The sheer vastness of Australia and the diverse landscapes this provides makes it the ideal location for students on a gap year. From the rugged remoteness of the Outback to the vibrancy of stylishly modern Sydney with its magnificent harbour, Australia will more than meet the adventurous needs of every spirit. Loads of sunshine combined with world-renowned, spectacular beaches and even more famous coral reefs that teem with marine life is just part of the reason that Australia is becoming synonymous with the gap year.
Remotely Rugged Outback
The Australian Outback allows students to experience the meaning of remoteness. It is a vast, dry landscape that is home to most of the country’s sheep and cattle stations. Many students manage to find work on one of these ranches, which helps to fund further travel. Working in the outback builds fitness, stamina and, definitely, character and sharing this experience with other back-packers can be the making of life-long friendships. Students can also get acquainted with the red kangaroo and the infamous dingo, as well as a variety of other animal species that call this area home. There is also fossilised evidence of a number of species that formerly inhabited this land. With added strength of character and a clearer understanding of a remarkable continent, students can then move on to other areas of this place of plenty.
The Greatest Barrier Reef
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has numerous claims to fame that never fail to astound visitors and it is a favourite destination for back-packers. Not only does the northeast coast of Queensland boast the world’s largest system of reefs, but this system is also considered one of the 7 natural wonders of the world and is the only living organism visible from space. For diving enthusiasts the Great Barrier Reef is a dream location and its high levels of biodiversity is just one reason that it has been declared a World Heritage Site. Along with a number of endangered species, gap-year students also have the unique opportunity of viewing a few that are endemic to this spectacular reef.
Queensland’s Gold Coast adds another dimension to what attracts visitors to Australia. Miles of spectacularly soft and golden beaches include the famous and aptly named, Surfers Paradise. The area epitomises the sun-and-surf ideal and provides the very best in all related activities. Whale watching is a favourite privilege among the less active beach lovers and world-class surfing competitions are a regular feature on Australian beaches. Further west a magnificent rainforest and World Heritage listed national parks wait to amaze with their own offerings of nature’s extraordinary diversity. Then, of course, there is the dynamic Sydney.
For fun-loving back-packers there is no city quite like Sydney. Its majestic harbour bridge and iconic opera house are only precursors to a thoroughly modern city that offers the very best of what is expected from any major city. Art lovers are thoroughly indulged by Sydney’s many museums and galleries and music lovers can look forward to regular concerts by the biggest names in all genres.
Affordable campsites with access to the wealth of national parks and wilderness trails found here are also convenient stopovers for touring students. Although Sydney is renowned for its excellent restaurants and international cuisines, there is an abundance of places serving delicious and affordable foods to budget-restricted tourists. This oldest and largest of Australian cities has, for good reason, won much international recognition for excellence in a variety of areas including its tourist facilities.
Gap Year Info and Costs – Helpful Resources
Travelling the length and breadth of Australia can become an expensive exercise if those on a gap year do not take advantage of the many special offers available. With a little research, costs can be kept at a minimum. A hop-on-hop-off bus pass, which is valid for 12 months provides greater flexibility and is likely to be far cheaper than paying regular fares on each trip taken. Websites such as Momondo.com are valuable resources when doing research into comparing Australia flight prices. Discussion forums such as Lonely Planet and Gapyear.com can be equally valuable resources for gathering information on a wide range of issues related to taking a gap year in Australia.