City Crushes/Things to do in Melbourne.

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A few days ago I had my melbournniversary. Meaning, it was on the day 3 years since I flew into Melbourne to commence my WH visa. — 3 years that feels equally like yesterday, yet as a bunh of life times ago. To pay tribute to this marvelous city on the south east corner of Australia I figured it called for a dedication in the shape of a blog post extraordinaire.

What you will find is a mix of notebook scribbles from my first time there, along with some photos from the phone, 35mm + my favourite hangouts. Now, brace yourselves for a long read aka put on your reading glasses and let’s get started ↓

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Notebook scribbles

—— Five minutes prior to take off – what the heck have I gotten myself into? I mean, did it occur to me just how far away Australia is? If Stockholm and Bangkok are separated by 9 hours then this distance, of 7, is just about as brutal! — No job, no money, two wee contacts whereof one returns back to Europe within days.
But if it succeeds, if plan A works, then this would be freaking cool.

—— Still haven’t realized I am now in a developed country — so I keep forgetting one can actually flush paper down the toilet and am having freak outs each time someone drinks water from the tap.

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—— Germany ought to be empty, as all of them seem to be in my hostel.
(Anyone backpacking Australia knows this to be true; bloomin invasion of German + French!!)

—— Two weeks in, I’m starting to get the drill. Melbourne has no problems at all with changing from rainfall to a sizzling 36° overnight.
(Ha, I should only have known. A meteorologist actually told me that four weather zones meet in Melbourne which is why the weather changes so rapidly. As a punchline he added “Best thing about Melbourne is, if you don’t like the weather – just wait five minutes!”)

2img_44873Best pastimes in Melbourne

St Kilda Night Market
Thursdays throughout the summer, 5pm-10pm, O’Donnell Gardens (next to Luna Park)

Melbournetourism gives the following description: “The St Kilda Beach Night Market is a locally produced and independently run event that brings together a community of artists, crafters, designers and buyers…” — Take the tram out to St Kilda to drink beer in the grass packed inbetween strangers, watching pyroshows and energetic salsa dancers. Every Thursday for 10 subsequent weeks throughout the summer.

ACMI Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Open daily from 10am, Federation Square

Spend an afternoon wandering around these plural floors of great exhibitions. Enjoyed just as art should be — free of charge.

Queen Victoria Market
513 Victoria Street, Open daily except Tuesdays + Thursdays

According to its very own website the QVM “has been the heart and soul of Melbourne for more than a century.” I used to live just a stone’s throw away, and thus got all my fresh fruit and veg from it. Go late in the afternoon when the vendors are wanting to head home and you might get some marvelous deals. — Alike in St Kilda, they also host a night market throughout the summer. Wednesday night the venue will be filled with live music, steam from the food stalls and independent vendors.

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I’m Free Walking Tour
Daily at 10:30am / 2:30pm, meeting point in front of the Sir Redmond Barry statue in front of the State Libary of Victoria

Tag along with fellow tourists for a fun + informative tour around the city. It takes approx. 2,5 hours but you may head off whenever you feel like it.  It is free of charge but you will be asked for a wee contribution at the end of it.

Lentil As Anything
various venues across town (Abbotsford, St Kilda, Thornbury + Footscray)

LAA is a not for profit restaurant serving vegetarian and vegan food, all run on a pay what you can-agenda.  I used to volunteer at the restaurant located at the Abbotsford Convent two afternoons a week; finding the strangely therapeutic calm of chopping up vegetables. The whole concept is amazing – bringing people the restaurant experience despite what their current financial situation might look like. (Don’t be a cheapskate though!)


11img_0788All in all, Melbourne felt much like the love child of Bristol, Stockholm and perhaps NY too with all its skyscrapers, vibrance and street art. A big city, yet you get that feel of being able to walk wherever.

I tried to date other cities (Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney…)after my four months with Melbourne, but neither of them really compared. Perhaps I didn’t give them a fair chance as I was still stuck on Melbz.


More things Australia:

The WA-road trip.
The WWOOFing Guide + My Experiences.

The WWOOFing Guide + My Experiences.

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Still deciding what to do this summer? Do you want to go travelling but find yourself on a tight budget? Do you wish to discover new countries without paying a fortune on food and sweaty hostel dorms?

Then why not try WWOOFing? It is a great way to get to know a country and its people hands on, and making the travel funds last a little bit longer at the same time!

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I spent 3 months travelling around Queensland, Australia this way with a friend of mine to gather up enough days to be eligible for our 2nd WHV. But of course it exists all over the globe and can be done just for the pure experience of it, not counting any “farm days”!

We lived in an articulated Adelaide city bus and teeny cottages, planted garlic and chased 150 kilo wild boars around in our wellington boots – basically, had a whole lot of experiences that have now emerged into funny anecdotes and good memories!Fullscreen capture 05052016 145139.bmp

       How it works: In exchange for accommodation and food, you spend a couple of hours each day with whatever needs doing on the farm in particular. It can be anything from removing weeds to building fences or looking after animals.
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In Australia you can buy yourself like a “telephone catalog” and simply call/email the places where you are interested in working. It also doubles up as an insurance in case something would happen. Alternatively you sign up on the website and start browsing the ads online!

The following is roughly what sort of places we stayed and work we did during our 88 days of WWOOFing in QLD:
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Eungella

… which is actually an aboriginal name translating roughly to “Land of the Clouds”, which is literally where we stayed – high up in the mountains close to McKay.
Stayed in: a fancy designer wooden house surrounded by paddocks, where I got my own room and free access to the book shelf full of Murakami etc.
Worked with: pruning and planting hoop pines that the landowner was gonna make a fortune on in say… 30 years.
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Lowmead

… stayed with a sweet couple living about an hour drive from Bundaberg, where we went to stock up on groceries once a week. They drove us around to all kinds of places + took us to see their friends who had hundreds of cool birds such as the kookaburra passing by their yard each day.
Stayed in: Our very own articulated bus out in the yard full of bunk beds etc – so cosy! (Apart from perhaps one night when we had left the roof hatch open and got awoken by the couple’s cat Gingin as he jumped down and landed in Ida’s bed!)
Worked with: Originally we planted garlic, but we ended up staying for so long that we also got assigned painting bee hives, another bus standing on the yard and sewing curtains for our very own bus! We also fed the animals, drove 4×4’s and numerous times tried to get Hoodini, who greeted you to this post, back in his paddock after he had escaped. (He was darn good at dribbling!)
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Neerdie

… which unfortunately is pronounced with a silent R, aka not nerdy! </3 I learnt the word undulating here, which describes the landscapes just perfect! Stayed with a lovely Australian/Scottish couple that had SO many great quotes and wise words surrounding their home.
Stayed in: A garage, which in the Australian winter made me very very jealous of Ida’s sleeping bag that she had carried all over the country.
Worked with: Clearing out + redecorating part of the garden, helping out at the town’s wee Memorial Hall where they held Christmas in July (where we had to dress up as reindeer, as depicted above), jumble sales & screened the State of Origin rugby games.
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Beerwah (1)

This is as close as we could get to a postcode rural enough to be eligible for 2nd year visa days to count, so we ended up staying with two families in Beerwah! The first family had 3 kids whereof 2 had the same chromosome alteration that is like a one in several millions chance of getting, making them disabled to walk and talk. It was SO interesting to see how the house had been adjusted to the boys.
Stayed in: An old caravan out in the garden.
Worked with: Gardening, weeding and picking bloody COFFEE BEANS (!!!). They also had these amazing amount of Avocado and Macadamia nuts growing in the garden. Only my own biggest aspiration in life!
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Beerwah (2)

… Last family we visited. The (rather senile) mother of one of them stayed in the house with us as the couple went off to work in the weekdays. Why I say rather senile, she kept introducing herself + talking about how they were “originally from NSW” like each time we past her.
Stayed in: our own little cottage a bit away from the household.
Worked with: Mainly looking after the ducks/hens, but also helped to revamp a house they were due to sell.

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The 5th of August marked our last day of farming, so we immortalized the moment after we picked our last duck eggs.


Now it is always that fear “what if we don’t get along/like each other”, which is of course mutual between host and worker, but believe me – that has never been the case. As these people open up their homes to you, you get acquainted fairly well and as long as you treat their home with respect I see no reason for it not to work out. If you feel uneasy, bring a friend along for the adventure and of course you are not entitled to stay if things do not work out!
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There are tonnes of benefits to this experience, particularly to be able to see just how different people live their lives, and to hear their life stories. Big thumbs up!

→ Do you have any similar experiences of working at farms or this way of travelling, or would you like to travel this way? x


After completing our 88 days of work, we went to WA for a roadtrip which you can read about by clicking here. 

The WA-road trip.

The 5th of August the year before last, Ida and I had plucked our last egg, planted our last garlic, chased our last boar… in other words: we had completed our 88 days of farm work, and thus it was time for VACAY!!! After a day in Brisbane we flew to Perth to commence our 10-or-so-days road trippin’ up the country.

Bring some snacks because here comes a fully loaded post!  wunderbaum_635848602897420409_Afterlight_Edit

We had rented this little bumble bee to carry us up north. (Although these photos are from the last day at the car wash, after we had our like 2nd shower of the whole trip…)
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The back of our car looked like this during day light hours. It was the definition of compact living.

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There were a lot of wandering about epic nature. Our first stop was Kalbarri NP. Touristy photo from Nature’s window – check!
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On Friday, I celebrated my 365th day (!!!) on the road with this luxury-fika in Coral Bay.
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On Saturday we passed by Carnarvon and their weekend market. We bought coffee, cherry tomatoes and filled ourselves with free Chutney-samples.
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Literally in the middle of nowhere, you find Two Tanks rest stop. Fellow by-passers had left their marks. Particularly like the one by Rach + Carrie “filling water, living the dream”. It felt like an accurate description of life at that instant.

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Karijini NP. As we hiked through the gorges I was like “you can really tell where the word gorge-ous comes from.” Mmm so full of wisdom, Linnea.

One of the best thing is perhaps that everyone you pass stops for a few friendly words. A crazy Crocodile Dundee-fellow stopped by us and said he had climbed up by that loop you can see on the other side of the river. (How he managed is still a bit of a mystery to me.) He showed us some photos on his iPad from right underneath. As it turns out, it is in fact not a loop – it separates at the top. #funfact
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The peanut butter incident. A day of great sorrow… <//3 (We may have eaten it anyway. )
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I sure as hell wouldn’t mind a bit of Coral Beach right now. It makes up for its name, the whole beach consists of tiny little corals. Ouch for the feet, but pretty for the eye.
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In WA they have this amazing pink lake… This is not it. But it did have a wee tint of pink. I swear it looked pinkish IRL!   IMG_1958IMG_1959
One of the last stops on our way back to Perth was The Pinnacles, a (quite large) bunch of lime stones shaped by the weather.
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The last night we were a bit too optimistic about the amount of petrol left. We drove around suburbian Perth in the hunt of a good (aka FREE) camper spot as the meter went lower and lower. Finally we found both a petrol station and, perhaps two hours mindless driving later, a camp spot. I slept restless the whole night afraid every car arriving was the camper police… (Is there even such a thing?)
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The next morning we took an immensely cold shower by the public facilities and cleaned out the car (look at that orange desert-dust on the car – it was EVERYWHERE!) before we moved into Brodie in COUCHSURFING HEAVEN. But that will be another post.