Australia is one of world’s most popular gap year destinations, due in part to its buzzing and vibrant cities, incredible natural beauty, and fascinating array of locations to visit for a variety of sightseeing opportunities. It’s no surprise that plenty of young adults choose to take some time out to travel around Australia before entering the ‘real world’ of the workplace or their university course. If you’re planning a gap year but aren’t sure what spots to put on your itinerary, here are a few quick ideas to inspire you.
Grampians National Park
The Grampians are a must-visit spot for backpackers looking for real, rugged nature-lover’s adventure. This beautiful and unique National Park is filled with dramatic mountains, amazing hiking paths, and plenty of beautiful wildlife and scenery to explore. This kind of destination is best traveled with a company like Wild Life Tours – they can pick you up in Melbourne and show you all of the most stunning and fascinating spots that the Grampians have to offer, and they’ll set up an itinerary for you so you don’t have to stress about how to get where you’re going.
The Great Barrier Reef
No gap year in Australia would be complete without visiting one of the continent’s most spectacular sights and precious natural resources – the Great Barrier Reef. It’s an ideal place to take a chance and learn to scuba dive, with tons of scuba tours operating every day and plenty of instructors at various price points available to give you some lessons if you want to dive down to take a look at the stunning marine life just below the surface of the water.
Admit it – the highlight of this whole gap year will be finally seeing a kangaroo in person. The easiest place to make this happen is Kangaroo Island, where plenty of surprisingly huge kangaroos hop freely. There are also groups of gorgeous whales splashing in the ocean to snap a photo of if you’re lucky. There’s a wide range of cool guesthouses available on the island where you can relax and take in the tranquil vibe of the area, and you may even get a chance to cuddle a cute little koala if you visit one of the island’s animal sanctuaries.
Your gap year in Australia will definitely involve a lot of nature and rugged hikes, but if you’re looking to spend some time in a more cosmopolitan area, you can’t go wrong with Sydney. Sydney has an awesome atmosphere, some of the world’s most famous and pristine beaches packed full of surfers and sunbathers, and the amazing Sydney Opera House just waiting for you to pose near it for a selfie.
Many backpackers taking a gap year in Australia visit with the aim of soaking up some of the relaxed and laid back atmosphere of the country. Nowhere is this on display better than Byron Bay. Its residents have a notoriously chilled-out, hippie-like lifestyle so you’ll find plenty of vegan food spots and eco-warriors, and it’s an awesome spot to learn to surf. Byron Bay is also surrounded by a particularly gorgeous tropical forest landscape, so it’s ideal for relaxing, enjoying the sunshine, and generally feeling a million miles away from the stresses of everyday life.