Cottesloe Beach and suburb fun in Northbridge and Subiaco

Oh the joys of WiFi. Being able to write this whilst sitting outside enjoying the sun.
More fun has been had traveling around Perth’s suburbs. We went to Northbridge again for a little wonder. Ate at Nandos and visited the WA museum (free entry). Enjoyed looking at the dinosaur exhibit and seeing various animals some stuffed, some in resin and some in jars.
Subiaco is another suburb we paid a visit. It was coffee central full of little coffee shops.
It wasn’t the warmest of days so we went to ace cinema which on a Tuesday is $10 (in Australia Tuesday is the cheap day to go cinema). We saw Brad Pitts World War Z. Overall it was an enjoyable film with some great zombie moments. the end however was a little disappointing. Glad we didn’t watch it in 3D. That evening we ate at Grill’d chain restaurant specialising in burgers. Which was great. I had a wild West burger whilst Ash had a bean burger. Very tasty and would go to again.
Cottesloe beach!!!
We had great weather on the weekend it was about 23¬įC the beach was a short walk from Cottesloe station. Blue skies, golden sands and clear blue sea. We took our shoes off straight away and walked along the beach. Ash picked a few shells up on the way and we spotted a jellyfish and the sand that the sea stole back with its tide. Nobody was in the sea apart from a small group of surfers that looked like they were having a lesson.
As our stomachs started grunting we went in search for food. We found a quaint little restaurant called Barchetta. We were given a great table outside overlooking the beach. Our meals cost us about $30 each but the food was really nice and felt we deserved a treat. I had the kangaroo Bolognese and Ash had seafood pizza washed down with a bottle of western Australia red wine.
After filling up we walked further up the coast and cuddled up on a bench just in time to watch the sunset.

Job news & Attack of the Seagulls !!

I HAVE A JOB!!! After having no luck with any of the jobs I’d applied for since coming here I’d near enough given up. Luckily a telemarketing job I found in the local paper asked me straight away to come for a chat the next day and boom I had myself a job! Pay rate here averages between $18-20 per hour, which for us Brits is pretty good (in 2013 anyway might change).

Crown Perth

Took ourselves to Crown Perth which is a casino/restaurant complex (blue man group playing there this year, oh yeah!).
We ate at a place called The Merrywell, great food, nice setting, nice people, I would definitely recommend. We ordered a share platter of pink Snapper tacos which you get 4 ($22) and a glass of local Margaret Rivers red wine (Sean opt-in for a bottle of Dirty Granny cider haha nice!!!).

Ahoy there Freo!

We headed back over to Freo for another little adventure beings as it was a beautiful day. Walked along the beautiful white sandy beach and the jetty, sadly we couldn’t spot any dolphins yet ūüė¶ but watch this space. Had a bite to eat at Cicerellos – the best fish & chips in WA apparently, the chips were quite good the especially the snapper and barramundi fish yum yum and not bad for $16ea. We sat on the beach devouring them when Sean thought it would be clever to throw a chip at the many seagulls nearby, I looked up to see them all flocking over like bats out of hell towards me. I had them all flapping around my head, trying to get what was left of my chips and I panicked and threw them off the cliff. Sean was in hysterics, I’m sure he is gutted he never got a photo of that ūüėõ

After that little show we decided to go check out a shipwreck gallery before we left. It was free which is great, but we gave a donation anyway. The majority of the stuff does take a while to read and its mainly little treasures they find out at sea but there was a few really cool arte facts to look at like the Batavia.
http://museum.wa.gov.au/whats-on/long-term-exhibitions/shipwrecks-gallery
We spoke to an interesting guy who worked there named Lindsey. He used to be a skipper on a boat up in Broome that collected pearls, he even showed us the first pearl he found, which he wears around his neck…I want one!
He mentioned places to look for jobs for engineering, how much we will enjoy fruit picking and to go see Kimberley and whilst in Melbourne we must take a flight over to Tasmania ($100) .Hooroo!!!

Travel Apps

Most people now own either an IPhone or an Android device and there are plenty of useful downloadable Applications (Apps). Here are a list of some of the Apps I have used the most since travelling to Australia.

WORDPRESS – great little app for accessing your blog on WordPress.com
Allows you to edit your blog with ease.

KEEP – I’m a sucker for leaving various bits of paper lying around with notes and lists I have jotted down. Why not use this post it note style app for keeping all your notes in one place.

XE CURRENCY – for keeping up to date with current exchange rates, with useful charts and currency convertor.

AROUND ME – shows local points of interest such as nearest ATMs, pubs, hotels, petrol stations and more

DROP BOX & GOOGLE DRIVE – online storage. Useful for storing your travel docs, Ebooks, and all those holiday snaps.

SKYPE – great for staying in touch with friends and family via video calls or instant messaging.

MOON+ READER – For reading all your Ebooks on the move. compatible with many formats including kindle books.

INSTAGRAM – Social photo sharing. Upload photo’s and share with friends or the public.

FACEBOOK MESSENGER – Instant messaging service. Best thing is because it’s free and most people have Facebook it saves you texting people and paying international rates.

GOOGLE MAPS – Not just useful for knowing where you are but for planning trips via car or even local transport. Giving you full details of the fastest routes and when and where to catch a bus or train.

NEXUS MEDIA IMPORTER РThe only app listed here that you have to pay for but for less than £2 well worth it. Allows you to connect a USB device to your Google Nexus via an OTG cable ( sold separately). You can then save files to and from a USB, download camera images and even watch video files from a USB flash drive.

Northbridge, Perth Zoo….

So we’ve made it in to our second week here in Perth and things are going great.
We went to Westfield Carousel shopping center. We had lunch at Miss Mauds, after a walk around the not so brilliant shops, the food was great; very tasty but expensive at $15 (¬£10) for Sean’s BBQ Chicken sandwich. Very similar to druckers back home.

Friday we decided to head in to the city. We had heard good reviews of Northbridge and its bars and ended up grabbing lunch at a place called The Moon, for all our friends back in Birmingham it is similar to The Sunflower Lounge so you know we had to go there.
The Moon offered a deal on pizza/pasta and a drink for $11.95 which wasn’t bad so we ordered the lasagne and an olive and anchovy pizza with 2 glasses of goon! (A popular drink for back packers). My review of the food wasn’t good, the lasagne was probably microwaved and Sean’s pizza was too salty but it was general bar food, the place itself was cool and it would be somewhere we would come for drinks on an evening.

Perth Zoo

We were both really excited to go visit Perth zoo especially the kangaroos. If we could afford it we would have loved to have done the ‘close encounters’ experience which involves you being a zoo keeper for the day; feeding the animals, getting up close etc, but at $895 we thought not. Entry fee wasn’t too painful at $22.50-$18.50 student.

The Crocodile was quite lazy and just about opened its jaws only because it was cold. The koalas were hard to spot in the trees as was the invisible red Panda. The Kangaroos were adorable jumping in and out of there areas, free to roam about the part which we managed to get a photograph of (their fur is so soft). The Hyaena was cool, he came right up to the edge of its area, we thought it might try and jump at us (sadly it wasn’t as funny as the ones in Lion King). The Orangutan was funny, the little baby was swinging around wearing a cape he found obviously playing up to the cameras. We were allowed to go into one of the monkey cages which was ace, they were called Tamarins and they had little aged faces, they are among many other endangered animals here at the zoo ūüė¶

Very disappointed by the Komodo Dragons, it was only a baby. The nocturnal area was good but the red lighting meant it was tricky to get a good picture and there was only 2 spiders!! You’d think they would have more.

Overall though a brilliant day, well worth the money as we spent all day there till chucking out time.

Armadale

We took a look around a small town called Armadale, wasn’t much happening there but nice views. We took a stroll through the park and had a bite to eat at Dome restaurant which wasn’t bad food a sandwich and drink came to about $16. We found d a store that sold NERDS!! Sean was made up especially as they cost just $2.98 for a big box.

Kings Park

We ended our week with another trip to Kings park in the city. Took a walk around the botanical gardens along a glass bridge and there was some great views up on the cliffs.
It was a gorgeous day at 22¬į and caught a nice tan. We bought along a picnic and sat next to a fountain with an impressive water feature that reached about 20ft!

Photos to follow!!

Job hunting, CV, Bank & Tax

So now for the boring stuff…yawn!
JOB HUNTING

In between having fun, the past two weeks we have been looking for paid work. Of course we’d both prefer not to work but even with the money we have saved for our trip we still need to fund our adventure.

CV

Our first port of call was to update our CV or resume. Make sure you include any information about your eligibility to work such as your working holiday visa. Update your current contact details; Australian address and mobile number. It is important to tailor your CV according to the job you are applying for. In my case I have an engineering and a retail CV. Depending on the job I apply for I use either of those and adjust if needed. Don’t forget about writing a good cover letter. Address the employer you are writing to. Write a short personal statement about yourself and why you would be a suitable candidate for the job in question. I try to keep my cover letter no longer than half a page and my CV never longer than 2 pages.

Where to look

We printed a number of CVs and cover letters and kept them with us when traveling around. We handed many out in Perth city centre at various retail stores. Most stores advertised current positions in their shop window. But there’s also no harm in asking if a store has vacancies. Although a job in retail is not something we’d be looking for back home, it is still paid work and we are not in the position to be picky.
Checking local newspapers is another good source. This week alone I’ve applied to around 10 jobs advertised within various newspapers.
Online is where you’ll find most jobs. Sometimes it is also good to register with certain sites as they offer updates in the form of an email. If in Australia check out these:
www.jobsearch.gov.au
www.seek.com.au
www.hays.com.au
www.gumtree.com.au

As of yet unfortunately we’ve not had much luck on the job front but chin up and keep at it.

TFN tax file number

It’s important to¬†register for a tax file number (TFN) if you are planning on working in Australia or even for opening an Australian bank account. This way when in employment or using a savings account you won’t get charged the ridiculous emergency tax rate of 49%. It’s easy to¬†set up, it just takes 10 minutes to fill in an online application and we received our TFN within 2 weeks.just go to :
http://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/content.aspx?doc=/content/38760.htm&pc=001/002/001/008/002&mnu=1106&mfp=001/002&st=&cy=1

Banks

Having not even heard of most the Australian bank accounts before it was hard deciding who to go with. With a bit of research we narrowed it down to ING direct, HSBC Australia and NAB. It’s mostly down to personal preference but look out for things such as some Australian banks charge monthly fees for having an account. Also check how easy it is to access your money. NAB offered a daily and savings account with no fees, online access and they have many branches and ATM’s across Australia. A friend who is also travelling backpacking around Australia is also with NAB and due to not hearing any negative feedback from her, NAB was our bank of choice.

Accommodation

At the moment we have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to stay with family in Australia. This may not be the case for most people traveling Australia. As much as we are enjoying our time here we will have to start looking for accommodation at some point. There are many hostels around Australia which offer cheap accommodation. You can also apply to be a house sitter or even house share or coach surf. Below are a few useful websites.

 

www.gumtree.com.au
www.mindahouse.com.au
www.aussiehousesitters.com.au
www.couchsurfing.com
www.yha.com.au/hostels

Week 1: Perth-Freo-Golden Coast

Perth
The first place we visited was the city of Perth. We caught the train, which was easy enough although it did seem expensive. Getting off the train we walked through the city towards the bell tower which I read earlier that morning was worth a look at. As much as I liked the buildings unique look, it was nothing to shout home about. It is said that the bells are the only royal bells to have left England. You can pay $14 to enter the tower which we decided against and thought a short walk to kings park would result in a better view of the city without the price tag.
Kings park was a great little walk, we just wished we had brought a picnic to enjoy. Considering it’s now meant to be winter with highs of 19¬įC we were both pleasantly warm.
When we returned into the city we looked for a bite to eat and couldn’t believe the price of things such as the average price of a baguette was $8 (¬£5). With little knowledge of good places to eat we ended up having our first lunch at McDonald’s purely because for the same price of one baguette we were able to buy two cheeseburgers fries and a drink to satisfy us until later that evening.

Fremantle (Freo)
First thoughts of Freo¬†were positive. We walked down the cappuccino¬†strip full of old hip looking buildings with balcony’s. Freo¬†seems to be the city of show offs. Car wise at least. I kept noticing a lot of people cruising around in hot rods, American muscle, and classic cars. Our first stop was breakfast at San Churros. Heaven for any chocolate lover. With so much to choose from such as a chocolate platter I decided to go for Spanish hot chocolate with churros and chocolate dip. Would highly recommend but next time I wouldn’t have both at the same time, so early in the morning. Talk about chocolate overload!!!
There is always something happening in Freo Рso I have heard. The day we went there was a bike show on the streets. With plenty of classic motorbikes to look at Harley Davidson, Norton, BSA, Triumph to name a few even an old Morgan 3-wheeled car.
We carried on walking through the streets seeing plenty of street performers, and had nose at the markets. We found a British sweet shop selling all sorts of sugared wonderment. Including Terry’s chocolate orange $9 (¬£6) a pop. I should have just filled my suitcase full of chocolate to sell over here!
Lunchtime we went to the famous Cicerellos by the harbour. I had some amazing fresh battered scallops that set me back $12 (£8) for five. I winced at the price but my taste buds were having a rave.
We arrived at the round prison just in time to see and be deafened by the canon that fires at 1pm everyday. It was only a small prison but interesting seeing how prisoners lived. Ash was going to stand in the stocks but was advised not to by a member of staff who said you might get poked by a few unfriendly spirits.
Before leaving Freo we got to take our first steps on Aussie sand and walked along the beach taking in the sea air.

AQWA

My cousin took us to Aquarium of Western Australia AQWA up in Hillarys. On the way me and Ash saw our first Black Swan through the window of the car. Admission to AQWA was $29 (£18) similar in price to Sea Life centres back in the UK. Although I felt you got more for your money here. There was plenty to see and managed to take some good shots. They also do a dive with the sharks experience which we are very tempted by.

IMG_0858

My fave photo of the day

On the way home we stopped of at Scarborough beach for a great view of the sun setting into the Ocean. It was a great photo opportunity.

WA bank holiday
Monday was a bank holiday and what better way to spend a bank holiday than having our first Aussie BBQ. We went to Sir James Mitchell park just south of the Swan river with family. It was a lovely day with great company with a nice view of Perth cityscape. The park had brick gas-powered¬†BBQs¬†that were free to use. We had to wait a short while for one to become vacant but it was worth it. We’d brought sausages and chicken and within a few minutes were all happily chewing away. It’s a shame there’s nothing like this back at home in England for those days when the weather is actually nice. But if there was they’d probably be all dirty or broke and you’d probably have to pay for the privilege of using them. I also got to kick my first Australian football (not very well) and showed my lack of skill playing cricket.

Australian films we watched this week:

Kenny – 6/10¬†a¬†mockumentary¬†film about an Australian who maintains and provides portaloos. Love the way he called toilet paper “poo tickets” ¬†[ASH tip: don’t watch Kenny while eating, totally off-putting!]

The Sapphires – 7/10 based on a true story about three Aboriginal¬†girls leaving behind family and friends to start a music career in Vietnam during the war. A feel good comedy starring Chris O’Dowd from the IT Crowd.

Still no sight of any spiders, snakes or kangaroos. [Ash “yay!”]

LINKS:

Fremantle roundhouse http://www.fremantleroundhouse.com.au/index.html

San Churro http://www.sanchurro.com.au/

Cicerellos http://www.cicerellos.com.au/