A gap year in Australia
Global recession? What global recession? That’s what they’re saying in Australia, where a strong economy is bucking the international trend. Government Treasurer Wayne Swan revealed that the country’s economy enjoyed a 4.3% growth in this year’s first quarter over the same period in 2011, while 38,900 new jobs were created in May. The unemployment rate of 5.1% is less than half that of Europe’s 11% joblessness. The country is looking for workers. So if you’re sick of the sound of rain pounding on the windows and fancy training for well-paid and plentiful work, this could be the time for an Australia gap year.
The country has it all – spectacular sights and adventures from the cities to the outback, a reliable climate that runs the gamut from pleasantly mild to hedonistically hot, and lots of job opportunities. Your Australia gap year might include a few months picking fruit or serving in a bar or restaurant, some time travelling, getting to know the country and its friendly, laid-back people, and a professional training course to qualify as, say, a yachtmaster or windsurf instructor.
Flying Fish offers a number of programmes in Australia that fit nicely into a gap year. There are four and six week courses in Sydney to become a dinghy sail or windsurf instructor.
Most Flying Fish courses Down Under are held at various locations around Sydney. These include the 19-week Yachtmaster Ocean Traineeship and 15-week Yachtmaster Pro Traineeship course, which qualifies you as a professional commercial skipper via a RYA/MCA or RYA/YA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore and Master of Yachts 200gt certificate.
Slightly shorter is the 12-week Yachtmaster Basic Traineeship,
On qualifying, you will have access to Flying Fish’s free online recruitment service, which advertises jobs on yachts and as instructors around the world.
As part of your Australia gap year, you’ll want to visit the three must-see places on any itinerary: stunning Sydney, the amazing Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Cairns, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef – where you can view the spectacular coral and tropical fish from your high-speed catamaran or the Underwater Observatory.
You might want to take a cruise on South Australia’s mighty Murray River, travelling overnight from the outback town of Alice Springs to the tropical north of Darwin. The journey includes such diversions as a cruise through the Katherine Gorge and a scenic flight over the Katherine River before reaching Darwin.
For a true Australia gap year experience, you’ll want to ride the Ghan. Named after the Afghan camel trains that originally made the difficult trek from Adelaide to the Red Centre, this train provides a real thrill as it speeds through the breathtaking outback landscape. It makes the journey from Adelaide to Alice Springs in 20 hours, then continues up to Darwin. Most travellers spend two nights at Alice and a night at Uluru before continuing up to the Top End.
A couple of months backpacking, some hard graft – but lots of fun – with your Flying Fish course, and the opportunity to pick up some work in a booming economy… it all makes an Australia gap year a winner.