Tag Archives: working holiday visa

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Things To Do In Brisbane

27th February 2016

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When we arrived in Australia we had no idea what was going on. We had no jobs, no home and no bloody clue about anything that was going on….at least they speak English here though.

Almost 9 months later and we are happy to say that Australia was definitely the right choice for us. So much so that when we got offended the opportunity of staying in Australia for a while longer, we jumped at the chance.

So it seems long over due that we would make a Brisbane bucket list. Here are a few things we are excited to get around to while we are in the sunshine capital of Australia.

 

. Hold a Koala at Lone Pine Zoo – We did this..her name was Tinkerbell and I wanted to steal her. 12122577_10153152951543388_6627074604296737826_n

. See a Kangaroo – We did this at Lone Pine Zoo too and it was fantastic. ROO’s and KANGA’s as far as the eye could see.

.Go to Fraser Island – The reason I was excited to move to Australia was when I saw some friends pictures of Fraser Island. I can’t wait to go.

.Go Whale Watching – We did this and loved it. The Whales jumped around like crazy. I felt like we were meeting a celebrity. 12747617_846100285512104_1553819085_n

.Go to Moreton Island – This beautiful island has shipwrecks off the beach, perfect for scuba diving (if I wasn’t terrified of sharks).

. Eat Korean food in Fortitude Valley – I do this most weeks since I work in the Valley. I’d recommend the singing rooms too. NOREABANG!! 887544_10153184146053388_4507646595431289051_o

.Go on the XXXX beer tour – People from Brisbane mock me for wanting to do this traditional tourist thing. This only makes me want to do it more.

.Take a boat trip down the Brisbane river – We get to do this quite a lot because our house is near the river. It’s insane to take a boat home and it be a normal thing. whalewatching_12

. Go to Eat Street Markets We have just moved into a new flat that is a stones throw away from these beautiful markets. I’m not going to say that we moved there just for the incredible food but ….that would be a lie. 12039127_10153132344788388_5032742197605760957_o

.Watch some cricket at the Gabba – Lee is a massive cricket fan so we have arrived in the right country. I have loved learning about it over the years. Having an excuse to sit in the sunshine and drink beer is also good.

.Visit Kangaroo point – Kangaroo point is a really pretty park area looking out to the Story Bridge. A perfect picnic spot.

.Go inside the town hall – The town hall is a beautiful building in the center of the city . I’d like the excuse to see more of it.

.Visit the top of Mount Coot-tra – This big mountain is said to have some of the best views of the city. I’m excited to see if it’s true.

.Watch Brisbane RiverFire (a fireworks display) – We saw the River Fire display from over the tops of skyscrapers on our first few days in Brisbane and had no idea what was going on. This time i’ll force Lee to have front row seats. 12407654_1542039636106290_1013615708_n

.Climb the Story Bridge – The Story Bridge was a little disappointing if I’m honest. After seeing the huge Harbour bridge in Sydney I thought that the Story Bridge would be similar but its very small in comparison. BUT Lee hates heights to scaling this bridge first will be a good first step. …Also , just so no Brisbanites hunt me down and bitch slap me…the Story Bridge has become a favourite of mine now. The big fairy lights are perfect.

.Go to a ‘Drive in’ cinema – We did this recently and although it was really busy and we couldn’t see much…I LOVED IT!!! I’ve definitely grown up with too many American films.

.Visit Woolloongabba Antiques Centre. – This is probably because I’m moving into a new house but I want so many pretty things for the new flat (or to just stare at them and dream about them).

.Visit Westend – I get told off for calling it ‘The’ Westend. Here it is just ‘Westend’. It’s full of lots of shops and lovely restaurants. I need to eat all the foods.

.Visit Paddington – This is meant to be a cool area.

.Visit Merthyr – Just to see how it compares to the Welsh town.

.Visit Simpsons Falls – Massive waterfalls and jungle only 20mins away? Yes please!

. See the Gold Coast. Massive skyscrapers on the beach? This needs to be viewed. whalewatching_10

. Visit the Sunshine coast. White sanded empty beaches as far as the eye can see. We did do this already but I don’t think there is a limit on visiting this place.

. Go for dinner at ‘La Dolce Vita’ – Only because there is a Eiffel tower above a restaurant with an Italian name…and that’s too weird to miss.

.Spend a weekend on Straddie island – It’s only an hour away and looks like paradise.

 

Just writing that list has me excited for doing things. We are in full on ‘moving in’ panic mode so this list is making me feel human again. Bring on the pretty views, awful unhealthy food , and sunshine.

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Whale Watching at Hervey Bay

21st February 2016

 

One of my first memories as a child was walking into the National History Museum in London, looking up and seeing the giant statue of the blue whale that use to hang from the roof. When I looked up with my tiny eyes it was all that occupied my vision and I was enthralled. In fact, remember when Pinocchio  gets eaten by the whale? Most people were terrified of this as kids. I on the other hand thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen. I use to sit cross legged in front of the TV thinking ‘lucky puppet’.

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As i’ve got older and become enamored with all animals , whales have always been on the list of ‘things to see’. But as is the case with all animal experiences…there had to be strict rules:

. They have to be in the wild

. The company must be safe and environmentally friendly

Luckily in Australia it’s quite easy to find a whale watching company that fits the bill. We arrived in Brisbane with only three weeks left of the whale season (the whale season in Queensland is August to October) so we set off as soon as we could, crossed our fingers and hoped we’d spot the incredible creature that is the humpback whale.

The humpback whales stop off here for a few months before heading to colder climates, normally with lots of mini humpbacks in tow. In fact it’s thought up to 7,000 whales can be here at any one time during the season.

We decided on Hervey Bay since it is always listed as ‘the number one spot in Queensland to spot whales’ on every blog we searched. Hervey Bay is about 3 hours outside of Brisbane so we hired a car for the day and took the beautiful drive to the bay. whalewatching_13

whalewatching_12  Hervery Bay is beautiful ! The drive from Brisbane takes you past mountains, the bush and signs hinting that Koala’s are near. The bay itself has the bluest seas, a lovely harbor and as you are sailing you go past white sandy beach islands that look like every postcard you’ve ever been sent by boasting friends. All of this is before you even see a whale.

whalewatching_09 We used the Quick Cat 2 boat , which you can book here. The company was one of the first to set out on the high seas to see these animals and they were great. We left on time, there was plenty of room, they gave us facts about the animals and area and even provided lots of snacks and drinks.

whalewatching_11 If I’m honest I held no hope that we would even see a whale . There was 2 days left of the season when we stepped on the boat and our hopes had been lowered by the staff. If we hadn’t seen one on the trip we’d have been given a free trip by the company so I wasn’t too worried, but I was sending well wishes to all the Nordic gods that we’d see the fins of some creatures of the deep.

An hour into the journey we’d still not glimpsed a fin when suddenly as if from no where a large mother and her calf appeared along side the boat. We could just see the sheen of her back as she arched back into the ocean , but it was thrilling. We saw her little calf beside her and it was so strange to be that close to a creature that had chosen to come and see what this boat in the ocean was.  Lee and I lost our minds!

whalewatching_01 We only had a few minutes to stare in wonder before we noticed in the distance a huge cloud of water. We raced across the water and got lucky enough to see a male whale displaying his powerful skills. He jumped out doing barrel rolls and dives for about 15 minutes. Even our guide was in shock . Unfortunately I was so enthralled by the show that I didn’t have my camera out. I was a little too obsessed with seeing it with my own eyeballs.

whalewatching_04 whalewatching_05 whalewatching_03 We got to see another handful of whales showing off as the day went on, which meant I got to capture a few token shots (phew) and even got a surprise visit from an angry lethal sea snake that wanted us dead. Luckily the boat was very high so we didn’t have to actually meet the most deadliest snake on the planet (the olive sea snake – in-case you were wondering) . whalewatching_07

The day went so quickly and our faces hurt from smiling. I would recommend it to anyone. I think we will definitely be doing it again. Lee’s mission is to see a Blue Whale and I’d love to see Orca’s in the wild so once again ‘whale watching’ has not been knocked off the bucket list…it’s just been crossed off and added back to the bottom of the list. whalewatching_06 whalewatching_02 whalewatching_08

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Australia – A Re-Cap

16th January 2016

header Well you might have already guessed from our instagram feed, but we are no longer on our grand tour of Asia.

It took us 3 months and 17 days but a few months ago (quite a few months ago now) we arrived in the merry old land of Oz. We were ready to see some Kangaroo’s, put another shrimp on the barbie and many other stereotypical things that i’ve learnt from watching too much Neighbours and having a affinity with The Simpsons episode  where they go to Australia.

Here is a little glimpse of our last few months trekking on a new continent.

Perth & Fremantle

australia11 australia10 Our first stop was Western Australia. Partly because it is the closest part of Australia to Asia and partly because we really wanted to see one of Lee’s best friends. Mo moved to Perth a few years ago and he, his beautiful girlfriend and their adorable dog , made the crazy mistake of letting us use their spare room for a while. Jobs were harder to find than expected but it didn’t take the shine away from our beautiful surroundings.

We were actually living in a small town connected to Perth called Fremantle – or in the traditional Australian way of adding an ‘O’ to the end of all words – Freo. We learnt (and Lee fell in love with ) AFL or the Aussie Rules Football League. I found a job in a craft beer bar and had a wail of a time serving pints and throwing together cocktails with a great bunch of people. They introduced me to a ‘Boilermaker’ and my liver will never be the same again*.  We saw fantastic sunsets and ate so much good food. Our last few days in WA (Western Australia) were spent in Margaret River, which is lovingly known as Wine Country to the locals. I managed to take a trip to wine country while I was suffering the mother of all hangovers . Not the way i’d recommend seeing the place but if it’s pretty when you are carrying a carrier bag ‘just in case’ around with you, then you know it’s got to be good.

australia9 australia13 There is a lot of things we didn’t get to do while we were in WA – mainly due to lack of funds so we will need to go back.   As if seeing Mo, Paula, Diego (the not so tea cup chiuaua) weren’t reason enough to go back , we didn’t get to make it to Rottnest island and see a Quokka (look at their lovely faces here) . But we aren’t too sad. It’s always good to have a reason to go back.

*I will explain what a ‘Boilermaker’ is in other posts but right now the memory is still too clear…urrrr my poor liver.

 

Melbourne

australia6 We didn’t think we would be able to see more of Australia so soon but  I luckily got a job offer at an animation company in Brisbane that was too good to pass up. We decided that instead of flying directly to Brisbane we would take the long route. Our next stop on our whistle stop tour of Australia became Melbourne.

How can you describe Melbourne? I read countless times that it was ‘liveable’ and had no idea what this meant…until we arrived there that was. It is a bustling, fun , delicious and just beautiful.

australia5 We scaled the Eureka building, ate till our bellies were bursting in China town and Lee got to fulfill a life long ambition and go to Melbourne Cricket Ground where we had a fantastic tour and learnt a lot. I’d recommend it to everyone, even if like me you are clueless about cricket.  For me the most important part of the trip was getting to see my favourite band ‘Post Modern Jukebox’ perform. You can see them here…I recommend watching allllll their videos. Seeing them perform was the only reason that our elaborate journey to Brisbane had such a long stop over in Melbourne. Boy are we glad we had the excuse. We can’t wait to go back.

It’s cheesy but i’d recommend the free tourist tram that travels around the centre of the city. Nice views, good information and you can rest your tootsies. australia4 australia8 australia7

Sydney and Manley Bay

australia18 Sydney is of course AMAZING! I felt like I was walking into every story I’d ever heard my mum tell of her childhood. My mum and her three sisters and two brothers moved to Australia when see was just five. It has been one of the reasons i’ve always wanted to see this country. It hasn’t disappointed yet.

We saw bustling Bondi,  the iconic Harbour Bridge , the even more iconic Sydney Opera House and enjoyed every moment of it. We stumbled upon a German beer house and had our fill of German beer. It wasn’t very Australian but we’ve managed to find a German spot in most cities so it felt almost rude not to. There is nothing quite as fun as watching Lee in a German beer bar. He’s like a kid in a candy store – but more drunk.

australia17 australia16 Our favourite part of our trip to Sydney was a day trip to Manly, We assumed that people had suggested this trip for the boat ride that takes you past all the major sights of Sydney so we were both a little taken aback when we arrived on Manly to discover a paradise hidden among the city. Beaches, harbors, blue seas and even a wild cockatoo. We spent the day fantasizing about living on this little piece of heaven. I finally, after years of Lee up-selling this country to me,  understood the pull of Australia and the hold it has on people. I never really thought that I’d be someone who would fall for this country but i’ve fallen hard.

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Brisbane

australia15 Last but definitely not least is our little corner of the continent. We have made Queensland our home for the last few months and boy are we glad that we made the move over here. We have loved each part of Australia, but Brisbane feels like home to us now. We fluked a great little house that has a SPARE bedroom . For two ex-Londoners who couldn’t stretch their arms without touching both sides of the wall , it is bliss. We also have a garage that the optimists in us have turned into a mini gym….or as it should aptly be named ‘the dust farm’.

I am a massive nerd and love animation so I keep pinching myself that the company took a chance on a backpacking weirdo. I’m working my tukas off but it’s the first time in years that I’m excited for my job and at the same time I can’t wait to come home. It’s a weird feeling. Lee is working in a dungeon at a hospital converting horrible case files but I think he secretly likes the organisation of it all (this is the man who’s hobby is Excel after all :D) australia14

Brisbane is much more laid back than Sydney and Melbourne , as pretty as Perth and sunny 362 days a year. We have explored the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay where we saw humpback whales froliking in the surf but there is still so much more to see.  We did get treated to a visit from the incredible Kaleena , you may know here as the writer of this incredible blog. I know her as my ice cream partner in crime and America’s top sand castle builder.  It’s been a fun few months and although the idea of moving to a continent with no job and not a lot of money was a terrifying prospect. It has been worth every second. Everything’s coming up Millhouse! Fingers crossed 2016 holds a lot more in store.

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