In the inaccurately-named Nunnery Hotel in Melbourne. young British
travellers surround new arrivals with eager demands for news from home. ‘ls
Arthur back with Pauline'?‘. ‘ls Alf Roberts dead yet‘.". ‘What’s happening in [trunks-trial" The Brits abroad are welcoming one of their own.
We‘re used to the phenomenon of Australians in Europe. whereby a substantial percentage of Antipodean youth spend a year or so trawling the capitals of the Northern Hemisphere and hogging all the best barjobs. Less well-documented is the reverse trip. yet increasing numbers of Britons are pencilling-in Australia as a priority on their round-the-world itinerary.
lts attractions total far more than its obvious convenience as a refuelling stop after the rigours of south-east Asia. A predominantly English- speaking liberal democracy in the endless sun is a natural habitat for the weary backpacker. and European travellers have become a familiar type in the bars and clubs of Melbourne and Sydney. Pubs offer backpacker discounts. budget hostels abound. and one sleazy Sydney hostelry even hosts the ‘Backpacker Olympics' in which Swedish girls are plied with drink and
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persuaded to engage in topless bicycle races around the bar. In general though, Australia welcomes the huge influx of young travellers and makes efforts to cater to their needs. Exclusive resorts are rare and the emphasis is on accessible and ﬂexible tourism. ‘Australia is one of the best places to go for a budget traveller.‘ says i Liz Potter of the Australian Toun'st Commission. ‘You can live there very cheaply by comparison with western Europe or the UK.‘ Potter estimates that the average young traveller will spend around $40 (£20) a day. ‘That’s about ten or twelve ‘ dollars on accommodation. ten on travel and the rest on grog. Backpackers don’t like spending much on accommodation but will pay more
C l I I ' G Take on Australia - from the breathtaking Barrier Reef to the tropical
wilderness of the rainforests. From the stark beauty of the Red Centre to the fascrnating southern highlights and Tasmania. nobody
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Diving down under/courtesy oi STA Travel for things like ajoyride in a helicopter over the Bungle-Bungles. The tourist industry responds to travellers on a budget. Even ifyou don‘t want to take a scuba course on the Great Barrier Reef. you can still take a trip out on a glass-bottomed boat to look at it.’
British visitors is the one year working visa. which allows sun-blistered
backpackers the opportunity to
; replenish their dwindling cash with
3 some temporary employment. ‘People
. take on casual jobs in Sydney or
Melbourne.’ says Potter. ‘then move up to Cairns in Queensland and work there
for a while. Basically you have to go to
i the towns and centres where you might get casual employment. You have to go
where seasonal work and the tourist
industry are quite strong.’
And where there just might be fellow Brits with hot news about that Holdswonh wedding. (Sydney Harbour-Bridge)
V PASSPORT PROFILE
Name Emma Smith
Length of trip A year
‘I decided where l wanted to go before I left and bought a £ l 200 ticket which covered those places. It wasn‘t the cheapest ticket but I thought “l‘m only going to do this once”. I could have worked in Australia but decided not to. I‘m not sure how much I spent because I put a lot of it on a credit card. but it was definitely less than £2000.
i set out with two friends but we split up quite quickly when we realised we wanted to do different things. It was very easy to meet people doing the same thing and nobody thinks you don‘t have any friendsjust because
; you‘re on your own. 1 did have a few The most important piece of paper for
problems as a woman travelling alone. particularly in India where they're not geared up to tourists. I don‘t think I would go back there because I was ill the whole time!
China was amazing — it‘s like stepping back in time and culturally it was so different to anything else 1 came across. My advice to travellers is not to let the hassles get to you. but it can be a bit lonely at times. Also I took far too much luggage and ended up throwing half of it away!‘
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