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.
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.
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.
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.