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AUSTRALIA - Why living an experience in the kangaroo's land can change your life

A working and holiday experience in Australia is the best way to get out of your comfort zone and to experience a real adventure among the most beautiful landscape that the world offers us.

I had been dreaming of visiting this land for as long as I can remember, and when I found out there was a real possibility that I could go and live there, I didn't pass up the opportunity.


In order to travel and work in this land, one must obtain a Working Holiday Visa. This visa allows young people to travel and work for 12 months with the possibility of extending the stay by one year by working for about 3 months on farms or in other specific jobs, the famous "88days".

From 2019 was introduced the possibility of extending the stay by an additional year as long as you do at least 6 months of work on the farms during the second year.

This visa is open to most European and non-European citizens, the full list can be found here.

I got my visa in a very short time, applied through the Australian government website , paid around AU$350 (now it costs AU$510, about EUR310), and after only four days I got my visa giving me one year to enter the country.


Thanks to this visa, young people between the ages of 18 and 35 can have an unforgettable experience on the other side of the world, learn or improve their English, live in close contact with nature and people from all over the world, plus have the opportunity to earn enough to afford a financially demanding trip and also return home with some savings.


THE FARMS

I landed in PERTH in the capital of Western Australia in September 2017 together with Eleonora who was my girlfriend at the time.

The idea of working in the middle of nature appealed to me much more than the chaos of the metropolis and was in my opinion the best way to live in this country so I decided not to stop but to look for work on farms right away.

Finding work in this world is very different from finding it for the jobs I was used to, you don't need experience of any kind and often the best way is to go directly to the farms and speck with the farmer. Luck plays an important role here because when the farm needs someone the first person who knocks on the door gets the job.

Since I had no transportation, it was impossible for me to travel to the various farms in person, and searching online I discovered the existence of Working Hostels.

These hostels are located in small towns far from the big cities and in addition to giving you accomodation they help you find work. The owners have arrangements with local farmers and often offer shuttle services as well.

I found one about 300 km south of Perth, in MANJIMUP


We took a bus and after 5 hours arrived at the "Manjimub Backpackers."

We were welcomed by Abdul a gentleman in his 50s of Arab origin who had lived in Australia for about 30 years, smiling and very peaceful. He found us work after a few days on a strawberry farm.

It was October, was still early for the picking season and the other farms did not yet need fresh arms so almost all the hostel residents plus other backpackers staying nearby were working on this farm. Fruit was scarce and we were paid by the harvest so few strawberries equaled little money.


After a few weeks through other guys from the hostel I found a job at a company that grew avocados, they paid me by the hour and quite well too.

I had to climb trees up to 10 meters high with a bag hooked in front of my body, fill it with fruit, and then empty it into bins without leaving a single avocado behind. It was backbreaking work but I loved it.

Every day I had encounters with mostly poisonous animals.

The Australian people live in complete harmony with the creatures they share a home with and it is well known that the deadliest ones in the world live in those very lands.

I remember a phrase told me by a local boy who lived with us in the hostel "everything in this country can kill you, you just have to live your life and let the animals live theirs."

I have never seen an Australian kill even the smallest of insects.



I lived at Manjimup Backpacker for 5 months and in addition to meeting travelers from all over the world and getting to know wonderful people with cultures completely different from my own, I learned about sharing and respect for others. Living in hostels like this means sharing "home" with more than 30 people, and this forces you to maintain a greater cleanliness and orderliness of common areas than living alone or with a few people.



A kind of large community of travelers was created and we often went exploring together.

We also spent the Christmas vacations all together and on the road, we were a group of about 10 cars.

For a week we skirted the eastern part of the island, changing towns every day and sleeping on the beach inside tents that we would set up as the sun went down and take down at first light.

I was used to spending Christmas surrounded by snow and with family, experiencing it in the summer was different but the company and the places made it just as magical.


ON THE ROAD

After only a couple of months on the farm Eleonora and I had earned enough to buy ourselves a car, a 1998 Jeep Cherokee.

When we finally finished our 88 days on the farm we decided to start the much-desired road trip driving almost 4,000 km and crossing the whole southern part of Australia, from Manjimup to Devonport in Tasmania.


For this trip we were joined by Rafa a German guy who had been traveling around the country for about 1 year. He had arrived at the hostel a week before us and I had hit it off with him right away. We shared expenses and his smiling presence kept us a great cheerfulness throughout the trip.



We departed from Manjimup and after visiting DENMARK, ALBANY, ESPERANCE and CAPE LA GRAND national park we arrived at the beginning of NULLARBOR, a semi-arid region almost totally devoid of trees located in south central Australia.

We traversed for 3 days an almost completely straight road that bisects this immense expanse of sand and encountering an unimaginable amount of kangaroos and some giant birds.

Refreshment and refueling points on this section are found about every 500 km so and it is highly recommended to bring a couple of spare gas cans and several bottles of water so as not to risk being stranded in the middle of nowhere and with the scorching Australian sun as your only companion. The campsites that can be found offer the bare minimum and barely get electricity.



After crossing the border dividing Western Australia from Southern Australia we finally returned to a modicum of civilization. We stopped in CEDUNA for the night and left the next day for PORT AUGUSTA. En route we stopped to visit the PILDAPPA ROCKS, an impressive formation of pinkish undulating rocks from which to enjoy spectacular views of the valley.


After 2 days we arrived in ADELAIDE the capital of Southern Australia, for months we had not enjoyed the comforts of a big city so we decided to stay a few days.

Here I also fulfilled a big dream of mine: to see and hug my favorite animal, the Koala.

About 30 minutes north of the city is the GORGE WILD LIGE PARK where, in addition to an infinity of different species of animals, you can also find these wonderful mammals that are accustomed from puppyhood to human contact.



After 3 days we left the metropolis heading for "Great Ocean Road," a 243-kilometer stretch of road that skirts the Pacific Ocean between the cities of Torquay and Allansford in Victoria.

We traversed this scenic road enjoying breathtaking views in 2 days and visiting on the way the famous TWELVE APOSTLES of limestone stacks off the coast that due to their proximity to each other have become a strong tourist attraction and the PRINCESS MARGARET ROSE CAVE a limestone cave located in Lower Glenelg National Park where actively growing stalactites stalagmites and elictites are found.



We finally arrived in MELBOURNE and took our time visiting almost the entire city before taking the ferry to our final destination in the land of the little devil: Devonport in Tasmania.


We drove for about 3 weeks sleeping in the car, in tents or under the stars and being lulled by the sounds from nature. This was my first ROAD TRIP and I could not have chosen a better place to experience this adventure. An experience to try at least once in a lifetime!



It has been 5 years since I left that wonderful land and it feels like it was a week ago.

This country made me grow a lot, introduced me to a life style calmer and more in touch with nature, I began to see people and our planet from a different point of view as well as having visited some of the most beautiful places in the world.

These memories will never leave me.


Thank you Australia!


MirkoNesh



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