Going Down Under

According to the Australian Visa Bureau 591,000 people went backpacking through Australia in 2009, 128,000 of them being British. With such a significantly large amount of people visiting year after year, we start to wonder…
What makes Australia so popular? Emma gives us some insight into the real Aussie experience…
Emma explains that she has always wanted to go to Australia because it is somewhere where you can ‘experience different things while being in the same country’. From the cosmopolitan surroundings of Melbourne, to the lush surf beaches of the Gold Coast, and the vastness and simplicity of the desert outback, Australia seems to have a lot to offer to its visitor’s.

Gazing at the Uluru, a large sandstone rock in the Northern Territory leaves one awestruck at the sheer magnitude of such a natural wonder. Rising 348 metres high and stretching 9.4 kilometres in circumference, this monolith is an Australian’s must-see icon.

Similarly, the Whitsunday Islands are famous for their long stretches of pure white sand and aqua blue sea it is ideal for snorkelling, surfing, scuba diving, whale watching and so many more exciting activities that make paradise seem like a reality. Australia seems to be the perfect place to really explore the boundaries of nature.

But travelling through such a large country for so long may not be quite as simple and easy as it seems. Most travellers, like Emma, work during their stay there to finance all their travels. Working Holiday Visas are not only costly, but come with many requirements and regulations.

Currently, the Australian Visa Bureau requires that any travellers entering Australia for a working holiday must provide proof of a booked return ticket back home, and sufficient funding for the initial stage of the holiday (which is often assumed at around £ 3,000!). Thus preparing for this holiday might take time, and Emma explains that her and her boyfriend Dan saved up frantically for over 6 months.

They started their adventure in Melbourne, after spending 4 months in Melbourne; they travelled through central Australia in a camper van. It’s the ‘hugeness of it all’ that impressed her the most.

Emma managed to get work throughout her journey in the outback, doing various jobs such as fishing and coal mining to bar work. The Working holiday Visa Regulations also state that visitors cannot work for over 6 months in the same employment, therefore if she did settle down in one job the reality was that she would have to find a new one after the 6 months was up.

Despite the extensive preparation, saving up, job hunting and other sacrifices that were made, the whole experience was ‘awesome’.
Emma explains. ‘It’s the fact that you are experiencing something different’ that makes it all worthwhile: not everyone can say that they’ve been snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef, seen jumping crocodiles in Darwin, walked through Daintree Rainforest, went horse-back riding on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. ‘Perhaps it is so popular amongst Westerners since it is one of the few countries far away that aren’t so scary to visit; it is extremely multi-cultural and very tolerant towards foreigners.’

Although tough at times, Emma points out that it was an exhilarating experience which she has learnt so much from, and would definitely recommend it to anyone!

Photography by Troy Faulder, www.freedigitalphotos.net.

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