Deciding to travel Australia was definitely fuelled by the belief that the grass would be greener, when in fact, if there’s one thing that you can be assured of, it’s that the grass is going to be a lot more straw-like & discoloured. But it’s not all bad, three months of nomadic living has been a revelation for the both of us. The wildlife is amazing, the heat intense & the lifestyle ridiculously chilled out – a million miles from the fast pace of the UK.
There are certainly things that I miss about England, with the culture & history being at the top of the list, but with a little local knowledge & useful hints that I’ve picked up, there’s no reason why any of us poms can’t enjoy a great life in the warmer climes of Australia.
Music – Spotify
Believe it or not, Australia is a long way behind when it comes to online music streaming. Spotify isn’t yet available, leaving the natives with few options but to reach for their iTunes accounts & extensive CD collections. Fortunately for us Brits, providing you have a direct debit set up with Spotify, linking to an English bank account, you’ll still be able to listen to an endless catalogue of music on your Australian mobile or household device (including PC & laptops). Top tip – make sure you leave a little money in your UK bank account for Spotify to deduct each month.
Mobile Phone Coverage – Telstra
I was more surprised than anyone to find that O2 doesn’t exist in AUS. After much trouble getting my iPhone unlocked, I was finally able to join whichever network I desired. Being the foolish man that I am, I opted for a Vodafone sim. Australia is a big country and mobile internet and network coverage is very hit and miss. If you’re sticking to the main cities, you’ll be fine with a Vodafone, Virgin or Yes Optus sim card, however, if you’re venturing off the beaten track, Telstra is the ONLY network that will perform.
Second Year Visa & Fruit Picking Jobs
Before arriving in Australia, we didn’t do all that much research around fruit picking jobs and how to qualify for a second year visa. However, after quickly running out of money, we were desperate to find work to fund our travels. It wasn’t as easy as first thought, but after hours of panicked online research we finally found our jobs as mango harvesters in Dimbulah. Top tips; Gumtree is HUGE & thousands of fruit picking jobs can be found on there. Reputable job agencies include AREA & QITE.
Hostels – YHA
We have found YHA hostels to be reasonably priced with ample facilities. Though the shared dorms tend to lack enough plug points for all room-mates, all bedrooms are equipped with lockers, air con & access to the Global Gossip wireless internet network. Top tip; the YHA offers perks to members who buy in bulk with their e-Nights scheme. Purchase 10 days for $27 per night or 15 nights at $26. This is especially useful when visiting Sydney, where some rooms can cost in excess of $40 per night. For more information visit the YHA website.
2011 was an awesome year & we’ve already met some great people and seen plenty of amazing sights along the way. Let’s hope this continues in 2012.