Words by Hannah Crate
Australia – definitely one you should tick off as a backpacker
I’ve been in Australia for 5 months now and I can definitely say that it was worth saving all my money and leaving everything I knew behind. This having been the first time I’ve been so far away from my family completely on my own, I was glad to have scored a job as an au pair so that I at least had somewhere to go, with a roof over my head and a warm bed at night.
AU PAIR OR NON?
My one piece of advice if you are going for a job as an au pair: make sure you’ve done all the research possible; what your hours will be; where you will be living; transport in that area; and DEFINITELY speak to previous au pairs on what the family are like.
I’ve been fending for myself for the last 2 and a half months, and it’s definitely not as hard as people may think! I was blessed to make enough friends and meet plenty of lovely people at my local church, so when they heard that I was feeling down in my au pair job they offered help straight away. And now I live with a fabulous lady from church who treats me like one of her own and rent is super cheap!
Most people that come over here to the Great Land of Oz usually start out on a working holiday visa – which is for 1 year – and if you want to extend then you have to do at least 88 days of regional work. Regional work can either be fruit and veg picking on a farm in most states, hospitality up in North Queensland, au pairing in Darwin, or even horse training (which is what I’m currently doing). Always make sure, just as you would any job, that it’s safe, that the pay is acceptable and up to standard with the law, and if possible even chat to other people who work there to see if the role would suit you. Luckily though, if your chosen job really is unbearable you can still count those days you’ve done and just find another job to finish off your 88 days! Just remember to get pay slips to prove you have done it!
Another bit of advice: either as soon as you land or even before you leave your home town, join lots of backpacker Facebook groups. There are ones for all of Australia, and ones for specific cities, so join them too! These kind of sites are great for meeting fellow backpackers, finding work and accommodation, and just getting good advice from others that have been in your situation already.
Getting to know your new home can be quite scary but it’s not as bad as you may think… trust me! Luckily the Ozzies tend to be quite friendly people, and probably 1 in 3 are more than likely travelling or from abroad so they are normally happy to help answer questions to get you on your way. On my first trip in to Brisbane I met a few other brits, a few Germans and a bunch of other lovely people, and have stayed friends with lots of them too! And the Ozzies LOVE the British accent too, I got some freebies from lush because of it
Ozzies also love their food and coffee, and the Australian cuisine is by nature a melting pot of flavours. This is good news for us Brits because most of the food you think you’d miss, you can get here too (although they have to put more preservatives in it too keep it fresh, they do with all foods so you will just have to get used to it).
Another great way to explore your new city; try out a new coffee shop or lunch spot everyday! Its great to learn what’s good and where things are, and then you can share your great finds with others you meet along the way.
PROS & CONS
Just like travelling to any country, there are always good points and bad points and everyone gets their own experiences and makes their own memories. For my finishing point, as I say to anyone that asks how my trip was whenever I go anywhere, it was amazing but you just have to do it for yourself; my Australia will be completely different to your Australia. And if you do ever find yourself venturing over to this vast country, then enjoy every moment possible, even if you are knee deep in mud and God knows what else – because you are making memories all the time and one day you will look back and think there is nothing you’d rather be doing than exactly that!
I wish everyone the best time ever on their travels and hey, who knows where we might end up? But if you ever need help, give me a shout!