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My ultimate to do list – Melbourne

Melbourne

The worlds most liveable city.

Located in Victoria, second most popular city in Australia with a busy CBD, quirky yet stylish suburbs and of course, located on the coast. Melbourne became home for a large part of my time in Australia.

Oozing character, filled with personality and something always going on, it’s more then the shops and public transport. It’s a friendly, active city with a really easy going vibe.

Of course I fell in love.

Melbourne was always impressing me, with lonely planet naming it the sport and cultural capital of Australia.

I was always busy going somewhere and doing something. Everyday was an adventure.

Entering during Winter and coming from Asia, it was a shock to the system.

Feeling westernised, sanitizsed and busy, I wasn’t sure how to feet at first.

After a few months away from Melbourne, I was back to fall in love all over again, in Summer.

I can safely say, I could quite happily settle in Melbourne one day and see myself living there again.

Whether you’re after coastal runs by the beach, outdoor rooftop cinemas, impressive coffee shops and night markets filled with glorias food trucks.  Food festivals and worldwide hospitality, laneways covered with impressive street art, quirky cafes, sport central and beach’s to catch the sunset.

Melbourne is bloody brilliant.

Yes, it’s a major city which isn’t for everyone however I was surprised at how relaxed and actually pretty quite it was. Able to escape to quite parks, lonely libraries and tons of day trips out of the city, Melbourne has a lot to offer.

Unlike Sydney, there are no cut off times and curfews. If anything, Melbourne was the place you could party from Friday straight through to Monday with events on every night of the week.

So you’re going to see what all the fuss is about!?

Good for you.

I’m letting you in on my favorite places to hang out and things to do.

Here is my ultimate to do list. Melbourne.

All images are my own.

Alberts Park

A public and picturesque park, which transformes into the Grand Prix race track, is a large, relaxing place to hang out, excersise, get your bbq on and see some awesome views of the city. A lake with a flat path around the outside covered in palm tree’s and lushious greenery, I love coming here.

Albert’s Park offers a great path to walk, run or cycle with the circuit being 5km and bikes can be hired at this location.

AFL game

AFL is a somewhat culture to Melbourne. If you want to experience the local lifestyle, make sure to get yourself to a match. Tickets are affordable and easy to grab on the door from $25. (£15)

I managed to catch Geelong Cats and Hawthorn Hawkers. I would highly recommend going to see a game, especially on an evening.  It’s an easy walk along southwarf to reach the MCG stadium. It turned out to be another fabulous evening in Melbourne with a great atmosphere.

Prahan Pool

Photo taken from google.

Prahan pool is a 50m Olympic pool open to the public. For any outdoor lover, sports freak or someone who loves being in the water, Prahan pool is a great place to hang out. They offer outdoor seating, a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and a toddler pool. It’s awesome to hang with friends and sunbathe on the greenery or escape on your own to get some lengths done. They also offer healthy food and drinks so you could spend hours here.

Botanical gardens

This is one of those escapes I was talking about. Located close to the CBD, it’s a great place to wander around the green grass, read a book or just take a walk. Especially on a hot day, I love it here.

94 acres of beautifully kept and contained gardens, Melbourne respects their city. A great hang out for nature lovers with unique and rare plants.

  • Weekdays 9.00am – 5.00pm
  • Weekends 9.30am – 5.00pm

Transport: The Gardens are a 15-minute walk or 5-minute tram ride from Flinders Station to the Domain Road Interchange.

Brighton Beach

Despite being a huge tourist spot, it’s a favourable spot to check out the colorful beach huts. Escape the city for one of Melbourne’s most iconic spots.

Tip: Rent a bike and cycle along the coastal path.

One of my favorite places to watch the sunset during summer is Riva located in Saint Kilda at the start of the coastal path.

Chapel Street

A quirky, local street running from Balaclava to Richmond stretching over 4.13 km. It’s covered in charity shops, vintage stores, local business, health stores, fashionable boutiques, café’s, restaurants, hairdresser, barbers, clubs and bars and so much more. The personality of the place is never a let down whatever the weather. Some of the best clubs, bars and food spots are on Chapel street.

Some of my favorite brunch spots are Amicii, Oscar Cooper & Hannah.

Fitzroy

Hippy, arty and just cool, it’s always a treat heading over to Brunswick/ Fitzroy. Filled with talented street art hidden down all the roads, fashionable vintage stores, second-hand book stores, awesome café’s and some seriously chilled vibes, I was happy just to wander and find a glorious coffee spot.

See if you can find the full graffiti car park and the colorful little abandoned open van.

My favorite coffee spot: Black Cat 

Federation square

Located in the CBD by Flinders station, it’s a busy spot for everyone. I love grabbing a $1 7/11 coffee and just watching the city go by. They offer free wifi which any backpacker will find useful. There is always something going on and the view of Flinders station is quality!

Victoria Night market

Almost all year round on a Wednesday night, the night market’s are busy and bursting with the tastiest food trucks, unique stalls and a brilliant atmosphere. There is always live music going on and offers great views of the city.

Southbank

Southbank is definitely one of my favorite places. A trendy suburb located right next to the CBD, the promenade following the South Yarra river, filled with restaurants, bars and a few of Melbourne’s boat clubs, it provides a stunning view of the city and a perfect dinner spot.

With Melbourne’s Southgate shopping center, theater’s, art museums, access to the Eureka sky tower and the gigantic crown casino, there’s tons to do around Southbank.

Brunch

Get brunch anywhere. Melbourne has world class hospitality, with everywhere serving the finest all day brunch, it’s easy to spend all your money enjoying the food.

My favorite brunch spots are Oscar Cooper, Hannah & Fitzrovia.

Saint Kilda beach

By far, somewhere I could spend endless amounts of time. Especially in good weather, the beach and surrounding areas are beaming with good vibes. The atmosphere is sweet, there is a grass area, plenty of space, tons of cafes, restaurants, bar’s, ice cream parlors, fish & chips stalls and funky spots to grab a coffee by the beach. It’s an active and outgoing area.

During the week in summer, they hold volley ball competitions on the evening, give them a go. It’s so much fun and a great way to meet people.

Looking at moving to Melbourne? Check out my top tricks & tips on Moving to Melbourne by clicking here!!

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The reality of Australian second year visa farm work

The reality of Australian Second year visa work

Sure most of us have heard about second year visa work.

13 consistence weeks on the same farm or 88 days of some kind of agriculture work to gain a second year visa in Australia.

Sydney #operahouse #sydneyharbour #travelsydney #wanderlust #nikon

Hearing numerous things regarding farm work, I had a good idea how it all worked, however I don’t think anything can prepare you for the real thing.

Almost everyone says, do it for the experience and boy is it one!

Still smiling despite reaching 43 degree dry heat. Considering I'm English and its November, I can't complain too much. ☀️

Still smiling despite reaching 43 degree dry heat. Considering I’m English and its November, I can’t complain too much. ☀️

 

In this blog,
I can only go off my experiences and knowledge, working on a banana farm as apposed to others all over Australia, never the less, I sure had a real Australian, backpacker, bush living, full time farm work experience and I’m writing this to help understand, inform and share this experience for me and many others!

New job role: Driving the tractor // 7am out in the banana paddys with the lads ☀️

Where?

North Tropical Queensland

4 hours North of Cairns, Lakeland.

lakeland

Four farms, one accomadation and 50-80 backpackers.

Family dinner // Farmlife

Sitauted far from much sense of normality, the closest city was Cairns, over a 4 hour drive.

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Home

The closest town was Cooktown, an hour drive north, around 15 years out of date, a basic town with only approx 2,000 as their population.

As mentioned in other blogs, travel tip, don’t have expectations. It’s hard not too especially when you already have loads of information however I never expected something quite like this.

Bush living #Australia #NorthtropicalQueensland

Bush living

Getting the job

After 6 months traveling solo around Asia, and just under three months living in Melbourne, I decided farm work was a favourable option.

Making calls to hostels and farms around Innisfail and others around Cairns, I wasn’t getting much luck. I had booked a flight up to Cairns as I wanted to be in Queensland.

Helpful places offering work; Gumtree. Facebook. Travel agents

Farm work is a pretty last minute thing. Jobs come and go and staff are normally needed asap.

On the Monday of leaving to Cairns, I called round more working hostels as last minute seemed to be the best option.

‘The job is yours if you are here by tomorrow’

Arriving past midnight, a few hours sleep at Gilligans and a 7am pick up I was off the next morning.

Here we go again. My rucksack & I can't stay in the same place for longer then 3 months. Melbourne, you have not let me down. The friends and memories I have from such an awesome city, but I have to continue my worldwide adventures. Heading to the outback. Melbourne, I'll see you soon. #travel #solobackpacker

Farm work tends to happen very quickly, there are so many people looking for work they normally want immediate starts, hence why last minute seems to be the best option.

When looking for farm work, try give yourself the flexibility to just get straight to the job.

Sometimes it’s a matter of constantly checking or work and just calling up and hoping there are places.

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Be aware

There are, like always, a few dodgy farms and people get messed around so it’s worth doing a little research on where you are heading or speaking to people in the area.

I’ve heard stories of travelers completing their time however not being signed off.

Unfortunatley, on most farms, no job is secure. Everyone is so easily replaced so incase of the worst, try not to leave farm work too last minute.

If you do leave or get sacked, however still want to continue farm work. You will have to complete 88 days to be signed off, which can work out a lot longer.

Bush life

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The nature and scenery looked like something from David Attenborough, legit.

(Fun fact: His favourite rainforest is in Queensland)

The farm and accomadation surroundings where just sensational. Miles of nothing but land. Wild wallabies, crazy insects, surreal surroundings and sensational sunsets, it was hard not to enjoy the lifestyle.

Friday's off. 35degrees.

Friday’s off. 35degrees.

Farm life is normally tough graft, easy living.

Long days, short weeks we all used to say on the farm.

Other then attending work and getting on with it, life wasn’t too stressful.

It’s a strange living condition as you live and work with the same people as there is no one else around. We felt like we were in the TV show, Big Brother.

Saturdays. Farm life.

Saturdays. Farm life.


Work

DCIM114GOPRO

13 weeks.

6.30am pickup.
Every morning 4/5 days a week.

Depending on which farm you worked on, was dependant on what bus you got and off you went for the day. Water, lunch, coffee, sun cream, hat, phone, go.

Checking out all the farms from up high in a tiny little plane! #Queensland #Australia #farmwork #fly

Checking out all the farms from up high in a tiny little plane!

Let me tell you, the fun of it all can ware off as the work gets tough.
It was go from day one and that was going to be it for the next 13 weeks. I kind of had absolutely no other option other then to get the heck on with it.

Pay was hourly, which I highly reccomend.

Comission work isn’t always great pay and there is no garuntee there is always enough fruit.

Rules

Girls in the shed. Guys in the paddocks.

There were particular about male and female roles despite being one of the only females to do a males job and I luckily got to work in the paddocks!

DCIM114GOPRO

There are jobs for guys in the shed, who will be named ‘shed bitches’.

There are a number of reasons for girls and guys having certain jobs.

A. Sexism. This is outback Australia we are talking about.

B. The heat is so intense, the guys are more reliable for work in the hot weather.

C. The cutting & humping are so physical, the height on the banana trees, and weight of some of the banana bunches do make it a ‘mans job’. End of.

Jobs:

Female – Sorting, Hanging, Stacking, Packing, Cutting and Weighing.

Sounds like some kind of joke. It’s not.

Male – Stacking, Humping, Hanging, De-hanging, Driving.

Shed life: No talking. No music. Nothing but machinery. We occasionally made small talk and had a little giggle. Almost got sacked my first few days for talking. I guess some things never change.

DCIM114GOPRO

Routine

You eventually get the hang of things. It takes a few days and thankfully help from the others, you get to know what to wear, what to take to work, how the days pan out etc.
You work out what time to get up at and how much sleep you really need.

After a few weeks you really get into a routine. As a backpacker always on the move, it felt wierd being back in my own little room and working long days.

Make the most of the routine. I used my time to loose some weight, get my fitness back, chill out, earn some money and still travel parts of North Queensland.

Escaped the farm for the day.

Escaped the farm for the day.

Girls. Forget the nice hair and make up. Think banana gunk, dirt, water, sweat and occasionally tears, you get used to it. Your clothes will get ruined, your shoes will have to stay at work and hats or normally requested or just needed.

DCIM114GOPRO

Lads. Think sweat, dirt and pure banana sap.

Either way. It’s thought graft.

It’s a pretty easy life in a way. As long you as you’re ready for the bus, get on it and get on with the farm work, there’s not too much to worry about. It’s an experience like no other and isnt supposed to be straightfoward.

It’s more of a challenge, mentally.

Long, tedious, repepative work. Treated pretty shit at times. Crazy tempretures and basic living.

At my farm, we had the same job everyday. If you sorted bananas, that’s what you did all day every day. I know a lot of farms mix it up however it can feel endless.

The lads and eventually me when I was put onto as the tractor driver, had to spend hours in the tropical scorching sun where it reached up to 45 degrees. I give it to the lads physically working out while cutting and humping the bananas, it’s fucking hot.

As much as farm work was challenging, I'm going to miss the crazy days, scorching sun, silly banter and unbelievable nature. #Bananafarm #Queensland #Farming

The job is a valuble spot and can very easily be suspended. I almost lost my job the last week of my farmwork purely as they had to cut down staff. I had backpackers on my farm getting sacked and sometimes there isn’t always full time work.

Each job is so easily replacable so it’s important to work hard. It’s easy to want to quit, have days where you feel it’s not worth it.

It helped spending time in Australia beforehand. Despite only living in Melbourne for a couple of months, it was enough for me to genuinly want another year in Australia at some point.

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It’s an experience like nothing else, full of lessons, memories, learning new skills, banter, nature and a different Australian experience.

 

 


 

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