If you’ve been thinking about where to take a gap year abroad but can’t decide where go to, let me help you out: AUSTRALIA. Get ready for stellar southern hemisphere night skies, lively city life, and miles (and miles and miles) of shoreline. Grab your sunnies and don’t leave your thongs behind—it’s time for you to find out why you *need* to do an Australia gap year!
Did you know most people in Australia live in coastal cities? And by most, I mean around 90%... You can bet, then, that each city has its own reason worth living, and it does. Here’s our roundup of top locations for Australian gap year programs.
Melbourne. Right on the southern coast, Melbourne is home to around 4 million people, the second largest urban area in Australia. This artsy, fashionable city is reminiscent of Europe’s architecture and brimming with opportunities to make your Australian gap year worth it. Here, you can work in Australia for a year as an au pair or get hands-on experience as an executive’s assistant.
Sydney. Did you know that Sydney is NOT the capital of Australia? It’s true. Canberra is actually the (very small) capital! Now that the trivia lesson is out of the way, you can learn why Sydney is still a top spot for an Australia gap year. Sydney is unmatched in how gorgeous beaches, wildlife, and cityscapes can still coexist. Want to find out how? Take a gap year in Australia and tell us!
Townsville. The very fact that it is a tropical town with less than 200,000 people is exactly why you need to go. As a gapper, you’ll marvel at the wild kangaroos while biking to your Australian gap year program, enjoy the views of Magnetic Island off the coast, and fantasize about swimming to (or volunteering at) the Great Barrier Reef—it’s right off shore. There are so many epic choices here for your gap year abroad!
If diversity and practicality are your leading points of consideration when taking a gap year abroad, you are already on the right path by considering Australia.
Scuba Diving Instruction. Of course if you are going anywhere NEAR the Great Barrier Reef, you seriously should find Nemo AND do something meaningful at the reef. The reef is about the size of New Mexico! This leaves plenty of room for you to find gap year jobs in Australia unda-wata or support conservation work and marine biology research.
Hands-on Learning. Australia is a top country to get hands-on learning in a variety of fields. Spend a gap year abroad as you live with a family, absorb yourself into a new culture, and get real-life training as an au pair. Hit up any of the top local travel companies to polish your adventure travel expertise.
Work Abroad. Being a developed country, there are heaps of opportunities in any field imaginable so you can spend your gap year working in Australia (...well, maybe not winter sports). Venture out to the wild Outback and work at an organic ranch for a year. Find a backpacking or tour guide job through the lush tropical rainforests. Stick to the major cities and work at an international school. The job prospects are unlimited; work in Australia for a year now!
Everything else you need to know about gap years in Australia
Costs. Australia is not a cheap place to live. Food, clothing, adventures, transport—it all adds up quick. Stuff that piggy bank before you leave and start a personal FundMyTravel campaign to help get you on your gap year in Australia!
Accommodations. For the most part, gap year programs in Australia will cover accommodations. If you’re traveling around the country, expect to stay in hostels, guest lodges, or other budget accommodations. You should definitely try to do some good old fashioned camping on your Australia gap year, too. If you find work at a farm or as an au pair, you’ll get housing provided. And who knows? Maybe your kickass metropolitan job will help hook you up with a sweet city pad.
Visas. All gappers will need to get a visa to enter Australia. We repeat: All gappers will need to get a visa to enter Australia. Check with the GoAbroad embassy directory if you need help or reach out to your gap year program helpline.
Safety. Australia is generally out of harm’s way… at least from people. There are extra precautions to take when traveling here in regards to the natural world and wildlife. As they say, almost everything in Oz is trying to kill you. 😰 Practice caution, and review guides for local snakes and insects in the place that you are traveling to. Usually you’ll be completely fine, except for if you mistake a Taipan for a harmless garter snake and are far away from medical help…
GoAbroad's Inside Scoop
Hopefully the snake tidbit didn’t scare you away from considering an Australia gap year. Let it be a metaphor though, that you grow the most as a person when you are forced to think differently. You do this by getting out of your usual routine and flying across the world to live in a foreign country for a year.
If you have your heart set on Australia, be sure to: Look up the wildlife that you are going to be living with, plan ahead and consider mailing an extra box of your things to your intended address (to avoid having to chip away at your wallet too soon), and seriously invest in a waterproof camera. You’ll be heading out on the best adventure in your life so far and will appreciate being able to look back on it in HD.
Pack your scuba gear, bring your toughest hiking boots, and keep your camera close… you’re gonna need it all when taking a gap year in Australia.
Still not convinced? Keep reading for ten reasons to fall in love with a gap year in Australia.