The End of Our Australian Adventure

After an amazing 12 months of travelling around Australia, sadly it had to come to an end. We started our adventure in Perth, from there we went up the west coast to Monkey Mia and down to Margaret River. We flew to Melbourne, did the Great Ocean road and travelled through to Adelaide and Port Lincoln. From there we drove to Sydney passing through Mildura and Canberra before embarking on a trip up the east coast stopping at Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Noosa, Rainbow Beach, Hervey Bay, Fraser Island, 1770 Agnes Water, Rockahampton, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Townsville, Magnetic Island and finishing in Cairns diving the Great Barrier Reef.

Now we are settling back to normal life in Birmingham, England and miss Australia in so many ways. Our next step is to find work and then plan some more exciting adventures.

Due to the amount of fun we were having our blog sort of fizzled out but we are hoping to reignite it and maybe even give it a makeover. Some content will be deleted and other bits shall be edited. On top of that hopefully they’ll be a lot of new additions. The blog will no longer become an update for friends and family but a form of help and advice for any people hoping to embark on an adventure similar to ours. We’ll point out the Dos and Don’ts of travelling and the mistakes we made. Reviews of travel agencies, hostels and more.

Let us know if you have any ideas for the blog? What would you like to know?

DSC_8720

Tourists see things, travellers experience them!

Food Recipes – Mince Meat Ragu, Sausarole, Seafood Risotto

SInce coming to Australia me and Ash have started to enjoy cooking together although at times we (mainly me) tend to get in each others way. This has been a new experience in itself as back home we live with our parents who tend to do most of the cooking. Thanks Moms!

So here are a few recipes that we’ve started making on a regular basis. All quite tasty, affordable and pretty simple to cook even for any fellow backpackers living in a hostel. Most of the recipes have been found on the following useful websites:

http://www.jamieoliver.com
http://www.nigella.com
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com

We have tweaked them to suit our needs either by reducing the cost or adding taste. I’ve also included the approximate cost of each meal in Australian Dollars based on purchasing ingredients from Coles supermarket.Ragu

Mince Meat Ragu
Serves 4 – Total cost $6 = $1.50 per serving
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 1.5 hours

Ingredients: Olive oil, 1 onion diced, 1 garlic clove diced, 2 carrots diced, 2x 400g can diced tomato, 500g mince meat (beef), seasoning.
Optional: red wine, bacon, mixed beans, chilli, rosemary.

  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add all vegetables and cook for 15mins.
  • Add mince meat to pan and cook for further 10mins or until meat sealed.
  • Increase heat (add wine?) tomatoes and season to taste. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Serve with mash, pasta or rice.

The ragu is a very versatile dish that you can get creative with. Freeze or refrigerate the left overs.

Sausarole ( Sausage & Bean casserole)Sausarole
Serves 4 – Total cost $5 = $1.25 per serving
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes

 

Ingredients: Olive oil, 8 sausages or 1kg, 1 onion sliced, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 2tbsp instant gravy powder, 2 cups water, 400g can diced tomatoes, 400g can cannellini or mixed beans, seasoning.
Optional: red wine, rosemary

  • Heat oil in large deep saucepan over medium heat. Cook sausages until golden brown then transfer onto a plate.
  • Cook onion in same pan until softened. Add garlic (and red wine) on high for 1 minute.
  • Add sausages back into saucepan and stir in gravy powder. Add water, tomato (and rosemary), bring to the boil then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in beans few minutes from end until soften and season to taste.
  • Serve with crusty bread, potato mash or rice.

Prawn/Mix Seafood Risotto (Paella)
Serves 4 – Total cost $10.50 = $2.60 per serving
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes

Ingredients: Olive oil, 1 onion diced, 1 garlic clove diced, 300g risotto rice, 400g can diced tomato, 3tbsp white wine, 900ml chicken stock, 400g frozen prawns/seafood mix, paprika, 1 lemon.

  • Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until golden.
  • Stir in paprika and add rice. Cook for 1 minute whilst stirring then add wine and cook for a further minute or until absorbed.
  • Add tomato, garlic, chicken stock and season. Cook for 15 minutes whilst stirring making sure rice does not stick to bottom.
  • Rinse frozen prawns/seafood under cold water then add to rice. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes until seafood cooked through.
  • Squeeze in juice of half a lemon then serve with parsley and a slice of lemon.

Why not try them out for yourself. Remember to subscribe to our blog to stay updated and more recipes will be posted on here soon. Feel free to drop us a comment about any recipes you would like to recommend.

Accommodation

Been looking at various accommodation the past few days. Already discovering that Australia is more expensive than we first thought we also blindly presumed hostels would offer the cheapest accommodation. Not all is as it seems.

Accommodation Pricing $:

accommodation price p/n price p/w 2ppl
hostel dorm 25-30 350
hostel double 40-70 280
Hotel 80-200 560
house share N/A from 180

Based on 2 people it is actually cheaper for us to live in a furnished house or apartment than it is to stay in a hostel. Of course there are exceptions such as for house sharing or apartments you may be charged separately for any bills and in some cases have to pay a bond. But fear not, most include bills so just make sure you check before hand. As for the bond it only a deposit that you get back as long as you don’t damage the place where you stay or run away without paying the full rent. Only other thing to check is the terms of stay, some places ask that you stay for a minimum of 3 months.

At the moment we have been very very lucky to have relatives that have put us up. We are very grateful for their generosity but we do need to find accommodation within the next month. For one, I’m sure they would like their own space back but also so that we can experience fending for ourselves. Our only delay at the moment is where to move to as I could end up getting a job that takes 3 hours to get to depending on who out of the many jobs I have applied for will have me.

Here’s a few useful websites for accommodation:

http://flatmates.com.au

http://www.realestate.com.au/rent

http://au.totaltravel.yahoo.com/directory/accommodation/australia/

http://www.yha.com.au/hostels

http://reservations.bookhostels.com

http://gumtree.com.au

plan, prep and prioritise

Hello we are Ash & Sean, a couple from Birmingham, UK. We have decided to embark on a trip of a lifetime and this blog will include a collection of photographs and information of where we visit, what we have done as well as reviews to help anyone who is thinking of taking a year out to travel Australia.

The longest we have both been away is 2 weeks, so a year away on the other side of the world is a little daunting to say the least. It’s so easy to keep saying you want to do something, we have both been saying we want to travel for years. But 2013 was the year we both decided to pull our finger out and actually ‘do’ rather than ‘dream’.

We plan on working for 6 months in Perth, flying over to Melbourne and heading up north to Cairns possibly by car hire.

At this point it’s always good to make a check list. First things first we needed to check our passports were still valid as they needed to be valid 6 months after we were planning on coming back to the UK. Next we looked into getting a VISA. We decided a 12 month working holiday VISA would be best suited for our needs. It allows us to stay in Australia for 12 months from 1st day of entry. Also with this particular VISA it allows us to work to help fund our travel expenses. We checked the ins and outs of doing our visa online but as we left it a bit late and didn’t want to make any mistakes we decided to do it through STA travel for an extra £30.

When it came to flights we had a look around and went from agent to agent getting better quotes, as they will all want your custom and will endeavour to beat other quotes. We found Flight Center didn’t offer much in terms of flexibility with flight changes and STA didn’t seem to beat the price but met it by giving us a flexible pass option. We were quoted about £1000. We still didn’t think this was great so we decided to see how much flights were on the QANTAS website and the price was surprising both for the fact it was cheap but also because instead of us opting  for a return from BIRMINGHAM to PERTH we had added another internal flight to MELBOURNE. With this knowledge we headed straight back to STA Travel and showed them our quote from QANTAS which was £950. STA Travel said they couldn’t officially beat our quote, as they only price match other travel agents not airlines. Eventually they met the price and added our flexible pass on top so instead of paying the initial £1000 Bham-Perth we payed £950 Bham-Perth-Melbourne-Bham with a flexi pass on top. So big saving tip: shop around, check airline websites and haggle!

For travel insurance we left this till the last few weeks of leaving but we think you should sort it earlier as our last couple of weeks were madness mixed with stress as we had everybody trying to meet up with us, last things to sort and packing. Time really did go fast. Make sure when looking for travel insurance that if you are going away for over 6 months a lot of insurance companies don’t cater for longer trips, shop around. We went with Alpha 100 who had a great deal for just over £100 each, compared to STA travels £500!!! (Cue heart failure)

Useful sites:

Australian working holiday info  http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/

QANTAS flights  http://www.qantas.com

STA travel – flights,insurance,tours, etc   http://www.statravel.com/worldwide.htm