I've taken the plunge and decided to leave my life behind in Ireland and head to Oz for a year. I'm 28 yr old female and while i'm excited about it - i'm terrified! I've NEVER done anything like this before so i've some questions and i would love some good advice.
I'm going in April. I've no idea how i'm suppose to pack for a year. Do i bring sweatshirts or t-shirts? Will it be cold?
I've booked into the Wake Up Sydney Central hostel for my first few nights. Has anybody tried it? Is it good for meeting people? Is it safe, clean etc etc? Or can anybody recommend somewhere to stay?
I arrive at 5am and my friends are telling me to book into a hotel for my first two nights to allow me get over the jet lag and have some creature comforts. But i think i'll be very lonely in a hotel.....
Any / all advice would be so welcome!
Thank you guys.
Pack: mostly t-shirts, tops, whatever, with one sweatshirt. Your best bet is to bring a couple of things you can layer over each other for those rare times it gets cold. Temperatures should mostly be above 20 degrees Celsius during the daytime, with occasional drops to 15 degrees, Of course, if you end up spending a lot of time in the south (Melbourne, Tasmania, Adelaide) between May and September, you'll want more sweatshirts, as winters there can actually be surprisingly cold (5 degrees above zero at night). But if that happens, there's plenty of stores where you can just buy a new sweatshirt or two.
Most people try to time their trip so that they're up north from May to September ('winter', but more importantly for the north: the dry season), and to be in the relative cool (and non-wet-season) climate down south between November and March (which is summer, and thus still has blazing heat for far too many days).
I haven't stayed at the Wake Up myself, but literally hundreds of backpackers who've just arrived stay there, so you should have no trouble meeting people there. (Though I don't know how social the atmosphere is; that often matters a lot.) From what I've heard it also is quite clean and has very good (top of the line) facilities, though the cost for a night's stay there is also rather high.
What I always did after a really long flight was to book a single room in a hostel. You still get to catch up on your sleep undisturbed, but it's significantly cheaper than a hotel, and you get 90% of the social interaction. (Assuming the hostel has a good lounge and atmosphere, and isn't one of those where everything happens in the dorm rooms.)
The hostel I always stay at in Sydney is the Glebe Point YHA. Together with the Wake Up, that seems to be the favorite hostel of a significant part of the travellerspoint members. It's a bit further out from the city center (~5-10 minutes by bus from Central Station, or ~15-20 walking), but it's set in Glebe, which is the funkiest and most bohemian feeling neighbourhood in all of Sydney, with Glebe Point Road being this awesome street lined with good restaurants, bakeries, used bookstores and cafes. The hostel itself has great rooms, a nice kitchen, decent showers (though only just; they really could stand improving) and an awesome rooftop area with hammocks during the summer and frequent barbecues. A lot smaller scale than Wake Up or such behemoths as Sydney Central and Railway Square YHAs, too, which is half the reason I like it so much. Keep it in mind as an alternative if you feel overwhelmed at Wake Up.
Finally: good luck with it all! As someone who's taken a similar plunge before without any prior experience, I can say that I hope you'll have as awesome a time as I had.
Probably the most useful advice I can give for being down there is to remember to build in the occasional rest moment. You don't need to be constantly on the move. Allow yourself some time every so often to just breathe and assimilate experiences. Settle down on the couch of your hostel (or in its lazy hammocks) with a book and a cup of tea, and just sit there for a couple of hours, slowly letting yourself unwind. It often does wonders for letting yourself remember that there's no rush, and that you have absolute freedom to go anywhere and do anything, including staying right where you are and not doing anything at all.
A second bit of advice which I could give is to take a month or two out from your time in Australia to make the short hop over to New Zealand. It's just as accommodating to backpackers, and nature-wise, it's even more spectacular, with all the sights being a whole lot closer to each other. Plus it's a good place to escape the heat of high summer in Australia.
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 25, 2008, at 10:18 AM by Sander ]
wake up is a great hostel to stay in. I spent a lot of time there and loved every mintue of it, it was my fav hostel when I travelled there and you will soon meet people there
I arrive at 7am and plan on staying fully awake to get the most of the daylight and a full day in Sydney! Just sleep on the plane on the way over and you will be fine.
Last time I went to Syd I was up for a full 48 hours more or less and NO jetlag. I took a course of Siberian Ginseng (not Korean) tincture in the 3-4 weeks before I flew and was completely fine (recommended by 'Dr' Gillian McKeith and works a treat!) Went to bed at 2am on the morning after arriving at 7am the morning before and a 24 hour long flight! Got up fresh as a daisy for a full days fun the next day with a spring in my step.
The great 'they' recommends refreshing your eyes with sunlight as you fly (even if the hostesses on the plane tell you to shut the windows)...just a chink will be enough. This way you wont arrive wanting to sleep. Push through and try to go to bed at the Sydney time, dont wipe out on arrival. Besides you will be missing out on so much if you go straight to bed.
And hotel schmotel, head to a hostel and if you need to sleep hard, just remember to pack those earplugs! And maybe not choose too much of a party hostel.
And Glebe is LUSH! If you have ever been to Glastonbury, think of those excellent markets they have there...EVERY Saturday guaranteed at Glebe Market...AND no mud!
Can you tell I am quite excited about returning next week???
it all Depends...
I'm in Philadelphia and we've been having a pretty cold winter. It's been hovering around 32˚ F (0˚C) which is pretty much sweatshirt weather around here. But right now it's 45˚F outside and it feels like spring. I was just out walking the dog in a t-shirt.
I'll be doing the same thing but only for four months...I arrive in sydney on April 3rd. So far I'm only planing 10-14 days there but nothing is certain except for the fact that I am terrified as well. I'm taking all sorts of t shirts and a sweatshirt, and a couple of going-out shirts that look good wrinkled (easier for a guy I suppose). Boots, some decent going-out shoes, camera, tri-pod
If you're going for a year I assume you'll be settling down somewhere for a good length of time. So you can take less and buy things as you need them down there after you settle in. after australia I'm moving to NZ for a year or two. at that point I'm going to have family ship a few things to me.
maybe we'll cross paths at some point and be able to laugh about how there was nothing to be afraid of.
I am in a similar postion, heading out to Sydney solo on the 17th of May for a year. I have all the same kind of feelings most first time travellers must experience, a mixture of excitment and fear.
Leaving a good job, family, friends behind etc, will not be easy, but i have found this website a god send, any kind of niggling doubts about my trip and i come on here, and the question i feel i need to ask has already been answered in depth. I have booked my first week with a intro company, for peace of mind not really into 18 - 30 stlye holidays been 27, kind of grown out of all that, but found that having someone to meet me at the airport etc, will help me hit the ground running.
Wow i never knew there were so many people wanting to come to Australia...
Everyone relax, sydney is such a welcoming city, there are friendly tourists and locals alike. the hostel scene is very popular at first and alot of the time you find people who want to do exactly the same and you team up...i have had several family friends do that...lol.
my advise for packing, most of you are coming from cold countries, jeans, t-shirts, loose jumpers and a jacket with comfortable shoes will be prob all you need. because as summer comes you can buy shorts and stuff as they come into stores. your creature comforts as well is important.
besides that, enjoy the city\ country. it is truely a nice place, just stay open minded...