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!).

4th January 2018

Today was the first day I really had time to myself for 3 months – it was great for the first few hours but then got really boring! I decided to go to All Smiles* for a drink when Kieren had finished. Everyone else who was working was drinking and we ended up staying until 2.30am, meaning it was actually Kieren’s 21st birthday**! Kieren made a huge margherita in the massive glass that normally contains the chocolates. I think it was equivalent to about 20 margheritas, and Kieren had about half of it…

Afterwards, Kieren and I went to Crown Casino – if you can’t go on your 21st birthday, when can you go? He didn’t actually want to play anything but I made him play roulette. We ended up winning $1513 from a $10 bet! No idea how it happened – we won some sort of ‘golden jackpot’. The best thing was that it was on the number 21. Honestly, unbelievable!

Drinking cocktails at the casino

Enjoying drinks at the casino.

*Hospitality venue where Kieren worked.

**Kieren’s birthday is 5th January.

5th January 2018

Kieren’s 21st birthday! Because we’re travelling, I decided to buy him travel-based presents (and they’re also for me too!). Firstly, a trip to the Great Ocean Road next week, then tickets to see Aladdin tonight. Also, a Kiwi Experience bus pass so we can travel around New Zealand at some point! So exciting!

Aladdin was incredible – Genie was my favourite character.

Ticket to Aladdin at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne.

6th January – 8th January 2018

Working weekend (as usual).

Kieren got some lovely birthday presents from his friends at All Smiles – 12 Krispy Kreme doughnuts and a $100 cinema gift card!

9th January 2018

We used the cinema gift card to go see The Greatest Showman in Gold Class at Village Cinemas, South Yarra. The film was great and Gold Class was amazing – they had comfortable sofas and waiter service. I got rocky road popcorn and 2 cocktails! I never want to go back to a normal cinema again!

Afterwards, I went to East Brunswick to meet Emilia and Romina. We went for food and drinks then to a shisha bar.

10th January 2018

Fun time at work today…

List of staff at Renzo’s as of January 2018. Names, jobs and where they were from. Not included is Renzo, the owner of the restaurant.

11th January 2018

Amazing day today exploring the Great Ocean Road! I booked a 1-day tour through Wildlife Tours.

We were picked up at 7.15am at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Stop 1 – Point Roodknight, Anglesea (a beautfiul beach!)

Stop 2 – Great Ocean Road sign

Stop 3 – Kennett River to spot wild koalas. We saw 4 wild koalas! Did you know that koalas sleep for 20 hours a day?! One of them woke up to eat some leaves before going back to sleep. We also saw some wild parrots.

(a) Anglesea beach. (b) Great Ocean Road sign. (c) Wild koala spotting. (d) A stunning drawing of a koala from the journal.

En route to the next stop, we passed though a lovely surfers resort called Lonne.

Stop 4 – Apollo Bay. Here we had lunch and got a lovely ice cream on the beach!

Stop 5 – Maits Rest Rainforest. This is an incredible rainforest!

(a) Mait’s Rest Rainforest Walk. (b) Oldest tree in Mait’s Rainforst.

Stop 6 – Twelve Apostles. These are free-standing cliffs in the sea, which are the most famous part of the Great Ocean Road. I wasn’t expecting much but they were truly incredible!

Stop 7 – Loch Ard Gorge. The most amazing beach I’ve ever seen!

Stop 8 – London Bridge. This is an offshore natural arch formation that is supposed to look somewhat like London Bridge.

Stops 1-4 are on the ‘Surfer’s coast’ and stops 6-8 are on the ‘Limestone coast’. This was such an amazing day!

(a) + (b) Loch Ard Gorge. (c) Stalagmites at Loch Ard Gorge. (d) The Twelve Apostles (or only 2 of them).

12th January – 15th January 2018

Most of the time I was working but on Saturday I went out with Romina and Emilia to Black Rabbit. Pretty good night and some random girls kept buying us drinks? Emilia has gone on holiday to Perth for 2 weeks and Romina has gone back to Italy for a month (may never see her again because I’ll probably be gone by the time she gets back).

16th January 2018

We spent the day on the beach at St Kilda and I got so burnt! One of my eyes is so burnt that it looks like I have a black eye.

We came off the beach at 4pm and went to Luna for happy hour sangria ($5!). Afterwards, we went to Grill’d for burgers before heading back to the beach. I bought Black Forest gaueaux and some cheesecake from one of the many cake shops on Acland Street, then we walked along the pier to see the sunset. It was such a nice sunset and we saw 6 penguins! This is apparently the best time of day to see them because they swim home before dark. There were also some water rats, which were very creepy.

We headed home and had our cake on the balcony.

Check out the next instalment here (available 9am GMT 22nd March).