How Port Douglas became a haven for Latino travellers - Part 2


Javi Navarro


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Javiera Navarro is giving an inside perspective into the motivations of Latino travellers in Port Douglas. Image: Supplied.

My name is Javiera Navarro, a traveller from Chile, and I am here to give you insight into your temporary neighbours.

In this three part series I will explain who we are, why we come here, and what draws us to Port Douglas year after year. 

Read Part 1 of the Latino Traveller Series Here

Part 2: Why we are here

I think we covered the basics characteristics of the Spanish-speakers that you can see and hear all over in Port Douglas, but, we still haven’t answer an important question: why Port?

This question can be partly answered by understanding the technical aspects of the Work and Holiday Visa; actually, of the “second Work and Holiday Visa.”

After the first year is over, in most of the cases, it was not enough for the backpacker to sight-see around this huge country so there is the possibility of a second chance.

Pablo decided to extend his visa when he realised that “one year isn’t enough to be able to enjoy the Work and Holiday experience.”

He said the second year has been totally different than the first one.

“I don’t have the same fears and doubts, I learned how to survive in a country that is not my country,” he said.

“Now I know how much money I need weekly, how to find a job faster, where to buy the things I need with more convenient prices. All these things that I didn’t know last year make this one a more relaxed and calm experience.”

The most important requirement to extend the Work and Holiday Visa is to have completed three months of specified subclass 462 work during the first year.

What does “specified subclass 462 work” mean? It is work that is undertaken in a predetermined field or industry and a designated area.

There are four industries approved: plant and animal cultivation; fishing and pearling; tree farming and felling; and tourism and hospitality.

The last three must be done in northern Australia only; in the entire Northern Territory and all areas north of the Tropic of Capricorn in Queensland and Western Australia.

So the backpacker has to decide at one point of their first year in Australia: where do I go to work for three months to apply for a second year?

It doesn’t take long for people to hear about all the wonderful things on offer in Port Douglas and make the decision to travel up here and enjoy this magnificent place.

Backpackers who have been to Port Douglas before recommend it to others and it doesn’t take long for everyone who comes here to fall in love with the beautiful scenery and warm, friendly people.

Same as Pablo, Ignacia choose to do the extension in the hospitality industry because it is less demanding and she thinks that hospitality gives better work conditions that allow her to enjoy more of her stay.

“I heard about Port Douglas from a friend. When I saw the pictures I loved it: I bought my plane ticket and came here from Sydney. It has been the best decision; I feel constantly on vacation,” she said.

As for myself, this is the second season that I have spent in Port Douglas. The first time (last year) I arrived mainly because of Facebook comments of other backpackers that recommended this town 100 per cent for doing the extension. 

I remember reading a comment from a girl that said something like 'I felt like I was camping in Paradise.’

The first two weeks here I camped too; I wanted a taste of Paradise! But then I ran to a real room… lots of mosquitoes!

Backpackers also find themselves returning to Port Douglas year after year because they cannot get enough of this beautiful seaside town.

This year I decided to come back to Port for the season. 

My old workplace had me back in my old job so it was easy and safe; you can save a lot of money because there are not many places where you can spend it; you live next to the amazing beach, and you can move everywhere by bike. What else do we need?

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