If you're planning a gap year, Australia is an absolute must to include somewhere on your itinerary, whether it's for a relatively short visit or a stay of several months. Find out why with our guide to what makes the country so perfect for a year out.
One of the most obvious attractions of Australia is the sheer variety it offers. From great beaches and the harsh outback to cosmopolitan cities and stunning islands, it really does have something for everyone. There is scope to do so many things, including adventure sports and volunteering, which means your time here is really flexible.
No language barrier
While this unlikely to be a key reason you choose to visit any destination, the fact that there is no language barrier is a definite bonus - particularly if you plan to stay in the country for some time. Plus, the locals are famously friendly, so you should have no trouble settling in.
Great place to top up your travel funds
The lack of a language barrier will come in handy if you plan to work in Australia to top up your travelling funds - something plenty of backpackers choose to do. There are a number of reasons why so many travellers work here, including a strong minimum wage compared to other countries, plenty of job opportunities and the chance to work in many different roles. Bartending, waiting, fruit picking and office temping are all feasible options. Just make sure you organise a Working Holiday Visa before you travel.
Australia is home to some of the world's most exciting cities, and these are a huge draw for all kinds of visitors. If you come here as part of your gap year, it would be a crime not to visit at least one of them, and among the most popular is - unsurprisingly - Sydney.
This is home to iconic attractions such as the Sydney Opera House, as well as beaches perfect for surfing. Manly and Cronulla are two of the top surfing hotspots, but you should also try to visit Bondi Beach - another world-famous name, with a reputation for style and water sports.
Great volunteering opportunities
Of course, what many people come to Australia to see is its amazing landscape and wildlife. If that is what's drawing you to the country, you can explore natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef. This is the largest in the world, and diving here is an experience like no other.
However, if you're keen to do a little volunteer work during your year out, you'll find a huge selection of opportunities back on dry land. Indeed, nature conservation projects are underway across the country, so you will have a wide choice when it comes to where to base yourself.
Coastal areas, national parks and ancient rainforests are all in need of conservation volunteers. Among the tasks you can get stuck into are river and creek protection, wildlife data collection and reforestation schemes.
You will need to commit yourself to a project for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of ten, but you won't need to confine yourself to one destination if you are keen to explore new areas. Indeed, you could split your time across a number of places to help out with different projects for a few weeks at time.