We have officially been in Australia for 7 weeks now, and we have had quite the ups and downs to get started but everything is finally settling. We moved in to Surfers Paradise after finding an ideal spot that was literally an 8 minute walk to work. However, we had some major issues. For starters our shared accommodation was tight as it was too small a rental to share with others. It would have been better for a single person, then our landlady was weird. She had lived there and never set up internet! When we moved in we made that a big point and she said she would take care of it, and then said she had paid for it and it would be installed in 10-20 days. That time frame was not ideal, but we agreed to manage. In the midst of all that we quickly fell out of love with it because while it was super close to both of our jobs it was right by the highway, and she had not sealed the windows properly. We had a horrible time sleeping, even to the point that they decided to do road works with a drill hammer at 3 am. That atrocious noise that makes a “Errrr-errrr” into the ground would not let us sleep, and so I called the council the next day to make my complaints. It turns out many people could not sleep, but nobody thought to call the council. Since then I had I gotten the project manager and construction team’s lead phone numbers, and all was resolved. Moral of the story, if you do not ask, nothing may change.
Despite all the little issues we kept expercing at our shared housing, we were also both quickly losing the interest in our work. The company I worked for takes advantage of backpackers by not hiring them, but making them contractors. They guarantee you $350 a week and each sale you make would give you $100 to $125. In essence you could be working your 40+ hours a week and if you did not make a sale, you would be walking away with $8 an hour or less (the minimum wage is $18)! In the first week I made $1,100, but then after that it was slow and I quickly decided hearing from other backpackers that hourly was safer and better.
Then returning back to our accommodation, nothing had happened with wifi and we were two weeks in. So, I messaged my co-habitating land lady asking if there was anything I could do to help and she snapped. We quickly made the decision that we had been there two weeks, and now we would give her our two weeks notice. Here in the Gold Coast most places ask for 1-2 weeks bond (deposit) and many like our land lady just kept the bond, and we did not have to pay the last two weeks. We were lucky to find a place in one day. Here in Australia if you are not looking to stay in a hostel (which is not my style) you can use Flatmates or Gumtree. Our first property we found through gumtree, but the second through flatmates. Our second property is amazing! We overlook the river, have a pool, a beautifully decorated apartment, our own bedrooms and bathrooms, and a car that our landlord left that we can use for $30 a day. We share it with a lovely couple that is a South Korean girl and her boyfriend that is Chinese. They both are in Australia to study English, and met and fell in love. However, they are only able to communicate in English. We work as a team well and everyone cleans up. It is a sharp contrast from our prior living space that was shared with a weird 32 year old Australian whom was never around, did not clean, and did not get wifi and a 30 year old daily drunk British wanna be Eminem.
Once we moved in I found a new job as a marketing coordinator! So, it is possible to travel and get jobs relevant to your background. In Australia they utilize Seek the most for jobs, which makes it easy for anyone to find work straight from there phone. Here in Australia we get tax deducted as well as the superannuation, but as we are not Australians think of it as a savings as at the end we get money back. My sketchy first job did not pay me one, but now I will be paid one so it finally feels like we are here living as Aussies.
Since we have been here we have gone humpback whale watching, which was amazing! They have 30,000 passing through here with their calves as they migrate from the Arctic which is simply too cold for their babies. The only recommendation I have is do your research, some places charge $99 for one person to watch them, but I paid $35 per person just because I asked my work where was the best place to go for it. In Western Australia and the Sunshine Coast, just north of us, you can swim with the humpback whales! It is important to keep in mind it is only during the Australian winter (my summer) though because by the end of October they have moved on. As such we are going in the next few weeks to swim with the humpback whales as to not miss the opportunity!
Now just yesterday we used the car for the first time! I was the designated navigator and Adam drove; because, well the Australians drive on the wrong side of the road (like Adam) so it was best the first time for him to drive. The ride was fairly uneventful which was good since it was our first time. We left Surfers at about 8:30 and arrived at the Australia Zoo at 11:20 (we made a stop for gas and got a little lost). In case you were unaware the Australia Zoo is the zoo of the famous crocodile hunter! We started at the crocoseum which is where the keepers come out and show you the different animals such as macaws to condors followed by the all famous salt water crocodile. The performance was led by Terri, Bindi, and Robert Irwin all focusing on following the care, love, and protecting of animals that was established by their father. The performance was spectacular and worth the drive up alone, as we got to see a salt water crocodile in full action. Afterwards we explored the zoo and saw every venomous snake I have ever heard of, tigers, Dingoes, etc. The only animal they did not have which surprised me was a platypus, we will have to wait until Melbourne to see them. We ended our day with feeding the kangaroos. What did I take away? Kangaroos are lazy. They laid on the floor and some did not even care to eat as it involved too much effort. Regardless though, they were adorable and soft. We wanted to pet and hold a koala, but the Australia Zoo charges $49.00 to do that when we can visit a koala sanctuary else where and do it for $20!
My words of advice so far:
- Use Groupon for things to do in Australia when you can (I did for the Zoo and got 10% off)
- Use flatmates and gumtree for housing
- If you do not like your job, it is ok. Quit. Find a new one and start over. Use Seek.
- Make the most of the places you are in e.g. swim with humpback whales because it is the season
- Do your research for pricing