You Know You've Completed Your 88 Days Farm Work When ...





So you are like Australia yea?
You’d like to extend your working holiday visa for another year?
To do so you’ll need to complete 88 days of slave regional work. Up for the challenge?
I was lucky enough to find farm work pretty quickly, completed my 3 months (and then another month for the lols) in one go on the same farm & I am now into my 2nd year. 
Everyone will have a different experience but here’s a few things you should expect:


Hard work
You’ll be pushing yourself possibly physically harder than ever before, prepare for sore muscles galore & broken backs. 
Schedule changes
If it’s raining or too hot, this might often influence what work can be done. You may find yourself without work for a few days at a time. Or in the case of our farm, fuck it and work in the downpour anyway - just shove on a bin-liner and you're good to go!
Fluctuating hours
Some jobs you might work 12 hours everyday for a week if the conditions are right, some days you might work two. You’ll often get no warning, so be prepared for a big day everyday. We often had "there's no work tomorrow" & all get nice & drunk to then be told "LOL JOKE there is, start at 7am!" 
New friends
Whichever farm you go to, everyone is in the same boat trying to work to get their visas. If theres one thing I've heard over and over, and can back up from my own experience, the people you meet during your farm work will likely be the ones who you remain with throughout the rest of your time in Australia. I made incredible friends during my 4 months!
Tough days
Farm work is not a breeze, you'll have days where you want to quit and give up on having your 2nd year visa. You'll cry, you'll moan and hate life - We've all been there. But man up and get on with it. Also if you're terrible on a hangover, maybe avoid that last drink the night before work! 
Filthy clothes
You might want to get yourself some cheap/second hand clothes for your farm work. Expect to throw away whatever you’ve been wearing on the farm once you're done. And try to not wear your nice clothes because likelihood is they'll get ruined. Head to Vinnies or another Op Shop. Stock up on shitty shirts and tops because you'll be living in them.
Early starts

I am by no means a morning person, never have and never will be. But more often than not farm work requires early start so see yourself starting work from anywhere as early as 6am.But a bonus at starting that early, the sunrises are beautiful!



So those are general tips to get your started for your farm work. 
The following are things that maybe you can relate to if you've completed yours and had similar experiences to mine. 
I know it sounds crazy but I loved my time at Dalbeg and had some hilarious tales!

So here we go; you know you've completed your 88 days farm work when ....

Your back no longer has its full function

Your standard of living decreases massively 

Shipping containers for a bedroom seems like a great idea

You no longer want to eat whatever fruit or veg you've picked ever again



But when you see said fruit or veg in the supermarkets you criticise over the quality and find yourself saying "Jesus i'd never have packed that, look at the chips, thats awful!" 
Or "Omg, the bruising on that Lebanese Zucchini is terrible" 

You can tell whether a zucchini was S, SM, M or ML from afar 

You wonder why you don't normally start your day at sunrise 


Working in all weather conditions no longer phases you

You accept the fact that guys lose weight and girls get fat

You see a squash and you get a tingle of pain in your back and your eyes start to well up

The day of "The 600 Squash" or "The 4 hour Zucchini run" will be tales you'll pass onto grandchildren 



You no longer give a shit about fashion or your personal appearance

You find no matter how many showers you have, you're never quite 100% clean

You lose your mind completely and become farm-shit-cray 

You find yourself making pets out of the produce ... aka. Zoe 



Your life becomes so involved with the farm you forget what normal life is 

You consider writing to ABC to suggest a reality show because more drama happens on the farm than on Keeping up with the Kardashians 

You start to accept you're going to live on the farm the rest of your life and die there

You become bezzies with the locals & hangout at their local watering hole 


You hear certain songs and all you can think of is farm life 

"Naaaaa na na. Na na na naa, na na na naaaaa Dalbeeeggggg"

Drinking nights get rowdier and rowdier as the weeks go on & hangovers are hard to handle 


You've found happiness in the simplest of activities

The easiest way to cheer someone up is with a bar of Dairy Milk Oreo or a delivery of food shopping

You make names for certain areas of the farm "the ghetto"


You've got to witness some pretty cool cane fires 


You get excited when you can leave the farm for the day so you can update your Spotify 

There was a constant battle over who was DJ in the field 

You've been driven going 100km/h hanging off the back of a ute by a crazy local 


You've been croc-spotting at the local river  

Being on the "Squash Squad" is a death sentence not a gift 

Your new hobbies include going out shooting with the locals 


You miss the real world and normal nightlife so you make your very own farm club "Club12" & "The Pantry"


Not having access to wifi or 3G for days at a time isn't actually as bad as it seems

You have absolutely no idea what is happening in the rest of Australia, never mind the rest of the world 


It is perfectly normal to pretend a shipping container bedroom is a club 
Accidents on the farm are normal; falls, bites, cut nerves, bee stings 
The scars from which will remain with you forever and serve as a reminder of your adventures 


You look forward to Saturday night for the free BBQ & Sausage Sizzle 

You've stood on at least 267 frogs in the night going to the bathroom 

You've made the best friends with the best bunch of crazies 


Poker Face, Bundies & VBs are now embedded in your blood stream 

Pushing people in a tractor tire seems legit safe and fun 



You can now live harmoniously with all kinds of critters; ghekos, spiders, snakes and mozzies

You've killed your fair share of wallabies and kangaroos driving to and from the farm 

Every special occasion deserves a Coles Chocolate Mud Cake 


Your entire farm wardrobe has been bought at Vinnies or another Op Shop 

You get joy out of the smallest things; having a day off, being able to do a food shop, a fresh supply of Chokitos in the shop. 

You can create a fancy dress costume under $5 and look fabulous 




You feel a sense of pride when you make it as a Boom Bitch 



Its an absolute mission to get someone into the nearest town to stream the latest episode of "Game of Thrones" to bring back to the farm

All you can talk about is the farm 

You experience the joy of picking / packing your last fruit & veg and you're finally free



You leave the farm and its all you can talk about for the next week & you feel like you should be going back 

The people you met on the farm are now you're best friends in Australia

You feel a greater sense of achievement for reaching your farm graduation than your actual degree that you spent 3 years getting! 



No one at home will ever understand what you went through 

But you would't change it for the world! 

& when you're second year gets granted its the best feeling in the world & you know that all that crazy-shit was worth it! 

If you're unsure if you want to stay in Australia for a 2nd year and if doing your farm work is worth it I 100% urge you to do it - even just for the experience & the people you will meet! 
It was the craziest, hardest, most memorable 4 months and the people I met are some of my best friends in the world now <3 


Thank you for reading & happy travels 

♡ G

Join me on Instagram @gemwills 

& follow me on my Australia Adventure! 

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Visit: The Blue Mountains + Video | NSW


The Blue Mountains; a stunning natural beauty, making this World Heritage region a true Australian highlight. A day trip to this region is one of the most popular from Sydney and for good reason!
The slate-coloured haze gives the mountains their name and with a blue horizon of eucalyptus trees that seem to stretch forever you will be be enchanted by the setting. 

The Blue Mountains World Heritage area is about two hours drive west from the city of Sydney. It can be reached by car, train, coach or via a tour group. 

If you wish to reach The Blue Mountains yourself from Sydney without having to spend a fortune on a tour group then you can. 
The easiest way is to travel via train from Sydney Central Station to Katoomba, a return ticket cost us around $16. 
Board the Blue Mountain Line train from Central and be whisked into the mountains in 2 hours. 

From Katoomba, its roughly a 30 minute walk to the Three Sisters Visitor's Centre, which is pretty much all downhill. The area is well marked so don't worry about getting lost, just follow down the road opposite the Katoomba Station which has all the shops and cafes on and follow the signs for Echo Point and The Three Sisters. 

I would highly recommend leaving Sydney as early as possible to avoid the crowds and the the heat if travelling in summer. It also give you plenty of time to enjoy your hikes or time round the area and not have to rush. 


The Three Sisters
Probably the most prominent natural wonder in this region, The Three Sisters is a unique rock formation located at Echo Point in Katoomba. They represent three sisters who were turned to stone in a famous aboriginal legend. 
Wonder round the view-points to stare at the formations and enjoy the view of the lush green eucalyptus that stretch the miles. 
You can take the "Great Stairway" walk down to the Three Sisters, which, I must warn you, isn't great on the knees or legs if you have issues. 
I have perfectly fine knees and legs (or so I though) but I could not walk properly after the stairs and they kept having spasms! 



Hikes
I was visiting with friends who had been to the Blue Mountains before so they opted not to take the popular trail to Wentworth Falls, and instead we choose a new trail which went from the Three Sisters and ended in Leura. 
The hike itself was a mix of lush forest, rock pools, waterfalls and so many bloody steps! 
It was overcast but warm so you could really feel the humidity under the canopy. 
We followed the signs along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk and ended up at some incredible cliff-look outs which blew my mind, Bridal Veil Viewpoint definitely being my favourite of the day!







Leura
I recommend a visit to Leura, its a lovely little town in the middle of the Blue Mountains. You can pop into the different antique shops, old-fashioned sweet stores and have lunch at one of the many cafes or restaurants. 



Scenic World 
Another option whilst in the area is the best-loved Scenic World which boasts a number of rides that take you up the mountain to different viewpoints. Theres a few to choose from and each offers different perspectives of the Mountains and the Jamison Valley below. 
I unfortunately didn't get the chance to try this but from reading others reviews it sounds like a worthwhile activity.



Spending a day there was a fantastic introduction to the area, I would love to go back in the next year and would choose to stay overnight so that I have chance to explore more areas on my own at my own pace. A hike on my to-do-list is to the Ruined Castle! 

If you liked reading about The Blue Mountains then check-out my GoPro video below on my time in Sydney & The Blue Mountains. 



I'd love to hear your thoughts on visiting The Blue Mountains, or if you have some tips of your own to share! 

Thank you for reading & happy travels 

♡ G

Join me on Instagram @gemwills 

& follow me on my Australia Adventure! 






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10 Reasons to Visit Australia

HAPPY 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY 'STRAYA


& what a year its been! 
To celebrate my 12 months away living in Australia I thought I'd try and convince everyone else why it should be a destination top on your bucket list! 
I have fallen in love 10 times over with this country and I've still got more I need to see! 

If you're considering coming to live and travel in Australia check out my post here on all my tips on how to get yourself ready from visas, bank accounts, flights etc. 



Australia is up there as one of the most remote countries in the world, but despite that, is one of the most popular places to visit for backpackers and for bloody good reason


If you don't mind long flights, and getting to stop off in new and exotic places along the way, then Australia is for you! 

REEFS
Australia is home to the world's largest, and most famous reef system in the world; The Great Barrier Reef
Fact: it even has its own postbox! 
It is famous for its abundance in marine-life, world-class diving and beautiful corals (which unfortunately have been dying off at alarming rates!). 
Cairns is the most popular destination to reach the Great Barrier Reef and here you can book on 1 day snorkel trips, boat tours, dive tours the lot! 
A reef that unfortunately gets overlooked by its Eastern sister, is the Ningaloo Reef, found along Western Australia with access from Coral Bay & Exmouth. I was lucky enough to spend a few days here and it is not to be missed. The coral is thriving, and although not as colourful as the Great Barrier Reef, it is alive and kicking. 
I saw turtles, reef sharks, tiger sharks, dolphins, stingrays, manta rays and all kinds of weird and wonderful fish whilst enjoying boat trips and snorkel swims.





BEACHES

With over 50,000km of coastline, you will never be short of beaches to visit in Australia. 
In fact if you were to visit a different beach every day it would take you 27 years!! 
The beaches in Australia are amazing, from the worlds whitest sand, to the world's purest sand, to beaches entirely made of shells, theres tons to see! 
My favourite beaches are Hyams Beach, Whitehaven, Coral Bay, Cable Beach & Shell Beach





SURFING

Its actually surprising that i've managed to be in Australia 12 months and NOT have a go at surfing yet! But its on the list so don't fret!
Australia has a massive surf culture and the East Coast is where you can find some of the best surf spots with hundreds of places you can try to catch a good wave.
Or if you're a total novice, you can find surf schools which offer training for a day, a week, however long you want before giving it a go yourself!
I feel that if and when I try surfing, it'll be my luck thats the day a shark will be in the waters.
If surfing isn't for you, try standup paddle boarding instead!



JUNGLES
Jungles? Wait what? In Australia? But I thought it was just Sydney & the Outback mate?
Nope.
Australia is actually home to one of the oldest continuous tropical rainforests in the world, and when I say oldest, like I mean back to the age of dinosaurs old!
I am of course talking about the Daintree Rainforest in North Queensland and it is a truly spectacular part of Australia. The perfect place to escape and go hiking, spot some wildlife (watch out for the crocs though!) and take a swim in some pretty sweet swimming holes.





SPORT
Sport is engrained in the heart of Australian culture. There is always plenty of choice in Australia whether you're an AFL fan, cricket follower, horse racing enthusiast, love to watch the rugby or enjoy a day at the tennis, you will always find something to watch on tv or head to the stadiums to enjoy.
And if local sports aren't enough to tickle your tastebuds, then you can always visit one of the amazing international sporting events that take place in Australia every year; like the Australian Grand Prix (Formula 1) or the Australia Open (tennis), both of which are held in Melbourne. I actually was lucky enough to work at the Australian Open and it was a fantastic experience and a truly iconic event!





THE AUSSIE WAY OF LIFE
If there is one thing I love most about Australia, it is the aussie lifestyle. The vibrant art scene, the extremely laid-back atmosphere, their friendly nature and the high quality of life here. All of these things make Australia such a warm-welcoming country to a traveller. And aussies do alot of things well, but one they have mastered in the art of throwing a barbecue. It must be taken extremely seriously, and you can find BBQ pits in most parks and public areas that are free to use. There is nothing better than getting together with some friends, throwing on a sausage sizzle with some beers.





WINE REGIONS
Not gonna lie, since coming here i've become a bit of a wino, also gin'o and well, every-kind-of-spirit'o.
& when its producing over 1 billion litres of the stuff each year its hard to avoid!
& NO, i'm not talking about your $7 box of goon, I'm talking ACTUAL wine!
You can take day trips to any of the wine areas from the nearby major cities, or simply take a trip to the bottle-o, buy yourself a fine bottle of white, rose or red (or all 3 you crazy cats!) and have yourself a merry time!
Melbourne - Yarra Valley
Sydney - Hunter Valley
Perth - Margaret River
Adelaide - Barossa Valley




CITIES
In Australia over 85% of the population live within 100km of the coastline and spread amongst the coastal towns and cities. 
Each major city has its own identity and offers some pretty cool city breaks. 
Sydney with its enticing beach lifestyle, iconic buildings and mass tourist hotspots, to Melbourne's relaxed charming European flair and world-renowned sporting culture and venues. 
Other hotspot cities include Perth, Darwin, Adelaide, Canberra, Gold Coast, Cairns, Alice Springs and Hobart. 





NATURAL WONDERS
I have been mesmerised over and over with the amount of natural and beautiful wonders I have discovered in Australia, and the amount I still have yet to visit. 
From the reef systems of Great Barrier & Ningaloo reef, the sacred site of Uluru & Kata Tjuta, the Pinnacles, Fraser Island, the sandstone beehives of the Bungle Bungle Range, the Stromatolites at Shark Bay, Karijini & Kakadu National Park, Cape Tribulation, The Blue Mountains, The 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road and many more. 
All of which are are impressive and special as the last. 





WILDLIFE 
Now I can't guarantee that you're going to see a kangaroo, a koala or a Great White (I pray you don't encounter one of these anyway) everyday, but the wildlife in Australia is pretty darn cool. The exotic animals are a big drawn in for many travellers and you can find them in public and private zoos or natural reserves across the country making it easy for the public to learn about the natural inhabitants that populate Australia. 
I find the best part about Australia is that its animals can be found well beyond the zoo walls. Kangaroos and wallabies roam wild in most national parks, dingoes are notorious on Fraser Island (I've had encounters with them in Karijini, Uluru and in The Kimberly's). Koalas like to chill out on eucalyptus trees along the road, a prime spot is along the Great Ocean Road along the stretch towards Cape Otway lighthouse). Emu's like to roam the rural areas in the outback, a hotspot to see the famous happy Quokka is on the beautiful Rottnest Island off the coast from Perth. 
Other animals you can encounter are Wombats, Echidnas, Tasmania Devils, Whale Sharks, Great White Sharks, Jellyfish, Manta Rays, Sting Rays, Turtles, Dolphins, Seals, Platypus, Saltwater Crocs, Freshwater Crocs
& not to mention all the deadly snakes and spiders! 




Now Australia obviously has waaaaaaay more than 10 reasons to visit, but these are the things that drew me to this country and are the reasons that I stayed and that I will continue to stay. 

& if the fact that everything in Australia will try to kill you doesn't scare you then book your flights now! 

I'm an extremely injury prone person, if I've managed to stay alive the last 12 months, so can you!
Now I hope the next 12 are as fun-filled as the last and I can carry on travelling round and exploring more of this beautiful country! 




Thanks for reading & happy travels 

♡ G

Join me on Instagram @gemwills 

& follow me on my Australia Adventure! 

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