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STA Travel Blog

Travel Expert Laura Shares the Story of her Adventure Learning to Surf in Byron Bay, New South Wales

This November, a group of our lucky Travel Experts headed off on a trip to New South Wales, Australia. Laura McLeay, from STA Travel Edinburgh, shares her experience of the groups experience learning to surf at Byron Bay.

Australia, Australia, Australia – it’s one in a million. After touching down at Sydney airport it strangely doesn’t feel like the 21 hours on a plane that it take to get here from the UK. Australia has so much to offer and I’ve been selling trips here for years, so I knew we were all in for an amazing time over the next couple of weeks. My own personal highlight, was a trip from Sydney to Byron Bay at to a place called Spot X with the wonderful guys at Mojo Surf. Hopping on a Greyhound bus at 7am from Sydney, we hit Spot X at 3pm, having napped and nattered on the bus the drive went past quickly. However like all long bus journeys (and there are a fair few of them to be had in Australia) it makes things a lot easier to deal with when you know that, after getting off the bus, you’re going to be presented with a view straight from Robinson Crusoe…

Getting ready to start surfing!

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5 Festive Havens Where it’s Possible to Escape Christmas

Do they know it’s Christmas time at all? Well yes, most probably. But ‘they’ would rather just chill out on the beach, play with elephants, or eat fried chicken. Sound good? Come join them!

If you’re sick of the sight of fairy lights, bored of hearing Christmas songs on the radio and have had enough of your nearest and dearest’s Christmas jumper, consider spending next year in a place where you can curl up, hide and let Christmas pass you by. Here are a selection of festive havens where it’s possible to forget that Christmas even exists at all!

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High Five… Japan!

West meets east in this fascinating country filled with diverse landscapes, massive cities, incredible traditions and thousands of years of culture waiting to be discovered.

We’re assuming the epic metropolis of Tokyo is on your list (why wouldn’t it be?!) so we’ve left it out, but there’s much more to Japan than its capital. Here’s our pick of 5 other awesome highlights Japan has to offer.

Our Favourite Five Experiences in Japan


Kyoto is not only a buzzing city (1.5 million people and growing) it’s also the cultural centre of Japan and a brilliant place to get to grips with the fascinating imperial history of the islands. Kyoto actually means ‘capital city’ and it served as one for over a thousand years leaving it chock full of shrines, temples, gardens, palaces and the ancient Geisha district.

If you happen to be in Kyoto in mid July you’ll have a chance to witness the Gion Matsuri parade – a large procession of traditional floats – some of which can weigh up to 12 tonnes – that makes their way through the centre of the city.

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A Dummies Guide to Working in New Zealand

Do you want to grab hold of your life and give it a thorough shake? Do you want to start planning the kind of adventure that could end up changing you as a person and give you memories that will last for the rest of your life? Then consider a working holiday, more specifically, consider a working holiday in New Zealand.

This is quite possibly the most beautiful place in the world, but also, the most action packed. Don’t be fooled by it’s size, New Zealand packs a serious punch when it comes to adventures and working holiday opportunities. So the only thing you need to worry about is deciding which awesome corner of the country to base yourself in.

We’ve produced this handy guide to help you with those frequently asked questions about working holidays in New Zealand, read it through, soak it up, and you will be well on your way to your own adventure.

Take a break from the norm and take the plunge on a working holiday in New Zealand.

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Ask the Experts: Help me Choose my Next Trip Working with Animals!

Every week, we ask you, our travel loving blog readers, to send us your questions for our passionate Travel Experts, and this week, we get Claire from STA Travel Brighton talking about two of her favourite things – dolphins and beautiful beaches – a match made in heaven!

The question in, errrr, question, comes from Joanna from Kent:

I’m crazy about wildlife! I’ve already been on safari in Africa, to the jungles of Borneo, volunteered with elephants in Thailand and I’ve just got back from an incredible trip working with turtles in Costa Rica, so I’m looking for inspiration for my next trip – where would you suggest I head to to for my next animal related travel experience? Joanna, Kent.

Sounds like you’ve had some pretty incredible experiences already Joanna – but there are still plenty more options out there for you! Lets see what Claire suggests…

Spend your days enjoying the surroundings in Fiji.

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