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Learn What NOT To Do On Your Gap Year In Australia!

Want to fit in in the Land Down Under? Here’s some helpful hints on what NOT to do during your gap year in Australia, so people will think you’re a legitimate Aussie!

Don’t say “Put another shrimp on the barbie”

Whilst we foreigners think saying ‘put a shrimp on the barbie’ in Oz is extremely witty/funny/best thing we’ve ever said, Aussie locals not so much. Aussies actually call them ‘prawns’ so best just to avoid all together if you want to make Australian friends. Too easy mate!

Don’t be scared of Aussie sarcasm & swearing

Aussies are well known for their sarcasm, self-deprecating sense of humour and swearing. Aussies like to take the piss out of each other, so don’t be alarmed if a bit of banter comes your way or someone drops the C-bomb around you – most of the time it’s nothing personal and is actually used as a term of endearment in some cases! You’ll soon pick up the the local slang on your gap year in Australia so you can give as good as you get. Before you know it, you’ll be a “real” Aussie, with the sarcastic sense of humour to match – just remember to keep the profanities at bay when you’re back home in Grandma’s house!

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Don’t say NO

Australia has so much to offer and now is the time to enjoy it all. The outdoor activities are endless, with everything from skydiving to bungy jumping and swimming with whale sharks on offer. At the time you might put these things off ’cause you’ll ‘do them later’ or because you don’t want to spend your cash but I promise you won’t regret it. Luckily in Australia, there are so many activities and things you can do for free as well so you can balance out the spends. You’ll be leaving Oz with a lifetime of memories and stories to tell. Just. Say. Yes.

Don’t surf without knowing the etiquette

Australia has a big surfing culture and it’s the ULTIMATE place to give it a try. Those catching waves for the first time must be respectful of other surfers by following ‘The Surf Code’. For example; the person closest to the peak of the break has the right to ride the wave. You shouldn’t hang out on your board as a rough board can be very dangerous for other surfers. DO NOT drop into someone else’s wave and paddle outside of the zone where the lineup of surfers might be coming. Amongst many other things, give other people your turn – there’s nothing worse than a wave hog!

Why not join our UltimateOz Surf Camp when you first get to Oz, where you’ll be taught all this as well as how to ride the waves like a pro and be saved the embarrassment of being ‘THAT surfer’ in front of your new Aussie mates? 😉

Learn to surf in Australia on the UltimateOz Surf camp

Don’t take beach safety signs lightly

I’m sure you will have heard that there are things in Australia that want to kill you….well whist that’s not technically true (don’t swim in the croc’s home and I promise it won’t eat you!) it’s actually beach safety that’s one of the most important things to learn when you get here. Australia has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, all with safety signs, so you can swim safely. Read them! Swim between the flags where the currents aren’t too strong, pay attention to beach signs and if it says don’t swim…don’t swim!

Don’t go to Fraser Island without knowing driving rules

One of the most famous travel destinations for backpackers in Australia is Fraser Island. It is PARADISE! There are plenty of tours you can go on that help coordinate you where to go. Fraser island is an amazing place you definitely don’t wanna miss out on during your gap year in Australia, but just make sure you’re on a good quality tour with an experienced 4WD driver who can handle any challenging conditions on the island. Get in touch with the Ultimate crew for information on recommended Fraser Island tours.

Drive around Fraser Island safely on a guided group tour

Don’t use the word “root”

As with many other words, the word ‘root’ has a different meaning down under than it does elsewhere. Be careful…just saying!  

Don’t just ask for “a beer”

There are ‘heaps’ of slang words you need to learn before you leave your home country for the land of the koalas and kangaroos. Some of the slang will just confuse you, but try to get familiar with some of the words and you’ll be speaking like an Aussie in no time.

Let’s start at the bar… A Brownie is a bottle, a Tallie is a long-necked bottle, a Stubby is a small-necked bottle, a Tinnie is a can and a slab is a case of 24 cans. When it’s your turn to buy a round, just say “my shout” and when it comes to the size of the glass choose to get your tipple in a pint, a schooner, a middy or pot!

Don’t underestimate distances

Australia is a huge country. When you compare countries like England with Australia for size and realise that you can fit England into Australia almost 60 times, you realise it may be time to re-think that ‘short drive’ through outback Australia.

When you’re planning a road trip, I recommend looking at the map and figuring out how long it will take you to drive. Give yourself lots of time to travel on the road from place to place, so you can take it all in and not rush your trip. For example, we recommend travelling the East Coast of Australia in 4 weeks to give you enough time to stop off at all the amazing places along the way! Driving through the Outback? You’ll need plenty of water, supplies and petrol! Got lots to fit in to a short amount of time – no wozzas – you can always save some time with a couple of flights in between! Want some advice on where to travel with the time you have? Just get in touch with the Ultimate crew for information and advice!

Don’t be afraid of change your plans

Life happens and plans change so be flexible! You will meet some amazing people during your gap year in Australia, so it would be a shame to have to leave them just because you have a schedule to follow. Whilst it’s good to have a plan just remember..the more flexible you are, the more you will enjoying your backpacking adventure around this lovely country.

Get in touch with the travel crew to talk about your options. With open dated and flexible options available, you’ll be able to plan your travels with a bit of flexibility.

Not sure where to start? Meet others travelling to Australia at the same time as you and check out our Facebook page & Instagram feed for travel inspiration!

Why you should visit Fraser Island

When I first left Sweden to travel to Australia, I was told Fraser Island was the place to go so I had pretty high expectations to begin with…and it definitely didn’t disappoint!

I loved everywhere I travelled in Australia but my time spent on Fraser is definitely one of the main highlights! Here’s why I think EVERYONE needs to visit Fraser on their Aussie gap year…

Drive a 4WD on the world largest sand Island!

There aren’t many islands in the world you can road trip around, especially the largest sand islands in the world! 4WDing on Fraser Island lets you explore the island with the fun and freedom of seeing the best spots! Fraser Island is known for its long white beaches (basically its motorway!), rainforests and some amazing crystal clear freshwater lakes.

I visited Fraser Island on a group tour which for me was the perfect way to explore it! You can take it in turns driving along the sandy beaches, crank up the music and meet other backpackers – the dream roadie! I will never forget the feeling I had driving around in the sand with my group of 6 in the back of the car. I’ve never laughed so much and all the beautiful places we visited were just amazing.

There were only 4 people including me in my group who had a drivers license, which meant more driving time for us, LUCKY ME! Although saying that those without their drivers license got to chill in the back, drinking beer and goon and taking in the views which doesn’t seem like a bad alternative! 😉

We spent the 2 days following our tour leader, who led the 4WD’s around the island, stopping off at Fraser Islands most picturesque spots along the way – absolute paradise!

4WD around Fraser Island

Champagne Pools – Fraser Islands natural ocean Jacuzzi

If you’re a water lover, Fraser Island is the place to go! This beautiful island has more than 100 different freshwater lakes that are safe to take a swim in. When I booked my trip to Fraser, I knew there were some different freshwater spots, but not that there was one place where I could swim, named after my favourite drink, Champagne!

It’s easy to understand why the Champagne Pools is a favourite spot in Fraser. You can sit in the rock pools, relaxing and watching the waves crashing over the side of the rocks, settling into a fizzing foam – hence the name! Once you’ve been here it’s safe to say you’ll be saying a toast to Fraser Island’s very own, Champagne Jacuzzi!

Champagne Pools, Fraser Island

Three Words: Crystal Clear Lakes

When you think of swimming in lakes, some of you may be imagining wading through a brown bit of water with no idea what’s lurking underneath – well not at Lake Mckenzie!

Frazer’s freshwater lakes are set, in the top of the sand dunes, through rainforest, high above sea level. Of all of the lakes on Fraser Island, Lake McKenzie is most peoples and my personal favourite, and when you see the pics you’ll understand why!

If you can tell me a lake more unique and beautiful than this I’ll be surprised as Lake Mckenzie is just amazing. Our tour guide told us to brush our teeth and scrub our bodies with the white sand, and so we did. The sand is made of 100% pure white silica so is ideal for a bit of exfoliation and natural teeth whitening! It was definitely a spa experience on another level and one I didn’t think I’d be getting on an island!

Eli Creek, another fave is the largest freshwater creek on the Eastern coast of the island –  It’s an area of exceptional and pristine beauty.  The blues and greens of the lake are so spectacular, me and my friends thought we were in a tropical jungle! Eli Creek is an ideal place for swimming or even better for the lazy swimmers amongst us! The water flow helps you float down the lake so you can just lie back and enjoy the blue waters, the white sands and the amazing nature.

Chilling with mates at Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island

Camping – “what’s happens when you camp on Fraser Island, stays on Fraser Island”

Fraser island an awesome place to camp, especially if you’re on a trip with heaps of other backpackers like I was. We slept in a big camping area in tents for both nights of the tour. The best thing about being in a big group is that there are so many nice people to meet and hang out with. I’ll never forget the fun we had in the evenings during our Fraser trip – actually, I’ll tell you the truth that some parts are a little bit cloudy…too much fun and too much goon! 😉 We spent the evenings enjoying dinner together around the camp fire, chatting, playing drinking games, listening to a guy play the guitar, dancing and singing… yes it was exactly as crazy as you imagine!

If you prefer a little comfort, there are some awesome tours you can do that include resort accommodation for the evening where you still get to hang out with new mates and have fun on the island, just with a little extra comfort!

Meet the locals

Have u heard about Australia’s native ‘dog’, the dingo? Dingoes are the infamous local residents of Fraser Island and they need to be treated with respect but also with caution – no rolling around in the sand play fighting with these pooches! Dingoes are wild and as any wild animal can be, they can be dangerous. Fraser Island is one of the opportunities you’ll get in Oz to see these animals in their natural habitat so keep your distance when you encounter them in the wild.

Fraser has got some amazing wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies, emus, turtles and native birds. Indian heads, a lookout at the Northern end of the famous 75 mile long Eastern surf beach has an amazing vantage point over the island offering panoramic views of Fraser’s awesome beach and is also a pretty good wildlife spotting area! We were lucky as the weather up here when I visited was so clear and I saw so many things. The wonderful view over Manta Rays, Sharks, Dolphins and Turtles swimming in the water below was one of those unforgettable travel moments – amazing!

Having fun with friends in Eli Creek, Fraser Island

Top secret…

The worst question you could ask me when I’m travelling? “What was the best thing during your travels in Australia?”

It’s the most difficult question to answer as every place/experience and moment has been unique but this time I hold my hands up and say: My best memory from travelling the East coast of Australia was definitely Fraser Island!

My last tip – Don’t forget to bring your waterproof/sand proof camera! You’ll need a sand proof cam for fairly obvious reasons and even though you’re not likely to forget Fraser Island any time soon, I promise that the pics will come in handy when you try to explain to your friends and family how amazing it was! Anyway it’s time to set a new ‘like’ record on your Insta feed isn’t it?! 😉

Thinking of travelling to Fraser Island during your gap year in Oz? Check out the Ultimate East Coast package or get in touch with our travel crew to organise your Fraser Island Adventure.

Check out our Instagram & FB page for travel inspo and get in touch to start planning your trip today!

When people go travelling it is so easy to boast about it nowadays. Social media has given all of us a platform to post that ‘perfect philosophical” sunset pic, that “just woken up” selfie and the “I’m having the time of my life” jumping photo. Not to mention that you can just click to check-in and tell people you are in this awesome pool bar in paradise or got a free upgrade at your swanky hotel. Boasting is easy and so many of us do it. Don’t we all crave that stamp in our passport just for the bragging rights that come with it?

When I speak to people who have just been travelling (and yes I am guilty of this myself) they never ever tell you about the bad bits, the uncomfortable nights with no sleep, the dodgy tums, the strange mozzie bites. You’ll only hear about the things you’ll be jealous of. But here it is Ladies and Gents…Travelling isn’t all sunshine and rainbows! There are 5 things that I say are big points that people just don’t tell you about.


Travel is stressful!

When you go on a 2 week cruise round the Greek Islands or an all inclusive trip to Bora Bora I expect that the main desire of this holiday is to relax. Travelling isn’t very relaxing. In fact I am a firm believer of taking a holiday within your holiday. On my first Backpacking stint I spent 2 weeks in Hawaii as my holiday in my holiday and when I went to South America I went to the Galapagos Islands! The thing is with travelling you have to organise where to stay next, ask yourself ‘can I afford that ice cream in my budget?’, how do I get back from this bar, how am I going to get from A to B… Travelling is not relaxing. However it is the most rewarding thing you can do and part of the fun of travelling is learning how to look after yourself and travel independently. You learn an excessive amount about yourself and grow massively as a person. Before I went travelling I could hardly even walk into a bar on my own now I’ve done four major backpacking trips by myself!

Take a holiday within a holiday as you travel


You will get Homesick

I often think I don’t get homesick and being on the road for 7 years on and off (yes I have been home lots of times in the 7 years) I have to finally admit that I do. You might not see it coming, it’ll creep up on you in the dead of night or on your birthday or perhaps Christmas but trust me it’s going come if it hasn’t already! Most people think that homesickness means you’re crying in bed, curled up in the foetal position on the phone to your mum. It isn’t always this. Mine gets me when I’m craving gravy on my chips, or my friends organising a night out on whats app, I even get homesick when I can’t find the mascara I like over here. I don’t go and eat a whole tub of ice cream and start Googling flights home, I just get on with it. I keep myself busy and then I don’t have a chance to think of home or what I’m missing. When you first land and you want to go home in the first few days, promise me this – You will power through! Trust me when I say it’s worth it and you’ll forget about how you felt as fast as it started when you begin to experience everything!


You have to be an adult…sort of.

This is quite a abstract point. I am potentially one of the worst “adults” out there. What I mean is you have to be mature sometimes. So don’t get that drunken tattoo of your hostel’s logo or think you can cliff dive where no locals are. Perhaps I should call this one: You have to use common sense. If you have to catch a bus that you paid $230 for which leaves at 4:30am, don’t party all night…Mum isn’t there to wake you up anymore. I first went travelling when I was 18 and this whole using your common sense thing was hard because I wanted to go crazy. I partied so hard and did all these crazy things and sometimes wonder how the hell I survived or at least returned with all my arms and legs. I’m not saying have a shit time and stay in and wrap yourself in bubble wrap, I’m saying that one of the best things about travelling is fending for yourself in the big wide world and for some it’s like the first time they have really left their mothers womb. But please be cautious and do things within reason then you won’t fuck up and end up in hospital or worse…have to go home!

Stay safe when travelling and look after yourself


Travel is exhausting

People don’t tell how exhausting travelling is! Because travel is stressful (see point 1!) it makes it tiring. Again this goes back to have a holiday within your holiday! But seriously don’t forget to sit back and stop a little while. Not only does it give you a chance to catch up and rest but also to appreciate what you are doing. It’s easy to want to cram everything in with so much to see and do and so much fun to be had but you don’t have to be doing an activity all day everyday! Sometimes you need a day chilling on the beach, reading a book in the park or pigging out in front of Netflix. Reward yourself with sleep as there is not much better in life than a damn good nights sleep. If someone does come back from traveling without taking some days off here and there they will, no joke, sleep for a week.


Travel is addictive.

Plain and simple. Honestly it’s a much healthier addiction than smoking or drugs but it still catches. You go to one place and experience a crazy amount of culture, stunning landscapes and eat incredible food and that’s it, you want to go to the next place. When I was a kid I had all these dreams of things I wanted to do and zero of them have been accomplished (mainly because my plans have changed now, for the better). Once you go and make all these amazing friends and unforgettable experiences its hard not to plan the next trip and the next and the next…before you know it you’re 45 living out of a suitcase with only $3 to your name but it’s ok because you’ve got a passport full of stamps! Thinking of going travelling? Do it! Just be prepared to never be able to settle in one place after!


So there it is, the harsh truth about travelling. It’s only 5 small points and there’s no denying the negatives are well and truly worth it for that perfect sunset moment. I would do it all again just to swim with penguins once more! I mean come on…its just all about boasting and bragging isn’t it and I have plenty to brag about!


Ready for your own adventure? Check out our tours and get in touch for travel advice! Looking for inspiration? Check our our Instagram feed & Facebook page!

Why is 2017 the year to travel?

Well the simple answer to this is “because you should travel now, no questions asked”, but that wouldn’t make very good reading now would it!

With it being the new year, yes it is still the beginning of the year, I’d like to think that many peoples resolutions were to travel more. If not to travel more then to be more spontaneous (aka to travel) or maybe to save money (aka to travel with) or perhaps to get out of your comfort zone (aka to travel). Incase you can’t tell I am no.1 supporter of travelling! So there is no time like the present to be thinking about leaving the grey colours of home, get off that sofa and see the world in technicolour.

“But I can’t afford to travel!”

Travel isn’t expensive and the myth that it is needs to piss off now, please. I could be super cringey here and say something like ‘the memories you will make will be priceless’ but I don’t want to take this down that philosophical route. But flights are super cheap at the moment, especially when you think about what you get, I mean those tasty meals and tiny drinks right! 😉 But seriously I read an article recently that said it takes longer to fly anywhere now than 30-40 years ago as airlines have worked out that if they fly a little slower it’ll save them on fuel and therefore be able to keep their costs down making, good news for you and me, the flights cheaper! Yea!

Countries have realised that tourism is an amazing way to get money in and budget travel, especially, is thriving as people want to travel for longer and for as little as possible. Some places we choose to travel to are a long way away from home and to make it worth your time of sitting in that cramped plane for 14 hours you will want to spend a decent amount of time there. Hence why long term budget travel is so popular. Travel has always been a competitive industry so a price can come lower if you’re prepared to do the research and put in the time and effort to find the best price. I cannot stress more though that this should be the best price for what you want. Don’t pay $10 for a hostel room expecting a lovely 6 bed dorm with an ensuite because the reality is that you’ll get a 20 bed dorm full of smelly backpackers who can’t afford to clean their clothes and steal your three-minute noodles as they can’t buy their own.

What can become expensive about travel is when you put it off for too long, because life just kind of passes you by. If you’re saving for that new car or want to get your hair done every week then the idea of travelling is going to be pretty distant and before you know it you’re married with a mortgage, 16 kids on the way and a stubborn house cat in tow. So that idea of travelling you had once ten years ago is gone and isn’t going to be an option till you become one of those super cool 70 year olds reliving their youth!

“Avoid adult life and travel like tomorrow may never come!”

2017 is the year to travel!

Travel Now!

2017 is right now, so I guess what I’m saying is TRAVEL NOW. 2016 has been and gone, it’s in the past and whether it was a good one or a bad one surely everyone wants their next year to be better! If that means swinging in to the pools of the Erawan National Park in Kanchanaburi, Thailand or watching the sun set in Halong Bay, Vietnam it could even be sipping on a cold beer while you sail past the Opera House in Sydney then do it! There’s no time like the present and the world is constantly changing and shaping so while you can see all that you can and do all that you can do, please just, do it! That so called “adult” life is going to hit you like a tonne of bricks when it comes, so in my true mantra: “Avoid adult life and travel like tomorrow may never come!”

Come at us 2017!

Ready for an adventure? Get involved in one of our epic tours in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam & more – perfect for backpackers aged 18-35!

It didn’t take me long to fall in love with travelling. I travelled from the UK to Australia through Southeast Asia. Little did I know that 4 years later, I’d be living in Sydney, working in my dream job and travelling at any opportunity: next stop, Cambodia! Travelling for me is the most exciting way I can spend my time, especially when it’s to new countries and although it may sound cliché, travelling has changed me. One of the biggest advantages I will take from my experiences travelling is how it has made me more confident in my day to day life. Here’s how..

1. In My Own Skin

One of the best things I’ve taken from my gap year is learning to be comfortable in my own skin. I learnt that everyone is different and to not care so much what people think of me. I think that confidence comes from a mix of meeting so many people, all with different personalities and from learning more about who you are as a person. Travel allows you to figure out how you enjoy spending your time, who you get on with, who you don’t and what’s important to you. As soon as you know and like yourself, it’s hard not to be yourself around others!

At home, we have family and friends that know and love us…warts and all. Your friends at home have probably held your hair up whilst you were being sick on the school field after downing a bottle of Cherry Lambrini and your parents have most definitely seen you at your worst! When you travel solo, away from the people who know you, and you’re surrounded by new people who don’t, it can be hard to fully let go and be yourself at first…what if these new people don’t get you? One of the beauties of travelling for me is that you can meet people one day and feel like you’ve known them for years a few days later. Noone is there to judge you – just to enjoy their time travelling for what it is: an opportunity to meet amazing people, see amazing things and experience amazing cultures in amazing countries, AKA the best time of your life!

2. When Sh*t Goes Down

Between the new friends, freedom and unforgettable memories the real travelling happens. You’ll miss your flight after a drunken night, lose your travel documents, forget to book a hostel for the night, run out of money, come across people you don’t like and you might even feel unsafe at times, but you’ll deal with the bad parts and move on. Travelling made me trust in my ability to make decisions. The more decisions I made by myself, the more I trusted my instincts and the more I became confident in my ability to handle anything thrown my way. At the time, you just get on with it but for me, it was when I’d finished my gap year and I looked back at how much I’d accomplished by myself that I realised how much more confident I’ve become.

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3. In Social Situations

As someone who can’t stand small talk and awkward social gatherings I was a bit dubious about travelling, solo. Would I spend my gap year sitting in the corner pretending to be on my phone and avoiding eye contact with others? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sociable person and I love meeting people but unless you’re being introduced through a friend, that first ‘Hi, my name is…’ moment can be a bit awkward for me. If you’re anything like me, walking into a hostel seeing big groups of backpackers chatting and playing drinking games together can be a bit intimidating when you’re all on your tod but it doesn’t take long to realise that everyone is in the same boat! These people might seem like they’ve known each their whole lives but chances are they met the very same way a few days before and are just friends waiting to happen! The good news is when you’re travelling you’ll always have something in common with other backpackers: travel! Go over and ask where they’re heading to next. Next thing you know you’ll be telling them your life story after a few rounds of Kings cup!

4. In My Beliefs & Opinions

Growing up, our opinions and beliefs are usually based on what we’ve been told and what our parents and friends think. Travelling gave me the confidence to question those beliefs and think for myself. However much freedom you’re given growing up to form your own opinions your environment will always have an effect on what you believe so travelling enabled me to open my eyes and to create opinions based on my own experiences rather than what I’d been taught. I became more sure of myself, had more to talk about and probably most importantly, I became more tolerant of other people’s beliefs too. Meeting people from all walks of life when you’re travelling makes you realise that your little world at home isn’t the be all and end all and there are so many interesting people out there to meet!

5. In Knowing What I Want

One of the biggest advantages of my gap year abroad was having the time and the means to figure out what I want to gain out of life. Travelling changed my perspective, set my priorities straight and gave me the confidence to think about what I really wanted, without any external pressures, away from the ‘real world.’  I realised I didn’t have to plan my future based on ‘the norm’ or what I’d expected of myself – I had absolute freedom to create the life I wanted. Before I went travelling, I had a plan and my future mapped out: Go to uni, get a well paid job, save up for a house and drive around in a nice car. Without the experiences travelling gave me and without spending time with the amazing people I met along the way, I’m not sure I would have been able to take a step back and really question what’s important to me. Knowing what you want and having a goal to work towards is so important, and travelling made that happen for me.

Want to travel but not really sure where to start? Get in touch! The Ultimate team have all been in the same situation and we’re happy to help! Check out our tours in Australia, Thailand and Vietnam.

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So you’ve booked your trip to Southeast Asia, yay you’ve done it! Get ready for the time of your life. As the countdown shortens and your anticipation grows, you’ll begin to ask yourself some pretty big questions such as: Who will I meet? What will we see? Will I miss home? Nah! But what about the biggest question: What do I pack?! This question haunts us all. Anyone preparing for their next journey knows how stressful this question can become – but don’t worry, we’re here to help. Aside from obvious items such as clothing, traveller’s insurance, and passport, here are 10 must-have items specifically for any Southeast Asia adventure.

Travel Towel

These microfiber, multi-purpose towels are the perfect item to pack. They’ll save you plenty of space compared to your normal bath towel, and they dry quickly in the heat – even better! Personal tip, check the size of your towel before purchase. Nothing worse than a too short of a towel in between hostel shower runs. And don’t worry about packing a beach towel, invest in a cheap sarong instead. Not only is a sarong multi-functional ladies, but it makes for a great souvenir!

Sleeping bag liner

While all hostels should provide you with linens, a sleeping bag liner can be nice to have on those long bus journeys. Also known as a sleeping cacoon, it’s compact so easy to carry, and light enough to keep you cool. It’ll also help with hygiene and preventing any small creatures getting to you. Lastly, silk vs. cotton? Test them both out, and see which you like best.

Mozzie Repellent

Speaking of small creatures, nothing is worse than letting mozzie bites hinder your fun. Prevent these bites by a frequent and thorough application of repellent containing a medium percentage of DEET. Not only will this help prevent the itch, but it’s a great way to make new friends as everyone appreciates the one who remembered the DEET on a night out!

Packing Cubes

A nifty set of items to keep your belongings organized. Good for separating your toiletries, undergarments, electronics, etc. Avoid the frustration of trying to find that adapter hidden between your clothes at the bottom of your rucksack. Use packing cubes to make living out of a bag easier.

Head torch

Whether you’re exploring a cave, hiking a volcano pre-sunrise, or simply looking for your shirt under the bed, a head torch can be your best friend. Better than a flashlight as you can keep your hands free and have I mentioned, super fashionable.

Head-torch

Bags on bags on bags

Ziploc Bags/Plastic Bags: Something you may not think of, but that always comes in handy. Good for those muddy shoes, wet swimmers, and dirty clothes. The uses are endless and it’s always good to have a spare just in case. Note: when using plastic bags, always be courteous of your sleeping bunkmates. Similar to crisps in a cinema, nothing is more frustrating than someone rummaging through their bag when you’re trying to catch some ZZzz’s.

Dry Bag: Thinking of canyoning in Vietnam, tubing in Laos or joining the largest water fight in the world when visiting Thailand? May be worth investing in one of these bad boys. Don’t stress about your clothes or electronics when you’re getting wet as you’re items will stay perfectly dry.

Day bag: Aside from your large bag, a day pack is a vital item. Good for those day trips and also for holding the valuables you may not feel comfortable placing under the bus. Rock the backpacker look: day pack on the front, backpack on the back!

Combination lock

Avoid theft by keeping your valuables safe during your travels. While hostels should provide lockers for their guests, you will need to supply your own lock. I recommend a combo lock vs. a key lock, as it’s once less item to keep track of. 😉

Tissues

Not the most glamorous of items – but a must! You do not want to step into a public bathroom without these. Be extra prepared and always have tissues on you just in case.

Power Adapters

Before you board the plane, best to pack a worldwide power adapter set. Outlets vary between countries, so be sure to have the correct adapter. Personal tip, remember that these do not convert voltage. Not that any female should be bringing a hair straightener with them to SE Asia to begin with, but should you feel the need and want to avoid a blow-out, invest in a voltage converter as well.

Emergency Kit

Hopefully you won’t have to use this item, but better to be safe than sorry. Pack a travel-sized emergency kit to keep you and your mates prepared. Containing plasters, tweezers, antibacterial wipes, scissors, and sometimes even sewing kits – these packs can really make the difference when needed.

And lastly, YOUR BACKPACK – duh!

Yes, this is the most crucial item on the list so be sure to check out our backpack vs. suitcase blog for additional help, but here are some key tips to remember:

Choose a backpack that’s right for you. Be sure that it’s easy to carry and see if you can even get it properly fitted before you leave. Based on personal experience, I recommend a backpack vs. a suitcase when travelling Southeast Asia. Being that I knew I’d be travelling to Australia after my time spent in Asia, I went for a hybrid of the two and look how cool I ended up looking….not.

Most roads in Southeast Asia aren’t meant for suitcases, and the more off the beaten path you get the more you will find this true. Invest in a good backpack and you can’t go wrong.

Things you can leave at home:

Water bottle and filter: Being that most tap water is unsafe to drink in Southeast Asia, you’ll always be able to find inexpensive bottled water available for purchase.

Expensive accessories: Leave the jewels at home! It will attract unwanted attention and rather than bringing your valuables with you, invest in some knock offs instead. Your friends will be jealous when you return home with a new Rayban collection.

Heavy clothing: Aside from the north, you’ll find the majority of Southeast Asia to be extremely warm and humid. Ditch the heavy coat and stiff jeans for a light down jacket and some comfy elephant print pants instead.

Lastly, pack light! Rule of thumb, pack everything once, then take out 50% and repack. Worst case scenario, you forget something and you’ll need to buy it overseas. But don’t fret, everything from clothing to toiletries to electronics can be found easily and often at an even cheaper price. Although it’s best to be prepared, embrace the spontaneity of travelling. Don’t let your wardrobe get you down. You never know, you may come out looking like a true local by the end.

Planning a trip to Southeast Asia? Get in touch! Our 10 day Ultimate Thailand & 13 day Ultimate Vietnam tours are perfect for backpackers looking for a fun, hassle free, safe way to travel whilst having the time of your life with new mates! Check out our videos for Ultimate Thailand and Ultimate Vietnam here.

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Once you start to travel it can be difficult to stop! If you’re one of those people that is always dreaming of the next adventure, read this to find out if you have the travel bug!

1. Whenever anyone starts a story, it reminds you of that time you were travelling

Travel 💛 #travelstories #memories #myultimatemoment

A photo posted by Ultimate Travel (@ultimate.travel) on Apr 26, 2015 at 5:08pm PDT

2. You can say ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank you’ in 5 different languages

6. You’ve got long journeys nailed..a neck pillow, a good book, music and you’re good to go!

7. You can drink everyone under the table.. drinking every day for 6 months has increased your tolerance level quite a bit!

8. You’ve set yourself a goal of places you want to visit in the next year and you’re determined to tick them all off your list!

What’s next on your bucketlist? #regram @mariagalsgaard #travel #NewZealand #adventure #tour #gapyear #kiwi #NZ A photo posted by Ultimate Travel (@ultimate.travel) on Oct 18, 2015 at 5:46pm PDT

9. You’ve had a million casual jobs all over the world – You don’t care what you’re doing as long as you can save some $$ to travel!

12. You’ve stopped caring if anyone will travel with you – you know you’ll meet people along the way

13. Being late no longer bothers you..you’re still on Fiji time baby!

Amazing pic of @xxxbettyxxx horse riding on the beach in Bali! #travel #MyUltimateMoment #GapYear #UltimateAdventure #Bali #Indonesia #SEAsia #TravelSoutheastAsia #SoutheastAsia #adventure A photo posted by Ultimate Travel (@ultimate.travel) on Oct 29, 2015 at 9:26pm PDT

14. You don’t enjoy buying material things anymore – you know nothing can bring you more happiness than travel!

16. When you go home, you don’t bother buying a car or getting a steady job because you already know you’ll be on the next adventure soon!

18. Your passport is filling up with stamps & you can’t wait to fill the rest of the pages up!

19. Every time you look back on your travels you feel happy

Khao Sok National Park 😍 #regram #MyUltimateMoment #UltimateThailand #Thailand #travel #GapYear #adventure A photo posted by Ultimate Travel (@ultimate.travel) on Nov 3, 2015 at 3:47pm PST

20. and you’re already planning the next trip!

Who agrees? #myultimatemoment #ultimate #adventure #gapyear #travel   A photo posted by Ultimate Travel (@ultimate.travel) on May 31, 2015 at 4:58pm PDT

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First stop in Southeast Asia: Hanoi, Vietnam. Population: 7 million. Motorbikes: 1.5 million. Girl from Albuquerque, New Mexico: 1. My first time to Southeast Asia, I couldn’t have chosen a better country to begin my journey. Vietnam is beautiful, historic and eye-opening. Tropical paradise, mountainous terrain, eat and drink like a king, buzzing night life, the list goes on and on! Here’s why I love Vietnam..

Halong Bay

Vietnam’s hidden wonder and absolute paradise. This World Heritage site is a must-see on every backpackers’ list. It’s a personal fave! Begin your trip on an authentic Vietnamese “junk boat” (nothing junk about it!) exploring the turquiose waters and viewing the never ending rock formations. Here you can kayak, rock climb, cliff jump, perfect for the adventure seeker. After one night spent on the boat, you arrive to your very own private island. Yes. That’s right, a private island for just you and your friends! Where else can you say you did that?! Play beach volleyball, drink cheap beer, watch the sun go down and karaoke the night away.

Explore Sapa

Want to see the real Vietnam? Venture to Sapa and hike through the endless rice fields. Meet our guide, Vu and her daughter Sho Sho, the giggliest child of them all. We spent two days exploring Sapa by foot and it wouldn’t have been the same without these two. Sapa is truly majestic. The people are colourful in both their attire and spirit, the views are breathtaking and it’s off the beaten path!

Same Same But Different

Anyone who has travelled Southeast Asia knows this common saying. If so – you probably still use the saying today. You may even own a vest with the same writing! Often used when purchasing, this phrase with no doubt will bring you confusion, understanding and most often laughter.
Example: “Are these real Ray Bans? Is this chicken? Is this the correct bus?”… “Same same but different.” All different questions, very same answer. Sometimes a good response, other times not so much.
Regardless, hearing this phrase post your travels will always remind you of your times spent in SE Asia and will most likely bring a smile to your face.

Same same but different!

Hoi An

My favourite place in all of Vietnam! Beach. Culture. Shopping. Food. You name it, this place has it! Ride a bicycle to the beach to watch the sunrise, get tailor-made clothing, see the beautiful lanterns at dark, join a cooking class and party the night away.

Hoi An lanterns

The Food

Some people take photos of the scenery. Others take photos of people or their adventures. My best friend/ co-traveller takes photos of me eating… So the secret is out, I like to eat. In fact “like” is a large understatement. If you’re a foodie like me, you will love Vietnam! A must-eat, the BBQ in Hanoi – we ate here not once, not twice but three times in one day. Also on the list: pho (noodle soup), banh mi (baguette) and fresh spring rolls!

The food in Vietnam - Another reason why I love Vietnam

Ride Like A Local

As the highest motorbike per capita country in the world, what better way to explore a new city than on your own set of wheels? But fair warning: if you’re brave enough to get on the back of a motorbike, let alone drive one yourself – I suggest you invest in some good travellers insurance. Nothing’s worse than letting a small accident spoil your trip. So if you have the guts, hop on board. Otherwise, master the art of crossing street traffic, a challenge in itself!

Riding mopeds in Vietnam is the norm!

Cheap Beer

A true necessity when travelling. Everyone enjoys a good party, but often the cost of drinking can add up. But when a large beer only costs you 50 cents, the round’s on me! Saigon, Tiger, 333 – all common labels. Try them each and see what tickles your fancy. Personal tip: Pull up a baby stool outside a restaurant, purchase a beverage, pair with sunflower seeds and mingle with new friends.

Grab a stool and drink in the street!

Never a Dull Moment

Just an average Wednesday morning. Meet Susie – my new best friend. Deathly afraid of snakes, this is not my ideal moment, but travelling pushes you to step outside your comfort zone. Hold a python, eat a scorpion, feed a crazy monkey – all part of the Southeast Asia fun!

Meet the locals in Vietnam!

Beach Bum in Nha Trang

Want to enjoy the sun and get your tan on? Visit the seaside town of Nha Trang. Known for its blue waters and Russian influence – this town has everything to offer. Partake in one of its numerous water sports such as kite surfing or snorkelling followed by a wild night out on the town. Personal recommendation: Why Not Bar, because why not?!

Nha Trang has got some great snorkel spots.

History

You can’t travel to Vietnam and not learn about the country’s history – it’s inevitable. But that’s what travelling is all about, learning about other cultures and what has happened in the past to shape a country. Travel to Ho Chi Minh and visit the Cu Chi tunnels to learn more about the war. I promise you’ll learn more here than you ever did from a textbook!

Learning about Vietnam's history is great!

Travel the Long Way

Travelling onward? How about to Laos or Cambodia? Don’t take the boring route! We did a 3 day journey from Ho Chi Minh to Cambodia via the Mekong Delta and it couldn’t have been better. Explore the canals, shop the floating markets and see more of Southeast Asia along the way.

Travelling along the Mekong delta was incredible.

Planning a trip to Vietnam? Check out our 13 day Ultimate Vietnam tour and get in touch for info and advice!

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Travel changes you: fact. Wherever you travel, however long you travel for, be prepared to learn a few things about yourself along the way!

Here are a few ways I’ve found travelling has changed me:

It’s hard to settle in one place.

Once you’ve caught the travel bug, it’s pretty hard to shake! Settling back into a ‘normal’ routine at home after spending a few months or a year experiencing everything travelling has to offer is really hard! Travelling is fun and there are always new experiences just waiting to be had. Sure if you’ve travelled for longer than a few months, chances are you’ve had to snap back to reality for a little while to find a job and maybe rent a flat but with that next exciting adventure just around the corner, there isn’t enough time to settle in one place for long enough to get into a routine. Going from the buzz and excitement of travelling to getting a job at home, living and spending your time waiting for the weekend can be tough. Travelling made me realize how small the world is and how easy it is to travel to new countries which makes it so tempting to pack your bags and set off on the next adventure!

My advice to beat the bug? Plan the next trip if you can- having something to work towards and look forward to will make life more exciting! If you can’t do that, try to meet up with fellow travellers- sharing your memories and travel stories will make you feel like you still are and you’re not alone!

Believe in yourself

Working in the travel industry and having travelled myself it’s safe to say I love to travel! Saying that, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Sometimes travelling gives you lemons and (when there’s no tequila and salt around) you have to learn to deal with situations that you wouldn’t normally have to. The best thing I’ve taken from travelling is the ability to believe in my own strength and trust my instincts. I’ve learnt that I can deal with anything that comes my way and if I’m stuck in a sticky situation, I’ll find a way out. My mantra after travelling? “I’ll handle it!”

Adopt a ‘no worries’ attitude

This is one thing I definitely noticed after spending a year travelling around SE Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Life really is too short to sweat the small stuff! Yes you may have missed the last night bus to the islands and be stranded in a tiny Thai town but who cares?! You get an extra day to explore the area, eat Thai food, chill in the sun and chat to the locals! Don’t get me wrong- at the time, it seems like the worst thing in the world when you’re carrying a heavy backpack in the 30 degree heat however once you’ve accepted that these things happen (and in the grand scheme of things really aren’t that big a deal) you can say ‘no worries!’ and enjoy the ride! The little bumps you’ll encounter along the way are some of the most memorable travel experiences anyway!

Making new friends

One of the best things about travelling is how easy (and normal) it is to chat strangers and make new friends, especially if you’re travelling alone. Most people are in the same boat and will welcome a chat with a stranger! After a few months I noticed I was more confident chatting to people and more sociable. Be prepared to have a long list of new friends you can crash with in countries all over the world!

Be more open minded

When travelling, not only will you meet people who have different values and opinions to you but you’ll also be stuck in situations where you’ll be forced to keep an open mind and try out things you wouldn’t usually do. You never know where the day will take you when you’re travelling! I remember my first week in Asia, travelling to a remote island in Malaysia. We hadn’t booked accommodation on the island and when we arrived we found out that everywhere was fully booked! We ended up buying a couple of hammocks and setting up camp on the beach to sleep for the night. As a travelling virgin and being terrified of insects it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind but looking back it’s those experiences that stick with you!

Become less materialistic

I love my comforts and always will but after a year of travelling I realised that there is so much more to life and happiness than buying new things… at least not when there’s travelling to be done, new places to experience and people to meet! The experience of chilling on the beach with new friends means so much more than what you’re wearing at the time or which latest bit of technology you have! Of course, you need to buy the basics but as long as you have enough money to buy some street food, a couple of beers, a roof over your head for the night and a way to actually travel, that’s all you’ll need!

If you’re thinking of travelling, my advice is to just go for it! You never know where it will take you or what you’ll experience along the way. Whilst it’s good to have a rough plan, you can’t plan for everything in travel so just throw yourself in at the deep end and book a flight! If you need help planning any of your trip or want any advice at all, just contact us! We’re happy to help!

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Tour Leader Sarah at BaseCampHey Guys,

I’m Sarah, one of the UltimateOz tour leaders!

For anyone looking to come out to Australia to travel and work, UltimateOz is definitely one hell of an awesome way to get you started! Every now and then, someone writes a blog post about their week with us or even makes an amazing video montage. However, have you ever wondered what’s it’s like on the other side? The tour leaders view?

Having worked as a group tour leader with UltimateOz for a while now, I get people saying to me every week “man, you have the best job!!” or “doesn’t your job get boring doing the same thing every single week?”

Well, hopefully this will give you a bit of an insight into our world. The UltimateOz tour leader world. So here it is…

A Week in the Life of an UltimateOz Tour Leader.

At the moment, while it’s Summer, we have two groups a week that start with us. There are six of us who lead the groups so three of us start with the Monday group and the other three start with the Thursday group.

I always find the first day the most nerve racking. Until we meet the groups, everyone is just a name on a list and we have no idea what anyone is like. It’s like being given a box of chocolates without the card to tell you what’s what.

After we pick the group up from Wake Up hostel, we bring everyone over to the UltimateOz HQ to go through the itineraries for the week before we head out on the City walk. By this point, we’re already starting to see who the jokers of the week are!

Party Night with UltimateOz!Usually by the welcome drinks in Side bar on the first night you can start to see some good friendships forming. Quite a few people usually find each other online before they get here using our ‘Meet your group’ service, so a lot of people will have already spoken a lot online or even met up back home before they come out here. In every group there’s always a few shy or nervous people who take a little longer to relax and get speaking to people. I totally relate to these guys!! I mean, you’re in a brand new country, on your own, and you’re thrown into a large group of people from all over the world!! I’ve been there myself, and it IS terrifying!! This is where we step in. As group leaders we want everyone to have a good time and not worry about anything. Sometimes people just need a little longer to feel at ease but normally after a few conversations people are happy to open up and get chatting to the rest of the group.

The welcome drinks can go one of two ways…

1- Everyone is tired from the long flight, or aren’t interested in partying so head to bed around 10 – 11 pm. Job done, we go home and get an early night.
2- Everyone is tired from the long flight but are way too excited about their first big night out in Sydney so go absolutely crazy and start ordering in the Jagerbombs. Job done, everyone’s having an awesome night and we party on with them till the early hours!

UltimateOz does Rockfish

Depending on which way the night went, the next morning we find that people are either fresh for the Harbour cruise, or hungover!! I really think that the Harbour cruise is one of my favourite parts of the week. As far as jobs go, taking people on a boat around Sydney harbour, cooking a barbecue off the back of the boat and taking pictures of people and jumping off the top of the boat to have a swim is one hell of an amazing job to be doing! Seeing people having an amazing time on the harbour with new friends after arriving in the country only a few days ago is such a good feeling! I do get slightly sea sick in rough water though … usually I’m fine because we’re in the harbour and it’s pretty calm until I have to go and do the washing up in the kitchen underneath the deck.. The windows down there are at sea level so any slight movement feels like the whole boat is rocking. I’ve learnt to become a master at speed dish washing!

 

So, Day 3, in this case Wednesday means only one thing…. BASECAMP!!!!

Basecamp is by far the best part of the week! For both me and the group! For them it means sandboarding, seeing an amazing view from Tomaree head national park and going on a dolphin cruise, and for me it means getting to do all these awesome things on a weekly basis!!!

UltimateOz group at BaseCampWhen we get to our accommodation at Basecamp it feels like home!! I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of being at here, cuddling Josie (the resident and adorable kangaroo) and relaxing in the Aussie bush!  I love seeing peoples faces when they first get here – it’s hard to explain but it’s just got such a great feeling about it and for most people it’s the first time they’ve seen the Aussie bush. It makes such a difference to the hustle and bustle of Sydney (however much we love it!) One of the things I love most about Basecamp is how everyone gets chatting to each other! Until this point in the week people will have made one or two friends in the group.. but at Basecamp, these friend circles expand massively!! I love seeing the quietest person in the group really come out of their shell and make a good bunch of friends.

As I mentioned, Basecamp is the most exciting, activity filled part of the week! For us, the group leaders, it can get quite tiring as it’s pretty much non stop, but the fun makes up for it 100%!  On a night, we get the groups playing games, have some food and those who want to, have a few drinks. We take everyone down to the beach and set up a fire for a beach party! You can’t beat dancing on the beach to good tunes with new mates! The sky is so clear at Basecamp and the stars are incredible! As a tour leader it’s my responsibility to look after people and make sure that everyone is safe and having a good time. It’s completely understandable that some people get a little too excited, maybe drink a little too much and say: “Let’s go for a midnight swim in the ocean!!!!” That’s why I’m there- so that people can have fun but they’re not alone in a foreign country without anyone to keep an eye on them and above all they’re safe!

These nights are usually so much fun that nobody wants to sleep.. try getting to bed at 4am and getting up the next morning at 8am to wake everyone up! I think I’ve learnt to survive on 4 hours sleep per night by now! Don’t get me wrong, it can be tiring, but as I’ve said before, the fun makes up for it! It’s not like I have to go and sit in an office for 8 hours…we’re about to go sandboarding! Who can’t get excited about that- however tired or hungover you are!?

Sandboarding at BaseCamp

The last day at Basecamp is the dolphin cruise. I’m pretty sure my friends back home in England are starting to hate me, as every single dolphin cruise I’ve been on for the past month I’ve sent them all a snapchat of the amazing weather, the beautiful views and, of course, some dolphins swimming past with the caption reading “Working hard again!” It’s on days like these where I really have to pinch myself and remind myself just how lucky I am to have such an amazing job!!

After the bus trip back to Sydney (usually spent catching up on an hours sleep) I normally chill out and relax on the couch in front of the TV and have an early night – Running on a total of 7 hours sleep in 2 days really catches up with you so it’s time to recuperate!

Saturday is spent taking the group on the Coogee to Bondi beach walk. Getting the group together and on the same bus can take a bit of extra organisation but once we arrive in Coogee ready to start the 6km walk and people have had time to grab some brekkie, everyone is in good spirits!  All we need to do is take a nice leisurely walk along the coast stopping at some amazing view points. The coast is gorgeous and visiting 5 beautiful beaches along the way makes me feel so lucky to be here! Again, sometimes I find it hard to believe that I’m actually getting paid to do something which most people look forward to doing on their days off!

Party Night with UltimateOz!In the evening, it’s the party night, the bar crawl!! It’s so much fun and even though I don’t have to go for ‘work’, I still go every week! It’s the perfect opportunity to have fun with the group. I love the end of the week when people who, at the start of the week were nervous to talk to people, have now made a great bunch of friends who they’re partying with and making plans with for the rest of their time here.

 

UltimateOz at BaseCampI always think that if everyone in my group leaves the week having had a great time, with at least one or two good friends, then I’ve done my job right. I tend to keep in touch with people I’ve met in the groups too- they’re part of the Ultimate family now and meeting new people is one of the best things about the job!

So yeah, that pretty much sums up a week in the life a group leader for UltimateOz.

“If you do a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!”

I’ll apologise right away for the following obvious statement…if you are planning your trip to Australia with UltimateOz, you’re going to need a visa to get in the country.

Get that, visa = entry to Australia? Good.

Now, which visa should you get, a working holiday visa or a tourist visa? I’m glad I asked as both visas are a great way to get into Australia and take a look around. The most important thing to stress here is visas aren’t set in stone.

You are probably able to get either a tourist visa or working holiday visa of some kind to get into Australia but it depends on the country your passport was issued by so run that by the Department of Immigration before you book anything!

Now we’ve got the legal bit out the way, we can get on with the comparison – should you go for a working holiday or tourist visa in Australia?

Who Can Get Each Visa?

A tourist visa is pretty much open to anyone who wants to come to Australia but there are different classes of tourist visa for different nations. Pretty much every country in Europe can get an eVisitor visa (subclass 651) when they come to Australia – you apply online (or with us) and it is all taken care of.

Other visitors – take note those from the America’s – have to get a different visa but it is still pretty stress free. The Electronic Travel Authority visa (subclass 601) is an online form, costs $20 and takes about a day to be processed. This is the one for Canada/United States so take a look.

With working holiday visas, it’s a little different. Again, there are two visa options the subclass 417 for the majority of Europeans (Canadians and Japanese too) and the subclass 462 for the United States and a few others. Check the full list of countries here and keep update with any changes via the Immigration website.

The 417 visa is an online form that you can complete at home or in Australia (but you must have an eVisitor if you want to apply from inside Australia).

Do I have to Send My Passport Away or Have an Interview?

If you’ve been through the rigmarole of getting a visa for another country (I’m looking at you America) then you might be worried that it’ll take ages to get your Australia visa. Worry not, as the system is pretty much all online and can be sorted in a matter of days.

If you want to head to your nearest Australian embassy or immigration office then that is an option (as is a postal application) but online is much easier and quicker.

Each visa has certain requirements that need to be met before you apply and a list of documents for each visa can be found on the Department of Immigration website. Once you’re application is lodged the visa should be confirmed in a matter of days although the Department of Immigration ask to leave about two weeks for the application process just in case.

After your application has been lodged, you’ll get an email decision and your visa is automatically updated to your passport electronically and you’re good to go! You can print your visa decision if you want, just to make sure you have a physical copy of something but you won’t get a visa stuck in your passport like other countries.

How Long Are They?

Well, a tourist visa gives you three months in Australia and a working holiday visa gives you (at least) a year but that depends on the visa you get.

A 417 visa lasts a year but you can complete three months of regional work to get a second year visa, the 462 visa doesn’t offer this option. Your second year visa can be taken immediately after your first year or anytime before you turn 31, it’s up to you!

What Do They Let Me Do?

The biggest difference (aside from how long you get in Australia) is that on a tourist visa you can’t work and on a working holiday visa…well, the clue is in the name!

You can only work for six months for one employer and you can study for up to four months too (if you want to), they are the main rules around your working holiday visa no matter what country you’re from.

Your working holiday visa also allows you to enter and exit the country as many times as you like during the period of your visa whereas a tourist visa has to be renewed every time you want to leave and re-enter.

How Much Are They?

Good question! The visa prices change all the time so it’s tough to pinpoint an exact price.

The eVisitor visa for a tourist from the European Union is free of charge if you do it yourself and an ETA Visa is $20.

Working holiday visas are more expensive. If you do the visa yourself on the Department of Immigration website, it’ll set you back $420. You can ask us to take care of it for you when you book your UltimateOz trip by selecting the visa addon for your UltimateOz tour – this takes the hassle and paper-work out of your hands and leaves it with the experts!

How Many Times Can I Get Them?

You can get as many tourist visas as you want, there is no limit but it will look a bit dodgy if you keep dipping out of the country every three months and heading straight back in.

With your working holiday visa you get one unless you do the regional work. The option of the regional work is only there for those on the 417 visa not the 462 – so if you’re American…sorry.

With each visa option, you get a year to enter the country and as soon as you enter, your visa begins.

Which Visa Is Right For Me?

At the end of it all, it depends what you want to do in Australia. If you want all the benefits of living and working in Australia for a prolonged period of time, then you’re all about the working holiday visa.

If you are stopping in Australia for a couple of months on a round the world trip then the tourist visa will be just fine for what you need and if you love Australia, you can always come back for a year or two on your working holiday visa!

The important thing with a working holiday visa is not to waste it. If you’re only coming to Australia for a month then what’s the point in wasting a year long visa? You may think you’ll find work right away (and you might) but imagine someone turning up in your home country for a month, expecting to work before they move somewhere else. Seems a bit far fetched! You only get one shot at your working holiday so weigh up all of your options before deciding what to do!

If you’ve got any other questions about your visa for Australia or about living and working in Australia in general, let us know by email, in the comments below or on Facebook!

Once you’ve arrived in Australia, you’ll quickly realise it’s a pretty expensive place! Don’t worry though, with our help you’ll learn how to save money in Australia and getting ready for your next big adventure!

This is the boring bit of travelling but it has to be done. If you want to dive on the Great Barrier Reef, jump out of a plane, bungee jump, rent a campervan for an epic road-trip – whatever it is – you’re going to need money!

Saving starts before your trip begins so start making sacrifices at home for the good of your trip abroad! Think about it, don’t go to your local and spend the money on booze in Australia! You do not need those jeans but you do need to see the Great Barrier Reef!

When you get over here though, there are a few things you can do to get yourself in the best position possible for the rest of your time in Australia.

Get a Job

It’s an absolute pain (and painfully obvious) but it has to be done. Our amazing TAW service can help you find work quickly right the way across Australia and in a whole heap of different industries.

Whether you just want a job for a few weeks or whether you are after more meaningful work, TAW can help you out. Our awesome TAW staff can go over your CV, help with job applications and cover letters and tell you all you need to know about your visa, your farm work, your tax and how to claim it back!

The Farming  Question

If you’re in Australia on a working holiday, I’m sure you’ll have given your farm work at least some thought. For the uninitiated, if you work for three months in agriculture in a specified area of Australia, you are able to apply for another working holiday visa to be used anytime before you turn 31.

Farming is the easiest of the specified work to find and can be a great opportunity to save some money but it is really tough work.

Many farm jobs include accommodation, food and wages and because of the location – make saving much easier. It is harder to spend your money when you live on a farm an hour and a half away from the nearest shop!

Be wary with some farmers and their promises though. A lot of them will want you to work cash-in-hand (which is illegal) and may not pay you on time or at all. There are millions of great farmers in Australia to work for so just keep your wits about you and you’ll be saving heaps.

Buy Groceries

If you are back in the city or need to buy your own food on the farm don’t fall into the eating out trap. I’m not talking about Michelin starred restaurants but three kebabs a week and a pizza can soon add up.

Get to Coles or Woolworths armed with a shopping list and start saving money! Make big batches of stuff – a massive bolognaise will last you ages and work for lunches and dinners!

When you’re at the supermarket, head for the deli counter. Your jaw will hit the floor when you see how much a packet of 2 chicken breasts can cost in Australia and if you hit the deli up for the same weight in chicken thighs, you’ll save a fortune! Don’t be put off by the price per kilo, it looks expensive but it is well cheaper than the alternative.

Share A Place

The accommodation question is always an interesting one. Once you’ve finished your UltimateOz trip, it is highly likely that you’ll either live with or travel with someone that you met on your group – trust us, it happens every single week of the year!

If you come into Ultimate Travel HQ in Sydney or get in touch with us online, we can sort you out with a bunch of viewings with our mates over at Furnished Property. These guys are shared accommodation specialists and they can normally find you short-term leases which when you split between a few of, work out a pretty cheap rent. Plus, as their name suggests, they specialise in furnished property so there is no need for you to go and waste money on stuff you’ll only need for a few months.

Hostels are amazing but the bills soon add up when you’re staying there. It isn’t just the fees though, it’s the temptation. How many times have you been sitting in your hostel room when someone has suggested a night out and you’ve gone for it!?

These are always amazing nights out but not the best way to save your cash for a big trip!

Book Travel in Advance and Altogether

Once you’ve done the boring work and saving bit, it’s time to spend the money!!

Whether you are looking at doing a little trip of the whole East Coast, the best way to save money is to book in bulk and with as much time in advance as possible!

UltimateOZ can get you the best rates around on Greyhound tickets, hostels, campervans and every amazing experience you can think of. whether you want to do some white water rafting or a scuba diving course – we’ve got you covered!

You can book tickets open-ended if you do want to have more flexibility but the sooner you can hone in on your plan the better. By booking all of your hostels, experiences and tours together you are given a great bundle rate.

Australia is a great place to live, work and travel plus you can save some money to fund your next travelling adventure! Get in touch with us and we’ll help you organise the best time of your life!!

So, you’re thinking about a working holiday visa in Australia?! That is an excellent start but don’t be put off by the many Australian working holiday myths!

You might have heard from a friend of a friend whose cousin moved to Australia in 1998 that certain aspects of the visa are true. Don’t trust the word on the grapevine (the grapevine lies!) everything you need to know about the working holiday visa can be found on our site or by asking one of us!

There are certain myths that surround the working holiday visa and we at Ultimate Travel have decided to debunk them left, right and centre!

The Government Are About to Update the Visa So It’s Two Years Automatically

This is the dream but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.

By completing your farm work, you can stay for a second year visa, but the government has no plans to update the visa regulations so the 417 visa is an automatic two year visa.

The Government continues to update the countries that can apply for a working holiday visa (Poland and Uruguay, welcome to the club!) and the visa may change in the future but it isn’t on the immediate horizon.

Keep your eyes peeled on the Department of Immigration website though, all changes will be announced there.

I Can Get More Than One Visa

ONLY if you do the farm work!

If you don’t want to do the farm work, then you’re limited to just one where working holiday visas are concerned.

With 3 months of regional work completed, you are eligible to apply for the same visa again to be used straight off the back of your first one or any time before you turn 31.

Government proposals hope to change this by allowing backpackers to take one working holiday visa before they turn 25 and another after but this is still in early stages though so isn’t on the cards for the near future.

If I Claim My Superannuation, I Can’t Come Back To Australia

If you don’t know what superannuation is, it is basically a pension that your employer has to pay into on your behalf so you lose 12% of your wages into an account that you can’t access. It is a great idea if you plan on retiring in Australia but if you are just here for a working holiday, it can be annoying.

Don’t worry though, once your visa expires and you leave the country, you can apply to get your superannuation back! A lot of people seem to think that once you’ve closed your Super account, you can’t come back to Australia and this isn’t the case.

Any employer is legally bound to pay into your Super account and if you come back to Australia on a different visa, you are fine to open up a new one and start working again. Of course, it has to be a visa that allows you to work but you’re all good to start earning once again!

I’m only a Backpacker, I won’t pay tax

This isn’t true. You’ll pay tax if you are working in Australia but you’ll be able to claim it back at the end of the tax year.

When you arrive in Australia with UltimateOz, we’ll sort out the basic things you need before you start working – namely a bank account and help with your application for a tax file number. If you are from the UK a tax file number is then same thing as your National Insurance number, from the States it is the same as your social security number.

A tax file number gives you the right to work in Australia, and more importantly, puts you on a lower tax bracket. You can work for one month without a tax file number but you’ll be taxed about 50% of your wages. Nobody wants that!

Once you’ve got your tax file number, your tax rate drops to around 29% (depending on earnings) and as mentioned earlier, you’ll be able to claim some, if not all, of your tax back at the end of the tax year in July (again, depending on how much you earn).

Got any more questions? Get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to help you out!

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!

Now that we’ve answered all of your questions concerning your regional work, it is time to help you try and find some work!

There are many options for your regional work but by far the most popular is the farming route.

If you are a skilled construction worker, that could definitely be an option for you but you will need a white card before you can get on a building site. Building work can also be a little bit sporadic so remember it is only the days you work that count if you aren’t working full-time hours.

Firstly, take a look at the Ultimate Outback Ranch package which gives you training as well as access to a host of job contacts across Australia!

The Outback Ranch course is an amazing experience that allows you to learn the ropes of farm work so that you become more attractive to employers looking for station hands.

You learn how to herd livestock, there are riding classes, lassoing and sheep shearing plus much more!

Next, you have a membership for TAW. If you arrive in Australia on one of our Ultimate adventures then you are likely to have a TAW membership included in your costs (check specific packages for more details).

TAW (or Travellers at Work) is an online job agency specifically designed for backpackers. They share an office with us at UltimateOz and are experts at finding work for backpackers in Australia!

Everything with TAW is online so head to the website to check out the jobs list before you become a member – you’ll see that there are lots of jobs all over the country and they are updated each day so make sure you keep checking the site!

Our awesome TAW representative can help you build a successful CV and cover letter and can help guide you on all things regional work (or any kind of work) related. As our site is built for backpackers, many farmers and regional employers use the site regularly to find workers so keep your eyes peeled and get in touch with TAW if you have any, more specific questions!

There is also the Harvest Guide which you can pick up from or UltimateOz shop or download here. The Harvest Guide is a government run job seeking platform which can be of use when finding farm work.

It is a nationwide organisation but can also be used by Australian’s looking for work so you may find it more difficult to find work via the Harvest Guide than the backpacker-driven TAW. Worth a shot though!

Then there are other sites such as Gumtree which can also be used to source work. If you’ve spent time in Australia, you’re probably aware of the negative reviews surrounding Gumtree and these are true to an extent.

Be careful, don’t believe everything you read and try not to be an idiot and you should be fine with Gumtree! I’ve found work using the site and nobody tried to kidnap me while I was doing it so that’s got to be a bonus! Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!!

Word of mouth is probably the best way to find regional work in Australia! Stay in touch with people that are over here, strike up conversations in hostels and see what others have done. The best thing about this is that you’re talking to someone who’s actually worked where you are going and can give you the skinny on the area and the boss!

If you’ve got family or friends (even Facebook friends that you never talk to and are probably on the way out in the next friend cull) get in touch with them and see where they did the regional work! Chances are, if they spent a lot of time there then they either loved the work, the place or the people and the feelings are probably mutual!

If you fancy a more holistic approach to the whole farm work idea and don’t want to be chasing wages WWOOFing is for you.

As a Willing Worker On an Organic Farm, you are not paid for your work but are given room and board in return for your graft. It sounds a bit rubbish but it can be really fun and the people you work with are probably going to be nicer than the average farmer because they know you aren’t getting paid.

To become a WWOOFer, you first need to buy a WWOOF book so come to the UltimateOz office and we can sort you out! The WWOOF book is full of contact details for farmers across Australia and also covers your insurance while you are working on each and every farm mentioned in the book.

Working hostels are probably the most common option for completing regional work and there are good and bad things to consider with these.

Firstly, if you’ve got the name of a working hostel do a quick Google search before you decide anything. If people are going online it is more than likely that they want to moan (no-one is bothered about writing good reviews) so bear that in mind but if there are hundreds of negative comments maybe think twice about going!

Working hostels are a great way to meet backpackers in the same situation as you, looking to get their regional work sorted and get on with their time in Australia and can be fun places to stay whilst completing some pretty boring work.

These hostels organise the work for you with farmers in the area and organise transport and accommodation and take a cut of your weekly wage.

One thing to remember with all aspects of regional work – seasons change. If you are looking at the farm side of regional work then bear in mind that crops come and go and the harvest moves right the way across and around Australia. The Harvest Guide has a great seasonal calendar which gives you an idea on what if going on in each area at what time which can help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to seasonality.

If you are looking for construction work (the second most popular option) take a look here to book onto a white card course. A white card course gives you the health and safety training that you need to work on any building site in Australia. IF you want to come to the UltimateOZ shop or get in touch with us, we can chat through all the options available.

There are many ways to find farm work for your second year visa. The important thing to remember is that you’ve got to find the work! Don’t sit back and wait for it to come to you, use as many options as you can and get ready for your time in the Outback!

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!

Awesome!

We get a lot of questions about all things regional work and wanted to lay out some of the most common ones so that people everywhere could brush up on their knowledge!

If you want to extend your stay in Australia, this is the way to do it as you can apply for the 417 visa again after you’ve completed the work. Who wouldn’t want an extra 12 months in this amazing country!?

So, without further ado, we’ll get down to brass tacks and answer some questions on regional work in Australia!

Where is Regional Australia?

Basically, imagine a bubble around Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. As long as you aren’t working within that bubble, you are in regional Australia.

The Department of Immigration gives you a handy list of all the areas that fall under regional Australia here. Make sure you check back to see if the list has been updated before you head out to your post-code of choice to complete your work.

If you complete any work in an unspecified area, even if it is specified work, it does not count as part of your regional work for a second year visa. The work has to be done in an area outlined by the Department of Immigration and in an industry specified by the Department too.

What is Specified Work?

There are five main areas of specified work, outlined by the Department of Immigration – Agriculture, Construction, Forestry and Tree Felling, Fishing and Pearling, and Mining.

If your job falls under any of these sections then you may be completing specified work. Bear in mind that all roles within these industries do not count as specified work. If you are a cook on a mine or a child-minder on a cattle station, for example, you are not completing specified work.

Do I have to do three months straight or can I break it up?

You can do either – if you want to hammer out three months straight then go for it but if you want to break up the work, travel around a little bit then that’s fine too.

Just make sure that each stop along the way is in one of the regional postcodes and counts as specified work. If you aren’t sure, get in touch with the Department of Immigration directly and they should be able to help you out.

If you do decide to break up your three months then it becomes a countdown of 88 days worked. If you opt to go for three months straight and start tomorrow, you finish in three months from that first date worked.

What Does Getting Signed Off Mean?

If you’ve spent any time in an Australian hostel, anywhere in the country, chances are you’ve heard the phrase signed off when talking about regional work. Well, what does it mean?

Put simply, when you are completing your regional work, you can download and print a government form to prove you are actually doing the work which your farmer or employer then signs for you.

The form is really straight forward and gives you a lot of handy information that can help you when you decide to do your regional work so it is definitely worth a look over and make sure that you print one off before you head to your first regional destination.

If you are already at the farm and haven’t got a form printed – don’t fret! You need to be able to prove your time living and working in regional areas so any kind of evidence helps. Whether it is a receipt from the local pub, travel tickets, bank statements that show ‘Bob’s Bananas’ has been paying you once a week for the last six weeks – everything counts as evidence.

The government form is the best kind of evidence as the farmer signs an official document. If you can’t get this document, try and get your boss to write you a bit of a reference with the dates you started and finished your regional work, the actual number of days you worked and make sure you get their Australian Business Number (ABN) as you will need this when applying for your next visa!

Actual Number of Days? What’s that? Do Weekends Count?

Actual number of days is just a posh way of asking how long you were at each regional stop you took. If you work full-time hours for the industry you are in (more than likely 40 hours a week plus, spread over five or six days) then, yes weekends do count against your total.

If you do spread out your regional work, completing a couple of weeks here and there throughout your first year in Australia then the actual number of days will become important to you. Then you are on the quest for 88 days! If you work full-time hours, Monday to Friday on a pecan farm in a regional postcode then Saturday and Sunday are included off your 88 days.

If you work Monday, Wednesday and Friday for a construction firm in Darwin then you only tick off three days from your 88.

If you work a double shift on the same day, that still only counts as one day worked so don’t be fooled into thinking if you smash out loads of hours in three days then take the next five off that they are covered in your 88!

Is There Any Way Around the Regional Work?

Legally, no there isn’t. Unless you can get sponsored by a company or the state to keep you in Australia for an extended period – the farm work is your only hope.

Don’t worry too much about it, you may hear some horror stories but it isn’t that bad. You may even enjoy the work or seeing a new side to Australia!

What Happens When I’ve Finished My Three Months Work?

If you’re anything like me, you get absolutely hammered and head for the nearest city as soon as possible!

In all seriousness, once you have finished your regional work it is time to get your second year visa!

You’ve got two options really, if you want to stay in Australia for another twelve months right after your first twelve months end you apply for your visa while you are still in Australia. You apply for your visa online so make sure you have all the documents and evidence you need before proceeding with your application.

You’re going to need an ABN number for each company you worked for, the postcode you worked in, how long you were at each place and the actual number of days you worked on each place. Once you fill out the online form, you send it to the Department of Immigration who check over it and will get back to you in the next couple of days with more information.

More often than not, the government will ok your application and your visa will start as soon as your old one ends. If the government require more evidence of your regional work then they’ll give you an address to send everything too (make sure you get photocopies before you send anything) and you will go from there.

As long as you did your farm work, you’ll have nothing to worry about. If you try and get around the system, you’re probably going to get caught and deported and you won’t be allowed back in Australia for the foreseeable future.

If you want to go home first, go and travel somewhere else or just want a break from Australia, you can apply for your visa outside of the country but you have to be outside of the country when your visa is issued. If you do this option, it is more likely that you’ll face a little bit more scrutiny than carrying over your visa so make sure you have all your evidence with you when you submit your application but also when you arrive back in Australia to start your second year.

Remember, you have to be back in Australia before you turn 31 or your visa is no longer valid. The same rules apply to your second visa as did with your first.

During my Second Year, Can I do More Farm Work for Another Visa?

No. You can do more farm work if you loved it and want to get paid to do it but you won’t be able to apply for another visa if you’ve already done it once.

Tell me your horror stories!!

Having completed my regional work, I can tell you that it wasn’t for me. I’ve met people who absolutely loved their time in regional Australia but I’m a city boy at heart and always will be!

That isn’t to say I didn’t have fun, it just wasn’t my idea of the best time in Australia! I spread my regional work over a six month period and stayed in New South Wales to complete the lot even though it is more common to head to Queensland to get the work done.

I started on a vineyard, moved onto a horse racing stud and then finished on a cattle farm – and I’d probably rank them in reverse order. The work, the people and the places got better as they went along and I ended up really enjoying my time on the cattle farm!

The vineyard was awful but that had more to do with the people than anything else (honestly, the worst people I’ve ever met so I reckon that was more unlucky than a state of things to come).

The stud was really interesting as I know nothing about horses but can now tell you a fair bit about the process of breeding race horses and the cattle farm taught me everything I’ll ever need to know about Angus beef!

You’ll see spiders, probably snakes and more weird Australian’s than you’ll know what to do with but it is definitely an experience! It isn’t something I’d rush back to but it gets you another visa and that’s all that really mattered to me.

I did some WWOOFing and it was great if you can find the right host family but I’d keep it as a last resort if you are running out of time to complete your farm work or already have enough money saved up from working in the city or from home. If you love the idea of organic farming and organic produce then it is definitely something to check out though.

A lot of people have the misguided idea that by doing their farm work they will earn a fortune. This isn’t always the case and farm work can be quite difficult to find. If you don’t put the work in and just sit around waiting for something to happen, there are another million backpackers out there that will do your job instead.

The regional work is a good way to save because there is nothing you can spend your money on but don’t turn your nose up because you are expecting $700 a week with your accommodation and food included because some guy from Birmingham told you about it at Side Bar.

At the end of it all, you are doing this for the visa so keep that in mind. It is another 12 months in a country that you obviously love (or more importantly, away from a country that you don’t) and as long as you can keep the end goal in sight you’ll be fine!

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!

Australia is famous for its glorious beaches, amazing people and incredibly deadly animals.

Whether it is a snake, spider shark or croc, pretty much every animal in Australia wants you dead. Except for Quokka’s – they’re cool.

On a recent trip to Darwin, one lucky tourist was able to take some incredibly rare photos of a 5.5m crocodile munching on a bull shark.

Just let that sink in. 5.5 metres of dinosaur WITH A SHARK IN ITS MOUTH!

Have a look at some of the pictures for yourself – they are truly stunning!

The crocodile, known locally as Brutus, is an absolute beast! According to those on the boat, they had seen him earlier on in the cruise lounging around and as the boat trip returned through the Adelaide River they saw him with something in his mouth.

The captain slowly took the boat closer and it soon became apparent that the crocodile was grappling with a bull shark!

The more details the better the story – Brutus only has three legs after losing one of his front pair in a fight…apparently with a shark! Brutus may have lost that round but he got his own back last week!

Darwin is an amazing place to visit during your time in Australia. You can take river cruises similar to the one with Brutus or you can jump in the water with a giant crocodile at Crocosauras Cove!

One of our travel gurus Holly was able to visit Darwin recently and absolutely loved her time there and was brave enough to take to the water in the ‘Cage of Death’ and absolutely loved it!!

If you’d rather see the losing half of the battle you have to head to South Australia for the chance to cage dive with great white sharks!

Both experiences are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see the biggest, scariest animals in Australia.

If you get the chance to head to Darwin, it is highly unlikely that you’ll spot a crocodile and a shark having a fight but it is possible. As long as neither of them decide to start eating you…it’s a bonus!

When you come to Australia, you don’t just want to take the standard photos.

“Here I am with the Opera House.”

“That’s me next to a kangaroo/holding a koala.”

“I don’t remember taking that photo, I think goon was involved.”

The bog-standard snaps of your amazing Australian adventure just will not cut it, you’ve got to go the extra mile and these seven natural wonders of Australia are the perfect places to pack an album, and learn something about yourself in the process.

Australia is one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. When many think of the country, they see red dirt, desert and not much else but Australia offers so much more, so much in fact that keeping this list to seven places is nearly impossible!

There are several, incredible parts of the Australian landscape that couldn’t make the list. From the Pinnacles desert of Western Australia, as the rock formations rise out of the sand, to the pink lake of Lake Hillier.

Kangaroo Island in South Australia is another amazing place. Packed with native species such as fur seals, koalas, platypus and (obviously) kangaroos, the island is a haven for nature off the southern Australian coast.

The Bungle Bungles of the Northern Territory are as cool as they sound. A crazy rock formation in that makes the ground look like it is a moving wave – it is another site not to be missed.

So, what did make our list of the seven natural wonders of Australia? Without further ado….

1) The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

It had to be number one. It is the largest living thing on Earth and stretches nearly the entire coast of Queensland. The Reef is home to thousands of species of fish, mammals and coral and is one of the best diving sites in the world.

The Great Barrier Reef is accessible from several stops on the Queensland coast with Cairns being the easiest spot to take a dive or snorkel trip. A full day on the reef is a must-do, and if you get the chance to scuba dive – even if you have never done it before – you have to give it a go!

2) Uluru, Northern Territory

Another must on any list of natural wonders in Australia, Uluru is one of the most sacred sites in Australia for many Aboriginal groups and really is a sight to behold.

The biggest monolith in the world is one of the lasting images of Australia and a trip to Uluru offers an outback experience that is totally unique to Australia.

A trip to Uluru has to be taken for a minimum of three days and the longer you can spend there the better as The Rock is only one of the amazing natural sights in this area of the Northern Territory. You need to see Uluru at either sunrise or sunset (preferably both) so bear that in mind on any trip you are thinking of booking and be prepared for your jaw to hit the floor!

One of our travel legends Max recently visited Uluru and you can read all about his trip here.

3) Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

About a fifth of Tasmania is World Heritage listed by the United Nations and over 40% of the island state is National Park or Wilderness. Tasmania is pretty much the epitome of natural beauty.

It is tough to pick just one place in Tasmania to make this list – the Bay of Fires is an awe-inspiring coastline, Wineglass Bay is  world-class and the Franklin River is an adventure in itself – but Cradle Mountain makes the list.

Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park looks like it has come straight from Middle Earth by way of Westeros and it is the start or end point of one of the monster hikes of Australia – the Overland Track. While it may not be everyone’s idea of fun, a 65km hike over a mountain sounds a little too strenuous to me, the Overland Track attracts 8000 hikers a year from the world over. If you don’t fancy a five day slog, there are much smaller walks, with awe-inspiring lookouts to take your fancy.

The pictures of Tasmania speak a thousand words and if natural beauty, great food and wine and a whole heap of animals are your thing – speak to one of our travel experts and book yourself a trip!

4) Daintree Rainforest, Queensland

The most ancient rainforest in the world, the Daintree of Far North Queensland is another spot of beauty around Cairns. A rainforest is a strange thing if you’ve never been to one and definately something worth checking out if you are planning a trip to Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef.

Giant trees and lush rainforest skirt the coast with crazy animals like the very rare Southern Cassowary calling the Daintree home – it feels like something out of Avatar!

Port Douglas, an hour north of Cairns, is the perfect starting place to explore the Daintree and many tour companies offer day or overnight trips to the rainforest where you can see some of the rarest creatures in Australia!

5) Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

One of the most exquisite and untouched areas of Australia, Kakadu National Park, is like another world!

The size of a country in itself, Kakadu is a maze of waterfalls, crocodiles and awesome views and has to be seen to be believed!

Trips leave from Darwin and we recently sent one of our finest travel experts to explore the area and she confirmed what we have long though – Kakadu is not to be missed.

6) Twelve Apostles, Victoria

One of the finest road trips in the world can be found on the Victorian coast along the Great Ocean Road and the Twelve Apostles are the highlight of the trip.

Just off the craggy Victorian coast there are actually only eight apostles left so get to Victoria quick before anymore fall! Erosion made the 45m rocky stacks and it is also felling them with no-one knowing how long the other stacks will last.

Several tour companies operate in the Area or you can speak with one of our experts about hiring a campervan and touring the Great Ocean Road with your mates!

7) Fraser Island, Queensland

Ah, Fraser Island. Every backpackers favourite adventure on the East Coast.

The biggest sand island in the world is an incredible place to visit, a big slice of wilderness just off the Queensland coast and a rite of passage for any backpacker.

Whether you stay overnight or just for the day, Fraser Island cannot be missed. The beautiful freshwater lakes of the island, and the crystal clear Eli Creek are highlights and four wheel driving around the island is an adrenalin rush like no other.

If you are camper-vanning down the coast, you can securely park your van before exploring the island as only four wheel drive vehicles are allowed on the island, you’ll find out why as soon as you arrive!

Keep your eyes peeled for dingoes as they roam the island and make sure your camera has a full-battery – you’ll take a lot of photos!

If you want to book any trips to anywhere on the list (and you should want to book all of them!), get in touch with one of our Ultimate Travel gurus and we help you with all your travel needs!

Where is your favourite natural spot in Australia? Crazy for the Blue Mountains or Phillip Island? Let us know in the comments below!

Australia has something for everyone, whether you want to relax on its idyllic sandy beaches, quad bike through the Outback or dive with Great White sharks…the options are endless.

So before you embark on your trip down under, you should ensure that you’ve packed all the essentials that you will need for your trip. As Australia is a modern and westernised country, you will have no issues finding items such as toiletries and even clothing, so don’t worry too much if you leave something behind!

We know that packing all your belongings into a backpack is daunting, stressful … not to mention difficult! (It just won’t fit!!) So, in case you’re wondering what to pack, we’ve put together a list of what we think will be important when you get here, to help you get started:

Sun Protection & Aftercare

This one is a no-brainer, Australia is well-known for its scorching hot temperatures and the sun can be unforgiving during the summer, especially in the Outback! Make sure you pack some sun cream to get you started and some after sun, preferably with Aloe Vera, to soothe your skin. If you run out, you should have no problems picking some more up in one of the stores over there.

A handy little tip … put your after sun in the fridge if you can, it feels so nice on your skin after a day in the sun!

Insect Repellent

Australia may not carry a Malaria risk, but mosquitoes are still a problem that plagues many travellers. And unfortunately, it is not just pesky mosquitoes that are looking to make life uncomfortable for you during your trip.

Sand-flies are also prevalent in Australia and are often found at beaches, lakes and swamps; these little critters can also cause pain and discomfort if they manage to bite you. Packing an insect repellent with DEET can help to repel mosquitoes, sand-flies and other insects, helping you to avoid uncomfortable insect bites.

If you are unlucky enough to attract these creatures, we can absolutely sympathise! There is a really good relief cream called “Itch Eze”, found in most chemists … tried and tested by yours truly and it’s the best we’ve found so far!

Australia Travel Adapter

If you want to be able to use appliances and recharge your mobile phone, camera and other electrical items, an Australia travel adapter is an absolute must have item for your packing list! These adapters have two slanted flat pins, which form an upside down ‘V’ shape.

It is better to get these in your home country as they will not cost as much as if you were to buy them in Australia!

Dry Bags/Zip Lock Bags

This one is for the water sport enthusiasts and those who plan on spending a lot of time at the beach. Storing your belongings in a dry bag or zip lock bag will help keep water and sand off your stuff. (Honestly, it gets everywhere!!) Dry bags are great for storing wet swimsuits separately from the rest of your gear and zip lock bags can be used for items such as phones, documents and guide books that you want to protect from spillages and wet items in your bag.

Travel Towel

This is a popular item on many packing lists, the quick drying, compact and lightweight alternative to standard towels from home. Travel towels take up a fraction of the packing space of a normal towel and they dry much quicker. Some towels on the market also feature a special anti-bacterial coating, which helps to prevent odours from developing when the towel is damp.

Travel towels come in a range of sizes. For Australia, we would recommend packing a giant or body sized towel, so you can use it at the beach as well as back at your hostel.

Photocopies of Important Documents

You should always photocopy your passport and other important travel documents before you leave, as you’ll be in a bit of a mess if you somehow manage to lose them (it’s easily done!). The copies should be stored somewhere different to where you’re keeping the originals. The process of obtaining an Emergency Travel Document can take days and will also tap into your travel fund!

See our past blog for tips on other things to do before you go travelling here

Camera

Another obvious choice for your packing list. You should never travel without a camera, as they help to capture your experiences, so that you can look back on them once you’ve returned home. If you’re travelling with your laptop, you can also upload your pictures to Facebook and other social media platforms, so family and friends can see what you’ve been up to in Oz…and most likely be seething with jealousy!

We would always recommend that you store this in your hand luggage … you don’t want to miss a photo op!

Locks

As with any travel destination, locks for your backpack or luggage are a must. Many padlocks on the market are designed to fit through most luggage zips and are a great way to prevent zips from opening in transit and for keeping thieves out of your bag.

If you get one that has a code, rather than a lock, you won’t need to worry about losing your key – nightmare scenario avoided!

Hopefully, this will give you somewhere to start when packing for your new adventure! Got any questions, (packing related or otherwise)? Give our UltimateOz team a shout, you can email us or pop us a post on Facebook and we’ll be happy to help!

Australia has something for everyone, whether you want to relax on its idyllic sandy beaches, quad bike through the Outback or dive with Great White sharks…the options are endless. So before you embark on your trip down under, you should ensure that you’ve packed all the essentials that you will need for your trip. As […]

So you’ve booked your Ultimate Thailand trip and are now eagerly awaiting your arrival! It can be daunting travelling to a new place, especially if you’re going alone, and it’s sometimes impossible to decide what essentials to pack. I’ve put together an Ultimate Thailand checklist of top priorities:

Ensure your passport has 6 months validity from date of travel: You won’t be able to travel if your passport is due to expire within 6 months. Check whether you are eligible for a free visa on arrival, read more information here.

Travel Insurance: No matter how prepared you are, things can always go wrong. Travel insurance is essential for our tour. Check these guys out for quotes.

Take two photocopies of your passport/ticket/insurance details and other important documents, leave one set with someone at home and take a copy with you.

Insect Repellent/medicines: We don’t travel to any areas of a high risk of Malaria with Ultimate Thailand, but as with most hot climates there can be lots of pesky mosquitoes to contend with. Pack a high strength mosquito repellent to keep them at bay. The most common illnesses backpackers face when travelling to South East Asia are those from contaminated food and water. Be smart with what you are eating and drinking, and pack some medicine just in case.

Unlocked mobile phone & charger: Thai sim cards are available all over Thailand, and they are super cheap. If you are staying for a little while I’d suggest getting a sim card, they have a great data allowance so you can chat to your friends back home and avoid those huge data roaming charges.

Essential clothes/toiletries: Pack lightly, Thailand is hot and it’s easier to get around with a small backpack. Take lightweight t-shirts, shorts & swimsuits. Ladies, if you are planning to visit the temples in Bangkok you will need to cover your shoulders and knees. Anything you will need is easy to buy and super cheap in the markets in Bangkok. There are also laundry facilities pretty much everywhere and like all things in Thailand, it’s cheap!

A smile: After all Thailand is the land of smiles with friendly and helpful locals.

If you have any questions, please get in contact. But in the meantime, put your feet up and dream of beach parties and paradise on the trip of a lifetime!