After originally intending to only spend three months in Australia when we first planned our travels, we ended up staying there for 15 months. It was by far the longest time either of us had spent away from home, and it turned out to be the most incredible adventure. Because we miss it, and because now it almost seems like a distant memory (sob), we’ve decided to compile our 15 favourite travel moments from Australia.
When we first flew out to Perth, we had no idea what to expect and we had even less of a plan. We didn’t know how long we were going to be backpacking around Australia, how we were going to find working holiday visa
During our extended travels around Australia, we spent three months in Western Australia, ten weeks in a remote Cape York community, three weeks living out of a campervan, another three weeks exploring the Pacific Coast Way, six weeks in Sydney, five months in Melbourne, and six weeks living out the back of our car as we explored Tasmania, Victoria, and South Australia.
There were times where we barely had two cents to rub together, and times where we felt like we could travel forever. And, as cliche as it sounds, it was a completely
So, in no particular order, let’s begin our run
Our Favourite Travel Moments from Australia
Flying to Australia
We flew to Perth at the end of April 2018. It was the first time either of us had been backpacking, and the first time we had been to the southern hemisphere. Both of us were insanely excited; we couldn’t believe that we had quit our jobs back in the UK and were en route to begin a new life out of a backpack on the other side of the world!
The plane landed just as the sun was setting over the sea, and we watched from the plane window as orange clouds stretched out across the biggest sky we had ever seen. It’s really hard to describe how we felt when we finally touched down in Australia after a lifetime of dreaming of travelling the world, and after months of talking about that very moment.
Seeing Our First Kangaroo
We had only been in Australia for a few days when we saw our first kangaroo. We lived for three months in Margaret River, with a family friend. On our first day, she drove us over to an area just outside the town which is renowned for kangaroos. When we first saw them, we were surprised by how small they were, but that was nothing compared to the baby joey we met a few days later!
There is a homestay and animal farm on the outskirts of Margaret River, where orphaned joeys are looked after if their mothers are killed on the roads nearby. Sunflowers Animal Farm is really popular with visiting and local families, and we loved spending the morning there. They had two joeys, and as we walked into their enclosure they hopped straight over to us. The movement really startled us, as we’d never seen kangaroos moving before (the ones we had seen already had all been laying down in the sun). They were so soft and their little faces were just too much – we were smitten!
Learn more about what there is to do in and around Margaret River with our handy guide here! Plus, use our map below to find accommodation to suit your budget in the Margaret River area.
Our First Bush Walk
We’d been in Australia for about a week or so before we managed to get out and explore the bush. Margaret River is famous for its Cape to Cape walk, which takes a few days to complete in full. You can instead elect to walk part of it at a time, like we did. It takes you up around the coast and cliff edges and rewards you with amazing views out over the bluest ocean we had ever seen.
Looking back at it now, this was our first ‘oh my God we are in AUSTRALIA!’ moment. The sand was white, the bush was dry and wild, and the sea was sparkling far below us. It was like something out of a dream. We were also very paranoid about the likelihood of stumbling across a snake!
For more dreamy Margaret River beaches, check out our top beaches blog post.
See more of what there is to do in the Margaret River region below!
Our First Backpacker Job
Shortly after settling into Margs, we secured three days of casual work as potato harvesters on a farm nearby. We say nearby, but in reality the farm was an hour’s drive from town and then it was a further 45 minute bumpy drive across corrugated roads to the actual potato fields. We woke up at 5am and drove in the pitch black to the middle of nowhere, and spent the days grubbing around at the back of a combine harvester to fish out the rotten spuds and clumps of dirt and rock. By the end of it, we had dirt absolutely everywhere and we found mud in our coat pockets for the rest of our time travelling around Australia!
However, it was still an awesome experience and it was our first taste of doing proper backpacker jobs in Australia. It was such a change from the jobs we had back in England, which was exciting in itself.
We also worked as vine pruners whilst living in Margs, so for our detailed account of how to find the best pruning jobs in the area, read our blog post here.
Living in the Jungle, Cape York, QLD
Another job we had whilst we were living and travelling in Australia was located in a remote community in Cape York, Queensland. To get there, we had to fly on a tiny propellor plane from Cairns, which gave us THE BEST views out over the Great Barrier Reef. We stayed there for ten weeks, and during that time we lived in a caravan on the edge of the rainforest.
It was one of the best things we have ever done.
Neither of us had ever been to a rainforest before, and we had definitely never lived in as remote a place before either. When we came to leave, it took ten hours of driving on dirt roads to reach Cairns. Yep, we aren’t joking when we say ‘remote’.
Read our blog post about how to prepare for remote regional work in Australia here.
For your own outback experience of Cape York, why not check out the tour options below? It’s one of the last untouched places in Australia, and you can visit the most northern tip of the country too! We recommend everyone to visit this wilderness before it becomes more popular and touristy.
Fishing in the Coral Sea, QLD
When we were up in Cape York, we were lucky enough to be taken sea fishing on a boat. Neither of us are particularly distinguished fishermen, although if you asked Sam he’d probably say differently. The area is too far north for most Great Barrier Reef tourist boats to go, even overnight ones, so it’s still very untouched and wild. That being said, we spent all afternoon with our rods trailing out the back of the boat, and we only caught two things between us. For Kez, it was a fish (which we put back) and for Sam, it was a piece of coral. Lol.
Despite this, we still loved every minute of it. The people we were out fishing with were great, it was a beautiful day, and we were chilling out on a boat with an esky full of beers. What else is life about?
Seeing a Barracuda on the GBR
This memory is partly terrifying, partly hilarious (to us at least). We went out on the reef from Cairns for a day trip, and it wasn’t the smoothest of sailing days. Lots of people onboard were a bit green around the gills, and when we pulled up at our second dive spot of the day we were keen to get in the water to escape the boat for a bit.
Kez was probably the third person to jump in the
Meanwhile, Sam was still on the boat with the GoPro in his hand. Although he’d been aware of the sighting, he hadn’t seen it for himself, and he jumped into the water pretty much directly on top of the poor fish. In our GoPro footage, you can see the fish pass by him incredibly closely, but he had no idea it was there until afterwards. As observant as ever.
Read our itinerary for seven days in Cairns here, and book your own GBR trip below!
Tasmania was a completely underestimated highlight for us. After living in Melbourne for five months, we wanted to end our time by catching the ferry over to Tasmania for ten days. It was the most beautiful part of Australia we saw during our travels, and we would have loved to have spent more time there.
We honestly couldn’t recommend visiting Tasmania enough, and we talk highly of it to anyone who will listen. We’d been grafting non-stop since arriving into Melbourne, and Tasmania was the first bit of travelling we had done since then. It was exhilarating to be back on the road again, living out of our tiny car and trying to wrap up against the Tassie winter as best we could at night. It was a dream.
For our complete itinerary during our
After we had finished our jobs up in Cape York, we hired a campervan in Cairns and drove it down to Brisbane over the course of three weeks. It was the first time either of us had done anything like it, and we were instantly in love with van life. From the nights under the stars to the early mornings waking up in free campsites surrounded by nature, it was just what we needed. It inspired us to want to see a lot more of the world from a campervan, and it also taught us how little we actually need to be happy.
On a deeper level, van life inspired us to return to a different way of living when we finally left Australia. We work differently, we travel differently, and our aspirations are so far removed from the aspirations we had before. It really did change our lives.
See more about our van life experience in this blog post.
One of the bonuses of van life was that it encouraged and allowed us to travel without a set itinerary. We were meeting Kez’s parents in Brisbane at the end of the three weeks, but we had nowhere we had to be between leaving Cairns and arriving in Brisbane. When we rocked up to the beachfront campsite at Mission Beach, we had no intention of staying for more than one night, but after the first night we booked in for another one.
We adored the area, and on the first morning we walked 5km along the deserted beach to the nearest supermarket, picked up some bread and sardines for lunch, and walked the 5km back again, simply because we could. It was such a lazy few days but they were exactly what we needed.
To find a great deal on a place to stay in Mission Beach, take a look at Booking.com!
Camping on Chilli Beach, Cape York
During our time in Cape York, we were borrowing our employer’s car as and when we could to get further afield on our days off. It was a big old Troopy, with the back seats pulled out, so it had plenty of space to chuck a mattress in to go camping. We’d had a particularly challenging week one week, and we just wanted some time together to relax and unwind.
The nearest beach was a 45 minute drive away down dirt tracks, and when we arrived at the campsite it was totally empty. We spent the evening drinking wine under the palm trees and watching the stars come out, and then we woke up at 4.30am to watch the sun come up together. It was totally silent and incredibly calm, and it was also our first taste of camping in Australia.
Sydney Harbour Boat Cruise
When we met up with Kez’s parents in Brisbane, we spent three weeks together driving down to Sydney, where they flew back to the UK from just before Christmas. One afternoon, we wanted to do something touristy, so we booked an afternoon boat cruise around the harbour with snacks and champagne.
When we arrived, we were the only people who had paid for the food and drinks (typical), so while all the other passengers sat outside in the slightly chilly Sydney breeze, we were inside living like kings for four hours. We enjoyed ourselves so much, and drank a bit too much champagne, that when it was time for us to get off we almost missed our stop.
To work out which Australian city would suit you the most, take a look at our handy comparison guide here! Make sure to book your own (boozy or otherwise) Sydney Harbour Boat Cruise below.
Seeing Autumn Leaves in Victoria
Autumn is our favourite time of the year, and we really came to miss the reds and yellows and oranges we love about the season back home. A lot of the native trees of Australia are evergreen, so barely change colour with the seasons. When we were living in Melbourne, we drove out to the Yarra Valley just as autumn was reaching its peak, and we were so excited to see colourful leaves! I know, it sounds really sad, but it made us super happy and actually really made us miss home, all at the same time.
For eight great day trip ideas from Melbourne, why not read this blog post?
Carnarvon Gorge, QLD
We made the trip inland to see Carnarvon Gorge during our time living the van life dream, and it’s another one of those places we could easily have spent a week or more at. There was so much to see and explore, and we saw our first wild platypus there too! We took ourselves down to the river edge early one morning with our coffee and a blanket, and there it was just scooting around in the water. They are so much smaller than we imagined! We also saw an echidna here too, and as we were visiting during low season the campsite and trails were really quiet.
We did a few hikes and swam in the (thankfully croc-free) swimming holes, and honestly felt like we were the only people on the planet.
Sunset at The Pinnacles, WA
When we were living in WA, we took ourselves off for a week or so to explore further north and inland from Perth. We ended our trip at The Pinnacles, a mad collection of thousands of limestone formations that happen to be witness to the most incredible sunsets.
We didn’t know any of this before we arrived and actually ended up getting there much later than we had anticipated. This meant that a lot of the crowds had thinned out, and we were able to enjoy a sublimely orange sun drop into the sea pretty much all to ourselves. It was our first Australian road trip, albeit a short one, and it gave us a taste of freedom and travel that we hadn’t experienced before.
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Our Happiest Memories from Australia
So, there you have it. A strange mixture of big-ticket moments and intensely personal memories that probably mean very little to most of you. When we talk about our favorite memories from travelling around Australia, we find ourselves remembering new details each time.
It’s hard to pinpoint our favourite part, or the part which had the biggest effect on us, but we know that travelling and working in Australia is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. It’s inspired us to be and do so much more than we were before, and it’s left us with an insatiable curiosity for all things travel.
Why not take a look at our Australian Bucket List blog post? We put it together before we set off, and we’ve actually managed to tick quite a few off! How many have you done?
Why not share some of your favourite travel moments with us in the comments? We love to hear what you’ve been up to!
Cheers, all the best.
Sam & Kez x
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