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STA Travel Blog

Hello Australia!

Meet Pippa. Former STA Travel Customer Service Manager, European travel addict, and the manager of our new Working Holiday Heroes in Australia. (Essentially, the nice people in our Backpacker by STA Travel stores who help you find your feet, hug you if you’re homesick, and help explain what-the-hell-a-tax-file-number is). Having just migrated permanently Down Under from the UK, we figured who better to talk us through the whole Australia working holiday thing.

The whole visa thing. Is it as complicated as it sounds and when should people be applying?

Unlike the scramble for Canadian work visas each year, Australian working holiday visas aren’t limited to a certain number, so you can apply at any point. But really, the sooner the better to avoid a last-minute meltdown! From the date you get your visa accepted (and remember, you have to be outside of Australia at this point, so you can’t go into Oz on a tourist visa and then change your mind), you have 12 months to enter the country.

The process can be as quick as one week, but can take up to a few months if you need to provide more information to the embassy. The guys at STA Travel in the UK can help you get everything set up.

What’s the oldest you can be to get a working holiday visa?

Currently, it’s 18 to 30 years old. As in, you have to get your visa accepted before your 31st birthday. However, there has been talk about the Australian government changing this to 35 years old, so watch this space…

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The best East and West coast Australia road trip itineraries

140 mile long beaches and 500 national parks. Endless reef on all sides, and over two and a half million square miles of outback. Australia is scary-huge. You’d be forgiven for thinking the only way to see it is on a backpacking odyssey stretching anywhere between a few months and a few years.

Wrong! You’d be amazed at how far some of us lot at STA Travel have managed to get in two weeks with our own set of wheels and a sense of curiosity driving us forth.

If you’ve got a set timeframe to work with, your best bet for doing and seeing exactly what you want in Australia is definitely by hiring your own camper. (Psst – its hella cheap, too).

That’s why we thought we’d put together these two ultimate itineraries that’ll suit roadtrippers who are heading Down Under for a few weeks of holiday, or are perhaps taking time off from the ‘work’ part of their year-long working holiday to see some of the country. They include all the highlights of Australia’s east and west coasts, and start in the hubs of Sydney and Perth, where you’ll be able to pick up your trusty camper.

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How to be a Great Barrier Reef Warrior

This month we teamed up with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef to offer one of our travellers a once-in-a-lifetime internship to work on this unique eco-system. Here’s why we need your help.

We’ve all seen Finding Nemo. If you were a fish, the Great Barrier Reef would be the Beverly Hills of ocean real estate. However, this 2,300km long underwater natural wonder has been having a hard time of it of late: under threat from climate change, water quality and crown of thorns starfish.

As self-proclaimed globetrotters, we’re not only all about exploring planet earth but when Mother Nature offers us so much why not give a little back? Here’s four ways how you can get involved both home and away…

 

 

1. Go see it.

Yes, tourism can actually help aid the conservation of the reef. The money spent on tours to this magical marine park makes an important contribution towards its management and protection. What’s more, tour operators and activities are regulated and kept in environmental check. They’re only allowed to venture into the marine park when these high standards are met.

So snorkel, scuba and even observe the reef from the air knowing you’re not only experiencing one the world’s largest coral reef system, but you’re also doing your bit to conserve this underwater paradise.

2. Use your voice.

We understand not everyone can hop on a plane destined for Australia (if you can, why are you still here?), so get involved from the comfort of your sofa. We’re a unique generation of digitally connected nomads who, when we shout online, someone on the other side of the world can hear. So why not use this to yours and our good pal Planet Earth’s advantage by joining a reef conservation group or charity and even telling your friends about it too?

3. Choose greener

Fact: Only 7% of the natural resources we take are actually then re-used again. Not only should we be making an extra effort to re-use and reduce our own waste, do a little research and choose brands that are making the effort to become more sustainable, support environmental projects and help reduce climate change.

4. Get involved

Go one step further and support the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef – a social movement dedicated to protecting the reef and sharing its story. This year, we partnered with these turtly awesome, planet-saving humans to offer one of our travellers a once-in-a-lifetime internship to get hands-on and work with them on the reef. You can hear about their story here > . And if you’re feeling inspired, get in touch with the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef to see how you can help.

So there you have it. Four ways to make Mr. Attenborough proud and keep this underwater hot spot thriving with marine life. Want to find out all the places you can visit the Great Barrier Reef? Read more here >

4 ways to get down with the locals in New Zealand

Want more than just a whistle-stop tour of New Zealand’s tourist attractions? Why not take your journey to a new level and get down with the locals!

New Zealand provides a copious amount of bewildering backdrops, inviting culture, flourishing forests, delightful people and second to none road trips. All of this also allows for social interaction and a scrapbook full of perfect, harmonious memories. So seek out a deeper and more meaningful interaction with New Zealand and its people as you get involved with the environment and those adventurous Kiwis.

A post shared by Yukari Mellish (@yucacarina) on Feb 28, 2017 at 11:02pm PST

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8 turtle-y awesome reasons to volunteer in Costa Rica

Cute baby turtles? Check. Sunshine? Check. AH-mazing beaches? Check. Tempted? We thought so…

1. Nursing baby turtles

A post shared by Katie (@sandskater333) on

You’ll get to play parent and hang with the baby turtles, caring for them at the hatchery before releasing them into the wild. Cue warm and fuzzy feeling. Continue reading