Changes to the Australian Working Holiday VISA

As you may have heard through the media and industry publications, the Australian Government has recently announced changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program to help support regional and rural communities.

Changes to the WHM visa program include:-

  • From 5 November 2018, expanding the regional areas where subclass 462-visa holders can work in agriculture (plant and animal cultivation) to qualify for a second year of stay in Australia. Currently only those who work in Northern Australia are eligible.
  • From 5 November 2018, increasing the period in which subclass 417 and 462 visa holders can stay with the same agricultural (plant and animal cultivation) employer, from 6 to 12 months.
  • The option of a third-year for subclass 417 and 462 visa holders who, after 1 July 2019, undertake 6-months of specified work in a specified regional area during their second year.
  • Over the coming weeks, offering an increase in the annual caps to a number of countries that participate in the subclass 462 visa program.
  • Increase the eligible age for subclass 417 visa applicants from Canada and Ireland to 35.

How will these changes address regional workforce shortages?
The key focus is on providing farmers with immediate access to workers in key parts of regional Australia. The changes aim to increase the number of Working Holiday Makers available for seasonal work needs.

Employers will be able to retain trained and experienced employees doing agricultural (plant and animal cultivation) work for up to 12-months, rather than the previous 6-months.
The availability of a third-year visa will attract working holiday makers to work for longer in regional Australia.

What does plant and animal cultivation include?
Plant and animal cultivation includes most agricultural work, such as:-

  • the harvesting and/or packing of fruit and vegetable crops
  • pruning and trimming vines and trees
  • general maintenance crop work
  • cultivating or propagating plants, fungi or their products or parts
  • immediate processing of plant products
  • maintaining animals for the purpose of selling them or their bodily produce
  • immediate processing of animal products including shearing, butchery, packing and tanning
  • manufacturing dairy produce from raw material.

What additional parts of regional Australia will be included in the expanded arrangements?
From 5 November 2018, this will be extended to regional areas in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, and all of Northern Territory, South Australia, and Tasmania. Details of specific postcodes will be published on the Department’s website shortly.

Are any changes being made to the subclass 462 Northern Australia initiatives?
No change is being made to the existing Northern Australia concessions:-

  • subclass 417 & 462 visa holders can continue to work with one employer in northern Australia for up to 12 months in Aged & Disability Care; Agriculture; Construction; Mining; and Tourism & Hospitality
  • subclass 462 visa holders can continue to complete specified work in northern Australia in tourism and hospitality or agriculture, forestry and fishing industries, to become eligible for a second year visa.

How long will subclass 462-visa holders need to work in the additional regional areas to get the second year?
Participation in the second-year program is voluntary. Subclass 462-visa holders need to complete a total of three-months (88 calendar days) of specified work to be eligible to apply for their second-year visa. They may combine work completed in any existing specified industry and location with new industries and locations to meet the work requirement.

What types of work completed will count towards third-year eligibility?
Specified work for the third-year visa are the same as the eligibility for specified work for the second-year visa – see the links below for the list of specified work types:-

Please refer to the Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs for any further information on these changes, or anything else relating to either the 417 or 462 visa.


All you need to know about the Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most famous horse race on turf, also referred to as “The Race That Stops A Nation”. This is a to some degree very true Some states have a public holiday for the day like Victoria, but regardless of the state you live in you can almost be guaranteed for that 3-5 minute period when those gates at Flemington Racecource open, most eyes in Australia are glued to the nearest TV screen.

What to look out for

Fashion

Make no mistake, the Melbourne Cup is about much more than just horse racing. While the richest handicap horse race in the world attracts the attention of punters, trainers, and viewers from around the globe, the fashion and culture of the Melbourne Cup is another important aspect of this special event. Indeed, the fashion and glamour of the Melbourne Cup is one of the aspects that defines this event and truly makes it “the race that stops a nation.” The fashions on the field event is one of the other draw cards to the races, with a total cash prize pool of $400,000, and many famous and boutique designers trying to get their frocks and spring dresses on celebrities, the fashion is just as much a part of the cup as the racing.

The Race

The race itself is steeped rich in history and you’ll hear this a lot leading up to the race and on race day it is the “race that stops a nation” with the state of Victoria having a public holiday that day and pretty much every other state will stop what they’re doing for at least 5-10 minutes if not more to watch the race.

The 2018 Melbourne Cup will be run at 3:00pm on Tuesday, 6th November 2018 at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

The Melbourne Cup field is made up of 24 horses with no emergencies. Each year hundreds of horses will nominate for the race and based on the balloting system and handicapping it is reduced to 24 after the running of the Lexus Stakes on Derby Day.

Out of the twenty four runners in the Melbourne Cup Field there is prize money for the first ten horses to cross the finish line in a race with a total prize pool of $7.3million dollars

Be sure to do some research if your gong to have a punt on the races. International horses do seem to favour the track more over the local horses in the races based on recent years. But this year the field seems to be tighter than ever.

The field

1. Best Solution (6) (IRE)
2. The Cliffsofmoher (9) (IRE)
3. Magic Circle (17) (IRE)
4. Chestnut Coat (4) (JPN)
5. Muntahaa (13) (IRE)
6. Sound Check (16) (GER)
7. Who Shot Thebarman (18) (NZ)
8. Ace High (22)
9. Marmelo (10) (GB)
10. Avilius (11) (GB)
11. Yucatan (23) (IRE)
12. Auvray (1) (FR)
13. Finche (15) (GB)
14. Red Cardinal (5) (IRE)
15. Vengeur Masque (2) (IRE)
16. Ventura Storm (7)
17. A Prince Of Arran (20) (GB)
18. Nakeeta (3) (GB)
19. Sir Charles Road (14)
20. Zacada (24)
21. Runaway (12)
22. Youngstar (8)
23. Cross Counter (19) (GB)
24. Rostropovich (21) (IRE)


Your 2nd year Working Holiday Visa Guide

So you’ve decided you’re coming to Australia for a working holiday. Then you’ve realised there is an option for a 2nd year visa or you’ve arrived and after a few months of working and travelling you’ve finally settled in, and now you’re seriously considering extending your stay in Australia. This sound like you? Well you’re not the only one facing this dilemma. We have so many young travellers that want to extend their working holiday but all they know is that they need to do farm work.

Here is your guide to securing that crucial 88 days of farm work to be eligible to apply for your 2nd year working holiday visa. You’ll thank us later!

The biggest thing people overlook is the fact that to qualify for the 2nd year working holiday visa is that your farm work and training must be done during your 1st year in Australia. This leads to many people doing a mad dash towards the end of their stay to try and complete their 88 days of paid farm work to qualify and apply for the 2nd year visa. This can lead to a lot of disappointment if you’re trying to do this during peak season and all the farms that offer the 88 days of paid farm work become full real quick.

Things to decide to make sure you’re on top of it

  • First thing is to figure out EARLY if you think you want to extend your visa.
  • Making sure you conduct your farm work in the correct regions (approved rural areas are slightly different for 462 visa holders and 417 visa holders).
  • Make sure you have at least 6 months left on your passport when applying
  • 2nd year visa applications must be made before you turn 31

 

What you need

  • An intermediate level of English
  • A current drivers license (highly preferable)
  • To be willing to work hard and get your hands dirty
  • To be prepared for a challenge
  • A current working holiday 417 or 462 visa
  • A Tax File Number, Australian Bank Account and Medicare card (if applicable)
  • Appropriate work and travel insurance

 

If you’re a current Work and Travel Company member most of the things you need we would have done or applied for you.

Once you have all this in order the hard work starts. Finding a farm that will sign off on your farm work hours/days (note: it is possible to complete your 88 days of farm work at multiple farms). The Work and Travel Company team can help you with organising farm training and GAURANTEED 88 days farm work for 2nd year visa sign off.

You do not need to be a Work and Travel Company member to apply for our farm training and guaranteed 88 days farm work program. Click the button below to find out how!


Australian Heritage Hotel and Pylon Lookout

On Tuesday 27 February we had some great activities planned for us. Our first stop was lunch at the Australian Heritage Hotel. I must admit, the name didn't ring a bell at first but it turned out to be the oldest pub in Sydney! It's not just the oldest pub in town but the Australian Heritage Hotel is also known for its typical Australian cuisine.

Upon arrival we could immediately tell the charm the pub had. They have a wide range of great Australian beers and offer different types of Australian food. We ordered a couple of different pizzas to share with each other. We had some pizzas with emu, kangaroo, crocodile, duck… you name it.  The pub also has quite a few options for vegetarians, vegans or for people who aren't ready to try the Australian wildlife yet![/vc_column_text]


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With our bellies full, we took a short walk to the location of our next activity being the Pylon lookout. When we arrived, we started off with a video that showed us how the Harbour Bridge was made (a bit of a history lesson really puts things in perspective). After that, we climbed the 200 stairs to get to the top where our guide told us other stories about the bridge.

The view at the Pylon lookout was literally amazing (Such an amazing spot to see the city from). It’s one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen. You have a great view of Sydney Harbour, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera house. It really gives you the chance to take some great photos and enjoy the amazing harbour city from high above.



The Pylon lookout also has a museum where you can see a collection of displays and objects such as pictures from the early days of the bridge to the pair of scissors that were used for the opening of the Harbour Bridge.

I would definitely recommend doing this if you would like to have an view of Sydney Harbour and it’s surroundings and if you’re a real history buff!


Making The Most Of The Summer On A Budget

With its vibrant culture, natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere, Sydney is one of Australia’s most popular summer destinations. Although Sydney isn’t known for being particularly budget-friendly, there are plenty of ways to make your dollars go further in Sydney this summer.

Beaches and coastal walks

Summertime in Sydney is almost synonymous with beaches. Bondi, Manly, Dee Why, Coogee, Bronte and Watson’s Bay are just a few places worth visiting – and they won’t cost you a cent. For those who are happy to spend a few hours exploring the coastline, the Bondi to Coogee walk and the Spit to Manly walk consistently rank among visitors’ favourite things to do in Sydney.

Public transport

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If you’re planning to use public transport in Sydney, pick up an Opal card when you arrive. After adding credit, you’ll enjoy cheaper public transport fares, a daily travel cap ($15.40 at the time of writing), and unlimited travel for just $2.60 on Sundays. That’s right – you can ride all the buses, trains, ferries and trams you like for the fixed price of $2.60. By contrast, a return ferry ride between Circular Quay and Manly (which is easily the most cost-effective way to cruise Sydney Harbour) can cost more than $15 on a weekday.

Free walking tours

Learn all about Sydney on a free walking tour of the city. Organisations such as I’m Free Walking Tours and Sydney Greeters are a fantastic way to learn about the city’s top attractions, local gems, and historical points of interest. Join a guided tour around the CBD, or sign up a tour of The Rocks for a glimpse into Sydney’s checkered past. Institutions such as the Royal Botanic Garden also provide volunteer-run tours every day; remember to check official websites for information on guided walks and other free activities.

Budget-friendly events and festivals

Sydney’s cultural calendar is a huge part of what makes this city so exciting. Throughout summer, Sydney hosts a wide range of cheap and free events to suit a variety of interests. Some of these include:

  • Newtown Festival: One of Sydney’s favourite community festivals. Expect a whole day of food and market stalls, discussion panels, colourful characters, and fantastic live music – all for a $5 donation.
  • Free movie screenings: Throughout summer, Sydneysiders are spoilt with a number of free, open-air cinemas. Popular events include Movies in the Park (Strathfield), Movies in the Graveyard (Newtown), Movies by the Boulevard (Sydney Olympic Park) and Tropfest, the largest short film festival in the world.
  • Mardi Gras Fair Day: A colourful festival of food, dancing, markets and live music, all celebrating love and diversity.
  • Carols in the Domain & Opera in the Domain: These open-air concerts draw thousands of people to the grassy expanse of The Domain. Bring a picnic and enjoy an evening of free, world-class entertainment.

Find out what’s on in Sydney during Summer and all year round here.

Rooftop bars

Sydney is a beautiful city for rooftop drinks, and summer is when you can see Sydney’s skyline in its best possible light. Popular rooftop bars include Coogee Pavilion (Coogee), the Glenmore Hotel (The Rocks), The Taphouse (Darlinghurst), Websters Bar (Newtown), Hotel Sweeney’s (CBD), The Light Brigade (Woollahra), the East Village Hotel (Darlinghurst), and the Pool Club (yes, it has an actual pool) located on top of the Ivy complex. Since most of these are relaxed venues with no cover charge, you can soak up their stunning views and atmosphere without blowing your budget.


Things not to forget when visiting Australia

The land of Sun, sand, surf and bronzed skin and not shrimps but prawns on the barbee. Travelling through Australia and seeing all its beauty in the different types of conditions is hard. But for today's traveller making sure you leave home with these essentials will definitely set you up for an awesome vacation. Here are our Top things not to forget when visiting Australia. 

Thongs
You might know them as jandals or flip flops and in some parts of the world thongs are a completely different type of clothing, but in Australia the footwear normally worn on those super casual days are referred to as thongs. Given the Australian climate and especially during the Summer you'll need these and even happily swap them over your super comfy pair of Jordans for that extra air flow[/vc_column_text]

Phone, Camera and Chargers
This is probably a given and let’s face it, we’d probably notice not having our phone in our pocket or bag before we noticed that we forgot to feed the dog, closed the garage door, wear the wedding ring, even forgetting to grab the kids, but you’ll still be surprised how often travellers forget to pack their phone, camera or charger and in some instances all three. Travelling through Australia and seeing all the amazing architecture, buildings and monuments setback on the most amazing natural backdrops it would be a shame not to be able to capture those experiences as a photo or video. Let’s  face it, forgetting ones phone might be up there with one of the biggest travel sins if not the biggest travel sin you can commit. Image all the instagram, snapchat, facebook and twitter opportunities you’ll be missing out on to make those friends and family envious of your adventures. Oh, and let’s not forget telling the rest of the world how awesome your life is.

Laptop
Forgetting your laptop isn’t going to break or make your trip to Australia, but certainly will make things easier. Take advantage of the free wifi at the hostel or hotel and the other various hotspots in the major cities, catch up on the local news back home, catch up on social media, contact friends and family on Skype, email, research the next bit of travelling you want to do and most importantly have a place to store all the wicked photos and videos you took throughout the day to clear up memory space on your memory card.

Appropriate clothing
It’s Australia, but don’t let the images of sun, surf and sand fool you. In most parts it’s TRUE. We have some if not THE best beaches and surf breaks in the world. But don’t forget to pack some winter apparel, especially for the colder months  and especially if you plan on heading down south to Melbourne, Hobart or Adelaide for some period. Even Sydney can be on the colder side during the winter. As a general note we experience the following weather during these months (more related to the East Coast and Southern Autralia)

December  to February – Summer
March to May – Autumn
June to August – Winter
September to November – Spring

Western Australia, Northern Territory, Northern Queensland and Central Australia (Alice Springs) are much more warmer and are much warmer throughout the year.

So packing some warmer gear from May to September would be generally a good idea but nothing like the winters our friends in Eastern Europe, UK and North America experience.

Don’t forget to pack your swimmers either, that would be travel sin #2 visiting Australia

Extra memory card for the camera
We mentioned transferring your photos onto your laptop to clear up space, but if you don’t want to lug around a laptop, then getting an extra memory card is the other option. With the evolution of technology and the “cloud” it would be also smart to create a cloud storage account to save your photos and videos over to (most are FREE for limited space BOOM!). This is super helpful as a back up storage facility also.

Cash
Now this sounds sooooo obvious but you’ll be surprised how many people forget. It’s not all that necessary for cash as soon as you arrive in Australia, but it is good to have a small sum to get you started as soon as you land. Not a big necessity but a good to have. It also helps to understand how far your budget can stretch when you’re actually spending physical cash rather than money on card to get a feel for the costs associated with travelling through Australia.

Notifying the Bank and Credit Card Company
Again pretty obvious but again you don’t want to know how many people get their credit cards frozen because people forget to notify their bank and credit card company (I won’t lie, I’ve been guilty of this myself, and trust me it’s not the biggest highlight of my life. I was at at a bar, buying a round of drinks when my card go declined and didn’t go through, not because I didn’t have the funds, but because the bank froze the card thinking it was stolen and being used in another country as I didn’t notify them – super embarrassing). Save yourself the embarrassment from mine and countless others mistake and notify the bank you are travelling. It will save you a world of pain, and a long time on hold with the bank to have your card unfrozen.

Most of all enjoy everything amazing Australia has to offer!

Learn more about how you can work and travel in Australia https://www.worktravelcompany.com/programs/work-and-travel-australia/ 

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J-1 Visa Changes May Be In The Near Future

Things are changing.

 

It's in the news. The media can't stop talking about it. It's got a lot of people asking questions. So what is it?

It's President Trump.

Love him or hate him, but he's following through on his promises to change immigration to the USA - and unfortunately, one of these promises is to end the J-1 visa program.

No change has been made as of yet that affects Australians or New Zealanders hoping to work and travel on the J-1 visa, but there is reason to believe that changes may be coming in the near future. During his campaign for election, now-President Trump expressed on multiple occasions his intentions to terminate the J-1 visa program. Given his recent policy changes to immigration, many sources believe that the J-1 program could be one of the next affected by these policy changes.

 

What can you do about it?

 

Not much, except act fast. If you are thinking about spending a year working and travelling in the USA, get in touch with us NOW - it may be your only chance to lock in a J-1 visa before the program is affected by changing legislation.

For the moment, this is still speculation and proactive measures - but things can change in an instant. As soon as more information becomes available, we will be sure to update this post.

 

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WTC Travel Stories - New Zealand

New Zealand is (seriously) the magical land under down under. You will find nature here that can't be found anywhere else. There's glaciers, blue lakes, and endless mountains (it's also the land of the hobbits). We just love this place and want to share the best of it, so here are the real-life travel experiences of our intern Josefin for your reading pleasure!  Check out her great photos too...

 

Auckland

Auckland is the largest and most populated city in New Zealand. It is located on the North Island, and is a good starting point before "the adventure begins". The city has a little bit of everything and you can combine beach-life with city-life pretty easily. There are a lot of restaurants, bars and also a nice harbour. The highest building in New Zealand is Auckland's Sky Tower, where you can go up to get a 360 degree view of the city. Auckland is built up on craters, which means that there are many beautiful hills, so it was a really beautiful way to see the best angle of Auckland.

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Bay of Islands 

At the top of the North Island is the Bay of Islands, which is a large area with around 150 little islands together. It's really a sub-tropical paradise where you can go whale-watching, swimming with dolphins, and fishing. We stopped in Paihia, located in the heart of the Bay of Islands. Here we went on a boat watching dolphins, which was absolutely fantastic. We also took a day trip to Cape Reinga, the most northern point of New Zealand, where we walked out to the lighthouse and the lookout. Furthest out at the tip is also the place where two oceans meet - The Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean in the east! We drove down a long, beautiful beach and to finish the day tour we went sand boarding. It was so much fun!

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Waitomo Caves

South of Auckland, under the green hills of Waitomo, you have this labyrinth of caves, sinkholes and underground rivers. The area's name comes from the Maori words wai (water) and tomo (hole). You can either take a day tour, or stay over for one night. On the tour, we first climb down in the caves, then we floated on a tube through the water rapid. The best thing about this was to see the glow worms on the walls and ceiling of the caves. It looks like a sky full of stars, it's incredible!

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Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park is the oldest national park in New Zealand, located in the central North Island. When we came to Tongariro we walked The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which is one of the most popular day hikes in New Zealand. Tongariro's nature is a long range of volcanic mountains and the hike passes over active volcano Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom). A fun fact: Mount Ngauruhoe was used as a stand in for the fictional Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings movies. We decided to climb Mount Doom, but it was pretty difficult to do this, so I would recommend that you are a little bit experienced with this kind of mountain climb before having a go at it. Otherwise it was a really cool experience ;-)

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Picton

Picton was probably one of my favourites, despite it not being one of those places where many people stay; a lot of people just arrive here from Wellington to continue travelling down south, as it's just a small town on the north of the southern Island, nestled at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. A good way to see Marlborough Sounds is from the Wellington - Picton ferry. When we arrived we stayed at a "hippie" hostel, which was a cool place, and also really cheap.
One of the best activities here is to go out by boat in Marlborough Sounds and go swimming with dolphins! We went out with the boat early in the morning, and on the way we saw the beautiful scenery of the valley and animals like albatross and the (typical New Zealand) Hectors Dolphin, which is a smaller type with a round fin on the back and completely adorable! After that we got our swimsuits and rocked out to the place where all the big dolphins were. We jumped in the water and the tour guide asked us to make noises and sing, because that would attract the dolphins. Imagine a bunch of tourists splashing around and make funny noises in the water, it must have looked so ridiculous! When the dolphins finally found us, they were not shy at all. It's so cool when they swim under you and jump just beside you, just as curious and happy to see us as we are to see them. It was an amazing experience!

Another thing that Marlborough Sounds is well known for is the wine, with some of the world's best sauvignon blanc being grown here. In the afternoon (the same day as the dolphin tour) we went for a wine tour and visited the famous vineyards Cloudy Bay and Saint Claire. It was a good tour, and we got to taste some beautiful wines (best part). In the evening, we went on a night-walk in the forest around the valley, where we saw even more glow worms! This day was really one of the best days of my whole New Zealand trip, and it all happened in the small town of Picton.

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Nelson

Nelson is located by the water of Tasman Bay a little down south from Picton. The most common thing to do here is to explore the Abel Tasman National Park, which we did, of course. We took one of the coastal track walks, and had some lunch at the beach (where you also could take a dip in the beautiful clear water). We walked up to some of the lookouts, and ended the walk by a beach where we took a kayak to paddle back to where we started. It was a very pleasant hike and it wasn't so rough to walk (like Mount Doom...). We also got to hear a lot of history about Abel Tasman, which kept the walk extra interesting!

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Franz Josef Glacier

This is a real adventure place. It's located in the western part of the southern Island and the main thing to do here is climb the glacier. One reminder is to stay there for a couple of days because, when it's bad weather, the climb usually get's cancelled. We were lucky to finally go on our third and last day, after it's was cancelled two times already! We started by going up in a helicopter to reach the spot to start the climb. The helicopter ride was so cool! While up there you felt like a real wilderness adventurer, with full-on equipment like spike shoes and ice pick. It was a really cool experience to walk through all the ice caves and see the AMAZING views from the glacier. We also walked to see the bottom of the glacier on another day, and did some pretty fun horseback riding just outside Franz Josef. Don't miss this experience!

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Fox

Fox is a really small town just below Franz Josef. The thing you do here is to go see Lake Matheson, called "Mirror Lake". Not many people go all the way out here, but we wanted some more time to really explore the lake. We took a bike-ride early in the morning, when the the lake is really still (and actually looks like a mirror!) and went all around the lake. It was incredible to see the reflections from the mountains, which are New Zealand's highest peaks - Aoraki (Mount Cook) and Mount Tasman are just behind the lake!

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Queenstown

Queenstown is located in the mid-south of the southern island, and is the epicentre of adrenaline and partying. Here you have one of the worlds biggest bungy jumps - Nevis Bungyjump, a serious 134 metre drop!! It's also a good place to go skydiving but, unfortunately, we didn't do either of these things. Instead, we did something that was just as scary: hang-gliding! I have skydived before, but this was way scarier. We first took a bus on really bumpy and narrow roads up a mountain, and then basically jumped off the mountain cliff. It's terrifying at first, but everything is going slow when you're up there, so you have the time to calm down and take in the beautiful view.  Hint: Make sure to eat a Fergburger while you're in Queenstown; you can't miss the queue.

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The Roteburn Track

The Roteburn Track is located just north-west of Queenstown, and is arguably one of the world's most beautiful walking tracks. We took a 3-day hike, which you have to book early because the cabins that you stay in along the way get fully booked really fast. You'll need all the proper equipment like hiking clothes, sleeping bag, and food for a solid 3 days on the track. We stopped by 4 checkpoints, two being overnight stays, and two lunch breaks. Thankfully, there were toilets at every checkpoint and some had kitchen equipment too (the checkpoint, not the toilet, that would be weird...).  The first day we walked through the enchanted forest (!!) and the second day was up in the mountains, which were both pretty tough hikes. It pays off though, with amazing views over the mountains and the valley. It was totally worth going uphill for a while to see that :-) The third day was a hike down through the valley, and it was really beautiful. A fun thing here: it's really common to see the New Zealand Kaka, which is a parrot that lives in the forests of New Zealand and is super cute.

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Lake Tekapo

If you go by bus between Queenstown and Christchurch, along the way you can see Lake Tekapo. It's one of the bluest lakes in the world and it was amazing to see in person! You can also go horseback riding around the lake, which I definitely recommend.

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Kaikoura

The last stop on our journey was whale watching in Kaikoura.  Located off the north-west coast of the southern Island, it's very common to see sperm whales here - but, unfortunately, we didn't see any of them. One thing we did see was a load of seals, just lying around and relaxing on the cliffs. You could get really close to them if you wanted to, so we did!

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Want to experience it for yourself?  Our travel desk can help you plan the same kind of journey that Josefin experienced, just send us an email here!


Best Camping Spots in Australia

Van 1Camping in Australia is a must that everyone has to try. When you’re camping, you are able to see so many more places and wake up to completely unbeatable views, that you never would see if you stay at a hostel or a hotel. Australia has the most beautiful and varied nature, and to take a camper van or stay in a tent to some of the places here will change your view of this country completely. Why not wake up to a stunning view over dramatic mountains, a warm beach breeze or the sounds of birds in the rain forest?

We have listed the BEST camping spots in Australia right here for you. So if you’re out on the road, or are interested in going on a trip, you should definitely stop in at one of these incredible places!

Byron Bay – Hippie Holiday

Byron

This small town is known for their amazing surf waves, hippie culture and good food. Here you can stay at one of the great camping spots and enjoy the laid back lifestyle. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find spots where camping is free, but it’s totally worth spending some money here. If you really want to go hippie you should stay at Arts Factory – a typical backpacker hostel that also has a camping ground. It’s located just 10 min walk from the beach and a really good budget alternative to some of the more “glamping” options. Another place is First Sun Holiday Park, a beachfront park in the heart of Byron. For a good view you can walk up to the Byron Bay Lighthouse and watch the sunset (or sunrise). It’s unforgettable!

 

Fraser Island – Sand, Lakes and Dingoes

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Fraser Island is located on the eastern Queensland coast, and is one of the biggest sand islands in the world. The best way of exploring the island is to go by a 4wd and drive around. The island offers you coloured sand cliffs, hikes through rainforests, meetings with native wildlife, whale-watching and swimming in freshwater lakes of all kind of different colours! The best way to stay is off course by camping, and you can choose from multiple spots to stay during the night.

 

Kangaroo Island – Meet the animals

Jetty
Photo Credit: Sam Ross via the hammock hombre

This island is Australia’s third largest and is located in South Australia, outside Adelaide. Here you’ll find some of Australia’s best kept wildlife, including Kangaroos, Emu, Penguins, and of course more Kangaroos! To reach the island you’ll have to go on the ferry from Cape Jervis. This place is fantastic for camping, with 6 great camping grounds around the Island. Three of those we really could recommend to stop by is Emu Bay, Vivonne Bay and the American River. Emu Bay is a small town west of the main town Kingscote. It’s a popular swimming beach, with white sand and beautiful blue water. It’s also one of the few beaches where vehicles are permitted. Vivonne Bay is located on the south coast of Kangaroo Island and is probably the most popular camping ground on the island. It has all the facilities you need and holds one of the best beaches in Australia. The last spot is American River, located northwest on the Island and a perfect place if you want to go fishing and explore the beautiful scenery around Pelican Lagoon.

 

Cape Tribulation – Where rainforest meets reef

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In Cape Tribulation you have the best opportunity to pretend to live in the jungle, and you’ll have a lot of different spots to go camping. You can either go by campervan (or pop a tent) for some of the campsites, or you can stay in some of the cool lodges in the Daintree forest to really get close to nature. Cape Tribulation is the perfect place to go on a crocodile river tour, take a rainforest walk or maybe sea kayaking. Here you have it all!

 

The Kimberley – Like nowhere else!

tzVmrqkThe Kimberley is the paradise of western Australia and the best way to explore the area is by camping. Here you find turquoise water, white sand, stunning lakes and endless outback. The best thing about it is that almost every campsite here is free, which means that you can choose wherever you want to stay, and you have much more freedom to explore this amazing place! Two really amazing spots should not be missed: The first one is Broome, by the coast. It’s the perfect place for sailing, fishing and to take a dip in the Indian Pacific. The other one is Purnululu National Park and Bungle Bungle Range, that is located in the eastern area of Kimberley. The nature here is quite spectacular, with beehive shaped sandstone towers and numerous secluded swimming holes that will blow your mind. The Aboriginal people have been living in the area for over 20,000 years, so you’ll also find a lot of historical rock art. Western Australia is a truly undiscovered pearl that’s perfect for camping in the wild.

 

Ayers Rock/Uluru – Sleep under the stars

Scenes From Uluru Still Captivating Tourists

To camp in the outback of central Australia is really something you should put on your bucketlist. Ayers Rock or Uluru is a must see if you go here, and to camp there can be a bit more expensive but so worth it. Imagine a night in a sleeping bag in the middle of nowhere and staring up at a thousand stars in the sky. If you’re lucky you’re can listen to one of the aboriginal dream stories as well! Uluru is one of the worlds greatest natural wonders and here you really get an experience and understanding for the culture and ancient history of Australia.

 

Sydney – Glamping

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Just outside the city of Sydney on Cockatoo Island you’ll find a different way of camping – Glamping! You can either sleep in a pre-erected Safari Bow tent or bring your own tent, but we guarantee it will be a bit more luxurious than you are used to! You’ll have access to a large camping kitchen, multiple BBQ areas, your own fridge, microwave and a Zip boiling water system too! A really cool way of camping, with an unbeatable view over Sydney Harbour.


17 useful apps for backpackers!

When you are out travelling, it's important to know the best places to eat and where to sleep and most important, how to find wherever you are going! Here we've listed the 17 best and most helpful travel Apps that make you a real travel pro "down under", with Australia's best backpacker apps!

  • Rome 2 Rio, Free 

A door to door travel app, that helps you find every kind of transportation from A to B in the fastest, easiest and cheapest way.

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/rome2rio-rail-air-road-sea/id569793256?mt=8

  • Sydney Australia Official Guide, Free

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/sydney-australia-official/id575072873?mt=8

The best app if you want to explore Sydney. Here you find attractions, shopping, food and nightlife, there's also a lot of local tips and seasonal information.

  • Webjet, Free

With this app you can book your flight, accommodation and car hire all at once. Now you don't have to search through the whole internet for hours!

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/webjet/id361122959mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.com.webjet&hl=en

  • Kayak, Free

Another wicked good flight and hotel search app. For free. And it can even send you push messages when a deal comes along that is in your price range!

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/kayak-flights-hotels-cars/id305204535?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kayak.android&hl=en

  • Zomato, Free

The ultimate Foodie app, you will never have a disappointing meal again! Find out what everyone else thinks, read reviews, see the menu, and check out loads of photos from every restaurant in town!

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/zomato-food-restaurant-finder/id434613896?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.application.zomato&hl=en

  • Tripadvisor, Free

The crowned-king of travel review sites, this will keep you from accidentally booking into that dirty and horrible hostel that was such a good price... Be prepared with tripadvisor!

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/tripadvisor-hotels-flights/id284876795?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tripadvisor.tripadvisor&hl=en

  • Townske, Free

Live like a local everywhere you go with Townske, featuring "best of" lists made by locals all over the country. Be in the know!

Applehttps://itunes.apple.com/au/app/townske-stunning-city-guides/id1018136179?mt=8

  • Couch Surfing, Free

If everything is overbooked, or if you are just on a tight budget, this app is your new best friend. The app connects you to friendly people's couches, and let's you leave and read reviews too (so you don't end up at some creep's home...).

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/couchsurfing-travel-app/id525642917?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.couchsurfing.mobile.android&hl=en

  • Google Translate, Free

Always good to have Google Translate if you're stuck with the language and just don't get what people mean or write sometimes!

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/google-translate/id414706506?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.translate&hl=en

  • XE Currency App, Free 

Not the most fun app ever, but very useful and simple, and a must-have for currency conversion.

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/xe-currency/id315241195?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.xe.currency&hl=en

  • Yelp, Free 

Best app to find reviews on everything. Very useful if you don't know the city so much and don't want to end up with a bad haircut and a burger at Hungry Jacks ;)

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/yelp/id284910350?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.yelp.android&hl=en

  • Uber, Free 

This driver service offers you a much cheaper ride than the regular taxi, and a much more slick mobile experience! You just make an account with all your details, then you can track a car, book and also pay with the app. So simple and cheap to get where you want in the city!

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/uber/id368677368?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ubercab&hl=en

  • NextThere, Free 

Shows exactly when the bus or train is at the stop in real-time, so you don't have to waste your time standing around and waiting.

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/nextthere/id870393074?mt=8

  • Sunscreen, $2.99 

Even if you want a good tan, it's good to know how much it's gonna damage your skin. This app shows exactly how strong the sun is and if you need to watch out to not get burned by it. Very useful app, especially here in Australia (there's a hole in the ozone, don't you know??)

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/sunscreen-uv-index-protect/id687082193?mt=8

  • AirBnb, Free 

One of the best apps to find places to stay on your trip. People put up their homes, apartments, and rooms for you to stay in or rent, and you can find everything from a small and cheap apartment to a big castle (literally!).

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/airbnb/id401626263?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.airbnb.android&hl=en

  • National Public Toilet Map, Free 

If you're out in the city and need to visit the toilet, this amazing app helps you find every public toilet close to you. A real pant-saver sometimes!

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/national-public-toilet-map/id323279108?mt=8

  • Wifi finder, Free 

This app will help you track down every WiFi hotspot in town. Enough said.

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/twc-wifi-finder/id492768487?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.timewarnercable.wififinder&hl=en

Do you know any other must-have apps?  Add them in the comments!