My Worst Travel Experiences of 2015

Worst Travel ExperiencesYes,2015 was incredible. But the good definitely didn’t come without the bad. 

Travelling is still real-life, despite how pretty it makes your Instagram feed. For every picture-postcard beach there’s a looming setback or bout of illness.

So here’s my worst travel experiences of 2015.

Manila, The Philippines

manila national museum

One of the things I hated most about Manila was the fact that I hated it. I really wanted to be the one blogger who ventured to Manila and found its hidden treasures.

But alas, it sucked.

 

The city was so choked with pollution that I had black gunk coming out of my ears and nose for days afterwards. Heart-wrenching poverty clashed with glitzy skyscrapers. The airport was the worst I’ve ever seen. No air-con, no organisation AND a five hour wait for a taxi.

I’m sorry Manila. I tried to love you, I really did.

Read more: #Gaplife: Month One, Ryan’s Weekly Round-Up: Week OneFrom Jeepney Journeys to Trip-Hop Bars: The Two Sides of Manila.

Being sick on my birthday, Puerto Princesca, The Philippines

Eurgh, being sick on my birthday was the worst. I managed to crawl out of bed for a tour of Sabang’s Underground River, a world UNESCO site.

But even natural wonders couldn’t rouse me and I spent my birthday trying to control my nausea. Happy birthday to me!

Read more: Turning 23: Sick Bags and Unesco Sites

Finding jobs in Melbourne, Australia

Gaplife Month Two 2

We came to Australia expecting an easy ride. We thought we would turn up in Melbourne, where the streets were paved with gold, and have opportunity come knocking at our door.

Unfortunately, this is the real world and finding work in Melbourne actually requires some hard work and dedication. After a month of looking and panicking about being unemployable, we were back on the payroll. Just in time for the worst winter Melbourne’s had in years…

Read more: Moving to Melbourne

Shivering through a Melburnian winter, Australia

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The myth about Australia’s sun-kissed temperatures was well and truly shattered for me this year. After leaving a dreary English winter, I landed right at the beginning of an Aussie one.

Who knew that Melbourne winters are almost as bad as ours? The days are short, it always rains and it’s bloody freezing!

It’s only now in December that I’m finally managing to hunt down summer. Never again!

Read more: Preparing for Winter in Melbourne

Working on a chicken farm, Margaret River, Australia

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I hated every minute of working on the chicken farm! The whole day was spent cleaning egg after egg or clogging your lungs with chicken fumes as you tried to collect the eggs of over 10,000 chickens.

For the three weeks we were on the farm, I battled a reoccurring nasty cold and generally felt rubbish. If it wasn’t for the lovely friends we made there, it would have been hell!

Read more: #Gaplife: Month Six

Daily emotional breakdowns at the dairy, Scott River, Australia

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Working during calving season at a dairy is the hardest thing I have ever done. These little balls of fluff look angelic but they were impossible at times.

There were daily escapes from paddocks, newborns refusing to feed, terrible weather and sick calves who, no matter how hard you tried, didn’t get better.

Pair all this with the physical challenges of lifting 20l buckets of milk, trudging across muddy fields and running after the blighters and it’s one difficult job!

There were countless times where I broke down and just couldn’t hack it anymore.

Despite this, I soldiered on and four months later, left the farm feeling the proudest I’ve ever felt. But god was it a bloody struggle to get there!

Read more: My New Office Tour & Blog Update

Crashing the car, Scott River, Australia

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Martin, I’m so sorry!

Our dairy was in the middle of nowhere which meant that the only road connecting us to civilisation was a dirt track.

Unfortunately these dirt tracks are very slippy and our car, Martin, had no little tread on his tyres. These factors collided, literally, one wet day and I came sliding off the road.

Luckily Martin and myself remained intact with just a bruised ego when one of the farmers had to come and tow me out…

Not being able to blog, Middle Of Nowhere, Australia

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Living in the bush had a lot of drawbacks, namely the lack of connection with the outside world.

Whereas sometimes it’s good to disconnect for a while, 4 months is a long time to go with no wifi or 3G.

The blog suffered the most as I was unable to produce quality content and post regularly like I had been used to. Luckily, I used the time to work on a new exciting project which is coming very soon!

Read more: The Blogging Blackout

WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR WORST TRAVEL EXPERIENCES OF 2015? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW OR VIA MY SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES!

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Doing Perth Differently

Perth 17Ryan and I like to do things a little differently and celebrating our FOUR YEAR anniversary (jeez…) was no exception. 

We packed up our weekend bags, hopped in the car and sped off from the farm in search of the big city lights. Nearly four hours later, we were in Perth.

We had visited Perth once before and instantly fell head-over-heels for the bright blue skies, vibrant cafe culture and relaxed beach lifestyle.

Our first stop of the weekend was our previous favourite spot, the super stylish Fremantle.

With the mercury topping a steamy 38 degrees celsius, we raced for the shade of the famed Fremantle market.

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Perth 3

We whiled away the morning dropping into cute hippy stores, salivating over baked goods and sipping freshly made lemonade to keep cool.

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Resisting the urge to buy everything in sight, we left Fremantle and headed to the classy beach-side neighbourhood of Cottesloe, our base for the next couple of days.

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Only 5 minutes from the city centre, this beach-centric suburb oozes calm and relaxation alongside the convenience of a bustling high street and an array of beach front cafes and bars. Basically a perfect place to base yourself during a weekend in the city.

Instead of checking into a hotel or hunting down a campsite, Ryan and I had taken to Air BnB for our weekend accommodation.

And what a gem we found!

A 10 minute walk from the beach above was this little gem!

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This 1970s retro caravan sits in the back garden of Air BnB hosts Michael and Hanny. It has absolutely everything you would need for a weekend.

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Cute, cosy and completely unique.

We finally managed to tear ourselves away from our backyard retreat to go for a sunset swim at Cottesloe’s beautiful beach.

We bobbed in the calm water and watched the most spectacular sunset melt away in the sky. As the sun was setting, a storm brewed, spitting lightning and booming thunder. It was incredible to watch.

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We spent the next day surfing at Scarborough and exploring the intriguing neighbourhood of Leederville with lunch and cocktails at the Blue Flamingo. We found the bar/restaurant/all-round-awesome chill area hidden down one of Leederville’s laneways. One of many Perth surprises.

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After all the excitement (and cocktails) we headed back to our caravan for a nap. We had to build up our energy reserves for tonight.

Tonight was Tame Impala night.

We jumped in the car and raced to Upper Swan and the most unusual gig venue I’ve ever seen, the Belvoir Amphitheatre.

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This outdoor venue was the perfect setting for one of Australia’s biggest musical exports, Tame Impala.

As the sun set behind the gum trees, we found our own patch of grass, stocked up on beer and watched the show.

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Bravo Tame Impala, it was a cracker!

Utterly exhausted we headed back to the caravan for our last night in Perth.

We had a fantastic weekend and anniversary. Taking a gamble and booking the caravan stay was the best decision we have made in a long time! We will be making a lot more time for Perth in the future so stay tuned!

Have you been to Perth before? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media links!

Life Update 1

An Update on Life Since the Blogging Blackout

Life Update 1Ahh, it has been so long! I feel like not blogging has Been more stressful than frantically tapping out a couple of posts a week. I feel like I’m missing out on documenting important memories and being involved in interesting travel conversations.

So I’m back! Still sporadically and mainly just to update y’all and save my sanity. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the 8 weeks since my last blog post.

Life Update 4

Sunset at Yallingup

#Farmlife

  • We have finally completed our 88 days to secure our 2nd year Australian visa. WOO! Despite passing this milestone, we are still at the dairy caring for the baby calves and getting shat on whilst milking their mummas. So why haven’t we scarpered? We need the cash for our upcoming adventures (more on that below!) so we will be covered in fecal matter for a couple of weeks longer.

    Life Update 2

    One of the 1000 little bubs

  • Working at the dairy has been the hardest thing we have ever done. When the last cow calved a couple of weeks ago, it marked our final baby calf – the last of almost 1,000 we have personally hand raised. Every single one has been bottle-fed by our team of 4, treated when they were sick and painstakingly looked after for 14 hours a day.
  • Luckily our little farm family have been brilliant. We share the dongers (basically two shipping containers) with a lovely German couple who have made the bad days bearable and cook up a fantastic dinner after long days spent on the farm. We have celebrated Halloween, sampled fantastic Uzbek food made by our colleagues from Uzbekistan and planned a killer road-trip to celebrate finishing up at the farm at the end of November.

    Life Update 5

    An Uzbek-German fusion feast

Activities and Exploration 

  • We have been exploring every inch of the Margaret River Region. The South-West of Australia is stunning, I think we will be hard-pushed to find better beaches or cuter towns in the rest of Oz.

    Life Update 3

    The lighthouse at Cape Naturaliste

  • The highlights of the region have been the relaxed surfer towns of Dunsborough and Yallingup, the crystal clear waters of Cape Naturaliste’s beaches, the chilled-out vibes of Margaret River and sampling wines in the beautiful wineries all over the region. If you’re in Oz, you have to give this area a visit.
  • We have only managed to get up to Perth once (with a trip planned next week!). The city is stunning, super-sleek and full of beautiful people. It’s quite the contrast to the farm… The quirky neighbourhood of Fremantle became a firm fave and a place we vowed to revisit as soon as possible.

    Life Update 6

    Surfing at Gnarabup

  • We have been learning to surf! The Margaret River Region is famous the world over for its surf so we just had to get out and experience it for ourselves. A big shout of to our colleague Iain for getting us standing up properly after just one lesson! I predict surfing will become a big part of our future travels.

What’s Next

  • TRAVELLING! I am so excited to get back on the road again. Almost 4 months in this region is enough and I am itching to finally have enough cash to be on the road for a while. As I mentioned above, we will be kicking off our adventures with a road trip with our German colleagues. We will be driving to the beautiful beaches and forest of the South before cutting back up to Perth.
  • We will be spending next weekend in Perth. We have lots planned including a stint of glamping, a Tame Impala gig and celebrating our 4 year anniversary with plenty of Little Creatures beer!

    Life Update 6

    Secluded Beaches near Gracetown

  • CHRISTMAS IN BALI! I am beyond excited to get to Bali. This stunning Indonesian island is very popular with holidaying Aussies and the flight is only 3.5 hours from Perth. We will be spending almost 3 weeks exploring the island and we are spending Christmas in a luxury villa which we definitely can’t afford but hey, it’s Christmas! If you have any Bali recommendations then please let me know.
  • We will be back in Oz at the end of December. From there, our plan is intentionally open-ended. We will most likely be wandering back over to the East Coast, with Tasmania calling. But who knows? Australia is our oyster.
  • The super secret and special project I’ve been working on is ticking along nicely. Keep your eyes peeled in the New Year for more on what I’ve been working on!

I don’t know when I will be able to post again but oh how good it feels to be typing again. What have you been up to in the past 8 weeks? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media links!

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What You Need to Know About Regional Work in Australia

regional 1Any backpacker who wants to extend their Australian Working Holiday Visa for another year must complete 88 days of specified work in a regional postcode. For most travellers, working in the back-and-beyond of Australia is a chance to save money and experience the ‘real’ Australia. But before you dive in head first, this is what you need to know about regional work in Australia.

Use Gumtree

Gumtree is the best resource for finding your regional work. Post an ad with a brief description of yourself and what you are looking for and the farmers will come to you. A word of warning – most girls who post ads will probably receive some less than helpful ‘work’ offers so be careful!

Decide what type of farm work you are after

gaplife 6 1Do you want to work with animals, harvesting crops or in the mines? I thought farm work was all one of the same  but I couldn’t be more wrong! Working with animals is generally more varied but can also involve longer hours and being covered in various animal fluids 24/7. Decisions, decisions…

You will probably get ripped off

Farmers know that backpackers are desperate to get their second year visa so can pay you pittance and work you till you drop in return for signing off your paperwork. If you argue then there will always be another backpacker waiting to take your spot. It’s a rubbish situation so take care.

The chances are that you will be short-changed in some way but be aware of exploitation and put your foot down when necessary.

Find a place which hires other backpackers

farm 3Life in the middle of nowhere gets lonely. There can be some fab locals and fellow Aussie workmates but sometimes people who have lived such rural lifestyles can be a bit, well, weird… If you find a farm which hires other backpackers then you are more likely to enjoy your time in the wilderness and connect with some like-minded people.

Try to get work close to an area you want to explore

When we were narrowing down where to do our regional work, we decided to look close to areas we wanted to explore. By narrowing our Gumtree ad to offers within 100km of our chosen destination, we knew that we would be able to escape to civilisation on our days off and see our friends nearby.

regional 2We weren’t prepared to sacrifice our weekly dose of wifi and flat whites just yet!

Try to visit the farm before you commit to work

Visiting the farm beforehand gives you a great chance to get a feel for the place and your potential workmates. You can have all your questions answered and be able to make an informed decision on where would suit you best.

Be realistic

Calving 3Working on a cattle station 1000km from anywhere does sound like a romantic idea but when it comes down to it, where on earth are you going to do your shopping? Will you have phone signal? Could you cope with the isolation?

You are potentially going to be staying at your farm for 3 months, that’s a bit chunk of time. Make sure you are realistic with what you can cope with.

Prepare for a culture shock

Working in a regional postcode is like a whole other world. You could watch every Australian film set in the outback, Google until your heart’s content and read every guidebook your Kindle can handle and you will still not be prepared.

You ain’t in Melbourne anymore!

Remember that you can always quit

nullabor 4Farm work can be hard. Working at my new farm is the hardest thing I have EVER done. But remember, you never have to stay in one place. If you hate the work or you’re being exploited then leave. There are plenty of farm jobs out there and if you start clocking up your days early then you will have plenty of freedom to pick up and drop jobs when it suits you.

Working in exchange for food and board doesn’t count towards your visa

From 1st September 2015, WWOOFing (working on organic farms in return for food and board), no longer counts towards your 88 days. Unless you commenced work before the 1st September, this is no longer an option.

Get all your paperwork sorted before you leave

Print off copies of your paperwork and make sure your boss signs off your days. Most applications for second year visas are completed online but it always helps to keep a hard copy for evidence.

Also keep a note of your days in a diary or spreadsheet so you know exactly what you have done and when.

Make the most of it

Calving 4When else in your life will you be helping cows give birth or watching the sunrise through orange trees? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity (thank God!), make the most of it!

Have you completed your regional work? Share your experiences in the comments below or via my social media pages!

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#Gaplife: Month Six

gaplife 6 3Every month I will be writing a round-up of my #gaplife adventures. From where I’ve been to what I’ve eaten, I’ll be keeping you up-to-date with everything that’s been happening on and away from The Student Travels. Catch up with Month One,Two,Three, Four and Five. Enjoy!

Places Visited: Margaret River Region, Western Australia; Busselton, Western Australia; Scott River, Western Australia.

What’s Been Happening Away From the Blog

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  • I don’t even know where to begin this month! The end of August means that we have almost ticked off our first month of farm work, 3 weeks at a free range egg farm and 1 week at a dairy. We had both been dreading beginning our three months of regional work to secure our 2nd year visa. Let’s just say that it has been a shock to us city-loving office workers…
  • Nomad Hostels gave me a shout-out in their article about East Coast Australia’s top 5 secret beaches. Check it out here.
  • I did have some HUMONGOUS changes scheduled for the blog but due to my current situation these will have to wait…
  • This month ticked off the milestone of the longest I’ve ever been away from England. Who knew it would fly by so fast?!Calving 3

 Highs

  • The benefit of farm work is that it attracts a lot of backpackers completing their 2nd year visa extension. The fellow backpackers we have met so far have been the nicest bunch we could have hoped for.gaplife 6
  • The Margaret River region is simply spectacular. You can spend your time watching the sunset from your own private beach, popping down the road for wine tasting or staring with bewilderment as surfers pad around barefoot in the supermarket. It’s such a chilled out area with an endless list of things to see and do.
  • Seeing dolphins! Dolphins are one-a-penny around these parts but that didn’t stop me from shrieking with excitement whenever I saw them pop above the waves at Busselton.
  • Experiencing rural Australia. I don’t know if this is a high as such, or more of a WTF is happening to me moment. Our new farm is miles from anywhere which most of the time is hell but the moments of complete stillness you feel out here are unlike anything I’ve experienced before.Calving 1
  • Our car Martin staging the best resurrection since JC himself. More on that below…

Lows

  • This month has been pretty rocky. Probably my least favorite month so far. The mix of leaving Melbourne, being bunged up with cold and starting our farm work is a deadly cocktail for morale. Add a drop of homesickness and lack of internet, you have yourself a recipe for disaster.Calving 8
  • I managed to almost write off our car. Not only the low of the month but potentially one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made. As our farm is located in the middle of nowhere we have to drive almost 30 minutes to reach anything other than fields. Coming back from civilisation I managed to reverse the car up a mound, leaving it wedged and lopsided at the side of a dirt track. I had to hitch back to the farm, tell Ryan that we were stranded here forever and face the prospect of living out the rest of our years in a field. THANK GOD we have an amazing car and amazing mechanic colleague who managed to get the car back on the road!gaplife 6 2
  • I’ve completely fallen from the wagon in terms of health. So many travellers struggle with keeping fit and healthy on the road and I am certainly no exception. However, working on the new farm is a guaranteed body blitz. Everyday is a 14 hour boot camp workout with heavy lifting, walking for miles and scaling fences keeping the fat at bay. If I’m not a supermodel by the time we leave I will be very disappointed.
  • Speaking of work… Farm work is not my cup of tea. The chicken farm was boring, the dairy is unbelievably tough and frustrating. I’m working harder than I ever have before and have never felt pain or tiredness like it! But, we need money and a visa so we will have to plod on.

Most Popular Blog Post

Best Country in SEA 2

My old posts have been dominating my stats this month due to increased social media traffic and Google searches. Why the Philippines is the Best Country in South-East Asia came out on top, followed by last summer’s A Week of Luxury Living in Hvar clinching second place.

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In terms of new content, The Best, Worst & Weirdest Moments of our First Road Trip took the crown.

Most Liked Instagram Picture

gaplife 6 4This snap of the stunning Nullabor cliffs won the Instagram battle this month. Whilst the road trip from Melbourne to Margaret River could be tedious, vistas like this made it all worth it.

Follow me on Instagram here.

Favorite Picture

gaplife 6 1I think I like this picture so much because of its cheesy sentiment. It had been a long, wet day scrubbing chicken poo off eggs and I was feeling fed up. But as soon as the rain passed and the sun came out, so did this beautiful rainbow.

It made me remember that we are doing this farm work for the long-term pay off.

Favorite Eat

Gaplife 6 4The eats this month have been few and far between. Nothing wowed our palette in August, with home cooked meals and treats shared with new friends being the best of the bunch.

Highly commended is The Colonial in Margaret River for the most inventive pizzas in town. Head down on a Friday as pizzas are only $10 (£5) each!

Favorite Place

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The beaches in this south-western pocket of Australia are stunning. Buttery white sand, crystal clear waters and not a soul in sight.

My favorite spot we discovered this month was Redgate Beach at sunset. We had the whole stretch of sand to ourselves and the evening was warm enough to dip your toes in the surf.

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

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Hopefully managing to get another month of farm work under our belt! Making more time for the beach and being able to enjoy the beginning of Spring.

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THIS MONTH? LET ME KNOW VIA MY SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES OR IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE ME TO INCLUDE IN MY MONTHLY ROUND-UPS? LET ME KNOW!

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My New Office Tour & Blog Update

Calving 10So you know I showed you around the farm we were staying on in this last post? Well, we left. Working for free as a WWOOFer was never going to work out for us in the long-term. There will be more about the old farm soon but now, it’s on to greener pastures. Literally.

Welcome to my new office!

Calving 2Keen to earn some (very) good money, we sacked in chickens in turn for cows. Or calves to be more precise.

Ryan and I are now glorified adopted calf parents. We feed the little buggers, help them when they’re poorly and make sure they get the best possible start. It sounds idyllic, but when you have hundreds of the blighters under your supervision, it gets a lot trickier!

Calving 6You couldn’t really ask for cuter work mates could you?!

Calving 5Don’t let their pretty faces fool you though. This is the toughest job I’ve ever had. It’s physically draining as we work 14 hours a day and the calves can be an absolute nightmare when they refuse to feed.

Calving 4We are also helping with the calving itself. Yesterday, Ryan had to pull a calf out of cow using a piece of rope. Now that’s not something we would ever had done back home. Everyday is a new experience!

Calving 8The farm is in the middle of nowhere. We are surrounded by fields as far as the eye can see. While it’s amazing to stand beneath the never-ending expanse of Australian sky, it’s a nightmare having to drive for half an hour to buy supplies or see another human being.

Calving 3But now no-one can say that we haven’t had a ‘real’ Australian experience. Even our new accommodation is as Australian as it comes. Say hello to our ‘donger’. This is the traditional abode of rural Australian farmers. Who needs 5 star luxury when you could have two shipping containers?

Calving 1I keep trying to convince myself that we are living some sort of contemporary hipster lifestyle. I mean, sleeping in a shipping container is all the rage now right?! Sustainable housing and all that…

Calving 9Living in these dongers is a death sentence for the blog. With not a whiff of wifi and only a smidge of phone signal, blogging is going to be difficult for the next couple of months. I’m going to be spending my days off back in civilisation so I will make sure I get some posts out but please bear with me!

But for now, bring on the next 3 months…

Would you work on an Australian dairy farm? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages!

 

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What It’s Like to Live on an Australian Farm

farm 9The Australian government are very cheeky. They know that their country is beautiful, full of opportunity, kangaroos and beaches. They know that when you stay here a little while that it becomes increasingly difficult to leave. So if you want to extend your working holiday visa for another year they have made it compulsory to complete 3 months agricultural work in a rural postcode. Sneaky Australia.

farm 11So here we are. We have moved onto a farm in Western Australia and settled into our day-to-day routine. We work until the afternoon on a bigger farm (more on that soon) but live and potter about on this lovely organic small holding.

farm 10We share the house with our fellow farm hands and the land with a couple more of the friendly locals…

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farm 2I’m desperately trying to ignore the fact that these two cuties are destined for the dinner table. I don’t think I’ve got the emotional detachment to become a farmer…

JUST LOOK AT THEM AND THE COWS BEING BFFS!

farm 6The cows are my pet project. They are the shyest herd I’ve ever encountered. They will just stand and watch you from a distance which can be a bit unnerving.

farm 3After weeks of talking to them like a crazy lady, I’ve finally formed a bond! I’m even privileged enough to get a little stroke in now and then.

farm 5There are unfortunately two inhabitants of the farm who I don’t get along with at all.

The bloody geese.

farm 12Urgh, I hate them so much. They hiss, chase you and make such a racket it becomes unbearable. They started off with a hatred of Ryan and then they turned their evil attention to me.

farm 13Just look at the white one! I had to sprint for cover seconds after taking this snap. They can smell my fear.

Apart from the possessed geese, living on a farmstay is pretty sweet. We gather veg from the vegetable garden, collect eggs from the hens and spend warm days swinging in the hammock.farm 8The work on the bigger farm is a whole different story, and one I will be sharing with you soon.

Have you done regional work in Australia? Share your experiences in the comments below or via my social media pages!

 

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Top Tips for Driving the Nullabor

nullabor 5Crossing the entirety of Australia is no mean feat. Throw in the drive across the unforgiving Nullabor and it gets even more daunting. A bit of planning and preparation can take the stress out of your mammoth road trip so you can enjoy your adventure to the max!

Here’s my top tips for driving the Nullabor.

– Download WikiCamps and Petrol Map on your phone. They are essential to any Aussie road trip. WikiCamps shows all of the camping sites in the vicinity, with directions and user comments. Petrol Map does what it says on the tin!nullabor 2– Pick campsites or accommodation the night before. That way you have somewhere to aim for each day.

– Always make sure you have enough petrol and be aware of the distances between each fuel stop. Never gamble on a re-fill, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

nullabor 1– If you want to save money, fill up a couple of jerry cans with petrol before your journey. Petrol prices along the Nullabor are steep with a litre costing as much as $1.90. That’s crazy expensive for Oz.

– Pack plenty of snacks and water as stops are scarce. Don’t pack too much fruit or veg though. When you cross the border between South Australia and West Australia, your car will be searched and any fruit, nuts, veg or honey will be confiscated. This stops the spread of disease and protects endemic flora in each state.

nullabor 3– BEWARE OF THE WEREWOLVES! The full moon makes all the Nullabor’s animals go a bit loopy. Who knows why?! Kangaroos seem to have a death wish at this time of the month and what better way to go than under your wheels? Whereas werewolves may be scarce, kangaroos and wombats on the road can be equally as deadly. NEVER drive after dark, ESPECIALLY during the full moon.

nullabor 4– Bring a mate! The Nullabor can be boring and the nights are dark and incredibly creepy.. Bring a mate to keep you entertained and to tell you that there’s nothing to worry about when you hear snuffling around your tent at 3am!

Have you tackled the Nullabor before or taken a long Aussie road trip? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages!

 

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The Most Experimental Brunch in Melbourne

hammer and tong 7I thought I was pretty well versed in Melbourne brunching. I’d munched more crushed avocado and perfectly poached eggs than I cared to think about. It was time for something a little more experimental… That’s where Hammer and Tong comes in.

Hammer and tong 1Like all the best places in Melbourne, Hammer and Tong looks like crap from the outside. Hidden off bustling Brunswick Street, this popular joint is easy to miss. We managed to walk past it multiple times before realising what lay inside.

Once you find it, be prepared to queue. Hammer and Tong gets super busy, especially for weekend feasting. At least the wait gets your tummy rumbling for some of their fancy grub.hammer and tong 8

As soon as our bums graced our seats, we dived into the menu.

An Asian theme ran through our brunch options giving an unexpected twists on Melbourne favorites. Paired with experimental twists such as coffee crumbs, 62 degree eggs,yuzu hollandaise and smoked trout croissants – I knew this was going to be a brunch with a difference.

Hammer and tong 2After careful consideration we plumped to share the breakfast ramen, soft shell crab burger and kentucky fried halloumi chips, washed down with flat whites – naturally.

When our food arrived, it was a feast for the eyes.

hammer and tong 3The breakfast ramen looked especially spectacular. Breakfast staples of eggs, bacon and mushroom swam in a bacon dashi with slurpy noodles nestled at its heart.

hammer and tong 4It was unlike anything I’d tasted before. I can’t describe the complexity of flavours which skipped through my mouth. Avocado on toast, it was not.

We swiftly devoured the ramen and nibbled on our fried halloumi. It wasn’t the  best halloumi I’ve had but the sauce was scrumptious.

hammer and tong 6 We then started on the soft shell crab burger. The real star of the show.

hammer and tong 5As we cut into the burger we realised that the soft shell crab was whole, with its limbs crawling out of the burger bun. It wasn’t the most appetising of sights but it more than made up for it in taste. Fluffy bun and crunchy, meaty crab. Yummmm.

With full bellies, we waddled back home for an afternoon snooze. Hammer and Tong had promised a lot, and it had definitely been different to our usual Melbourne brunch experience. I was glad we had tried it but I think I’m more of an avo and toast kind of girl!

Have you been to Hammer and Tong? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media links.

 

 

Road Trip 2

The Best, Worst & Weirdest Moments of Our First Road Trip

Road Trip 2

Our first Australian road trip took us all the way from Melbourne in the far east to Margaret River in the far west.

We traversed the country, driving nearly 4,000km in total. we averaged 8 hours behind the wheel a day and spent 6 nights sleeping under the stars. It was certainly an adventure!

Here’s a round-up of the best, worst & weirdest moments of the longest drive I’ve ever embarked on.

road trip 11

BEST

Watching the sun rise and set every day.Road Trip 1

Standing on top of the world in the Grampians.

Beautiful Adelaide!

Road Trip 3Being liberated from make-up.

Tracking our progress on a map every night to see how far we’ve come.

Freedooooooooooom .Road Trip 7Sunrise yoga on the Nullabor cliffs.

Camping on the edge of aforementioned cliffs!

Road Trip 6Seeing wild emus in the bush.

Finally making it to t-shirt weather!

Road Trip 10Exploring the cute-as-a-button coastal towns in the South West of Australia.

WORST

Feeling uneasy in the weird small towns.

Road Trip 4Not showering for a VERY long time…

The freezing weather at the start of the trip.

Getting changed in the car, urgh.

Road Trip 5Missing Melbourne.

Hearing weird noises at night when we were camped in a deserted clearing.

WEIRDEST

Pondering where the inhabitants of the tiny towns buy their groceries. The nearest supermarkets were over a day’s drive away!

Road Trip 8The place names! E.g. Salmon Gums, Cocklebiddy, Grass Patch, Postcode Road, Keith…

The provincial museums inside the road houses celebrating the finite history of each town.

Every township having its own Unique Selling Point such as a big tin bird, the longest jetty in the southern hemisphere, having more than 5 inhabitants etc.

Road Trip 9

Driving the longest straight road in the country, the whole 90 miles of it!

Seeing a camel as road kill. If that isn’t weird enough, the camel had been graffitied!!!

Have you done an epic road trip before? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages!