A Gap Year in Australia

Why go backpacking in Australia?

Backpacking in Australia is almost a rite of passage for students on their gap year. It’s the most popular country for backpacking and it’s easy to understand why; there’s so much to see and do in Australia that you could spend a whole year there and never get bored.

Backpacking in Australia is incredibly easy to do. No other country is set up for backpacking quite like it. There are hundreds of hostels to choose from, all of which are of an excellent standard; transport from place to place is fast, especially when considering the distances covered; and the food is amazing. And that’s not taking into consideration the sites and activities on offer to backpackers visiting Australia on a gap year.

Australia on a gap year has always been hugely popular with backpackers and for very good reason. The Land Down Under has some of the best beaches, cities and national parks in the world, and offers unlimited opportunities for backpacking adventure. The culture is one of the most laidback and friendly on the planet, and it’s an easy place to find really well-paid employment. Australia is in the heart of Australasia, a region which also includes New Zealand and Fiji, making it easy to extend your gap year.

With sites such as Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island to name but a few, it’s easy to see why backpackers come back to Australia year after year.

Backpacking in Australia is a great place to make friends too. Everyone’s there for the same reason, to see an amazing country, and you’ll always have that in common, so pick up your backpack and head ‘down under’.

Things to do in Australia

Check out our current top picks


Journalism & Media Internship Abroad

from £3034

28 - 180 days


Boost your career prospects with a journalism and media internship abroad. Learn from Australia's professionals to gain a new perspective...

Volcano Surfing & Southern Skiing

from £1945

14 - 360 days

Australia, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand, Nicaragua...

A real flight deal for the intrepid gappers out there. Start off in Nicaragua for some volcano surfing, before heading...

Journalism internship in Melbourne

from £3600

42 - 180 days


Get ahead in the competitive world of journalism and media by pursuing an internship in the world’s most liveable city,...

Volunteer with Dolphins in Bunbry, Western Australia

from £2255

42 days


Your project is based at a non-profit Centre committed to dolphin research, education, conservation and tourism based in the South...

Australian Working Holiday Visa

from £349

30 - 365 days


The Australia Work Abroad Visa gives you permission to work in Australia whilst you travel. A huge hit with backpackers...

The World Escape

from £1579

From 30 days

Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, United ...

The best way to see North America and maybe even squeeze in a ski season, before heading to Australia to...

Entrepreneurship in Australia!

from £3033

6 - 180 days


Learn from first-class entrepreneurs in Australia's hub for start-ups.

Flinders Outback Explorer

from £310

4 days


Trek and mountain bike over 40 kilometres in 4 days! View sacred aboriginal rock art and enjoy the jaw dropping...

Rock Patrol

from £530

6 days


Spend four nights camping under the Australian night sky in 'swags' and one night underground in the Opal capital of...

Byron Bay Startup Internship Program

from £2800

30 - 60 days


Join one of the world’s most innovative gap year programs and find out why our alumni have gone on to...

Latest advice and inspiration for Australia

Check out what our writers have been up to in Australia


Backpacking tips for Australia

Fraser Island jeep sunset

Here are a few helpful tips for backpacking in Australia:

  • Cook as much as possible to save money on eating out every day / night
  • Eat Asian cuisine as it’s often a lot cheaper than other cuisines
  • Car share  to save money on transport and fuel costs
  • Travel on buses / trains at night to save on a night’s accommodation
  • If your short on time then use internal flights – they’re surprisingly cheap and can save you days of travelling
  • Tours in Australia are a great way of meeting other backpackers
  • Buy a cheap second-hand phone to keep in touch with people
  • Buy a reusable water bottle instead of buying new water bottles every day
  • Pack a sarong to use as an emergency towel / towel for the beach / blanket
  • Libraries and McDonalds have free WiFi

Backpacking sites and activities in Australia

Uluru Ayer's Rock aerial

There are a number of sites and activities in Australia for backpackers. It’s hard to pick, but we think the top five are:

  1. Daintree National Park
  2. Fraser Island
  3. The Great Barrier Reef
  4. Uluru
  5. The Whitsundays

Backpacking jobs in Australia

Young farmer feeding cattle

Backpacking in Australia doesn’t necessarily mean just traveling; it can also mean working too.

A lot of backpackers head to Australia to find a job. The Australian economy is very strong at the moment and minimum wage is very good, making Australia a fantastic place to work.

A popular job for backpackers is fruit picking. With no skills or qualifications needed, anyone can get a job fruit picking. The work can be hard but everyone’s in it together and it can be a great way to meet people.

The cities

Sydney Harbour Aerial View

Given its size you’re unlikely to see all of Australia’s amazing cities in one visit (unless you’re SUPER dedicated), so it’s worth planning ahead to make sure you pitch up in the right places.

Most travellers start in Sydney, home to the famous opera house (selfie sticks at the ready), Bondi Beach, and world class nightlife. From there you might backpack your way to Melbourne, no slouch in the partying department but also packed with culture, Brisbane on the east coast, which is just a stone’s throw from the surfer’s paradise of the Gold Coast, Adelaide in the south or waaaaaay across the country to Perth in the west. How you get between them is up to you. That’s the beauty of a gap year in Australia.


The scenery

Whitsundays aerial view

Crikey, where to start. There is truly no other country in the world like Australia when it comes to wildlife and geography. The middle of the country, known as the outback, is famously barren and scorching hot, stretching what might feel like forever. Driving across it is an epic experience you’ll never forget, especially when you visit Uluru (Ayer’s Rock), an ancient, eerie monolith almost in the centre of the country.

If you can’t take the heat you can head to the temperate south to drive the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, one of the finest roadtrips in the world, go trekking in lush mountain ranges, or go exploring on the island of Tasmania. If you’re heading north, be prepared for sweltering tropical vistas. Basically wherever you go in Australia, whether solo or as part of a guided tour, you’re guaranteed a backpacking travel adventure that’ll stay with you the rest of your life.

Australia is the ultimate backpacking destination, and throughout these pages you’ll find all the inspiration you need for your epic gap year. What are you waiting for?!

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