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STA Travel Blog

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

Why you should start your Australian Working Holiday Visa in Queensland

So you’ve got your Australian Working Holiday Visa approved – yay! Living the Aussie dream is now within your reach. Now you just need to decide when and, more importantly, where to work.

Working in Australia can become the highlight of your trip, rather than just being a means to more travels. If you pick the right place to do it, you don’t need to sacrifice the travels or the beach time for your jobs. Especially not in Queensland, where there is a choice of big cities, backpacker hotspots and iconic landmarks to explore.

Here’s why you should consider starting your Aussie working holiday in the sunshine state…

Always take the weather with you

The word ‘Australia’ conjures up three key images: sun, sea, and sand. It’s very likely that these things were what persuaded you to do a working holiday in Oz in the first place. That and the chance of meeting your very own Liam Hemsworth or Margot Robbie.

*Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Is the reality a different story? In Queensland, it’s not – at least not with the sun, sea and sand bit (unfortunately we can’t promise you Liam and Margot). Australia’s sunshine state has some of the best weather odds in the whole country. Coastal towns and cities like Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Airlie Beach and Townsville have the benefits of lots of jobs plus beaches galore. Early morning surfs – check. Lunchbreak strolls on the beach – check. Healthy dose of vitamin D – check. Sunseekers can rest easy in the knowledge that when they aren’t earning some decent dollar, they’ll be livin’ it up in the sunshine.

Best jobs in the world

We know your trip isn’t meant to be all werk, werk, werk, werk, werk, but the job you get on your working holiday will have a big impact on your overall experience. Hospitality jobs are the go-to for most backpackers in Australia, but if you’re not a fan of the unsociable hours or on clearing plates, Queensland offers heaps of interesting jobs.

Fruit picking in Australia is almost a rite of passage, and farm work makes up a big portion of the jobs in Queensland. From avocados and mangoes, to coffee and grapes, to find regional work, head to the Atherton Tablelands, Bundaberg or Stanthorpe. Plus, if you can’t hack the heat out in the fields, you can still find jobs indoors packing, rather than picking.

With 5 out the 19 World Heritage listed areas in Australia, Queensland is the obvious choice for jobs in conservation.

Looking for life on the open water? Lots of lucky travellers find jobs working on boats, based in buzzing places like Cairns, Airlie Beach and Gold Coast. If you’ve got your PADI, then drop your CV into the local dive companies of Cairns, or offer your services to the fishing boats and chartered yachts. These are the kinds of jobs that can make your Aussie experience more special.

Other jobs available include au pair or nanny work, jobs in the thriving tourism industry and various sports clubs.

The work travel balance

Of course, you haven’t gone all the way to Australia just to work. Queensland is home to some of the best attractions in Australia, so you can tick off your travel list in between shifts. Here’s an example of where you can base yourself for visiting the top iconic Aussie hotspots:

  • The Great Barrier Reef – work in Cairns
  • The Whitsundays – work in Airlie Beach
  • Daintree rainforest and Cape Tribulation – work in Cairns
  • Fraser Island or whale watching – work in Hervey Bay
  • Magnetic Island – work in Townsville
  • Surfers Paradise – work in Brisbane or Gold Coast
  • Noosa Everglades – work in Sunshine Coast
queensland whitsundays travel

*Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland

In terms of nightlife, it’s easy to maintain your ‘work hard play hard’ mantra, when you’re working in buzzing cities like Cairns, Brisbane and Gold Coast. But even in smaller places like Airlie Beach or Hervey Bay, you’ll still have a steady stream of travellers passing through, bringing with them the 241 drinks promos and big nights out. Which brings us to our final point…

Make lots of #TFFs (travel friends for life, of course)

Most of Queensland’s towns and cities are geared towards backpackers, making it an easy place to get out there and make new mates. The constant flow of travellers through Queensland’s hotspots, means that it’s so easy to buddy up with others who want to share a campervan or car, to explore the East Coast or the Outback. Just take a look at any of the hostel kitchen noticeboards to find people who want to get involved.


queensland travel

If you still need a little more inspiration on why Queensland is a great place to have as your base for your working holiday, check out our Queensland destination guide here.