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.

1st April 2018

Happy Easter! I started off the day right – with a creme egg.

Our bus was at 7am this morning and the first stop was Point Danger. This is the border between NSW and Queensland, the Sunshine State. Then onto Surfer’s Paradise. We arrived at 9am and checked into the YHA. Kieren and I went for a lovely walk to where the main shops are. Although the YHA is further away it’s so nice because you can just walk all the way along the beach. I suppose that’s why they call it the Gold Coast! Everything is connected by the beach.

(a) Point Danger. (b) Surfer’s Paradise.

I really like it here because it’s a city but the beach is so nice and it feels like a proper holiday destination. I’ve heard a lot of people say that it’s a bit tacky, and I understand what they mean but I still love it! The walk back along the beach was hard because we were so burnt and it was hot. I think Kieren had sun stroke. We had a very early night (9:30am) and literally slept for 11.5 hours. We must have been so tired!

(a) Surfer’s Paradise Beach at Night. (b) Tram stop in Surfer’s Paradise.

2nd April 2018

I woke up feeling very refreshed, and decided to go to a local bakery for breakfast. After breakfast, Kieren and I had such a long walk. We walked from our accommodation to the centre of Surfer’s Paradise then wandered to the suburbs. The houses here are so nice and most are directly on the river. From the suburbs, we went to Broadbeach then all the way back to the YHA. It was 26km in total!

Kieren rang a long-lost relative (his Grandad’s cousin) who moved to Australia in the 70s. His name in Miles and he lives in Brisbane, which is our next stop. We going to meet him in a couple of days!

The Commonwealth Games is starting here in a couple of days so they’re currently setting up. We saw the rehearsal for the opening ceremony.

(a) Commonwealth Games 2018. (b) Festival 2018 (part of the Commonwealth Games).

3rd April 2018

We walked to MacIntosh Island Park for a wander, and just chilled and read our books. There were so many wild birds here, including wild turkeys and wild peacocks. We spent the rest of the day on the beach.

Enjoying the beach in Surfer’s Paradise.

The YHA is on the harbour so we had dinner and wine outside overlooking the boats. So relaxing!

4th April 2018

We left Surfer’s Paradise at 9am the next day and the Loka bus took 1 hour to get to Brisbane. We checked into Base Uptown then explored Southbank. This is such a cute manmade beach with pools. I think this is definitely going to be my favourite place in Brisbane.

Southbank, Brisbane

We have decided that we will stay in Brisbane for a while and get jobs. We spent most of the money we earned in Melbourne in New Zealand because it was expensive and we did a lot of fun activities. As Brisbane is a city, it seems likely that there will be a lot of job opportunities. We’ll probably stay for a few months, earn some money and then continue up the East Coast.

5th April – 13th April 2018 *

We spent a lot of time in the first few days applying for jobs. I applied online and Kieren handed out CVs in various bars and restaurants. After a few days I got a job at The Customs House Restaurant, which is a fairly posh restaurant. It pays $28.33 an hour – which is $10 more an hour than I was earning in Melbourne! Kieren had a trial shift at a bar in Southbank.

(a) Customs House Restaurant. (b) Story Bridge, Brisbane. The outdoor seating area of The Customs House had an incredible view of this bridge.

On Monday night (9th April), Kieren performed at an open mic night at The Guilty Rogue, which is the bar connected to Base Hostel. It went so well! After playing a few songs, Dan (who runs the open mic night) offered him a paid gig! Also, the bar manager Taze wants him to come back every Monday to play, and he offered us free food and drinks every Monday!

We stayed at Base for 6 nights before moving to Chill Backpackers where we’re doing housekeeping for free accommodation. This obviously saves a lot of money! This may not be the nicest hostel ever but Nora who runs housekeeping and Matt on reception are lovely.

Today (13th April) we got a call from Taze (manager of The Guilty Rogue). He wants Kieren and I to move back to Base for paid work! Kieren would work at the bar, and I would do housekeeping. Kieren is doing a trial shift on Sunday and if it goes well, I guess we’ll choose between Chill and Base.

*I was very busy during this time applying for jobs, adjusting to the new job, finding a job at a hostel too, and exploring the city. I neglected the journal a bit during this time.

What else have we done in Brisbane so far?

5th April – met up with Miles (Kieren’s relative). We went over to his apartment in New Farm and drank some wine. He’s lovely and talks a lot! It’s hard to get a word in edgeways.

6th April – went to the cinema in Southbank to see Ready Player One.

10th April – Kendra (who we met in New Zealand) came to Brisbane. We met up for a drink at Nomads Bar then went to The Pig and Whistle (24 hour bar).

11th April – after work, Kieren, Kendra and I went for a midnight swim at Southbank. It was soooo nice but it got very cold after an hour. We then said goodbye to Kendra because she’s flying home to Canada tomorrow!

Other places we’ve visited so far – Botanic Gardens, Queen St. Mall, New Farm (picnic in New Farm Park), Festival 2018 (free music at Southbank), China Town, Fortitude Valley.

(a) Midnight swimming at Southbank. (b) Botanic Gardens, Brisbane. (c) Festival 2018. (d) Botanic Gardens at night.

I wasn’t sure about Brisbane when I first arrived (mainly because I missed the beach and surfing) but it’s definitely growing on me! I’m enjoying working at The Customs House too – the other staff are lovely!

Check out the next instalment here (available 9am GMT 13th May).