I get to Sydney on Sunday and staying with friends and family for the first couple of weeks. After that, I don't really have anything planned. It is a bit silly leaving it until the last minute but i was considering going home and so didn't think about it to much and now i really do want to see the trip through. I have a WHV and will need to use it if i intend staying longer than a month but just wanted some handy advice to calm my nerves a bit! Any advice? I have been in New Zealand for a month but still finding the travellng thing a bit tricky, as you might be able to tell! thanks guys, hope your travels are going well xx
You probably don't want to hear this, but note that the is no optional bit about using the Australian WHV. If you've been granted one, it starts the moment you enter the country, even if you're only planning for a visit of a month.
Since they're "once in a lifetime", I'd really recommend making the most out of it. (I do believe it's possible to cancel an unused WHV and then later on apply for a new one, but I don't know the details about this, and time-wise I suspect it'd be really iffy to make that work still.)
Besides staying with family and friends, a good way to stretch money is to do cleaning at hostels you're staying at. Takes 2-3 hours a day, and gives you a bed for the night for free. It had the added benefit that most hostels would like you to commit for at least a couple of weeks, which means you get to really explore a city beyond what an average tourist would do, really getting to experience the atmosphere, moving in tine with the locals, getting to know those little things you only pick up through long exposure. (If you do that, I'd make an effort to engage in as many non-travelling activities as possible: go to a park and sit in the sun for an afternoon reading a book. Go to some live music by local artists in tiny venues. Etc. Often this is key to being able to travel for a long period of time without winding yourself ragged. Consciously allow yourself to take a breather every so often. You don't need to see it all. Sit down on a comfy couch in a hostel, make yourself a cup of tea, and sit there mulling over the past few days. Often there'll be other travellers doing the same: great for sharing experiences with.)
Advice for Sydney in particular: Glebe. The most awesome bohemian-feeling neighbourhood of them all. Wander over Glebe Point Road, duck into a bakery cafe and treat yourself to a slice of cheesecake, explore a used bookstore, sip some coffee at the next place and start to marvel at just how many people are constantly smiling.
Also get yourself a green or red TravelPass, which allows unlimited travel by public transport within its zone for a week. That means you can just hop onto pretty much any ferry, and go see what's there to see on the other side. Perfect for exploring, but even better for just sitting on the ferry and taking in the harbour. The botanic gardens and the whole area around the Opera House are of course perfect for a lazy stroll. Then when you've assimilated Sydney, take a train to the Blue Mountains for a hit of nature (though it won't compare to New Zealand), and when back in Sydney, start slowly bussing down the coast (given the time of year, you definitely want to head clock-wise: rainy season starts up north in just 6 weeks or so).
Melbourne deserves a couple of weeks time spent getting to know it, too. Not nearly as many "attractions" as Sydney, but a lot more groovy neighbourhoods, endless coffee shops tucked in all around the CBD, and a live music scene which is excellent beyond compare. (Personal recommendations for local artists: see if you can catch some Jess McAvoy or Wendy Rule.) From there on, the Great Ocean Road is a must, Make certain to do sunrise at the Twelve Apostles (sunset is almost as good, except for having fifty times as many people crowding the platforms).
In the end, there is nothing to be "nervous" about. Backpacker infrastructure in Australia is absolutely excellent. Public transport will take you anywhere you'd want to go, hostels are always available, supermarkets are always nearby, and there's thousands of others who did the exact same thing you're planning on doing and are more than happy to give advice. Pick up a languid pace, and soon you'll have a routine for arriving in a new locale, which makes the travelling even easier. Just don't allow yourself to be rushed. Experience at your own pace. You have the freedom to do "whatever". You can allow yourself the time to research what you really want to see next, or you can just randomly head out and see it all as it comes. That way you'd probably miss one or two big attractions that all the tourists do get to see, but really, would you care?
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 5, 2007, at 1:09 AM by Sander ]
Given your landing in Sydney shortly I recommend that you travel/work around the country in a clockwise direction taking in NSW and Victoria first as its coming into Summer. Where as heading north the weather isnt favourable hot, high humidity, rain and cyclones are the norm for the December to March. Also staying in that area its relatively easy to fall back on help from family and friends if need be, while you getting into the swing of things.
theres plenty seasonal jobs(picking, christmas sales etc) around at that time so no worries finding work then. After that consider Adelaide towards the end of summer then either head west or north around april/may.
IF your into cricket even just remotely getting to the Boxing day test at the MCG is a once in a life time experience that worths the effort, no matter whos playing. But then also sitting on the heads watching the boats head south in the sydney - hobart race is also spectacular, unfortunatley both of these are the same day.
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 5, 2007, at 5:39 AM by gnangarra ]