Everything you need to know about working on your working holiday visa in Australia!
So you’ve decided to start your adventure in Australia: amazing! Australia has an abundance of opportunities when it comes to travel, adventure, finding friends, finding yourself and earning some money!
The last couple of months have seen some rather large changes in my personal circumstances which have resulted in some equally large changes in my travel plans. The short version of it is that I'm now single again after 2 years and I jetted off to Ecuador at the beginning of January, signalling the start of my next long term travel plan. All this change and slight uncertainty has made me questions why I travel and how I've ended up on the path I'm currently walking. And I've come to the conclusion that I use travel as a tool to run away and distract myself. Full Circle My first gap year to Australia was planned way back in late 2008. At the point I was with a girl who I'd been dating for just over 3 years, and who was aware that I was wanting to travel. Initially my plans were to head down under for 3months - covering the east coast, Sydney for Xmas and new year and finishing off in Melbourne with some buddies who had moved out there. A nice simple plan which would mean a brief period of long distance love. But the longer the relationship went on and the more arguments we had the more drawn out my Aussie travels became. Eventually it culminated in a massive argument, the ending of a 4 year relationship, a few too many beers and me purchasing a working holiday visa - which landed me in Australia a few months later, where I stayed and played for an entire year. At the time it seemed like a slightly rash decision to make, but it's the best decision I ever made. It grew me as a person, allowed me to clear my head and I came home with an
The last couple of months have seen some rather large changes in my personal circumstances which have resulted in some equally large changes in my travel plans.
The short version of it is that I’m now single again after 2 years and I jetted off to Ecuador at the beginning of January, signalling the start of my next long term travel plan.
All this change and slight uncertainty has made me questions why I travel and how I’ve ended up on the path I’m currently walking.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that I use travel as a tool to run away and distract myself.
My first gap year to Australia was planned way back in late 2008.
At the point I was with a girl who I’d been dating for just over 3 years, and who was aware that I was wanting to travel. Initially my plans were to head down under for 3months – covering the east coast, Sydney for Xmas and new year and finishing off in Melbourne with some buddies who had moved out there.
A nice simple plan which would mean a brief period of long distance love.
But the longer the relationship went on and the more arguments we had the more drawn out my Aussie travels became.
Eventually it culminated in a massive argument, the ending of a 4 year relationship, a few too many beers and me purchasing a working holiday visa – which landed me in Australia a few months later, where I stayed and played for an entire year.
At the time it seemed like a slightly rash decision to make, but it’s the best decision I ever made. It grew me as a person, allowed me to clear my head and I came home with an exciting future of travel with a beautiful girl who I’d met along the way.
A further year down the line and a whole heaps of arguments later I once again found myself throwing away another relationship to go head back out on the road.
But was I ending the relationship because I wanted to go and travel or was I traveling because I ended the relationship?
Why I Travel
I have pondered on that thought alot recently and on why I travel in general. One of the main reasons behind all my adventures is to surf, it’s been my passion for the last decade and is firmly routed behind most of the decisions I make. I do however tend to use it as an excuse for alot of things – rash decisions included.
I also travel because I want to experience the world and explore the unknown. I want to see new things, photograph them and meet heaps of new people.
But the more I think about it the more I realise that a large part of my travelling experience is escapism.
Through my travels I escape the 9-5 grind that many of my friends have become helplessly trapped in. I’m sure this is the reasoning behind many a backpackers decision and something all gap years travellers have I the back of their minds, the postponing of work and ‘real life’.
I also use it to escape the English weather and climate – again another common reason for travel. Everyone enjoys the sun and leaving behind the rainy UK winter, and indeed summer!
It has however become apparent that I use travel as an excuse to avoid alot of other responsibilities, and as the easy option when it comes to making changes, decisions and confronting difficult periods in my life.
Mainly relationships it seems.
So far is worked out pretty well. I had an epic year in Australia and settled into Byronian living – my home away from home.
And this time I’d scored my dream job surf coaching in South America and I’ve also sorted a long term flight ticket that will take me over 18,000 miles through various places on the way to New Zealand.
Both seem like pretty amazing experiences right?
But this travel is underlined with the fact it’s cost me alot. Not just financially but emotionally.
At some point I will run out of places to run to and have to step up and face my fears – the fear of actually having to deal with the day to day issues of normal life and big decisions.
Everyone travels for their own reasons – and I’m sure I’m not the only one who uses it as a way to escape, whether intentionally or not.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see if this latest move of escapism is another stroke of glorious genius or a step too far…I’m sure it’ll entail some fun along the way though!
Have you jetted off to a far flung place to escape, did it help, or did you simply not questions what you were doing?!
Speaking Australian; pretty simple, right? Wrong! Beverley gives on how NOT to confuse your snag with your stubbie!
Yeah I know what you’re thinking; Australian people speak English, I speak English, you speak English, what more could there be to learn, really?!
Spend just a few days in Australia and it becomes clear that language barriers do exist….you just have to know how to get round them!
It all starts with a visit to the pub, of course., or hotels as they’re sometimes called in Australia. You’re ready to order a pint of whatever it is you’re drinking and suddenly notice something rather alarming;
Wait, those aren’t pint glasses!
No, they’re schooner glasses and it’s basically the norm in Australia for a lager or ale to be served in one. A schooner is 425ml, about 3/4 of a pint. A friend told me a few weeks ago that beers are served this way as, if you were to sit in the Australian sun with a pint you’d probably get halfway through and find yourself drinking warm beer (never good) but I also sense it’s something to do with the stricter alcohol rules which Australia also has in place.
There are some pubs where you can buy a pint but you can also ask for something called a pot which holds 285ml – you’ll often find that you’ll get a free pot of beer with a meal in some pubs as a meal deal.
The above applies to Queensland and Victoria but in New South Wales for some reason a pot is called a middie.
In South Australia and pot is a schooner.
In Western Australia a pot measures 575ml which, being slightly more than a pint, is usually just called a pint by all the English people living there.
Maybe it’s time for a lie down……but not on the duvet. Nope, in Australia a duvet is called a doona.
Maybe you wanted to drink at your hostel though instead of at the pub? For this you’d need to go to the Bottle-O or bottle shop, generally an off license where you can buy 24 bottles or cans in a carton called a slab, a few stubbies (small, 375ml bottle of beer) or a tallie (a long-necked bottle of beer.)
Ooooh and don’t forget the goon; yes, it’s a gross cheap wine in a bag but it’s cheaper this way to get blotto, loose or magotted!
At some point you’re going to have to eat though right?
In Australia a pepper is a capsicum and an aubergine is an eggplant.
A courgette is a zucchini and if you want a toasted sandwich you need to ask for a jaffle.
A chicken is a chook and a lolly is what we’d probably refer to as sweets or candy.
tasty cheese is cheddar cheese and cheddar cheese is that plastic cheese normally reserved for barbeques and kids lunch boxes.
Want a sausage from the barbeque? Ask for a snag and if you’re having it in between two pieces of bread it’s a sanger.
Many of the food names though are just shortened versions of the original. If a word can be shortened you can guarantee that it will be in Australia:
Avocados are avos
Brecky is breakfast
Throw another shrimp (read prawn) on the barbie and get a stubbie from the Esky – an esky is an insulated container for food and drinks, usually taken to the beach to keep your beers cold!
That famous Australian dessert, the pavlova? Call it a pav.
Need to pop to the corner shop? Here it’s a milk bar.
And there’s no need to waste your breath asking for a cappuccino, that’s far too much effort, just call it a cap!
And these are just a few of the many ‘Australianisms’ I’ve come across! Can you think of any more?
The East Coast of Australia, from Melbourne to Sydney (oh and Canberra.....) and finally up to Cape Tribulation in the far North of Queensland, is probably the most popular and most visited part of Australia and with a huge amount of exciting cities and beautiful beaches to explore we can see why. But how can you travel Australia's East Coast and see everything it has to offer? 1. Take a flight There are two main budget airlines for domestic flights in australia are Jetstar and Virgin Australia (formerly Virgin Blue), both will get you pretty much anywhere on the East Coast, providing you're not fussy about having to get a bus or taxi from the airport. How about flying from Sydney or Melbourne to Ballina where, after a 30 minute bus journey you could be exploring Byron Bay or fly from Brisbane to Prosperine where you can sail, dive and snorkel your way around The Whitsunday Islands? You can easily plan your trip to Gold Coast with Expedia and try your hand (or feet!) at surfing in Surfers Paradise, touch down at Cairns airport to explore the Great Barrier Reef, stick around Sydney to find the perfect balance between beach and city-living and while away your time in Melbourne with coffee and cake in one of its many cafes. Flying isn't always the cheapest option but if you're looking to get somewhere quickly and conveniently then it's definitely the way to go. 2. Book a bus journey Greyhound Australia and Oz Experience both have different packages you can use to travel Australia's entire East Coast in one go or, if you're planning on working in Australia or just staying longer in places you like, you can opt for a 12 month pass - just use the calculator on their website to work out how many kilometres
The East Coast of Australia, from Melbourne to Sydney (oh and Canberra…..) and finally up to Cape Tribulation in the far North of Queensland, is probably the most popular and most visited part of Australia and with a huge amount of exciting cities and beautiful beaches to explore we can see why.
But how can you travel Australia’s East Coast and see everything it has to offer?
1. Take a flight
There are two main budget airlines for domestic flights in australia are Jetstar and Virgin Australia (formerly Virgin Blue), both will get you pretty much anywhere on the East Coast, providing you’re not fussy about having to get a bus or taxi from the airport.
How about flying from Sydney or Melbourne to Ballina where, after a 30 minute bus journey you could be exploring Byron Bay or fly from Brisbane to Prosperine where you can sail, dive and snorkel your way around The Whitsunday Islands?
You can easily plan your trip to Gold Coast with Expedia and try your hand (or feet!) at surfing in Surfers Paradise, touch down at Cairns airport to explore the Great Barrier Reef, stick around Sydney to find the perfect balance between beach and city-living and while away your time in Melbourne with coffee and cake in one of its many cafes.
Flying isn’t always the cheapest option but if you’re looking to get somewhere quickly and conveniently then it’s definitely the way to go.
2. Book a bus journey
Greyhound Australia and Oz Experience both have different packages you can use to travel Australia’s entire East Coast in one go or, if you’re planning on working in Australia or just staying longer in places you like, you can opt for a 12 month pass – just use the calculator on their website to work out how many kilometres you’ll need over the year and you’re away!
The great thing about travelling by bus is that it actually stops at the most popular destinations – you can see the entire East Coast by bus easily without the hassle of airport transfers and departure lounges and you’ll easily make friends along the way. Prepare for a bumpy ride though!
3. Hire a Campervan
Ah the traveller’s dream! Riding around the country in a campervan, getting back to nature, cooking on a camping stove, beers on the beach – perfect. Thankfully there are a huge amount of companies in Australia who want to make this dream come true, for a price of course.
The most popular choices are Jucy, Wicked Campers and Spaceships but there are smaller companies as well. This is when your negotiation skills come in handy as your try and play one of against the other in a bid to get the best deal: to be honest, it works!
You can also check to see if there are any relocation deals available too – this means that, usually for something ridiculous like $1/day, you can ‘relocate’ a campervan to a specific depot in a certain amount of time.
Campervanning is the ultimate adventure and ensures that you get to see, stay and do whatever you want in your own time frame.
4. Hitch a Ride Part 1
This one takes a bit of courage but once you’ve stuck your thumb out a few times you’ll get used to it. Obviously hitchhiking your way up the East Coast isn’t the most conventional way to travel and so you’re going to have to get used to being flexible. There won’t always be someone driving where you want to go and you’ll have to change plans – it could be the best thing you ever did though; meeting new people and living one day to the next without any plans can be exciting!
Obviously if you’re going to hitchhike it goes without saying that you need to be careful and stay safe especially if you’re travelling alone. Stay in contact with friends or family via text, keep your wits about you and don’t try and hitch a ride in the dark.
5. Hitch a ride Part 2
Wait, didn’t we already cover this? Well, no. Scour the noticeboards in any Australian hostel or even just pop onto Gumtree and you’ll find heaps of people already driving somewhere who want a road trip buddy or are willing to take a passenger, usually just for the cost of petrol money.
Again, this requires a lot more planning and a flexible approach but it’s definitely a fun way to meet people, have an adventure and catch a cheap ride!
Gemma shows us how to get around the crazy but beautiful Moscow metro
Incomprehensible station names, crazy interchanges and around 7 million passengers a day; taking the Moscow metro can prove pretty daunting for a first-time visitor to the Russian capital. But let’s be frank, this underground system is the mother of all metros. Its beautiful chandeliers, mosaics, sculptures and statues make it an attraction in itself. And it’s not all about its looks. The metro is also cheap (60 Rubles will buy you a ticket valid for 5 trips city-wide) impeccably clean and trains surprisingly run on time. Spanning almost the entire Russian capital it’s by far the best way to get around so here’s how to do it…
Get through the door
It may seem a little obvious but making it through the incredibly heavy doors without getting a broken nose is the first challenge. The constant piston action of trains pushing air through the tunnels creates some sort of vacuum meaning the doors swing shut so you’ll need to use all your force to push them open.
Learn the lingo
If you’re not familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet, its crazy shapes and symbols make reading the station stops pretty impossible, as they don’t tally with the English names on your map. Learning the language is obviously the best way around this but getting your hostel/hotel to write down the name of your destination in Russian should help you to identify where you need to go.
Use your hands
If you haven’t succeeded to learn the language (see above point) then you’ll need to revert to age-old sign language to buy a ticket from the kiosk. Tickets are either sold individually or in groups of 5, 10, 20 or 60 so use your fingers to signal how many you want. The price is usually shown on the kiosk window (thank god numbers are universal) so you’ll know how much to hand to the woman. Smile is not included.
Ignore the sleeping woman
At the bottom of each escalator there is a glass cabin and inside sits a woman. Her job is to sit there all day looking up at the escalator, monitor the comings and goings of commuters and make loud speaker announcements to anyone who does not obey the escalator rules. She is usually fast asleep but even so, don’t look her in the eye.
Ask younger people for advice
Do not expect Muscovites to speak anything other than Russian so swatting up on a few key phrases (such as “how do I get to Red Square?”) is invaluable for getting around. As in most European countries, the younger generation is more likely to have studied English at school so if you need help, try approaching someone who looks fairly youthful.
Keep your passport on you
Don’t be surprised if you’re stopped by the police and asked to show your identification. It is standard practice so don’t start blubbing as soon as they appear but you will need to produce your documents. If you don’t feel comfortable carrying your passport with you, a photocopy should suffice.
And finally… Take your time
With stained glass windows, Swarovski-dripping chandeliers and mosaics expounding the benefits of a healthy communist life, the metro stations are architectural marvels in themselves. Make sure you book in some time to simply go from stop to stop and gawp at the grand designs. You wouldn’t do that in London and New York now would you?
Have you been to Moscow? How did you find using the metro? Any tips you’d add to the above?
Take a look at Chris' tell-tale signs of when you'll know you're a backpacker
Certain things change when you start travelling, particularly in the backpacker world. You suddenly have the desire to do things out of the ordinary and act in different ways than what ‘normal’ society dictates. It can be simple things or down right stupid things so You Know You’re a Backpacker When…
You have the sudden urge to wear anklets/foot jewellery/random bits of string
Drinking excessively on a weekday is completely normal
…and being sober is an odd sensation and kinda painful!
Beard growing, dreadlocks and general hairiness are actively encouraged (sometimes referring to both sexes!)
When you won’t spend $4 on a meal, but will blow $20 on booze without a second thought
You’ll haggle over 10baht with complete stubbornness – despite it only being 30p
Suntan cream and bug spray are your biggest expenses
Trying to sleep in a room where people are having sex is something you just deal with
The swimming pool DOES count as a shower (failing that public beach showers are the way forward)
Wifi is the deal breaker when looking for a bed for the night
Sleeping in a van at the side of the road is living the dream
Shoes are no longer part of your day to day dress code
…and wearing a tshirt is “getting dressed up”
…you also genuinely can’t remember the last time you wore socks!
Jumping out of a plane is a standard day out
You post status updates on Facebook for no other reason that to annoy your friends at home
You have no idea how much money you actually have – but you’re sure it’s enough
Smelling your clothes is how you pick what to wear (aka “sniff and see!”)
This rule also applies to food!
The free food shelf is a gold mine
You have 800+ Facebook friends but can only really remember a handful of them
You’ve perfected the squat toilet technique
Tiger balm cures EVERYTHING
Your iPod is your most treasured possession
If its free, you’ll take – regardless of whether you like/want/need it!
You save money by putting apples through as onions on self serve supermarket tils!
You can tell anyone the price of booze and where happy hour is…but have non clue about what the time is
…or what day of the week it is (see airport transfer concerns!)
The only local language you know is how to swear, order a beer and chat up girls/guys at the bar
You have a massive craving for things like PG Tips, Heinz Baked Beans, Peanut Butter….
You steal toilet paper from places simply so you don’t have to buy it
Being able to juggle, dread hair or play with fire suddenly seems like a good career path
“I’ll do that tomorrow” actually translates as “I’ll leave it to the last minute or forget”
You can name every possession you own
…and where in your bag you need to locate it at 3am in a dark hostel dorm
Which also means airline baggage handlers are your arch nemesis
A 31 hour bus/ferry/train combo is preferential over the extra $40 it’ll cost to fly there in 3 hours
So how many have you guys ticked off – or is that list simply making you wary about hitting the road?!
From London to Las Vegas, the best places to indulge the seven deadly sins
Lust – Amsterdam, Holland
Amsterdam is as notorious for its red light district as it is for its for its quirky, artistic and ultra laid-back attitude. Hordes of scantily clad women (and men) line the streets of the Wallen acting as a huge draw for punters and window shoppers across the globe to ogle or indulge their fantasies.
Pride – Los Angeles, USA
The city of angels; where fake boobs, big hair and compact noses are more commonplace than hot meals. From the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to the uber-chic boutiques of Beverley Hills, LA is the place where people spare no expense to look their very best.
Greed – Las Vegas, USA
From all-you-can-eat buffets to never-ending drink re-fills and all-night gambling, the Nevada desert town is the ultimate Sin City. With everything in abundance and no check on time it’s hard to stop.
Envy – Dubai, UAE
A city of superlatives, Dubai boasts the most expensive, the biggest, the grandest, the tallest… of just about everything. From its super-sleek mall boutiques to its decadent hotels, be prepared for the green-eyed monster to rear its ugly head.
Gluttony – Paris, France
Where else can you indulge your food fetish than in the capital of haute cuisine: Paris. With secret street markets, bistros, cafes and restaurants aplenty, eating and drinking in Paris takes on a very new dimension.
Wrath – London, UK
Stand on the wrong side of the escalator during rush hour or walk slowly down the street and you’ll see a cloud of red mist rise above commuters’ heads. What’s more during the north London derby be prepared for friendly football rivalry to turn somewhat sour.
Sloth – Barbados, Caribbean
The locals pride themselves on their relaxed and laid-back lifestyle so you’d be excused for taking things a little slower here. From catching some rays on the beach to wiling away the afternoon in a hammock the most you’ll have to move is to flag down the waiter for another rum cocktail.
Singapore Airlines is offering fancy hotel rooms for £1 a night to entice travellers to the city
Seems like there is an upside to the economic global downturn after all.
Singapore Airlines, in a bid to attract more tourists to Singapore, is offering hotel rooms for just £1 a night.
If you choose to stopover at the minute Asian country en route elsewhere you can snap up the deal at a snazzy hotel such as the Grand Pacific and get a free transfer. All for less than a cheeseburger.
And any additional nights will be discounted by up to 56 per cent.
As the airline serves onward destinations across south east Asia and Australasia including Koh Samui (Thailand), Penang (Malaysia), Adelaide (Australia), Hanoi (Vietnam), Siem Riep and (Cambodia) it’s a pretty good deal. Plus flights to Singapore are currently only around the £400 mark.
Sean Tipton of the Association of British Travel Agents – The Travel Association said: “The travel industry sometimes offers amazing deals like this outside of peak periods when demand is low and many hotel rooms and airline seats are unoccupied.
“If you are lucky enough to be able to travel when these offers are around you can make some incredible savings.”
Fancy taking up the offer? Do you think Singapore is worth visiting as a backpacker?