Gap Year Programs in Australia
Guide to gap years in Australia
Australia has long been a popular gap year destination for gappers. In addition to having a fantastic working holiday visa that allows citizens of several countries to work legally in the country, Oz is full of natural wonders and lively cities.
Whether you're trying to break into the travel world, work an international gig, or want more adventure in your life, a gap year in Australia is sure to meet your travel goals.
Gap year ideas in Australia
Whatever your gap year goals, Australia has plenty of gap year program options to choose from.
If you want hands-on experience while in Australia, consider joining a volunteer program during your gap year. Link up with fun and rewarding wildlife conservation projects in the rainforest of North Queensland, work with older adults, tutor children, or join a local gardening project. You can also volunteer with local charities and NGOs in Australia.
Perhaps one of Australia's biggest draws for gappers is the opportunity to live and work legally in the country on a working holiday visa. Available to people aged 18 to 30, the Australian working holiday visa allows US citizens to work and travel the country for up to one year. This visa can be renewed two more times for a total of three years.
Typically, these gap year jobs are in hospitality, retail, tourism, or agriculture but you can apply for any position you’re qualified for!
If you love kids and want to spend your gap year getting to know an Australian family, au pairing in Australia could be a great option. Au pairs are responsible for taking care of the children and doing light housework but they're not nannies. As an au pair, you will be part of the family, eating meals and traveling with your hosts and their kids. Room and board along with a monthly stipend are part of the benefits you receive as an au pair in Australia.
Doing an internship while on your gap year in Australia is a unique experience that will make your resume stand out. International experience is sought after in today's market, and interning in Australia offers interns the opportunity to show employers that they’re flexible and confident when working in a new environment.
If you don’t want to be tied down during your gap year, many internship providers can match you with positions as short as 6-10 weeks and allow you to customize your internship if you’re a student. Many internships offer academic credit as well.
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a program that provides you with room and board in exchange for a set number of hours helping on an organic farm project. The type of work you do varies by the individual farm but the WWOOF Australia website allows you to search for available opportunities and apply directly based on your interests. You can undertake a variety of duties such as caring for farm animals, mending fences and chicken coops, or harvesting organic fruits and vegetables.
Since WWOOF Australia is a work exchange, there is no compensation and you won’t need a work permit. Most WWOOFers complete their service while on a tourist visa or a working holiday visa.
For the adventurers at heart, Australia offers plenty of fun activities to enrich your gap year. You can learn how to scuba dive off the coast of King Island, attend a surf camp on the Gold Coast, trek through Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, or lose yourself on a road trip through the natural splendor of the Outback. If you love the outdoors, Australia is certainly the place to be on your gap year.
Cost and funding
A gap year in Australia sounds fantastic, but what will it all cost? Here we break down things like the average cost of living and typical program costs to help you start to form a budget for your gap year.
Average cost of living
The following monthly expenses are estimated based on average costs across Australia. Your budget will depend on your personal spending habits, where you choose to live, and how often you go out to eat or go on excursions.
- Housing: $800-$1,600 USD
- Food: $250-$350 USD
- Transportation (monthly pass): $60-$160 USD
- Entertainment and excursions: $300-$600 USD
Typical program costs
Program costs vary widely depending on the activity, length, and location.
Here are some ballpark numbers to give you an idea of the cost of gap year programs in Australia:
- Volunteer: $500-$1,000 USD per week (usually includes accommodation and meals)
- Working holiday: for US citizens, the visa costs $341 USD ($510 AUD)
- Au pair: US citizens will need a working holiday visa to au pair in Australia which costs $341 USD ($510 AUD)
- Intern: $7,000-$10,000 USD for an 8-week internship (usually includes accommodation)
- WWOOF: while WWOOFing is free, you’ll need to sign up for a membership ($70 USD for individuals, $120 USD for two or more people) to view and connect with farms
- Adventure travel: $1,000-$5,000 USD depending on activity and package
Scholarships available specifically for students interested in taking a gap year in Australia can help defray the costs. To apply for scholarships, you may be asked to outline your gap year plans and why you’ve chosen them. Applications may require you to submit a written essay, a video, or another type of creative piece explaining why you want to spend your gap year in Australia.
How to take a gap year in Australia
While requirements may be different depending on the type of activity or program, these are generally the steps you’ll need to follow to plan a gap year in Australia.
- Decide what you want to do and where. You might choose one activity or a combination of a few!
- Apply for a program. You may need to provide a copy of your passport, resume/CV, and/or references depending on the activity you choose.
- Apply for a visa. You may need a tourist, student, or working holiday visa to enter Australia. These can generally be applied for online.
- Start budgeting & explore scholarships. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of flights and insurance among the other expenses!
View the latest job postings on our job board. A great way to earn work experience during your gap year!
Is Australia a good place for a gap year?
Australia is a great place for a gap year due to all of the exciting activities and opportunities for paid work. The country is safe and Aussies are friendly and welcoming to international travelers.
Do US citizens need a tourist visa for Australia?
US citizens need to apply for a tourist visa before traveling to Australia. You can apply for a tourist visa online through the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
How long can an American stay in Australia as a tourist?
US citizens can stay in Australia on a tourist visa for up to three months.
How do I get a job in Australia on a gap year?
If you are between the ages of 18-30, you can apply for a working holiday visa which gives you permission to work in Australia on a gap year. You can apply to local companies online or wait until you arrive in Australia to apply in person.
What are the most popular types of gap year programs in Australia?
Australia is a popular gap year destination for travelers looking to split their time between short-term employment and adventurous activities, including surfing, scuba diving, and sailing. Additionally, au pairing, work exchanges, volunteering with environmental conservation projects, and paid farm work are all popular options for a gap experience in Australia.Related Content
How much does a gap year in Australia cost?
The cost of a gap year in Australia will vary greatly depending on what you do and how long you stay. Combining work and travel can keep your overall costs low.
What kind of visa do I need for a gap year in Australia?
The most common visa for gappers in Australia is the working holiday visa, which permits both work and travel within Australia for one year. Depending on your program and length of stay though, you may need to apply for a tourist or student visa.Related Content
Can I stay in Australia after graduation?
The length of time you can stay in Australia after you graduate depends on the type of degree you received. You will need to apply for a 485 skilled graduate temporary visa so that you can stay in the country for work, travel, or to continue your studies. You can stay for an additional 2 years after graduation if you received a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or master's by coursework degree. You can stay for 3 additional years if you received a master's by research degree. And you can stay for 4 years if you received a PhD.