As Charlotte begins her adventures Down-Under on Work Australia, she checks in with BUNAC HQ to tell us all about her trip over there, her Group Flight, the Hong Kong stopover and how she's already sure one year isn't enough!
Hello (or should I say G'day) from Australia! I can't believe it's been exactly one month since we landed in Sydney! Even talking about it now, we keep saying that one year won't be enough to see and do everything we want to!
Let me backtrack, and explain who I mean by "we".
I came to Australia on BUNAC's Work Australia programme, which I signed up for because of 2 magical words: Group Flight! Right from when BUNAC set up a Facebook group for our particular Group Flight, there was non-stop activity on it; from people wanting packing advice (trying to fit your whole life into a backpack is not easy!) to hilarious Oz-related YouTube videos we found. By the time the flight came around, I felt like I already knew everyone, and couldn't wait to meet them!
Our BUNAC rep Emma met us at the airport and helped us with every step, all the way up to security. She even had spare luggage tags for the people like me who forget their own and seem to have bought exactly the same backpack as everyone else in the group! We were all sat together on the flight and we just didn't stop talking (I do feel bad for the people sat around us). It was great getting to know everyone, hearing their stories of what they had been doing before Australia, why they had chosen to come and what they wanted to achieve out there. Everyone in our group is so different, covering every age from 20 to 30, some recent university graduates, some workers wanting career breaks, and some people just wanting to do something different and new.
We arrived in Hong Kong ridiculouly jet-lagged, but so happy to have started our adventure! We were even more relieved when our tour guide Leona showed up, as our zombie-like state meant we couldn't do anything for ourselves! Leona was the funniest tour guide we have ever known and took us all over the city, instructing us on when to take the best photos and giving us loads of insights into Hong Kong.
It was sad at the end of the three days to say goodbye to the Work New Zealand group, but we have our Facebook group to keep in touch, which still has been very active with updates on what people have been doing. I'm hoping to meet up with them, as I booked one of the BUNAC flight paths on the way home, stopping at New Zealand, Fiji and LA, so there's always something to look forward to!
We landed in Sydney not as jet-lagged as before and even more excited to have finally landed in Australia! We got picked up and taken to the hostel by Work n Holiday, BUNAC's partner over there, and we were all amazed by the hostel. Having backpacked before, I did warn the first-time travellers not to keep their expectations as high as BUNAC had set for us! Two nights just didn't seem enough time to get more accustomed to Sydney and the new country, so we all booked the Extra Nights package (also to make sure that we stayed together!)
A couple of days later, Work n Holiday picked us up from our hostel for a whole day of presentations: about Sydney, travelling, finding work and our bank accounts and tax file number, which had already been set up for us. It was at the end of the day that we all started to panic, as we had to actually fend for ourselves and start job hunting for jobs! Where were Emma and Leona when we needed them?!
So far this month, the BUNAC crew has been up to so many things. About half of the group have signed up to the Farming Course, because of the guaranteed job at the end. A few have gone WWOOFing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), which they're really enjoying. Two more spent a week on the Surfing Course and came back saying it was the best week ever! A few others are staying in Sydney, doing office temping and bar work while the rest have gone to Melbourne to explore. As for me, I've been travelling for a while. I spent about 2 weeks in Sydney, then headed up to Brisbane and travelled down the East Coast, stopping at Surfer's Paradise, Byron Bay, Coff's Harbour and ending in Sydney to see the BUNACers again!
All these different ideas and stories from the BUNACers have inspired me to do so many things over here, things I hadn't even thought of when I was planning my trip back home in England! One of the BUNAC girls and I are leaving in a few days to WWOOF on a spiritual retreat an hour south of Sydney for 10 days, before heading to Melbourne set up camp there for a few months. There's too much fun to be had over here, a year is definitely not enough!
UPDATE: Check back in as Charlotte and the rest of the BUNA-group hit the 3-month mark here!
Be sure to check back in for more updates from our girl Down-Under! To start your own Aussie adventure, check out Work Australia or just us a call on 033 3999 7516.