How to Spend 6 Months in Australia

Australia is a perennial favourite with gap year students who want to spend a few months abroad without the need to master a new language, and for the same reason it's a popular destination for older travellers as well. With a unique offering of year-round sunshine, adventure sports and stunning natural locations to visit - not to mention a host of vibrant cities and welcoming locals - it's easy to see why so many people are taking out long stay travel insurance to spend a few months Down Under.

Any extended stay in another country requires a good bit of planning to be successful, so spend some time thinking about where you want to go and how you will get around. It's the ideal place to take the motorhome for an extended trip and explore the vast national parks and nature reserves to be found along the west coast, but bear in mind you may find yourself far from civilisation!

If you'd prefer to take in Australia's city life, making your way north up the east coast from Melbourne may be more to your liking. Take a drive along the Great Ocean Road to see some of Melbourne's great coastal views and spend some time relaxing on the beaches, before heading on to the cities of Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle and Brisbane. Towards the end of your trip you'll be rewarded by the sight of the Great Barrier Reef, which stretches 1,600 miles right up to Cape York.

However you decide to spend six months in Australia, bear in mind that the seasons occur in opposite months to the northern hemisphere, and the summer of December to February can be scorchingly hot and stormy in the north. The weather in the Australian tropics is characterised by a "wet season" and a "dry season" of six months apiece, and many travel routes may become unavailable at short notice during the wet. The south-east is more temperate, but is often still considerably warmer than the UK, with milder winters.

When arranging your long stay travel insurance, consider whether you'll be taking part in any of Australia's many adventure sports activities and make adjustments accordingly. Exploring the outback is exciting, but prepare for how you'll cope if your vehicle breaks down - large sections of land are barely inhabited and getting help can be expensive. Finally, Australia's reputation for poisonous creepy-crawlies may be somewhat exaggerated, but it's still very sensible to take precautions and pack appropriate medication before embarking on a long trip.