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Published: November 17th 2015
have now been travelling for just over 8 months which has taken me from Poland to Australia so far. Having seen so much and met so many people that is why I want to carry on. Australia for me at the start of the journey was a target that once I got there, I couldn't turn back.
Arriving in Perth after a 5 day journey from Darwin, I dropped the relocation camper van, that I have driven the majority of the way, off at the depot and really had to clean the vehicle with Tom my co pilot. During the cleaning, my iPhone fell out of my pocket landing on the screen, which rendered my mobile broken. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with the phone, no cracks or anything but the screen was now blank. Seeing as I rely on my apps when I get to a new place for maps and hostelworld I had to rely on Tom to lead the way. Unfortunately he wasn’t the best leader and without knowing what he was doing with his mobile, he lead from the bus that we caught into Perth City Centre and after walking down a few streets and we were outside the front of a decrepit looking building that screamed ‘stay away’ but we were tired and in need of a shower after 5 days without one…. to say we stank would be an understatement.
I’ll admit that the place was cheap and the girl at reception was friendly enough but it was walking to the 3rd floor where our dorm was that we bumped into some scary people. In the 6 man dorm itself there was a french man who looked to be in his late 60’s who told us that he had been in Australia since the 70’s and was into mining and looking for a job, but then again there was a lot he said over the next half hour that made me think that he could be making the whole thing up, like the fact his wife lived in his house in Jakarta and he liked to have holidays in Bali. Me and Tom both agreed that we were only staying for one night and then find somewhere else.
After having a shower, the first of things I needed to do was to sort out my iPhone 6 which had died a death in the Philippines and at last there was an Apple Store in the city. After finding the place I was given an appointment for the following afternoon to come back, which suited me fine although that meant I had to survive without any forms of communication with the online world for 24 hours! The rest of the night was spent looking around the centre, eating and finding a cocktail bar, of which Tom had never set foot in one before and he then discovered why! Prices were a little on the expensive side.
Next day we woke up and got the hell out of the scary hostel that would have scarred us for life and it so happens that on a printed map of Perth, at the reception there was a lot of adverts around the map and one of them was for 2014 runner up of Best Hostel in Western Australia, so thats where we went to and what a contrast. It was all backpackers with the majority of them German for some reason, but friendly and welcoming.
After dropping of our bags, Tom decided that he wanted to find a job, get new clothes, see the sights, get food and more stuff, and as I had nothing planned I went with the flow and followed him. Perth is a major city on the west coast and has a decent population with all the smaller towns that are on the outskirts. Shopping on a Saturday lunchtime felt like being back in UK with all the major brands and loads of people. However that is all we did, going from one shop to the next and looking at ‘stuff’. As an indecisive character Tom was a nightmare to go shopping with but fun at the same time as I had missed the normal UK shopathon. After all this it was time to head off to the Apple store and hope that they could fix my iPhone 6 and as luck would have it, the girl serving me recognised my accent and seems her dad came from the North East. JACKPOT! After giving her a sob story of how supposedly my mobile had stopped working, she took it away and gave it to the experts to look at, unfortunately it was deemed to be water damaged and company policy was not to go any further, but she looked at me and with a glint in her eye, she told me that she had put it on her report that it had malfunctioned and gave me a brand new iPhone 6 in exchange.
One of the good things with the hostel we were now in is that it had a bar, and it was cheap. So obviously we had to have a few in our new surroundings but as the ‘common area’ was so big there were lots of groups/cliques everywhere so hard to make conversation with people. However it was nice to chill after the long drive and the crazy hostel from the night before and it wasn’t long before we both called it a night.
The next day Tom had answered an advert on gumtree for a job on the outskirts of Perth and by the night time he had left. While he was sorting this all out it was time to sort out my laundry and a lot of it stunk, after wearing it stuck in a camper van for so long, which took up most of my day, then caught up with emails and iPhone updates using the free wifi i. I’m not going to waste my own data doing this! So after 3 weeks I was alone again but I’ve said this a few times, when travelling you are never alone. All it takes is one person to say hello and within minutes you're having a full blown conversation about which beer in Australia is the best or whatever. Although there were a lot of Germans hanging together speaking their national language, there was still lots of other nationalities and I soon joined in with them obviously with a few beers. The redeeming factor that linked them all was that they were all in Australia travelling on working visas. I seemed to be the only one on a tourist visa but thats because the Australian government will only issue a working one for people under the age of 31 and its for a year, which would have been too long for me anyways. If they want to apply for a second year visa then they have to complete at least 3 months of farm work, whether its picking strawberries or farm labour. This is where Australia gets cheap labour from….. backpackers! However the wages that they receive is pretty good and its enough to survive on in hostels, get them the food they need, alcohol they drink and enough left over to go sightseeing when they take time off. I’ve always thought that most of the people that do this, English especially are all gap year students and you couldn’t be further from the truth when it is a mixture of all sorts of people. Most of them are Europeans who want to travel and thats it, a lot of them have saved for months sometimes years and gone to South Asia backpacking and ended up in Australia to get more funds or they have travelled direct to Australia and stayed on for 2 years.
Perth is a small city, bigger then Darwin and has a friendliness about it. It’s a well designed place with the shopping district in a centralised place and there are free buses that will take you about the area. There are smaller towns that are attached to Perth making the City look bigger but overall its a clean place that I liked. I spent the days I was there going round various places and I walked mostly everywhere mainly to see the places that you always see from a bus going past and go “oooh that looks like a nice place to visit”. One of the highlights for me in Perth was going to Heirisson Island on the outskirts of the city where the have kangaroos that are wild but can’t leave the Island and are so used to seeing humans walking around past them that you can get up so close to them. Fascinating and i actually did a lot more in Perth which I should tell you about as this is more for me to read back in the future to see what I did, but I have put off doing a blog for a few weeks that I have got to shorten it down as much as I can.
So with a new IPhone 6 and a new camper van to relocate it was time to get on my way to Adelaide. However this time I had nobody to share the ride with, even with extensive advertising it around the hostel and on gumtree. Admittedly that was due to the fact that I booked the campervan on a night time to be leaving at lunchtime the following day which didn’t really give me enough time to find anyone as i found out when I left and I had 3 or 4 emails/texts from people asking if I had left already as they wanted a lift, which was fine but I was already 100 km into the journey. Driving from Perth to Adelaide is one long road and featureless landscapes with the odd dead kangaroo on the side of the road. There are few towns in between and it must count as one of the most boring journeys I’ve ever done but I was solo and that won’t help when I’ve got to listen to myself talk for 12 hours a day! There was no USB jack for me to plug my IPhone in so I had to shove earphones in the ears and that was my entertainment for the journey. The camper van itself was bigger then the previous one and included a shower which was a godsend, but had to be careful with water consumption as I didn’t have anywhere to refill it. The only major downside to the journey was the evenings and I feel a wuss saying this, but when you are on your own and parked up on a lay-by on your own, the trees start moving more and there are noises out there that you probably wouldn’t notice if you had someone with you. I’m not saying I was scared but all doors were locked and doubled checked to make sure any intelligent kangaroo with a flick knife wouldn’t be coming in while sleeping.
Arriving in Adelaide and I dropped off the wagon in tip top condition and time to find a new hostel. The cheapest place in the area was a fair few blocks away from where the bus dropped me off and was told that due to the city being busy that there was only room for one night, which I accepted as the backpack was digging into my back and I needed a rest. 4 days of constant driving had taken its toll on me so I only explored a little bit up to Victoria Square which is basically the centre of Adelaide which for some reason was covered in tents. I just needed a good nights sleep, which I got and it was nice to be in a bed not worried about killer kangaroos or Aboriginals looking in through a window.
Next day was a sad day, in that I discovered that I had lost/misplaced my towel which had been with me for the whole time I had been travelling. I’m not sure if it was due to sentimental reasons or the fact it was one of the biggest towels I ever had that I had to get it back. I discovered that the hostel had free bicycles to hire and even though I had to book out they said that they would look after my bags while I went off. So I had to go to the place I had dropped off the camper van and see if the towel had been left behind somewhere in the vehicle. Alas no so a trip to IKEA which was just across the road and while walking around it felt like I had been transported back to normality. Looking at the various things on sale and thinking that individual items would look nice in my house, it was a bit strange but therapeutic. I found the towels and even better saw one the same colour and size as my previous one, so sentimental thoughts me me get it!
Once I got the towel and seeing I had a free bike to use as I wanted, my first thoughts were of a bed for the night so went to the only hostel that was available which was the YHA. I’ve always thought with the word Youth in its title then it would be only youngsters throwing parties all night (my sort of place anyways) but surprisingly there is no age limit for YHA’s. I paid for only a night as they were fully booked for the following nights as well! I have no idea what was happening in Adelaide but it was getting busier. I told the receptionist that I would bring my bags later and so it was exploring time.
Best way to describe Adelaide? For me, and this is only my personal feelings, Darwin is quirky, Perth Is friendly and Adelaide is… it has no soul. I’ve told this to many people while there and they all agreed. It’s not a large city and yeah its clean but once you’ve spent 2 days cycling round the place then you’ve seen everything. The immigration museum I’ll admit was amazing in that it showed you both sides of the Europeans arriving and the Aborigines trying to keep their land.
Although I was happy to stay in Adelaide as the people in the hostel were so friendly and a party every night on the balcony was held, I knew that due to the size of Australia and knowing how long it was taking driving between cities that I had to start moving out. Melbourne was the next destination but there were no camper vans available for relocation and after looking online at the right time for new deals coming on they would all go within minutes, so a quick decision was made when I went online after 3 days of trying, that a 6 berth camper van was available to go to Alice Springs for Aus $5 and 4 days to get there. The only problem was it was to leave that day…. so an impulsive decision was made and it was booked. A quick ad on Gumtree was made asking for people to travel to Alice Springs in the next 3 hours. Nobody replied by the time I picked the vehicle up, however on the getting back to the hostel I had one reply from a Czech Republic girl who was interested, 2 welsh guys in the hostel had heard I was travelling and wanted to come along and a Finnish girl who over heard the conversation asked if there was room for her. Oh My God, in the space of 10 minutes I had gone from no one travelling with me to 4 random people. Within half an hour we had all packed up the camper van and we were on the road!
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