On route after saying lot’s of farewells to friends, the mission was all set up to start a life in Australia for a year with a work visa and the prospects of landing a job to continue with the travel itinerary later down the line. I landed at Brisbane airport and after all the airport routine checks I eventually arrived in the city and decided to land a night at the YMCA for backpackers. It was a cold night been winter in Australia so the night’s sleep in a warm room made sense and the fleece jacket I had made during my month in Vietnam was well worth the money that night looking for the YMCA on arrival.
It was here I met Phil and luke from my Thailand adventures and we travelled together for some time. We rented a nice house as we planned to work for a while in Brisbane. The thought of working at this point was daunting after been so relaxed but it was on my mind that at some point I had to work to accomplish more travels. It never happened in Brisbane but Phil and Luke worked in a builders yard while I just spent days eating out and enjoying the Australian way of life. One huge memory of being in Brisbane was the night we all went out for a beer or two and in the morning I was woken up by the lads shouting for me to go look at the TV. It was a shocking time it was the morning of the twin towers falling, the terrorist attack on New York. I remember this time in Brisbane but what a sad time to reflect on the past to think about that day but life goes on right?
After leaving Brisbane and hitting the travel initiative again I ended up in Biron bay and the famous Nimbin for a couple of days at a hostel. Nimbin is a small village not too far from Biron Bay with a few bars and a museum that covers the history of Marijuana and of course, it was available if you wished to experiment. I spent the day with some total strangers that day after spending the day in a beer garden in the sun. The museum was a great educational experience and I have to admit before this trip at the hostel someone gave me a hash cake (cake laced with Marijuana) sat by the campfire with some acoustic music and a barbeque in a rather relaxed frame of mind.
It was time to leave Nimbin and head back up North with Phil and Luke to Frazer Island and hit some beaches, not to sunbath but to drive a four-wheeled drive Mitsubishi which been the more mature driver I was opted in to drive for the first day through the forest onto the beach and to our campsite. the following day we visited Lake McKenzie to swim in the world’s clearest lake! It was like swimming in a pool and tasted like tap water! They don’t call it The Fountain of Youth for nothing!
After the two days on Frazer Island, I stopped in the reception room at the hostel but didn’t have to pay as there were no beds available so I just drank beer with the manager all night and talked about my journey and his life in Australia. I always remember the evening on the way to fetch us some beer with the bats returning to the caves in the night sky, totally amazing as there were thousands, a never-ending sky of bats.
Phil and Luke from London purchased a Ford Falcon to travel the rest of Australia so I jumped on board for a trip to The historic sugar cane city of Bundaberg, a four-hour drive north of Brisbane and the southernmost gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. It is fringed by fascinating coral cays, lagoons and 140 kilometres (87 miles) of glistening white beaches. We moved inwards to a small town called Mundubbera, a town in the Wide Bay–Burnett region of Queensland, Australia. The town is located on the Burnett Highway, 405 kilometres north west of the state capital, Brisbane and 200 kilometres west of the regional centre, Bundaberg.
We found some work at a farm for ten days from where we picked asparagus and camped on a private campsite. The work was tough but rewarding with hot days to top up the tan, however, the nights were freezing scraping frost off the car windscreen each morning and struggling to sleep we had made some money to continue our travels.
Next stop was to meet the Manchester lads from Bangkok in Queensland and to book a three-day sail around the Whitsunday Islands. We stopped at the Kuala Backpackers during this time before the initial sail days and had some great fun. My mate Paul from Manchester managed to work as a host during the nights and he was lucky to organise the wet t-shirt contest which was excellent fun for the lads to watch and the atmosphere with beer and fun-loving travellers from all over the world made ita great few nights.
Before I left for my three-day journey around the Whitsunday Islands I went with Paul to Hamilton Island which was for free, thanks to Pauls work as a great event organiser and PR. We had a luxury two days with walks in the beautiful scenery. It was an amazing place with huge fish swimming so close to the harbour and the parrots landing on our arms to be fed. I was refreshed and ready for the Whitsundays, so excited to tell you about this it was amazing.
Back at Airlie Beach and the Kuala Backpackers we gathered our belongings and later sailed out to sea to swim and to relax with a few drinks on the boat and for some a swimming afternoon but the tide had turned and we were told by the captain to get on board quickly, however two people got trapped near the cliff and the jellyfish came in with the tide and made swimming back almost impossible so the captain had to jump in and guide them back to the boat. the captain was always drunk if I remember hence I stayed on the boat with the safety on my mind.
On the evening we anchored down near the beach and cooked meals then drank some beer and sat on the boat. Have you ever looked up into the sky on a boat in the ocean? The stars light up the sky, millions of stars line our whole universe, I’ll never forget those thoughts looking up thinking about being alone in this timeless, limitless thing called space.
In the morning we sailed around the islands and reached Whitsunday Island for the day which was utterly breathtaking with crystal clear waters and not a soul on the beach but our crew, Phil, Luke, Paul and some other travellers. The sand was so fine it squeaked when you walked on it and the estuary that ran into the ocean from the hills was so green It captured that of a postcard.
It was time for us all to make plans to make our way back to Sydney to find work and continue our journey as we had planned to earn money and move on which we achieved in great fashion. The Manchester lads landed an apartment near Beach Road, Bondi Beach, they managed to find office jobs and began saving for their next adventure. I decided it was time to search for work now we all had somewhere to live. As the first few weeks passed I met a few famous people in Bondi on nights out such as Lawrence Fishburne, Kieno Reeves, Isla Fisher and an I talked some time with Natalie Imbruglia inside a small cafe. I think Bondi Beach is the hangout for such people not to mention the filming of Matrix 2 being filmed near Sydney Harbour Bridge during that time.
The Holiday Club
I Managed to find an advert in the local newspaper for a Marketing position in Crow’s Nest, North Sydney so prepared my resume and applied. I managed to succeed in this position after a couple of weeks was promoted to Team Leader of around 8 marketers and the Holiday Crew Team was born. Most of our overall 30+ team were British, something our manager enjoyed due to our English accents for phone calls to customers and our ability to create great teams.
Our office parties were fun, especially the Christmas party which was our reward for selling holidays on cruise ships and hotel deals worldwide through the sales team and we created some fantastic memories at the Holiday Club which for many reflected on successful futures thereafter. This was my first time working a professional job abroad and although I had worked in hospitality some years earlier in the UK it was most definitely a more exciting role with likeminded backpackers so far from home.
The Holiday Club Team
The Big Christmas Party & Holiday Club Team
The months passed, with lot’s of nights out in Sydney watching bands at the Beach Road Hotel, Bondi Beach and the fantastic Christmas day party on Tamarama beach just up the road from Bondi Beach. I remember the time well, there were fires in the Black Mountains and the smoke filtered over Sydney at such a height the sky turned orange at one point, kind of crazy to see but it was Christmas day and we wanted to have fun as we sat near the beach on some grass with just about everyone that had met in South East Asia and Australia. The Holiday Club Team were on Bondi Beach just down the road and if I can remember sometime on that evening we met but by this point, there were so many friends to party with it was hard to keep tracks.
It’s these times of travel that makes every single second so precious for me meeting so many like-minded people with the same will to travel, make more friends, tell more stories and party on. I learned a great deal from these times which made me a lot of who I am today.