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Australia on my Mind

Circular Quay

Australia has been on my mind for the past few weeks. Probably something to do with the fact that I’ve got a friend who is leaving for her RTW trip in just a handful of days. She’ll end up in Australia where I’ll be meeting her.

I had the good fortune to study abroad in Sydney in 2006. It was probably hands-down the best decision of my college life. I was lucky (the beginning of a trend?) to get an internship for a major book publisher. I met most of my current best friends on the program. I learned how to live independently.

That’s why Australia is such a big part of my plan for my pending BIG trip. In my mind, it pretty much marks the beginning of my transition to real adulthood. Not that crap I thought I had when I graduated high school. Or when I moved to Boston away from my friends and most of my family for college.

Australia and Adam just go together in my mind. So, we’ll see what happens.

  1. Stephanie says:

    I'm currently researching the Australia leg of my trip so it's been on my mind a lot lately. I've never been but I'm so excited to discover it!

  2. Adam says:

    Australia is great! How long do you expect to be there for? I'm planning on getting a long-term work/visit visa so I can try and make some money while there.

  3. Stephanie says:

    Planning on about 2 months, sticking primarily to the east coast. I have a lot of Aussie friends to catch up with in Brisbane and Melbourne and I want to (fail to) learn how to surf! This would be November and December '10 so I don't think you'll be around yet right?

  4. Adam says:

    I'd likely just miss you! I don't think I'll be in Australia until January/February of 2011. You never know, though. Things change pretty quickly—especially my travel plans.

  5. Adam says:

    I'd likely just miss you! I don't think I'll be in Australia until January/February of 2011. You never know, though. Things change pretty quickly—especially my travel plans.

  6. Adam says:

    There must be something in the water!

    When I left Australia in 2006 I wasn't sure if or when I'd ever be back. Then I decided that was silly and I might as well just make it possible to get back there. It's just a matter of making it happen! Lucky for you—5 times is incredible!

  7. Earl says:

    Hey Adam – It's funny, I studied abroad in Melbourne about 11 years ago and after that experience I also became permanently attached to that country. I've now returned 5 times over the years and can never get enough of that country. So I understand perfectly how you're feeling!

  8. Earl says:

    Yeah, I even considered moving there permanently! I'm happy to hear you're going back. Honestly, visiting Australia always seems to lead to new opportunities…and there's no reason to miss out on whatever those may be for you.

  9. Susan says:

    Studying abroad was my best college decision too. I still have to make it to Australia!

  10. As We Travel says:

    I really liked Sydney, it didn't have that cold 'big-city-feeling' at all about it. Seems like a great place for studies- and surfing ;) Do you surf?

  11. australia is surely a beautiful country. we drove from the great ocean road up to cape tribulation and we just love it! we are already dreaming to come back one day to do the west coast, so i guess it says all :-)

  12. Mary says:

    I'd like to explore more of Australia when I move to that side of the world. Last time I was over there I only spent a couple days around Brisbane.

  13. backpacking-travel-guide says:

    Wow. Isn't it funny how the world works? My name is Tiffany, I do much of the commenting for Off Track Planet. In the past, I have looked into design internships in Sydney as well. would you suggest Sydney as a god place to get the momentum going career-wise? Needless to say, Australia has been on my mind also! I can't wait to be updated on the outcome

  14. G I says:

    Hey Adam! I wonder if we might be there at the same time with the working visa…that'd be awesome! Are you going to go through BUNAC or do you know another way?

  15. Adam says:

    Exactly what I think! If I don't give Australia a chance soon, then when else?!

  16. Adam says:

    Australia is worth every cent! I won't lie that it's a little hard to get to (ie, expensive) from America, but it really is such an amazing place, it's worth every penny.

  17. Adam says:

    Yeah! When I left Australia I didn't really expect to get back anytime soon. But, really, what's the point in waiting & waiting & waiting & waiting….

  18. Adam says:

    Sydney's great! It's got a lot of the amenities of a big city without all the worries.

    I actually never surfed while I was there, but I plan to try it out once I get back. I've had an unnatural fear of the ocean for a while, but I'm totally willing to give it a shot.

  19. Adam says:

    I actually never made it to Brisbane, but it's on my list for when I return for sure. It's such a big country & there's so much to see. Plus it's relatively easy to get around.

  20. Adam says:

    Hi Tiffany!

    I'd definitely recommend doing some design work in Sydney. It's got the big-city feeling without a lot of the competition you'd have to face in other major cities of the world. They've got all the major corporations & design firms, but for some reason I get the sense that it's easier to break into the field there. Maybe it's the Aussies' natural tendency to friendliness and openness?

  21. Adam says:

    That would be awesome if we're there at the same time! I'd love to meet up!!!

    BUNAC is a possibility but you can definitely apply for the exact same visa as the one you'd get through BUNAC, but without all the BUNAC fees. I figure I'll try that way and since I have a handful of company contacts already, I won't necessarily need the BUNAC resources.

    Of course BUNAC provides a ton of other opportunities, but I'll try it out on my own first. If at first I don't succeed, then try try again. Blah blah blah!

  22. G I says:

    Definitely, we're meeting up somewhere for sure! You're one of my favorite travel bloggers out there! :)

    So how can you get the Oz visa without BUNAC? The only reason I was going to use them was because I thought we (Americans) had to. Have they changed it?

    I spent a year in NZ (recommended recommended recommended!!!!!!) on a working holiday visa that you can just apply for and get directly through the gov't. It was easy (took like 15 min), and free. Can you do that for Oz now too?

  23. purplekat99 says:

    The Australia visa for Americans is not free (unlike the NZ one, as you know!!) but it's still pretty cheap via the Australia immigration website (like A$200 I think now? It was only A$190 when I got mine 2 years ago)

  24. Adam says:


    As far as I know, Americans aren't required to go through BUNAC. From what I've read, you can simply apply for the visa through the Australian embassy/online and it's the same thing. BUNAC does a bunch of other stuff which makes the process go smoother, I'm sure, but it's not necessary from what I've read.

    I had NO IDEA that NZ has a FREE, 1-yr working holiday visa! That is some excellent information that I will surely store somewhere in my head for use at a hopefully soon date! Wow! That's just so cool. (sorry, free/cheap visas make me happy)

  25. Adam says:

    Yep. I think you're about right about the cost. At least, that's near what I've budgeted for!

  26. Adam says:

    This is the Oz link for the visa (Work and Holiday Subclass 462 is the same one that BUNAC would provide for you, A$230):

    Looks like you can apply online (or at least e-mail your query) as a USA citizen while abroad. Might have to go to an embassy in whichever country you apply from, though.

    When are you going to be there?

  27. G I says:

    Omg I love you. You just saved us what, like $500?? Do you know, did they just change it within the last year or did I seriously completely miss that? This is awesome.

    I would really recommend you consider the WHV for NZ too; I haven't been to Oz yet, but even so I'd feel pretty safe to recommend you doing it for NZ over Oz, especially if you've not been there. I had the most unbelievable year there, and I've been plotting my return since the moment I left (we're going back to NZ before we go to Australia for the WHV…plan was for only 3 mos since I think that's the longest I can go now, but I think we might look into options to stay for more like 9 mos if possible).

    We plan to be in that area starting maybe May-ish 2011 or later, for 3-9 mos in NZ (for sure for ski season!!! and if you snowboard or ski, you should join us!), and 6-12 mos in Oz. You?

  28. purplekat99 says:

    I applied for the Oz visa when I was in NZ (I didn't have to go back to the US to apply) and I just applied via the Oz immigration website and when they ask on the application, which embassy you are closest too, I just said AKL. It didn't alert any bells as far as I know (I think people do that all the time) because I was approved like 6 hours later.

  29. purplekat99 says:

    It changed in October of 2007, so sort of recent. I was in NZ when I found it out and nearly fainted!

    Lovelovelove NZ. Prob more then Oz, because to me, Australia is the most American country outside the US (even more so then Canada). Hot, loud, big and crowded, is Australia. NZ is the exact opposite:-).

  30. Cornelius Aesop says:

    It's odd reading this when The Aussie Nomad is working to get out of Australia. although I'm with you as I am stuck in the midwest and going someplace that is summer right now sounds wonderful.

  31. Adam says:

    Follow the summer! That is my goal for the next year or so.

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