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.


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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How to Prevent being Denied A 2nd Year Visa

It's true that sometimes the options for 2nd year visa work sound a little bit like hard labour - long hours, difficult work, low wages - but at least you're guaranteed a 2nd year visa, right? This is not always the truth, and in the case of backpacker Laura Smith it was hard labour in vain. Having done 4 months of underpaid and strenuous work in rural Victoria, she applied for the 2nd year visa and was denied. Even after appealing the decision, the review confirmed the original outcome - she would need to leave Australia within 28 days with no 2nd year visa.

So how could this happen to someone? After all that hard work, why would the government punish her like that? Well, the answer is very simple - the government was just following the rules, and this situation could have been avoided by better understanding the requirements for a 2nd year visa.

Since 2015, there has been a provision in place to protect backpackers from unfair wages, by discouraging dishonest farm owners from trying to take advantage of backpackers by overworking and underpaying them.  Here's the rule:

All specified work performed on or after 1 December 2015 must be remunerated in accordance with the relevant Australian legislation and awards. Voluntary work performed after 1 December 2015 will not be accepted for the purpose of applying for a second Working Holiday visa.

Now, that's not exactly crystal-clear, is it? Without taking the time to research Award Rates for a specific industry, there is no way to know what is fair and unfair, or what you should be paid as a minimum. It would be very easy to believe a dishonest business owner, and find out 4 months later that you are not eligible for a 2nd year visa!

We are here to set the record straight, and this is the bottom line: the minimum wage in Australia is $17.70 per hour worked, and you will need to demonstrate that you have earned this much per hour worked to qualify for the 2nd year visa.  So if you are being paid less than this wage, be advised - your visa may not be approved!

Before accepting any work towards your 2nd year visa, you should ensure:

  • You are not working for free - you must be paid a verifiable wage that you can prove with bank statements and pay slips.
  • If being paid hourly, the wage is at least $17.70 per hour.
  • If you are being paid by the piece:
    • the piecework rate must enable the average competent employee to earn at least 15% more per hour than the minimum hourly rate prescribed in this award for the type of employment and the classification level of the employee. That means 15% more than $17.70 per hour - so an average worker should be able to earn $20.35 per hour!
    • you still must earn at least $17.70 per hour on average, even when working by the piece. If this is not possible, then your work may not qualify for the 2nd year visa, and you should seek employment elsewhere.

 

If you think you might have been underpaid, or just want to check that a job offer is fair, just head over to fairpay.org.au to use their quick Underpayment Calculator.

 

Is this all sounding a bit complicated? Would it be nice to have someone to talk to about this, or someone to call if anything goes wrong? What about help with all the other vague and confusing rules for a working holidaymaker?

 

Our Work and Travel Australia Core program may be the perfect solution for you, unless you want to learn every law in Australia! We provide assistance for your 2nd year visa work, including providing lists of trusted employers, vetting any "shady" sounding jobs or employers reported to us, and offering you clear advice on what you should be paid and how to qualify for your 2nd year visa.

It doesn't stop there - we offer help with all kinds of tricky things like this, including tax issues, banking, and immigration.

It's pretty nice to have some help when you need it, right?

Learn more about everything we can help you with during your working holiday, including jobs, housing, travel, and so much more!

[button size='large' style='' text='Learn More' icon='' icon_color='' link='https://www.worktravelcompany.com/programs/work-and-travel-australia/' target='_self' color='ffffff' hover_color='0d479c' border_color='0d479c' hover_border_color='0d479c' background_color='0d479c' hover_background_color='ffffff' font_style='normal' font_weight='500' text_align='center' margin='15px 0 15px 0']

 

Sources: The Byte, Fair Work Ombudsman, DIBP 417 Visa

 


The 10 Best Sydney Bars for Backpackers

Everyone who’s backpacking is looking for fun, new experiences and that extends to their nightlife as well. Unfortunately, bars can be expensive and may stop some from going out and enjoying those experiences. Thankfully, we have compiled a list of bars for backpackers in Sydney so they don’t feel restricted financially and can go have as much fun as they would like. We highly encourage everyone to go check out these bars!

 

scubar crab racing

Scubar

You probably already know about this one. A moderately-sized bar that becomes a club during the night, happy hour drinks are very cheap and the bartenders really love their job (or at least they act like they do). Good DJ, decent-sized dance floor. Best to go there on Mondays for Crab Racing!

 

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Sidebar

While you are going bar hopping, go to Sidebar once you are done with Scubar! With the entrance attached right next to the highest-rated hostel in Sydney (as the name would suggest), it is easy to access and a great place to get a drink. Busy on most days, the bartenders are nice, the drinks are reasonably priced, and the dance floor is big enough! During Happy Hour the drinks are cheap and very "effective" ;-)

 

cargo bar

Cargo Bar

Located in Darling Harbour, getting to Cargo Bar is a little bit of the walk if you are coming from Central, but totally worth it. They have a HUGE dance floor, pretty nice tasting drinks, and plenty of seats outside to relax in if you're not feeling like gettin' your dance on that night.

 

scurry canurry

Scary Canary

Recommended by locals (not just backpackers!), the Canary has both great food and a great bar for a great price (catch that?). The staff are friendly, the drinks are good and, with an overall good atmosphere, what's not to love?

 

ivy bar

Ivy Bar

One of the fancier bars on this list, and also one of the most popular in Sydney. Part restaurant, part rooftop bar, and part club; there is a little something for everyone. This even includes the more frugal night-goers: be sure to catch the multi-hour Happy Hour specials.

 

helm bar

Helm Bar

Located two minutes walk from Cargo Bar (you will most likely pass it on the way to Cargo Bar) lies the Helm. A bit on the pricey side, but you're paying for the experience. The music is very good and quite loud, there's loads of attractive people there, and the bar itself is really slick.  As they say, you get what you pay for.

 

world bar

World Bar

Loud music, great dancefloor, and cocktails served in teapots. What else could anyone want? Located in Kings Cross, even the infamous Lockout Laws haven't stopped this institution of a bar; that's proof of how great this place is, enough said! Go see for yourself!

 

home nightclub

Home Night Club

Let’s start off by saying this club is HUGE. It is the biggest club in Sydney, and one of the biggest clubs in Australia. Cover is expensive, but they make it up for it once you get in. Just make sure to dress up nice though, or you may not get in! (Hint: This is true for nearly every bar in Sydney as well. Class up!)

 

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Coogee Bay Hotel

Feel like going out for a night on the town? This is Australia; spend your night on the beach instead! Coogee Bay Hotel is located right next to Coogee beach, and is well-stocked for a good time. Don’t believe me? It sells the most beer of any bar in the whole of Australia!

 

broadway crown

Broadway Crown

This writer’s personal favourite bar (and I’m typically more of a club kind of person!). The atmosphere is lively but relaxed, the cocktails are only $10 during Happy Hour AND they are all delicious. Did I mention the daily food specials? Try out their $10 Steak and Chips special on Wednesday. Highly recommended, you will find me there again and again... See you next Happy Hour!

 


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

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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!

 


10 amazing & free things to do in Sydney

Sydney is one of the world's most expensive cities, and if you are traveling on a tight budget and still want to experience as much as possible, you can actually do amazing things for free. Below we have listed 10 amazing things you can do in Sydney that are completely free-of-charge!101189-aerial_sydney-large-13700147361-carousel

1. Royal Botanic Gardens
Located in central Sydney, east of the Opera House and Macquarie Street, you find this oasis of beautiful gardening, walking trails and wildlife. If you walk out to the point of "Mrs Macquarie's Chair", you have an amazing view of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Just walk around, maybe have a picnic, and spend some time enjoying this beautiful place in Sydney, especially because it's free!

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2. Walk over Harbour Bridge
If your budget is not big enough to have a go at the Harbour Bridge Climb, you can always walk across it yourself. From the bridge, you have a fantastic view of the Sydney skyline, coastline, and the (always impressive) Opera House. Once across, you will have the chance to explore Sydney's northern areas like Kirribilli, Lavender Bay and Mahones Point (Hint: there's good, cheap restaurants on Sydney's northside).

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3. The Beaches
To visit Sydney's beaches is simply a must; this city has some of the best beaches in the world. You have several different beaches to choose from within a reasonable distance, the most known ones being Bondi Beach, Bronte Beach and Coogee Beach. Bondi and Coogee are larger beaches where you have the best chance to go surfing, while Bronte is a smaller beach with a stunning saltwater pool perfect for a swim. Another beach to visit is Manly Beach, and make your way up the northern beaches like Shelly Beach (go snorkeling!) and Palm Beach. To get to Manly, the easiest way is to go by the ferry; a good day to do that is on Sundays, when it only costs around $2.50, and the view from the ferry is worth the trip!

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4. Museums

Learn about Australia's History, Archaeology and Religion by visiting some of Sydney's free museums. Here are 4 of them:

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5. Walk to Observatory Hill Park
To take a walk up to Observatory Hill Park doesn't make you disappointed. On the contrary, it might send you into ecstasy! Here you have a stunning view of the Harbour Bridge, with Luna Park, Lavender Bay and Kirribilli in the background. The park is perfect for a picnic and just sit and enjoy the view, you don't get a view like this everyday!

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6. Walk the Sydney Beach Walks
Sydney has many fantastic walks, one of the best being along the eastern beaches. This most famous promenade is the Bondi to Coogee walk, which takes about 2 hours depending on pace, and during the walk you will pass Tamarama Beach, Clovelly Beach and Bronte Beach. So, for no cost at all, you get an incredible walk by Sydney's finest beaches with spectacular views, cliffs and pounding waves! (Hint: the Manly to Spit Bridge walk is also a must-do)

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7. The Markets
On the weekends in Sydney there are loads of markets, offering colourful and creative products of various kinds. It is completely free to enter these markets and, even if you do not shop, it is a really fun experience to see all the beautiful things and also to meet some of the coolest locals. You might just make a new friend!

Here are 5 great markets:

  • The Rocks Markets - Open Friday 9am - 3pm (food market) and Sat-Sun 10am - 5pm. To read more about it: www.therocks.com
  • Glebe Market - Open every Sat 10am-4pm. Probably the hippest market in Sydney with around 200 stalls that offers cool vintage clothes, jewelry, books and so much more. Read more here: www.glebemarkets.com.au
  • Paddington Market - Open every Sat 10am -4pm. This is a community based market with a lot of handmade art, jewelry and crafts. Great place to support the local entrepreneurs. Read more here: www.paddingtonmarkets.com.au
  • Bondi Markets - Open Sun 10am - 4pm. A lovely beachfront market with hand made jewellery, designer clothing, arts, crafts, retro furniture, vintage clothes and so much more. Read more about it here: www.bondimarkets.com.au
  • Kirribilli Markets - Open once a month, Sun  8:30am - 3pm. This market has a vibrant atmosphere with good vintage clothes, great live music and international food. Read more here: www.thekirribillicentre.org/market-dates/

 

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 2, 2014; Sydney Opera Hosue illuminated in geometric vibrant colour during Vivid Sydney annual festival of light, music and ideas

8. Festivals and Events
Sydney is a city with some of the best festivals and events in the world, and many of them are totally free! Here are 3 of the coolest events you can go to anywhere, at any price:

  • Vivid Sydney transforms the city into a wonderland of 'light art' sculptures, innovative light installations and grand-scale projections for all to enjoy. It's amazing, and entirely free! Read more here, we promise you don't want to miss this one: http://www.vividsydney.com/
  • Mardi Gras - The annual gay parade (and party) on Oxford Street, and one of the biggest gay festivals in the world! Read more here: www.mardigras.org.au
  • Outdoor Cinemas - All around Sydney, and especially around summer, there are many great outdoor cinemas to enjoy, and some are free. To read more about them: www.au.timeout.com/sydney/film/features/13918/sydneys-best-outdoor-cinema-seasons

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9. Visit St Mary's Cathedral
This church is found in the centre of Sydney, perched just east of Hyde Park. It is Sydney's largest and oldest church by far, and totally worth a visit. You can go to one of the masses, or just go take some pictures of the beautiful building and architecture.

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10. Visit Luna Park

There's no entry fee to this magical amusement park just across the Harbour Bridge to the north. If you are looking for a fun night with a killer view, you should absolutely visit Luna Park! If you really want to take one of the rides, it only costs $10, so still a totally budget friendly thing to do.

Do you know of other free things to do in Sydney? What's your favourite one?  Tell us with a comment below :-)


10 Reasons To Book a Trip to Tasmania

Tasmania (or “Tassie” in local-speak), is one of those magical places that truly has it all. You'll find natural wonders abound, with rugged mountains, beautiful beaches and lush forests; a nature-lover's dream come true. If you ever manage to set your foot on this Southern Australian Island, we can pretty much guarantee you will have an unforgettable adventure.

Here's 10 Reasons Why:

 

 

The Tasmanian Devil

No, it doesn't look like the one from Looney Tunes, but it is quite ferocious! Tasmania has a rich wildlife, and is the only place where you can find the Endangered Tasmanian Devil living in the wild. You very well might see one of the road attacking an animal carcass, but if you want to make sure to see one of these magnificent creatures you can visit the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo, an ultra-modern zoo where the animals live more free than a usual zoo.

 

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A chance to see the Southern Lights

Tasmania is one of the best places in Australia to have a good chance of seeing the Southern Lights - or, technically speaking, the Aurora Australis. The best time to see the lights is in September, but they can show up anytime all-year round. The best places to make sure you can see the lights is from a mountain, beach or shallow bay, any place where there’s less light. Why not go camping and catch the lights?

 

 

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Four seasons

Tasmania is the one of the few places in Australia that has four distinct seasons. In the summer you can visit one of Tassie’s beautiful beaches, watch the leaves fall in Autumn, feel the amazing weather of Spring, and in Winter hit the slopes in the mountains of Ben Lomond in the north or Mt Mawson in the south.

 

 

Great Short Walks - Waterfall Bay Track

Tasman Peninsula

The Tasman Peninsula is one of the most beautiful spots in Tasmania, a beautiful coastal scenery where you can do everything from fishing, kayaking, and rock climbing, to horse riding and surfing.  For the bushwalkers, you'll find over 35 different walks and hikes on the peninsula!

 

 

 

 

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Cradle Mountain National Park

This world heritage-listed national park is one of the most visited parks in Tasmania and an absolute must-see while you are in Australia. You'll get the best experience exploring by foot, and there are loads of different day tours to choose from.

 

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Wineglass Bay

Wineglass Bay, part of Freycinet National Park, is one of the world's most beautiful and tucked-away beaches. Can't you see yourself relaxing surrounded by the beauty of Tasmania?

 

 

 

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Bruny Islands

Bruny Islands are the two south eastern islands tied together by Bruny Island Neck (see the picture). With a stunning 360 degree view, and some of the most adorable animals you'll ever see (like Little Penguins!), this one is a sure shot. If you take one of the boat tours, you'll get to see seals, dolphins, caves and vertical cliffs too!  It's an adventurers delight!

 

 

 

Hobart-harbour

Hobart

The capital of Tasmania, and it has something for everyone. Here you'll find historical museums, amazing food, and a civilised gateway to all the mountains, beaches and forests just a skip away.  (Hint: stop by the Travel Desk to get recommendations on the best hostels to stay at in Hobart!)

 

 

 

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Taste of Tasmania

We all know how much we love good food here in Australia, and Tasmania is no exception! Taste of Tasmania is one of Australia’s most popular food festivals, attracting over 265,000 visitors each year. The festival is running between December 28 until January 3, so go ahead and make New Years plans to be there!

 

 

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The Fresh Air

Did you know that Tasmania has the cleanest air in the entire world? It's worth the trip just to give your lungs a break from the Sydney air!  Head to Tasmania, take in a deep breath of the fresh air, look around at the amazing natural beauty, and then call us and tell us you had a bad time. Yeah, we don't think that's going to happen ;-)