This journal was written as a physical diary by me during my gap year. I am typing this up to share my gap year experience. At the beginning of travels I was 22. I travelled with a friend (Kieren) and anybody else involved will be introduced during the journal. For more details, check here.

To spend a year in Australia, we got working holiday visas. These allow up to 1 year of travel and work in Australia. Find more information here.

Check out the previous instalment here.

The Melbourne portion of the journal doesn’t always go day-by-day because I got a job to save up for future travels so I neglected the journal a bit. There will likely be less photos (sorry!).

25th December 2017


Merry Christmas - decorations on the docklands of Melbourne.

Christmas decorations at the Docklands, Melbourne.

I had an amazing day filled with lots of food! Eggs Benedict and bucks fizz for breakfast. We then headed to St Kilda where we saw the little penguins and chilled on the beach for a few hours with mince pies and cider. It was very busy – I had to queue for 30 minutes to go to the toilet. Part of the grass area was like a festival! We got the tram back into the city to prepare for our Christmas BBQ.

(a) Wrapped Christmas presents from Kieren. (b) Mince pies and beers on the beach on Christmas Day (and Kieren having a nap). (c) Presents from Kieren – a selection of Timtams, Caramello Koalas, gingerbread men, chocolate and shortbread. (d) Little penguin on the pier at St Kilda.

Starter – shrimp on the barbie (with garlic butter)

Main – kangaroo burgers, hoisin chicken skewers, salmon fillets, halloumi, octopus skewers, rocket salad, roast potatoes

Dessert – trifle, cheeseboard (cheddar, gouda, stilton, camembert, grapes, crackers)

Drinks – sangria, red wine

(a) Me and Kieren on the roof of our building wearing Christmas cracker hats. (b) Octopus skewers on the BBQ. (c) Preparing the Christmas BBQ. (d) Page from the journal with a few Christmas cracker jokes. (e) Cheeseboard.

That was a lot of food for 2 people! We were so full that we ended up going to bed before 11pm! A very Australian Christmas!

26th December – 30th December 2017

Work everyday – ended up doing 52 hours this week! I did manage to go out with Ajay, Emilia and Romina from work and go for breakfast at Mill and Bakery a couple of times.

(a) Mince pies. (b) Hot chocolate, flat white and apricot Danish pastries. Both at Mill and Bakery, Docklands Melbourne.

The Great Ocean Race (a boating race) was taking part around the Docklands so there were lots of stalls around. It was a nice atmosphere and the Spanish team came in to the resturant a couple of times.

Kieren also started doing some busking.

Busking permit for Melbourne.

31st December 2017

Final day of 2017!

Both me and Kieren were working at Renzos tonight. It wasn’t too bad because it was a set menu and wasn’t as busy as expected. All the customers were lovely so it was actually quite enjoyable! At midnight we got to go outside to see the fireworks at the Docklands – amazing fireworks! We also had a glass of prosecco at midnight (honestly I’m surprised Renzo allowed this!).

Garlic bread and prosecco to celebrate New Year's Eve.

Celebrating NYE at work. This prosecco and garlic bread was hidden in a cupboard so I could have it when I came back to the kitchen.

We finished work at 1.30am then had a nice drink on our balcony to begin 2018!

1st January 2018

Happy 2018!

I started work at 12pm – it was awful because I was so tired and this was my 7th working day in a row. It was incredibly busy – far busier than NYE. Salvatore (another waiter at the restaurant) didn’t come back after his break. We have no idea what happened and he wasn’t answering his phone. So that just left me, Tony, Renzo and Kieren to run the entire restaurant. I took the inside and Tony took the outside and I’ve never been so rushed off my feet. Complete disaster.

2nd January 2018

Today we went on a wine tasting tour in the Yarra Valley (famous wine making region of Victoria). We booked a 1-day wine tasting tour with Chillout Travel. We visited 4 different vineyards.

1. Domain Chandon (of Moet and Chandon)

We got a choice between multiple sparkling wines and I went for a sparkling red, which I’d never had before. We then toured the working vineyards and had a glass of champagne overlooking the beautiful vineyards.

(a) Entrance to Domain Chandon Vineyard, Yarra Valley. (b) + (c) Enjoying wine overlooking the vineyards.

2. Soumah

We had a tasting of 7 different wines then got to choose a full glass of one of these. We had this with a 2-course lunch (antipasto then duck ragu).

3. De Bertoli

This was my favourite vineyard of the day! We did another 7-wine tasting along with matched cheeses. Their dessert wine (The Noble One) and blue cheese was the most amazing wine/cheese combo.

4. Yarra Valley Farm

Another 7-wine tasting! We also tried some of the apple cider from their orchard, which we drank overlooking the vineyards/mountains.

Really fun tour! Me and Kieren were the youngest by a mile!

When we got back to the city, we went to the cinema to see Jumanji.

(a) Lunch at Soumah Vineyard, Yarra Valley. (b) Wine tasting with matched cheese at De Bertoli, Yarra Valley. (c) View of the vineyards from Yarra Valley Farm.

3rd January 2018

This morning we went to Federation Square where they had an exhibition on film and technology with some video game stuff that Kieren liked. We then wandered through the Laneways and went for an iced coffee on Degraves Street. This is one of my favourite streets in the CBD. Then, onto work for the rest of the day!

Check out the next instalment here (available 9am GMT 18th March).