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If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already booked your 7 day Sydney package with UltimateOz- great choice! 😉 This means that we will be organising all of the boring bits for you (bank account, tax file number, SIM card etc) so that you can enjoy the fun bits! Yay!

We are here to support you with anything you may need, not only during the UltimateOz week, but throughout your time in Australia! Saying that, it’s good to be prepared so we’ve put together 6 things to think about before starting your working holiday visa in Australia:

Plan your year

It’s great to leave your options open when travelling- you never know who you’ll meet during your travels and what awesome opportunities may come up along the way! This being said, having a rough plan can help you make sure you’re spending your time down under in the best way possible whilst saving some of your hard earned pennies! When booking trips and tours, you’ll get the best deals if you book a travel package before you get to Australia. For example if you’ve always dreamed of doing a skydive and the famous East coast of Australia is high up on your bucket list, you’ll be better off booking an East coast package that includes your travel, accommodation and your tours in advance rather than booking and paying for them separately as you travel.With these pre-paid packages you can still travel flexibly- tickets are valid for a year so you can just book as you go- sweet! Check out the Ultimate East Coast packages online.

A little word of advice..Roughly planning your trip before you start will also help you avoid this common scenario: Spending all of your money within the first 2 weeks of your trip, boozing your way around Sydney backpacker bars leaving you with no money to travel after- Fail! It’s happened before..let’s not let it happen again! 😉

The UltimateOz travel and work info session, during your first week with us, will also give you travel ideas and our lovely travel team will be here to answer any questions you have! Get in touch if you need help planning or want to chat!

Finding work in Australia

Luckily, there are lots of great backpacker jobs available in Australia including fruit picking/farm work, bar/restaurant and cafe work, office/admin roles and construction. With a good resume, a well written cover letter and a good attitude; your chances of finding work in Australia quickly are good- phew!

If you’re looking to start work as soon as you get here, start writing your CV before you arrive. This way when you get here, you can focus on having fun, chilling at the beach, meeting people and settling into Sydney life instead of writing your CV! Keep it on a USB or send yourself an email with the document attached so that you can find and edit it when you get to Sydney. As part of the UltimateOz package, you’ll get a 12 month membership to our online jobs database, Travellers at work and of course the legendary Travellers at Work team will be here to give you all of the help and support you may need to search for a job in Australia. It’s a good idea to check that your last employer is happy to provide you with a (good 😉 ) reference whilst you’re in Australia and that they’re happy to receive emails/phone calls from your potential Aussie employers. If not, maybe they will be happy to write a letter of recommendation for you instead. Check out the Travellers at Work website for hints & tips on writing your CV and finding work in Australia.

Suitcase or Backpack?

Not sure whether to bring a backpack or a suitcase on your gap year? You’re not alone! A lot of the time the answer just comes down to personal preference but there are some factors worth thinking about before you choose! Think about what type of travelling you’ll be doing when you get here. Are you planning on living in one place for a while? Or will you mostly be travelling around? Remember that what you bring with you is yours to carry (or drag) around for the duration of your trip so ladies leave as much of your wardrobe as possible at home! 😉 Whichever type of luggage you decide on, above all try to travel light! Travelling through Asia before you get to Oz? Read our packing tips for Asia blog.

Keep in touch

Do you want the good or the bad news first? The bad news.. It’ll cost you around $3 per hour to use the internet at an internet cafe in Sydney. The good news? Wifi with UltimateOz is FREEEEE! Included in your package, you’ll get free wifi access at the UltimateOz HQ for the duration of your trip so just bring your tablet or laptop in to the shop during office hours and we’ll hook you up! If you haven’t already, set up a Skype account to keep in touch with friends and family at home for free! It’s also worth getting your phone unlocked (to accept an Australian phone SIM card) before you arrive in Sydney. It’s generally cheaper to unlock your phone in your home country (It costs approximately $100-$150 to get it done in Sydney.) Lots of phone top up options include internet access so if you haven’t already, download Viber, Whatsapp and Facetime (for iPhone users) to stay connected with people at home!

Money, money, money

We will have your bank account set up and ready to use when you get here so you don’t need to worry about a thing! We do recommend transferring your money into your Aussie bank account before you arrive so that you can use it straight away and to avoid international bank charges when using your card abroad. If you can, transfer your money over to your Aussie account in one go to avoid being charged by your bank for multiple transactions and remember that International transfers usually take between 3-5 days to complete so if you leave it until the last minute just bring enough cash with you to last you until the money has been transferred. It’s also worth letting your bank know where you’ll be travelling- If you do need to use your card from home, the bank won’t flag it as a suspicious transaction and block the payment leaving you borrowing money off your new friends!

Which documents will I need for my year down under?

Not many! Aside from the obvious (Passport and drivers license),  and thanks to the beauty of modern technology, you won’t need to bring all of your documents to Australia with you! Bring a copy of your passport and drivers license along with your flight details, tickets and travel insurance and scan any other important documents (such as health card) to your computer. Email the documents to yourself so that they can be found easily if needed!

You won’t need your counterpart driver’s license or your birth certificate so they can be left with someone from home. Bear in mind that to apply for Medicare (Aussie health service) you’ll need a copy of your passport and a printout of your visa so if you want to be extra prepared, bring extra copies!

Looking forward to seeing you all in then near future!

Remember that we are here (and happy) to help you and if you have any questions just get in touch!

Check out our Instagram for pics, blogs and travel inspiration and remember to ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

A new poll conducted by MasterCard has shown that Australia is the dream destination for British travellers but nearly 90% said they’d never make it Down Under! Why not?!

Australia has always been an ideal place for Brits looking to travel. It is pretty much the total opposite of home without a language barrier. It’s a country that is well-travelled and squarely on the beaten track but it offers wilderness alongside the usual tourist spots like no other country.

It may be a long flight (it feels every minute of it too) but that shouldn’t stop you from making a go of it Down Under. Once you’ve done the flight, the fun begins!

90% of those asked in the MasterCard survey said they would never make it to Australia! If you’re dream destination is Australia (or Thailand and Vietnam) Ultimate Travel make it easier than ever to explore the world.

Our team of experts make travelling through Australia an amazing, life-changing experience that is perfectly tailored to suit you. Want to explore the remote parts of the country like Kakadu or Western Australia? We can help you. Prefer to stick where the party is on the East Coast? We can help with that too!

Australia is, rightly, considered a dream destination. I’m British and can see why so many people love the idea of Australia but the reality is so much more than expected.

Australia is such an amazing country that just blows my mind. Spend a Sunday sitting on Bondi Beach and compare it with whatever you’d do on an average Sunday at home. Explore Melbourne one Saturday and see how it stacks up with a city break anywhere in Britain.

It’s a bit of an unfair comparison but Australia trounces Britain every chance it gets!

Home will always have that special place in your heart. It’s your family and friends, your favourite bar or restaurant and those awesome home comforts but if you don’t try, you’ll never know.

Think about what you want to tell your kids in 30 years time. Either you stayed in the same place for your entire life or you had a couple of months or years exploring the other side of the world. Meeting heaps of new people, experiencing all kinds of new things, jumping out of planes, scuba diving one of the natural wonders of the world….come on!!

Sorry to get a little carried away there but I’m a bit of an Australian-evangelist! No matter what you come to Australia for, whether it is a month long adventure or two years of living and working, your dream is much closer than you realise.

Save the money, book the time off, research as much as possible and ask us as many questions as you like! Make your dream a reality with Ultimate Travel!

Where is your dream destination? Dreaming of a life Down Under or an Ultimate Trip to Thailand or Vietnam? where do you think we should fly the Ultimate banner next?? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook!

You’ve done it. You’ve booked your campervan and are ready for the roadtrip of a lifetime! What next?!

Our guide to campervan tips, that’s what!

Well, as seasoned professionals of the road, we thought we give you some of the best tips we could think of when it comes to campervanning in Australia. Some are a little more obvious than others but all of them will help you have the most amazing time no matter how long your journey is!

If you are still debating whether or not to choose a campervan or a bus ticket, take a look at this blog for the lowdown on both.

If you’re sold on the campervan than look no further than this Ultimate Guide to campervanning!

Maximise Space

With any campervan you hire – whether it’s big or small – will have a finite amount of space. Whether it’s just a couple of travellers or a bigger group you might not be able to fit everything you want in the van.

When you pick up your van or during the first couple of days of the trip, have a good rummage around and make sure you are using all the space you’ve got available. Underneath beds, in between seats, in the boot of the van – make sure you’re organised and know where everything is.

It’s not the most fun thing to do but if you can find little nooks to store your stuff (and then be able to find it easily) it’ll speed up the process when you find a place for the night or when you are cooking your lunch or dinner.

Plan Your Shop

Another tip that isn’t exactly fun and spontaneous but will save you money and keep your storage under-wraps is a shopping list. In your first shop, get the basics – whether you want cereal for breakfast or sandwiches for lunch, get the things you’ll use over the whole trip.

Australia’s amazing beach-side (free) BBQs will become your best friend during the trip so get a spray can of olive oil or cooking oil so you can use them with ease.

Plan your meals based on your fridge space. Don’t stock up on steak to BBQ if it’;s going to go off by the time you get round to using it. Stay stocked up for a couple of meals in advance and make sure you’ve got your favourite driving snack on hand!

Where you can, buy big. If you are going to want a beer once you’ve finished your driving (obviously, be careful and DO NOT drink and drive – that’s really dumb) buy a crate of beer and find it a storage place. Same with anything else you love that’ll keep for a while.

When shopping, head for the deli counter too – it’s way cheaper than buying meat in a package and the majority of big supermarkets have them.

Fuel Dockets

When you do shop, keep your receipt. You aren’t going to need to take anything back but when you spend over a certain amount, your receipt has a voucher for money off your petrol which will come in very handy!

Whether it is 4, 8 or 10 cents off a litre it’s still a saving and will allow you to spend more on the fun stuff rather than the boring fuel!

There will be vouchers for other stuff as well, whether it is groceries or booze so check your receipt before you chuck it away.

Camps Australia Book

A little bit more planning ahead but again, it can lead to savings during your road trip. The Camps Australia book and app are an amazing way to find free and cheap campsites all over Australia.

Whether you are driving the East or West Coast or anywhere in-between, Camps Australia will find you your nearest campsite and give you an idea of what to expect when you get there.

The books retail for about $50 9take a look on eBay and Gumtree for cheaper options) so you’d only need to spend two or three nights at a free campsite to pay off the book!

Get a Map!

Do not rely on your phone! You are probably on a pay-as-you-go phone so only get a little bit of data and get charged a fair bit when you go over the allowance so buy a map and save your internet for posting pictures to make everyone jealous!

A old school map gives you a chance to see what is around you as well. With your phone GPS you get the road you are on and which way to turn but not much else!

Follow The Signs

We aren’t talking about directions for this one but if you drive past something cool – stop the van!

The beauty of a campervan trip is that you can see a brown, tourist information sign and go and explore! It could be waterfalls or boulders or an awesome National Park or beach but you’ll never know if you don’t go!

Whichever stops you take along the way, try and find a tourist information office and pick up some leaflets. There might be an awesome tour of the area you’ve never heard of, or a cool place to pull over and take a few photos.

Look Out For Big Things

This isn’t about hitting some road-kill (but do look out for kangaroos early evening and morning) but the Australian Big Things that are dotted across the country.

Whether it is a 10m tall mango in Bowen, QLD or the 35 tonne prawn of Ballina Australia has a load of weird and wonderful things dotted along the road side that you’ve just got to get a photo of! Read our guide to some of the best big things in Australia here.

Plan…But Not Too Much

We’ve covered the boring plans to be made but don’t go too over-board with it – stay loose and see what comes! You’ll have places that you definitely want to stop at for a couple of days but you’ll like more places than others so adjust your plans accordingly.

If you love Noosa, stay an extra day! If you’re not a big fan of Byron Bay, move on and find somewhere you love! That is why you’ve got a campervan in the first place, the freedom of it all!

A campervan trip anywhere in Australia is an incredible experience that is not to be missed!

If you are interested in booking a campervan for you and your mates in Australia, give us a shout and we’ll get you the best deal out there!

When you arrive in Australia, you will soon realise that there are many ways to experience your time Down Under.

Hostel folk will always tell you that their way was best – “You have to travel first…” “No, get a job and save some money first…” “Farm work first, then fun stuff later….”

While advice is nice, pay as little attention as possible to anyone who tries to tell you how to travel. It is entirely up to you, there is no right or wrong way to go about it and whether you decide to work in the city or the country first and then head off or vice versa is totally fine!

People travel in different ways, they enjoy seeing and experiencing different things and like staying longer in different places so don’t worry if that noisy guy at the hostel bar thinks you’re mad for wanting to work first and travel later!

With that being said, we at Ultimate Travel like you to be able to make as informed a decision as possible when it comes to travelling in Australia.

There are two main options for your travelling delights – campervan or bus (more specifically, the Greyhound). With the Ultimate Travel East Coast Package, we take care of pretty much everything you are going to want to do throughout your time on the East Coast. Make sure you have a look through the package as, by booking up in advance, you can save heaps of cash!

Both campervans and buses have their merits and they suit certain people perfectly. A 6 hour bus ride may be your idea as hell, just as sleeping each night in a van may be too, so we’ll try and break down the pros and cons of each and see what you think!

Remember, it is up to you and just get travelling! If you need any more information about either campervan travel or Greyhound tickets – get in touch!

Basics

Obviously, the only thing you need to get on the Greyhound is the money for the ticket! There is a luggage allowance of 20kgs which you should bear in mind too but luggage on the Greyhound is a bit of a grey area. They aren’t like an airline and don’t take the luggage allowance too seriously but if you turn up with two surf-boards and 12 bags – you’re going to get charged more! Other than that, you are good to travel anywhere in Australia via Greyhound.

When travelling the East Coast, a Kilometre Pass offers the best value for money, outside of our Ultimate East Coast trip, and let’s you travel between Sydney and Cairns effortlessly!

With a campervan, you’ve got to be able to drive! You do not need an Australian driving license but you do need a full driving license from your home country – if you are on a provisional license then you will be unable to drive unfortunately!

There are different insurance options which are long-winded and can be explained far better in person so if you need any more information on that – get in touch!

Just a little road trip primer – Australia’s drive on the left hand side of the road and their speed limits are in kilometres per hour, rather than miles as are the road signs. You will be looking at 100-120kms/h on highways and 40-70 on other roads but make sure you keep your eyes open for speed limit signs as you’ll still get fined even if you are a traveller!

Comfort

With the Greyhound comfort comes with experience. Your first bus journey is likely to feel pretty painful, especially if it is a long one! Make sure you check out our guide to surviving the Greyhound before you even think of setting foot on the bus!

Once you are used to the Greyhound seats and know what you need to make each journey as comfortable as possible, you should be fine. The beauty of the Greyhound is you’ll probably be sitting next to or near someone in your exact position – heading north to Cairns or south to Sydney or Melbourne.

There is a kindred spirit with travellers and you’ll pick up friends and knowledge as you head further along the road.

With a campervan, driving comfort is great! You’re either driving or sitting in the passenger seats, messing about with the radio and trying not to get lost!

The comfort issues come when the journey ends! Depending on the van you choose and the number of people you travel with, it could be a tight squeeze when you bed down for the night. Bear in mind when you are booking your campervan that you are going to get very close to whoever you choose to hit the road with…

Heat is a campervan problem that is difficult to get around. You can open as many windows as you want but getting the airflow through the van is tough. You’ll get used to the campervan quite quickly though and it becomes more bearable as the trip continues.

Campervans offer a lot more comfort for the actual travelling part of the journey but the bus offers the chance for more comfort once you arrive.

Freedom

One of the best thing about having a campervan is being able to stop and go as you please. If you drive past a cool sign and checking it out, you’re free to do so! Fancy an ice-cream or need a bathroom break? You’re in charge!

The bus isn’t exactly like that. You stop when the driver stops and you are limited to the Greyhound schedule. There are a heap of buses that leave each stop on the Greyhound map and there is extensive coverage right the way across Australia with a big focus on the East Coast – so you’ll be fine getting to all the major stops – but it is only the major stops that you get to explore.

If you do love the freedom to see a tourist information sign and turn off to find something a little more secluded then you’ll love a campervan but if you want to hit the big stops up the coast, a Greyhound is a great way to do it.

Accommodation

With the Greyhound, you’ll either be staying in hostels or sleeping on night buses. As I’m sure you all know, hostels are awesome! We can help you out with any bookings or any hostel recommendations you need.

Overnight buses also offer the chance to save a night on hostel costs and keep moving along the way. These are only available for the long journeys, which we’d recommend avoiding if you have the time to do so, so bear that in mind.

With the van, you’re accommodation is slightly different. You’ll be sleeping in the van obviously, but you have a variety of choices of where you stop.

Certain hostels offer really cheap parking where you can stay overnight, plug in and charge and have all the best of the hostel atmosphere. Campsites and caravan parks are a little quieter and more expensive but you can still meet fellow campervan travellers and enjoy some luxuries like a pool, a kitchen area and a game room – if you so desire.

There are certain road-side or beach-side stops you can stay overnight for free. These are sign-posted and and will often be filled with fellow travellers so keep your eyes peeled!

The beach side locations are awesome as they have bathroom facilities, showers and most of the time, free BBQs that you can use to cook your meals. Not to mention that you wake up at the beach!

I don’t want to sound like anyone’s Mum or Dad here but be careful. Make sure you lock your doors at night just in case and remember, you can’t just stop anywhere and sleep. Airlie Beach, for example, is very strict about campervans staying overnight in car parks and setting up camp anywhere they shouldn’t be. If you get caught trying to bunk a night somewhere around Airlie, you could be in for a hefty fine!

People

It is much easier to meet fellow travellers if you get to stay in hostels which makes it easier to meet people travelling by bus.

That isn’t to say that if you are in a campervan, you are on your own – far from it! You’ll see a tonne of campervans going both ways on the Pacific Highway and every stop you make, it is almost a certainty that there will be some other van nomads somewhere near by.

Much like a hostel, you just have to have the guts to start a conversation. With the campervan, you are able to meet people you wouldn’t normally get in hostels whether they are Grey Nomads (pensioners on road-trips around Australia) or groups of Aussies on holiday at different sites along the coast – you will have a different experience to the usual hostel life.

Experience

In terms of experience, it is a case of what you are hitting the road for.

If you are travelling the East Coast to hit the big spots, move on, go out, meet people similar to you and repeat then you will be fine on the bus. If you are looking to save money, have more of a structured arrival and departure pattern and spend time in some of the best hostels in the world – the bus could be for you too.

You may like the idea of managing your own time, stopping where and when you want and living out of a van for as long as you can! A massive part of the van experience is your co-pilots. If you are in a couple or have a group of close friends that you desperately want to travel with, then the van is a great way of splitting the cost of travelling and spending time with people you already love!

When it comes to the two coolest trips on the East Coast (Fraser Island and Whitsunday Islands) both are easily accessible by bus or by van. You’ll have to find somewhere to park your van before you go on the trips – there is secure parking near each departure point – but you are good to go either way.

With the bus, any side trips you want to go on will cost more just because you can’t drive yourself there. With the van, your only cost will be a map and petrol if you want to go somewhere without an official tour group.

Price

The big question really – how much does it all cost!?

Well, with a campervan it varies week to week, even day to day. To get the best rates, try and plan ahead and get in touch with one of our travel gurus as soon as you know when you want to go. We can talk you through the different van options available, the different companies to use and the different types of insurance cover you can buy. Even if you leave it until the last minute and want to book a van to leave in a couple of days, we’ll do our best to get you the best deal we can!

Another thing to remember with the van is the cost of petrol. While petrol isn’t astronomical in Australia it can soon add up. From personal experience (and this shows the nerd in me) I spent $536 on petrol from Cairns to Sydney in November 2013 travelling for a month. If you split that between two, three or four people – it is entirely manageable.

While you don’t have this cost on the bus, you do have hostel costs which soon add up. You will probably need to pay for the majority of campsites you use along the coast if you do choose a campervan but at least you have the option of free accommodation.

You’ll need to buy food for both and both options allow you to cook rather than eating out which saves a lot. With the campervan, you are able to buy food without worrying about the hostel fridge getting cleaned out but the fridges or coolers in each van vary in size as does how long the battery lasts without being charged up.

With everything that you get included with the UltimateOz East Coast package it is definitely worth considering if you want to travel by bus. You are given extra savings by booking all of the stuff you want to do in one go rather than breaking it up into chucks. You can add and take-away things you want to do or don’t fancy and add days on to your package but for that, you need to speak to one of us!

Decisions

Hopefully, this has given you a bit of a balanced view of the ways you can travel Australia!

The campervan or bus debate will long rage on and you’ll hear conflicting stories from both sides of the battle! Some will say the only way to experience Australia is driving it yourself, while others will tell you how much fun they had travelling by Greyhound not worrying about getting lost!

As I said earlier it doesn’t matter how you travel just as long as you do it! Whether you want a van or to jump a bus it is entirely up to you and remember we are here to help you every step of the way!

Let us know your best and worst bits of travelling by either campervan or bus! What would you do if you were travelling and if there are any questions left unanswered then fire away!

If you are in Australia on a 417 working holiday visa (the majority of European nations) then it is highly likely that you are able to complete 3 months of regional, specified work to gain another 12 month visa to stay in Australia!

If you are planning on coming to Australia on a working holiday visa then you’ve already made one of the best decisions of your life but you’re probably stressing out over one simple issue: “how much money should I take to Australia?”

When applying for your visa, the Department of Immigration suggest that you have “about $5000” which isn’t exactly precise. Is $4500 enough or does it have to be over $5000 or what?!

The easiest answer is, the more money you have then the better your entry to Australia will be. If you can save up long enough to pass the $5000 guideline then you’ll be very comfortable when you arrive in Australia but try and get as close to $5000 as possible if you want the least amount of fuss entering Australia and living your first few weeks here.

One of the contributing factors will be whether you plan to travel first or work first once you arrive. If you plan on travelling straight away, you’ll be spending money before you get a chance to replenish. If you work first, then you can continue to save during your time in Australia.

No matter what anyone says on a forum or blog (like this one) there is no right or wrong way to travel. In Australia or anywhere else. People will tell you to go alone, go in a group, go to Sydney first, travel the East Coast first, get a job straight away, go and do you farm work ASAP…..

Whatever you decide, you have made the decision and you live with it. There is nothing wrong with seeking help and advice but, ultimately, it is up to you! Plans can change, pretty easily, so make sure you keep your options open from the outset.

I’ve heard stories of people landing in Australia with less $500 to their name and if, upon your arrival, you are asked to prove your funds you could be sent home from Australia before your adventure begins. The Department of Immigration guidelines may seem strange but if you can’t prove that you can support yourself in Australia, you risk being sent home.

To prove your worth (in bank account terms, not like some medieval knight or something) you have to get a printed bank statement from your financial institution of choice. It is best to have a statement from the seven days before travel so if you are called upon to prove your funds, you have them right there.

If you have access to a quick loan from the bank of Mum and Dad (or any other loving family member) you can pop the money into your account, get a bank statement printed and then transfer the money back once you’ve received the statement. You prove your cash, then give it back basically.

Strictly speaking, this may not be entirely the spirit of the law and you will have to be able to survive in a pretty pricey country. Once you arrive in Australia, the money starts to seep away faster than you’d think so make sure you’re prepared for all eventualities.

As an example, if you are looking at the cheapest hostel you can find in Sydney you are looking at $23 a night. That would be $161 for one week of (not the best) accommodation. Then you’ve got to pay for your food and fun stuff to do so the bargain basement you could probably get away with $200-$250 a week just to live in Sydney.

Sydney is an extreme example (it’s more expensive than the rest of Australia) but it gives you an idea on what to expect upon your arrival and how much money you will need if you plan on staying in Sydney. Plan accordingly for any of the major cities – Perth is a similar price to Sydney and Melbourne isn’t much cheaper. Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide and Darwin offer a little bit of relief but not too much.

Don’t let this put you off, pretty much everyone in the UltimateOz office is proof that backpackers can find work and love their time living, working and travelling in Australia!

Just be realistic. If it takes you three weeks to find work, will you be able to afford it? If you want to travel, how much is it going to cost right off the bat? If you want to do your farm work, how are you going to find it and how much money will you need to get there and stay there?

Many backpackers arrive in Australia with the misguided dream of finding work 20 minutes after they land and earning a fortune. The wages are higher and it is a little easier than finding work in Europe but it isn’t easy and you won’t walk into a job.

At Ultimate Travel, we give you the best chance of finding work with our TAW service and our helpful, informative staff who have been there and done it! We can help you find work, help to guide you with your CV and cover letter but, it is still up to you to put in the hard yards!

Australia is a country that will surprise you due to its expense. If you have just come from South East Asia (Ultimate Thailand, anyone?), you’ll fall off your chair every time you order a beer! If you plan ahead, are realistic and start saving now you’ll be absolutely fine when you arrive in Australia!

Get planning for the best trip of your life!!

How much money did you arrive in Australia with? What would be your top-tips for backpackers looking to head to Australia on their own adventure? Let us know in the comments section or on Facebook!

After a winter break, the good people at SurfCamp are opening their doors once again this week to give you the quintessential Australian experience!!

The water may still be a little brisk but it’s got nothing on the water in this clip as these insane surfers travel to the Arctic for a wave!

Yes, the freaking Arctic! They are in water that is just above freezing (not by much) and have to wear some seriously thick gear to survive the cold but the footage they get is awesome!!

The Aussie SurfCamp is a little more tame but still an amazing way to experience the coolest sport in the world.

Leaving from Sydney, you head south on a two hour, air-condition and comfortable coach for a week in the water! The surf lessons are as practical as possible – you spend the majority of your time over the week in the water learning how to get up on a board, ride a wave and do it all over again!

You start on the beach and learn the basics and then it’s time to get wet! You are supplied with a bunch of awesome surf gear including your wetsuit and specially designed beginner boards to make your time in the ocean that little bit easier.

You may think that you can learn the same things on a beach in Sydney or on a day-long course. When was the last time you learned a new skill, a new sport or a new hobby in half a day? Especially one that takes place in the ocean and a skill that isn’t really related to anything you’ve done before?!

Surfing is amazing and the longer you can do it, the better you become and the frustration levels lower. The amazing coaches at SurfCamp give you so much tuition that they’ll have you standing up in no time at all!

If you haven’t got a week to spare (and who are we kidding, you probably have) then there are weekend options too which give you a chance to experience surfing with highly-qualified instructors and be back in Sydney in time for work on Monday morning.

The guys and girls at SurfCamp are serious surfers – they love the sport and they love spreading the joy to new surfers every week! Once you’ve got a taste, you will not want to stop! The feeling of standing up on the board the first time, and then getting more and more confident throughout your lessons is absolutely amazing!

During your time at SurfCamp, you stay minutes from the beach in awesome, comfortable cabins with internet and a pool. The hot showers are amazing after long day in the ocean – even at the height of summer they are a great way to wash the salt off but in the cooler months they are a Godsend!

So you’ve got awesome surf, great gear and a comfortable place to stay. Then you’ve got the food. It’s a sure-fire way to build up a massive appetite, all this ocean fun, and the food at SurfCamp is fit for a king!

The food seems to be never-ending. Plate upon plate rolls out of the kitchen in all its delicious glory. Obviously, give it an hour before you jump back on the board or you’ll get shouted at by your Mum but apart from that – gorge!

The nights at SurfCamp match the days for fun. You’ll be pretty tired when you have the first day in the surf but you’re a backpacker, soldier on! You’ll get to meet your group and your instructors over a few beers across the nights at SurfCamp and you seriously will not want to leave!

The legends at SurfCamp snap photos and videos of you and your new-found surfer buds throughout the whole week and show off the best (and funniest) every night.

Eventually, when you head home from Australia, everyone you know is going to ask you if you know how to surf. UltimateOz SurfCamp is the perfect place to learn or develop your skills, on a gorgeous, almost deserted beach with some awesome people.

This is an experience not to be missed. As the weather and water slowly heat up, you’ll want to spend as much time as possible by the beach and once you’ve been to SurfCamp, you can look as cool as any Aussie with a board under your arm.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…no, not Christmas – tax refund time!

If you are a backpacker and have been in Australia for more than six months and have paid tax, obviously, it is time to organise your tax refund!

Tax refund you say, what exactly is that?

Well, it is quite simple really. As a backpacker in Australia you are eligible to claim any tax you have paid to the Australian government during the last tax year. The average tax refund for a backpacker in Australia is $2600.

Let that sink in for a minute….$2600……

Imagine what you could do with $2600!!!!

Tax is one of those scary words that makes you feel like you’ve done something wrong even when you haven’t – like ‘airport security’ or when your Mum used to shout at you and say your middle name – but tax doesn’t have to be terrifying!

We at UltimateOz highly recommend (and use ourselves) Taxback.com. As a tax refund service for backpackers they are second-to-none. They deal with thousands of backpacker returns each year and this year are sweetening the pot even more. This year, those wonderful people at Taxback.com are giving three lucky people the chance to win $1500!

What to do with all this hard earned cash – well, you came to the right place for inspiration!

1) Ultimate Thailand

How about a little plug…I mean, an awesome trip to Thailand!?

Seriously though, Ultimate Thailand is an amazing experience in one of the best, most hospitable countries for travellers.

Now that the military situation has calmed down, you have nothing to worry about on a trip to Thailand and our Ultimate Thailand trip gives you a ‘best of’ tour of one of the most fun countries anywhere in the world!

Fancy a few days in Bangkok? Done. How about a trip to the jungle? Got it. Some of the most amazing beaches in the world? Check. Full Moon Party? Of course!

For $849 for the tour, with flights on top, you could have an amazing, 10-day tour of Thailand and still have over $1000 to spend while you are there or when you get back!

2) Fiji

How does a trip to paradise sound?

No seriously, Google ‘Fiji’ right now and have a flick through some pictures. I’ll give you a couple of minutes….

Ready?

For flights to Fiji, keep your eyes on the usual sites and find the cheapest fare you can. Once you’re over there, you can choose from a few tours you can book directly with us at Ultimate Travel.

Awesome Adventures offer an amazing experience and we at Ultimate Travel get some great rates on one of the best tours Fiji has to offer. Spend nearly two weeks travelling to six, gorgeous islands, meeting locals and travellers alike and snorkel and scuba-dive to your hearts content.

If you head there from May to October, you have a great chance of swimming with manta rays too which is an unbelievable experience. The rays are huge, graceful and like nothing you’ll ever see gliding through the water.

3) Nullarbor Traveller

This one is certainly off the radar a little. Australia has its highlights – the East Coast, Uluru, The Great Barrier Reef etc – but it also has its unsung heroes, and this journey from Adelaide to Perth (or vice versa) is about as unsung as it gets.

Very, very few people travel the south west of the country, around the Great Australian Bight and along the longest straight road in Australia across the Nullarbor Plain – which literally translates to treeless land.

It might sound a bit boring but this tour is an unbelievable experience. Swim with dolphins, tuna, seals and great white sharks, take a trip across a coastline as beautiful as the Great Ocean Road with a fraction of the tourists, see some of the most remarkable beaches and natural landmarks in Australia and see somewhere that 90% of backpackers wouldn’t even dream of visiting.

Nullarbor Traveller have various options for exploring this amazing area. If you are looking for the trip of a lifetime that is a little more off the beaten track then this is definitely the best thing you can spend your tax refund on.

4) Skiing…With a Difference

We could rave about how awesome a weekend ski trip from Sydney is, but we’ve already done that so we’ll show you something a little different.

This one is a a little further afield than the snowfields of New South Wales and Victoria as it takes in the South Island of New Zealand. On the Haka Tours Snow Safarirel=”nofollow”, you’ll take in six mountains over seven days in an ultimate skiing adventure.

If just hitting the slopes is not a big enough thrill for you, how does heli-skiing sound?! Haka Tours offer a great rate for heli-skiing which ticks the adrenalin and awesome boxes. You can also do the usual/unusual New Zealand stuff – bungee jumping, canyon swinging, paragliding etc – and the guides hunt out the best powder on each mountain.

The views are incredible, the slopes are incredible – the whole damn thing is incredible!!

5) Northern Aboriginal Experience

When travellers come to Australia, it is rare that they get to experience a true, Australian way of life. I’m not talking about doing some farm work in the Outback, spending time at a cattle station or in a small town, I’m talking about an indigenous experience with an Aboriginal tribe.

G Adventures offer an amazing experience north of Cairns where you get to see the history and culture of Australia’s first people. You spend your three day tour learning about the Aboriginal way of life, their history and culture and the skills they have utilised to survive in Australia for thousands of years.

The highlight of the first day of the tour is a spear-fishing experience with your Aboriginal guides as you eat what you catch before bedding down under the stars. Other amazing, truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences on the tour include a meeting with an Aboriginal elder who will detail the history of his tribe and explain the creation story of the Aboriginal people – known as ‘Dreamtime.’

You will also learn about Aboriginal art and survival techniques and have a four-wheel drive experience through the rainforests of Far North Queensland. This is really more of an experience than a tour and is a phenomenal way to see a side of Australia that seems to be slowly disappearing.

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How about it then? Fancy an adventure courtesy of the Australian tax man? Of course you could be really sensible and save the cash, pay off the inevitable travelling debts…but who wants to be sensible?!

What will you do with your tax back? Got any trips planned or doing something a little more responsible? Let us know in the comments below and on Facebook!

P.S. Let the Ultimate Travel crew know if you are one of those lucky three winners!

Make the most of the Great Ocean Road!

If you’re heading to Victoria, you might be thinking of doing our UltimateOz Great Ocean Road package! The Great Ocean Road is a must for those travelling Australia, it’s one of the most popular activities amongst travellers who make their way to Victoria. With 250km of road to travel, from Torquay to Warrnambool, you’ll see some of our famous landmarks (the Twelve Apostles/ the London Arch), you travel through some awesome surf towns, equally awesome National Parks and much more! Be sure to make the most of your trip with the following tips:

Don’t Rush!

A lot of people rush through to get to the Twelve Apostles and they don’t take anything in along the way! Take your time and admire the amazing views. As soon as you start your drive, the coast is in sight, and each corner you turn is a new view to admire. The driving can be quite intense at the start, you are driving down a single lane road with the cliffs on one side and the ocean on the other and lots of twists and turns along the way. But it’s all worth it when you get to Devil’s Elbow, which is just before Lorne and where the hardest part of the drive finishes.

Don’t try and get it all done in one day either!  Stop at everything that catches your eye, explore every town, take part in activities that you wouldn’t normally do. Stay overnight somewhere – do it all properly … who knows when you’ll get the chance again!

Check out the towns along the way!

Each new town you come to has something different to offer. Satisfy your inner surfer by visiting Bells Beach in Torquay, the venue for the annual Ripcurl Pro held over Easter … Lorne will give you the some of the freshest seafood in Australia, straight from the boat and on to your plate … if it’s that chilled out, hippy vibe that you’re after, Anglesea is the town for you! These towns will give you the chance to stretch your legs and take a break from driving so you don’t get too tired!

Go off the beaten track!

We’re big believers here in not just sticking to the tourist spots that everyone goes to see. There’s a reason why those spots are so popular, so they should definitely be on the list but if you’re prepared to deviate away from the crowd, who knows what hidden gems you’ll uncover! Does anyone remember the TV programme called Around the Twist? Fans might want to head towards the Split Point Lighthouse, made famous by the show. You can climb the lighthouse and there’s an adorable tea house you can relax in for a bit too. Or, if you want to zip-line through the trees, there’s The Otway Fly Tree Top Adventure, another not-to-be-missed Great Ocean Road treat!

Be smart, stay safe!

The Great Ocean Road is narrow and windy, with lots of blind corners  and sharp drops. Considering the nature of the road, the speed limit is quite high and if you take one of those corners too fast, you could find yourself in a spot of bother. Only drive as fast as you are comfortable with (the speed limit is there for guidance … if it says 70kmph, and you’re more comfortable at 60kmph then so be it!). Take care when driving conditions are less than favourable … if it has been raining, slow down, leave extra room between you and any car in front and be aware that your stopping distance is longer. If you don’t feel comfortable driving down the road, take the freeway instead. The views don’t differ dramatically so you won’t be missing out as such! It’s all boring and sensible, we know, but it’s important. Use your common sense and finish your journey safely!

Take the ‘silly’ pictures!

It’s a long drive so when you finally get to see what you have driven all this way for, don’t be too cool to goof around and take the silly pictures … you know, you holding one of the rocks up at the Twelve Apostle or surfing the wooden beams that overlook the beach … these pictures are the ones you’ll look back on and remember all the giggles you had, they are your memories, take as many as you can!

Want help planning your trip? Give us a shout and we’ll be happy to help!