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A working holiday downunder

Mike Hawkins | Thursday, June 16th, 2011 at 1:53 pm

With declining jobs for students and graduates, it’s hard to believe there are places out there that still offer endless possibilities. Australia is one of the very few countries at the moment to have an increasing number of jobs available – not to mention the added benefits of the gorgeous weather, clear sandy beaches and exotic wildlife.

If it all sounds appealing and you are under 30 years of age, it might be your cue to try an Australian Working Holiday Visa, which enables you to work and earn money whilst enjoying a trip of a lifetime.

Backpacking your way around Australia is the ideal way to meet lifelong friends, learn skills which could help in future careers, become more independent and most importantly have the time of your life.  YHA Australia is a perfect partner with over 110 hostels around the country, most having swimming pools or spas, and all having great quality sleeping accommodation and lively social areas here are a few places to help with your planning.

Sydney Central YHA

Start at the five-star Sydney Central YHA which has been awarded Australia’s best backpacker accommodation for the third year running. Boasting an in-house cinema, panoramic views of the city from its rooftop and a heated pool and sauna it’s close to major attractions including Darling Harbour and Chinatown. The central location means its ideal for those wanting to find work, meet other travellers, enjoy the nightlife and explore the city.   All of this can be a reality on a budget too – with prices starting from just $20.80 per person, per night (multi-share).  If you are a YHA member you will receive a minimum 10% discount on accommodation, tours and attractions.

Bungalow Bay YHA

When you are ready for a break from bustling cities, then visit award-winning Queensland hostel Magnetic Island YHA set in a beautiful nature reserve complete with a Koala Sanctuary. You can explore 23 secluded beaches, snorkel on reefs or perhaps experience the once-in-a-lifetime sea kayak tours to spot dolphins, turtles, coral reef fish and sea eagles. For those who want to mix nature, relaxation and entertainment, there is a pool, plus a bar and restaurant that offers regular activities for backpackers – which is a great chance to meet and socialise with fellow travellers. Accommodation at the resort consists of A-frame private bungalows that start from $16.25 per night.

For vibrant city life combined with outdoor activities and plenty of entertainment, state-of-the-art Brisbane City YHA is ideal. Backpackers can enjoy a rooftop pool, games rooms and an enviable, central location. From prices starting at just $17.05, this hostel is a prime example of how gap-year travellers can enjoy the pleasures of Australia for as little as possible – in keeping with a set budget. Other activities whilst staying in Brisbane could include visiting Australia’s favourite theme park (Dream World) which not only offers great rides and attractions but a complete water park, a lion lair and Tiger Walks.

For those adventure-seeking backpackers, that want something a little unique to add to their travels, Crocodylus Village YHA in Cape Tribulation is a perfect solution. Nestled under the rainforest canopy, travellers can experience the tranquillity and splendour of the World Heritage National Park. With rooms beginning at a very affordable $14.30 per night, per person, Crocodylus Village is an amazing opportunity to travel and explore the jungle. Animal lovers can involve themselves in organised night walks where you can spot possums, snakes, rainforest dragons, tree frogs and lizards – far more memorable than just looking at photographs back at home. You could organise your own ‘Celebrity Get Me out of Here’ style challenge – complete with a ‘Bush Tucker Tour’ offered by local tour companies. For those who enjoy a wild experience but are comforted by the idea of a little luxury, the hostel offers a pool, BBQ and restaurant complete with the added bonus of a choice of single, twin, double and multi-share rooms.

Diving enthusiasts should head to Yamba on the north coast of NSW as it is surrounded by white sandy surf beaches with crystal clear water, rivers, bush land and national parks.  The world famous surfing beach, Angourie, is 10 minutes away and Byron Bay is nearby.  Some of the best dive sites in Australia can be found here. It also has fantastic weather all year round.   Yamba YHA is a brand new, state-of-the-art hostel right in the centre of Yamba and close to the beaches.  There is a mix of multi-share and private rooms, plus bar/cafe, rooftop pool and deck. You can hire surfboards, body boards or bikes, or perhaps try whale watching, ocean kayaking or even involve yourself in one of the festivals that take place throughout the year.

Alternatively, if you like the idea of staying in a homely, bohemian town in a renovated beach house Port Elliot YHA in South Australia could be the place. From just $16.25 per night, you will be just across the road from stunning beaches and great harbour nightlife. The hostel itself has a 270 degree view of a stunning peninsula and is in perfect proximity to local amenities, popular restaurants, a surf school and whale watching tours. When on your gap year travels, it is great to indulge in fun filled activities but it is equally great to visit somewhere that you can unwind and breathe in the fresh sea air – Port Elliot YHA allows you to do just this.

As well as the award winning website, YHA Australia now also has a mobile website ( making it easier to book into a room or a bed at one of the YHA hostels, whilst on the go.


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