Where did all the backpackers go?

Worn out window stickers on the side of a backpackers van in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. (Philip Hill/Phil Hill)

Backpackers A.W.O.L

At the other end of this Western Australian campsite I can just make out the subtle crooning and guitar plucking of one stereotypical traveler, sporting a straw pork pie hat and white singlet, his acoustic murmurings didn’t seem to impress the girl he was with however, who was happily re-organizing the back of the car. Pretty standard, although between them and me, and on a large site, hardly any other sunburned European’s were in sight.

Roughly twelve months before, I made a similar road trip, leaving Perth during the festive season, heading northwards to Monkey Mia. Each campsite was lucky to be free of space with a total festive atmosphere, stacked full of beat up station wagons, knackered hatchbacks and exasperated vans.

On the way, driving the vast stretches of straight open road I passed convoys of backpacker transport, generally noted by the open window and red-faced driver steering it. This year the roads have been relatively clear, apart from the obligatory grey nomad and caravan, road train, and chugging 4×4 towing an oversized boat.

In fact, Brit travelers are down 20% over the last two years, and the ones that still get off the plane at Sydney quickly have to readjust the budget, not even getting to Melbourne for a tour of Ramsey street!

More from Australia

Australia folio | Coral Bay ChristmasSinging lessons in Sydney | Orphan Christmas – Road Trip to Monkey Mia | Working Holiday 

To commission this or any of my work please feel free to email me at: philhill@philhillphotography.com