Phillip Island

On Monday I hired a car and drove to Phillip Island. I visited in my first week in Australia with a friend from back home, but it’s quite close and the weather is still pretty decent. I caught the train to Frankston instead of driving through the city as I wanted to miss rush hour traffic and there’s a lot of dickheads on the road in the city.

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I’m (apparently) a grown up now

Once I’d gotten into the car, I’d already established my first world problems:

  • The WiFi in my flat is pretty bad and didn’t download the Spotify playlist properly
  • I was probably going to run out of battery on my phone, for which I was relying on the GPS, and my portable charger wasn’t fully charged
  • The indicators and windscreen wipers are controlled on the different sides of the wheel than in the UK, and I have to overthink which side they are on. This was the first time I’ve driven a car in Australia and not used the wipers instead of indicating. Go me.

An hour or so later I reached an animal sanctuary and petted some kangaroos.

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Half hour after leaving the kangaroos behind, I drove to the Nobbies Center, which is a boardwalk on the coast. Really nice views.

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The weather was still clearing up, but after reaching Cape Woolami the sky was blue. Bearing in mind that I work on my feet all day and had done around 15km of walking just a few days before, I opted for the shortest walk.

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Next week or the week after, depending on my shifts, I’m going to go to the Mornington Peninsular for a day. At the moment I’m working not a lot of hours with two jobs, this week it’ll be around 30 hours and am expecting the same next week.

 

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Wilsons Prom

Not really done anything that amazing this past week. Had my first day off in 15 days and think it was only one piss up.

As I’m quite conscious of the fact that I don’t have that long left in Australia, I’d quite like to explore more of the state that I have lived in for most of my time here. Wilsons Prom is a three hour drive away and I just don’t want to spend six hours driving, so again I used the tour operators Hike and Seek.

We did a couple of hikes, both with amazing views. The second one the view was just so worth walking uphill for around 40 minutes in the weather that we were lucky enough to get. The pictures don’t really do the view justice, but they’ll have to do.

This coming week I don’t have a lot of work, so tomorrow is my sort-my-shit-out day, depending on what time I wake up. Monday I’m thinking of hiring a car and going somewhere, but that is dependent on the weather and if I can find a really good playlist.

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Back in Melbourne (Again)

Last Wednesday I arrived back in Melbourne. Technically, Thursday as my flight was delayed by three hours – one of the budget airlines that crack the shits when your bag is 150g over the weight limit, but it’s fine for them to be delayed most times I fly with them.

My last day in Perth I didn’t really do a lot – I was going to go to the Pinnacle Desert but they day would’ve cost me around the $300 mark and a five-hour round drive, which I didn’t think it’d be worth it. Instead, I chilled in the Botanical Gardens.

Around five hours after going to bed I had a job interview, and was requested back on the Saturday to do a trial and got the job. I just got in from a shift and it’s nice to finish when it’s light outside, but I think I need to try and find a part time/evening job to get my hours up so I can put off having proper adult responsibilities for that bit longer.

The flat that I’m going to move into isn’t ready as the person who’s moving out has extended their stay, so I’m in a hostel for a week and a half or so. Once I have my shit together I’m going to plan out what I want to get out of living in Victoria before I leave here (including a couple of road trips) and start getting myself ready for the next continent to travel through.

 

Fremantle Prison

No, I didn’t go out on the lash last night and end up here, though if I lived in Western Australia a couple of hundred years ago, I probably would’ve. As well as being drunk, another “crime” a woman could’ve committed at that time also includes using offensive language so I’m happy that I live in this day and age.

The former Prison is a UNESCO site, closed down in 1991 for a breach in human rights. It took a prison riot to begin the process of closing it, during which the prisoners started a fire and found out that the gates of the prison were too small to fit a fire engine through.

I stayed for two tours: one that covered the last 100 years of the prison, and another that went through former inmates and some of the more famous escape attempts. We heard some pretty shocking stories about why prisoners were there, executions and how the prisoners smuggled contraband in.

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Rottnest Island

Yesterday I arrived in the sixth and final state of Australia that I have visited. I’m staying in Perth but am intending to go to three places over three days.

Today, I went to Rottnest Island – famously home of the Quokka. I hired a bike and cycled around the south of the island. The island is actually quite hilly and at some points I had to get off the bike and walk up the hills because I’m not used to cycling/one of my knees is buggered. The cycling athletes for the 2020 Olympic games need not to worry about competing against me in Tokyo.

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Kangaroo Island

Wednesday morning I woke up at the crack of dawn to get myself down to Kangaroo Island. There’s over one million kangaroos on the island, as well as koalas and other wildlife. One of the things you learn when you come to Australia is that if a kangaroo jumps out at you when you’re driving, the safest thing to do is to just hit it. Part of the reason why I didn’t want to hire a car is because I’d prefer to not deal with a car insurance company for hitting a kangaroo, as well as my navigation skills. I opted to go for a tour again just to make life easier for myself.

When  we were introducing ourselves to each other, the usual question came up of “how long have you spent in Australia?” with most people staying a month or two. It really is amusing to watch other people’s expressions when I say that I’ve been year a year and eight months almost.

The island itself is quite cut off from the rest of Australia – they get their electricity from the mainland and it seems as though they don’t really have a plumbing system. The people living there rely on their livestock a lot. The first place we went was to a sheep farm, where the farmer explained to us how they use the sheep to support themselves, and also allowed us to pet his sheepdogs.

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The next stop was an eucalyptus distillery, where we shown how the eucalyptus can be used to create products. I’m pretty sure that there was a cider factory around the corner that I would’ve enjoyed more. After lunch we were taken to Seal Bay, where you get to walk along the beach with a guide who knew her shit about sea lions. When you come to Australia you expect to pet kangaroos and koalas, though you don’t expect to share a beach with sea lions. Afterwards, we went to a place called Little Sahara where we climbed up a sand dune and sledded down – as I am a bit of a liability for injuring myself, I did it just the once.

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The following day we went to a wildlife sanctuary where wild animals roam and people take a lot of pictures – there were koalas and wallabies – I’ve been in Australia for long enough to be over the novelty of seeing koalas in trees, but the rest of the group were fascinated by them. I have the best selfie with a kangaroo that I’m ever going to get, so didn’t get the camera out.

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Next, we visited a place called Remarkable Rocks. There’s an Aboriginal story about how the place was formed, and there are reasons why Aboriginal people don’t acknowledge the island and won’t visit it. We stayed for around half hour, walking and people watching around the place. After, we went to a place called Admirals Arch where the seals live and watched them for a bit. At first it’s a bit like ‘is that a seal or is it a rock?.’ After lunch we then had to make our way back to the ferry terminal, via a couple of beaches and a honey farm.

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I’m glad that I’ve visited now as there is a lot of money being invested into a runway at the airport, meaning more tourism. It seems as though the protection that the ecosystem has there is only valid as long as there is no big sums of money involved. More tourism here would mean that there’s going to be land built over, restaurants and places to shop built and really take away what is so good about the island. It’s also predicted that a gas company will eventually build an oil rig and extract the oil from around the island, which is a great shame. Humans need to learn to stop thinking about money, and instead the planet and the wildlife that also lives here.

Overall, it was a great couple of days, it’s definitely one of the more underrated places in this country. I’d gladly go back and spend a bit more time on the island with a bit of research.

 

Ayers Rock

Tuesday was the first day of my holiday which was spent in Alice Springs. On the bus to Melbourne Airport I saw a few people with all their paperwork neatly arranged, and that was when I came to the realisation that the only thing I had prepared was my flight ticket as Qantas had sent me a text message. I had a hostel booked which I didn’t know how to get to, so that reminded me to have a quick Google.

The flight was uneventful; I had the whole row to myself. Over the past two plus years of travelling I have become better at finding free food, a WiFi hotspot and a place to sleep. By connecting to the internet on the plane I qualified for three months free Netflix membership and I ate and slept.

Alice Springs didn’t really have that much to do, and to be honest I wouldn’t have chosen to come here had it not been the place to meet for the tour to Alice Springs. The Reptile Center here was worth visiting, but I didn’t do much else.

At 6am on Wednesday morning I met a group of people to go to Ayers Rock. It was a seven hour journey, advertised as five, with a stop off at a camel farm where we got to pet them and later, a servo that sold decent coffee.

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Unemployed Again

Just a short post because I have a few jagerbombs in me.

As of 9pm today, I am unemployed again. In a few hours time, I have to go to Melbourne and sort my shit out in order to travel again. The last year outside of work has been fun, but I have worked solidly and my body is really feeling it. My feet have been sore since August and I worked to the point of spraining my neck from being under a lot of pressure. I’ve called Australia my home for a year and a half so I might as well enjoy the country for a bit.

Tuesday, I have a flight to Alice Springs and will be around Uluru, then I’m spending a bit of time in and around Adelaide. I have a really close friend who now lives there so I’m looking forward to a catch up. I think I’ll have a week off in Melbourne too and am excited to explore Victoria a bit more.

My previous landlord has invited me back to live where I was before. There’s not a high chance of finding a flat with the amount of time I have left on my visa so a share house will have to do for now. I also have a bit of work available in the city when I ask for it which is great, but will need to find full time employment. It means that I’ll probably have to long off going to Bali for now but when I think about my travels beyond Australia it’s not that big of a deal.

In the near future I’m looking forward to subscribing to Netflix and Uber Eats again. As much as I’m looking into the future and planning to return to England this time next year I’m determined to enjoy the time remaining in this country that I’m sure one day will be my home.

Five Months Left in Australia

Tonight after work I have at least attempted to be a grown up; it’s taken a good few hours to try to find some cheap, or in my case, not so cheap flights out of the country – and a cheap one into Asia. There’s a few things in the category of ‘things that I hope my tax return covers,’ which these flights fall into. When I went to Japan I got asked a lot why I was going because it’s supposedly expensive (it’s not), and I think going to Africa I’m going to get asked the same. I haven’t worked so much over the past year just to look at my bank balance – I’m really going to enjoy a bit of long term travel.

Not much has happened this week – bought a backpack to take away with me as my current one is too big, read a couple of books, worked and drank a lot of coffee. Just one more week to go and I’ll be unemployed, going back to Melbourne for a night and sorting a few things out. Next Tuesday I’ll start the rest of my travels through Australia, and in a few weeks I will have been to every state in this country.

Two Weeks Left of Working

Last week I was hoping to get some time off work to travel to Uluru – there was no rota at work until Thursday so I didn’t know whether or not to risk it to go. Instead, I managed to pick up some shifts in Melbourne and stayed there for three nights.

Monday I did the three hour commute and got to work by 11am. I was invited out for “a drink” after work which turned into going to a rooftop bar and then finding out that the casino is in fact open all night, so I ended up working the next day on around 25 minutes sleep. I didn’t get asked if I went out the previous night, or told that I looked hungover so I’m quite impressed that I pulled it off.

After my shift and a very strong coffee on Tuesday I went to the cinema to see Jumanji which was better than I’d expected and then went to bed as I really needed to sleep. Wednesday, I worked and finished in the evening so didn’t really get the chance to do much.

On Thursday, I went to the cinema again to see Black Panther – been pretty excited to see it for a couple of months and whilst not the best Marvel film I’ve seen, was still bloody good. After, I got the train back to Geelong, where I had to wait an hour and a half for a bus as there were problems with the trains. One of the reasons I can’t wait to move on from living here is that I don’t want to rely on public transport to get around here as it’s shit.

Over the weekend I worked and have the next couple of weeks with more work than this week. My final shift is on the 4th, and I tonight I booked my flight from Melbourne to Alice Springs, a Uluru tour and a flight to Adelaide. After that I’ll be flying into Perth, Darwin and then Cairns, and depending on how I feel, a trip to Bali could be on the cards for a few days.