I’m going to assume that you, my lovely readers, all know that I flew halfway around the world at Christmas to spend a couple of weeks with my family on a luxurious holiday in Mauritius, so I won’t go on and on about how much of an awesome time I had. But, well, I did. It was fantastic to spend time with the fam and hang out with all four of my sisters, getting in some proper relaxation time on the beach, eating good food and enjoying the sunshine (I know, I know…I live in Australia now, but living the 5* beach life for 12 days was pretty sweet).
After extending my holiday by 4 days (I was originally only supposed to stay 8 days but just didn’t want to say goodbye to the family), I arrived back in Sydney on January 3rd, with a pretty epic tan and an even more epic case of horrendous jet lag. I had just one day to chill out in Sydney and try to catch up some sleep before it was time to head back to North Sydney and begin another two awesome weeks working at Camp Blue, where we worked way back in September when we first touched down in Oz.
The two weeks we spent working at camp were just as amazing and fun as the last time, if not even a little bit better. It was fantastic to see some of the kids again, and we as a group of staff bonded really well and really quickly this time around – I know I’ve made some pretty awesome friends through working at Camp Blue. And those two factors are really what it’s all about, right? Having a laugh with the kids and giving them a great camp experience, as well as meeting new people and making awesome friendships (I know, cheesy or what?!) along the way.
Almost as soon as it began though, camp was over and it was time for a new adventure. Our apartment lease was up and so our time in Sydney had come to an end, almost exactly 4 months after we had arrived. Crazy. But onwards and upwards I always say, and the East Coast was calling. Yes that’s right, we were heading up the coast on a road trip to Byron Bay for a week of fun in the sun!
Road trip baby! Super early in the morning myself, Rosa and Tash piled all our stuff into the back of our friend Bulmer’s car and away we went. I’m kind of a strange person and I love sitting in the car, pumping out music and singing along, and even though the journey took us about 10 hours, I loved the whole thing (although maybe it went quite quickly due to the fact that I slept for about half the time!). We arrived at our hostel, the Backpacker’s Inn at about 4pm and spent the late afternoon chilling before heading out for some food. The next 5 days went by in a blur with all the normal holiday things you’d expect – sunbathing, eating, sleeping, drinking, partying, swimming, laughing, more drinking, horrible hangovers, excellent breakfasts, more tanning, more swimming, lots of burning and so on.
A few notable things did happen though. Firstly we took a trip to the awesome town of Nimbin, where we experienced the excellent hippie vibes of a place so stuck in the 70s that you wish you could go back to that time when everything was colourful and free. Of course, we absolutely did “get our Nimbin on” once back in Byron and it was possibly one of the most hilarious evenings I’ve ever had. The second excellent thing we did in Byron was to visit the lighthouse which sits at the most easterly point of Australia, a fact that is pretty cool when you think about it. We watched the sunset and even saw some dolphins playing about in the sea below…a pretty excellent way to spend an evening if you ask me. Ah Byron. Possibly one of my favourite places in the world. Fun, sun, beaches, surf, skating, excellent food, shopping, great nights out…I think I could stay there forever.
Once we were thoroughly Byron-ed (I’m not sure that’s a thing), it was time to drive another hour or so up to the Gold Coast and Surfer’s Paradise where we stayed for the remainder of the week and met up with some other friends who happened to be up there too. The weather wasn’t great when we arrived and I thought it was going to be a repeat of the rainy week I spent there 2 years ago, but luckily it cleared up a bit on our second day and we spent the last few days of our ‘holiday’ relaxing on the beach, playing in the hotel pool, sleeping (a lot), watching excellent TV, and going on a frickin’ fantastic night out with the Wicked Bar Crawl. We managed to get cheapo tickets that got us into 5 of Surfers’ best bars and clubs and provided us with a free drink in each place. Needless to say it was a heaps messy night and I ended up crashing fairly early before waking up with the mother of all hangovers. I think I’m getting old.
And then it was over. Our holiday had come to an end. Well, almost. We still had to drive all the way back to Sydney. So yesterday we said our goodbyes to the Gold Coast and headed off on our road trip in reverse. We’d decided we didn’t want to drive the entire way in one day and seeing as it was Australia Day weekend, no one had to be back in the city until this afternoon. So we drove for about 8 hours yesterday, making our way back past Byron (we were very tempted to take the exit off the motorway and do it all over again) and through some pretty beauts countryside, before reaching a little beach town called Forster where we stayed for the night. Waking up to a burst water main which meant no showers and brushing our teeth using the very little amount of water we had left in bottles from yesterday’s car journey was a pretty hilarious (yet slightly sad) way to start the day – I think we’d all realised that our holiday was almost over and it was time to go back to reality.
And now, after the last 4 hours of our journey, we are home (well, at Bulmer’s home. Us girls are currently homeless due to giving up our apartment in Darlinghurst a week ago), back in Sydney where it all began.
And so what’s next on the agenda, I hear you ask? Well, we are currently panicking about finding the farm work we need to complete in order to be eligible four our 2nd year Working Holiday Visas. Yes. Farm work. The Australian government will only allow us to come back to this beautiful country if we complete 3 months (or more specifically 88 days) of what they call ‘specified regional work’, which basically means it’s got to be the right kind of work in the right area. Most people go to a farm and do some sort of fruit picking, some people do construction or working with animals…the list of things you can do is pretty endless, it’s just finding the work that is proving quite difficult, seeing as every other backpacker is trying to do the same thing. Our plight is made all the more difficult by the fact that we now have just over 16 weeks in which to find a job and complete our 88 days work before we need to be on a plane to the USA and heading back to Camp Sloane for the summer. Oh we do like to stress ourselves out, don’t we?! But I’m trying to be calm and zen about it. Either it will work out and we’ll complete our work and be able to come back or we won’t (and we’ll kick ourselves for it). Simple as that.
If you’ve got any tips on finding farm work, I’m all ears!