Posts

,

Powerplay – Whitsundays

Whitsundays

The 74 Whitsunday Islands lie between the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia, and the Great Barrier Reef, a massive stretch of coral teeming with marine life. Most of the islands are uninhabited. They’re characterized by dense rainforest, hiking trails and white sand beaches.

Located just off Airlie Beach in North Queensland, a palm tree filled, tropical living, Australian town south of Cairns.

I was lucky enough to head out with Powerplay. A boat I chose out of a collection of different tours around Whitsunday island.

It was a more chilled out type of trip, with a smaller group of people.

18 guests, 3 crew.

Spending an unforgettable 2 nights and 3 days doing all my favorite things – Adventures, activities, sunbathing, meeting people, discovering new places, eating yummy food and of course, watching those perfect Aussie sunsets.

Despite working on boats in the past and numerous occasions catching ferries, water taxi’s and just loving the water, I had never experienced living on a boat like this and would highly recommend doing it.

I didn’t have much idea on what I was in for.

Having few expectations, heading to the pier with an open mind and of course, solo, I was ready for a new adventure.

Arriving midday, a small bag packed, I headed to the boat.

For me, and I suggest anyone else, the trip should be concentrated on the experience of staying on the boat. Waking up on the water, having your evening hot chocolate floating on the ocean, listening to your favourite music with new friends watching the sunsets in a unique spot around the famous Whitsunday island. Spending your day sailing through the glorious Great Barrier Reef.

It’s more than a snorkel trip or how many drinking games people want to play, it’s the experience of staying on a catamaran sailing the Whitsundays, and it was fabulous.

Being able to dive into the middle of the ocean first thing after waking up and sitting on the front deck with your morning coffee, I loved it.

 

What to take?

You don’t need much stuff with these trips.

A change of clothes, swim wear, a warm cozy jacket and comfies, basic toiletries and your camera is more than enough.

Maybe a pack of cards or a book if you like to read.

Day 1

The group mingled and settled on the boat on the way to our first stop. We went through a few things for the next couple of days and our adventure was underway.

I was sligtly skeptical to being the only solo traveler as I noticed lots of couples however I was made up to have some other solo backpackers as well as a mixture of diverse and fun travelers from all over the world, we all got on super well! Going solo is always a great way to meet people! Read more on all posts in regards to solo travel, here!

The weather wasn’t quite on our side, so we stopped to head out on the paddle boards. A slightly cloudy sky, music blaring, we all had a laugh.

One of my favorite things about the boat was the sound system. They played quality music throughout the trip which totally added to the fun.

As the weather was a little disheartening, the cards came out, a cheese platter and snacks were made for us and music, beers and banter carried us through the evening.

Throughout the trip, the food was top notch.

As a fussy eater, I have never expected to overly enjoy a lot of planned food on trips.

Our lovely host Immy cooked up amazing, fresh, tasty food throughout the entire trip. It was certainly a massive part of the experience that stood out for me.

For any backpacker cooking basic meals for yourself, you’ll be in for a treat.

Served up for dinner that night was marinated chicken, hot potato bake, sweet potato mash, tuna noodle salad, salad and all the sauces, dressing and seasoning we needed. Sounds good right?

Cheesecake for dessert.

Everyone ate plenty and was highly satisfied with all the meals we had.

You’ll have plenty of time to chat, chill out and just enjoy the experience of being on the catamaran in the middle of the great barrier reef.

Day 2.

A very early start out on the water, it was time for breakfast, coffee of course and to check out the beautiful Whitehaven beach.

Waking up the sound system on, the sun starting to peep out and a yummy breakfast served, I was ready to start exploring.

Waking up to different toast with all the spreads, fruit salad, yogurt, different types of cereals, bacon and eggs, hot tea, coffee, hot chocolate and loads more, it was a breakfast fit for a king.

Staying right next to the Island, we were on the beach first thing. The group headed on over and we were left for some serious playtime.

Heading back to the boat for another yummy lunch made my Immy, it was time to eat, chill and set sail to our snorkeling spots, plus our new home for the night.

The journey over to our next stop was awesome. Everyone sunbathing on the front deck with the latest songs booming over the catamaran boat as we sailed through the breathtaking landscapes, it was the perfect afternoon.

Having the options to snorkel or paddle board once we stopped, we spent the next few hours out in the deep blue ocean just enjoying the fabulous weather.

Cyclone Debbie certainly has changed things, and I know the snorkel experience won’t be the same for a while however the boat have lowered their prices since the disaster. It’s truly heartbreaking to see the terrible effect it has left but everyone is working hard to get things back to normal.

We still got a chance to meet Trevor. A beautiful, huge, dark blue fish. He won’t hesitate to come and say hello!

We spent the rest of our day chilling out and enjoying a sensational sunset. With nachos and cake put out for us to nibble on, coffee and tea were available, everyone was pleased with the evening.

Dinner was made for us, the beers came out, the stars were out, and it felt like a perfect end to another day of Aussie adventures.

We got the bbq going on the back of the boat, and we had a fabulous buffet served up for dinner.

The evening was the time once we had docked to just chill, chat, have a few drinks and the whole group hung out until late.

Day 3

Home time. *Sad face*

It was a super early start but straight in the water for me. We managed to watch the sunrise which was ideal.

6am out on the water and Ben managed to catch this of me out admiring the sunrise.

We had our breakfast once again all freshly made and laid out for us to enjoy. We spent the morning just hanging out enjoying the views and our final time to hang out as a group. We all got on so well so exchanged information and some of us made plans to go out that evening.

The whole experience was exceptional. Despite the on boat jacuzzi not working which was a real shame, I will never forget the experience of sailing the Whitsundays on a spectacular catamaran with a great bunch of people from all over the world.

 

I will remind anyone, regardless of whether you have previously suffered motion sickness or even travel sickness, it can get rocky, the waves may possibly be choppy and if you’re someone with a very weak stomach, it may be something to reconsider.

I have never felt sick from a boat, until the first few hours.

It may be worth buying a few motion sickness tablets just in case and not drinking too much the night before.

Don’t worry, you quickly get used to the motion.

Thank you to the three staff members on boat for the hospitality, fun, knowledge and looking after all of u so well!

You can book your trip with Powerplay by clicking here!

I went through Gypsy Travel! Highly recommended. Richard will help you with all things Australia so make sure to give him a message!

,

19 things you should know before traveling Australia

Australia was never on the top of my list for places to live and travel. Seeking magical adventures and trying to get out my comfort zone, I felt more inclined to Asia & countries that were contrasting to what I was used too. After an unbelievable and magical 6 month trip around South East Asia, I […]

, ,

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.

img_2640

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.

13774721_1796336227269576_1404888157_n

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

DCIM114GOPRO

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.

img_1531

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