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!).

17th January 2018

Working all day today.

18th January 2018

Today, Kieren and I did a day trip to Healesville Sanctuary and Puffing Billy with Adrenaline Tours.

First, we went to Healesville Sanctuary, which is about 1.5 hours outside of Melbourne in the Yarra Valley. It takesin injured animals for rehabilitation. I loved this place! We saw koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, dingoes (who had a golden retriever friend), wombats (one of them had a teddy bear) and a platypus. I made friends with a wallaby who wanted to play with everyone, especially the small children. So cute!

(a) Healesville Sanctuary leaflet. (b) Wallaby at Healesville Sanctuary. (c) Map of Healesville Sanctuary.

We then headed to Belgrave in the Dadendong Ranges where Puffing Billy starts. Puffing Billy is a Victorian coal train that used to take timber between towns but is now a tourist attraction. We sat with our legs outside the carriage and our feet dangling out. The train went through the rainforest and there were incredible views! We went on the train for about 25 minutes before getting off at Menzies Creek. Absolutely awesome experience! We were then driven back to Melbourne.

(a) Puffing Billy steam train in the Dadendong Ranges. (b) Me and Kieren on board Puffing Billy.

Tonight, we met up with Shep (Jay) who we met in Bali who had just arrived in Melbourne after travelling South East Asia for 3 months. He’s staying with a girl called Sophie who he met in Thailand. The four of us went for food at Southbank then to a couple of rooftop bars. It was so so nice to see him!

19th January 2018

I had a nice relaxing day. I went to the Royal Botanic Gardens where I had a nice walk around then a little nap under the shade of a big tree. It was 42 degrees today so very hot! I went to work in the evening.

The Royal botanic gardens in Melbourne, Australia.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.

20th January – 22nd January 2018

I was working almost all the time. After the crazy month of December at work, and the fact that the managar Michel was recently let go, I can tell that Renzo needs some time off. He rode on James’ skateboard, which is so unlike him but incredibly funny.

On Sunday, I managed to leave work early to see Kieren play at the open mic night at Baxtor’s Lot in Fitzroy. All his friends from All Smiles came then afterwards we went to a cool rooftop bar called Naked for Satan.

23rd January 2018

Today, Kieren and I headed to Luna Park in St Kilda. This is a retro theme park that opened in 1912. It was soooo fun! My top 3 rides were:

  1. Scenic Railway – a rollercoaster with lovely views of the beach at the top
  2. Pirates Revenge – a water log ride
  3. Power Surge – a high speed rotating ride

(a) Entrance to Luna Park. (b) Ticket to Luna Park. (c) Scenic Railway rollercoaster. (d) Snowcone overlooking the Pirates Revenge Ride.

Other rides included the Ghost train, Sky Rider (ferris wheel), Pirate Ship, dodgems and Coney’s Tower Drop.

(a) Entrance to Luna Park. (b) Cafe at Luna Park. (c) Sky Rider and Pirate’s Revenge rides.

24th January – 28th January 2018

I worked everyday but one thing of note was that I finally tried the Shisha bar near work at it was really good! Also, I finally managed to try a pineapple Danish pastry from Mill and Bakery and have come up with a ranked list on the flavours.

  1. Peach
  2. Pineapple
  3. Blueberry
  4. Mixed berries
  5. Apricot

Blueberry Danish pastry, ranked as number 3, from Mill and Bakery.

29th January 2018

I managed to take a few days off work to do a road trip to the Grampians National Park with Shep and Sophie.

They picked us up from our apartment in Sophie’s Dad’s Jeep and we headed to the Grampians. It took a few hours to get there but obviously we had a banging road trip playlist.

We discovered a lot of free camping spots and the one we chose was right in the middle of the bush (forest)! There were a few other people there, and one guy looked like he lived there. We spent the majority of the day wild kangaroo spotting – we saw so many! There were literally fields full of them and we could just walk through them – amazing!

(a) Road tripping through the Grampians National Park, Victoria. (b) Making friends with a wild kangaroo on a cricket field. (c) Kangaroo spotting. (d) Exploring the Grampians. (e) Kangaroo spotting.

For dinner we had a BBQ then Kieren got his guitar out to play a few songs. Two kangaroos were about 5 metres away and they just listened to the music before hopping off at the end of the song! The weather wasn’t great so we ended up going to bed at 9.30pm.

Soph was very prepared because her family does lots of camping so we had all the camping gear you can imagine, including a solar powered shower!

Check out the next instalment here (available 9am GMT 25th March).