Despite a very strong dollar, Australia's attractions -- both nice weather and a generous work visa program -- are a big enough lure for students to make the long trek.
An increasing number of school leavers are taking a gap year in Australia, according to new figures.
Applications for a working holiday visa to Australia increased by seven per cent in the 12 months from the end of June 2011, statistics released by the country’s Department for Immigration and Citizenship show.
Meanwhile, applications for a second working holiday visa – introduced in 2008 to allow existing visitors to extend their stay by another year – were up by 28.5 per cent.
At the same time, figures released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service show a drop of more than seven per cent in university applications, following steep increases in tuition fees last year.
It suggests more young people are seeking alternative ways to spend their time after school.
Australia is traditionally one of the most popular gap year destinations, with visitors attracted to the country’s outdoor lifestyle, geographical variety, as well as its linguistic and cultural links to Britain.
Those aged 18 to 30 are able to apply for the working holiday visas, and successful applicants can stay in Australia for up 12 months, as well as work with the same employer for six months.
A total of 41,712 Australian working holiday visas were issued to Britons last year, including 35,700 first working holiday visas, and 6,012 second working holiday visas.