What do Sydney, Uluru, Kakadu, Fraser Island, the Great Barrier Reef and Bingara all have in common?

July 16, 2009

They are all back packer “destinations” in the eyes of young Europeans as the following article testifies.

As casual jobs in the UK and US dry up,
head Down Under to raise money for a gap year.

As the casual jobs young people traditionally used to raise funds for travel dry up due to the credit crunch, volunteer travel specialists i-to-i have come up with a great solution to the problem of how to fund a gap year – do it while you’re there! Their fantastic YEAR-LONG working holidays in Australia combine experiencing life in Australia’s stunning outback for a week, either on conservation projects or on a ranch, with expert help in getting a job Down Under to fund even more adventures.

Australia is the perfect choice for this kind of trip: while the UK and US are suffering in the current recession, Australia’s economy is still holding up, meaning enthusiastic travellers who want to raise money to explore this incredible country are generally able to find work.

Both i-to-i’s Working holiday and conservation volunteer experience and Working holiday and outback ranch experience start in Sydney – a glamorous cocktail of legendary surf beaches, buzzing street cafes and hedonistic night-life. After they touch down in this amazing city, travellers are given a week to recover from their jetlag as they relax in a funky city centre hostel, which is just minutes from everything Sydney has to offer – including the iconic Opera House, Harbour Bridge and great beaches.

In between sightseeing, travellers get plenty of expert help in finding that all-important first job – they’re set up with a one-to-one meeting with a job specialist, given help with sorting out tax file numbers and bank accounts, and have 12 months’ access to a job placement service. There’s also a mail holding service, essential for getting that first pay cheque!

Depending on how travellers want to spend their year Down Under, they can head off to take part in their chosen project in the beautiful wilderness of the outback at any point during their trip – after their first week of getting settled in Sydney, as a break after a few months of working, or even right at the end of their year in Australia.

Those taking part in i-to-i’s outback ranch experience are given a unique chance to discover Australia’s outback lifestyle while training as a ranch hand on a busy cattle and sheep station near Bingara. Travellers live like Aussie cowboys (or cowgirls!) as they get involved in all kinds of wild activities, including horse riding, whip-cracking, sheep shearing and roping! Travellers can even use the skills they gain on the ranch to get a job as a Jackaroo or Jillaroo for the rest of their trip.

Meanwhile, those who want to help preserve Australia’s beautiful natural environment can choose to volunteer for a week at one of 20 conservation projects across Australia on the conservation volunteer experience. Not only will travellers be able to see some of Australia’s hidden natural beauties, they’ll be able to help conserve them too, as they get involved in anything from tree planting to habitat restoration.

What’s great about these trips is that they give people the chance to not only immerse themselves in the laid-back Aussie way of live as they volunteer, but also to fund further travel around Australia as they work: people often get jobs for five or six months to raise some cash, then spend the rest of their time in-country experiencing some of Australia’s highlights, including the mystical beauty of Uluru, Kakadu National Park, Fraser Island’s gorgeous white beaches and the incredible Great Barrier Reef.

Alison Doody, 24, who did just that, said: “I worked as a customer services officer in Sydney for 5 months, ensuring I had a good bit of money to do all the things I wanted up the coast, snorkelling, scuba diving, a sky dive, white water rafting, Fraser Island, sailing the Whitsundays etc…All in all I have to say that the lifestyle in Australia is so relaxed, the people are friendly, and there seems to be a genuine respect between backpackers and locals.”

…and its great to think that our local businesses like John and Cathy Wade’s Jackaroo-Jillaroo camp and the friendliness of our community members makes us worthy of being included in this illustrious list.

Rick Hutton – President.
Ph: 0428 255380