Schoolies ideas that aren’t the Gold Coast

By Elyse Popplewell in Easy Reading
12th of February 2018

More than a year of intense studying is over and you’re ready to let off some steam. Schoolies began on the Gold Coast in the 1970s and slowly began to attract school-leavers Australia-wide to the sunny beaches and wild clubs. The cultural “rite of passage” that Schoolies has become has also attracted a lot of criticism – which might turn you off the festivities, or it might mean your parents are ruling that option out all together. But we still think you deserve to relax and enjoy yourself after a tough year, so we’ve put together some ideas that will hopefully please Mum, give an option for those on a tight budget, and give you something to really look forward to.

Party by night, beach by day

So the Gold Coast Schoolies idea isn’t for you, but you love the waves and you still like to party. Head somewhere coastal, but South of Brisbane. Port Macquarie, Byron Bay, the Entrance, or Norah Heads are all destinations full of Air Bnbs your whole friendship group can fit into. You’re looking at a week of beach cricket and tanning by day, and bar crawls or drinks and games at home by night.

Camping & Glamping

Hey now, who said Duke of Ed was only good for the resume? You’re definitely going to make some memories when you’ve got a car full of friends and good music on a road trip. Then you’re going to have an interesting time doing the whole tent-pitching thing. The major upsides to this kind of Schoolies are: it can be super cheap if you play your cards right, you’ve got a handful of great friends in tow, and you can spend your days reading, shopping, swimming at the beach, bush walking, or driving to your next special location. As for the less outdoorsy among us: few things have ever been more instagrammable than glamping in nature. 

A volunteer trip abroad

There’s more and more of these trips popping up as the years go on. This is a great time to immerse yourself in something new and see a bit of the world at the same time. You’re out of school and there’s a little gap there for you to slot into before life resumes again. 

Volunteering at home

This is one of the few “Schoolies” options you can use to your professional leverage. If you’re a keen beach bum, you could offer some help in exchange for experience at your local Surf Lifesaving Club as the busy season starts to kick in. If you’re a vet-to-be, you might see what you can offer to an animal retreat. The experience can be super rewarding and it has absolutely nothing to do with the HSC. That’s the best part.

Travelling abroad for leisure

If you’re thinking you can’t afford it, you can’t do it alone, or you can’t travel overseas in this period unless you’re taking a gap year, then I suggest you read this 2016 graduate’s testimony about making it happen. Sarah travelled to India and Nepal after High School and before starting uni. You can read about it here, and you’ll be getting all the wanderlust feels.

Travelling in Australia

Australia has one of the most unique and diverse landscapes. Our mountain ranges, arid land, coasts, cities, country towns, and everything in between are unparalleled. You don’t need a passport or a VISA, so you can set up your itinerary with a couple of friends and hit the road. The pace is whatever you make it.

A family trip

The HSC is an all-in family effort at times. There’s the odd emotional break down at breakfast, the do-not-disturb hours of the afternoon, and hopefully a whole lot of support. If the Bank of Parents is offering a partially or even fully funded trip away, then I’d be seriously considering time spent away with your full-time support squad.

Road tripping

Compared to spending Schoolies week in Fiji’s Plantation Island, this is a very inexpensive Schoolies option. You do have to consider the cost of petrol, food on the go, drinks and past times, and maybe even accomodation. But if you’ve got a car full of friends, the cost of this can be split evenly and it really makes it affordable. Pick the route you want – Sydney to Byron, the Great Ocean Road, or the Alpine Way. Whatever it is, you’ve given yourself a whole lot of flexibility with this one so you can really cater for everyone.

A cruise

I know – immediately the dollar signs are racking up when you think about a cruise. If you scout the deals out and snag a really good one, you’ll be laughing. All meals cooked? Non-stop entertainment? 24/7 relaxing? Towels shaped like animals? YES PLEASE. Cruises are one of the easiest options for a holiday because just about everything is done for you. Do consider that you might need a passport depending on where you’re going. For the students who want to do something a bit luxe but without a lot of planning, this could be it for you!