Medicare – Everything you need to know about Australian health care

Medicare is Australia’s version of the NHS in England. We as Brits are extremely lucky to be offered this service for free. Other backpackers have to pay hundreds of Dollars to even be seen in an A&E.

I can not emphasis this enough, if you are from the following countries then PLEASE SIGN UP TO MEDICARE!!

I had 3 surgeries and one dislocated knee and I did not pay a penny! I was seen the same day I was admitted into Hospital and 2 out of the 3 times I had surgery within a few hours. 

Australia’s health care is so good and it is free for the countries above so please please please register for it as it could save you hundreds of dollars if anything happens to you.

Before one of my operations a German guy had been admitted to A&E after getting a Pool Que in the eye and he tried to leave after a long wait and he was billed around $800 for just being admitted.

DO NOT BE THAT PERSON!

 To Apply for Medicare you will need to go to one of their offices and supply the below information. Once you have applied they will give you a temporary card with your medicare number on it, your official card will be sent to the Australian address you have supplied during the application process, this normally takes between 2-3 weeks. 

Take a photo of this number, text it to your family or simply do not lose the card. You will need this number every time you are seen by a doctor and its hard to access it once you have lost it.

Search on the following website for a Medicare centre near you  Click Here<<

To be eligible for Medicare you must:

  • Be a resident in any of the above countries immediately before arriving in Australia

Documents you need to enrol in Medicare:

  • A current passport – includes those issued in Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey
  • Visa documents
  • Australian address ( use a hostel’s address you will be for a long time)

How long your cover lasts:

It starts the day you arrive in Australia.

When it ends depends on the country you’re visiting from. You can only use it while you have a valid visa.

It ends on the day your visa expires if you’re from:

  • Finland
  • Norway
  • the Republic of Ireland
  • Sweden
  • the UK

It ends on the day your European Health Insurance Card expires, or the day your visa expires if earlier, if you’re from:

  • Belgium
  • the Netherlands
  • Slovenia

If you’re from Italy or Malta, it ends:

    • after 6 months
    • the day your European Health Insurance Card expires, or
    • the day your visa expires, if earlier

 Students:

If you’re in Australia on a student visa, you’re eligible to enrol in Medicare.

If you’re a student from one of these countries

You’re not covered if you’re a student from:

  • Finland
  • Malta
  • Norway
  • the Republic of Ireland

Cover:

If you’re from any of the other agreement countries it covers:

  • medically necessary care out of hospital
  • medically necessary care as a public patient in a public hospital
  • prescription medicines at a lower price – this is the general rate for drugs in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Seeing the doctor:

You can see a doctor in a private practice or a community health centre. It is up to the doctor how they charge you for the service.

They can charge you by:

  • giving you a bill to pay – most doctors in private practice do this
  • sending the bill straight to Medicare – This is called bulk billing (you must be enrolled in Medicare)

Bulk Billing is a must!! This allows the doctor the send the whole bill straight to medicare ensuring that you will not have a thing. Show your reciprocal health care card and sign a Medicare form after you see the doctor, you won’t need to pay.

If you are at a private doctor the chances are you will have to pay the whole consultation cost which is usually around $70, or you will be able to claim a percentage back from medicare which is around 32%.

If you do get caught out and have to pay on the day:

You can,

Medicare can only pay the money into an Australian bank account.

Going to hospital:

You will need your passport or reciprocal health care card. Tell them you want care as a public patient.

As a public patient in a public hospital you won’t have to pay for your stay or treatment there.

You’ll need to pay the full fees if you choose care:

  • as a private patient in a public hospital
  • in a private hospital

You can’t claim these fees back from Medicare.

Everything Medicare related can be found Here.

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Bondi – The Travel Guide

We loved Bondi so much that we felt it needed its own blog post! The famous Bondi beach is one of those places you’ve either heard of or seen on TV, mainly for Bondi Rescue! It is a beautiful beach not too far from Sydney with lots to see and do! If we can tell you to visit anywhere in Sydney its Bondi! The whole area is very relaxed and Bondi & Brunch go hand in hand.

Bondi The Guide

Accomodation - Bondi the Travel Guide

Bondi Backpackers The best ocean views at Sydney’s most iconic beach – Bondi Backpackers is the perfect place to live the Australian beach lifestyle. Experience the culture of Bondi and its surrounds at its waterfront location, mere seconds from the sand. This is one of the best hostels we have stayed at in Australia! It is by far one of the cleanest hostels and every single person cleans up after them selves which is unheard of in hostel life. The people here are really nice and super chill. The hostel offers free morning yoga, free personal training and free surfboard hire.

Bondi Backpackers - Bondi The Guide

Bondi Backpackers - Bondi The Guide

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Bondi Beach…Durr

Bondi Beach- Bondi The Guide

Bondi to Coogee walk – Highly recommended!! Whale season is between June – November and along this walk you are able to see Whales if you are very lucky! The areas along the walk are Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee. Many of these areas have salt water baths/swimming pools which you can swim in as well as many cafes and toilets. The distance is 6km which roughly takes around 2 hours, this walk can take as long as you want if you stop as much as we did to take photos..it took us 6. We highly recommend stopping at Bare Naked Bowls along the way for a healthy smoothie or snack in Bronte! 

Bondi Beach- Bondi The Guide

Bondi Beach- Bondi The Guide

Bronte Beach- Bondi The Guide

All below pictures are from each locations website., unless stated otherwise.

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Depot 

Menu <<

Location: 286 Campbell Parade, North Bondi

Depot - Bondi The Guide


Speedos 

Menu<<

Location: 126 Ramsgate Ave, North BondiSpeedos - Bondi The Guide

Lox Stock And Barrel

Menu<<

Location: 140 Glenayr Ave. Bondi Beach.

Lox Stock And Barrel - Bondi The Guide

 Porch and parlour

Menu<<

Location: 17-18/110 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi.

 Porch and parlour - Bondi The Guide

The Nine

Menu<<

Location: 163 Glenayr Avenue, Bondi Beach  

The Nine - Bondi The Guide

Bare Naked Bowls 

The menu is a dream! Check it out here <<

Location: 145 Macpherson St, Bronte NSW 2024

Bare Naked Bowls - Bondi The Guide

Bare Naked Bowls - Bondi The Guide

Raw

Menu<<

Sushi! Location: 1/136 Warners Ave, BondiRaw - Bondi The Guide

 

Marceleria 

Menu<<

Steak! Location: G09/180 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach

Marceleria  - Bondi The Guide

China Diner

Menu<<

Location: 75 – 79 HALL STREET, BONDI

China Diner  - Bondi The Guide

Brown Sugar

Menu <<

Location: 106 Curlewis Street, Bondi Beach

Brown Sugar  - Bondi The Guide

Bavarian Bier

Menu <<

Location: 108 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach

Bavarian Bier - Bondi The Guide

The above photo is our own.

Gelato Messina 

Ice Cream!

Location: G6/61 Hall Street, Bondi NSWGelato Messina - Bondi The Guide

 

 

Coogee Pavilion 

Great pizza! Menu <<

Location: 169 Dolphin Street, Coogee

Coogee Pavilion - Bondi The Guide

Icebergs 

Looking out over the whole beach!

Location: 1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach NSW 2026

Bondi Beach- Bondi The Guide

Bondi Fish

Location: 120 Ramsgate Avenue North Bondi 2026

Bondi Fish - Bondi The Guide

Bucketlist

Location: Bondi Pavilion, Shop 1, Queen Elizabeth Drive

Bucketlist - Bondi The Guide

Coogee Pavilion

Location: 169 Dolphin Street, Coogee

Coogee Pavilion - Bondi The Guide

This blog post would not have been possible without Becky’s help & recommendations! 

 

Sydney – The Travel Guide

 

Sit down, this may shock you…Sydney is not the capital of Australia, Canberra is.

Things to know

Sydney is an amazing city with lots of things to do. There are different parts to Sydney which are all worth checking out. All the tourist spots are located near Circular Quay which is also where you will find the area called ‘The Rocks’ which has great bars and restaurants. The nightlife centre is an area called Kings Cross..enter at your own risk! If you want more of a chilled out day then head over to Surrey Hills. You also can find Bondi beach, Coogee and Manly beach (which is a short ferry away) all within this city. 

 

Lock out laws apply in Sydney which is basically an objective to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence. This law requires 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks at bars, pubs and clubs in the Sydney CBD.

 

Opera House- Sydney Australia, the Travel Guide

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Getting from the airport to the city is very quick and easy. Australia’s public transport is like no other, double-decker trains which are clean reliable, its shocking coming from using the London Underground my whole life.
From the airport you can find the train station located to the left, once you come out of the arrival gate. You will have to purchase a Opal Card, which is Sydney’s version of an Oyster Card. There is also an Opal card app which is super handy to have. You can top up on the go and also it will insure your money if you ever lose your card. Unlike Oyster cards, you have to tap off on buses with these cards. 
You can get the train straight to Central Station which will cost you roughly $16, this is the most expensive journey you can make so don’t panic, travel isn’t extortionate like in London. 
All travel on Sunday’s is $2.50 so I would make the most of it and explore as much as you can. You can go on a 30 minute ferry with your Opal and visit Manly which I would highly recommend. In order to get to Manly you will have to go to ‘Whalf 3’ right outside the train station.
The closest station to The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Oprea House is Circular Quay.
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Accomodation - Bondi the Travel Guide

Backpacker only..I cant afford to try out anything else!

Wake up! – Huge hostel with a night club underneath. It’s really clean and I met loads of people here. Like everywhere in Sydney, lock out laws apply here and you are not allowed your own alcohol in this hostel. Dorms from $41, private rooms from $114

Mad Monkey Coogee Beach Dorms from $30, Private room from $99

The Village Surrey HillsDorms from $22, Private rooms from $84

The Village Kings Cross – Located in the night life part of town – Dorms from $21, Private rooms from $85.

Places to Eat

The Grounds of Alexandria 

 They roast their own beans, the ingredients on the menu are sourced from their own organic kitchen garden and the cafe is encased in a rustic, industrial and heritage-listed warehouse in Sydney’s west.

Location: 2 Huntley Street, Shop 7a Alexandria NSW 2015

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The Grounds of Alexandria 

Three Williams 

Just have a look at their instagram and tell me it doesn’t look amazing.

Location: 613a Elizabeth Street, Redfern.

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The Three Williams 

The Fine Food Store

Amazing coffee and brunch!!  Tucked away on Kendall lane in The Rocks, The FFS offers lip smacking coffee, breakfast, brunch, lunch + specially selected local wine & beer! (Picture stolen from their instagram as we ate all of ours before we could take a photo!)

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The Fine Food Store

More info on places to eat and drink in Sydney can be found here <<

Places to visit

Bondi Beach 

The famous Iceberg swimming pools can be found here! Such a chilled out place it is our favourite place in the whole of Sydney! 

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Bondi Icebergs

Coogee Beach 

Beautiful beach only 1 bus ride away from the centre of Sydney.

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Coogee Town

Manly Beach 

This has a whole other vibe here! Everyone skate boarding or sunbathing, very relaxed area.

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Manly Beach

Blue mountains 

A day trip here is 100% worth it. These beautiful mountains are just outside of Sydney and is the perfect place to explore and take photos. There is a YHA Hostel here if you wanted to spend more than one day exploring everything the Blue Mountains has to offer.

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The Blue mountains 

Luna Park 

Located the other side of the Sydney Harbour bridge, at night it is all lit up and worth checking out. The views from the other side are something you don’t often see either. 

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Luna Park

Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden

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Botanical Gardens 

Want to know more about Bondi and Coogee? Click here ! 

Sydney – Our Journey

Leaving the Philippines 😦

 We were in Coron and managed to catch a hell-ish ferry back to Manila which took a very long and hot 15 hours. Once we arrived in Manila we realised it was 7am and we couldn’t check in until  2pm. I had a brilliant idea of going back to the hostel we stayed in on our very first night in the Philippines, Lub D! They served good coffee and from memory, they had a Netflix room. As you can imagine we got a great nights sleep on an open air, 200 person bunk bed sleep over…not. We were exhausted, I was still slightly ill and didn’t fancy walking around Manila for the next 6 hours so we got a taxi straight to Lub D. Olly had some breakfast and we snuck into the Netflix room and I passed out straight away, it was one of the best naps I had ever had! I woke up and it was time to check into our hotel. We simply got up and walked out and no one said anything, it was brilliant! Our hotel was thankfully just around the corner and we checked in to our new digs. I say hotel, it was actually a residence apartment which meant we had access to the gym and swimming pool. We just chilled here, going to the shopping centre and watching a film in the cinema and just relaxing before we have to catch our flight to Sydney!
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WE HAVE ARRIVED IN SYDNEY!!!! Finally back in the land of OZ where we met! During the flight Olly passed out, shock! And I stayed up watching movies and starving as the food was probably the worst food I have ever had… I cant even remember what it was as I am typing this because I have tried to forget everything about it and push it into the depts of my mind. We landed super early and again had the issue of not being able to check in for a while. We took advantage of this and stopped for breakfast at the airport. POACHED EGGS AND SMOKED SALMON, My god it feels good to be back in a place that appreciates brunch as much as we do. I had been craving poached eggs since I left England.

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Olly being the travel savvy guy he is, had been to Sydney airport before and directed us to the train station. We both got a Opal card, which is basically an oyster card, and took the right train to our hostel. I haven’t actually used much public transport in Australia as last time I was used to either walking or jumping on the Greyhound. Being back here just feels right! I think its because I’m with Olly and he knows what he’s doing, and just being able to figure out how to use public transport in a foreign country makes you feel like your home. It might sound silly but when you are travelling the feeling of being ‘at home’ in the weirdest of situations is such a nice feeling. 

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We walk from the train to our hostel and it dawns on us how bloody cold it is! I know it wasn’t going to be philippine weather but still, it was freezing! We arrived at our hostel and checked into our rooms. Being back in australian hostel life for real was an eye opener!! The room stank of gross boys, we were put in a filthy room and there was 1 shower and toilet. There were some more downstairs but you would have to walk through a haze of smoke and drunk people to get to them and in your PJ’s.. its not the most comfortable of situations. We dumped our bags and headed out, freezing we decided to go shopping to try and buy a jumper or anything that could to keep us warm. Finding H&M and Benefit damaged my bank account, but I was able to be slightly warmer for us to face exploring Sydney. 

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The night we landed was our 2nd year anniversary to when we met, so we got slightly dressed up and headed to the Opera house for dinner and some drinks. It was so nice to actually take in Sydney as last time I was here I didn’t experience very much. This was due to the fact I had no money what so ever, I didn’t enjoy Sydney and I really wanted to. This time round felt so different, we took a stroll around the harbour area and walked home, we wanted to head out early and explore more. 

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We spent one day over at Manly beach which was a ferry ride away. This place was beautiful and so much more relaxed than the city. We got there quite late as when Olly has his camera out it takes us hours to get any where. Getting there later meant we had to rush to get the drone up before the sun went down but the golden hour proved to be worth all the rushing!

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The next day we got up early, got out of our disgusting room as quickly as we could and got the train back into the city. We spent hours walking around taking photos, having amazing food and taking in the sights. That night we were pooped, we had walked so much and just wanted to relax but we came back to hell. Two of our room mates had a fight in our room, so our room was a tip and had blood all over the walls, my bed was soaking from god knows what and Olly’s bag had been moved. I didn’t feel safe, others wanted to keep the lights on for when the boys came back from their night out so they wouldn’t fight again. It just put me in a bad mood as I didn’t remember travelling being this repulsive.. maybe thats just boys? Olly is so different to these cave men and I cant even put that down to him being older as they were the same age! It was just bizarre. We are all up for having a good night out and drinking but this hostel was just too much. We booked a different hostel and headed to Bondi to live out the rest of our Sydney days.

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Bondi was a different ball game altogether! The hostel was amazing, the people where nice and we had a private room which helped! It just blew our minds that everyone was cleaning up, making food and wanted to just chill and have a chat. This is what I remember travelling to be like! We noticed everyone was super healthy which prompted us to try and be healthier than we had been. The only happy hour we saw here was $5 off salads.

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Bondi beach is one of the most famous beaches there is in Australia and we could see why. Even in the freezing wind we went and relaxed in the sun on the beautiful beach and watched the surfers for hours. We got up early most days and explored to the max! We managed to do the Bondi to Coogee walk which was breath taking and we even had a healthy stop on the way thanks to my sisters friends recommendations!

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We even managed to spot some whales in the distance and was able to fly the drone out to capture it. Not only was this the furthest we had every flown the drone but it was so refreshing that we weren’t on a boat chasing the whales. It actually gives me hope for the future that technology like drones can get people closer to natural wonders, without the danger of getting too close and disturbing the whales.

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One of our main aims while we were in Sydney was to buy a car. A car that would be reliable, get us to the snowy mountains with the potential to sleep in her too if need be. We present to you…BASIC BETTY…! If you have ever seen Riverdale you will know how basic that Betty is, so she is named after her!

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We waved goodbye to Sydney and planned our route to Canberra for a night! We have booked one of only two hostels in the whole of Canberra. Until next time..

 

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Australia Help Guide

 

If you are looking to work in Aus the first thing you will need to arrange is your working Holiday Visa which is about £230 from memory. I did mine in STA Travel shop as they fill out everything for you and you will receive an email confirmation when it has been processed, this can take up to 6 weeks but I got mine in 2 days. A working holiday visa starts from the second you step foot in the country and you have a year in the country. The only way to extend your first year is by doing 88 days regional work or to get sponsored. I will go into more detail below about farm work later on but Click here for more info on Working Holiday Visa’s.  If you are only going for a few weeks then visit on a tourist visa which is 3 months. I would also not recommend going to Australia in December or January as that is when flights are most expensive, if you complete your first year and want to come home, it will cost you a lot more to come home near Christmas!

 

What to Pack

This is where I struggled as I came from Asia where everyone and everything was dirty but in Australia everyone is beautiful!

  • I had a comfortable rucksack but I also had a small carry on roll on suitcase.. You don’t really need a rucksack in Australia
  • Of course pack things like Trainers and comy clothes but there are so many shops out there I brought new clothes to feel normal again after Asia. All you need are clothes to travel in on coaches, which can be very cold so pack a hoodie!
  • As many Bikinis and cover ups as you can, its so bloody hot you wont want to wear many clothes in the day but be warned in cities such as Sydney it is more pretentious than Slug and Lettuce on a Friday night so glam up!
  • Flip Flops, they will break, you will go through at least 4 pairs I promise you
  • If I was to go back I would take my iPad as some nights you stay in and you want to watch a movie in bed, an iPad would of been ideal
  • Camera, with a hard drive and lots of memory cards, I backed up everything and also had an online storage which I used every time I had an afternoon with WiFi.
  • Ipod/ Music – It is worth having a Netflix account to download movies for long journeys.
  • Portable charger
  • Tiger Balm saves lives
  • So does Bug Spray
  • Printed Colour copy of your passport and Visa
  • Copy of your travel insurance
  • Blow up pillow for long journeys and easy to fold away/ eye mask/ear plugs
  • Roll on Deodorant lasts longer and some hostels ban you from spraying them in rooms because they can set the fire alarms off
  • I always had a note book and pen on me with a few important numbers written inside in case I got my phone stolen
  • Lipstick can turn any day outfit into an evening outfit so always have some to hand!

 

Apps you will need

  •  Maps.ME – Which is an app which lets you download countries, cities and areas without WIFI and you have the ability to save where you have been. It helps out a lot when you are lost!
  • Wiki Cams for all your road trip needs! 

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A large majority of people start in Melbourne and work their way up the coast which I would highly recommend over starting in Cairns and going down. As most people go up, you make friends along the way and you tend to see them again as its all one route.
If you aren’t on a time schedule you can do what I did which was to plan it all when I reached Melbourne as we gave our selves a few days in between places if we liked where we were, we could stay or if we didn’t we could move on quicker. I stayed at BASE in St Kilda which is a great hostel! It’s cheap and there are things on every night at the hostel bar which is a great place to meet people. Mad travel is a travel agent within the hostel which can hook you up with everything you need. We brought a ‘Hop on Hop Off‘ greyhound ticket from Melbourne to Cairns which was around $400. This type of ticket meant we could get a coach the whole way up the coast with no time limit as we had a year to use it all up the coast. We also booked the 3 busiest places along the coast in advance as they sell out very fast. They sell out as they are very popular and often only have one hostel in the area. These places are Frazer island, magnetic island and the Whitsundays -Note there are other cheaper bus companies but Greyhound offer great air con, comfy seats, wifi and plugs to charge phones and cameras. If you are doing 16 hour coach journeys comfort and air con is a must!!
The most common stops along the East coast are; Melbourne, Sydney, Byron bay, Surfers Paradise/ Gold Coast, Brisbane, Noosa / Rainbow Beach (Fraser island tour starts from), Hervey Bay, Airlie Beach (Whitsundays), Magnetic Island, Townsville and Cairns.

Capture

Melbourne

Hostel’s 

BASE st Kilda, United Backpackers in central Melbourne

Things to do

Trams in the city are free so take advantage

Melbourne city centre has lots to see and do! The famous ABC aka Asian Beer Cafe has amazing food with really cheap happy hours so defo worth checking out as well as the centre it is in.

Revolver bar

Night Markets on a Thursday.

Cookie is a really nice rooftop bar with a cinema.

Madame Brussels is a Tea Party themed rooftop bar with a whole lotta sass!!!

Federation Square always has bits going on.

St Kilda has the beach with great bars and places to eat accompanied by every single backpacker. You can also see penguins on the pier at night around 7pm.

To see some of the city’s best street art, head to the following locations;

AC/DC lane and Duckboard place, Hosier and Rutledge lanes, Centre place, Flinders Court, Union Lane, Presgrave Place, Russell Place, Croft Alley, Stevenson and Tattersalls Lanes, Drewery and Sniders Lanes, Caledonian Lane, Corner 361 Little Bourke Street and Rankins Lane, Finlay Lane, behind Corner of Queen and Franklin Streets and Blender Lane. Click here for a map!

Other must see’s if you like something a bit different from the typical tourist traps can be found here ->Weird and wonderful shops in Melbourne

 Great Ocean Road 

The Great Ocean Road is one of the best road trips you can do! It was one of my favorite things to do. Download ‘Wiki Camps’ its an amazing app where you can filter different things you want from a camp site, for example we needed power and I wanted a shower, and it brings up all the campsites along your route, it is so worth having this app if you are doing lots of road trips. Top things to see on the GOR are:

Loch Ard Gorge

Apollo Bay

Twelve Apostles

London Bridge

Lorne Beach

Erskine Falls

The Frotto

Gibsons steps

Split Point Lighthouse

Sydney

So it is probably worth mentioning Australia has lock out laws, these laws are slightly different in each state but they all suck were ever you go. Lock out laws were put in place to stop drunken violence and to control the youth slightly better due to so many people actually dying from being punched once on the back of the head. Yep Australians are a rowdy bunch and after talking to my Australian friends, these laws do actually help keep people safer on nights out. The laws in Sydney are as follows;

The legislation requires 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks at bars, pubs and clubs in the Sydney CBD entertainment precinct. This means, no re-entry in a club after 1:30- not even to smoke. No shots/doubles after 12, you are not allowed to down your drink, it is illegal to be drunk in a club so they will remove you, or keep you hostage and force water down your throat and call you a cab, it is actually a law they make sure you are able to get home! All drinking games are banned- most clubs will play ‘water pong’ or give you ‘food tokens’ as prices but actually it is a shot.

These laws to prohibit you drinking but they are designed to keep you safe, if anything it just means you start drinking earlier! Great article to read about it all here –>Would the last person in Sydney please turn the lights out?

Hostels

Wake Up! Sydney Central

Avoid Big Hostel as much as you can! It is filled with Chinese families and mainly people that work in the city so they are not looking to make friends and this hostel has the most bizarre rules such as you are not allowed plastic bags in the room, you are not allowed the lights on past a certain time, they do not have wifi in the rooms as they do not want you skying family members if someone is asleep..its just rubbish, avoid!

Bondi Backpackers – Beautiful clean hostel right on the beach! Offers free activies and so many discounts for in town.

Things to do

‘The Rocks’ has really nice bars and restaurants with Pancakes on the rocks which is beaut.

Coogie beach, Bondi beach and Manly beach are worth going too. Manly you have to get a ferry over to but it’s a nice day out. The walk from Bondi to Coogie is very popular.

New Town doesn’t have lock out laws! It has cool bars and shops worth checking out.

Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden

Gordon’s Bay

Taronga Zoo

Day trips to the Blue Mountains is one of the best things to do !

Byron Bay

Hostel

  • Arts Factory (the inbetweeners movie). You can stay in the hostel in the main building or you can stay in Tiky Huts which are so much better but this is where I learnt what a Huntsman Spider looked like very close up!- Note the staff here are vile but the atmosphere make up for it!

 

Things to do

Nimbin, the only place it is ok to buy weed, hash brownies and weed cookies. I honestly asked a 10 year old where to buy them and he led me to his Grandmother..

Everyone and their Nan sells weed here, it is a hippy town with one road and takes about 20 mins to see the whole thing. It is very , much a gimmick but equally very funny to see extreme hippies welcoming tourists with cookies.

Surf Camps

Dolphin Kayak trips

Light house walk, from the main beach to the light house there is a very beautiful walk which you are able to visit ‘the most easterly part of Australia’ so this means it is the earliest part of the day in that spot!

The Rainbow Temple is about an hours drive from Byron, so we rented a car and headed to Guy Feldmann’s extraordinary love offering to humanity. It is amazing and not a lot of people know about this place, it is one big hippie commune! He has built this huge tree house and the best bit is walking through the cave..I wont ruin the surprise what is down there

Crystal Temple

Brisbane

Hostels

Bunk is very good! Great bar underneath (pictured below)

Nomads private rooms are also rooftop penthouse style rooms with balconies.

Things to do

Lagoon- There isn’t a beach here as it is a city but they do have a man made lagoon which everyone heads to.

Shopping Helllaaa lot of shops and lots of pubs and bars but one place looked amazing which was Prohibition which is 1920’s theme.

Cinema is $6 I think

Day trip to Surfers Paradise, but there isn’t much to do here either! Do not do the bar crawl, rip off and horrendous!

Noosa

Hostels

Nomads. I genuinely think that is the only hostel that Noosa has..

Things to do

 Fraser Island

Surf Camps

You book a package with nomads to stay on Frazer Island for 2 days and to have a night in the hostel either side of the trip I think we booked with ‘Dingo’s’. I met everyone the night before, loaded a small bag into the trucks and set off for Frazer where we where put into 6 cars and drove around the island along a 75 mile beach seeing every thing it had to offer such as SS Maheno Shipwreck, Lake McKenzie, Champagne Pools, Lake Allom, ,Lake Wabby which has sand dunes so take a body board, Indian Head, Lake Birabeen and Eli Creek – Take a floatie!

Note you have to be over 21 to drive on Frazer and have to have been driving 3 years!

Hervey Bay

Hostels

Flash Packers Hervey Bay (pictured below)

Aussie Woolshed

Things to do

Whale watching!!! Between July and October whale season, it is the best thing I have done on the East Coast!

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Airlie Beach

Hostels

Nomads/Base, same reception but personally the rooms were nicer in Nomads.

Things to do

Whitsundays – I went on the Clipper which is a 3 days and 2 nights on board which is notorious for being the Party Boat but it really wasn’t that bad. I hate boat parties as I get sick very easily but they do not let you drink too much in the day as you are snorkeling and it would be dangerous for you to jump off the boat drunk. The evenings are filled with drinking games and fancy dress, which I would highly recommend if you want to meet people and get smashed. They have 2 slides, a hot tub and stop off at White Haven Beach which is amazing!  Other chilled boats can do a day trip or one night rather than the 2 nights on board with the Clipper.

You are not allowed to take zip bags on board due to bed bugs, only draw string bags. They say there is a limit on alcohol but there isn’t, you are not allowed bottles or red wine, so stock up on goon or as much as you can carry and you can put it in the fridge.

Hamilton Island – Which is a Millionaire island.

 

Magnetic Island

Hostel

BASE, the only one worth staying at. It has beautiful huts with Half moon and full moon parties.

Things to do

Barbie Cars! Literally why most girls go here

Hike up some massive hill to see wild Koala Bears

West Point to see the sunset, dont get caught taking a barbie car otherwise it is a $200 fine, lol

Drink

Geoffrey Bay to see wallabies!

Cairns

Hostels

  • Gilligan’s backpacker Hostel is a party hostel with great rooms. The hostel is huge and the rooms on the 3rd floor have TV’s and every room has a balcony which most people party on.
  • Nomads hostel is further out of town with a free bus every hour to and from town, I can’t not mention this hostel as I lived and worked there for 6 months and met some of the most amazing people there. It is no where near as convenient as other hostels in town but it’s a lot cheaper and more chilled out.

Things to do

  • Waterfalls!! -Crystal cascades is the closest with moderate hiking involved.

Uncle Brian’s tours- this is a day tour of all the local waterfalls such as Babinda Boulders, Milla Milla (herbal essences advert and where Peter Andre filled mysterious girl) Josephine Falls, Devils boulder, Lake Eachum . These waterfalls are all relatively close by so me and 20 friends rented cars brought some BBQ food and split it and it came To £3 each!

  • Great Barrier Reef!! This is a once in a life time opportunity so I say go big and do the most expensive tour. I did and it was amazing, 2 dives and 1 snorkel with a huge buffet breakfast and lunch!!

I wouldn’t recommend doing the helicopter tour here as I have herd it is better in Airlie beach as you get to see the heart shaped reef.

  • Cape Tribulation – there are many tours here which is much further north with lots of crocodiles. It’s much more jungle with beautiful beaches which I did in a day in our own car. Note the car was a 4×4 as there are many dangerous roads and animals up there.
  • Nandos! Also has a great Chinese food court which is super cheap.
  • Woolshed!! The only bar it is encouraged to get on top of the tables and dance until you fall off. I lived in this club and loved every night out there! Also does great food in the day!

 

Hiring Cars

There are lots of companies which you can hire cars from but we found one way which required very little money. Relocation cars are a popular way to get from city to city without huge costs. You type in what city you are wanting to start from and end up and they find cars/camper vans which need to be driven back to that city. For example we were in Brisbane and needed to get to Melbourne so we applied to this website –>Transfer Car and within a few days they responded with a camper van which needed returned to Melbourne. It has a time limit so we had 5 days to get there so we took a detour and did the Blue Mountains on the way down and had a great road trip! I would highly recommend this method. You do have to pay a $2000 insurance bond up front which they return into your account once you have returned the car.

Farm Work

In order to get your second year visa you will need to do 88 days regional work on a farm. This never actually takes 3 months, it takes much longer so I would highly recommend doing your farm work as soon as you get to Australia as it took me 4 months due to a bad season or weather problems. You do not need to pay an agent to find you farm work, this is a con. You will probably need a car in order to do farm work as you will have to get there and probably to work every day.

If you’re in Cairns AVOID EZZY LIKE THE PLAGUE. She owns a shop called Adventure Cairns and Beyond and she is a con artist/Witch who scams people for cash to place them, when the doesn’t have anywhere to place you and if you try and argue with her, she will tell the whole town you threatened her and tried to burn her shop down lol told you, witch!

Good farm work is hard to find, most places pay by the bucket, so you have to work hard to earn money or other places are working hostels which place you at different farms on different days. Being paid by the hour is extremely hard to find!! The problem with being paid by the bucket is work is not guaranteed, most days they will only ask for boys or will only have space for 3 people and it is who ever is ready first gets a days work. If you work on one farm continuously then it is 88 days ( most farms count 5 working days as 7) but if you are at a working hostel on different farms then it is 3 months pay slips you will need to provide for your second year visa. Only 1/4 people get asked for evidence when applying for a visa, I have friends that didn’t do farm work and still got a second year visa, where people on my farm where investigated and eventually given a visa. Every one is different, every country is different so don’t listen to all the rumors about more English people get investigated because we don’t.

Research your farm!!! It is worth checking out the Harvest Guide to see which fruits are in season in which areas in this link here –>Harvest Guide I did blueberries which are easy to pick but it is a known thing Banana’s are very hard and those farms tend to only hire boys as ‘Humping’ takes a lot of physical strengthen as well as spiders and rats that  are dropped onto your backs. I have friends that also joined many Facebook groups and wound up at a Puppy farm! She had to look after puppies for 3 months! Loads of people post jobs/info on Facebook pages such as ‘backpacker jobs in Australia’ or the most popular ‘Australian Backpacker’.

My farm was amazing, I was paid by the bucket but I had the best time ever! I worked at Mountain Blue Farms in Tabulam with the closest town being Lismore, which is close to Byron Bay, for more info on this farm click this link Mountain Blue Farm. There was 800 people on my farm and I lived at the closest hostel to the farm which was called Tabulam Backpackers.  There are different jobs on this farm, they are Packing shed (Hourly rate) boxing shed (Hourly rate) Supervisor (Hourly rate) Driver (Hourly rate) and Pickers (paid by the bucket). This was by far the best place to stay at! With 100 of us living there you have an option to either stay in cabins ($156 a week), camp with power or without($70-$110). I paid slightly more to stay in a cabin with 7 other girls but I had my own bed, fridge, wardrobe and mirror! It was so good! The hostel is clean and safe, always has clean water to drink and hot water in the showers, there are 2 kitchens with one sofa room with hundreds of DVDs and cooking space where everyone hangs out. They do have wifi but it is not that great, but its nice to be off the grid. There are other hostels around but none come close to how amazing Tabulam Backpackers is! The Hostel owners Brenton and Rose care for you as if you were their own children and always help out when they can, they put on free BBQ’s and games which include everyone. The nearest town was Casino which was an hour away where you can get food shopping and wifi! This farm is not accessible without a car. We had 2 cars between 6 of us which came in very handy when one broke down. There are so many thing to do here like go for a swim in the lake, jump off cliffs, chill in the hammocks and go to some amazing Bush Duff raves. House parties in Tabulam are the best!

Farming is hard, It can be horrendous, it is hot, it is exhausting and some times you can be working your arse off but there is always an Asian who is 5 rows in front of you. You start off broke and hear stories of people saving thousands of dollars and It can kill your spirit and when everyone has a bad day it is really felt within the hostel. People see you from the minute you wake up to the minute you fall asleep, they see you at your best and worst. You can be sweating your life away, dirty and pissed off and be surrounded in a group of 10 people who are all in the same boat. These people become your family, they become your life. You notice when someones having an off day and evenings are spent talking for hours because you cant sit there on your phone. You actually get to know people through and through. It can feel like you have known these people your whole life and you wonder how you coped before without them. Friendships become stronger, relationships are put to the test and come out stronger than ever and yet you will never forget the time you spent on a farm!

What you will need for farming

  • Probs a car or befriend someone that does! A lot of my friend rented a car called Spaceships which seemed reasonably priced.
  • You will need Trainers, hats, long sleeved tops, sun cream and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and defiantly an iPod/spotify account you can access without internet as picking for 6 hours a day can be hell when you have no one to talk to or music to get through the day.
  • You will need to have an Australian Bank Account which you will be paid into. You will need to stay in once place for atleast a week as they send you your card and info via post
  • You need to make sure you have opened a ‘Superannuation’ with your bank account which is basically a pension your employer pays into. You are able to get your superannuation back once you leave the country for good and as for tax..the laws have changed so its pretty messed up.. I think you don’t get this back now.. but I could be wrong!
  • Tax File Number
  • Your Visa Number
  • First Aid Kit, I got bit by spiders, ants, mossies and cut my foot on a rock in the lake. Trust me you will need one!

 

Medicare

I can not emphasis this enough PLEASE SIGN UP TO MEDICARE!! I had 3 surgeries and one dislocated knee and I did not pay a penny! Their health care is so good and it is free for us Brits to use it so please please please register for it as it could save you hundreds of dollars if anything happens to you. Before one of my ops a German boy had been admitted to A&E after getting a Pool Que in the eye and he tried to leave after a long wait and he was billed around $800 for just being admitted. DO NOT BE THAT PERSON!

To be eligible for Medicare you must:

  • be ordinarily resident in any part of the territory of the United Kingdom immediately before arriving in Australia

Documents you need to enrol in Medicare

British citizens need to provide 1 of the following:

  • a current British passport – includes those issued in Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey
  • a Northern Ireland passport

If there is evidence you weren’t a UK resident before arriving in Australia, you must also provide 2 or more documents to confirm your residency in the UK.

Non-British citizens need to provide a current non-British passport and 1 of the following:

  • a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with the initials UK
  • a National Health Insurance Medical card if you’re from Great Britain or the Isle of Man
  • a Health Service Medical card – Northern Ireland
  • a certificate issued by Social Security Committee of the States of Jersey
  • Proof of Insurance issued by the Guernsey States Insurance Authority or other proof of residence in the Bailiwick of Guernsey,
  • 2 residency documents

Your entitlements

Eligible visitors from the United Kingdom, including Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Northern Ireland can access:

  • Medicare benefits for medically necessary out of hospital treatment
  • medically necessary treatment as a public patient in a public hospital
  • prescription medicine available under the PBS – at the general rate

Period of cover

You’re entitled to Medicare from the day you arrive in Australia to the day your visa expires.

Students

If you’re in Australia on a student visa, you’re eligible to enrol in Medicare.

 

Everything Medicare related can be found here.