Down under: Our first two weeks in Oz

As the Aussies say ‘How you going?’ We’re now acclimatised to our home for the next twelve months but have stopped short of buying a hat with corks.

Since the flight delays of Asia, a couple of weeks ago, we’re now settled in Pakenham, approximately 62km from Melbourne, with Francesca’s relatives. In that time, we’ve become used to having Woolworths in our lives again, the activewear craze and the four seasons a day that the state of Victoria can bring.

In our first week, we paid a visit to Melbourne, which is a fantastic city. To me it had the feel of a big, important city with all the well-dressed people and skyscrapers but really laid back and accessible as well. A different world from London. We took a tour of most of the sites before going our separate ways to explore the National Gallery of Victoria and the multiple sports grounds all in one place.

Melbourne | Big Days Out

Back in Pakenham, the usual mishaps and struggles returned this time in the form of our bank account and Medicare. Firstly, we visited the bank to get our accounts set up for the year. Our first attempt ended with us needing to find a tax number from the UK, which we realised a short time later is just our national insurance number. So, back we went the next day to the lady at the bank to finish setting up. Instead of walking out with two individual accounts, we’re now the proud owners of a joint account with the Bank of Melbourne. Don’t worry you haven’t missed a wedding. However, all donations to backpackers are greatly received!

Another visit to the bank is coming soon. As too, will be another trip to finalise our Medicare forms as we were unable to without bank details. So far not much has been accomplished.

Anyway, all was briefly forgotten, as we made our way down to St. Kilda beach in Melbourne to enjoy some cakes from the many saliva-inducing patisseries on Acland Street…

Acland Street | Big Days Out

And fantastic views of the city…

View of Melbourne from St Kilda beach | Big Days Out

Soon after, I decided to burn only one side of my face whilst laying on the beach. I’ve now learnt to always read the instructions when cooking and turn over halfway through.

Following the debacle of the bank and Medicare, we thought we could at least sort out our new sim cards. Of course, not. For once, Francesca had a painless experience but my sim has decided it does not like my phone so another trip back to St. Kilda for a cake is in the offing.

But the day was saved by our new friend…

Penguin at St Kilda Beach | Big Days Out
We discovered this little fairy penguin in St. Kilda. It’s from the smallest of the 17 penguin species in the world.

Our second week in Australia, took us on a camping trip with Francesca’s relatives to Yarram to explore some more of the state of Victoria. This meant we would be spending 8 nights in a swag or as most of you will know it, a tent. Surprisingly, this was relatively uneventful.

Swag | Big Days Out

However, no camping trip is complete without rain and most of the week was less than glorious, which made it feel like home. Regardless of the weather we had a great time and saw many places we may not have visited ourselves. Throughout the week, we visited many beautiful places including national parks, waterfalls and marveled at the million of stars in the vast sky.

But the highlight had to be the wildlife that we saw. In the two weeks, we’ve been in Australia we have already seen Koalas, Kangaroos, Pelicans, Snakes, Wallabies, Echidnas and some dead sharks.

Our favourite were the Koalas we saw on Raymond Island, particularly this little fella…

Koala on Raymond Island | Big Days Out

Now we’re back in Pakenham and looking for a campervan to travel around in. At the time of writing, we have a viewing for one so fingers crossed we’ll be cruising around soon. We’re then planning to drive the Great Ocean Road and spend a short time exploring South Australia before house sitting in Adelaide. We potentially have one lined up there looking after two hens and a parrot.

If all goes to plan that should take us up to the end of April, which means it’ll be time to head north to Queensland to keep warm and find a job. After all, the money won’t last forever!

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