Blueberries and Back

Like most visitors to Australia on a working holiday visa, I was keen to do some farm work in the hopes of gaining the elusive second year visa. I had some contacts before I left home and off I set to farm near Bunbury in WA. I promised at the start of this blogging venture to talk honestly about my experiences, the good and the bad (because, news flash, not every day is spent on the beach) so here goes… 

On arrival at the farm all was great, the family were lovely and made me feel extremely welcome, I met my first kangaroos including a Joey. I started work the next day so it was up early to start work at 7:30am which suited me fine! The accomodation was very basic in a metal shed that had been put up to house the workers; it was extremely cold but it helped with the early start the next morning, so I could cope with that. As it was a Sunday I was told we would only work a half day – hoorah, a chance to ease myself in to the next 3 months. Or so I thought. I was given a bucket and set to work picking blueberries. Fill the bucket, empty it in to a tray until that’s also full, not too soft, too small, or too pink – simple enough I thought. I started picking the berries and it seemed to be going ok, the contractors around me were all experienced so were picking fast and only speaking to each other.  

After a few hours the heat was building up, I was hot, thirsty and dusty. The effort I was taking picking the fruit seemed pointless as the trays took forever to fill. The one interaction someone made with me was to tell me about a poisonous snake that was some three metres away from me! I could barely wait for the day to end and time was standing still, the sun grew hotter, and I more miserable. My knees and back were starting to ache and my hands were starting to stain blueish purple from the berries. By the time they said we were finished for the day it was 3pm – if that was only a half day I didn’t want to think what a full day would be classed as. We trundled back to the accommodation and I was ready to sleep, I don’t think I have ever felt so alone or homesick on my travels. I needed to get back to the city as bad as I felt for leaving so soon after arriving. 

Unfortunately, my very short time spent on the farm was not for me but it was an experience all the same. It’s made for some great stories to tell my fellow travellers and that’s always a bonus. So for me it is back to Perth and on to the job hunt! I’m enjoying being around so many like minded people again and I’m excited to see what the next part of my journey has in store. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and although I’ve taken a couple of steps backwards I’m remaining optimistic for what is get to come! I’d love to hear more stories of farm work if you have any – the good and the bad – maybe I’ll try again at some point! 

Laura x

My Top 5 Perth Experiences (So Far!)

I’m fortunate enough to have visited the beautiful Perth, Western Australia twice and it’s safe to say it’s a place that has a piece of my heart. For me, it is far too under travelled as a general rule and I can’t wait to see more of what Western Australia has to offer (but that’s to be continued). As I’m due to leave the surrounds of Perth in the next few days, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some of my favourite experiences here so far from my two trips! 

So in no particular order (because it’s too hard to choose my favourite!)… 

Kings Park and Botanic Garden 

Kings Park, one of the largest inner city parks in the world is an absolute must for any visitor to Perth. It’s completely free to enter and is only a short walk from the CBD – granted its up a rather steep hill but the views are more than worth it! For those who don’t fancy the walk, it has great transport links including the free cat busses that run within the city limits. More than the spectacular views over the Swan and Canning rivers and the city skyline, the park is well known as a conservation and cultural centre. The beautiful botanic gardens house plants from all over Australia as well as native plants and bushland over the 400 hectare park. They offer free walking tours, or head out to wander freely, the state war memorial and treetop walkway are not to be missed! 

Fremantle

Freo to the locals, is a port city around 20km outside of Perth city centre and has a lot to offer. From the markets, to the prison, and fishing harbour, it really could have it’s own top 10! It’s a great place to head for a chilled day with a visit to the famous cappuccino strip – so named because of the abundance of baristas and cafe’s – and a wander around the markets for some great local food and a chance of catching some talented buskers. A personal favourite is the Little Creatures Brewery; set on the waterfront, they brew a variety of beers on site, enjoy the beer garden and tuck in to some great food. Fremantle really does have something for everyone and keeps tempting me back for more. 


Rottnest Island 

Only a short ferry ride from Fremantle is Rottnest Island,  a true paradise that’s popular with tourists and locals alike. The crystal blue waters and white sands make for some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Hire a bike to explore the island or take one of the many tours that’s on offer. The island is a conservation reserve and protected by law, for good reason… Perhaps the islands most famous inhabitants are the small marsupials called Quokkas, found all over the island, they are classed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Be sure to snap a photo or two but don’t disturb them, the population on Rottnest Island is the most viable in the world! Whether walking, cycling, snorkelling of swimming there are many ways of discovering this amazing island and I’m sure it will be an experience to remember for a lifetime! 


Perth CBD

The city centre itself has a lot to offer with views over the Swan river, an abundance of shops, and the newly developed Elizabeth Quay. While a city, Perth has all the charm of a much smaller place and the location by the water gives you the feeling of being somewhere far less metropolitan. Well worth the while is a trip on the river on one of the cruises,  look out for millionaires row and the many yacht clubs dotted along the banks! With shops, restauants, and bars aplenty as you would expect in a city it’s worth a day to find your feet. Take a trip down to Elizabeth Quay to see the Bell Tower and watch the boats to escape some of the hustle and bustle but let’s be honest, it’s some of the charm. 

Beaches 

Perth and the surrounding areas are blessed with some beautiful beaches and stunningly clear waters. I was extremely fortunate during my stays to be only a 2km walk away from Coogee beach, a real favourite! There’s nothing better than a chilled day at the beach and with kilometres of uninterrupted coastline you won’t be disappointed here. Much of the coast is scattered with cafe’s and cycle/ walking paths which make it ideal to make a day of it. Be warned of the wildlife around and be wary of sharks, jellyfish and snakes (this is Australia after all). With views over the Indian ocean and nineteen beaches to chose from I’m sure everyone will find something to please them. 

So there’s my top five Perth experiences… As you can see it truly is a place with a whole lot to offer and more besides. Would you have included anything else on the list? Let me know in the comments section, maybe there’s something I’m missing out on! Until next time 

Laura x

Twenty-five 

Some nearly 9000 miles from home, I find myself on the eve of my twenty-fifth year thinking over the last twelve months of my life. This time last year, I was getting ready to start a new job, the first step on to the career ladder; I was in (what I thought was) a stable relationship and we were excitedly awaiting the arrival of my nephew.

Fast forward twelve months and I’m no longer in that relationship, nor at the career starting job, and have had my beautiful nephew in my life for over ten months. This past year has been filled with some of the most rollercoaster emotions yet, as those who know me will be aware. In around July I decided that I needed a change. I longed to get back out there on the road, to have my next adventure and see where it might take me. The answer was Australia and before I knew it, the tickets were booked. 

I’m sat here now spending my birthday in what can best be described as paradise, missing those at home but knowing the distance does not change a thing. The next part of my adventure will hopefully be heading down to rural Western Australia to do some work on a farm, picking fruit. As usual I am coasting on through without much of a plan but I have a feeling I can’t go too far wrong. I’m extremely grateful to be where I am today and every day I’m thankful for those little moments that remind me just how lucky I am. 

Here’s to the next 25 years and whatever they may bring! 

Laura x

One week in

So it has now been a week since I left the comforts of home and began my adventure in Australia. Here’s a quick update on my travels so far… The journey itself was relatively free of drama (once the goodbyes had taken place)! I was extremely lucky to have a free seat next to me on both of my flights on the way over – I don’t know how I managed it either!! Etihad as a whole has plenty of good points but The vegetarian meals left something to be desired, with the same meal served twice on the second flight. Nevertheless with this particular journey, it was most definitely the destination that was important.

The first few days saw a fair amount of jetlag but considering the journey length I was happy enough to accept it! The first trip back to the beach made me realise exactly what I had been missing and I was so happy to be back. It’s been lovely catching up with some old friends who have kindly put me up and settling in to the swing of things has, as expected, not taken long at all. 


I apologise for the slight delay in any update but I will endeavour to write more frequently… I am journaling every day so I am sure not to forget anything. It seems as though I chose the perfect time to come over here; weather back home has turned awful and we’re not in to the heat of summer here for a while yet. Good time to adjust to some sunshine and man am I enjoying it! Most days I have either been in to the city or taken a trip down to the beach… 

Getting reacquainted with the country I will call my home for the next few months of my life has so far been lovely. I have to say, although it’s early days, I’m having a ball and can’t wait to see what the rest of the adventure has in store! I’ll be back soon with another little something for you all, thanks for the well wishes so far, I love hearing what the rest of you are up to! 

Laura x

A Letter to Home

As I’m about to set off on my journey to Australia with no return ticket, there’s some things I want to say to those back home. For those that know me, I’m not so great at the goodbyes so I’ve saved them for this. I’m making no apologies for the sentiments made (but be prepared for some serious mush, you’ve been fairly warned) Here goes…

First and foremost to my biggest fan, greatest support, best friend and so much more. Mum, you’ve always encouraged me to follow my dreams and have given me faith in myself to pursue them. I am so thankful that you put up with my incessant need for adventure and travel and am incredibly grateful that we have had our own little escapes this past year. I know its not easy for you and Dad to watch me go but I will always come back and with more stories, photos, experiences, and knowledge than before! Our jokes and silliness will continue every day but shopping trips, long lunches and rants over a glass of wine may have to wait! Dad, if Chelsea start messing around again I’m going to have to leave it to you to sort them out for me… I’ll have a beer or two for you when I land! I’m going to miss you both loads!

To my sister and nephew. I don’t even know where to start saying how hard it is going to be, leaving you monkeys behind! I don’t want to miss those first steps, next words, new teeth, and every other thing besides. Just remember I’m only ever a Skype away and I will be in touch often.

My wonderful dancers. You had to get a mention because Wednesday nights won’t be the same without you! Just keep on being you because you’re all brilliant… Good luck remembering all the choreography and if in doubt I suppose I wouldn’t mind the odd 1am wake up call to put you through your paces!

To the rest of my family and friends near and far, thank you to everyone who has supported me in making the leap! I genuinely couldn’t have done it without you. For all the good luck cards, words of encouragement, and well wishes I am extremely grateful and I will try my upmost to keep you up to date on my adventures.

To whoever said the hardest part of travelling was packing, you’re wrong, I’m sorry to say. It is definitely the goodbyes but luckily for me, this is just a ‘see you soon’!

See you all on the other side!

Laura x