Hannah Summerfield, 23 from Coventry, recently returned from a gap year of a lifetime on Work Australia. Check out her story!
I graduated from university in July 2009 with an empty gap year ahead of me before I moved down to London. None of my friends were really in the same position as me and I found the idea of going travelling completely alone a bit daunting. I was told about Bunac by a previous participant and I knew straight away that Work Australia was perfect for me; it allows you the freedom to work and travel where you want, but gives you a support network and (most importantly) friends by the time you arrive!
I applied for the January 2010 departure literally with days to spare before the 10 week deadline – I think I was the last person in our group to squeeze on! Despite the short notice, BUNAC made everything so easy; I really had no idea what I was doing but their information was so comprehensive it didn’t matter and everything ran very smoothly.
We flew out to Sydney via 3 days in Hong Kong – an amazing experience that was all organised for us, with tons of time to bond. By the time we arrived in Sydney it already felt like arriving with friends, and for the first couple of weeks the vast majority of us stayed together and explored the city while we decided what to do next. The BUNAC office in Sydney were incredibly helpful, providing travel, work and accommodation advice, and free internet!
Come February, I headed up off the East Coast with a couple of others from the group. After 10 days we hit Byron Bay, which became my home for the next three months. Byron is the ultimate backpacker haven; stunning, unspoilt, amazingly chilled, but genuinely the most fun you could ever have due to the incredible long-term backpacker community. A friend and I both picked up work doing promo for a travel shop and working at a hostel – our new home and the friends we made there became like family.
Towards the end of May we left Byron and completed the rest of the East Coast up to Cairns – driving jeeps across the 75 mile beach on Fraser Island, sailing the Whitsunday Islands, diving the Great Barrier Reef, skydiving, visiting the rainforest from Cairns... Amazing experience after amazing experience – the East Coast has it all.
I came home in July, via 3 weeks in New Zealand – another totally different but brilliant adventure.
I had 6 fantastic months away, the perfect mixture of work and travel, and totally stress-free thanks to BUNAC!
Want an Oz adventure of your own? Find out more about Work Australia
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