- +3530km (commuting)
- 200km (2 months in Cairns)
- 800km (3 months in Woolgoolga > work)
- 360km (1 month in Newtown > work, Neutral bay)
- 1000km (3 months in Newtown > work, Pyrmont)
- 920km (3 months in Newtown > work, Pyrmont)
- 250km (cycling around)
- +1920km (car)
- +0km (bus)
- +0km (train)
- +0m (boat)
- +0km (plane)
- 2 chains
- 3 chainrings
- 1 trailer tire
- 2 road tires
- 9 punctures
I arrived in Australia the 21st of June 2013. The middle of winter in New zealand is quite cold so I chose to visit Cairns first. What a difference when I arrived! The temperature reaches 25 degrees when it was around 10 in Auckland. I feel I’m in holidays, well… I’m in holidays :-) Australia is looking good. I feel relaxed. My main goal here is to earn money as I spent too much in NZ. In fact, I’ve learned a lot during the previous year. I can change my gears perfectly now ;-) and know where I can save money and where to sleep for free. Of course I heard about the deadly animals of Australia but it’s worth to try and I’m pretty sure I won’t see dangerous animals or insects every day.
Like New Zealand, I got the working holiday visa to get in. The first year cost me $473. You can extend this visa only one time and for one more full year. For this, you must work 3 month (88 days precisely) in a remote area. All the requirements are on this page. Mainly, you work 3 month, print a paper and let you employer fill it. Then you go online and fill the same form again. You pay another $420 and few days later, if everything went well, you will receive another email telling that your 2nd year visa has been granted. That’s it. If you really want to stay 2 years, just do your 3 months as soon as you can. The extension counts from your first entrance in the country, not from when you get the extension. In any case you will have 2 full years.
The food in Australia can be expensive. The best is to cook for yourself every time. My budget for a day was $10 per day. Mainly, I was cooking pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, onion, banana, grapes and apples. These one are the cheapest I’ve found along the way. Tomatoes, kiwi and lemon are surprisingly very expensive around the country. In Sydney, Newtown, there is a very nice restaurant. The food is vegetarian. You can have a drink, a meal and a desert and you pay the price you want. The name of that place is called “lentils for anything“. The food is delicious!
I’ve avoid paying for sleeping as much as I could in two years. The first year, I’ve spent only one week, the first one, in a backpacker in Cairns. The price was $111. During the rest of the year, I’ve spent zero. Doing free camping in Australia is pretty easy. There is lots of space, lots of quiet spots. During the trip across the desert (Adelaide > Alice Springs > Darwin), most of the time there is a rest area (with water) every more or less 80km. The water tanks are filled with rain or groundwater. I’ve been lucky all the way and found water every time but I don’t know if it’s the case every time. Make sure you have a filter.
I did not use public transports very often during those two years. The one I appreciate is the relocation car system. If you want to save some money and have to travel a bit quickly, this is a good option. This website (imoova.com) provide all the informations needed :-) In big cities like Sydney, the price of the public transports is like Europe. It’s not better neither worse, just the same modern and pricy transportation.
Internet / phone provider
Internet is not cheap in Australia even if the price are going down slowly. My phone provider was Vaya (The Company uses the Optus Network). It used to be very cheap but over the time their prices went up! Have a look, it might still be still less expensive than Telstra which is the most expensive. When I got ready to cross the desert from Adelaide to Darwin, I decided to switch for Telstra to be sure I would get coverage along the way. In fact, I did have coverage only in the few cities and communities. If I had to do it again, I would keep Vaya I think.
One last thing about the public transport. The train that goes from the Sydney airport to the city called the AirportLink is very expensive (something like 17$). A friend told me that she used to walk 10 to 15 min to catch a normal bus for 1$ or 2$ out of the airport.
If you travel by yourself, be careful with certain campsite. Sometimes they charge for two even if you are just yourself. By principle, I don’t go there. This is a rip off!
Sleeping in the bush in Australia is not that dangerous as we think. I’ve done it a lot and never had any trouble with animals. The animals are living around for sure but as long as you don’t attack them they won’t bother you. Just respect the nature and it will come back to you :-)
Step by step
Cairns to Cooktown (775km loop, 12 days)
This is my first trip in Australia. It looks small but it’s the biggest step I’ve made until now! It’s so warm here compare to New Zealand! I’ve met already 3 cyclists on the way : two guys (one from France with a guy from Australia) cycling for few weeks from Brisbane to Cooktown. Then one woman from Germany was cycling back from Cape york.
Cairns to Upper Mongogarie (1700km driving + 314km cycling, 10 days)
Wwoofing ready! When I was looking for work in Cairns it did not worked out. Apparently they don’t really like French people up there. We have a bad reputation and I’m absolutely not surprised about that. Too many young guys who want just to make parties, get drunk and be noisy. The neighbourhood does not really like this. This is why I’ve decided to hire a car and drive down to Brisbane because the season for the fruit picking has started already and by cycling I would be completely late. At the same time, I tried to find a job which would be paid and part of the 2nd Visa program. I’ve finally found a Wwoofing place which accepted me for that 3 months period, nice!
Upper Mongogarie to Woolgoolga (289km, 5 days)
This is a short trip because I did not expected to find another job that quick! I’ve just finished my Wwoofing and was focusing on Sydney. I had a bit of savings with ne but clearly not enough for the big city. I stopped in Coffs Harbour, I went to the library and was looking for work in Sydney when I’ve seen an ad online about Blueberry picking. I’ve called the guy and he told me to call him again when I would arrive in Woolgoolga. This town was not on my way but only 27km up north so I gave it a try and the next day I was working :-) This is why I’ve been cycling only 5 days! haha
Woolgoolga to Sydney (723km, 11 days)
Finally, after 3 months working in Woolgoolga (blueberries, Cucumbers, bananas) I’ve headed to Sydney with enough savings to live 2 months. I gave myself a limit of time to find a proper job and if it’s not working I will continue travelling. This trip to Sydney has been very good. The weather was amazing, I did not remember suffering with the wind. I just had a day of rain one of the last day and 4 puncture that same day (my trailer’s tyre was done). Enjoy the visit!
Sydney to Melbourne (1350km, 18 days)
Here is the first part of my trip from Sydney to Melbourne in 18 days. I’ve really enjoyed that trip: The departure with Robin, Stan, Daniel Jose Marie, the champagne (haha), meeting Wendy twice in Wollongong and Melbourne, Tim and his family in Cooma, Alain and Jean the crazy cyclists, Akihiko with who I’ve been cycling to the top of Australia! Wow! So many things :-) The weather were really pleasant and not too cold apart two days with rain and few days with a light headwind. I can say, I’m very lucky :-)
Melbourne to Adelaide (1107km, 14 days)
This trip has been very good so far. Lots of headwinds but nearly no rain which is the worse.
Adelaide to Alice Springs (731km + 804km by car, 10 days)
A lot of surprise happened during this trip. Some good new and some bad news. I met many nice people like Joy & Graham, Matt and his girlfriend, The Team (Kate & Graham, Neil, Sue & John, Charles). I had a problem with my trailer wheel’s hub. Then I’ve stayed in Alice Springs a bit longer than expected, waiting for my new hub to arrive.
Alice Springs to Darwin (1693km, 23 days)
This is my last big step in Australia! This time I did not have any more troubles with my tires and trailer’s hub. The road between Tennant Creek and Mataranka was not the most interesting part though but all the way up from Mataranka to Darwin has lots of places to visit. Especially that I could have a swim nearly everyday.