A Week In The Life Of An Australia Gap Year Tour Leader

A Week In The Life Of An Australia Gap Year Tour Leader

Hey everyone,

I’m Sarah, one of the tour leaders for Sydney Gap Year, and I wanted to share a behind-the-scenes glimpse into our world. While many travelers have written about their amazing experiences with us, I thought it would be interesting to shed some light on the tour leader’s perspective.

People often tell me, “You have the best job!” or wonder if it gets boring doing the same thing every week. Well, let me tell you, being a tour leader with Sydney Gap Year is anything but dull. Each week brings new adventures and unique moments that make this job truly incredible.

So, let’s dive into the world of Sydney Gap Year tour leaders and give you a glimpse of what it’s really like…

A Week in the Life of an Sydney Gap Year Tour Leader

Currently, during the summer season, we have two groups starting with us each week. Our team consists of six tour leaders, with three of us assigned to the Monday group and the other three to the Thursday group.

The first day is always filled with anticipation and a touch of nerves. Until we meet the groups, everyone is just a name on a list, and we have no idea what to expect from each individual. It’s like unwrapping a box of chocolates without a guide to tell you what’s inside.

Once we gather the group from Wake Up hostel, we bring them to the Sydney Gap Year HQ to go through the week’s itinerary before embarking on the City walk. It’s during this time that we start to get a sense of the group dynamics and identify the fun-loving individuals among them.

By the welcome drinks at Side Bar on the first night, we can already see some strong friendships forming. Many people connect online through our “Meet Your Group” service before arriving, so they may have already interacted extensively or even met up back home. However, in every group, there are also individuals who are shy or nervous, taking a bit more time to relax and engage with others. I can completely relate to their feelings! It can be daunting to find yourself in a new country, alone, surrounded by a diverse group of people from all over the world. I’ve experienced that myself, and I know how terrifying it can be. That’s where we, as tour leaders, step in. Our goal is to ensure that everyone has a great time and feels at ease. Sometimes it just takes a few conversations for people to open up and start connecting with the rest of the group.

The welcome drinks can go one of two ways…

  1. After a long flight, some people are exhausted and not in the mood for partying, so they head to bed around 10-11 pm. Our job is done, and we also call it a night to get some rest.
  2. Despite being tired from the long flight, others are incredibly excited about their first big night out in Sydney. They go all out, ordering Jagerbombs and having a wild time. Our job is done as everyone is having an amazing night, and we join in the festivities until the early hours!

The following morning, depending on how the night went, we find that some people are refreshed and ready for the Harbour cruise, while others are nursing hangovers. Personally, I consider the Harbour cruise to be one of the highlights of the week. Taking people on a boat tour around Sydney Harbour, cooking a barbecue on the back of the boat, and capturing moments through photography while jumping off the top of the boat for a swim—it’s an incredible job to have! Witnessing people having a fantastic time on the harbour with newfound friends, just a few days after arriving in the country, fills me with immense joy. However, I do have a slight challenge when it comes to rough waters as I tend to get a bit seasick. Thankfully, the harbour is usually calm, but when I have to go downstairs to the kitchen beneath the deck to do the washing up, the windows at sea level make any slight movement feel like the entire boat is rocking. Nevertheless, I’ve become quite adept at washing dishes quickly to overcome this hurdle!

Also read: Should I Travel Alone or In A Group?

So, Day 3, in this case Wednesday means only one thing…. BASECAMP!!!!

Basecamp is undoubtedly the highlight of the week for both me and the group. It’s where we get to experience sandboarding, take in the breathtaking view from Tomaree Head National Park, and embark on a dolphin cruise. For me, it means getting to participate in all these amazing activities on a weekly basis!

When we arrive at our accommodation at Basecamp, it instantly feels like home. I can never get enough of being here, cuddling Josie, the adorable resident kangaroo, and relaxing in the beautiful Aussie bush. Witnessing the expressions on people’s faces when they first arrive is priceless. It’s hard to put into words, but there’s an indescribable feeling and energy that surrounds Basecamp. For many, it’s their first time experiencing the Aussie bush, and it provides a refreshing contrast to the hustle and bustle of Sydney (as much as we love it!). One of the things I absolutely love about Basecamp is how it brings everyone together. By this point in the week, people have made a few friends in the group, but at Basecamp, these circles expand exponentially. It’s incredible to see even the quietest individuals coming out of their shells and forming strong connections with others.

As I mentioned, Basecamp is packed with thrilling activities, which can be quite exhausting for us as tour leaders. However, the sheer fun we have compensates for any tiredness. During the evenings, we play games, enjoy delicious food, and those who wish to, have a few drinks. We even head down to the beach to set up a bonfire for a memorable beach party. Dancing to good tunes with newfound friends on the beach is an experience that can’t be beaten. The sky at Basecamp is adorned with clear, awe-inspiring stars. As tour leaders, our responsibility is to ensure everyone’s safety and ensure they have a great time. It’s natural for some people to get a little carried away, perhaps indulge in a few too many drinks, and suggest a midnight swim in the ocean. That’s where we step in—to ensure people have fun while knowing they’re not alone in a foreign country, and their well-being is our priority.

These nights are often so enjoyable that no one wants to sleep. Trying to get to bed at 4 am and waking up at 8 am the next morning to rouse everyone can be a challenge! But trust me, the excitement of activities like sandboarding outweighs any tiredness or hangover.

The last day at Basecamp is dedicated to the dolphin cruise. I’m pretty sure my friends back home in England are starting to get jealous, as I send them a Snapchat every time I’m on a dolphin cruise, showcasing the amazing weather, stunning views, and, of course, dolphins swimming by with the caption “Working hard again!” On such days, I have to pinch myself and remind myself of how fortunate I am to have such an incredible job!

After the bus trip back to Sydney (which usually involves catching up on an hour of sleep), I usually unwind on the couch in front of the TV and retire early. Running on a total of 7 hours of sleep in 2 days takes its toll, so it’s time for me to rejuvenate!

Saturday is dedicated to taking the group on the Coogee to Bondi beach walk. Getting everyone together and coordinating the bus can be a little challenging, but once we arrive in Coogee and people have had a chance to grab some breakfast, everyone is in high spirits! We take a leisurely stroll along the coast, stopping at amazing viewpoints. The coastal scenery is absolutely stunning, and visiting five beautiful beaches along the way makes me feel incredibly lucky to be here. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that I’m actually getting paid to do something that most people look forward to on their days off!

In the evening, it’s party night—the bar crawl! It’s an absolute blast, and even though it’s not part of my “work” duties, I join in every week. It’s the perfect opportunity to have a great time with the group. I love how, by the end of the week, people who were initially nervous about socializing have made wonderful friends with whom they’re partying and making plans for the remainder of their time here.

For me, the measure of a successful week is if everyone in the group has had a fantastic time and made at least one or two good friends. I often keep in touch with people I’ve met during the tours. They become part of the Sydney Gap Year family, and meeting new people is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job!

So, that sums up a week in the life of a tour leader for Sydney Gap Year.

“If you do a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!”

Also read: Best Things To Do Around Sydney

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