As we prepare to leave Australia, we thought that we should take a moment to take stock of everything we’ve learnt in our two years down under.
We get asked a lot of questions about our lifestyle, how we travel and moving to Australia so decided to collate a list of our most frequently asked questions. Hopefully they will be helpful if you’re planning a holiday or extended stay in Oz!
How do you shower?
Oddly, this is only of our most frequently asked questions regarding our travels around Australia! As we live on the road and out of our car when travelling, I suppose it is a fair question to ask.
Surprisingly, showers are easy to come by when travelling around Australia, even when things get really remote. Using our favourite Australian travel app, WikiCamps, we can find showers wherever we are in the country (and get a heads up about how
unclean they are).
You often find showers at service stations, at any major beach or (if your lucky) they can be provided by Mother Nature in the form of waterfalls or fresh springs.
How do you find places to camp?
As mentioned above, we wouldn’t be able to travel so freely if it wasn’t for Wikicamps. The app shows all of the free and paid campsites around the country with reviews from fellow roadtrippers. Don’t set off without it!
Are you ever coming home?!
At some point… maybe. Visiting home for 5 weeks has made a move back to the UK more likely. We hadn’t realised how much we’d missed our little isle and all our friends and family who live on it. It’s most likely not going to be for a few more years yet, though (soz, mum).
Doesn’t sleeping in your car get really hot?
YES! Our car is relatively small in comparison to motorhomes or renovated vans which means that there’s not a lot of room for ventilation. When we sleep in the back of the car (see how we do that here) we often can’t leave the windows open due to bugs/rain/noise/all of the above which is a bit of a nightmare.
One time, when we were attempting to sleep in our car the temperature didn’t drop below 30 degrees celsius, forcing us to check into a motel at 1am!
It goes without saying that we sleep in our tent whenever possible…
How have you not killed each other?
It was tough spending every second together at the beginning – travelling as a couple takes practice and we’ve definitely not perfected it yet! Luckily, we have both learnt to enjoy it as well as doing our own thing when we need to.
Is it easy to find jobs in Australia?
We are planning on dedicating a whole post about the job topic, as it’s something we are often asked about. Jobs are definitely harder to come across than we expected. We believed the myth that Australia is the land of opportunity, this may have been true in the past but it’s not so now.
Saying that, you are more than likely to find a job (especially in the big cities) so don’t worry too much! Signing up to temp agencies worked best for us and was flexible enough to fit around our travel schedule.
If you are planning on getting your second year visa extension (which requires that you work 88 days in agriculture) start looking for work early. Tools like Gumtree and Australian backpacker Facebook groups have proved very helpful!
When we’re on the subject, are you ever going to get a proper job?
The million dollar question! Obviously, one day we are going to want to find something that gives us purpose and satisfaction everyday but we’re not quite there yet.
We’ve loved trying out lots of jobs we never even knew existed but are yet to find a career that sticks. We’re in no rush though, as long as we’ve got enough to travel – we’re set!
How do you afford all this travel?
By working very hard! A lot of people think that we are on a non-stop holiday (to be fair, our Instagram account doesn’t help…) In real life we work full-time in various jobs for 2-6 months in order to save for our next chunk of travel.
Why aren’t you more tanned?
Sorry to burst your bubble guys, but Australia gets cold. Especially Melbourne, where we were initially based. Plus, working a 9-5 doesn’t leave much time for year-round tanning!
How much money did you bring to Australia with you?
Not enough! We turned up on Melbourne’s doorstep with around $5000 between us.
Obviously this wasn’t ideal and applied a lot more pressure to the job hunt. Moving to a new country is stressful enough, having dwindling funds doesn’t help matters at all.
Saying that, we had come to Australia financially unprepared because we knew we would rather start saving abroad instead of slogging it out at home for another 6 months. It all worked out in the end but we do feel that we have always been playing catch-up with our savings, unlike our friends who landed with a healthier bank balance.
What visa are you on?
We are on the Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417).
If you are a British citizen aged 18-30 then you are eligible to apply for a Working Holiday Visa. When granted, this visa entitles you to a one year stay in Australia from the date you arrive. The Working Holiday Visa allows you to work in one place for up to 6 months, but you can have as many (or as few) jobs as you like.
The visa costs 220GBP and is generally issued within 72 hours, although I would highly recommend allowing the recommended 28 days for your application to be processed.
Are you moving to Australia permanently?
Unfortunately, we’ve struck Australia off our list of future residences. Despite all it’s beauty, beaches and fantastic pay – it’s just too far away.
Going home is like a military operation and a pricey one to boot. In fact, going to any other countries is eye-wateringly expensive and requires a long slog in the air.
Saying that, we will definitely be returning sometime in the future. There’s a lot of Australia left to tick-off our list.
What’s better; vegemite or marmite?
I am very ashamed to admit that we have wavered in our preferences during our time in Australia. Treasonous, I know! Vegemite has a thicker consistency than marmite and more of a kick but you can’t knock the classic. Marmite 4 lyf.
What has been your favourite small town on the many road trips?
We both have different answers for this one.
Lauren: Obviously the small surfer towns dotted along the east coast have got to come in front such as Byron Bay and Crescent Heads but I think answering with one of those is cheating. They are not representative of small town Australia, that’s a whole other kettle of fish. Margaret River in Western Australia really stole my heart, you can’t beat those beaches!
Ryan: No brainer, Glenrowan. What a town, what a place. A whole town dedicated to the legend of national anti-hero Ned Kelly, what’s not to like? And the funny thing is that despite lending itself almost fully to tacky tourism, the town still retains an undeniable sense of charm and beauty. I dragged Lauren there twice against her wishes and one day, I will return again.
Is life ‘Down Under’ all it’s cracked up to be?
We all know the arguments made for life in Australia. The promise of better weather, beaches, higher wages and a better quality of life entices thousands of Brits away every year.
And although most of that promise is true, Australia is not without its problems. The main one for us has been its isolation. You can’t hop on a plane and arrive in an entirely different cultural landscape within a couple of hours and for us it is too far away from the people we love.
But if you’re able to make that sacrifice then it’s undoubtedly a more rewarding lifestyle.
We will be sharing our plans for winter 2016/2017 on the blog next week! We are so excited about what the next season has in store for us…