Stay safe (and have fun!) on your Schoolies Adventure!
Schoolies Week (aka Schoolies) is a rite of passage for thousands of Year 12 students in Australia, involving a week-long celebration of the end of their final year exams. Schoolies started in the 1970’s on the Gold Coast and was only really participated in by single-sex private schools. It has since grown into a nationwide event that sees new school leavers travel all over Australia, and sometimes internationally, to let their hair down and celebrate the end of their schooling years.
While Schoolies is an amazingly liberating and extremely memorable time for many, it can also be a little hectic when a bunch of 17- and 18-year-olds with no responsibilities get together. Even more concerning for school-leavers (and their parents) is the array of outsiders who see Schoolies as an opportunity to take advantage of the young, over-excited revellers.
But don’t worry! It isn’t all doom-and-gloom. A little preparation, some street smarts, and general common sense can go a long way to making sure you stay safe at Schoolies.
To allow popular destinations to deal with the influx of school leavers, Schoolies (or Leavers if you’re from W.A.) is separated into different dates depending on which state you went to school in.
Traditionally Schoolies has always meant a trip to the sunny Gold Coast, especially for East Coast students, however the growing popularity of Schoolies means many destinations now cater especially for school leavers between late November and early December. Some travel as far as Europe to celebrate the end of exams, but for many cash-strapped students a destination closer to home is a cheaper, more realistic option. There are many Schoolies hotspots; here are just a few:
Gold Coast Hospital: 1 Hospital Blvd, Southport QLD 4215
Phone: 1300 744 284
Surfers Paradise Police Station: 23 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise, QLD 4217
Phone: (07) 5657 6888
Rottnest Island Nursing Post: 2 Abbott St, Rottnest Island WA 6161
Phone: (08) 9292 5030
Rottnest Island Police Station: Somerville Ave, Rottnest Island WA 6161
Phone: (08) 9292 5029
BIMC Hospital Kuta: Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung
Phone: +62 361 761263
Bali Tourist Police: Jl. Kartika, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, 80361
Lorne Hospital: Albert Street, Lorne, VIC 3232
Phone: (03) 5289 4300
Lorne Police Station: 5 Smith St, Lorne VIC 3232
Phone: (03) 5289 2712
Nadi Hospital: Hospital Rd Nadi, Fiji
Phone: +679 922 0595
Namaka Police Station: Namaka Nadi, Nadi, Fiji
Byron Central Hospital: 54 Ewingsdale Rd, Ewingsdale NSW 2481
Phone: (02) 6639 9400
Byron Bay Police Station: 2 Shirley St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Phone: (02) 6685 9499
Choosing your destination will depend on where you live, your budget and what type of experience you are looking to get out of Schoolies. If you’re looking for a more chilled trip with your friends, Byron Bay in northern NSW or Lorne on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road are both great options. If you’re after an action-packed week of clubbing, it’s difficult to go past Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. Rottnest Island is a good cheap option for students from Western Australia or you can get very affordable flights to Bali from Perth.
It is important to do your homework when booking your accommodation, a little preparation goes a long way. Be sure to book through a recognised provider and do some research on your destination to make sure you’re not stuck miles outside of town (unless that’s what you’re after). Be organised and book in advance to avoid disappointment, places fill up very quickly.
If you’re travelling to another state or internationally, make sure you get your flights sorted well in advance, prices can really jack up if you leave it too late to book. You’ll probably be so excited about Schoolies that you definitely won't miss your outbound flight, but your flight home is a different story. If you’ve booked cheap flights they’ll either be really late at night or early in the morning. So, be wise and fit your partying around your flights, because your flights definitely won’t fit around your partying! If your flight is cancelled you may be able to claim this on your travel insurance (please note general exclusions apply).
This is a no-brainer. There’s a million things that can go wrong when you’re travelling, even if it’s only a domestic trip. Book with a trusted travel insurance provider and be sure to read the product disclosure statement so you are aware of any general exclusions that could affect you. Don’t forget to let your provider know if you have any pre-existing medical conditions that you need covered.
There is going to be a lot of this at Schoolies. A lot. We’re not saying don’t have a great time, but a little bit of smarts can stop your night out turning into a night in the hospital, jail, not making it out, or waking up on the beach with third-degree sunburn. The possibilities are endless. It’s also important to remember that if you have been drinking or taking drugs that have not been prescribed to you by a healthcare professional then you will not be covered for any event relating to this by your travel insurance policy. Here’s our top tips for safe partying:
Sexually transmitted diseases are not covered by your travel insurance
Methanol poisoning is also a huge concern if you're travelling to Bali or Thailand. Methanol is found in home-brewed alcohol (also known as Arak) which hasn’t been distilled correctly. So make sure you know what you are drinking! The symptoms of methanol poisoning include headaches, dizziness, amnesia and drowsiness. As well as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, blurred vision and hallucinations.
Even the official stuff can be deadly. Arak is essential homebrewed alcohol and if distilled incorrectly it can contain methanol, which can make you very sick.
This includes cocktails. If you are going to drink spirits buy the whole bottle of a brand you know, make sure it’s sealed, and open it yourself to share with friends.
Know and understand the symptoms of methanol poisoning in yourself and your friends. Such as headaches, dizziness, amnesia and drowsiness. If you start to feel any symptoms go to hospital ASAP!
This is really common. You’ll be approached by someone selling tickets to the ‘party of the year’ that you totally can’t miss, and it’s often their enthusiasm that tricks you into agreeing. Turns out this party is a total myth, and you’ve shelled out $40 for absolutely nothing.
This isn’t so common in Australia but it’s a serious problem overseas. A person dressed in a police uniform may ask you to pay a cash fine on the spot (aka a bribe) to prevent you from being taken to jail. Always check the officers ID if you are in any doubt, but ensure you are polite about this.
Once again, this is a bigger problem overseas but taxi drivers in Australia have been known to try and rip people off, especially if you look like you’re from out of town or drunk. Be sure the tariff number is correct for the time of day you are travelling at, and if you can help it don’t get in a cab on your own. Check out our Bali Guide for more info on getting a taxi in Bali.
Toolies are people who had too much fun on their first time at Schoolies so came back for another go. This may seem understandable, but in reality an older person hanging around a bunch of 17 and 18-year-old kids going wild is extremely creepy. Much of the trouble that happens during Schoolies celebrations are caused by Toolies, be that violence or sexual assaults.
If you’ve ever been to the emergency room on a Saturday night, you’ll understand how chaotic hospitals can be. Guaranteed this will be a million times worse during Schoolies week, so you’ll want to do your absolute best to stay away from hospitals. The biggest cause of injury at Schoolies is lacerated feet, so always have some form of footwear on, even if it’s just your thongs. The cause of the biggest injuries at Schoolies is balconies. Be extremely carefully around these, and completely avoid them if you’ve had a few. Never, ever attempt to climb balconies or jump from one balcony to another.
If you’re young and have been drinking, you may as well have a target painted on your back. Your lowered inhibitions will make you less cautious of potentially dangerous situations. Don’t walk around with lots of cash, keep your wallet in your front pocket and consider reverting back to your old phone and leaving your new one at home.
Most Schoolies destinations are on the beach, so make the most of it! That being said, the ocean should be treated with respect, especially if you’re an inexperienced swimmer or have been drinking. Always listen to the directions of lifeguards, and if in doubt, don’t go out. Also, partying when you’ve got a beetroot face isn’t a good look, so bring plenty of sun-block if you’re spending the day at the beach.
If things turn sour, it’s often important to act quickly. Here’s the first three things you should do should if the following situations occur:
Schoolies (especially on the Gold Coast) is one of the most heavily policed events in Australia. Remember that the police are there to help you, but their patience is not endless. If you come into contact with the police it is important to be respectful and stay calm, there’s a fair chance they have spent the last few weeks dealing with drunk teenagers.
When dealing with the police always remember:
When dealing with police overseas always remember to:
This goes without saying, but do your best to avoid this place. Hospitals in any destination where Schoolies celebrations are being held can be an absolute circus. However, if you do need serious emergency attention do not hesitate to seek treatment. If you need to go to the hospital remember the following:
Don’t hesitate to go to hospital if you or a friend is having a bad reaction to drugs. Time is of the essence in such situations and a life is far more important than anything else. Hospital staff are there to help, not get mad at you. The police do not get involved in overdoses unless they are called.
Be aware that while the police do not attend overdoses in Australia, this is not the case overseas. In many Asian countries there can be serious legal consequences for you or your friends ending up in hospital due to using illegal drugs. The smartest option? Don’t take drugs – it’s just not worth it.
If you’re travelling to the Gold Coast, it’s a good idea to register at schoolies.com. They can assist you with booking secure accommodation, they man a 24-hour helpline for parents and students, and host Schoolies only parties (aka no Toolies welcome!).
Red Frogs can be found all over the Gold Coast at Schoolies. Its volunteers will walk you home, cook pancakes, clean your room and offer emotional support through what can often become a challenging week for some.
If you’re going overseas, it’s a good idea to register your travel plans with the Department of Foreign Trade and Affairs. Registering will help the Government contact you or your family in the event of an emergency.
A lot of people complain about this, but it’s really very simple. Take photos of your accommodation when you check in, clean up regularly so there’s not a mad scramble on the last day, and most importantly don’t trash the place.
If you need medical assistance then this will save you a lot of time. However, it won’t do you much good overseas. This is where having your travel insurance policy details in your wallet will come in handy.
Register to stay up-to-date on all things Schoolies, including access and ID, entertainment and how to make the most of your end-of-year celebrations. If you’re going to Schoolies in Queensland, New South Wales or Victoria register at here.
If you’re heading overseas always take photocopies of your passport. Never give your actual passport to anyone other than police or airport authorities, there have been incidences of travellers having to pay bribes to get their passports back from accommodation providers.
Give a copy of your itinerary to your parent or guardian before you head off. This will help relieve some of their stress if they can’t contact you while you’re in the air.
When you travel to Schoolies you should always take out travel insurance. A 1Cover policy provides you with coverage for the following:
Travel isn't always smooth sailing. That's why we have a 24/7 emergency medical assistance to assist you whenever you need help.
Our Travel Insurance provides reimbursement for the reasonable medical or hospital expenses that are incurred until you get back to Australia.
At 1Cover, we know how many months of hard earned savings goes into your holiday. That is why we provide you with coverage for the loss of cash, bank notes, currency notes or postal orders.
If the worst possible happens a death benefit is payable if you pass away because of an Injury sustained during your Journey within 12 months of that Injury.
If you become ill while on holidays and this has disrupted your travel plans, 1Cover has got you covered. Cover is also provided for various other disruptions to your journey.
Providing cover in the case of credit card fraud while travelling is of great importance to us. We've tailored our Travel Insurance to allow you to shop with confidence while overseas.
Our travel insurance will look after your travel buddy. If something serious happens to you or them we'll reimburse you any expenses.
We understand how important family is and that is why we have designed our travel insurance to provide cover around family emergencies.
We provide cover for cancellation fees if your journey has been shortened or cancelled through circumstances outside your control. Please note exclusions apply.
We understand that your luggage has both financial and sentimental value. That is why we offer up to $15,000 ($30,000 family) luggage and personal effects cover under our comprehensive travel insurance.
We provide cover for legal liability including legal expenses for bodily injuries or damage to property of other persons as a result of a claim made against you.
We cover you for the rental excess (or the cost of repairing the rental vehicle if this is cheaper) if you hire a rental car and it is involved in an accident or is damaged.
* Means that an excess of $100 is payable for any claim relating to this benefit.
Please note that general exclusions apply to 1Cover travel insurance policies. For a full list of these and what we will and will not pay in the event of a claim please read the Product Disclosure Statement.
Travel insurance is there to cover you if something wrong happens while you're away, but it doesn't cover absolutely everything. We (and most other insurers) aren't able to provide cover for the following:
Even if you’re travelling domestically, travel insurance is still important. Our domestic travel insurance covers you for luggage, personal effects, lost deposits, cancellations plus more.
A comprehensive policy is a great idea for travelling to Bali for Schoolies. Medical costs can leave you thousands of dollars out of pocket if something happens to you on your trip.
Our comprehensive policies provide unlimited cover for emergency medical assistance and hospital expenses. You’ll also be covered for cancellation, loss of luggage and more.