Okay, so I’ve been completely rubbish at updating my blog recently. The last post I wrote was on Fraser Island which is were I was months ago! And since then I’ve covered a lot of ground.
I’ve travelled up the East Coast to the Whitsundays and then on to Cairns. I’ve gone sailing, snorkelling, played around in Queensland waterholes, and scuba dived on the Great Barrier Reef. From Cairns I drove 6000kms through the Outback, stopping at Ayers Rock, The Olgas, and Kings Canyon, to then continue down the middle through the strange town of Coober Pedy and on to Adelaide. It’s all been fast paced but amazing.
In Adelaide I experienced an adrenaline fuelled week of panic, running around like a headless chicken as I tried to sell the campervan, organise my surfboards and belongings to ship home, and complete what felt like a million other tasks. By the skin of my teeth I managed to get everything done, kinda.
Right now I’m sitting in Melbourne Airport about to board a flight to Singapore. After 15 months I’m saying goodbye to Australia, leaving from the same airport I arrived in, and setting off on my 4 month South East Asia adventure.
I’m feeling a mixture of nervousness and excitement but at the same time I don’t think it’s really sunk in that I’m leaving!
So hopefully over the next few weeks I’ll have some time to get up-to-date with my blog and write about all those things I’ve done since Fraser, as well as some new stuff on Asia!
It had been a while since Chris and I had gone anywhere on our days off so a few weeks ago we made another trip to Melbourne. The main reason was to see an AFL game (Aussie Rules football), and where better to experience this than at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds stadium (MCG). But we also had plans to do some shopping, catch up with our friend we met in NZ, Mike, and go out partying.
There’s something great about hiking up mountains. You struggle up with sweat dripping down your forehead, your cheeks red, your lungs bursting, wondering why you ever thought this was a good idea… but then you reach the top to look out over the land around you and suddenly, it all seems worth it. You’re filled with a sense of peace, lifted away from everything down below and allowed to look at the world from a different perspective. You’re on top of everything. Continue reading →
Last year the Australian Government granted over 200,000 working holiday visas. It seems us backpackers are literally flocking to the country, lured by the prospect of adventure and high wages. And once we’re here we don’t want to leave. Therefore, high on the priority list is completing 88 days of specified work in a regional area that allows us to apply for a 2nd year visa. This usually means working in a rural area doing fruit picking, farming, construction work etc.
I feel that this condition for a visa extension is both a blessing and a curse. It’s good because it helps regional employers, who often struggle to get Australian workers, by encouraging backpackers to go out to these rural areas and work on their farms to extend their stay. But on the other hand, it leaves backpackers open to exploitation, as many are willing to do just about anything to tick off those 88 days.
The Job Hunt
A few months ago I was in the vulnerable position of looking for a job. I’d pushed things as far as they could go financially but now funds were at an all time low. I thought I might as well get a job that would allow me to apply for a 2nd year visa, kill 2 birds with one stone and all that. Continue reading →
I’d completed my first road trip in the campervan from Adelaide to Melbourne, been to the Australian Tennis Open, and was now starting to think I really ought to start looking for a job. But there was one last thing I wanted to do before facing reality, and that was go to an Australian music festival.
I’ve never been to a festival quite like Rainbow Serpent. Located in Western Victoria, this is a magical place where like-minded people from all walks of life come together, and for 4 days, they leave their ‘real’ lives behind and become whoever they want to be.
It had been 2 weeks since Chris and I had bought our campervan and we’d somehow managed to spend all that time hanging around Adelaide. We caught up with a friend, did some couch surfing, and got away with freedom camping at different beaches. But we were both getting that impatient feeling and we wanted to explore and see more of this massive country. So as soon as our car inverter and Camps7 Book arrived in the post from Ebay, we were off.
After spending 23 months in New Zealand it was time to move on. I’d always decided I’d go to Australia after New Zealand, even though I’ve never been overly excited by the idea. To be honest I’m more excited about the money I can save rather than the experience. That being said, when it came to it and I touched down in Melbourne, straight away I had a good feeling about the place.
I arrived late at night, 1am, but the city still had a bustling atmosphere to it, something that Auckland in New Zealand always lacked. With 4 million people the city is pretty huge; but the trams, buses and trains make it easy to get around. I instantly liked the feel of Melbourne. It’s full of parks, most of the streets are lined with trees, and the different building styles and architecture give the city a more historical feel. It seems there’s always something going on, whether it’s exhibitions, live music or outdoor cinema.
When you first arrive in a new country it’s easy to spend a lot of money, which can often lead to stress, which can stop you from just living in the ‘now’ and enjoying yourself. With this in mind I thought I’d give couchsurfing a go for the first time, a way to both save money and also meet locals. Continue reading →