Here’s a brief summary of our road trip around Australia with a Working Holiday Visa. We lived on the roads for about 18 months, the experience of a lifetime!
Before arriving in Australia
After 4 years working full time it was time for us to have a break! And Australia was the perfect destination for that. We did a bit of research to prepare our trip and a few months later, we were on a plane with a single ticket to Australia. We started with a week-long stop in Singapore and another in Thailand, to finally arrive in Sydney on December 31, just in time to celebrate New Years Eve.
Then came aboard this magnificent 1976 Toyota Coaster and that’s when the adventure began!
Our arrival in Australia
After a few months of sitting in a garage, the bus needed a lot of work to get moving! We made our first steps in Australia by pushing it…
We decided to drive north along the coast. First bad choice! A cyclone was waiting for us in northern Queensland, and it was not the right season for picking …Turning around was required!
Arriving in Brisbane, we realized that the rego bus had expired license plates therefore no longer existed! We had therefore led a ghost bus for 1 month … and had finally found his name “Casper”!
The Road Trip
After a month-long holiday on the Gold Coast without a drop of rain, it was time to find a small job. First was farm work for both of us… and as we discovered, not very easy!
After saving enough money, we continued our way south, Melbourne, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island… then comes the crossing of the Nullarbor … An endless plain across the South of Australia with the sole road sparsely populated with any signs of civilization.
Just 50km from the end of the road, a small puncture in our tyre slowed us down! It wasn’t anything too bad but our unsuitable jack and a more than 3 tons bus posed a bit of a challenge! Fortunately a 4 × 4 stopped to give us a hand. They are cool, these Aussies!
We arrived in Albany (southwestern WA) to work in fruit picking at a strawberry farm. The work was bad for the back and the pay wasn’t good! Too bad, it will be that or nothing!
We drove to Perth to find a job in Gingin. There they gather oranges, lemons and tangerines! The owners are lovely people, the team is nice, and it’s pretty well paid. We stay two months with great moments and shared many good memories …
The road then continues north where we discover this wild and wonderful West Coast! Arriving in Broome, we meet a French couple, we travel together to Darwin, via the Litchfield National Park and Kakadu. Our roads split after a month shared adventure and then we continue towards the Red Centre !
Discovering a world apart, where the land is flat and ochre! This is where one of our strongest memories takes shape!! A few kilometers from Uluru, big rains fell during the night and flooded our camp spot! The next morning we find ourselves bogged down, alone and without any mobile reception.
After a few attempts, we decided to hitchhike to the tourist centre of Uluru. Arriving we can finally contacted the roadside assistance. The answer was quite simple, $1,000 for a tow truck to come get us out of here! We rejected the tempting offer and looked instead for a mini excavator for $25!
We spend our day digging under threatening clouds, but nothing happens …
The call for help was our last chance. We reach the edge of the road and stop a few passing motorists … The third will be the right one. A good Australian 4 × 4 takes us out of there in 2 minutes! Saved!
The next day the good weather returns and after regaining the moral, we enjoy the fabulous Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park .
We then continued towards the south to Coober Pedy where we rediscover the Mad world Max!
Arriving in Adelaide we found a job picking cherries, this time…with a great team, easy fruit to pick as our top priorities, we had many hours of work (60 / week) and therefore were able to make a lot of money. We stayed a month and a half before heading to Melbourne for Christmas
After another new year at 40°C in Melbourne, we took the ferry towards Tasmania.
Wonderful discovery, wild landscapes, lots of greenery … it changed us!
We decide to work one last time before going to Queensland (because of the floods, the crops were badly damaged).
We gathered apples in difficult conditions with a performance pay … There was a lot of rain, but no toilets or shower facilities.
The first days were unglamorous and the owner was quite demanding and boring. We finally get out and go after one and a half months.
Back on the main land, the winter is near. We reach the east coast and by the time we reach Canberra the weather is freezing!!!
With nights at -3 ° C we must make a choice … continue along the east coast to the north, or to take the inland route as far north as possible and then along the coast to the south?
It’s too cold, we chose to join the tropics by land!
2,500km to go through the Australian outback. Endless landscapes, certainly monotonous but simultaneously form a unique experience. After a week on the road, we finally arrive in Townsville. Sun, 27°C and switched from winter to summer in one week!
In parallel, the Backpackers Guide is finally starting to take shape …
In Northern QLD, we finally follow the ocean along this beautiful coast. We discover the Great Barrier Reef and Islands Whitsundays.
After discovering tropical Australia with its crocodiles and lush forests, it’s time to turn around!
The return to Sydney, doesn’t have the same flavor, it smells of the end. The bus is already on sale and we start to think about the future…
Arriving in a small town, near Rockhampton, someone was very interested in our bus. With offers we couldn’t ignore, we decided to separate from Coaster… it was a difficult time and a difficult return to reality!
We rent a car to finish the coast to Brisbane. We stay several weeks before finding a vehicle relocation to Sydney …
After almost 2 years on the roads, many meetings, incredible landscapes, joy and a huge sense of freedom… if we could do it again… we would go back with no hesitation!