As Year 12 students begin their end-of-year celebrations, former schoolies share their tips.
SCHOOLIES TRIP: 2008
DESTINATION: Hawks Nest, NSW mid-north coast
TRAVELLED WITH: A group of 16 friends, staying in a seven-bedroom house
ADVICE: "It's good to match the type of holidays with the personalities of the people you travel with.
"Our group of friends opted to take a summer holiday several weeks after the main schoolies celebrations had finished. By waiting slightly, prices had dropped down and it was more of a relaxed holiday.
"The best advice when travelling with a large group is to do things such as dinner together, but to also have time by yourself or in smaller groups. It does get hard living in each other's pockets at times so that time apart is very important.
"If travelling in a large group it's important to be respectful to local businesses. The reality is schoolies trips do get judged by the actions of others, so this can be very helpful.
"Also, decide in advance who will be designated driver each day - things can happen such as someone can get sick so it's important to know this. It's also probably a good idea to consult over the shopping list for food.
"Have fun, go to the beach; go swimming. We did things like see dolphins and bushwalking through sand dunes and having barbecues."
SCHOOLIES TRIP: 2005
DESTINATION: Camping in Lorne, Victoria
TRAVELLED WITH: About 10 mates
ADVICE: "We chose Lorne because it was a beautiful, popular, sunny seaside town that wasn't too far from Geelong, where we lived and went to school, and we knew there'd be other schoolies there getting into the spirit.
"Beach, booze, sand, sun, camping, take-away food aplenty and other schoolies? How could you resist?
"My advice? Pace yourself. From my experience, you'll probably be all excited on the first day/night you arrive wherever you are, and it's easy to go overboard and put yourself and others in harm's way with all that euphoric freedom of leaving school at its peak.
"Always watch your mates as well. Don't let them (or yourself) wander off alone, especially if you're in a popular schoolies spot. Troublemakers, including 'toolies', are around so be careful."
SCHOOLIES TRIP: 2009
DESTINATION: Gold Coast, Queensland
ADVICE: "As myself and a few of my friends were only 17 at the time, the Gold Coast was a good destination because it provided organised entertainment for underage people.
"There was an alcohol-free beach party and a couple of alcohol-free club-like parties. These were well organised and I think are effective in keeping underage people from causing trouble.
"On nights there were no parties we would hang out in the apartment or go down to the beach. We also visited the theme parks and beaches during the days.
"The media often show the negative side of the schoolies celebration. In my experience, I did not see the violence or trouble that is shown on the TV. I put this down to my friends and I steering clear of any sort of danger and not purposefully trying to get into fights.
"I have had more negative experiences in Sydney nightclubs than anything I experienced at schoolies.
"My tips would be to not respond to any confrontation by anyone. If you don't respond they won't bother you.
"Also, as most schoolies are inexperienced drinkers, try to stop yourself and drink to your limits. If you feel sick in a public place try to find the 'red frogs'. They are a group of volunteers who help anyone who is drunk or in trouble in a public place."