Living, working and traveling in Australia

From April to November 2005 you will find me somewhere on the map.

For the Big Journey, click here:

Perth to Sydney - 12000km in 4 weeks

To read about my incredibly hard life while working off my ass just scroll down... ;-))
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Leaving good old Europe...

...the continent I never really left before (Well, except to some remote islands like Tenerife, La Palma or Britain)...

...via Singapore...

After a relaxing flight to Singapore I had to change to British Airways to get to Melbourne. Actually no big Problem, but this (obviously) is how all Brits fly to Australia...
{short description of image} Melbourne with free entertainment

On this plane, a 747 like the one before, my neighbour was travelling from London. And: We flew right into his birthday on January 28th... So we had a little party and how that looks like 10,000 meters over the sea when all the drinks are free you can imagine... After two white wines and two cans of beer I decided to cancel my participation in the party cause I was quite drunken. So I tried to sleep and suggested the birthday boy to be careful with the alcohol at this altitude.
Well, he only replied: I'm English, we know how to drink... Two hours later he shaked me and woke me up as he was totally confused and didn't know where he was anymore. So he decided to smoke a cigarette (on an absolute non-smoking plane!) The crew was not very happy and took his cigarette away. Thus, he lighted a new one. Some passengers complained about that and he received the final warning, signed by the captain, which is on the photo.
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Since he was not amused about this letter and probably couldn't read it anymore, he took out his mobile phone in order to call I don't know whom. Of course, he didn't reach anybody from the middle of nowhere over the South Pacific. But he didn't give up and went to the toilet to smoke and again he came into trouble. We arrived in Melbourne without complications and the plane docked onto the gangway, but nobody was allowed to get up. Then, after five minutes, two policemen came on board and wanted to talk to Stewart, the birthday boy, and took him with them. Maybe they prepared a special room for him on his birthday...
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I am in Melbourne now for almost three months and my life has been kind of ordinary. I have a full time job as a concierge in the Duxton Hotel in the central business district opposite of the famous Flinder Street Station which you can see on the right.
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My work mainly consists of storing luggage, parking cars and providing our guests with all possible information on Melbourne and Victoria. So, in the meantime, I can say that I know a lot about this place...
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Moreover, we book tours for guests (and can do them for free!) and deal with any kind of complaint from a broken tv or air-conditioning to missing towels or duvets... {short description of image}
I like the job, the time is passing by quickly and I've got a lot of fun with my colleagues. Possibly, I am gonna work for the Duxton Hotel in Perth later on... We'll see what's coming... But I am already keen to move on again. {short description of image}
Melbourne's not a bad place but I need to see something new and something of the real Australia that lies beyond the borders of this metropolis... {short description of image}
St. Kilda Beach, about 5 min from my flat {short description of image}
London Bridge: This rock formation is part of the famous Great Ocean Road, a popular daytour for tourists in Melbourne {short description of image}
My first contact with the natives {short description of image}
Just before moving to Perth I grabbed the opportunity to go to the Ski Opening at Mount Buller. Thanks to Grey Line all the concierges of Melbourne's hotels went on a fun trip to get in touch with the first snow of the season. Although Mount Buller is one of the biggest ski resorts in the Australian Alps, it cannot be compared to European or Canadian ones. The slopes are similar to those in the Black Forest in Germany or the Vosges in France. But I had a great day anyway and I surely enjoyed the snow since I probably won't see any for more than a year... But at usual daily lift ticket prices of 90 $AU (around 50 Euros) you might be better off flying to New Zealand if you are really keen to go skiing or snowboarding down under. {short description of image}
Perth and the West

After arriving on the West Coast I stayed in a hostel for a few days before I found a house in the suburb of Innaloo that I am sharing with two Aussie girls. Actually I wanted to wait until I would have a job, but due to my visa restrictions, this was again much more complicated than I had expected. Most of the backpacker-jobs are some kind of farmwork hundreds of kms away in the outback... So I had to work one week for free in the hotel to prove them my skills and to get trained for the job. But, yeah, that's the way it goes down here and now I got a job in the Criterion Hotel, a really nice place to stay and everything is sorted out again to enjoy the coming months...
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Three days after arriving in Perth I decided to go on a first trip. I had applied for heaps of jobs and so I had to wait for those guys to get back to me anyway. Actually I wanted to rent a car, but I thought a car might be useful any way, especially after I sold my bike in Melbourne. So I spent $1000 on a 1988 Nissan Skyline. And so far I have done more than 5000km without having any problems (apart from blown up tires).
Many thanks to my friend Hannah for presenting the car on the picture.
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The South West

Heading south into the south-western corner of Australia I got into a region, where rain is much more frequent than in the rest of Western Australia. Although it is only 300km south, landscape and vegetation are a lot different from Perth. All the days it was stormy and rainy but that did not really matter because it was somehow matching the rough landscape.
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Travelling south, I came to the Margaret River region which is famous for its wineries, the big waves for surfing and for a lot of caves. I visited one of them where they created a great atmosphere by putting the stalagmites and stalagtites into colourful lights. From there on I followed the coastline and saw a tree-top-walk similar to the one on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. On the way to Albany I had my first encounters with wild kangaroos. It was not even really dark but the sun was about to set when a kangaroo crossed the road just 20m infront of me... A few km later I saw a huge one sitting in the middle of the street. When I came closer, I flashed my lights but it did not move. So I slowed further down and only when I was about 30m from it, it decided to move from the street. From then on I decided not to drive out of town at night anymore. Hitting a 3m-tall kangaroo would surely destroy my car and I could be in trouble as well.
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Living in Perth

From Albany on the Southern Ocean I made it back to Perth the next day to my new flat in Innaloo, just 10 min from the city centre and, much more important, just 2 minutes from Scarborough Beach and the Indian Ocean.

I've been here for about two weeks now and for me Perth and the West Coast are Australia as I expected it to be: it is warm, even in winter at least 18 degrees, it is sunny, everybody goes surfing and it is red! Just a few km out of town I left the main highway to get to a lookout on a gravel road and I got almost stuck in the red sand of the outback.
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Trip to Lancelin

After working long hours for a couple of weeks I really needed a break. I had done night shifts for 20 nights in a row without a day off and I totalled 60 to 70 hours every week. So I spontaneously went to Lancelin for a day...
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It's only 130 km from Perth to Lancelin, which in Australian distances is almost nothing, considering you're almost 100km on the road just crossing Perth from north to south. So I arrived there after not much more than an hour on the highway. It is off season at the moment and so there were not many tourists around. While I was going sandboarding in the amazingly white dunes for a couple of hours there was hardly anybody around. After enjoying the beach for a bit I decided to stay for the night since I did not want to risk driving at night and I only had to start working the next day in the afternoon. {short description of image}
Moreover, I wanted to try how useful my car is for camping since I am planning to stay in it for the 12000km trip to Sydney in the end of October. And this was a freezing experience. I only had a thin sleeping bag and although it was a warm, sunny day with almost 20 degrees the temperatures dropped tremendously under the clear sky at night. Later on, my flatmate told me that it apparently was the coldest night in Western Australia for years with temperatures under 5 degrees! Thus, I was covering myself with more and more clothes as the night passed on and when I did not have any more I even started my engine and to it run for a while. Not very ecologically but I did not have many choices. But in the morning the sun was rising over the white sand dunes, giving them a golden shine and all the nightly suffering was forgotten... {short description of image}
Being up pretty early I went to the beach to catch some waves. I changed into my wetsuit, grabbed my board and slammed my door... and oops, left my keys inside! Bad luck, being a couple of kms out of Lancelin. My phone was locked in my car as well, so I had not many options. As I could not be asked to run for a few kms in my wetsuit to get help and possibly pay a lot of money, I decided to help myself and break into my car... As I was able to push down my back window a tiny bit, it looked pretty promising to me. Then, I even found some really useful timber on a building site nearby. So I worked with that on my window for quite a while without much success but I got closer to pulling my window down. Then I had to press the timber a bit harder towards the handle for my window and suddenly it made: "Bang"... and my window was blown to pieces! Great! You can see my "success" on the picture.
Afterwards I left my car open (there was no real need to lock it) and I went surfing to relax a bit. The way home was quite windy but some fresh air is not too bad sometimes. A couple of days later, I got a window from a car recyclist and after two hours in the rain, working my door with my bicycle tools, my car was complete again. Yeah!
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Party times in Perth

I am working in our hotel's bottle shop for quite a few hours every week now. As this job is pretty relaxing, I have plenty of time to have fun with the girls from our bar, to surf on the internet and sometimes even to learn some Spanish.
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However, after having been clubbing until it was bright again this morning, I am still a bit hung over. And sitting next to all those bottles that caused my headache is quite a pain, I have to admit! But at least I am close to the source when it comes to going out again tonight :-) {short description of image}
Esperance and the whitest
beaches I have ever seen

After another long period of restless work, I managed it to get three days off. To make use of so much free time I decided to go on a short trip to Esperance. Almost 2000km in three days... Not exactly relaxing, but definitely worth it. Going with Rapha, Luci, Maria and Loic we were able to share the driving. Our first destination was the town of Esperance about 800km east of Perth on the Southern Ocean. On the way we did a short break at Wave Rock. This is a rock formation where a monolith has been pushed above the surface and the surrounding soil has been eroded. A similar process has formed the famous Uluru or Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory. As you can see on one of the pictures, this rock is formed like a standing wave. With about 100m in length and 15m in height, it's quite impressive to walk through it. You can try to figure out what would happen if such a wave would break above you while you are surfing...
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Moving on towards Esperance there is not much to be seen on the way, except farmland, dry lakes and bush. Arriving in Esperance at dusk we were having just a few drinks after dinner to be ready for Cape Le Grand National Park the next morning. As the French once colonised this area of Australia most places still have French names. After some quick shopping in Esperance we arrived in the National Park before noon the next day. As Loic was very keen to follow the traces of his compatriots we obviously had to climb Frenchmans Peak before even thinking about those wonderful white beaches. But the 360 degree view on top was definitely worth it. Vive la France!
After a quick descent we headed on to Lucky Bay. Walking from the carpark we met a kangaroo on our way but we did not have much time to stop since we were so excited to see the beach... The first impression was like snow in the sun. It was so bright that you almost needed sunglasses to watch it.
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Walking over this very fine sand the ground made a strange noise and the shallow water was so clear that the waves turned bright turquoise when braking. Although the water was not very warm, definitely to cold for our two brazilians, swimming here was a surreal experience... For the night we chose a campsite close to the beach. After a really nice barbeque and an even better sunset we enjoyed the cloudless starry sky on the beach. Being 50km from the next settlements you can see our galaxis as a milky fog above you and it is easy to figure out where it's name came from. However, this peaceful atmosphere was suddenly ended when a huge spider decided to join us in our sleeping bags. I don't know what it did there on the beach. Maybe it was lost. I could kick it into the bush but it moved on calmly and did not show any signs of fear. In contrast to us. Getting bitten by an unknown insect in the middle of nowhere of the outback can cause serious problems. So we decided that it might be better to sleep in tent and car. {short description of image}
The next morning it was time to go back to Perth. On the way we took a side trip along the Great Ocean Drive around Esperance and discovered more beautiful bays and beaches and we even saw some dolphins. Our last stop was the pink lake which gets its colour from a type of algea in the water. Unfortunately, the wind was too strong so that the rough surface appeared more grey than pink. But these pink lakes can be found all over Australia so that we might have the chance to find a more pink one somewhere else. After that we made us on the monotonous way home through the bush and farmland of the Australian wheatbelt. {short description of image}
Rottnest Island

In my last week here in Perth I went to Rottnest Island for a day.
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It was just a 20km ferry ride from Fremantle, the harbour of Perth and I found myself on a relaxed island in the Indian Ocean. Although it is so close to Western Australia's capital you can easily have a beach on your own over here...

For the Big Journey, click here:

Perth to Sydney - 12000km in 4 weeks
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