Before I went to Australia one year ago, the first things that came to mind when I thought about Oz were: spiders, snakes, sharks, deadly jellyfish and many, many other creepy animals. So it came as quite a surprise for my family and friends when I randomly told them I was going to spend my gap year in Australia.
The concept of a gap year is to leave your home, most of the time for the first time, travel to a country far away and experience the culture and, of course, the booze. But for some it’s also an escape, just like in my case. I already started drama school (and dropped out already) and worked in London for a year and just wanted to leave and never come back. And surprisingly, I have (subconsciously) learnt loads of valuable things.
1. You’ll see some of the most magnificent national parks on this planet
Such as the Blue Mountains, Daintree National Park or the famous Uluru-Kara Tjuta National Park. A day trip to one of those parks makes you appreciate our planet even more and also clears the head a little bit. Australia has some of the most unique views that can literally take your breath away.
2. You’ll meet people from all over the world
Since spending a gap year in Australia is such a popular travel destination, there are loads of interesting, young people starting their adventure and travels there. You will probably meet people you’d never have met in any other circumstance, that will probably change your life in one way or another. And most of the time, those friends are for life.
3. You’ll learn to handle things on your own
Australia is so far away from every other country, that at some point you’ll be faced with making important decisions on your own, or simply sorting out where you’ll sleep for the next couple of days.
4. You can cross cuddling Koalas and Kangaroos off your bucket list
And who wouldn’t want that? Those cute marsupials can only be found in Australia and you can get real close in sanctuaries and zoos, such as for example in Australia Zoo in Queensland.
5. Australia is super versatile
Whether you fancy going to the beach and get a tan, or even skiing, spending your gap year in Australia has it all. You don’t need to travel to another country, as you can basically experience all four seasons on the continent. Famous beaches like Bondi Beach or Lizard Island or go skiing in Perisher, NSW.
6. You won’t really see creepy crawlies (in the cities)
I expected to be surrounded by disgusting little insects wherever I went, but you don’t actually see that many, as long as you’re in the city of course. There might be the odd huntsman spider but they’re actually kind of harmless, even though they’re huge. But at the end of the day you’ll surprise yourself by actually getting used to them.
7. It’s (kind of) a once-in-a-lifetime experience
The Australian government is nice enough to offer a working-holiday visa for travellers under 35 from most countries that allows them to stay in the country, as well as work in the country, for one year. This comes in super handy as Australia is super expensive and getting a job allows you to afford even more great adventures, such as for example skydiving over the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.
8. You’ll have the opportunity to see the stunning Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is already a victim of climate change, so book your flights asap and experience one of the seven world wonders first hand. There are many tours you can book where you’ll get a guided scuba diving tour through the reef. It’s a truly breathtaking experience and you might even be lucky enough to swim with sharks and whales!
What were your best memories from your gap year in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image: Weheartit
22 year old journalism student living in London