It has taken me a while to publish this blog post. Every time I started writing about living my dream and travelling around Australia, I hesitated and in all honesty, I wasn’t sure why. I think partly because I hadn’t blogged in what felt like forever, and also because the experience was so meaningful to me that I kinda wanted to keep it personal. But then I realised that there’s probably a few people out there who might benefit from a little help with the prep, planning and recommendations!
Hope you enjoy reading this first instalment of my travelling series where I fill you in on all of the places we visited in and around Australia.
I hope you enjoy and please feel free to ask any questions – I’m happy to help where I can.
So, you might be wondering where my ambition to travel (particularly to Australia) came from. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to visit Australia; it was on my must-do list since forever, and I had no doubts about it.
I recall waving my sister off from Glasgow airport to start an exciting adventure to live and work in Brisbane. She ended up staying there for almost three years. Since waving goodbye, I grew to understand and appreciate that the journey she had embarked on was a fantastic opportunity which made me even more determined to do the same. My poor parents… All I did was go on about how one day I’d be in Australia. My next steps were how to get there, and when.
Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road
How long to travel for?
I knew that 2 weeks wasn’t long enough to achieve all the things on my list, so I was settled on travelling for one month.
The first step was to approach my employer and discuss what my options were. Luckily, the company I worked for at the time were supportive and even encouraged me to do it. Obviously we had to review the logistics and shift some timelines around to make it work but ultimately, they could not have been more supportive! As I was travelling with my other half, he too had to approach his employer and ask for the time off. This is the first scary step as if we couldn’t get the time off then we would have had to go back to square one and really consider what we were going to do. There are always a few hiccups along the way, so make sure that you give plenty of notice to your employer, and be transparent in your plans. In the end, you’ll both feel reassured and all the more ready.
All in all, we worked back to back for a few solid months so that we could bundle our annual leave together and in our spare time, and at the weekends, we firmed up the destination plan.
What kind of visa do I need?
As we were only on a month-long holiday, we applied for the entry eVisitor (subclass 651) visa, which didn’t cost us anything.
We did all of our research on the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Patrol website. It sounds scary and official but, as this is the government website, it was (and still is) the best place to get the correct info.
What kind of trip will it be?
We knew that we wanted to see as many places as we could and enjoy a blend of touristy must-do’s with the off-the-beaten-track exploration; all at a reasonable cost and in a timeframe that wasn’t bound by anything in particular.
In true Brogan style, I got a notepad out and started jotting down everything and anything of interest. I loved planning the trip! From pre-selecting cool spots for brunch (discovering Aussie was a very health conscious country was music to my ears), travel routes, hidden gem beaches and more, it just such a good experience.
The team at Trail Finders were super helpful in answering questions, helping with an itinerary and suggesting hotels and hostels but in the end, we opted for the camper van experience – one that I would 110% recommend to anyone who wants a little more freedom to do their own thing.
Campervanning was great! If you don’t like where you are then you can simply hop in your van and move onto the next destination. We enjoyed the opportunity to stop and take in a beautiful coastline, or venture up to the top of a look-out point, which isn’t all that possible on a group bus tour, for example.
The company we chose to hire the vehicle from was Cruisin Motorhomes, who were a complete breeze to deal with. The van we decided on was spotlessly clean and fully functioning and the bed was (surprisingly) comfortable for two people. My partner is 6 ft 2 in, and even he approved!
We opted for a 2-3 berth ‘Huntsman’ camper van, although upon checking their website, I believe that the model is now known as the ‘Adventurer’. Cruisin offer a variety of vans that accommodate couples to families, so there’s plenty of choice.
Cruisin Motorhomes Camper Van. Destination: Noosa.
Creating an itinerary
If you are like me and love organisation then you will understand the importance of having some sort of structure for where to go and what to do and a skeleton timeframe, to meet all that’s on your wish list! I know that sounds slightly Monica-from-Friends-ish, but when you have dreamt about this since you were knee-high, trust me, its necessary. I think that generally though, it’s good to have some sort of game plan.
Choosing the destinations we wanted to visit was one of the hardest parts, but after a lot of deliberation, we were delighted with our final plans to include Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
I will blog in more detail about each destination in more detail but here is an overview.
Check them out and let me know if you there’s anything you would like me to talk about, answer or share with you in part two of the series…
See you in part 2!