Things You Learn When You Backpack Around Australia

Australia; a hot favourite for backpackers to spend the year travelling, working, studying, exploring.
And it is in this time here that you begin to learn the ways of the aussie lifestyle and how to survive here. 

I saw a post a while back by An Arcadian Abroad where she described "50 signs you've been a backpacker in Australia" and they were so relatable! So it inspired me to create my own list and expand on valid points she made! 

I GUARANTEE you can relate to the majority of these things if you have ever travelled round Australia / still here now. 

Or if you're planning on coming soon, you have them to look forward to! 

Australia is actually really far away, like I knew it was far, but its like really far
And its HUGE
"Just down the road" could easily mean a few hundred KM away 
Travelling 6 hours to a destination is considered a short journey 
Australians are amongst the friendliest people in the world 
Australia is actually Straya 
It is bloody expensive guys
You refer to acquaintances are mates, and your friends as c*nts 
Australia is very backwards 
You no longer have any idea what is happening in world news outside of Australia - who won the US election in the end??
Wifi is a rare phenomenom & you find yourself in Maccas more than you'd like to take advantage of their free wifi
Maccas = McDonalds
You will never complain about the price of sunscreen at home ever again
You start to refer to some people as "bogan"
You will prefer either Melbourne or Sydney (MELBOURNE WOO
You start using phrases like "no worries" "too easy" "no dramas" 
"arvo" "avo" "bottle-o" "smoko" "barbie" 
"sweet" "sick" "lollies" "ute" "doona" "esky"
You greet people with "how ya going"
The word "crisps" is no longer in your vocabulary 
Thongs (flip-flops) are a mandatory part of your fashionwear 
Your wardrobe is a combination of Cotton On, Target, K-Mart, Big W & Vinnies 
Your collection of ankle bracelets has dramatically increased
You've had a colourful hair-wrap at least once 
You've had something pierced and got a new tattoo 
A swag is something you sleep in outside
You have been broke at least once

Never take the sun for granted in Melbourne, you never know when you'll see it again

In summer good luck trying to find a space on the beach 
When the temperature drops to 20 degrees this is now considered to be cold and anything below is freezing 
In summer have fun trying to get any sleep at night in 30 degree heat
You will never be able to even out your tan lines
Sunsets will never be the same again 
Never trust the weather forecast, it may say 35 degrees and sunny but it will likely snow, hail, hurricane winds and a bush fire all in the same day. 

Australians know how to do brunch

Smashed-Avo is religion and the reason backpackers are poor
You have tried goon at some point in your travels 
A 'goonover' is a serious condition and should not be taken lightly
You aren't fazed by drink price tags anymore
Your body becomes addicted to cans of Solo 
Dominoes $5 pizzas are an essential to backpacker life
85c bread from Coles has been a staple part of your diet
You have a favourite between shopping at Coles or Woolworths
But know NEVER to be silly enough to shop at IGA 
The hoarding of blue cool bags from Coles is natural and you own at least 27
Tim Tams are like crack & you've tried every flavour 
Chocolate bars are so much better here; mint Kitkat, orange Twirls, mint Oreo Dairy Milk
Coffee is taken very seriously in Melbourne 
Peppers are now capsicums and courgettes are now zucchinis
You use the free barbecues as much as possible
Realise that aussies don't actually put shrimp on the barbie as often as you'd think
& shrimps are called prawns 
It is perfectly normal to eat the national symbol; the kangaroo and the emu 
Meat pies are fantastic 
You know what a Golden Gaytime is and you adore them
When you discover The Reject Shop for the first time you feel like you've entered a gold mine
Allens Snakes are one of your favourite sweets 
Ordering a beer is more complicated than expected; pots, schooners, tinnies etc
$1 slushies from 7/11 are the bomb 
You do your food shop late at night to find the best "reduced" items and things on special 
You never knew there could be so many different flavour tunas tins & you've tried them all from Coles

The wildlife is next-level 

There aren't kangaroos and koalas roaming the streets 
Locals consider kangaroos as pests 
You've been in a car driving thats killed a wallaby or kangaroo 
You must learn to live in harmony with spiders
It is right of passage to take a selfie with a kangaroo
You have more selfies with kangaroos, koalas, wombats and quokkas than people
Koalas are just koalas, not koala bears
Critters that could potentially kill you no longer phase you
You have seen a deadly snake / spider in the wild and survived to tell the tale
You learn that there any other beaches in Australia other than Bondi, and its not even that nice
Swimming in the ocean and rivers in Queensland & Northern Territory is not ok, you most likely will get eaten by a croc
Magpies are bloody vicious! 
Cyclists wear spikes on their helmets to stay safe from magpies

You haven't experienced Australia until you've been to the Outback 

There are actually better places to visit in Western Australia than on the East Coast
Flies are an absolute nightmare, flynets are a must and a fashion statement 
Mozzies - they will find you whenever you go 
You have learnt to master the art of picking / sorting / packing some sort of fruit or vegetable just so you can stay an extra year
The friends you make during your farm work will be your best friends for life
You apply for and try jobs you never thought you'd do 
You have been a door-to-door sales person for at least 1 day 
You know how to fancy dress on a budget 
& glitter is the key to any costume 
You can get away without tapping on your Myki at least 90% of the time
You have wasted a lifetime waiting for the lights to change to cross the road
You have a library card to every major city public library so you could use their free internet and print off 1782 resumes 

AFL looks like the closest thing to Quidditch 
You've taken a side in State of Origin Rugby League 
Sporting events are taken very seriously in Australia
You have been to (or worked at) either the Melbourne Cup, Australian Open, The Grand Prix, AFL games, Test-match cricket. 
Australia Day is basically just a drinking holiday
Christmas Day should be spent on the beach and no where else 
You have broken or smashed your phone several times & now rely on a Telstra-made brick
Phone data does not last long 
No matter how much you hate Telstra it is the only service that will give you signal 90% of the time
Never go with Vodaphone / Vodafail 
To save $50 you've chosen a 36 hour bus over a 2 hour flight
Your Instagram account will suffer massively when you leave Australia 
You don't remember what its like to have your own room 
Its the best day ever when you received a care package from home and you eat all the treats within an hour
You have mastered the art of just relaxing and not letting life stress you the F out
You get excited about small things; having a clean towel brings you so much joy 
Baths are a rare thing but when you finally find one you take full advantage 
You appreciate new friendships
But realise you enjoy your time alone too
You learn so much about yourself and how strong and confident you can be 
You realise that things aren't so important anymore
& finally your true friends and family are those who don't expect a constant update and you pick things up right where you left off <3 

I hope you enjoyed this post

 I'd love to hear which relate most to you / if you've got any others please put them in the comment box below! 

Thanks for reading & happy travels 

♡ G

Join me on Instagram @gemwills 

& follow me on my Australia Adventure! 

Im working on a "things you learn when you complete your 88 days farm work" 

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GPSMyCity: Turning My Articles into Apps

I really do love being able to write and share my experiences and stories through my website, and i've been lucky enough to work with the fabulous people at GPSMyCity who are starting to turn my articles into App format! 

As of Monday 20th February, my article "USA City Reviews: San Fransisco" will be able to download through the GPSMyCity app! 


GPSMyCity (available on both Apple & Android devices) is one of my favourite travel apps! 
They produce city maps for over 750 cities across the world. 
All of which have different walks which you can follow with the app and explore cities at your own pace and leisure but making sure you see all the fantastic spots along the way! 
The app uses GPS tracking so theres no need to worry about getting lost along the way.

A new feature that is great for GPSMyCity, me, and YOU is that they are incorporating links to articles based on whichever city it is you are exploring, everything from 'Top 10 things to do", "Best restaurants", "Best Backpacker Accommodation" etc - all hand chosen by GPSMyCity, and more importantly, written by backpackers, travellers, people like me who want to share their opinion and experiences! 

& the best thing about them, you can download them for FREE! 
This means you can look at them offline without having to use up that precious internet data. 

So instead of having to google information about your next travel destination and keep having to go through your bookmarks, or try to remember which sites you looked at -  you can simply use your new GPSMyCity app, choose your city and have ALL the information you could wish for on your phone saved for you. 

Now to the good part:
GPSMyCity are launching my article 
"USA City Reviews: San Francisco" 
to be featured on the App, and even better, for the first week of launch it will be FREE to upgrade your app!
The articles launches on Monday 20th Feb so don't miss out as the free upgrade offer will only be available for one week!

I promise you, as someone who constantly is researching places to visit and what todo there, this app is so handy as I have everything I could need in one single app! 

To download the app simply search for "GPSMyCity" and download straight onto your phone. 
Search for San Francisco and you'll find a link to my article "USA City Reviews: San Francisco"
OR click HERE and it'll take you straight there! 

I'd love to hear what you think about the article, you're opinion on using travel article apps, or if my guide to San Fransisco has helped you at all! 

Thanks for reading & happy travels 

♡ G

Join me on Instagram @gemwills 

& follow me on my Australia Adventure! 
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Guide to travelling the East Coast | Australia + Video

The East Coast = the backpackers top trip within Australia.
Its an iconic adventure and has everything a traveller would want from the surf spots at Byron Bay, wild nightlife of Surfers Paradise, the beach havens of Noosa through to the major sites of Fraser Island, The Whitsundays and the Sydney Opera House. 
Its the right of passage whilst you're travelling here to complete the popular East Coast and journey through some incredible destinations.
Now as you may be aware, Australia is massive so this trip should not be taken lightly - it will take approximately 30 hours of non stop driving from Sydney to Cairns! But wheres the fun in that?! 
You need to stop, explore, have fun, visit some incredible places along the way and make all the memories! 

From personal experience I would highly recommend hiring a campervan and roadtrippin' you're way (up or down). Gather yourself a group of adventurous friends, new or old and travel along the popular routes between Cairns & Sydney and camp along the way. 
Check out companies like Juicy, Spaceship Rentals, Hertz, Thrifty etc to compare prices of your rental! 

Click HERE to access amazing travel savings from the lovely people at Spaceship Rentals!

If driving isn't an option for you, the East Coast has a brilliant network of bus services like the  Greyhound or Premiere lines which offer hop-on hop-off passes so you can travel and get off as and when you please. 

Entirely up to you! 
We took 25 days to travel from Ayr to Sydney with plenty of time in each town or city and even arrived into Sydney with time to spare so we could have seen more. 
I would say 2 weeks minimum if you want to visit alot of places, otherwise try and spend as long as you can exploring, & not just the popular places, go off the beaten track and head slightly inland and visit some gorgeous national parks! 

Well, if you have the luxury of your camper van then you don't need to find hostels. Wiki Camps App is amazing for finding accommodation and camping spots (paid and free) and shows all the facilities and contact info. 
This was our bible for our trip and helped us find all our places to park up, whether it be in caravan parks using powered-sites or at free camps. It was so handy! 
If you're driving in a car and not camping or using the buses then you can still use the App to find yourself hostels, or just look on in each town to get yourself some good priced backpacker hostels. 

So this is a mix of spots i've visited as a solo backpacker with the route me and my friends took from leaving our farm in our camper van and can be used as a guide to you.

The adventure capital of Australia. You can do anything from bungy-jumping, white water rafting, scuba diving, sky diving, jungle surfing ... you name it! This is the place where most backpackers either start or end their road trip and is oozing with a cool tropical atmosphere. 
Cairns is also the main gateway to The Great Barrier Reef so if you're after a boat trip, snorkelling adventure or scuba dive experience then this is your place to go! 
That being said it is also a party hub with an abundance of lively hostels, bars and clubs! For a reasonably small city it has alot going on! 
If you're visiting Cairns make sure to take a couple days to head North to Cape Tribulation and visit where the 'rainforest meets the reef'. It is a truly beautiful part of the world and not to be missed! You can read my post on Cape Tribulation here

Stay at: Cairns YHA & Cape Tribulation Beach YHA

This party beach town is a must to add to your route. From the beautiful lagoon to the hippie markets and the bustling nightlife you won't be short of things to do in Airlie Beach. 
Also the gateway to The Whitsundays; a collection of 74 heavenly islands which you need to visit FYI. Book yourself a boat trip in Airlie Beach 
The Whitsundays was a highlight for me, easily one of the most beautiful places in Australia and has something for everyone - from one day trips, overnight adventures or for those with extra dolla to spend you can stay on one of the beautiful island resorts. 
We opted for the 2 day / 1 night sail boat The Hammer and LOVED it! 
From the snorkelling, the views and getting to visit the famous Whitehaven Inlet & its pure sand, it was an incredible trip. 
My post & video on my trip with The Hammer can be found here. 

Stay at: Nomads Backpackers

If you're looking for a pitstop after Airlie Beach then Cape Hillsborough is the one. Wake up early and visit the beach and witness all the wallabies on the beach at dawn. Or walk the beach trail and across the rocks to Wedge Island. Further down the coast are the Capricorn Caves where you can go on the Cathedral Cave Tour. It showcases their most spectacular limestone caves, leads you through zig zig passageways and you get to learn all about the special cave acoustics. 
Or in our case, volunteer yourself to sing & test them out yourself.

" I dreeeaaamed a dreeeeaamed in time gone byyyyyyyy"

A great place to stopover is Rockhampton to break up the journey - take a quick visit to the FREE zoo and say hi to the chimps, kangaroos, crocs and koalas. 

Discovered by Captain Cook in 1770 this beach town is where the Surf Coast meets the Great Barrier Reef. 1770 & Agnes Waters are a popular spot for backpackers to chill out on one of the beaches, watch the amazing sunsets or throw on some leathers and take part in the popular Scooteroo tour (driving round on a Harley-Davidson watching the sunset and spotting kangaroos). Its an awesome way to travel round the towns and you look super badass at the same time. 

Home to the infamous Bundie Rum, stop here for a tour of the rum distillery and make sure to stock up on the discounted bottles of this glorious rum for your road trip. 
I personally recommend a bottle of the Chocolate Coffee Rum Liqueur - its to die for!
& if you happen to visit on your birthday like I did, let them know ... you get extra free rum to taste ;)

Both Hervey Bay and Rainbow Beach are both quaint coastal towns that offer access to Fraser Island. During winter months, Hervey Bay is also one of the best places in the world to see humpback whales as they migrate. 
The beach here is a great place to spend the day relaxing & pop into a selection of small bars along the esplanade. 

Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world, is an essential stop on your East Coast journey. With miles of beaches, rainforest and crystal clear lakes, rusty shipwrecks and an abundance of dingoes you won't be short of things to do here. 
You can explore Fraser Island in 2 ways; either hire a 4WD and explore yourself or join on a tour varying from 1 day to 4 days. 
We opted for a 1 day tour with Fraser Adventure Tours and got to visit some of the main sites; Maheno Shipwreck, Eli Creek, Lake McKenzie & Central Station. 

Noosa really is a hidden gem. It is blessed with beautiful secluded beaches and a stunning National Park. Take a day to explore the different trails and hikes on offer in the park and see if you can spot the turtles bobbing out of the water along the coast. 

Ok so the Gold Coast has got a bit of a bad reputation for being a little tacky and touristy - with Surfers Paradise being like a mini Miami. But I actually really enjoyed it there, great vibrant city with plenty to do in terms of beach culture, surf, shopping & some fun theme parks on its doorstep. We ventured to Wet n Wild & Warner Bros theme parks and had a blast at both! 
TIP: lock your doors, windows in the car parks! Hide anything valuable out of sight! We had out camper broken into and alot of bags stolen. 

If Surfers Paradise isn't really your scene then have no fear, head inland and explore the wonders of these beautiful areas. From Mt Tamborine you have fantastic views of the skyscraper jungle of the Gold Coast and the vast ocean beyond. Enjoy one of the hikes and take a visit to Curtis Falls and look out for the bats hiding in the trees. 
A bit further South you will find Springbrook National Park; a top on my visit list. Here you can find the beautiful Natural Bridge. A short walk from the car park takes you round a loop of the forest and ends at the natural bridge where. Its a little spot of heaven away from the busy cities. 

Byron is probably one of the most popular stops on the East Coast, with its busy surf culture, amazing sunsets & cool, bohemian vibe. Take a stroll on the beach, try our surfing, or walk to the Byron Bay Lighthouse on Australia's most easterly point. 
It actually rained our whole stay in Byron so we never did any of that stuff, we did a bar crawl instead! 
I know everyone raves about Nimbin and that you've got to go but tbh it was a shithole. 
Yes it looks fun with its creative and cultural art scene but when you're walking down the street and literally every single local is offering you drugs its a big daunting. 
We may have sampled a cookie or 2 but with zero effect so don't bother or waste your time. 

Stay at: The Arts Factory 

Onto Coffs Harbour & home to The Big Banana - you can't miss it. 
Stop here for a photo and even play a game of laser tag or test out the toboggan tracks at this adventure area. It was actually great fun! 
Just up the road you can find Sealy Lookout - a walkway overlooking the East Coast with amazing views. 

Another national park worth a visit is Dorrigo. Venture on a hike, visit some beautiful waterfalls or just take a small walk along the skywalk & take in the amazing green forest views that it has to offer. A nice place to stop for lunch and break up the journey! 


Onwards to Sydney but time for a pitstop at Newcastle to break up the drive. We explored the esplanade & spent some time relaxing on the beach, jumping in the ice cold swimming lagoons & played a spot of volleyball on one of the beach nets available. 

Probably Australia's most iconic city, and a must see! 
Try to give yourself plenty of time to explore Sydney, it is blessed with a stunning harbour, lovely beaches and of course home to some pretty major landmarks; the Sydney Opera house & Harbour Bridge. 
Make sure to check out Darling Harbour & grab a bite to eat at one of the many bars and restaurants lined up by the water. 
One of my favourite things in Sydney was the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, simply hop on a bus or train to Bondi and start your walk by the Icebergs Hotel. 
If you have more time, or even on your way into Sydney, take a day trip to visit the Blue Mountains; a UNESCO listed site with beautiful panoramic views, waterfalls and fun hikes. 
Check out the Three Sisters while you're there & prepare to feel the burn after climbing up & down all the stairs on the trails! 

There are SO many more places you can add to your trip & go wherever appeals to you! 

Below is my video of my East Coast Road Trip from Ayr to Sydney that I did with my friends just after we completed our farm work! 

G Goes Global - Australia #12 East Coast Road Trip from G Goes Global on Vimeo.

Thanks for reading & happy travels 

♡ G

Join me on Instagram @gemwills 

& follow me on my Australia Adventure! 

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Sailing the Whitsundays with The Hammer + Video

Its on everyone's bucket lists right?
If not, it bloody well should be! 
Sailing around the Whitsundays is just paradise, absolute heaven. 
& if you pick the right boat for you it'll make your trip even better.

But if you've been living under a rock & have ZERO clue of what the Whitsundays are then shame on you ... feast your eyes on this

Gorgeous right?
The Whitsundays are a collection of 74 drop-dead gorgeous islands just off the East Coast of Australia & is home to the famous Whitehaven beach. 
You can book yourself a day, weekend or week long trip in numerous places departing from Abell Point Marina in Airlie Beach. 

All the boats cater for different budgets, tastes, ages, vibes etc so make sure you read up before booking, if you're after an alcohol-free zone with all the relaxing & chill then you might want to avoid The Clipper. But if you're a backpacker looking for fun then go ahead!

I hopped on board The Hammer, a 2 day 1 night sail boat that was a perfect mix of chill & party vibes.

Your first day aboard The Hammer sees you sailing through some beautiful bays & islands within the Whitsundays. Soak up the suns rays on deck and crack out some drinks to toast the next couple of days. Or in our case, the copious amounts of beers, gin & goon! 
Enjoy a guided hike up to Hill Inlet, where you get your first glimpse of one of the most famous beaches in the world ... Whitehaven.
Its pure silica white sands are renowned!

Take a few hours to explore the beaches and swim in the ocean or in small lagoons full of wildlife. See if you can spot any of the stingrays or baby lemon sharks. 

Spend the late afternoon sailing towards your anchor-point for the night; Hook Passage. 
Enjoy your snacks & meals the crew prepare for you, & enjoy more drinks and fun with everyone on board as the sun sets & the stars come out.
There are sharks in this area, so no matter how tempted you are to bend overboard & dip your head in the water to talk to the fish, maybe resist. 
I saved Billy's life by dragging his head out of the water as a shark swam for him.
You're welcome Billy :)

Day 2 commences with an early start but you can't really complain when you get to enjoy your breakfast with views for days. 

Today is a jam-packed day with more exploring and time to get those stinger suits back on & test out the snorkel-set. 
There are 2 snorkel sites, both offering beautiful corals and marine life. 
Langford Spit was my absolute favourite, the location was beautiful but I got to swim with a turtle here! 

At long last its time for one last sail back to Abell Point Marina (you might even be lucky enough to have a go at sailing yourself!) & bid farewell to The Hammer, its amazing crew & your new friends. 

What to take with you:
Pack yourself a small daybag / rucksack filled with your overnight essentials.
Towel, swimwear are a must 
Its a BYO policy so make sure you stop off at the bottle-o before you board.
& NO glass so either bring cans, goon or pour your spirits into plastic bottles.
The snorkel sites are beautiful so make sure you've got your GoPro or waterproof cameras packed so you can share what you see! 
All meals are included & cooked by the crew so you'll be well fed but feel free to bring along some snacks if you know you'll get extra hungry.

Click below to watch my Whitsundays trip with The Hammer! 

G Goes Global - Australia #10 Sailing The Whitsundays - GoPro Hero 3+ Silver from G Goes Global on Vimeo.
Check out my Vimeo page & watch all my Australia adventures!

Thanks for reading & happy travels 

♡ G

Join me on Instagram @gemwills 

& follow me on my Australia Adventure! 

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