Australasia - have your sayBy TheStudentGuide
Our readers tell us what they thought
Travelling is all about finding places "off the beaten track" and Punakaiki is one of those places. This quiet coastal village on the west coast of New Zealand's south island has a huddle of hostels, a Monteiths bar, pancake shaped rocks and the most southerly palm trees in the world. There is no supermarket, McDonald's, KFC or Burger King. There isn't even a petrol station or very good mobile phone coverage and just the one ATM machine at the café up the road, that was clearly displaying an "out of order" sign. I stopped at this secluded paradise for the night - Punakaiki puts other nightly stop-offs to shame with its picturesque walks, sandy beach and fascinating blowholes.
James Leyfield, Sheffield
Australia has so much to do. There's a real backpacker culture and it is easy and safe to travel around. The highlight of my trip was doing a 14,000ft skydive over Mission Beach. One of the most amazing things I've ever done. Closely followed by scuba diving and seeing the Great Barrier Reef. Sydney was stunning with classic views, lots going on and great nightlife. I went on a sunset cruise of Sydney harbour which was absolutely beautiful and I would definitely recommend people to do it! Cairns is right on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, perfect for scuba diving lovers. It is also the gateway to Cape Tribulation (beautiful rainforest) and has, friendly hostels, lots of cheap deals on food and drink at night.
Natalie Jinks, Derby
I wasn’t as excited about Melbourne, Australia because I just wanted to get to Sydney but it’s such an amazing place. We stayed in St Kilda, which is a traveller place right on the coast. The St Kilda high street has so many cafes with cakes filling the whole windows and really good ice cream cafes. In the city centre there are loads of hidden side streets with great bars and cafes, it’s quirky and got a great atmosphere, Also you can do the neighbours tour in Melbourne!
Amy Gooderham, Norwich
New Zealand has unbelievable scenery and millions of things to do. I went on some great walks, swam with 600 dolphins, sky dived, bungee jumped and hiked up a glacier.
Fiji is my favourite place in the whole world. It was the perfect ending to an amazing 7 months travelling
Lauren Hughes, Harrogate
As with most people, the weather was what I enjoyed the most about Australia. There was also the infamous ‘laid back’ feel to most of the places I visited, especially along the well-trodden tourist track the East Coast. Byron Bay was a particular favourite stop off, with a perfect mix of sunshine, surf and nightlife. On an early morning surf I was surprised to find myself in the company of a school of dolphins. As I borrowed the board from my youth hospital I think was the best excursion I did, particularly in terms of ‘value for money’. I could understand why most people I met there had already been there for a few months and found it difficult to leave.
One place that really surprised me was Melbourne; I wasn’t expecting to find the cultural vibrancy it had to offer. As it happens I ended up spending two months there, having secured some temporary employment, and it gave me a chance experience just about everything it had to offer.
One thing that perhaps wasn’t a surprise was Australia’s often talked about natural wonders. Doing a tour through the ‘Red Centre’ from Adelaide to Ayers Rock and bathing in the fresh water lakes of Fraser Island are two things you can’t really leave Australia without doing.
Richard Rowe, Oxford
I liked New Zealand, because of the extreme sports you can do, especially Bungee jumping in Queenstown.
I think Australia is brilliant place to travel with endless great places to visit and endless great people to meet. I liked Surfers Paradise; because of the great people I met there -an incredibly friendly place with amazing beaches and nightlife.
My highlight was strawberry picking in a small town near Brisbane. We had such a good crowd of us, it was an awesome laugh and the people we worked for were great too. It was a wicked lifestyle to be waking up next to strawberry fields and working in the sun and having a laugh every day.
Jack Foster, Coventry
New Zealand is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise. It’s actually the law that every time you visit, you have to participate in an activity that will probably kill you. I chose to jump out of a plane. I don’t like to say I was bullied in to the decision…but I was.
Nick Rotherham, Hull