From Perth to Melbourne: Exploring Australia with a Working Holiday Visa

expat interview

After living in Thailand for several years, the seed planted in 30-year-old Samantha Robinson’s mind that a move to Australia were to be destined in her future. So she came back to the UK, worked for five months to save, then booked tickets with her then partner for an epic adventure Down Under. While she has since returned to her hometown of Scunthorpe, in our latest expat interview, she shares with us her amazing, once in a lifetime experiences of living, working and making her way around Australia.

When did you make the move and how long did it take you to get set up with a home and job?
We flew in March 2015, stayed in Perth for a week, then took a trip to Rottnest Island. When we returned to Perth, we stayed with family for a couple of weeks. One Saturday evening we found a job advertisement on Gumtree looking for a couple to work in the Rottnest Island Bakery, we applied that night, were offered the job the next morning and moved to the island on the Monday. The job came with accommodation too.

Expat interview Samantha Robinson

Did you ever hope to stay in Australia permanently?

I always knew I would only be going for one year. It was a back packers dream, a once in a lifetime adventure! I was there for about ten months. My jobs included working at the bakery and volunteering as a fire fighter on Rottnest Island. Then working as an au pair and baby sitter in Broome during the day and as a bar attendant at night; with a few shifts at a local bed & breakfast as a cleaner too. I tried to get another job in Melbourne, but with only three months left of my visa, most families were looking for someone who could stay out longer, which is one reason why I came home when I did.

How was obtaining your visa?
The visa was obtained directly online through the Australian Government website, it was easy and straight forward to complete. We also had to go for chest x-rays in London as a visa requirement, due to living in Thailand for more than six months previously.

What was the best thing about living in Australia?
The land, the national parks were stunning! I loved camping in the outback, swimming in lakes and waterfalls and hiking through the gorges. It was also amazing to see the land transition from lush greenery in the wine valley region in the south west to red rocks in Broome in the north, as well as dry desert in the centre and bustling beaches in the east.

What was your favourite way to spend your weekends?
Hitting the beach, it’s all about the coast in Australia. Also BBQ’s with friends, swimming in the sea and watching the surfers.

expat interview

What was the hardest thing about living in Australia?
Budgeting! After living in Asia where everything is relatively cheap, I found Australia quite expensive. I’m a bit of a foodie, so budgeting for meals was tricky, but I managed. I was lucky to get fed at the bakery, and then food and accommodation were provided for me when I was working as an au pair in Broome. We would often cooked together in hostels, so we could bulk buy food for everyone to share.

Where did you travel in Australia?
I travelled from Perth to Broome, then across to Darwin, down the centre, past Uluru, through Adelaide and then on to Melbourne. I also took a three week holiday to Brisbane and the Gold Coast with the beautiful family I had worked for as an au pair in Broome. My highlights were the national parks, especially Karijini National Park and taking a hike up and around Kings Canyon, not far from Uluru.

What was the one thing you missed about home?
My friends and family.

expat interview

What was the best thing about moving to Australia?
The weather! It beats English weather any time.

And the worst?
The cost of living.

If you had to give anyone who is moving to Australia advice what would it be?
Take the time to travel around the country before deciding where to settle. It’s a big place and every state or territory is like a different country in itself!

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Interview by Sandy Dhaliwal
Images by Samantha Robinson

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