With a fantastic climate and brimmed with adventure around every corner, it's no surprise that Australia continues to be one of the most popular destinations to visit on a gap year or long stay trip. One of our customer service advisors, Joanne, recently visited Australia with her friend. In this post, she shares her story and gives tips on booking your own Oz adventure.
1. What inspired you to visit Australia?
Australia has always been a country I have wanted to visit ever since I was little. My friend who I went with had also always wanted to go, but because of a television programme she used to watch all the time called Bondi Rescue. Everything just looked simply amazing and we wanted to experience it for ourselves.
2. Did you stay at a hotel or hostel?
When we arrived in Sydney, we stayed at the Wake Up! Hostel. We chose this hostel as we had heard that it was one of the best hostels to stay in Sydney and it was! We were allocated a room with four other people. The rooms were clean and spacious and we each had our own locker to keep our belongings in, alongside storage under the beds. The facilities were really good too - free Wi-Fi for everyone, a clean and modern kitchen to cook in and brilliant bathroom facilities as well.
There were people from all around the world, from Sweden to South Korea. This made the overall atmosphere amazing and allowed us to share travel stories.
Even though we started our journey in a good hostel, there were some bad ones we stayed in as well throughout the rest of our stay. We went to Bondi Beach for a week and stayed at the Lamrock Lodge; we found this to be a complete contrast to where we were the week before. There were bars on the window, the rooms were 6ft wide by 6ft tall, and I'm quite tall, so barely fitted in there. However we did spend most of our time on the famous beach, so didn't spend long in the room.
3. Did you do any exciting/adventurous activities?
Yes, we did lots of activities! First of all we did Surf Camp on a 7 mile beach, along the South of Sydney. The weather was perfect all week for us so this was an added bonus! We learnt how to surf properly and how to get the most out of the waves.
Another activity we did was a jungle swing while we were in Cairns. (This is when you swing at about 170 mph; it's like a bungee jump but going sideways not up and down!)
The benefit of doing activities on your trip is that it's a great way to meet new people and make friends. I still am friends with the people I met on the trip!
4. How does Australian culture and way of life differ from the British?
The culture in Australia is very mixed. Australia has a lot of British and American citizens but also a lot of Asian culture lives there too (but it's great as the food from that community is amazing). With regards to the way of life, everyone in the city is very busy. However, when you move out of the cities people become more relaxed and are sportier, especially on the beach, such as surfing or just working out.
5. Did you face any problems whilst in Australia? If so, how did you overcome them?
We didn't feel we faced any major problems while out there. The only problem I had was with my bank, after telling them three times that I was going to Australia, they blocked my card when I tried to use it. But the problem was resolved pretty quickly!
6. What was the highlight of your trip and why?
I would say the highlight of our trip was snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. It was an all day excursion on a sailing ship and it was one of the best experiences of my life. We saw lots of different things, such as starfish, gruba fish and I was less than two feet away from a shark!
7. If you could describe your entire experience in one word what would it be?
I would describe the whole trip in one word as 'amazing'. I was just amazed at everything we did; from the food we ate to the people we met on the way. I would love to do it again and again. We stayed in Australia for about 3 and a half months, which wasn't what we had planned initially but we did manage to do what we wanted to do in that time frame.
8. And finally, what one piece of advice would you give to anyone planning to travel?
My final piece of advice I would give is to go with a friend as you will have much more fun than if you went on your own.
We hope you enjoyed this post and hope that it has given you a thirst for further adventure, or perhaps your own trip to Oz. When planning your trip, make sure you have Australia travel insurance and the correct cover for any activities you plan on undertaking along the way. You might also be interested in our Tips and Advice sections which have lots of information and advice.
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