apartment or house. Websites and platforms like Airbnb and Stayz offer a wide range of listings, from cozy apartments to spacious houses. This option provides you with more independence, as well as the opportunity to cook your own meals and experience a local neighborhood.

If you are traveling with a group or prefer a communal living environment, consider joining a co-living space. These spaces offer shared accommodation with communal areas, often including activities and events for residents. Co-living spaces can be a great way to meet people from different backgrounds and create a sense of community.

Another option worth exploring is house sitting or pet sitting. Websites like TrustedHousesitters connect homeowners who need someone to look after their property or pets with responsible travelers. This can provide the opportunity to stay in a local home for free or at a reduced cost.

When selecting accommodation, consider the location and accessibility to the places you plan to visit. Consider factors such as proximity to public transportation, nearby amenities, and safety. Reading reviews and researching the neighborhood can give you valuable insights into the suitability of the accommodation.

Lastly, be open to trying different types of accommodation throughout your gap year. Mixing up your accommodations can add variety and enhance your overall experience. It’s also a good idea to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak seasons or popular events, to secure the best options and rates.

By carefully considering your budget, preferences, and the options available, finding suitable accommodation during your gap year in Australia will contribute to a comfortable and enjoyable experience while exploring this beautiful country.

Step 6: Exploring Transportation Options

Exploring transportation options is a vital step in planning your gap year in Australia. As a vast country with diverse landscapes, Australia offers various transportation modes to help you navigate between cities, towns, and regions.

If you prefer convenience and speed, flying is an excellent option for covering long distances. Australia has a well-developed domestic flight network, with several major airlines offering regular flights between major cities and regional areas. Look out for discounted tickets and flexible booking options to save money.

For those who prefer a more budget-friendly approach or want to enjoy the scenic beauty of the country, consider traveling by bus or coach. There are several bus companies that operate extensive routes connecting major cities and regional towns. Bus travel allows you to appreciate the diverse landscapes of Australia, and it’s often a more cost-effective option, especially for shorter distances.

If you’re a fan of train travel, consider exploring Australia’s rail network. Options like The Ghan, Indian Pacific, and the Spirit of Queensland offer unique experiences, allowing you to traverse the country in comfort and style while taking in breathtaking views. In addition to long-distance trains, major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane have efficient suburban rail networks for local transportation.

An alternative transportation option in Australia is hiring a car or campervan. This mode of travel offers flexibility and gives you the freedom to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations at your own pace. Australia has a well-maintained road network, and driving allows you to visit remote areas and indulge in road trip adventures.

It’s important to keep in mind that Australia follows left-hand driving, and road regulations may differ from your home country. Ensure that you are familiar with the rules of the road and have the appropriate driver’s license and insurance coverage before embarking on a self-drive journey.

In urban areas, public transportation such as buses, trains, and trams are readily available, offering convenient ways to get around. Major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane have comprehensive public transportation systems that make it easy to explore their attractions and suburbs.

If you’re an active traveler, consider renting a bicycle or using bike-sharing services available in most major cities. Australia has an extensive network of cycling paths, allowing you to enjoy cityscapes and coastal routes while staying active.

Remember to plan your transportation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons or major events. By booking tickets or reservations ahead of time, you can secure the best deals and ensure a smooth travel experience.

As you plan your gap year itinerary, take into account the transportation options available and choose the ones that align with your preferences, budget, and the destinations you wish to explore. By considering various transportation modes, you can make the most of your gap year in Australia and enjoy seamless travel throughout the country.

Step 7: Making the Most of Working Holiday Opportunities

Australia offers an excellent opportunity for gap year travelers to combine work and travel through its working holiday visa program. This program allows young individuals to work and explore the country for up to 12 months, providing a unique experience and a chance to immerse in the Australian way of life.

One of the benefits of a working holiday visa is the ability to financially sustain your travels while being exposed to Australian culture and lifestyle. By securing employment, you can earn an income to support your living expenses, travel expenses, and additional activities.

When you arrive in Australia, take advantage of various job opportunities available. Seasonal work, such as fruit picking, can be found in agricultural regions, while hospitality and retail jobs are often available in major cities and tourist destinations. Look into working in the tourism industry, bars, restaurants, cafes, or retail outlets.

Register with job agencies and online platforms that specialize in working holiday placements. These resources can help connect you with potential employers and provide guidance on resume writing and interview preparation specific to the Australian job market.

While working, make an effort to engage with your colleagues and local community. Building connections and forming friendships with Australians will enrich your experience and provide a deeper understanding of the culture. Attend social events, join sports clubs, or volunteer in local community organizations to meet locals and create lasting memories.

Not only does working holiday employment provide financial support, but it also offers the opportunity to develop new skills and gain valuable work experience. This experience can be valuable for your future career and enhance your resume.

Additionally, working in different parts of Australia allows you to explore various regions and experience different lifestyles. Take advantage of your time off to travel and explore nearby destinations. Use your weekends or annual leave to embark on road trips, visit national parks, or discover hidden gems within the country.

Keep in mind that the maximum duration of employment with a single employer on a working holiday visa is typically restricted to six months. This allows you to experience different work environments and locations, providing a well-rounded experience during your gap year.

Make sure to familiarize yourself with Australian employment laws, your rights and obligations as an employee, and workplace health and safety regulations. Understanding your legal rights and responsibilities will ensure a positive working experience.

Overall, taking advantage of working holiday opportunities can enhance your gap year in Australia. It provides the chance to fund your travels, gain work experience, meet new people, and immerse in the local culture, making your experience even more fulfilling and memorable.

Step 8: Discovering Cultural Experiences

One of the highlights of a gap year in Australia is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich and diverse cultures that exist within the country. From Indigenous Australian heritage to modern multicultural influences, Australia offers a wide range of cultural experiences waiting to be discovered.

Start by learning about the history and traditions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the indigenous peoples of Australia. Seek out opportunities to visit cultural centers, attend cultural performances, or participate in guided tours led by Aboriginal guides. This will provide you with a deeper understanding of their customs, art, music, and connection to the land.

Embrace the multicultural side of Australia by exploring the vibrant neighborhoods and communities that represent different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. Cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane boast a melting pot of cultures, offering a wide array of authentic cuisines, festivals, and celebrations.

Visit local markets and food festivals to indulge in diverse food experiences. Taste flavors from around the world, try unique delicacies, and learn about the cultural significance of various dishes. This will not only treat your taste buds but also offer insights into the cultural diversity that exists in Australia.

Seek out cultural events, exhibitions, and performances, such as art galleries, music festivals, theater productions, and traditional dance shows. These experiences provide a glimpse into the artistic expression and creativity of different cultures within Australia.

Consider participating in workshops or classes to learn traditional crafts or dance styles. Get hands-on experience creating indigenous artworks, learning traditional cooking techniques, or even trying your hand at playing a didgeridoo. These immersive experiences will allow you to appreciate the skills and knowledge passed down through generations.

Take the time to engage in meaningful conversations with locals from various cultural backgrounds. Listen to their stories, learn from their experiences, and gain a deeper appreciation for the cultural diversity within Australia.

When visiting sacred or culturally significant sites, respect the customs and protocols of the local communities. Follow guidelines and restrictions to ensure the preservation of these sites and show your respect for the traditions and beliefs associated with them.

Remember that cultural experiences are not limited to urban areas. Explore regional and remote communities to witness traditional practices, rituals, and lifestyles that have been preserved for centuries. This can include visiting indigenous communities, regional art galleries, or attending cultural festivals in rural areas.

By actively seeking out and engaging in cultural experiences, you can gain a deeper understanding of Australia’s rich heritage and multicultural landscape. Embrace the opportunity to learn, appreciate, and celebrate the diverse cultures that make Australia such a unique and fascinating destination.

Step 9: Embracing Outdoor Adventures

Australia is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and abundance of outdoor adventures, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts during a gap year. From coastal wonders to rugged outback landscapes, there are countless opportunities to explore and embrace the great outdoors.

Start by exploring Australia’s stunning coastline. With thousands of kilometers of pristine beaches, you can indulge in activities such as swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and beachcombing. Head to popular coastal destinations like the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, or Bondi Beach in Sydney for iconic experiences.

Immerse yourself in Australia’s diverse natural environments by visiting national parks and conservation areas. Hike through ancient rainforests, traverse dramatic mountain ranges, and witness unique wildlife in their natural habitats. National Parks like Kakadu in the Northern Territory, Blue Mountains in New South Wales, and Freycinet in Tasmania offer unforgettable adventures.

Consider embarking on multi-day hikes or bushwalks to fully immerse yourself in Australia’s wilderness. Trails like the Overland Track in Tasmania, the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory, and the Great Walks of Queensland provide opportunities to challenge your physical abilities while rewarding you with stunning vistas.

Experience the unique marine life and stunning coral reefs by diving and snorkeling at popular spots like the Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo Reef, and the underwater wonders of the Tasman Sea. Discover vibrant coral formations, swim alongside tropical fish, and even spot majestic marine creatures such as turtles, dolphins, and whales in their natural habitat.

For adrenaline junkies, Australia offers thrilling adventure sports. Go skydiving over picturesque landscapes, try bungee jumping off towering cliffs, go white-water rafting through exhilarating rapids, or try sandboarding down massive sand dunes. Australia’s outdoor adventure scene has something to offer everyone.

If exploring the untamed Australian outback is on your bucket list, consider taking a road trip through the Red Centre or venturing to the remote Kimberly region. Marvel at iconic landmarks like Uluru, hike through rugged gorges, and camp under the star-filled outback sky for an unforgettable experience.

Explore the unique geological formations of Australia, such as the Pinnacles Desert in Western Australia, the Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road, or the striking Flinders Ranges in South Australia. These natural wonders offer marvelous photo opportunities and a chance to connect with the ancient land.

When engaging in outdoor adventures, always prioritize safety. Research and adhere to safety guidelines, be aware of weather conditions, and bring essential equipment for your chosen activities. Additionally, respect the environment and follow Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural beauty for future generations.

By embracing outdoor adventures, you can connect with nature, challenge yourself mentally and physically, and create lifelong memories during your gap year in Australia.

Step 10: Maintaining Health and Safety

Maintaining health and safety is of utmost importance during your gap year in Australia. By taking proactive measures and staying informed, you can ensure a safe and healthy experience throughout your journey.

Start by obtaining comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses, emergency evacuations, and any activities or sports you plan to engage in. Make sure to read the fine print and understand the coverage limits and exclusions.

Research and familiarize yourself with common health risks in Australia. Ensure you are up to date on routine vaccinations and consider additional vaccinations, such as for tick-borne illnesses if you plan to explore rural areas. Consult with your healthcare provider or a travel health clinic for personalized advice.

Practice good hygiene habits, such as regular handwashing, to prevent the spread of illnesses. Carry hand sanitizer and use it when soap and water are not readily available.

Protect yourself from the harsh Australian sun by applying sunscreen with a high SPF, wearing sun-protective clothing, and wearing a hat and sunglasses. Australia’s UV levels can be intense, even on cloudy days.

Avoid recreational drug use. Australia has strict drug laws, and penalties for possession or trafficking can be severe. Always adhere to local laws and regulations.

Stay informed about the current weather conditions, particularly during outdoor activities. Australia experiences a range of climates, from extreme heat to tropical storms. Be prepared and take necessary precautions to stay safe in different weather scenarios.

Stay hydrated, especially when participating in outdoor activities or visiting hot and arid regions. Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it regularly, as tap water is safe to drink in most parts of Australia.

Follow safety guidelines when engaging in adventurous sports or activities. Use appropriate safety equipment and seek professional instruction when necessary. Choose reputable tour operators with a good safety track record.

Be cautious of wildlife encounters. While Australia is home to unique and diverse wildlife, some species can pose a risk. Keep a safe distance, do not feed or disturb animals, and adhere to any warning signs or instructions from authorities.

Be aware of your surroundings and maintain basic safety precautions, especially in urban areas. Keep your belongings secure, be cautious of scams or pickpocketing, and avoid walking alone in unfamiliar or poorly lit areas at night.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or need specific medications, ensure you have an adequate supply and carry the necessary documentation, including prescriptions and medical certificates.

Stay connected with friends and family, and let them know your whereabouts and travel plans. Register with your country’s consulate or embassy, so they can provide assistance in case of emergencies.

In any emergency situation, dial 000 for immediate assistance within Australia.

By prioritizing health and safety, staying informed, and using common sense, you can enjoy a safe and healthy gap year experience in Australia.

Congratulations! You are now armed with the essential steps to plan an EPIC gap year in Australia. From choosing your destination to exploring cultural experiences, embracing outdoor adventures, and prioritizing health and safety, you are well-prepared to make the most of your time in this incredible country.

Remember, a gap year is a unique opportunity for personal growth, self-discovery, and expanding your horizons. Embrace the uncertainty, be open to new experiences, and allow yourself to immerse in the local culture. Australia offers a wealth of experiences, from exploring the stunning landscapes to getting to know the diverse cultures.

Plan your itinerary thoughtfully, considering your interests, budget, and the attractions that resonate with you. Don’t forget to leave room for flexibility and spontaneity along the way to truly embrace the unexpected gems that Australia has to offer.

As you embark on your gap year adventure, prioritize your health and safety. Obtain comprehensive travel insurance, educate yourself on health risks, and practice good hygiene. Take necessary precautions and follow safety guidelines when engaging in outdoor activities or adventurous sports.

By being proactive and well-prepared, you can confidently navigate your way through the visa requirements, find suitable accommodation, and make the most of working holiday opportunities. Immerse yourself in the cultural diversity of Australia, try unique cuisines, attend festivals, and engage with locals to create unforgettable memories.

Lastly, remember that a gap year is a time of self-discovery and learning. Be open to growth, embrace new challenges, and allow yourself to be transformed by the experiences and connections you make along the way.

Now, go forth and have an EPIC gap year in Australia! Capture the breathtaking landscapes, embrace the vibrant cultures, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Safe travels and enjoy every moment of this incredible adventure!

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Gap Year Guide to Australia and New Zealand

Gap Year Guide to Australia and New Zealand

So you’re thinking of taking a gap year to explore Australia and New Zealand? Good on you – as the Aussies say – you’re in for a great time! Of course, getting ready to say “g’day” to a whole new country can be nerve-wracking. There’s a mountain of things to plan, check out and decide, which is exactly why we’ve put together this handy intro to planning your gap year Down Under.

Working: what’s available?

What’s the most logical way to fund your time overseas? Working, of course. Gap year travelers typically find work serving in restaurants, making coffee, or become employed as promoters at special events, in retail and, of course, as fruit pickers and packers. For jobs in hospitality or customer service, you’ll need to show your ability to work in English, whereas less customer-focussed work (such as fruit picking or cleaning) won’t necessarily require a high level. Newly arrived? Many hostels will help find you work or will employ guests themselves (in reception or as cleaners) while they find their feet. To snag a job, hit the streets with a well-written CV or have an agency set you up with work.

Working: what’s needed for a visa?

Temporary working visas and reciprocal agreements are available to citizens of Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, the UK and many European countries, allowing them to work for 12 months in Australia. The “Working Holiday Maker Programme” offers the Working Holiday and Work and Holiday visas (find out more at the Australian Immigration’s website ), offered to young people (18-30 years old) wishing to supplement their Australian travels by working. Travelers must hold return tickets and show proof of funds for their trip (around AU$5,000 is recommended).

Travelers interested in exploring New Zealand should click through NZ’s Immigration website to find their best visa fit.

Volunteering: best resources

Saved up and plan on skipping employed life altogether? Consider volunteering: there are plenty of ways to volunteer your time to an excellent cause. Check out listed opportunities at charities on sites such as Volunteering Australia.org , GoVolunteer.com.au and Volunteering NZ , find reviews of existing volunteer programs on GoOverseas.com or head to interest-specific sites such as Conservation Volunteers Australia or UNICEF NZ .

On the other hand, networks like WWOOF and HelpX allow travelers to “work for their keep” on farms, B&Bs and lodges (among other hosts), offering a cheap and rewarding way to get to know the country.

Studying: taking an English course

While you likely had to prove a working knowledge of English before applying for your Tourist, Student or Working Holiday visa, you’ll probably want to dive deep into your studies once you land. Working with real live locals in a café, office or in a shop will boost your level to no end, but if you’re keen to follow a more studious route, taking a longer English course is a great way to progress academically and meet other travelers.

But in a big country like Oz, where should you study? In Australia, bright-lights Sydney and sunny Brisbane are top choices for language students, with both cities sporting lively international communities, postcard-worthy beaches and quality language schools. In New Zealand, head to charming Auckland .

Living: finding a home away from home

Finding awesome accommodation in Australia and New Zealand is not a one-size-fits-all sort of situation. If you’re staying put in a city for some time because of work or study, you might like to share a flat or house with others. To get started, browse sites like Flatmate Finders and Flatmates.com.au , chat to your work colleagues or speak to reception at your hostel or language school.

If you want to experience living in a typical Australian or New Zealand home, but don’t want to be a fully-fledged renter, a homestay might be for you. Homestays are cultural exchanges – usually for students – in which a family or couple hosts your in their home. In a homestay situation, you’ll be given your own room, share meals with your hosts and may even go out with them to explore their city. (Begin searching at the Homestay Network  or arrange this through your language school.)

For even cheaper options, housesitting provides a way to travel long-term while saving on accommodation costs (start your search on sites like Housecarers.com and Trustedhousesitters.com ). House sitters are responsible for caring for a local’s home (and sometimes pets) while they are away, so – needless to say – you must be able to demonstrate trustworthiness and honesty. This option best suits travelers who have lived alone or in shared houses and who wish to stay for several weeks or months in a single location.

On the other hand, if you’re planning on taste-testing a selection of cities, beaches and towns, Couchsurfing might be a better fit. Using this international network, travelers stay in locals’ homes for free and sleep on anything from a mattress on the floor, to a couch or spare bedroom. This system also relies heavily on trust, so it’s essential to do your research before approaching a potential host.

Traveling: where to head when wanderlust hits

Most of Europe fits inside Australia, meaning it’s no small cookie of a country, while tinier, neighboring New Zealand is packed with choice for adventurous travelers. With so many corners to explore, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to planning your gap year Down Under. Beach and surfing fans usually head to Queensland’s Gold and Sunshine Coasts, or go west to the Indian Ocean’s shores.

Lovers of diving and snorkelling generally make a beeline for North Queensland’s tropical beaches and epic dive sites along the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands, while hikers can’t go wrong on Tasmania’s world-renowned Overland Track or New Zealand’s Milford and Routeburn Tracks. If lights and city life are what you’re hoping for, make no mistake: Sydney and Melbourne don’t disappoint while littler sisters Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and New Zealand’s Auckland provide more laidback city life alternatives.

Snow bunnies can strap on their gear at Thredbo and Perisher in Oz, or head across the spit to New Zealand’s Queenstown. Want extreme sports? New Zealand – full of bungee jumping, kayaking, mountain biking, sky-diving, and more – should be your base camp.

Bonus tip: how to cover the country

Both countries are driver-friendly and make for great road trip destinations. In fact, it’s common for long-term travelers to buy a vehicle upon arrival (usually a van or campervan) and drive/camp their way around before selling it on to another group at the end of the road. (There are also a number of companies specializing in campervan rentals.)

If driving isn’t your thing, Australia and New Zealand both have good domestic flight networks, or you can take advantage of their “hop on, hop off” bus services.

Image by Fred Hsu , Flickr / Creative Commons

Learn one of 10 languages in over 50 top cities

How to Take a Gap Year in Australia on a Budget

by Elizabeth Gorga - Last updated on February 25, 2021

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  • Before You Go

So you want to take a gap year in Australia? Good on ya, mate! ‘Straya is the perfect place for a gap year abroad. You’ll find cuddly wallabies, a multicultural community, Tim Tams galore, and over 10,000 beaches across the country. It’s a land built for backpackers and road trippers, and there’s enough adventure – from its coral reefs to the red-hot center – to fill a lifetime.

Royal National Park, Australia

A gap year in Australia is perfect for adventure seekers and beach-goers! 

It’s no secret that Australia has one downside: it’s expensive. Luckily, in a backpacker-friendly country, it’s more than possible to take a gap year in Australia on a budget. There are heaps of ways to save money, both before and while you travel Australia. And even better, Australia is one of the few places you can work abroad easily! That’s right, most gap year programs in Australia allow you to make money while you travel.

Whether you want to land a job in Australia or simply embark on a grand adventure, stick to these budget tips for your gap year in Australia , and you’ll be rolling in colorful dollar bills in no time!

10 budget tips for your gap year in Australia

A gap year in Australia doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, if you follow these tips to travel Australia on a budget, you may return home with more money in your pockets than when you left home!

1. Get a job!

The best part about taking a gap year in Australia is the working holiday visa program . If you’re under 30, you have the option of traveling on a year-long visa (or longer) that allows you to work to fund your travel. Not only will you save money while abroad, but working in Australia will show you a different side of the country to make your traveling even more meaningful. 

Melbourne, Australia

Working during your adventure is a perfect way to travel Australia on a budget.

Whether you want to gain experience in your field or choose a job that’s fun and laid back, there are endless options to work during gap year programs in Australia . Here are some of the most popular jobs for working holiday visa holders:

  • Fruit picking. Help Australian farmers by traveling outside of the main cities for fruit picking opportunities on farms. Most backpackers lend a hand at fruit picking, not only to give back to Australian communities during a gap year in Australia, but also to earn a second (or even third!) year on their working holiday visas. You heard that right, your gap year could turn into two!
  • Hospitality . As a massive tourist destination, Australia has endless jobs in hospitality. Whether you want to work in a bar, café, restaurant, or hotel, you can put those customer service skills to use and meet heaps of people from around the world in hospitality jobs in the big cities.
  • Au Pair . Many gap year programs in Australia offer options to become an au pair. Perfect for those big kids at heart, au pairing allows the opportunity to join an Aussie family to look after the children. You’ll experience true Australian culture in this type of work, and you’ll also join a big au pair community, making it easy to make new mates while abroad.
  • Marketing. From fundraising to advertising, marketing jobs are on the rise in Australia. Spend your gap year abroad learning about marketing on an international level, and gain access to many short-term job opportunities in the main cities along the coastlines.
  • Teach English . Yes, English is the native language of Australia, but that’s an even better reason to land English teaching positions here. Think about all those international travelers who come to learn the native language! In Australia, every big city has plenty of language schools, so you can teach your native tongue in an international environment.

2. Steer clear of the big cities.

Life outside the city has a different kind of charm.

You’ve been dreaming of sipping champagne in Sydney’s Circular Quay, overlooking the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and eating your way through Melbourne’s laneways. But the truth is, unless you land a job in one of Australia’s big cities, city life isn’t always budget-friendly. 

Even if you can find cheap accommodation, there are so many temptations, from the thriving nightlife to the epic food scenes. Instead, seek out a smaller hub to spend your gap year in Australia. While you may miss out on Bondi Beach, there are thousands of smaller beach towns to call home, or you can head inland for a true blue Outback experience.

3. Budget and save before you go abroad.

The best way to ensure your bank account can handle travel Down Under is to spend some time saving before you take a gap year in Australia. Get a part-time job, put money away each week, and come up with a solid travel savings plan . Consider how you want to spend your gap year in Australia: working? Studying or volunteering ? Traveling along the coasts? Scuba diving amongst reef sharks, or finally learning to surf? Every detail should be taken into consideration. 

If you’re still having trouble tucking your savings away, use GoAbroad’s budget planner to help you keep track of your spending and maximize your savings so you can splurge on your gap year in Australia. 

4. Road trip with friends.

Australia was made for road trips. While public transportation works within the big cities, each city has its own transport system, making it nearly impossible to travel through the country by public transport. Even if you had the option, the country is so big that it takes hours, if not days, to go from one city to the next. So why not rent a car or buy one used?

Road tripping is a rite of passage if you want to take a gap year in Australia on a budget. But with high fuel prices, the best way to see the country is to join new mates (or old ones) to split the cost. Stick to the coasts for the cheapest fuel prices, the best views, and optimal campsites to save money while having the ultimate adventure. 

5. Book cheap flights.

Twelve Apostles, Australia

Domestic flights are the way to travel when you take a gap year in Australia. You’ll see stunning nature in different corners of the country.

While you’ll definitely need to budget in the costs of an international flight to the other side of the world, you can actually save money by flying within the country. While a road trip is always epic, you can also opt for a cheaper option and still check off your Aussie gap year bucket list . 

Instead of driving 10 hours between Sydney and Brisbane, book a cheap flight on a domestic airline for less than $100! Australia has several budget airlines, including Tiger Air and Jetstar, that offer affordable flights to all of the best locations around Australia, making it easy to travel Australia on a budget. If you’re smart, you can use these travel hacks to secure the best prices available.

6. Cook your own food.

While food is an excellent way to experience the culture of a new place, eating out in Australia is – surprise, surprise – expensive. Expect to pay $15 for a lunch out, $4 for a coffee, and $30 for an affordable dinner at a local eatery. Luckily, there’s a way to eat your way through the country while on gap year programs in Australia without splurging on restaurants.

With so much farmland throughout the country, Australians make it easy to buy, cook, and eat local. Every big city has multiple markets, so you’ll be able to buy everything from meat and cheese, to locally grown fruits and veggies nearly any day of the week. Not only will you be able to support local farmers and get cheap prices, but markets are also a hot spot for people watching, live music, and local crafts, so you can experience true Aussie food culture. Grab your reusable bags and pack up a picnic in the city parks, or head to the beach for the day. 

7. Take advantage of free events.

It would be impossible to do gap year programs in Australia on a budget without the hundreds of free events to give your wallet a rest. If you’re a nature lover, a gap year in Australia is heaven. You have endless beaches, national parks, coastal walks, city parks, and botanical gardens so you can plan an entire day out without spending a single gold coin. If you need a break from wildlife for a bit, check out the free museums and galleries. Most cities also offer free city tours daily, so when you find yourself with a free day, hop on a tour to learn about your new home. 

8. Open a bank account.

Melbourne, Australia

Don’t be afraid to dive right in. If you take a gap year in Australia and plan on working, this is the most convenient way to manage your money!

If you’re planning to take a gap year in Australia, it’s helpful to open a local bank account once you arrive. Make time in your first week to head to your nearest Commonwealth or Westpac Bank, and open an account to make it easy to make and spend money during gap year programs in Australia. If you land a job, they can pay you directly into this account.

Even if you don’t plan to work during your gap year in Australia, an Aussie bank account can help you save on international bank fees. Withdraw your money and deposit it here, so you can skip paying multiple ATM or transaction fees. They certainly add up! 

9. Volunteer in Australia.

True, you may have to pay a fee to volunteer abroad . But most volunteer gap year programs in Australia include accommodation and other bonuses, like food, transportation, and excursions. You won’t have to worry about organizing a thing, as your program provider will take care of the nitty gritty for you, and you can save your pocket money by paying a one-off fee.

There are heaps of volunteer opportunities, especially for animal lovers. And while it may not be your first thought while planning a gap year in Australia, volunteering abroad will look excellent on your CV, making it easier to get a job and make back some money post-travels.

10. Apply for a gap year scholarship.

If all else fails, consider applying for a gap year scholarship to fund your gap year in Australia. Whether you want to take a gap year in Australia to get a leg up in the international marketing industry, volunteer in koala rehabilitation, or earn your SCUBA certificate, there are plenty of opportunities to apply for scholarships.

They’ll cover your gap year program fees and more, so you can really make the most of a gap year in Australia. Plan well in advance so you have plenty of time to do your research and write a killer essay. Don’t be afraid to apply for more than one to up your odds!

Take a gap year in Australia…on a budget!

Uluru & Kata Tjura National Park, Australia

Enough with all the logistics—look where you’ll be heading!

Don’t let the cost discourage you from traveling to Australia! While you’ll have to factor in the initial cost of flights and visas to get you there, it’s more than possible to take a gap year in Australia on a budget if you plan in advance. Use GoAbroad’s budget tips to save before you go, minimize on-the-ground costs, and make some money while you’re at it. The best part: Traveling Australia on a budget still allows you to see the country to its fullest. So grab your mates, and don’t hesitate to take a gap year in Australia!

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Volunteering, Internship and Gap Year Programs Enhance Your Education, Your Adventure Starts Here!

Australia Adventure

Join us for an action-packed 6-week group tour combining adventure travel with volunteering on Australia’s famed East Coast. Your journey begins in the awesome city of Sydney and ends in Cairns, where you’ll spend 2 weeks volunteering on an environmental conservation project - a great way to give back to this amazing country!

Sailing on the Whitsunday Islands, 4 x 4 jeep rides on Fraser Island and snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef are just some of the highlights. Your epic adventure ends with a trip to Cape Tribulation, a stunning paradise where the reef meets the rainforest!

Perfect for:  Adventure Travel   and   Wildlife Conservation .

DURATION: 6 WEEKS    |     PRICE: £4250    |     DEPARTURES: FEBRUARY, JUNE & OCTOBER

Travel style: group backpacking adventure.

Perfect for first time travellers such as Gap Year or University students looking to explore Australia with a group of like-minded people!

Ready to get started? Fill in this form to find out more

What to expect

Week 1:  Sydney – Byron Bay

Arrive in Sydney where you’ll meet your leader and the rest of your group, and enjoy a welcome dinner and orientation. Your first week is packed with activities as you explore this incredible city and surrounding area. Activities include a Harbour cruise, a Blue Mountains tour and plenty of social activities!

Week 2:  Gold Coast – Brisbane – Noosa

Leaving Sydney behind, we begin our journey up the East Coast. First stop on the itinerary is Byron Bay, an idyllic town with great beaches and a vibrant coastal surf culture. Carrying on north we reach the Gold Coast and iconic Surfer’s Paradise. Our final stop this week is the vibrant capital of Queensland and an optional chance to visit the world famous Australia Zoo!

Week 3:  Fraser Island – Rainbow Beach – Airlie Beach – Whitsunday Islands

We continue our East Coast adventure as we head deep into the state of Queensland. Highlights on this leg of the journey include a 3 day jeep safari on Fraser island; the largest sand island in the world! One night sailing around the Whitsunday islands with visit to Whitehaven beach! And stop at the popular hang-out of Airlie beach.

Week 4:  Magnetic Island – Cairns

Next stop is Townsville from where you will catch a ferry to Magnetic Island.  This laid back island is home to the largest koala colony in Northern Australia and the perfect place to enjoy golden sandy beaches and warm tropical waters before you head to Cairns to start the next phase of your journey.

Weeks 5 & 6:  Reef, Rainforest & Conservation

The final phase of your Gapforce adventure is a unique and fully immersive experience, giving you the chance to gain a deeper understanding of the environment and local communities through hands-on experiences and meaningful insight. Your base will be the backpacker hangout of Cairns - gateway to jaw-dropping tropical rainforests and the famous Great Barrier reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Activities will include:

•  Daintree Rainforest & Cape Tribulation tour ; a breathtaking journey from the rainforest to the reef, including a river cruise, creek swim, beach visit and jeep safari 

•  Great Barrier Reef snorkelling; gain a deeper understanding of the reef and its inhabitants during an unforgettable snorkelling trip to the reef!

•  Atherton Tablelands Waterfall Eco-adventure; a stunning natural playground with volcanic crater lakes, cascading waterfalls and secluded creeks. 

•  Environmental Conservation project; volunteer with our local partner in Cairns on one of their ongoing conservation initiatives to help protect the local environment

Unable to join us for the full 6-weeks? Contact us today for details on a shorter program! 

6-weeks: £4250

For available start dates check out the 'Dates & Availability' section below - you may need to scroll right to view the prices and book on! You can secure your place on your chosen adventure with a deposit of either £300 or 10% of the trip price, whichever is higher. The remainder is paid leading up to the trip departing.

Dates & availability

What's included:.

  • Pre-departure support 
  • Airport pick-up 
  • Gapforce Leader 
  • Local support staff 
  • All accommodation
  • Program transfers & equipment
  • Trips & activities as listed in brochure 
  • Return airport transfer 
  • 24/7 emergency back up 
  • Financial failure protection 

What is not included:

  • Flights to/from destination
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa & Vaccinations
  • Spending money
  • Some meals (full details available in the brochure) 
  • Tips and gratuities for local guides

Who is this program for?

This program is for anyone looking for a group experience exploring the East Coast of Australia, combining backpacking with environmental conservation. There is no prior experience required although the minimum age is 18 and you must also have your doctor sign our medical form confirming you are medically fit to participate. A reasonable level of fitness is required to participate, and if you plan to take part in any open-water based activities eg surfing and snorkelling, you must be able to swim 200m.

Where will I be staying?

You will stay in a variety of accommodations throughout your trip including lively hostels, guesthouses, camping and sailing boats on the Whitsundays. Most accommodations will be dorm style with shared bathrooms.

What is the food like?

Up to four group dinners will be provided during the trip, along with 3 meals per day during the volunteering phase. Specified meals are also included during the Included Trips (see brochure for details). Vegan and vegetarian diets can be catered for, please check with us regarding further dietary requirements and/or allergies. 

Who will be supervising me?

Throughout your expedition you will be accompanied by a Gapforce Expedition Leader. At various stages of your expedition we utilise the services of local support staff including project coordinators, drivers and guides. 

What type of transport will I be using?

You are responsible to getting yourself to and from the start point of the expedition. During the expedition, program transfers are included. Travel is a combination of day and overnight journeys using a range of transport including public and private buses, jeeps, boats and taxis. Please give us a call for more information on individual journey details.

*Please download the program brochure for full details!

travel to australia gap year

Fun down under

An amazing seven week trip going up the east coast of Australia. This 7 week trip allowed 12 strangers to bond and become great friends whilst doing unbelievable activities which have created lifelong memories. Personal highlights include skydiving in cairns (a must do for anyone on the trip), the overnight boat trip to the Whitsunday Islands and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.

Australia Adventure with GapForce

I have never traveled abroad by myself before, and needless to say I was anxious when I got off the plane. However, my fears were immediately put to rest when I met up with the GapForce group. Being a relatively small group (11), it made it easy to get to know one another and made it much easier to stay together as a group instead of splitting up. We formed strong bonds throughout the journey, and I am grateful for the friends that I made. Our trip started in Sydney and we went all the way up the coast to Cairns. Along the way, we participated in numerous activities that were simply breathtaking. I will never forget when we went kayaking in Bryon Bay and whales swam right under us. There was also the three day camping trip on Frasier Island, which was one of the best experiences of my life, aside from getting rid of the spiders for my tent mates. We also went sailing at Whitsundays and got the chance to snorkel and see tons of marine life and sleep overnight on a sailboat. Those were just a handful of all the activities we were able to participate in, and I loved every one of them. However, none of that would have been possible without our group leader Joe. He made sure that the group was organized and prepared for everything. He made sure we all got the most out of this trip and even suggested some additional activities. They were mainly nature walks, but the ones I did go on were great. He made sure I got everything I could have out of this trip and I can't thank him enough for that. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to travel abroad because this was one of the best experiences of my life.

Australia Experience

The Australia adventure was the first trip with Gapforce that I have done and I would highly recommend it. There was only a small group of us (11) including our leader Joe who made this experience even better. I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing group of people to spend the 7 weeks with. I learnt a lot about the Australian culture along the way as well as involving myself in many activities at the different locations visited.[...] Joe gave us enough space and freedom for the group to get out of the trip what they wanted and enjoy the trip as much as they could, but enough structure when we needed it and asked for it for us to feel comfortable ‘alone’ on the other side of the world.I’d highly recommend this trip to anyone looking to get away from home to travel but not wanting to do it alone as you get to meet some amazing new people, and I can easily say I’ve got friends for life who I will keep in contact with. The memories I have will last forever and I can’t wait to share it with my family.[...] Throughout this trip, just getting to know everyone you were with was brilliant. You build such a strong bond with people very quickly, which makes the trip fly by. There are times where you won’t all get along or agree, but that’s inevitable when you spend so much time together for 7 weeks. I have made some amazing memories with people I never imagined meeting. It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever done.

Crikey mate

Overall my experience was amazing. I could not have asked for a better group of people to spend 7 weeks with and I feel like this trip really helped me grow a bit. I feel like I’ve learned so much about different different people that live in different places. The activities were unbelievably cool and this country was breathtaking. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a trip across the world to leave home for a bit and meet amazing people and make many memories that will last forever.

Australia GapForce Adventure

The Australia GapForce Adventure, led by Joe Craig, was an experience of a lifetime. I made lifelong friends, discovered one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and I had fun! I felt comfortable the second I arrived at our first hostel in Sydney. Everyone was so welcoming and soon it did not feel like I was on the other side of the globe. We traveled up the coast, and each destination had something unique to offer. Some highlights include seeing the ostentatious Opera House in Sydney, kayaking with whales in Byron Bay, seeing the Australia zoo, and zip lining in Daintree Rainforest. We also did volunteer work in Cairns, which was very rewarding. Examples of the volunteer work include mulching in the Botanic Gardens and weeding in Sugar World park. I enjoyed giving back to the beautiful land through which we had been traveling for two months. Through all these adventures, we were guided by our responsible and kind leader Joe Craig. He offered a beautiful blend of leadership and familiarity. He was extremely knowledgable of the places we encountered, and he was able to answer almost every question we had with ease. It was obvious that he really cared about our group, and he worked diligently to make sure we had an incredible experience. At one point on the trip I had a stomach virus, and I remember distinctively how Joe responded. He kept asking how I felt and was very considerate of my illness. Even though I was not in the comfort of my own house, Joe made me feel comfortable. Joe also was very responsible. He made sure we were on time for everything, and if there were any setbacks along the way, Joe handled it with ease and adapted well to every situation. Not only was he an amazing leader, he was also a wonderful friend with an excellent sense of humor. It was clear that our group respected him as both a companion and a leader. I cannot thank GapForce and Joe Craig enough for this amazing expedition! The trip was amazing and something I will remember for the rest of my life.

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  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Departures: February, June, October

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Ultimate Adventure Travel

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Ultimate Melbourne Kangaroo

WORKING HOLIDAY VISA AND GAP YEAR STARTER WEEK

This Melbourne Gap Year adventure will have you exploring the city’s hidden laneways and local rooftops all whilst getting setup for the Ultimate Gap Year in Australia.  Your first week is jam packed with information, activities and inclusions and will introduce you to new friends from all over the world.

Melbourne Group Tour-UltimateAdventureTravel

Meet other Travellers

Start your time in Australia by making new friends.

Melbourne Group Tour-Ultimate Adventure Travel

Suitable for

Working Holiday Makers, Students and Travellers.

Melbourne Group Tour-Ultimate Adventure Travel

St Kilda Accommodation

5 minutes from the beach & easy access to the CBD!

Melbourne Group Tour-Ultimate Adventure Travel

Gap Year Essentials

Help setting up your Bank, TFN and Gap Year essentials.

Melbourne Group Tour-Ultimate Adventure Travel

Explore MORE

Visit the famous Great Ocean Road plus more.

Melbourne Group Tour-Ultimate Adventure Travel

ULTIMATE Inclusions

Daily Activities and Social Experiences.

THE ULTIMATE WELCOME WEEK TO AUSTRALIA

7 day itinerary.

Adventure and Fun Arrival Week.

GREAT OCEAN ROAD

1 day exploring the Great Ocean Road

Daily Social Activities and Gap Year Setup.

SHORT TERM HOUSING

Help finding accommodation in Melbourne.

Job Support

Get a job anywhere in Australia.

ACCOMMODATION

Stay in St Kilda  accommodation. Upgrades available.

GAP YEAR ESSENTIALS

Bank account and tax setup plus more.

GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK

Meet and learn about our native mates.

GROUP EXPERIENCE

Meet travellers from all over the world.

Fully Guided Week with ongoing support.

SUITABLE FOR

Start dates.

Monday departures

EASY ARRIVAL

When you arrive catch your transfer from the airport directly to your St Kilda hostel. Everything is pre-arranged so your check-in will be quick & easy. 

Trips do book out quickly so secure your start date with a deposit today or get in touch for help planning your trip!

Our awesome Group Leaders will show you the best time! Your Ultimate Melbourne Adventure Group Leader will show you around St Kilda and Melbourne, guide your group activities and will be there to provide you with any support you may need throughout the week, as well as handy Aussie travel and work tips! Our Group Leaders are professional, experienced and first-aid trained. At Ultimate, we live and breathe travel! Our crew are experts in Australia travel and are here to support you throughout your time in Oz!

FINDING WORK

You’ll receive a 12-months membership to Travellers At Work, our in-house recruitment agency, voted Australia’s best backpacker job service. We connect employers and job seekers making sure every job we post is a genuine position suitable for working holidaymakers.

Get started before you arrive! Write your CV, browse jobs online from anywhere and easily apply even on your phone or tablet. Set up your profile and be found by employers on short notice.

Talk to our recruitment experts to get help with writing your CV, advice on second-year visa jobs or necessary certificates and any other questions you may have.

AUSSIE BANK ACCOUNT & TAX FILE NUMBER

We’ll help you open your Australian bank account from home so your bank card will be ready to collect when you arrive! You'll need a Tax File Number to legally work in Australia. We’ll take care of the application so you don't have to worry about the paperwork.

12-MONTH MAIL SERVICE

We’ll provide you with a fixed address for your time in Australia. Your mail will be scanned so you can easily access it online – anytime and anywhere.

We’ll organise your Australian mobile SIM (any size), with a range of cheap prepaid plans available.

TAX REFUNDS

At the end of your time in Australia, we’ll help you claim a tax refund, which could be worth thousands.

If eligible, we’ll help you apply for Medicare so you get discounted / free healthcare whilst in Australia.

TRAINING COURSE DISCOUNTS

For most hospitality work in Australia it’s a legal requirement to have a RSA Certificate (Responsible Service of Alcohol). UltimateHQ can help you book your RSA and any other training courses you may wish to book including Bar skills, Cocktail skills, White card (construction work) and more. We’re part of a Registered Training Organisation and offer discounts on all other courses.

HOW TO BOOK

To book the Melbourne Gap Year adventure,  select your chosen departure date and any optional extras you would like to book. We'll send you a booking confirmation as well as important information about your tour.

If you have a travel date in mind but you're not ready to pay in full, you can secure your spot with a $200  deposit.

FLIGHTS, INSURANCE & VISA INFO

Flights to Melbourne are not included. Compare flight prices  here .

Travel insurance is not included. Get a quote from our recommended travel insurance partners  here.

You will require a Working Holiday Visa if you are on a Gap Year and intend to Work while in Australia. If you are here for a shorter visit, you can apply for a tourist visa or obtain your ETA. 

ESSENTIAL BOOKING INFORMATION

The Ultimate Melbourne Adventure starts in Melbourne on Mondays at 12pm . Your group leader will meet you in reception for the city tour and then your Welcome Dinner in the evening. 

The tour ends in Melbourne on the following Sunday. Extra nights can be selected when you book online. Read our full booking terms and conditions here . 

  • Welcome Group Dinner
  • 6 nights in shared accommodation.
  • ULTIMATE Group Leaser 
  • Melbourne City and Laneway Tour
  • Visit Queen Victoria Market
  • Experience the Great Ocean Road.
  • Otway Ranges rainforest
  • Visit Port Campbell National Park
  • Visit Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge & London Bridge.
  • Wake up surrounded by kangaroos
  • Visit Victoria’s biggest waterfall - McKenzies Falls.
  • Visit popular Surf Beaches
  • Melbourne Night Out
  • Visit St Kilda
  • 12 Month Jobs Support
  • SIM Card, Tax File Number, Bank Account,
  • 12 Month membership to Travellers At Work
  • Ongoing support from the Ultimate Crew

We recommend a travel budget of approx $40-$60/ day for meals when not included in the itinerary.

When you arrive catch your transfer from the airport directly to your St Kilda hostel. Everything is pre-arranged so your check-in will be quick & easy. Ultimate Melbourne Gap Year Adventure starts on Mondays throughout the year beginning April 2019.

All departures are guaranteed! Trips do book out quickly so secure your start date with a deposit today or get in touch for help planning your trip!

Our awesome guides will show you the best time! Your Ultimate Melbourne Adventure guide will show you around Melbourne, guide your group activities and will be there to provide you with any support you may need throughout the week, as well as handy Aussie travel and work tips! Our guides are professional, experienced and first-aid trained.

At Ultimate, we live and breathe travel! Our crew are experts in Australia travel and are here to support you throughout your time in Oz!

If you have a travel date in mind but you're not ready to pay in full, you can secure your spot with a 20% deposit.

// WHERE WE GO

 MONDAY   WELCOME DINNER

WELCOME TO MELBOURNE

Welcome to Australia and welcome to  your Melbourne Gap Year adventure. The Ultimate Melbourne Adventure starts in Melbourne CBD on Mondays at 12pm . Your group leader will meet you in reception at the hostel for the city tour and then your Welcome Dinner in the evening. . You can get in touch if you would like to arrive earlier and book some extra nights.

  TUESDAY   CITY EXPLORING

Melbourne is known for its diverse range of cultures, a fact represented in the food options this city is famous for. Our second day is spent learning why… This morning we are going to explore the city landmarks and check out the popular Melbourne laneways. Shortly after lunch we will be checking out the city from Melbourne’s 297.3 m skyscraper located in the Southbank – The Eureka Tower. This afternoon we continue exploring the Victoria Market and Botanical gardens!

 WEDNESDAY  GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK

Today we are departing the city to explore the state of Victoria. Our first stop; Grampians National Park! This Grampians day tour will take you along the various trails and up to the impressive waterfalls that have made this national park famous. We will visit Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre, encounter kangaroos & emus and visit McKenzie Falls!

 THURSDAY  GREAT OCEAN ROAD

Our first adventure continues as we detour along the Great Ocean road and explore the Victoria Coastline. The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243-kilometre stretch of road. We will stop at all the iconic sights including the 12 Apostles!

 FRIDAY  BACK TO THE CITY

Today we are back in the city for more exploring. If you are here on a Gap Year, your group leader will have set a time with you to meet for a work and/or travel planning session. We will explain everything you need to know to help you organise your time in Oz. This afternoon we will explore St Kilda. We will have some downtime at the beach and explore the Esplanade, where yachts and windsurfers can be seen on the bay.

 SATURDAY   GAP YEAR PLANNING

Saturday is the perfect time to reflect on the week and begin planning the week to come. The local team will be on hand to assist you with writing your resume and exploring job opportunities. All of this will be done while ensuring you are set with your own accommodation and plan for the year to come.  Tonight we join in on Melbourne’s biggest bar crawl. What better way to spend your first Saturday night Down Under than getting to know the vibrant nightlife of your new home!

 SUNDAY FAREWELL

This morning your first week down under comes to an end. The itinerary is over but your Gap Year adventure continues. You will have access to our team, mail holding, job guidance and more for your entire time down under.

// TOUR FAQ’S

The Ultimate Melbourne Gap Year adventure is designed for those planning a working holiday / gap year in Australia. The majority of our travellers are aged between 18 and 30.

There are various visa options available depending on your reason for travelling to Australia. Download our trip notes or visit our visa information page for information on which visa to apply for.

If you are planning a Working Holiday, you must apply for a 417 or 462 Visa. You can still book the Melbourne Adventure on a Tourist Visa, but you will not be eligible for the Gap Year support elements of the package.

Keen to travel Australia on a tourist visa for a shorter period of time? Check out our 8-day Ultimate Sydney tour, visiting Sydney, Bondi Beach and the Blue Mountains. This tour is ideal for those on a tourist visa and doesn't include any gap year elements.

Travelling to Australia with Ultimate is easy as! Here’s what you need to do:

Arrange a  Working Holiday Visa

Book your Melbourne Gap Year Adventure Package plus any other Ultimate trips & tours

Book your flights to Australia

Arrange a travel insurance policy by clicking here

Pack your bag, grab your passport & camera and jump on that plane!

Departures do book out in advance so we recommend you book your Melbourne Gap Year Adventure package sooner rather than later.

If you're planning your trip last-minute, no worries! We'll do what we can to help you with your travel arrangements.

You can also secure your spot on the Melbourne Adventure with a non-refundable 20% deposit. The rest just needs to be paid 6-weeks prior to your trip departure date!

The Melbourne Gap Year Adventure is designed to help you make friends as soon as you arrive in Australia! Most people travelling with Melbourne Adventure arrive alone and stay in touch with friends from the group for the rest of their trip. You’ll spend your first week having loads of fun and getting to know each other. After the Melbourne Adventure week has come to an end, our crew can help you plan your travel adventure around Australia with your new mates. Chat to others travelling Australia via our Facebook group.

Once you've booked your Melbourne Gap Year Adventure, we'll email you a confirmation along with some important information about your booking. Closer to your tour departure date we'll be in touch to provide you with all the information you'll need prior to your trip to Australia. When you've booked your flights, just let us know your flight number and we'll take care of the rest! 

On our Group Tours, your transport and accommodation along with the meals and activities listed on the itinerary are all included in your tour price. While you are travelling you may wish to participate in additional activities which you will need to budget for. While travelling you may wish to eat and drink out or you may plan to cook and prepare some of your own meals.

As a guide, we recommend you budget an additional $40 - $60AUD per day for spending money . Please note that all travellers are different and you may wish to travel with additional spending money. There are amazing optional activities and food options on offer on the East Coast and if you desire to experience most of them, you may wish to budget for additional spending money.

Ultimate Melbourne Gap Year adventure includes a 12-Month membership to our online job database - Travellers At Work!

During your first week in Melbourne we'll give you valuable information about finding work in Australia. We'll share our tips on where to find work,  how to apply and what you can expect to earn!

We’ll provide you with access to the Travellers At Work job database, so you can begin applying for jobs at your earliest convenience. If at any time you need some guidance just swing by and have a one-on-one session with one of our in-house work and travel experts who can help you out in your job search! We'll review your CV and help you adapt your application to suit Aussie employers.

To book Ultimate Melbourne Gap Year, select your chosen departure date, enter your details and we’ll send you a booking confirmation as well as useful information about your tour and where you can meet others booked onto your start date! Got a travel date in mind but not ready to pay in full? Choose to pay a non-refundable $200 deposit to secure a spot on your chosen departure date. Need someone to talk through your travel plans with? Get in touch !

We are unable to book flights, but we always recommend using online search engines to research the best available flight routes, prices and times. To ease your experience, we suggest booking via a Travel Agent or directly with your preferred airline. 

Travel insurance is required to participate in this tour. We recommend that you find and compare various policies to ensure you have an appropriate level of coverage for you adventure. Not sure where to start? You can find some trusted Travel Insurers  here .

In most cases, we can cater to Vegetarian and Gluten Free diets. We will make every effort to cater to all other diets and needs, but we are unable to guarantee this will be possible in every location we visit. Unfortunately we will not cater for tastes or dislikes. We will ask you to re-confirm any dietary requirements with your Group Leader at the start of your trip.

Yes. It is mandatory that you travel with a comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover the likes of cancellation, personal injury and medical expenses. By joining us on tour, you acknowledge that you have obtained a policy and are covered. You are responsible for reading and understanding the details of the policy that you are taking out. You should book your travel insurance at the time of booking your trip.

Whether you’re travelling solo or with a mate, you’ll meet like-minded travellers from all over the world. Ultimate Melbourne Gap Year is designed to help you make friends as soon as you arrive in Australia! Most people travelling with us stay in touch with their friends from the group for the rest of their stay in Australia. Group sizes vary with each tour however you can expect to travel with an average of 15-30 others on UltimateOz Melbourne. 

Of course! You can pre-book extra nights in Melbourne if you’re arriving early, and also extend your stay. You can add them onto your booking, or just get in contact with us! Optional activities are available to add on in country if you are interested in exploring more areas around Melbourne!

The local currency for Australia is Australian Dollars (AUD). You must have access to sufficient funds to support yourself for the initial stage of your holiday in Australia and you may be asked to show evidence of this upon arrival. If you’re travelling on your gap year, we suggest arriving in Australia with at least AU$5000. The amount you need will depend upon your travel plans and length of stay in Australia. As part of the Ultimate Melbourne Gap Year package you will have the opportunity to open an Australian bank account before you arrive. We send you a link and all the details you need 4 weeks before your tour is due to start. Then during your first week your leader will take you to the bank to finish the final steps in setting up your account.

The great thing is, there is no bad time to travel to Australia! The country is so vast that depending when and where you plan on travelling you're always likely to hit some sun! In Sydney the Summer months run from December to February, but warm, beautiful weather can be experienced all year round. Although the 'Winter' months technically run from June to August, it is not like a Winter you may normally experience in your home country. Temperatures generally don't drop too low, and the sun still shines!

Your Ultimate Melbourne tour may finish, but your support from us will not! Our Work & Travel Experts have been everywhere and seen everything in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji & SE Asia! We can plan or book everything for you and are happy to give you unbiased travel advice! No matter where you want to go and how you want to get there we’ll be able to help plan out the adventure of a lifetime for you!

Yes! We offer furnished shared accommodation tours to help you find a great place to live around the city for the duration of your stay. Ultimate has access to a large selection of flats, apartments, serviced apartments and houses available for rent in a variety of Melbourne suburbs. Stay 4 weeks to 1 year spending an average of $175-$350 per person per week. We’ll organise a free escorted tour of these properties for you whenever it suits you!

The Melbourne Gap Year Adventure includes a 12-Month membership to an online job database - Travellers At Work!

To book Ultimate Melbourne Gap Year, select your chosen departure date, enter your details and we’ll send you a booking confirmation as well as useful information about your tour and where you can meet others booked onto your start date! Got a travel date in mind but not ready to pay in full? Choose to pay a non-refundable $200 deposit to secure a spot on your chosen departure date. Need someone to talk through your travel plans with?  Get in touch !

CHECK DATES & BOOK

// BOOK MELBOURNE GROUP ADVENTURE

Making your booking.

To make your booking, select your chosen departure date and any optional extras you would like to book. If you are unsure about optional extras or if you need additional accommodation before or after your tour, you can let us know later via email. If you have a travel date in mind but you’re not ready to pay in full, you can secure your spot with a $200 deposit. We’ll send you a booking confirmation as well as important information about your tour.  Your final payment is due 45 days before your tour date and you will be sent an automatic reminder. You can make payments on your tour balance sooner or regularly via our website here .   A non refundable 1.8% booking processing fee applies to each booking.

MEETING OTHER TRAVELLERS

Travelling solo? Great! Most of the people you meet on tour will also be on a solo adventure! If you are curious as to who you could be travelling with or want to make some friends before arriving, join our Travel Community and reach out to your potential new travel mates! Join the conversation here .

BOOKING WITH CONFIDENCE

Booking with ULTIMATE is easy! We take payments securely via Mastercard or Visa Credit and Debit Card and we will charge you in Australian Currency (AUD). Your deposit is flexible and if you can no longer travel, you can save your deposit for a later trip or destination if you notify us 30 days before your scheduled tour date. Date changes are permitted without additional change fees up until 30 days before your scheduled tour date! Check out our full booking policy here .

// TOUR REVIEWS

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We’re here to help

 with your travel plans.

We are Group Adventure and Gap Year specialists and can’t wait to help you plan your next adventure.

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// TRAVEL BLOG

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WORKING HOLIDAY AUSTRALIA

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ABOUT ULTIMATE

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ORDER STORE BROCHURES

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WE WILL BE IN TOUCH SHORTLY TO CONFIRM YOUR BROCHURE. YOUR BROCHURES SHOUDL ARRIVE WITHIN 5-7 BUSINESS DAYS. YOU CAN CONTACT US VIA SKYPE OR EMAIL WITH ANY FURTHER QUERIERS. [email protected]

@ULTIMATE.TRAVEL

#TRAVELULTIMATE COMPETITION

TERMS & CONDITIONS OF ENTRY

This Competition is open to all Ultimate Travel customers. Posts must have been published from 01 Jan 2019 onwards, be original content captured or produced by the traveller and must be posted to a personal Instagram account. Qualifying entries must be deemed by Ultimate Travel to reflect the style of Ultimate’s brand and reflect experiences accessible by Ultimate customers. Posts with no association to Ultimate will not qualify. The winning post will be decided at the discretion of Ultimate Adventure Travel Pty Ltd. If you qualify for a prize, your acceptance of the prize consents Ultimate to a worldwide license to use the image within its marketing material and promotional activities. Entries must include the relevant Ultimate Travel hashtags at the time of posting. These must be clearly displayed and not hidden after bulk text or hashtags. Winners must be following Ultimate Travel on Instagram. Ultimate Travel reserve the right to withdraw and end this competition at any time.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ENTRY!

YOU'RE NOW IN THE RUNNING TO WIN A SPOT ON OUR 10-DAY ULTIMATE BALI TOUR FOR YOU & A MATE! 

THE WINNER WILL BE NOTIFIED ON 4TH MARCH 2019.

WANT TO SUBMIT A VIDEO ENTRY? EMAIL [email protected].

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM FOR COMPETITION UPDATES!

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PLEASE NOTE, ONLY SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES WILL BE CONTACTED.

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @ULTIMATE.TRAVEL

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Australia Working Holiday Visa Program

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WORK AND TRAVEL IN AUSTRALIA

Ready for an exciting adventure? If you’re between 18 and 30-something, you can live and work in Australia with the Australian Working Holiday Visa. Explore the country, earn some extra money, and create unforgettable memories while immersing yourself in the local culture and making friends from all over the world. Australia has it all – beautiful beaches, unique wildlife, lively party spots, and lush rainforests. From iconic landmarks like Uluru to stunning places like Whitsundays and Bondi Beach, there’s so much to see. While Australia can be expensive, especially for long stays, the Working Holiday Visa is a game-changer, allowing you to extend your adventure beyond a few weeks and make the most of your time Down Under.

WHY AUSTRALIA?

Australia stands out as the best destinations globally for those seeking a working holiday adventure.

The Australia Working Holiday Visa opens the door to a remarkable opportunity, allowing you to reside, work, and explore the country for a duration of up to 12 months. The ability to engage in employment becomes a significant advantage, not only sustaining your time in Australia but potentially extending your stay into a second or even third year.

To facilitate a seamless and stress-free process, we have compiled the ultimate Working Holiday Visa Guide for Australia. This comprehensive resource covers every aspect of your working holiday Down Under, ranging from the application process for an Australia Working Holiday Visa to the establishment of an Australian tax file number (TFN). It further provides insights into securing suitable employment and offers guidance on how to reclaim your taxes once your enriching adventure comes to a close.

australia-working-holiday-visa-work-and-holiday-visa-program-gap-year-program-in-Australia-gap-year-tours-in-Australia-working-holiday-tours-in-Australia-paid-work-Australia

WHAT IS A WORKING HOLIDAY AUSTRALIA VISA?

An Australian Working Holiday Visa is a visa that permits you to travel and work in Australia for up to one year. It’s the perfect balance between exploring a country and working so you can fund all the exciting things you want to do and see in Australia.

If you decide you love Australia, you can complete 88 days of regional work and apply for a second visa. You can now even apply for a third working holiday visa however, this requires you to complete a further 6 months of regional work. You must complete your regional work and submit evidence of this to obtain a second and third Working Holiday Visa. (At the time of writing this post, there is news that UK citizens no longer need to complete regional work to extend their visa to a second and third year!). Read more here: Australian Working Holiday Updates for British Backpackers

There is a range of benefits to doing a Working Holiday Visa in Australia.  On a personal level, it is an incredible opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth. There is something so refreshing (especially if you have never travelled or lived in the same town your entire life) about learning about a new culture and developing new skills.

STEP 1: GET A WORKING HOLIDAY VISA

  • CHECK YOUR VISA ELIGIBILITY
  • PASSPORT VALIDITY
  • How Do You Apply?

The Australian Working Holiday visa currently costs  $510  (as at July 2022). You must meet the following criteria to qualify for a Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) in Australia:

  • You must be at least 18, but not yet 31 at the time of applying (or under 35 if you’re a citizen of Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland or Italy);
  • You must hold a passport from an eligible country;
  • You must not have an dependent child accompanying you;
  • You must have enough money to support yourself (AUD $5,000);
  • You must not have previously entered Australia on a 417 or 462 visa;
  • You must meet character and health requirements;
  • You and your family must not have debts owing to the Australian government.

If you don’t hold a passport from any of the eligible countries listed in the 417 Working Holiday visa criteria, you may still qualify for the  Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) . This is a similar visa for an additional 24 countries, but you may need to meet additional educational requirements and prove your level of English.

You should  make sure your passport is valid for the entire length of your stay in Australia  before you apply for your working holiday visa. If you get a new passport after you’ve applied for the visa, you’ll have to let the Australian government know.

If you’re eligible for a visa and your passport is valid, you can then  apply for your working holiday Australia visa on the Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs website . Once your  visa is granted , you can start properly preparing for your big trip!

Also,  check passport validity requirements for any other countries you will be visiting , as many require your passport to be valid for at least six months in order to let you into their country.

STEP 2: PREPARE FOR YOUR TRIP

  • GOT YOUR VISA
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE
  • FLIGHT TICKETS
  • MEDICAL CHECKUP
  • JOIN BACKPACKER GROUP
  • BOOK ACCOMMODATION
  • Phone number

Once your Australian Working Holiday Visa has been granted it will be emailed to you electronically. It doesn’t require to be stuck in your passport. I do, however, recommend printing a copy as this comes in handy when you need to apply for things such as Medicare (access to healthcare).

You have 365 days to ‘activate’ your visa. So if you received your grant on the 1 st  of January you have until the 1 st  of January the following year to activate it.

You are now entitled to travel to Australia and work for up to six months with one employer at a time.

Beyond the work restrictions, the rest is pretty straightforward. Travel, work and explore Australia for up to 12 months. You are free to leave and re-enter as much as you would like within the 12 months.

Buy Travel Insurance & Flights

Your next step is to buy travel insurance and book your flights. For travel insurance, start with  comparison sites  for whichever country you’re based in, so that you can compare different insurers.

Make sure that you’ll be covered for the  entire length  of your trip and for  every country  you will be visiting as well as for the  activities  you’ll be doing (scuba diving for example). Also look into whether  gadgets  are covered, as phones/tablets aren’t always included.

I tend to use  Skyscanner  to find the best deals on flights, as it compares so many airlines and travel agencies. It’s usually quite cheap to fly to Australia during their winter time (June/July), as long as it’s outside of school holidays.

Routine Medical Check Ups, Vaccines & Covid Requirements

Make sure you have your  regular check ups with your dentist and optician  before you leave, as you may not be back home again for a long time!

Depending on which other countries you’ll be visiting on your trip, also check if you need  immunisations  (do this as soon as possible as some vaccinations require booster shots afterwards).

Stock up on any  medication  you need, and check the cost in other countries if you’ll need to buy more there.

Make Copies of Important Documents

Scan important documents such as your  passport, insurance policy and driving license  (just in case), and keep a  digital and hard copy .

If you’ve bought insurance to cover your  electronic gadgets , you will probably need to send the insurer copies of your  purchase receipts  should you try to claim for any lost/stolen items. So read the documentation and make sure you find and copy relevant receipts too.

Exchange Cash & Open a Bank Account in Australia

It’s useful to to  exchange some cash  into Australian dollars before you set off, just in case you have any problems using your cards abroad.

When you are on a Working Holiday Visa in Australia You will need to open an Australian bank account if you intend to work, as an employer will not pay wages into an international bank account. You can open an Australian bank account before you arrive in Australia. Simply filled out the application online approximately 2 weeks before you are due to fly out. You can have your bank card delivered to a branch, in the city you are going to land in. When you arrive in that city you simply go into the branch with your ID and the bank staff will hand over your bank card.

The  big four banks in Australia  are  ANZ ,  Westpac ,  Commonwealth Bank  &  NAB .

But which one should you choose? Each bank will have its particularities that will help you make the right decision for your circumstances. The most important criteria you should look out for is:

  • The bank coverage is Australia-wide.
  • Fees – some banks charge you a small fee each month, this fee is often waived if you pay a certain amount of money into it each month. Top Tip: If you transfer money back and forth from a savings account to a current account this counts towards your money coming in. So, if the fee is waivered after $1000 transfer $500 to your savings and back twice. Obviously, if you are getting paid the required amount by an employer there is no need to do this.
  • Interest rates

When it comes to transferring money from your home account to your Australian bank account, there are two money transfer platforms: Currencyfair or Wise (formally TransferWise ).  This is the most popular method amongst backpackers as transferring via other methods such as from your home bank account can be very costly.

Personally, I always use Wise . It’s really straightforward to use and the money has always been in my bank account promptly.

Join Backpacker Facebook Groups in Australia

Let’s get started on the fun stuff! Times have changed a lot since my very first trip to Australia, when you had to find travel mates and cars for sale on noticeboards in hostels – not Pinterest, but actual, physical pin boards!

It’s now really easy to  find road trip buddies, rooms for rent or just like-minded travellers  to hang out with on the weekend thanks to the world wide web!

One of the first things you’ll want to do when you start your working holiday in Australia (or even before you set off) is to join the relevant  backpacker Facebook group  for whichever city you’ll be staying in. You’ll find that virtually everyone in your hostel is already on them; they’re highly active groups.

Here are the links to some of the reliable Facebook groups in Australia:

Australia Backpacker Facebook Group

Backpacker Jobs Australia  Facebook Group

Australia Travel Tips  Facebook Group

Working Holiday Australia  Facebook Group

Finding Cheap Accommodation in Australia

While most backpackers on a working holiday in Australia stay in hostels, there are plenty of cheap accommodation options. Here are some of my favourite types.

Hostels: $25-$40 per night

You’ll likely want to  book into a hostel for your first week  or so in Australia, as they’re a great place to make friends and meet other travellers. To make your trip less stressful I’d advise  booking your first week before you set off  and planning  how you’ll get there from the airport .

To browse hostels or hotels right now, use the search box for  Hotels Combined  below. They compare prices for all the major booking providers for each accommodation, so you can get the cheapest price.

House/Flat Shares: $100-$300 per week

If you’re going to be living and working in an Australian city for a while, you might want to think about finding a flat or house share to make you  feel more settled . It can actually cost the same or less than a hostel dorm bed.

The place to find casual short-term rentals is either  Gumtree , the Facebook backpacker groups I listed above or  flatmates.com .

Accommodation is so in demand in Australian cities that  people often rent their rooms out when they go on holiday . So even if you only want a few weeks you could still find something!

I was very surprised to find that sharing a double room on  Airbnb  (where the owner is also living there) in Melbourne worked out  the same price per person as staying in a hostel dorm . This is a great option for couples.

House Sitting: Free or Paid

House sitting is when you  live in someone’s property for free while they’re on holiday  in return for looking after their pets and home. I house sat in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne during my road trips, and  now run a house and pet sitting business in Sydney and get paid for it!

To find house sitting jobs straight away, you’ll need to join a house-sitting website.

  • For house sitting in Australia only, I thoroughly recommend joining  Aussie House Sitters .  I got plenty of house sits through their site.
  • For worldwide house sitting,  Trusted Housesitters  is a better option and one of the biggest sites out there.

Getting An Australian Phone Number

This is probably the first thing you will want to do when you arrive in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa. You will need an Australian phone number for job applications, rental applications and to apply for your TFN.

Prospective employers are more likely to call you with a local number that won’t cost them anything.

The main networks are Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. These are normally quite expensive.

There are numerous other small networks available that feed off the signals from the three biggest providers. The advantage of this is that you get good quality coverage for a fraction of the price.

You will want to go with a network that suits your plans in Australia. What I mean by this is if you are going to be spending time in the outback, not all network providers cover this area. I visited a network and told them my plans to do regional work at some point and he told me to go with their rival network because they were the only network provider at the time who had coverage in these areas.

When buying an Australian SIM you will also have different options to choose from such as taking on a 12-month contract however if you are bringing your mobile phone you will probably want to opt for either a month-to-month plan or prepaid plan.

Month-to-month plans mean that you won’t run out of credit. You are given a monthly allowance and if you are over these, you’ll be charged but won’t be cut off. Pre-paid plans work by paying for your text, calls and data upfront. Once you go through this allowance you will have to “recharge” before you can use the SIM again. Prepaid credit tends to expire after 28 days however some plans offer longer recharge periods. This is a great option as you don’t have to worry about being tied into a contract.

The cheapest option is to go with a smaller network provider. I would highly recommend Amaysim. They offer large GB’s of data for a very reasonable price. When you are relying on google maps to get off at the correct bus stops -data is everything!

INTERESTED IN A HASSLE-FREE EXPERIENCE?

Book our Gap Year intro tours in Sydney or Melbourne and you’ll enjoy one week focused on fun, making new friends, amazing activities & sightseeings. Once your first week of fun is over you can kick-start your job search with the expert advice and assistance of our local team, plus essential admin help (bank account, TFN, sim card, jobs bank..etc.. everything you need to settle down in Australia).

STEP 3: WORK AND TRAVEL IN AUSTRALIA

  • YOUR ARRIVAL
  • Accommodation
  • TAX FILE NUMBER
  • BANK ACCOUNT

What Do You Need To Show When You Arrive At The Airport In Australia? 

Australia’s border controls have a reputation for being strict, there are policies and procedures in place to make sure you are coming to Australia on the correct visa and you are not bringing in anything illegal, banned or restricted. Largely, this is to do with protecting Australia’s fragile ecosystem.

You should check out this list of what you can’t bring to Australia before packing your bags. If you are caught with anything you should have you will be in serious trouble. Border Control is becoming stricter with the penalties for not declaring items.

If you are sticking to the rules, you won’t need to show anything other than your passport and your landing card. Make sure you fill in the passenger arrival card as accurately as possible. There is a list of items you will need to declare if you have any of the items listed with you. Even if it’s something small, declare it. I had a small amount of prescription medication that I declared –  the immigration officer asked to see my prescription and that was it – I was on my way.

Your visa is linked to your passport number, so when they scan your passport all your details will already be there.

Occasionally they will do randomised bag checks when you are passing through border control but otherwise, the process was fairly fast and efficient. Some people like to have proof of funds printed out; however, this is not routinely checked.

Finding Working Holiday Jobs in Australia

The  cost of living in Australia  is fairly high compared to many other countries, so most backpackers will be eager to find work to top up their travel funds.

A lot of backpackers find work in the service industry ( bars, restaurants, cafes ) and  construction  is a pretty popular industry too, as there’s a lot of development in Australia and it’s well paid.

Note that you’ll need what’s known as a  Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA)  certificate to serve alcohol in Australia; despite being known as a laidback country it is actually the nanny state of all nanny states, with a lot of red tape!

A couple of popular websites for backpacker work in Australia are  Backpacker Jobs Australia  and  Backpacker Job Board , and you can also check out  Gumtree , Facebook backpacker groups and local newspapers .

A lot of backpackers find work in Australia just by asking other backpackers or hostel owners. People often know someone who knows someone! You can also do cleaning and reception work in hostels.

Get a Medicare Card

If you are a visitor from a country that has a  Reciprocal Health Care Agreement  with Medicare, the Australian health care system, some of the medical expenses you incur in Australia may be covered.

Medicare is the name of Australia’s healthcare system. It is a system that is usually limited to Permanent Residents or Australian Citizens, however; certain countries have a “reciprocal healthcare agreement” in place which allows nationals of these countries to benefit from Medicare whilst on a Working Holiday Visa. These countries are;

  • United Kingdom
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand

If you are from a county with a reciprocal healthcare agreement, you will want to enrol in Medicare as soon as you land in Australia. To enrol, you will need to visit a service centre. You need to complete a Medicare enrolment form and bring along certain documents with you, normally your passport and a paper copy of your visa. (More information regarding these documents and service centres can be found using the government website here).

It is a common misconception that Medicare is free, it’s not. It is, however, fairly subsidised for common procedures.

If your country is not listed, you must get travel insurance for the duration of your trip because you will not be entitled to any subsidy if you need medical care.

Even if your country is listed above, I would still recommend getting travel insurance as some medical procedures will still require partial payment.

Some services are not included in Medicare such as dental expenses, alternative medication, physiotherapy, ambulance services, or glasses/ contact lenses.

Regardless if you have Medicare or not, in the event you need an ambulance this will cost in the region $1,100AUD. This is why travel insurance is so important, as your policy may help you pay for these unexpected costs.

Some doctor’s practices are “bulk billing”. This means you won’t get charged when you present your Medicare card.

As I have said before, travel insurance is so important. You never know what will happen during your time in Australia…you might get bitten by a nasty insect or your flight might get cancelled due to stormy weather in Sydney. Travel insurance is fairly inexpensive compared to the costs you may incur if you are not covered.

If you are eligible, you can fill out a  Medicare application form  and take it to a  Medicare service centre  in Australia to get a Medicare card.

How To Get Your Tax File Number (TFN) On A Working Holiday Visa Australia?

To work in Australia you will need a Tax File Number (TFN), which is equivalent to a National Insurance number if you are from the UK or Social Security Number if you are from America.

It doesn’t cost anything and identifies you for tax and superannuation purposes. You keep the same TFN if you change jobs, change your name or move overseas.

The processing time for TFN applications is 28 days, however, it can be quicker as I received mine in about 14 days. You will need a valid address as your TFN gets sent to you via mail. You can use your hostel address if necessary.

You should keep your TFN private, only using it when appropriate.  You can apply for your TFN via Australian Taxation Office here .

I speak from experience as an au pair when I say, this is not the easy route. There is nothing easy about being a “taught mum” when you have no experience of looking after children.

I would also do some research into  Australian bank accounts  in advance and  choose the best account  to suit your needs. You will need one if you plan on working in Australia, in order to receive your wages!

Make sure you  check if the banks charge any fees  if you don’t pay a certain amount of money in each month. Also  check how many ATMs the bank has . Australia is about 20 years behind the UK in this respect and often charges you if you don’t withdraw from your own bank or an affiliated one!

I chose  Citibank  as it has no monthly fees on the account I opened, plus an attached savings account. It doesn’t have many ATMs, but I can use Westpac ATMs for free, and there are plenty of those around.

Make sure you  open a bank account in Australia within six weeks of arriving , as you won’t be required to show as many pieces of identification (usually just your passport) to open the account. After this you will need to show a number of different forms of ID, each worth a different amount of points, in order to open your account.

Some banks let you  open an account before you arrive in Australia , and just ask you to pop into a branch with your ID on arrival.

Accessing & Transferring Money to Australia

If you want to withdraw cash directly from your home bank account using ATMs in Australia when you first arrive, make sure you  notify your bank you’ll be abroad  first. They may suspect fraudulent behaviour and block access to your account otherwise.

Always make sure you have  more than one way to access money  while you’re travelling, just in case you lose your credit/debit card.

I once went to Brazil and both my friend and I had our cards cloned in an ATM. Her account got frozen because the fraudsters got her PIN wrong, my account got wiped out (the bank did reimburse the money eventually), and between three of us we just about had enough cash to get through our last few days!

If you’re planning on transferring savings from your home bank account to your new bank account in Australia, consider using a foreign currency exchange specialist such as  Wise .

I’ve been using Wise (formerly TransferWise ) since I moved to Australia, as it’s simple to use, totally transparent regarding fees and rates and much cheaper than using my bank.

STEP 4: 2ND AND 3RD YEAR VISA EXTENSION

  • 2ND YEAR VISA
  • 3RD YEAR VISA

Finding Regional Work for Your Second Year Visa in Australia

We know that many of you will want to complete your 88 days of regional work  in order to get your  second or third working holiday visa in Australia . Just make sure that you start looking for work well ahead of time, so that you’re not in a panic at the last minute.

Here’s a link to the Eligible Jobs For A Second And Third Year Visa Subclass 417 in Australia if you want to learn more (or click here for subclass 462).

There’s been a well-publicised problem in Australia with backpackers being  exploited by farm owners  (underpaid, harassed etc) and putting up with it as they are so desperate for the work to be signed off in time. Starting your farm work early means you’ll have time to leave and find another job if required (hopefully you won’t have to though – plenty of people have a great experience).

One of our clients left his farm work until the last minute and had an awful time with a bullying boss on a fruit farm in Tasmania. Thankfully he found somewhere else in time, but it meant flying up to Queensland to work on a cattle farm! He had a brilliant time there though, and just managed to get his 88 days in before the cut-off time.

Finding Regional Work for Your Third Year Visa in Australia

STEP 5: EXPLORE AUSTRALIA

  • Buying a Car
  • Making Friends
  • Superannuation

Organise Australian Road Trips

If you’ve made it to the other side of the world, make sure you explore the country! You’re there to  work and travel in Australia  after all! Just  remember how enormous Australia is  and how long it takes to get from one city to another.

There are heaps of ways to travel Australia: organised tour buses, public coaches, trains, flights, hiring or buying a car or campervan, or getting a ride in another backpacker’s car. Whatever your budget you should find something suitable.

Buying a Car on Your Working Holiday in Australia

Many backpackers decide to buy a cheap car or campervan on their working holiday in Australia, as  it allows the ultimate freedom on road trips  to explore wherever you like for as long as you like. It also means you can stay at campsites between cities and save a lot of money on accommodation.

You can  buy cars complete with camping gear from other backpackers  who are leaving the country after their working holiday ends (usually via the backpacker Facebook groups). Alternatively, consider finding a second-hand car on Gumtree, in local newspapers or from a car dealer.

Just be careful buying a vehicle from other backpackers, as these are often extremely old and not always looked after well. It’s cheaper to buy a car in good condition and then get cheap camping gear separately than waste thousands on replacing car parts.

It’s a good idea to get a mechanic to check over any cars you are interested in buying, and always ask the owner to show you the latest service reports.

Also be aware that  vehicles in Australia are registered to the state the owner lives in , and if you buy one in a different state to where it’s registered (for example, if a backpacker has driven it across the country) you may have to have it officially examined and get the number plates changed to ones from the new state. Do your research as there are different rules in each state.

Making Friends on Your Working Holiday in Australia

If you’re travelling solo for the first time, you might be worried about how you’ll meet people and make friends. I promise you it’s easy, and you won’t be lonely! Never give up an opportunity to travel because you haven’t got anyone to go with.

Most travellers set off by themselves and are keen to meet other people.  If you stay in hostels it’s hard not to get chatting to the people in your dorm or in the kitchen, even if you’re not someone who tends to approach people.

If your room mates don’t speak to you straight away they’re probably feeling just as shy as you, or they’re nervous about how good their English is. Say “hi and ask their name, and they’ll probably be really pleased to talk to you.

If you’re looking for travel buddies for road trips, or even to get out and explore at weekends, backpacker Facebook groups are great, or people you meet in person at your hostel.

You can also use the website  Meetup.com  and join groups that run outings on whatever your interests are. I’ve made virtually all my friends in Sydney that way, through walking groups and female social groups.

Australian Backpacker Tax Rates & Claiming a Refund

It’s worth reading up about  backpacker tax for working holiday makers  on the ATO website. You need to make sure you lodge a tax return if you’ve been working in Australia.

Note that the Australian tax year begins on 1st July, so make sure you  lodge a tax return  at the end of the tax year (or earlier if you’re heading home), as you may be entitled to a refund.

Superannuation, or ‘super’ as the Aussies call it, means your  pension or retirement fund . This may not be something on your mind if you’re in your twenties and gallivanting around the world, but your Australian employer will be obliged by law to pay a certain amount into a super fund for you.

You’ll be pleased to know that  you can claim your superannuation back  at the end of your working holiday in Australia, but less pleased to know that as of 1st July 2017 the full amount will be taxed at  65% !

Here’s another link to the ATO explaining the deal with your  departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP) .

AUSTRALIA GAP YEAR TOURS & ARRIVAL PACKAGES

Our Working Holiday packages are designed to give Australia working holiday visa holders the best start on their work and travel experience in Australia. For a start, you will stay at the best youth hostels in Australia and get an easy and simple introduction to start your adventure. We know the drill and just want you to avoid all the hassle and get to work! Start with a week of fun in Australia plus the exclusive inclusions.

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SYDNEY GAP YEAR

A perfect intro tour to get your Working Holiday off to a great start from Sydney!

Start with 8 days of fun in Sydney plus 12 months of expert job offers, advice and support – awesome! Expect to earn $25 to $35 an hour with paid work in Oz!

Melbourne Gap Year Intro Tour Guided Tour in Melbourne Gap Year Working Holiday Tour in Melbourne Australia Arrival Package Tour in Melbourne Paid Work in Melbourne Mornington Penisula

MELBOURNE GAP YEAR

A perfect intro tour to get your Working Holiday off to a great start from Melbourne!

Start with 8 days of fun in Melbourne plus 12 months of expert job offers, advice and support – awesome! Expect to earn $25 to $35 an hour with paid work in Oz!

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SYDNEY ARRIVAL PACKAGE

Kick start your working holiday visa in Australia with our arrival package.

A Work & Travel package takes the stress out of your first few days in a new country as well as giving you ongoing assistance with finding a job.

melbourne-arrival-package-melbourne-city-melbourne-arrival-pack-australia-arrival-package-Melbourne-australia-arrival-package-Oz-melbourne-arrival-gap-year-package-Aussie-arival-package

MELBOURNE ARRIVAL PACKAGE

Kick start your working holiday visa in Australia with the our arrival package.

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EAST COAST AUSTRALIA

Explore the East Coast of Australia with our 30-Day Australia East Coast tour

Personalised Itineraries for 18 to 30s, backpackers & travellers. Enjoy 4 weeks of backpacking along the Aussie East Coast with expert support every step of the way!

Frequently Asked Working Holiday Questions

A working holiday allows you to delve deeper into a country and spend a gap year (sometimes even more) on a specific visa.

As you have much longer, you can delve into everything that makes the country unique. You’ll get to experience the perfect combination of what travellers see and what the locals see.

You’ll become part of the working community and get to know your new home the way the locals know theirs. But you can then go above and beyond and tick off some of the most incredible sights the country has to offer in your spare time.

You’ll earn and work. But that means you’ll be able to enjoy and travel even further.

Simply; no.

You could save, save, save, and then use your time on your working holiday visa to just travel wherever you wish. There’s absolutely nothing tying you into having to work.

Yet most will secure a  gap year job abroad  to experience the full gap year lifestyle. You’ll meet new people, make new friends, develop skills and live like a local, all whilst creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Working holidays are only possible through countries have exchange partnerships and allowing young adults to travel on working holidays.

These visas allow you to enter the country and work for a certain amount of time, if you meet the specified visa criteria. This is applied for in advance and if granted, means you can work, earn and travel for a gap year (or sometimes even more).

It gives you the right to rent, open bank accounts and everything expected by a normal resident, with only slight variations based on the duration you’re in the country.

The beauty of a gap year is that you decide your path.

Whether you want to follow your career and use your prior experience, or try something completely new, the decision is yours.

Many use gap years to follow their passions, or to push themselves to achieve something they never thought they could.

There’s loads of different avenues to search once you know what you’d like to do. Major recruiters have their own online application areas, whereas each country will have job sites and boards for you to apply through.

A career gap year is living the ‘gap year lifestyle’, but whilst still following your chosen career path.

A great example would be those looking at wanting to follow an outdoor education career. There are numerous roles around the world which will actually contribute to furthering your CV, such as working in a summer camp in America/China/Canada, or becoming a ski instructor in New Zealand.

Another example may be if you want to move into the financial sector, then instead of going straight into a graduate career, you may look at a gap year working holiday in Hong Kong or Singapore.

Your time away will strengthen your background and skillset, meaning you’ll go home with a stronger position, ready to seize your next career step.

If your application is going to be straightforward, i.e. you meet all the requirements perfectly and there is no doubt in your mind you will have your application refused, then do it yourself.

It is personal preference though if you feel more comfortable going through an agent then by all means do. If you are unsure whether immigration could have grounds to refuse your application then I would speak to an agent for advice.

Once you have your visa application sorted out, you can participate in an Australia Arrival Package, you can receive benefits such as setting up a Tax File Number (TFN), bank account, packs to help you find a job and your first few nights’ accommodations on arrival. You can visit this link: Australia Arrival Package .

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Experience Different With AO Travel in 2025

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As record crowds have streamed through the gates during week one of Australian Open 2024, tennis fans around the world can secure their tickets at next year’s Australian Open with AO Travel packages now on sale.

As the Official Travel Partner of the Australian Open, AO Travel brings thousands of fans to Melbourne for an amazing Grand Slam experience each year, and gives travellers the option to choose from specially curated travel packages, or tailor every aspect of their own self-selected packages.

From the baseline to beyond, with AO Travel fans can secure best available tournament session tickets, premium hotel accommodation and add on exclusive experiences in one convenient place.

“We’ve laid a great foundation for AO Travel and we look forward to growing the program significantly in partnership with STH Group,” said Craig Tiley, Australian Open Tournament Director.

“The Australian Open is the biggest annual sports and entertainment event in the world in January, and and continues to grow in popularity both in Australia and overseas. Through our partnership with STH we are able to offer unique experiences for all types of travellers and tennis fans so they can enjoy everything our wonderful event and city have to offer.”

STH General Manager David MacCallum said the AO Travel Program was a truly unique offering.  

“The AO Travel Program continues to go from strength-to-strength as we look to unlock and reach more fans globally to bring them out to experience the best that the Australian Open, and the city of Melbourne, has to offer,” MacCallum said.

“It is a tournament not to be missed, and supporters and travelers alike can experience different with AO Travel as a fully integrated travel and experiences offering.  

“We thank Tennis Australia for its wonderful support and look forward to continuing to evolve this wonderful partnership over the coming years.”

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Australian air fares halved when three carriers rather than one fly route, data reveals

Assistant competition minister Andrew Leigh says it is often cheaper to fly from Darwin to Singapore than Sydney as Labor targets monopolies

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Ticket prices are halved when three airlines fly a route compared with a monopoly situation and fares fall further as more rivals are added, according to new findings designed to inform Australia’s competition and merger laws.

The assistant competition minister, Andrew Leigh, will tell a Melbourne audience on Tuesday there are worrying signs that competition intensity has weakened over recent decades, with evidence of increased market concentration and profit markups in several industries.

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The airline industry, led by Qantas, is among those sectors where subdued competition leads to elevated prices for customers with limited flight options, according to an advance copy of Leigh’s speech.

“For example, for a resident of Darwin, it is often cheaper to fly from Darwin to Singapore than it is to fly from Darwin to Sydney – even though the international flight is longer than the domestic one,” Leigh will tell the Chifley Research Centre event.

The government’s newly formed competition taskforce has found that when one airline services a route, air fares average 39.6c per kilometre. The price is more than halved to 19.2c when three competitors fly a route.

With four or five competitors, the price drops further, according to analysis of the top 200 routes by passenger traffic.

Graph showing the average fare per km by number of carriers on a route

Qantas has previously cited high jet fuel prices and disruptions to supply chains for high air fares, while noting ticket prices were moderating.

The speech comes amid renewed political scrutiny of tightly held industries that could be leading to higher-than-necessary prices for consumers during a cost-of-living crisis.

The government announced last week that supermarkets will be targeted in a price investigation by the competition watchdog.

Australia’s food retailing sector is dominated by Coles and Woolworths, which over many years acquired dozens of competitors, including McIlwraiths, Bi-Lo and Flemings, and pushed out rivals such as Selfridges and Franklins, to become the dominant players.

Leigh will also flag in his speech more scrutiny on how mergers affect economics, backed by research that shows the competition regulator is not notified of at least two-thirds of mergers.

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Australia has an informal merger regime that does not contain laws requiring merger parties to notify the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission of proposed acquisitions or to wait for clearance before proceeding.

If the ACCC believes a merger will substantially lessen competition, it can then apply to the courts to unwind it. Speciality pet supply company Petstock recently agreed to sell 41 of its stores after the competition regulator raised concerns it had bought out some of its main rivals without first seeking regulatory input.

Under a mandatory system, which is one possible reform, companies would need to secure approval from the regulator before merging.

In his speech, Leigh will refer to research that suggests mergers often boost the remuneration of managers, while leading to layoffs among workers.

“For the sake of shareholders, workers and citizens, it is important to ensure that Australia’s regulatory system is not facilitating value-destroying mergers,” he will say.

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  25. Australian air fares halved when three carriers rather than one fly

    Competition in Australia's airline sector, which is dominated by Qantas and Virgin, is under the spotlight, with findings that more carriers flying a route lead to lower fares.