Reasons to apply for your Working Holiday Visa and come to Australia

Almost 200,000 young people decide to come to Australia to travel this beautiful country and work along the way to fund their travels every year. But why out of all countries do they choose Australia? Here are some, but definitely not all the reasons to apply for your Working Holiday Visa and come to Australia!

Travelling

Australia might be the smallest continent, but it’s the world’s biggest island at the same time. With its 7,692,024 square kilometers it has a lot to offer and for you to see. From the white sands on the Whitsundays islands, rain forests and the red and dusty Outback to metropolitan cities – exploring Australia can keep you busy exploring for months so there’s no need to worry about boredom!

The Great Barrier Reef

As one of the seven wonders of the natural world the Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s most remarkable spots. The colourful corals will have you amazed and the coral reef is not short on activities either. Snorkelling, scuba diving, helicopter tours, glass-bottomed boat viewing, swimming with dolphins and much more – The Great Barrier Reef’s has everything a traveller’s heart is longing for.

Uluru / Ayers Rock

The large sandstone rock formation in central Australia is a deeply sacred place to the Indigenous Anangu people. Whether you choose to walk with a traditional owner, join a camel tour, self-drive or dine under a canopy of stars there is something to suit everyone. The cultural centre close to Uluru also gives you a chance to learn about Australia’s indigenous culture.

The people

Famous for their laid-back attitude, Australian people will make you feel welcomed with their ‘no worries’ motto.  But you will not only meet Australians on your journey – as a multicultural country and popular travel destination you’re bound to meet people from all over the world that might eventually become your travel mates. So if you’re up for cultural exchange, Australia is your place to go.

The weather

One of the first things that come to mind when thinking of Australia is the great weather. While that might not actually be the case everywhere in a country as big as Australia,  the climate is still much milder than some places in Europe. The northern states typically experience warm weather most of the time, with the southern states experiencing cooler winters. So if you plan your itinerary right, you might even end up with a whole year of summer!

The wildlife

There are some amazing species in Australia that you can only find here! Australia’s native animals can be more or less difficult to spot in the wild, but you are guaranteed to see them in one of the wildlife parks across major cities and regional areas in Australia. Meet kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, wombats and also a few different types of spiders if you fancy.

Break out of routines

Coming to Australia can be a great way of breaking your tiring routines you’ve been trapped in for months or even years. Going on an adventure through Australia in either a car, campervan or bus together with other travellers will certainly keep you entertained with new locations, new experiences and new stories to tell. There is so much to see and do in Australia that there will absolutely be not one day like the other.

Work experience

As casual staff on your Working Holiday visa you will get experience in many job fields such as hospitality, construction, customer service and more if you’re up for it. With many different employers during your stay you will get an insight into the work life in Australia and meet lots of new people along the way.

Learn about yourself

No matter where you’re from, working and travelling in Australia will be a unique experience you won’t find in your home country. From newly gained freedom and flexibility to challenges while working in a different country, on a Working Holiday Visa in Australia you will definitely learn more about yourself, what you’re capable of doing and you will grow with your experiences.


A road trip to Hyams Beach

What do you do in Sydney when you have the weekend off, but have seen all of the beautiful beaches in the near area? Go for a beach that is a little bit further from Sydney! My friends and I decided to make a road trip to Hyams Beach – the beach that was proclaimed the whitest beach of the world, but apparently is only ONE of the whitest ones. This little exception doesn’t make it less worth the visit though. If you don’t have the time (or money) for the Whitsundays, Hyams Beach is your place to go.

A good road trip should be planned properly. We only planned. But it still kind of worked out. Here’s my road trip experience to Hyams Beach with a few tips for yours along the way:

Renting a car

Hyams Beach is easiest to reach with a car, so renting one (if you haven’t bought one) is your first step to actually getting your road trip going. What my friends and I did was probably not one of the smartest solutions. We rented a car at the airport car rentals which are usually more expensive than regular ones, so not necessarily recommended (try getting one in the outer suburbs or book online). We were short on notice with our plans though and we didn’t want to start in the city, so that seemed to be the safest option. Before taking the car for a drive remember to take photos of the car and especially of any scratches you can find to be on the safe side when returning the car so you don’t get hit with a repair bill for damages that were already there.

Take your driver’s licence. This might seem like an obvious one, but my friend, who was supposed to drive, was so convinced that her ID was her driver’s licence that she forgot her actual one – and someone else had to drive. So make sure you take it (plus your international licence) with you!

Driving

Most car rentals will have automatic cars as their cheaper option – simply because it’s easier. At least that’s what one might think. But in Germany, where the friend that was actually driving and I are from, it is still more common to have a car with manual gear shift. And driving from the airport with an automatic car for the first time was not necessarily the best idea. We had quite a rocky start as the brakes were far more sensitive than my friend was used to and it was weird for her to drive without a clutch. She was able to manage after a few minutes, but what I recommend is – test driving with an automatic car before you actually drive on the streets.

Driving on the left

From Sydney airport it was about a 3h ride and we were on the highway 90 percent of the time. This was actually a pretty good way for my friend to get used to driving on the left. Having a front passenger next to you that also keeps an eye on the road can also be helpful in case you really get confused and drift to the wrong side when turning.

Wildlife crossing roads

I know you have probably heard of this but thought ‘yeah, sure, a kangaroo randomly crossing the road, that’s not going to happen’. Let me tell you, it does happen.  It was just a 10 minute drive to the beach from our accommodation and in those 10 minutes we actually had a kangaroo suddenly crossing the road just before our eyes and if my friend hadn’t been alert in the first place, we easily could have hit it. So yes, ALWAYS keep an eye out for wildlife outside big cities in Australia.

Kiama blowhole

On our way we stopped by Kiama to see the lighthouse and the Kiama blowhole. Unfortunately it was extremely rainy so we only stopped by for about half an hour and had our lunch there. Kiama itself is a lovely coastal town and worth a visit as it is on your way anyway. The blowhole was not as spectacular as we had hoped, but we still had a good break there (it may be good to check the tides before stopping by as the water goes up way higher when it’s high tide).

Accommodation

My friends and I rented an Airbnb only a week before our departure for $30 per person. We stayed in a cottage about a 10 minute drive from the beach. There are also quite a few villas right next to the beach available, but they are obviously pretty expensive and have to be booked in advance. Accommodation in the area of Hyams beach usually starts with $100 per night, but not necessarily per person, so taking friends with you makes your trip a lot cheaper.

The cottage we stayed in was very cosy and had a kitchen so we could buy groceries and cook for ourselves. We even had kangaroos sitting in the front yard and jumping around through the garden. One of them was even staring at my friend brushing her teeth in the morning.

Hyams Beach

Hyams Beach and the surrounding beaches in Jervis Bay are by far the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen and you will never look at other beaches the same way again. The sand is super white as it consists of pure quartz and the water is clear with almost no waves, so it’s perfect for swimming and relaxing. We woke up extra early on Sunday to drive to the beach and witness the sunrise over the beach and it was amazing! See for yourself, but remember those kinds of things always look better in real life than in photos!

Next to Hyams Beach there are also Chinaman’s Beach and Seaman’s Beach. The neighbouring beaches are just as beautiful and most of the time less crowded, so if you’re visiting in the peak time you might want to consider going to these options. In peak times, parking spots can be limited around the beaches, so you should either be early or be prepared to walk.

After our 2 days at Hyams Beach we made our way back to Sydney. Before that we wanted to see a few other beaches in Jervis Bay (Territory) – if you go further south and enter the Jervis Bay Territory, you have to pay to enter $11 for day pass for the Booderee National Park. There you can find camping sites and a few other beaches such as Greenpatch Beach and Bristol Point Beach. We went down to Bristol Point beach for an hour and came across a mini figure 8 pool:

The rest of the way back was pretty quiet as everyone was tired from the weekend. If you don’t want to stop on your way back, make sure to bring some snacks and enough water – especially in summer when it can get really hot!

The return of our car went smoothly and we could head home directly after. Even though we could have planned better we all enjoyed our short trip to Hyams Beach. Not only was it an adventurous yet relaxing experience , but we also grew closer on this journey. Whether it is Hyams Beach or anywhere else, I definitely recommend grabbing some of your friends and taking them on a roadtrip!


Steffi's Surf Camp Experience

Never in my life would I have imagined myself standing on a surfboard given the fact that I’m not much of a sporty person – especially not in the water, so I was really excited that my internship at WTC gave me the amazing opportunity to visit Surf Camp Australia for 5 days.

My journey started on Monday morning at 9.10 at the Wake Up hostel where we were picked up by already super motivated staff members of Surf Camp. We were a group of around 30 that was chosen to go by train as there was no more capacity on the bus, but that didn’t spoil our fun. I soon made friends with some fellow group members on the ride there which took about 3 hours. Once we arrived at Gerringong station, there were already vans prepared to pick us up and drive us to camp. 5 minutes later, we joined the rest of the group that had arrived by bus at the common area of the camp. We were given a short induction about our schedules, food and a few simple rules at Surf Camp. After that we split into groups of 6-9 and were given our rooms.

The rooms at surf camp are designed as little huts around the common area, so you could just sit at the porch and still be a part of the whole group sitting in the middle.

Soon after, we had our first surf lesson! But before you can surf, you have to get your wetsuit! My roommates and I had great fun putting them on each time, as it can get quite tricky when they are still wet from the last time you have used them. But once you’re in, you’ll feel much warmer, so we left the upper part around our waist for the most time. After putting on sunscreen provided by the team, we embarked on out first lesson.

Over the course of 5 days, there were 8 surf lessons in total, almost all of them started with a theoretical bit that we could then directly put into practice after. The first lesson was obviously focusing on safety in the water, the parts of the board, but we were also already taught how to stand up on the board (in theory). I was surprised when I first went into the water as I expected it to be freezing cold, but the wetsuit really helped keeping all the cold out. After being smashed in the face by a few waves, I managed to catch a wave and ride it lying down – and even just that feeling was amazing! The next day I was able to stand up on the board and catch a few more waves than day 1. As time went on, we were taught some tricks, how to slow down/speed up on the board and how to turn. Surfing sure is a feeling that is one of a kind.

In between our surf lessons we had plenty of time for another fun thing to do which is eating! The food at Surf Camp was served three times a day and it was a mixture of burgers, hotdogs, pasta, pasta bake and salad for lunch and dinner and granola, toast and fruits for breakfast. There were also always vegetarian and vegan options available.

There was also enough time to relax at the nearby playground (where the wifi was best), listen to music and lay in the sun. On Wednesday, they even offered a yoga lesson to relax the muscles that had been used the days before and I really enjoyed it!

The evenings at the common area were also a great way to relax, have a drink and chat to everyone else in the camp. Some people played cards, some played beer pong with the instructors and others were just sharing their experiences in Australia so far. The atmosphere in Surf Camp for me is almost impossible to describe as there was such a feeling of freedom and cosiness at the same time – you really have to experience it for yourself. After 10pm most of the campers would move to the beach to enjoy the scenery at night time and that is really worth it. The night sky was so clear that you could see lots of stars and the sound of the ocean just made the whole situation even more relaxing.

I might not be the best surfer (..yet), but it sure was an experience I will never forget – and I will surely try surfing again on my own! Looking back, going to Surf Camp is definitely a choice you shouldn’t even think about making – just do it!


A long weekend at the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s most famous holiday destinations stretching along 70 kilometres of coastline and it is home to beautiful beaches and vast rainforests with breathtaking scenery. That’s why it was also the top of my list of places to go to during my stay in Australia. So a friend and I decided to take the chance of the long weekend and fly over from Sydney to the Gold Coast for 3 days. Here are some tips for visiting the Gold Coast:

Preparation

Domestic flights in Australia are not as expensive as you imagine them to be. Especially if you are flexible with your time and search for the best prices a few weeks beforehand, you will surely get an offer that is within your budget. Alternatively, renting a car to the Gold Coast is also possible as there are some car rental services available around the area.

For accommodation, my friend and I were looking for rooms or apartments on AirBnb and found a quite cheap room in an apartment that was absolutely stunning. Apart from that, there are many hotels or luxury apartments that all are expensive, so finding a hostel rather than that will save you a lot of money.

Essentials to bring to the Gold Coast include swimwear, towels, flip-flops/thongs, sunglasses and lots of sunscreen. As you can tell, most of that is for the beach. If you want to explore the Gold Coast’s hinterland, comfortable shoes and light jackets are recommended.

Arriving at the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast’s International Airport is located in Coolangatta which is, like many airports, a little further (about a 30-45 mins drive) away from the main centre Surfers Paradise. Personally, I would recommend taking an Uber, which will cost you around $40-50 or – the much cheaper option – the public transport. Be aware though that taking the bus or trams from the airport to Surfers may take you more than 1.5 hours.

Transportation

Once you have checked in to your accommodation, you can start exploring! For a weekend trip with loads of activities and places you want to go, buying a Go explore card is definitely the way to go. You pay $10 a day for unlimited bus, train and tram transport and you won’t have to worry about getting lost in one of the more rural areas and having to pay a higher amount.

For longer stays, you can just get a regular Go card which you can top up with any amount and use it for individual travels.

What to do at the Gold Coast

  • Beaches

The Gold Coast is all about beaches. Some more or less crowded. On its 70km long coastline you can surf, relax, enjoy a day with friends or simply take a dip into the sea. As you can guess, lots of beaches fit in 70km of coastline.

Some beaches are more crowded than others, and some of them might be better for surfing rather than relaxing and vice versa. Here is a guide to which beach fits which needs best:

  • Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise is the most famous Suburb in the Gold Coast. Apart from its beach, it is home to most of the attractions that make tourists come to the area. One of these is the famous Q1 tower with its observation deck on the 77th floor. A lift will take you up there in less than a minute and you will be able to see the city from above and dine at the same time. A day pass to the Q1 costs you $25 and allows you to go up as many times as you wish. You also have the opportunity to climb the top of the Q1 if you fancy a more thrilling experience.

If you have been on Pinterest, you might also associate Surfers Paradise with its famous sign that many people use to decorate their Instagram pages.

What is also big in Surfers Paradise is the night life. There are many clubs around that are also used by graduates from all over Australia to celebrate their graduation (so it might be better to go sometime else).

  • Main Beach

In comparison to Surfers, Main Beach is much mellower. What you will see around the area the most are luxury apartments and resorts close by the sea, but there are also a few nice Italian restaurants and cafes worth checking out. In the centre of Main Beach you can find Sea World, a theme park with marine animals & polar bears, plus shows, rides & interactive tours.

  • Broadbeach/Pacific Fair

In Broadbeach, you can find what was Queensland’s largest shopping centre until a few years ago: the Pacific Fair. The shopping centre has over 400 shops including national and global brands. There is even a free shopping shuttle service operating daily between Main Beach and Burleigh Heads.

  • Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads is a suburb made for everyone. It unites beach, national park, cafes and shopping as everything is within 500 meters of each other.  The park right next to the beach is also a perfect and popular spot for picnics with family and friends and offers you a spectacular view of Surfers Paradise’s skyline.

  • National Parks / Hinterland

Not only beaches are beautiful at the Gold Coast, but also the many national parks that surround the area of the Gold Coast. There are many tours through the national parks you can book and go to, even some with exclusive guided night tours into caves that allow you to spot glow worms.

  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Located right next to the airport, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is an easy place to reach. The Sanctuary consists of an animal hospital and offers Segway safaris through the park, animal encounters, adoptions and photos and bird shows.

If you really enjoy Theme parks, the Gold Coast will literally be a paradise for you. There are 5 of them and they all promise lots of fun!

You can also try to spot some of these cute mascot Koalas for the 2018 Commonwealth Games during your stay:


What's on in Sydney this Spring

All-You-Can-Eat Fried Chicken at Johnny Bird

Fancy some fried chicken? Johnny Bird (also formerly known as Johnny Lobster) is hosting an all-you-can-eat night where you can eat as much of this fried treat as you want for just $30. Also included are fries, mash as well as gravy. For an extra $6 you will get some of Yulli’s Brews beer.

WHEN | September 29, 5pm-10pm
PRICE | $30 per person (includes fries + mash and gravy)
WHERE | Johnny Bird, 48 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest

Manly Jazz Festival

The Manly Jazz Festival is known worldwide to be boasting with music ranging from modern to big band. It takes place the October long weekend and surrounding dates with over 100 free performances in multiple indoor and outdoor venues alongside Manly Beach. Apart from fantastic jazz and blues music the festival offers a workshop with the famous US Drummer Carl Allen for improving and finding musical inspiration for $35. More than 10 restaurants surrounding Manly Beach even offer special menus created for Manly Jazz.

WHEN | September 29, 2018 – October 1, 2018
PRICE | FREE ENTRY
WHERE | Manly Beach, Manly

Sydney Night Noodle Markets

Sydney alight with the smells, sights and sounds of over thirty sizzling Asian food stalls. Food-lovers will feast on signature dishes and innovative new tastes from your favourite stallholders.

To make things quick and easy, the markets are also cash-free so guests can spend less time queuing and more time enjoying the night. All major cards welcome.

Stallholders include Gelato Messina, Hoy Pinoy, The Original Korean Twist Potato, Mr Bao, Shallot Thai, Donburi Station, Waffleland, Wonderbao, Donut Papi, Eat Fuh, Puffle, Poklol, Chat Thai, Teppanyaki Noodle, The Wagyu, May’s Malaysian Hawker, Bangkok Street Food, Black Star Pastry, Satay Brothers, McHenry Avenue, Grumpy G’s Kitchen, Chinese Dim Sum King, N2 Extreme Gelato, Chur Burger, The Hard Style Kitchen, Thai Riffic plus more to be announced soon!

WHEN | October 4, 2018 – October 21, 2018
PRICE | FREE ENTRY
WHERE | Hyde Park , Elizabeth Street, Sydney

South East Aboriginal Arts Market

Explore the cultural heritage of South-Eastern Aboriginal Australia in indigenous art that employs traditional and contemporary materials including weaving, literature, ceramics, carving, photography, painting, shellwork and textiles. Not only does the exhibition offer the opportunity to see what real indigenous art looks like, but you are also able to get to know the creators in person and ask as many questions as you want to.

WHEN | October 6, 2018 – October 7, 2018
PRICE | FREE ENTRY
WHERE | Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh

Sculpture by the Sea - Bondi

Sculpture by the Sea returns to the Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach coastal walk as the world’s largest free to the public sculpture exhibition. See the spectacular coastal walk transformed into a 2km long sculpture park over three weeks featuring 100 sculptures by artists from Australia and across the world.

WHEN | October 18, 2018 – November 4, 2018
WHERE | Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk

Oktoberfest in the Gardens

Experience the Bavarian tradition in Sydney’s Domain. Oktoberfest in the Gardens Sydney features two massive beer halls and authentic German food stalls. The menu will include German popular dishes such as pretzels and Bratwurst and – of course – lots of beer. You can also expect German live performers across multiple stages.

WHEN | October 27, 2018 from 1pm to 9pm
PRICE | $69.90
WHERE | The Domain (Entry from Art Gallery Road)

Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year exhibition

Until the end of January the Australian Museum will host the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year exhibition. 99 breathtaking works from finalists of the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest will be displayed at the museum. Subjects of the photographs are the wildlife and nature of the regions of Australia and New Zealand, the Antarctic and New Guinea. The museum also offers workshops to improve your own wildlife and nature shots in beginners and enthusiasts courses. You may also want to join a night talk with Justin Gilligan, AGNPY Nature Photographer of the Year 2017, where he talks about his career in photojournalism.

WHEN | August 24, 2018 – January 27, 2019
PRICE | $21
WHERE | Australian Museum, 6 College Street, Sydney


Doing Sydney's Bondi to Coogee Walk

What could be better than relaxing on the beach all day, doing nothing and tanning in the burning sun? Right – relaxing on four different beaches and taking a stroll alongside the beautiful Sydney coastline while even doing a little for your fitness. The Bondi to Coogee Walk is probably the most famous coastal walk in Sydney – for a reason. Parks, beaches, cliffs and lookouts are all part of the journey. Your Instagram feed will be taken care of for the next 3 months.

Having heard of the walk before, I was excited to hear that I would have the opportunity to join Ana and a group of WTC members on their day trip. The day started off at the Wake Up Hostel, where we picked up everyone that was coming along. We took the train from Central Station to Bondi Junction Station and continued by bus to Bondi Beach. From there on, there was a 3 hour long walk ahead of us. Here are some of my favourite things to lookout for on the Bondi to Coogee Walk:

  1. The Bondi Icebergs

This Swimming Club is pretty hard to fail as you will walk right past it at the very beginning. The Bondi Baths are open all year around and are stunning to look at. Especially when a waves from the ocean come crushing on its edge.

  1. Beaches and Parks

Tamarama, Bronte, and Clovelly – Literally every beach on the way is inviting you to stay and relax for a while. Both Tamarama and Bronte Beach also boast pretty parks with cafes and spots to sit right next to the ocean.

  1. Waverly Cemetery

Even though it is a cemetery, Waverly Cemetery is beautiful to look at. The structure and mostly white gravestones and vaults give this place a certain intimidating yet peaceful vibe.

Other interesting things we came across on the walk include Gordon’s Bay and – surprisingly – the Clovelly Bowling club where we could witness people playing a weird game nobody knew the name of – Lawn Bowls.

By now I have walked the six kilometres four times already, and not once was it boring. There is always something I hadn’t noticed the other times before and that looks different when the weather changes. Personally, I find the walk quite easy to walk . The last bit (Clovelly to Coogee) is the hardest one. There are many steep stairs and an ascent that is a few 100 meters long.

Six kilometres later we arrived at Coogee Beach where Ana and I went to prepare a BBQ for everyone since there are public grills available at the park in Coogee. We surely deserved some burgers after all that walking.

Last but not least, here are 5 things that come in handy on the Bondi to Coogee Walk:

  1. Sunscreen

Going for a tanned look is good and all, but please don’t forget to put on and bring your sunscreen as you will be in the sun for a few hours. The sun in Oz should really not be underestimated – I’m speaking from experience.

  1. Light jacket or scarf

Depending on when you plan do the walk it might be good to bring a light jacket that you can tie around your waist as it can get a little windy sometimes because of the ocean.

  1. Comfortable shoes

This one is pretty self-explanatory since you’re going for a walk. But a pair of flip-flops/thongs for the beach might be a good idea as well!

  1. Water

Hydrate! I recommend bringing a reusable 1 litre bottle as there are some spots on the walk where you can refill it with water for free.

  1. Swimwear

Also depending on when you plan to go you might want to take a dip into the water at one (or all) of the beaches, so swimwear should be on your packing list.