Q&A – Backpacking Australia

Every day I get messages from travellers and future travellers asking me about my experiences and tips for backpacking through Australia. So I decided to write a blog post that I can refer to, so I don’t need to answer the same questions again and again.

Because there is a lot of information that I want to share with you, I decided to do a series of informative blog posts in the next weeks:

  1. Q&A – Backpacking Australia
  2. Q&A – Work & Travel Australia
  3. Q&A – Solo Travelling
  4. Planning your own Work & Travel Year
  5. About being an AuPair

So I hope I will answer as many questions in all these posts as possible and give you guys the information you may want and need for your own adventures.

If you have more questions or ideas what I should include into the following posts, please comment them down below or message me on Instagram @mind.wanderer

IMG_6068.JPG

What have you done/seen so far?

I flew from Germany over Doha to Melbourne and stayed in the city for 2,5 weeks to settle in and also because I met some lovely people and my first friends on my journey that I am still in connection with now.

DSC01970.jpg

Afterwards, I did the Great Ocean Road and met two lovely German girls that I hang out with for a week in Adelaide afterwards.

DSC02267.jpg

Then I did another tour for 6 days that lead me through the Red Centre and Outback of Australia to see the famous Uluru / Ayers Rock.

From Alice Springs I flew to Sydney to spend a week with one of the German girls from the Great Ocean Road in Bondi Beach, Sydney before I had to say goodbye and welcome my Cousine Lisa to Australia that visited me for three weeks.

dsc03043

We spend 5 days in Sydney, went to the Blue Mountains and then started our journey to Brisbane with stops in Port Macquarie, Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise before we explored Brisbane for a few days and then flew back to Syndey.

When Lisa left me I wanted to take a flight to Perth, but it got cancelled and I had to stay in Bondi Beach for a few more days before I finally got to Western Australia.

IMG_0980

I experienced one very lonely week in Perth and then went to another 6-day tour to Esperance and see Wave Rock, Margaret River and Albany before I returned to Perth and finally meet a nice girl from Korea that I hang out with for another week in Perth before I flew to Cairns.

dsc02953

In Cairns, I met my parents and brother after 3 months of travelling thousands of miles apart of them. We travelled three weeks with a campervan from Cairns to Sydney over Christmas and arrives for New Year’s Eve in Sydney to watch the world famous fireworks over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It was a lovely time together with them and I am very glad that I was lucky to spend some time with them, especially for the Holidays.

Afterwards, I stayed in Sydney for a few days before I started my journey along the East Coast for the third time, but solo travelling for the first time. I also now have a lot more time and can stop wherever I want.

IMG_2187.JPG

So my first stop was Newcastle where I had two amazing days and wished I could stay longer because I got to meet and do Yoga together with @sjanaelise my favourite Yogi.

DSC03411

Afterwards, I went to Woolwolga aka Mojosurf Spot X where I did a surf camp for 5 days and learned to ride the waves which is so much fun!

MZHS5754.JPG

Then I continued my journey to Byron Bay and was lucky to meet some amazing people in my hostel room that I hung out with for 6 days. It was an amazing time and I was glad to travel along with two guys to Surfers Paradise where I spend 5 more days with them and then finally met my first friend I met in Australia: Sabrina from Italy that I met in Melbourne again and we spend a wonderful weekend together.

Then I had three last days travelling and exploring Noosa on the Sunshine Coast before I met and moved in with my AuPair family that lives in Mudjimba on the Sunshine Coast and that I am now going to spend 1,5 month with.

HQYT5313

Your favourite places?

Not a ranking, because I could never decide:

  • Byron Bay
  • Newcastle
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Fitzroy in Melbourne
  • Bondi Beach in Sydney

IMG_5988.JPG

The best memories you made?

Again, I can’t rank them, but here are my favourites:

  • the time with Sabrina and James in Melbourne
  • the Twelve Apostles
  • Sleeping under the stars in the Outback on my Red Centre Tour
  • Living in Bondi Beach for a week
  • Travelling with my family and my cousine
  • Sailingtour on the Whitsundays
  • Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Doing Yoga with @sjanaelise in Newcastle
  • Learning to surf
  • Lots of fun and a wonderful time with friends I met in Byron Bay
  • Spending four days with Sam, a Canadian guy, in Surfers Paradise
  • Weekend in Surfers with Sabrina and Keith
  • Experiencing having an Aussie family

DSC02832.jpg

Are you travelling solo?

Yes, I am mostly travelling alone, but I travelled three weeks together with my Cousine that visited me from Germany and three more weeks with my family that came over for a road trip along the East Coast over Christmas and New Years.

Sometimes, when I meet some nice people I stay together with them for a few days/ a week or two, but I have not found a long term travel buddy as I oftentimes everyone has their own plans and I prefer doing my thing.

DSC02631.jpg

Is there anything that you completely dislike about Australia / Backpacking / Work & Travel?

To be honest… there is only one thing that I don’t like and that is being away from my family and friends for so long. Everything else is only so small and gets defeated by all the great things here. And even being away and not seeing friends and family is so worth it for the life that I am living now… at least for a year.

EQKZ3689.JPG

What do you miss about Home/Germany (besides friends & family)?

I miss… German bread, a fridge with a variety of food, a kitchen to myself to cook, bake, test recipes with all the ingredients I need, my own bed and room for some privacy and relaxed & calm times alone, having a routine, cozy cold days for long winter walks, drinking tea and going to the sauna (at least for a weekend), my cat, not having to pack/live out of a backpack, always having washed and fresh clothes/towels if I need them.

ORVC5694.JPG

What is the cheapest/best way to travel around?

As I am travelling alone the best way for me is taking a Hop-on-Hop-off bus. I can make as many stops as I want along the way and see all the places that I want to. The Greyhound bus is the more known Backpacker bus, but I am taking the Premier Motor Bus because it is a lot cheaper and besides that you don’t get Wifi it is just as good.

When you are travelling with a friend / a group it is for sure cheaper to rent or even buy a car/van because you can also sleep in it and save the costs for a hostel bed. And you are more free with the time and places you go to and can explore some unknown or further away places.

Where are you staying?

I usually stay in Hostels as they are easy to find and book everywhere in Australia.

With my cousin I stayed in AirBnBs which usually is a bit more expensive than a dorm hostel room but also more private and when you are lucky, book early or travel outside the season you may find some super cheap and very nice places.

DSC_0027.JPG

When I travelled with a campervan with my family, we stayed at campgrounds. They are around 60$ per night but there are also free campgrounds or parking spots where free camping is not prohibited.

I also tried Couch surfing in Surfers Paradise with my friend Sabrina for the first time and had a great experience. She found the offer over Facebook and already stayed with this guy once and he invited us to stay with him again and took us on a little adventure in the rainforest to a waterfall and surfing at the beach on the Gold Coast. I hope to be able to do couch surfing more often as it is super interesting (and cheap) but you need to find good people that you feel safe with.

img_6262.jpg
View from my hostel in Melbourne: The Nunnery.

Where do you book your hostels and what do you look for?

I always book over the Hostelworld App as they have a great overview over all hostels available at a destination for the time and you can choose the best/cheapest one over a rating, read about the hostel and see reviews of past travellers.

A nice central location, Wifi and maybe free breakfast is what I usually look for as well as a good price (between 22-35$ depending on weekend/weekdays, holidays, season and place) and then I read the comments to see if there are many bad reviews on the cleanness, kitchen, facilities and if the hostel is a major party hostel. But I always keep in mind that some travellers are just not used to hostel life and write bad reviews.

DSC08188.JPG
Sadly, I do not have the fitness (and body) like I used to have anymore…but at least I have a tan now :D

How do you try to stay healthy while travelling (and not having access to a full fridge and a variety of foods)?

As you know healthy, fitness and nutritious eating is very important to me. I try to live as healthy as I can while travelling, but that’s not always easy. Especially when you are meeting friends and going out with them or relying on the free breakfast or free food options that hostels have to save money.

When I cook and make food myself, I try to get as many nutrients and vitamins in as possible. Frozen veggies, fresh baby spinach, canned beans or lentils, seasonal fruit and oats are my staples. They are the cheapest and still wholefoods and nutritious.

1

I already made a blog post on some healthy, easy, cheap and vegan lunch/dinner meals and showed you my go-to healthy breakfast recipe, as well as a blog post on healthy and cheap food shopping in Australia. In the category ‚What I Eat‚ you also find some What I Eat in a Days from Melbourne or Perth.

IBTI4028.JPG
I want to get my post-travelling body back, but on the other hand, I really want to enjoy my travels. So for now, I am eating and enjoying and working out a bit on the side.

For working out there has been a lot of up’s and downs on my travel. It’s not always easy to stay on track with it when you are moving places and cities a lot, trying to see and experience, meeting and hanging out with friends and not knowing where to go for a run or workout.

ALEU2662.JPG
Best running view in Bondi Beach, Sydney.

It is definitely easier when you stay at one place for several days and can find a park to run in / workout like I did in Bondi Beach, Perth or Melbourne. As well as when you have an AirBnB hence space to do a home workout without fellow roommates staring weirdly at you.

A lot of parks here in Australia have some outdoor fitness devices which can be handy to use after a run or in addition to your bodyweight exercises. Some backpackers also join Gym chains that exist in whole Australia and that they can use wherever they are, but for me, that’s not worth the money and I rather go to a park.

The good thing is that you are usually very active when you travel, walk a lot or do hikes.

DSC03307

Surf camp was another thing that kept me fit and where I had a daily and very fun workout in the waves.

I also went to different Yoga classes which is another great and fun workout and if you look for good deals, it doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, in the Yoga Loft Newcastle I paid 20$ as a new member for as many classes as I wanted in 10 days. I only stayed there for 2 days and joined 3 classes, but it was still a good deal. In Byron Bay there was the option to join future Yoga teachers in a teaching practice class and I only paid 5$ for 90 minutes of yoga.

Some hostels also offer free Yoga once a week or at least Yoga mats to use for free.

d4a7b3cf961fd84767bc1f0fe9a73c51.jpg

What should I pack when backpacking Australia?

You can find my complete packing list for Australia here as well as a guide on what I have with me in my toiletry bag (that is mostly eco-friendly and very light packed as well).

There will be an update of my “What’s in my Backpack” soon when I am leaving my AuPair family as I will probably go shopping a bit now that I am settling down and I will give you some tips and suggestions that I learned travelling with under 15kg for over four months now.

Anything for Mom!


I love to hear how many people are planning to travel through Australia soon and I hope my tips and suggestions can help you a bit, take your insecurities and make you even more excited for your journey! If you are ever in the same area as I am (stay up to date through my Insta stories @mind.wanderer) please message me and maybe we can meet and hang out together!

If you have more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Werbeanzeigen

Surfing at Spot X – Surfcamp with Mojosurf

What is a better place to learn how to surf than a beautiful secret beach on the east coast of Australia?

Learning to surf was always a big dream of mine and now I finally got the basics to be able to rent a surfboard everywhere along my travels and practice and play in the waves.

DSC03108

DSC03183

I booked the surf camp for 5 days at Spot X with MojoSurf in Woolwolga and it was a complete success. I didn’t only have a lot of fun and some of the most relaxing days, I can also say that I am more or less able to surf now.

Even though I would say that 5 days are great to learn the basics and be able to practice yourself afterwards, I wished I could stay longer because I had such a wonderful time.

IMG_2202

Getting up bright and early after an amazing night sleep to jump in your bikini, have some energizing breakfast grabbing a board and playing in the waves until you are exhausted. Eating lots of wraps, salad and toast afterwards for lunch and going straight back to the beach for some reading and tanning until the sun sets. Some yoga and stretching in the sand, the sound of the waves in your ears and meeting many new people at dinner after a refreshing shower.

Talking to strangers has never been that easy when you know you already have a similarity: the endless love for that breathtaking feeling of riding a wave to the beach.

Relaxing, more reading (or partying for others) until you can’t keep your eyes open anymore and fall asleep with a smile on your face and exhausted muscles preparing for the next surf day.

IMG_2232

Anzeige // Mojosurf is a big surf camp company teaching in Australia, New Zealand or Bali. They have several surf places, but Spot X is supposed to be the best for beginners because it is long, empty and has overall great conditions to learn how to surf. It is right at the beach in Woolwolga on a campsite. They have a big community area with the kitchen where you get served all meals every day and don’t need to worry about cooking or cleaning. You live in a dorm accommodation and meet your surf buddies every day for a two-hour surf lesson. Additionally, it is possible to pay for extra practising time in the afternoon or other fun water activities, but I was happy with resting and relaxing and didn’t join that.

DSC03397

The surf lessons contain some theory as well as practising in small groups with the help of an instructor. All gear you need is provided and they have great boards for beginners (what I can especially feel now that I’ve tried surfing with other boards as well and it was much harder with different ones).

In the beginning, I felt a little bit overwhelmed because the surf camp is quite big and there are a lot of people and teachers that change daily, so you don’t feel very familiar with your group or the instructors. But I got used to that and on the other hand, it was super easy to get to know new people because you just need to ask how their surf was that day and then you are already into a conversation – even easier than in a hostel!

DSC03110DSC03221

I didn’t expect that at first, but the food at the camp was pretty good as well! Lots of healthy stuff and they even did vegan, not just veggie and dairy free. For breakfast, we always had toast with the usual sweet spreads, fruit and even porridge which was great. Lunch was always the same: salad and lots of veggies, wraps, toast, cheese and ham and some sort of pasta/rice salad. Delicious and pretty healthy. Dinner was the highlight! They really put a lot of effort into not making boring/the same dishes all the time. We had taco’s, mac ’n‘ cheese (they even had a vegan one and it was so so good!), rice with veggie stew, mash-veggies-sausage (vegan ones as well!), and a chickpea stew with veggies and potato. Super yummy stuff and so necessary after burning lots of energy in the water and at the beach.

After the five days of surfing, I now feel pretty comfortable about being able to surf some waves and I am so pumped to practice more along my travels. I already surfed the green unbroken waves for the last two days and it worked pretty well (even though the instructor helped me).

After the camp, I travelled further to Byron Bay and also tried surfing here, but the waves were not good at all and the board way too small and therefore hard to stand up for a beginner… but I will for sure try it over and over again – surfing is addicting.

IMG_2250

I am so glad that I made the decision to try surfing and do the surf camp so that I can surf all around the world now and practice a lot more in my 8 months left here in Australia (and probably in Bali/Indonesia as well).

DSC03116


Can you surf? Or would you like to learn it?

Perth & Surrounding – Travel Guide | Tips, Places, Markets, Food

When I arrived, I quickly fell in love with Perth as I had such an amazing experience with the bus driver that took me to the city. He was so caring, helpful and friendly and I also really enjoyed that Perth isn’t as huge and busy as Melbourne or Sydney.

I filmed my first vlog when I was in Perth! Very new and weird to talk to the camera, but I will get used to it when I do it more often and I hope you enjoy watching anyways :)

There are also some impressions from my South-West Australia Tour included in this video at the end.

IMG_0983


Sadly, I got a bit homesick and lonely in my first days in Perth which made me then not enjoying my time that much. Luckily, I could change my mood by booking a tour to explore the south-west of Australia and meeting some nice travel mates on the way.

I really can tell that your experiences on your travels and whether you like a place or not depends so much on the people you share your time with. And as a solo traveller, it is very likely that you will feel lonely at some stage of your travel – but that’s okay, that’s part of the experience and in my second week in Perth, I was luckier with my roommates and had a great time!

IMG_1020

Where to stay

I stayed at the City Perth Backpackers which is located between the centre, Northbridge and Subiaco (the best/main parts of town) and it takes less than 10 minutes by foot to the city centre.

I really liked this hostel because it was super clean and had a nice kitchen without any dirty dishes or food in the sink. I met some great people in the two weeks I stayed, even though there are also some long-term workers living there that tent to drink too often, too early and too much… but I just avoided the TV area and then it was fine.

IMG_9174

IMG_1049

Things to do, Places to go

The prettiest place in the city (in my opinion) is the Kings Park with a beautiful view of the city. A great place to run, walk, explore the Botanical Garden with many unique plants that only exist in Western Australia and have a picnic.

IMG_9357

The Victoria Quay is another pretty place with a great view over Southbridge and the river, as well as the city centre when you stand on the bridge. At night it looks even more special and I can highly recommend going there (but taking a jacket, it’s pretty windy :D ). Also, the harbour is located there and you can do tours to Fremantle, through the river and to Rottnest Island.

OYHW8672

The CBD area has a pedestrian area with a lot of shopping and food places. On the weekends there are markets and live music (see more down below), but as it is the business district I prefer Northbridge for eating out more.

IELH4884

The funny thing is, you can find those old and British looking arcades right next to the high buildings in the CBD.

GMWX7014ECMG2032ESEP9725

Northbridge is super nice to eat out, especially for Asian food and you can also find very nice cafés, bistros, book shops, vintage stores and little boutiques.

 

At the Northbridge Piazza, they sometimes show movies and you can relax in the grass.

EIRW5999

Between the CBD and Northbridge, there is a Plaza called Yagan Square where the main train and bus station is located. There is also a big building with many nice restaurants, bars and food stalls.

BXVN3016

Even though it can’t keep up with Melbourne or Sydney, the Art Gallery of Western Australia is worth a visit and if you need some quiet time to work (+ free Wi-Fi) I can recommend the Library right next to it.

IMG_1027IMG_1028

There are many nice beaches not far from the city that you can go to by bus or train and the great thing is: because it is Western Australia you get to see an amazing sunset over the ocean! I went to Cottesloe Beach once and other very nice beaches (from what I’ve heard of) are Port Beach, Leighton and Mosman Beach, City Beach, Floreat Beach and Brighton Beach.

IMG_9152IEJM6180

Markets

I love going to markets here in Australia. It’s so much fun seeing all this good food, supporting local growers and producers, trying new and exciting things and having a look at beautiful self-made things. Especially after I had such an amazing experience in Brisbane with markets, I am always in the hunt :D

Here are some markets that I visited:

  • Subiaco Farmers Market (Subiaco) on Saturday
  • Perth City Farmers Market (East Perth) on Saturday
  • Perth Home Grown (Murray Street Mall, CBD) on Sunday
  • Mends Street Farmers Market (South Perth) on Sunday
  • Twilight Hawkers Market (CBD) Friday evenings in summer month
IMG_E9199
I also went to a super cute Etsy Handmade market in Northbridge

Eating Out

I would say eating out in Perth is even a bit more expensive than on the East Coast and there are also less great options.

KUBR9884

In Northbridge you can find many Asian restaurants and in the CBD some more expensive ones but I missed some cute cafés and little bistros. You can find some in the suburbs like in Subiaco or also in Fremantle (read more below).

At Yagan Square there are a few nice places for lunch and afternoon snacks.

And I also went to an amazing restaurant called Formosa which is an Asian restaurant that is completely vegetarian and has a lot of vegan options and they recreate the real meals. I had a vegan seafood noodle soup and my friend a chicken stew and some nuggets and it was really yummy. You definitely need to like those „fake foods“, but I tell you: the nuggets were crazy delicious!

QIGM8240

At the Victoria Quay there is an Indian restaurant called Annalakshmi with a buffet and you pay as much as you want to.

APPZ5558

Food shopping

In the city centre, there is only one Coles that is super expensive and small as well. Better go to Coles or Aldi in the Suburbs of Perth, like Subiaco (if possible) because they are much cheaper and bigger or shop in these stores instead:

  • La Vida Vegan Grocery (West): completely vegan grocery store that has soo many cool products
  • Golden Choice Fruit Veg (Subiaco, West): the best place to shop fresh and cheap fruits and veggies as well as Asian groceries
  • Emma Seafood Yong Tofu Asian Market (Northbridge)
  • Kakulas Brothers (Northbridge): Bulk food store where you can get all kinds of flour, grains, rice, herbs and spices, dried fruit, muesli, as well as some special foods (they had German red cabbage and a German dumpling mix :P )

RZIZ6913

Day trips from Perth

Fremantle

Fremantle is a really popular and hip suburb of Perth and only 10 minutes by tram and around one hour by bus from the city centre.

I stayed at the Fremantle Backpacker Hostel which I can’t really recommend because my room window was right where everyone partied outside so it was super loud, but I’ve heard that Fremantle is a party place anyways. So probably all hostels have those issues.

CNNB4812

The Fremantle Market in the Market Halls (from Friday-Sunday) is very popular and a nice undercover market with a lot of different things, as well as many food stalls. You can try the food at many stalls and there is definitely a lunch or snack for every taste.

The South Beach Sunset Market, South Fremantle (Saturday evening in summer month) are supposed to be very nice as well.

UNTC2439IMG_9518

Right at the market, there is a completely vegan café and bistro called ‚Chick Pea‘ which has some amazing yummy food. I had a tumeric waffle. toast with cashew cheese and tomato.

 

And the Milk Belly Café also serves two vegan sandwich options and I tried there pulled BBQ jackfruit sandwich that tasted really delicious and super flavourful. Even my friend admitted that it was really good!

There is also an Acai Brothers and Aloga Bowls for great Acai Bowls and a restaurant that I wished I could have tried (but it is more on the expensive side) is Raw Kitchen.

IMG_9471

Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island is a very famous island in the Indian ocean only about 40 minutes by ferry from Fremantle or 2 hours from the city centre. It is home to the funny looking and friendly Quakkas and a beautiful place with breathtaking turquoise beaches and lovely landscapes. There are no cars allowed so you can explore the island by foot, bike, e-bike or by hop-on-hop-off bus.

IMG_9421IMG_9481

I had a wonderful day cycling around the pretty hilly island stopping for beautiful views, taking pictures and enjoying nature.

There is another vlog coming soon where I take you along my day on Rottnest Island!

IMG_9469


From Perth you can also make your way up to Exmouth along the less popular but just as beautiful West Coast of Australia (which is still on my bucket list) or travel along south to see Wave Rock, Margret River, Albany and Esperance which I did on a 6 day tour that you can read about here!

Western Australia is less popular than the Eastern coast but definitely still worth visiting. Perth is a great city that as plenty of things to offer and you can see and travel a lot when you go north or south. I will for sure come back to travel along the West Coast one day!