I like to explain this place as the party capital of Australia, like the Magaluf of Spain or the Vegas of the USA. I have had some of the craziest adventures in this place and i considered it home for 5 months of my 8 month Australia trip. Here is where I met some of the craziest people I have ever met. Backpackers in Paradise (the hostel I lived at) was one of the best hostels on the gold coast. Although its trip advisor reviews are not all 5 star and the place is practically falling apart, it has one of the homeliest atmospheres I’ve ever encountered( except for home😄). The joys of living in a hostel is that you get to meet people from all over the world. Germany, Canada, USA, Sweden, France etc. The thing about backpackers is that we all have one common interest. To see the world. This in itself makes backpacking fun. You never know what experience or adventure lies around the next corner. You start out in one place and you end up in a place that you might have never even imagined visiting. When i arrived in Australia I had never dreamed of staying in Surfers Paradise for as long as I did. In fact my original plan was to stay in Brisbane and get a job there. I went to visit a friend on the Gold Coast and feel in love with the laid back and free lifestyle. The Gold Coast is full of backpackers and adventures seekers and is the perfect place for someone who likes to party and loves new experiences. After my week visit to the gold coast I went back up to Brisbane and checked into a hostel. It was here that I met another Irish backpacker and a German backpacker. After talking to these two for an hour it was evident that all three of us were not looking for the city vibe. The next day we packed up our things, got back on the train and went right back to the gold coast. This is when we started our ‘exciting‘ adventure of job hunting. To say the least it was rather the opposite of exciting. Every backpackers expects to walk off the plane and almost have a job immediately and it is not an easy task. Australians love to offer you a ‘trial’ prior to employment. These trials usually don’t end in you getting the job. After about a month of solid job hunting I was talking to a friend in the hostel and he said that the hotel that he works for were looking for staff. The next day me and a friend ventured in to see if we stood a chance of convincing them we were the right applicants for the job. After what was possibly one of the strangest interviews I have ever been too we both walked home in the blistering sun with our heads held low and our hopes given up. Later that afternoon the hotel called and said that I got the job but unfortunately my friend hadn’t. I started that job on the 14/10. I was now a waitress in one of the Gold Coasts most popular family holiday destinations. Not the best job for a backpacker that enjoyed more then an occasional drink. The amount of times I arrived to work drunk and managed to keep my job was crazy. In January I decided it was time to actually see the country and quit my job, packed my bag again and move on to the next destination which for me was unknown.
Touching down in the land of sun was one if the most exciting/ nerve racking experiences of my life. Let’s just say Ireland is half the size of Darwin. The idea of a country being so big is baffling to me. I get off the plane and I have to find my way to Labrador in the Gold Coast. Surprisingly it was easier then expected. There is a train stop in Brisbane that goes directly to the Gold Coast. I jump in the train and hope to The Lord baby Jesus it’s bringing me where I need to be. Now as a back packer we all know free wifi is the reason we survive. So I’m all excited about logging onto the wifi and letting my family and friends know that I arrived safe and sound…. I’m on Facebook and snapchat and iMessage and whatsapp and then I’m like I should really check if the train I am on is the right one… Just as I’m about to check a lovely message appears. Thanks for using the qld trains wifi we limit our customers use ,they cut me off 😰And all I can think is shite I’m screwed now. Luckily I have a great friend who texted me where I should get off. So I’m sitting on this train hoping it says the next stop is helensvale every time we slow down. After about 5 stops I finally get to where I need to be.. Next problem how do I contact Brodie to tell her where I am.. FREE WIFI😳 that’s when I discover how little free wifi there is in Australia. I’m walking around this shopping centre refreshing my wifi list every second hoping a free one will appear! Finally one does I send the message and get extremely excited because I’m about to see my best friend that I haven’t seen in a year and I’m in the same hemisphere as her again and it’s so exciting. I’m standing in a mall and this person jumps on my back and it’s her and I can’t believe that it’s finally that moment and then we shop and it’s all just so normal and it feels like we never even said bye all that time ago. For the next week we just chill out, drink wine, watch movies, catch up. It was so wonderful. Until I had to leave her to go back to brisbane to find somewhere to live and a job.. It makes me so excited for traveling around this country and seeing everyone again. I can’t wait for other friends to arrive and for us to catch up….. I think I’m really going to love Australia.💛
Boarding a plane in Vancouver and I’m seated next to the window. Now were all aware of this dilemma. I’m on a 13 hour flight and there is two people blocking me from the ability to freely use the bathroom. It’s inevitable that the minute they fall asleep your bladder is going to decide it’s the perfect time to pee and then your stuck sitting there waiting for them to wake. So you start to do the loud cough, the hmm hmm, the moving Around a ridiculous amount in your seat hoping that you wake them!! When they finally wake you don’t want to make it obvious that you were trying to wake them so you wait the 10-15 minute lapse before asking can you get out. Then you finally get to the bathroom and there is a ridiculous line. You go to the bathroom and think I’m just going to walk around after this and stretch my legs and then you look and the person is waiting for you to get back and all you can think is shit I’m gonna be stuck there for another few hours 😵my method of avoid all the above crisis’ you use the washroom every time the person next to you uses it.. So I tried it and it works a treat the only thing I had an issue with was the fact that my legs cramped and I got over it 😀 the issue is fixed .. You can thank me after your next long haul flight 😁
My Vancouver island adventure started off with numerous busses and sky trains and ferries but after a long 5 hour commute myself, my brother and his friend arrived into the gorgeous victoria. Immediately we went straight to the hostel to check in. The ocean island hostel was basic but perfect-a place for three irish people to crash after a night of drinking. At about 6pm we decided to have a drink or two in the hostel before going out. After talking to someone in my room we invited her along. So about 7 drinks later we decided to finally leave. Where do three Irish people automatically get drawn to only an irish bar called the irish times.This is when we started on the Guinness and the girl who came with us finally decided to have a drink.. The poor girl hadn’t a clue what she just got herself into 😆the atmosphere in the Irish bar was dead so we decided to head onto the next bar.. I have no recollection of what it was called 😲the further we got the drunker we got😜 after what I’m guessing was about 12 pints I decided bed was in order … The boys stayed out and only god knows what they got up to .. It was a great night but Jesus the hangover the next day wasn’t quite worth it 😰 and yes we did have to go whale watching with all our stomachs raw and our heads pounding. We head down to the dock and pay over the $80 (which was rather cheap). We suit up in big red suits and jump on board the 12 person speed boat. And speed it did … Flying over waves , bouncing up and down and getting soaked wet was by far one of the best hangover activities I’ve ever done and it kicked the hangover right out of the water — hehe pun intended :p we cruise out to the middle of the harbour and within minutes we start to see the fins of the orcas popping out of the water … A family with mother, baby and father were happy to surface for us. After about 40mins of tracking them we decide that some more wildlife is in order and the captain jumps up the speed and heads toward a lighthouse where sea lions and seals like to laze around. They absolutely stunk, if that didn’t induce the hangover vomits I don’t think anything would. We started back to land and we decided that we would recheck in as our adventure wasn’t over yet! We headed out for some hangover cure and what’s better for that then Indian 🍲 a place called the sizzling tandoori is where we ended up hungry and tired! It took at least an hour to get our food and even after waiting they bought out two of our meals first and we had to wait for the other so long that we just asked for it to go … Not recommended if your in a rush!! We just went back to the hostel and slept after and headed home nice and early the following morning ….. A trip to the island is 100% recommended if you are in the area!! Whale watch us a must 🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋
Yes you read that right.. In camp we live in tipis, I have had some amazing times in one of these little canvas triangles. I will always remember my first time sleeping in one.. Or shall I say lying in one cause I didn’t get a wink of sleep. It was such a surreal thought to me to be sleeping outside in the wilderness with things like bears and cougars roaming around. The good thing was that I wasn’t alone. Working in camp you work in pairs and my co counsellor that week was an another amazing irish person who thought me some of the most important foundations about not only living in a tipi but working in a summer camp. Throughout these last three years I’ve had some crazy, scary and funny times inside a tipi. One thing that is interesting about a tipi is that although big animals cannot get in all the little ones love the warmth and shelter the tipi provides.
Although these flies are small they are the most annoying things in the first few weeks of the summer. The aim is to light a tipi fire as quick as possible to deter them from being in there. The problem is once you fall asleep and the fire goes out its mosquito heaven cause the smoke is gone and there is lovely humans for them to snack on. Let me tell you being woken up in the middle of the night to one of these buzzing in your ear and not being able to swat it away is by far the most irritating thing ever. They always seem to love flying by your ears aswell it’s as if they know it will annoy you!, they stick there little snout into your skin and draw your blood. It’s the itch that follows that gets you and try tell a child not to itch it ….impossible, of course they are going to itch it and then they get the lucky chance to complain about it and of course us counsellors brush it off and stick a piece of grass to the bite and make up a lie about it and say its magic healing grass hehe. So yeah Mosquitos suck major ass and are probably the worst thing about the sun in camp.
These little cute furry friends are the bane of tipi life. Firstly, they wake you so early in the morning doing weird squirrel calling rituals that are basically them screeching as loud as they can as early as they can . In the past I haven’t had much issues with these little guys in tipis until this year. So there is such thing as a staff tipi and let’s just say some of the rules are not obeyed in the staff tipi .. One of the most emphasised rules in camp is no smellies in the tipi. What is a smelly?..Well my friends a smelly is anything that has a scent. Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, dental floss etc. so yes this is a rule that is not followed by staff members who live in a tipi together. This year I was lucky enough to spend the summer in the staff tipi cause I was only working with day campers. For the 8 weeks I spent in camp I was honoured to share the tipi with the lifeguard and one of my best friends Sophie. Others came and went but we were the permanent residents. So yeah me and Sophie liked to keep our smellies on us, I mean who is going to walk that extra 3 minute walk at 7:15 am just to put on deodorant ? Not us I tell ya. The squirrels took a liking to that lovely minty fresh morning breath that we were parading around camp and decided they wanted it to .. Slowly Sophie’s smellies started to go missing and in the mess of our tipi we thought they were just misplaced. First it was her floss, then her, Chapstick, deodorant, and then her toothpaste. My floss was gone too. Everyday something else would go. So one day as I wandered through the forest Sophie approaches me and asks if I have seen her red flannel shirt. I haven’t seen it in ages so we thought she might have forgotten it somewhere on a weekend. A few days later a group of campers are talking about a shirt they found that had been chewed by the squirrels and low and behold it was sophs. At this point Sophie thinks the squirrels are against her and purposefully plotting to get her. Now we all think she is bat shit crazy of course. Until one closing day, two of our tipi friends were doing a garbage sweep of the tipi area and what shows up but all of Sophie’s stuff under a tree chewed and nibbled on by those pesky bastards. They are truly thieves. They are evil. One thing we did learn though was that smellies rule is in place for a reason. And since we had the smellies in the tipi they liked to hang out in there. Being waken up to a little wet snout on your head is so not fun and this happened way more then once 😦 the amount of times I’ve thrown something I’m a rage across the tipi at a squirrel is ridiculous. Not to mention that one time I kicked one across accidentally.
Now I find it hard not to sleep in a tipi with these little disturbances . The sound of the fire crackling is by far the most relaxing thing to sleep to.
So as some may know there is a lot of sheep in New Zealand. And I’ve had the honour to work with some amazing New Zealanders over the years. Each and every one of them is as crazy as the other . Any New Zealander I’ve met is always up for some banter. One fine summers day as we were driving down camp road listening to some music and chilling out after a hard week working we hear a rich kiwi accent from the back seat scream ‘ is that a sheep?’ As we could hardly understand what was said, Calmly we turn our heads to the right and out the car window we see what is defiantly bigger then a sheep, a different colour then a sheep and doesn’t quite walk the same as a sheep. At once we all realise what it is ….’no Natalie that is a grizzly bear’ we all say in sync . We jam on the break, stop the car, grab our cameras and bear spray and jump out. We run towards the bear (against all the training we get about dealing with bears). Almost everyone in the car was international and hadn’t seen one of these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat and we just had to . So we slowly start to approach it and watch it as it lazily thumps along the grass and into the thick of the tress. And although no perfect picture was taken in fact I don’t think any picture was taken it was truly amazing to see this massive grizzly in their natural habitat and we had a lot of fun mocking poor Natalie about her thinking it was a sheep afterward as well😜 lets just say she still hears it all the time and it’s over a year later !