Australia is Backpacker heaven. Young independent travellers find Australia’s welcoming locals, easy-going atmosphere and “no-worries”attitude refreshing and relatively hassle-free. An added bonus for some is Australia’s reciprocal membership in the working holiday maker (WHM) scheme, allowing backpackers and other young holidaymakers meeting the visa criteria to top up their funds during their holiday by working in some of the most spectacular settings in the world.

Not all backpackerswant or need to work whilst on holiday. Some save up their money beforehand and spend their holiday time travelling, partying, meeting locals, getting to know the country and having a good time.

Australia offers established touring routes and plenty of lesser-known, off-the-beaten track alternatives. The best known mainstream route is the East Coast Trail, stretching between Melbourne and Cairns. It canbe taken in the either direction and it includes some of Australia’s greatest attractions as well as cosmopolitan Melbourne and scintillating Sydney.

The East Coast route begins at the adventure hub of Cairns, gateway to the Daintree rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. The trail runs through Townsville and the fabulous Whitsunday Coast, fringed with Coral reefs and dotted with islands; it traverses the Capricorn Coast, through Rockhampton with its Japanese Gardens , Hervey Bay, the Gold Coast (perfect surf, giant themes parks and great nightlife) and Queensland’s exciting capital, Brisbane. Crossing into New South Wales, the East Coast route passes through Coffs Harbour (whitewater rafting on the Nymboida River), Port Stephens and the nearby Great Lakes district, Hunter Valley wine country, Sydney (no shortage of activities there!) and the llawarra coast with it’s string of little seaside villages.

Byron Bay, a hip, alternative town located on Australia’s most easterly point, offers great surfing and relaxed lifestyle. It attract backpackers from around the world, providing excellent backpacker lodges and top-ranking guestwalks, houses. Attractions include three gorgeous beaches, rainforest, local Rocks and you may come face to face with wobbegong and grey- nurse sharks, or loggerhead turtles and manta rays.

You can make yur own excursions on the way, heading from the coast to idyllic little towns like Bellingen with its green valley or the rich Gold Coast hinterland, fronted by the Glasshouse Mountains. Take in outback experiences in Queensland or Inland New South Wales or head from Sydney to Canberra and spend a bit of time exploring Australia’s graceful capital before crossing back towards the Coast again.

Backpackers on a 12 months visa have plenty of time to do this and to explore other routes – less travelled but just as rewarding- as well Tasmania, Australia’s southern island state is a perfect example, with magnificient scenery, glass clear lakes, and unspoiled tracts of superb, cool climate forest.

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