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!).

30th January 2018

We woke up to the sound of laughing kookaburras. They sound a lot like apes, so it’s a little scary! This morning, we drove to The Pinnacles. We walked up the 2km and saw some beautiful views. The next stop was MacKenzie Falls – so beautiful!

(a) Enjoying MacKenzie Falls. (b) The Pinnacle Lookout. (c) MacKenzie Falls.

We then drove to Baroka view point – this was definitely the best view of the day! There was also a big kangaroo, which hopped over the fence and seemed pretty interested in us. After this, we headed back to camp where we started collecting wood for a fire. Soph made a great fire and it was so nice to sit around the fire and chill. Another BBQ for dinner.

The kangaroo spotting is going well – must be past 100 at this point!

(a) Baroka Lookout. (b) A field of wild kangaroos, Grampians National Park. (c) Grampians National Park.

31st January 2018

We packed up the camping gear and headed to The Balconies view point – stunning views but it was so cold and windy. Almost like being back at home! Just before we arrived at the view point, we came across a wild wallaby next to the road so we stopped to have a look. His eyes looked glazed over, and we then worked out that he was blind. We gave him some small pieces of banana, which he sniffed out and he seemed pretty happy with this. I was so sad for him though, because it seems likely that he’ll get run over at point.

(a) Blind wallaby at the side of the road. If you look closely at the eyes, you can see that they are glazed over. (b) Sniffing out and eating a banana.

After The Balconies, Soph started the long drive home (4.5 hours). Road tripping in Aus really makes you realise how massive it is. Victoria is tiny compared to the other states, and it hardly looked like we’d gone anywhere on the map! On the way home we stopped at a town called Ararat, where we found a nice bakery.

We drove back to Sophie’s family house in Werribee (about 1.5 hours outside of Melbourne) and her family let us stay the night! Her mum made a lovely dinner – chicken, zucchini pie and garlic bread, with an apple crumble for dessert. Her family (mum, dad, 15-year-old brother Fletch and dog Bill) were so lovely! I loved spending some time with an Australian family, and it was so nice that they let us stay!

1st February 2018

We woke up early then Soph’s mum gave us a lift to Werribee train station. She also gave us some homemade pineapple muffins for breakfast, which were beautiful! How I miss baking! We got the train to Pakenham, before getting a bus replacement to Flinders Street Station. We then got the tram back to the Docklands to get back at 10.30am.

I started work at 11am – pretty uneventful shift, although at least I get lovely pizza!

2nd February – 5th February 2018

I spent most of my time working, as well as doing 2 PhD interviews via Skype*. We did manage to fit in a trip to a lovely cafe in Richmond called Three One 2 One – their milkshakes were amazing!

Freakshake at Three One 2 One Cafe, Richmond, Melbourne.

Freakshake at Three One 2 One Cafe, Richmond.

**At the time of my gap year, I had a BSc in Microbiology and Biochemistry and MSc in Microbiology and Infection. My plan was to come back to the UK in September 2018 and start a PhD researching antibiotic resistance (I did actually do this and I have now been doing my PhD for over 2 years). During my time in Melbourne, I was applying for PhD positions at various universities in the UK.

6th February 2018

Kieren played his first paid gig in Australia! He did a 3-hour gig at Baxter’s Lot in Fitzroy! I was working but managed to catch the last 20 minutes. It was so great! A really great atmosphere and everyone was dancing. His friend Kurt from work also played a couple of songs.

(a) Kieren’s gig at Baxter’s Lot, Fitzroy. (b) Envelope containing money for the gig, from the journal. (c) Gig at Baxter’s Lot.

7th February 2018

I had the day off so Kieren and I went to St Kilda beach. We then went to Pontoon bar and tried frose (frozen rose) overlooking the beach.

Drinking frozen rose (frose) in the sun at Pontoon Bar, St Kilda, Melbourne.

Drinking frose in the sun.

In the evening, Shep (Jay), Soph and Fletch came to our apartment for a BBQ (kangaroo burgers, sausagees, chicken skewers). Fiona, Kieren’s boss from work, gave us a crate of ciders so we had those too! Soph and Fletch were going to a Macklemore concert so me, Kieren and Shep went to Bartronica (a video game bar) and played Mario Kart.

Check out the next instalment here (available 9am GMT 1st April).