Australia is a place of adventure and freedom, but you’ll leave with more than memories.
By Leah Dobihal
A backpacking holiday is a time of escape and independence, but even more importantly, it’s a time for learning. Backpacking not only gives you the perfect platform for self-discovery, but it also improves your skills in time management, budgeting, problem-solving and more.
Here are some of the valuable things you’ll learn on a backpacking holiday in Australia.
To manage your time
Your time in Australia will no doubt include long, lazy days and late nights. Even though your time is all your own on a backpacking holiday, it’s still essential that you manage your schedule. You need to be on-time for tours, flights and hostel check-outs. You also have to plan how long you’ll stay in each destination, and how you’ll spend your time while you’re there. Building an itinerary and staying organised during your trip takes special skills - ones that will prove useful for the future.
Not only will these new time-management skills make for a stress-free holiday, but they’ll also look great on your CV when you return home.
Budgeting is an essential part of backpacking. Before you leave for Australia, you’ll have saved up enough funds for your trip, but after you arrive, it’s important to keep track of your spending. Set yourself a daily spending limit for things like meals, accommodation and transport. Don’t forget to set aside a bit extra for the adventures you’ve put on your backpacker bucket list.
As you stick to your spending limit, you’re learning to budget and manage money - skills that look excellent to future employers.
If you also want to earn money during your holiday, consider a working holiday visa, which allows short-term employment.
To make new friends
If you’re travelling solo on your backpacking journey, it’s likely you’ll want to make a few friends along the way. Whether it’s a quick chat in a hostel or a weekend spent sharing stories in the Tasmanian wilderness, your backpacking buddies will quickly become travel companions as well.
As you get to know fellow travellers and friendly locals, you’ll gain communication and social skills. You’ll become confident in striking up a conversation, asking for directions and even joining a new adventure. These skills will help you make lifelong friends and lasting memories, as well as give you an advantage on your CV.
To have self-confidence
Embarking on a backpacking holiday takes courage. After you arrive, you’ll soon discover your bravery and self-reliance. The independence is freeing, but it also builds your self-confidence. You might even find the courage to set out on an epic road trip, walk among the treetops in Western Australia, or see the Great Barrier Reef by torchlight on a night dive.
To leave your comfort zone
When you backpack, you have to leave your comfort zone behind. And in Australia, you can really push your limits. Some of the country’s most incredible experiences take a bit of bravery, like climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge and swimming with whale sharks.
Test your courage with Australia’s adrenaline-inducing adventures, like cage diving with great white sharks, abseiling down a dam and rafting through river rapids. They may seem daring, but these thrilling experiences are totally worth it.
Leaving your comfort zone will reward you with once-in-a-lifetime memories, not to mention serious bragging rights.
To live like a local
Whether it’s a game of cricket on the beach or a craft beer at the neighbourhood brewery, Australians pride themselves on their laid-back lifestyle. Even if you’re just passing through, it’s hard not to join in.
Backpacking gives you the opportunity to delve a little deeper into each destination, and it won’t be long before you’re living like a local. Join the sunrise surfers on the Gold Coast, or hit the lesser-known laneway cafes in Melbourne. If you’re in Perth, visit Kings Park, one of the largest inner-city parks in the world.
With your backpack in tow, you’ll learn to seek out the local lifestyle no matter where you go.
To explore further
Because backpacking is all about discovery, it encourages you to travel further, explore more deeply and seek out the unknown.
Australia is the perfect place to do just that. Home to mountains, gorges, red dirt plains and dense rainforest, Australia is an explorer’s paradise. While there’s wilderness and one-of-a-kind experiences not far from the city, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular scenery and incredible adventure if you go a little further.
Considered one of the last wilderness frontiers, the Kimberley region of Western Australia offers abundant wildlife, majestic canyons and crystal clear swimming holes. Elsey National Park, located in the remote north of the Northern Territory, serves up thermal pools and lagoons that glow turquoise in the sun.
In a world of busy schedules and social media, it can be hard to disconnect with the day-to-day and reconnect with the real world. But when you’re surrounded by pounding waterfalls, white-sand beaches and secluded landscapes, it’s easy to shift your mindset.
Rekindle your connection with nature at Whitehaven Beach, where bright white sand swirls with clear blue water. Make real-life connections with backpackers on a Blue Mountains tour, where you’ll trek through the densely-forested hinterland of New South Wales.
Indulge in some soul-searching in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, known as the spiritual centre of Australia. Watch as the sun sets over the massive monolith, turning Uluru from outback orange to deep red and purple. Visit again at sunrise for a powerfully peaceful start to your day.
Surrounded by nature, adventure and like-minded travellers, backpacking allows you to reconnect with the land, yourself and each other.