Australia is, quite simply, the ultimate escape. It’s little wonder millions of international youths have journeyed to the Land Down Under before commencing their full-time studies and careers. German twins Bene and Vince Eninger (both 22) are part of the ‘take time out in Oz’ trend.
Having studied hotel management and geology back home, they’ve decided to enjoy the chill out year of a lifetime – a working holiday in Australia. Bene and Vince share the weird and wonderful parts of their trip, thus far …
Where in Germany are you from?
A little village with 200 people and 250 cows – it’s called Unterwaldhausen and the closest city is Ravensburg.
What attracted you to Australia?
The country’s versatility. The people are multicultural and the land is equally as diverse. Rainforests, deserts, beaches, islands, waterfalls and cities – Australia has it all, plus a tropical climate. Our interest in wine-making and geology also drew us to this county, which is known for gold mining and vineyards.
What research did you do before you travelled to Australia?
We bought books about the climate, animals and famous destinations. We studied and established local connections related to the sport of judo because we’re interested in the difference between Australian and the German training.
Was it easy to get a working holiday visa?
Yes. You can find the application form easily online (Department for Immigration and Citizenship – www.immi.gov.au). Filling it out takes a while; however, we found the processing time quite fast. We paid $270 AUD for 365 days.
What kind of work have you done in Australia?
We’ve done so many different jobs! At first, we drifted between farms and got into fruit-picking through “Willing Workers on Organic Farms” (www.wwoof.com.au). We’ve also worked for a gold mining company and participated in the South Australian wine harvest. We’ve been kitchen hands, security guards, judo trainers, painters, bus drivers and performed general work-for-accommodation jobs at hostels. Now, we are working for YHA as promotional models! We performed a striptease and auctioned ourselves off at the Backpacking Queensland ball – YHA was the highest bidder.
How long do you plan on staying in Australia?
We want to stay as long as possible – probably for an entire year.
What’s your Australian holiday budget?
Vince: Bene’s budget is 2500€ (he sold his car) and mine is 2300€ (I sold my motorbike). We also borrowed 4000€ from our dad.
Has it been easy to stick to your budget?
No. We’ve found Australia expensive to visit. However, this is mainly because we’ve done lots of travelling (fuel is pricy) and organised tours. If you do things off the beaten track and get creative with transport (e.g. bicycles) it isn’t as expensive.
What tips do you have for backpackers travelling to Australia?
Check out Byron Bay, Mission Beach, Noosa Heads and Cairns – they’re beautiful, chilled-out places with unique communities. But, don’t just visit the typical tourist sites. There’s a lot of secluded natural beauty to be explored, too. Surfing is a must-try in Australia, as the country is bordered by an exciting coastline and epic beaches. Whitewater rafting and kayaking are also popular activities. Meet as many Australian families as you can – they’re very friendly and helpful. Speaking English will make your travels much easier. When travelling through rural areas, watch out for poisonous animals. Bring lots of money with you and prepare to sweat – a lot!
How have you travelled around Australia?
We’ve been driving a campervan. We bought it at the start of our trip and will sell it at the end. It’s been the perfect way to get around, even on the bad roads!
Have you felt safe in Australia?
Absolutely. But, we still don’t leave our gear in our campervan if it’s going to be parked in a busy place for more than a couple of days.
How have you found the weather in Australia?
Hot and humid! But, you get use to it.
What can’t you travel without?
A phone, cash, sunglasses and sunscreen, a first aid kit, a camera, good walking shoes and flip-flops, an adapter for an Australian power point and a razor.
What has been the highlight of your trip so far?
Catching mud crabs, kayaking to Dunk Island, visiting waterfalls and natural creeks, Wet’n’Wild Water World and the Q1 Skypoint Climb on the Gold Coast, fishing, fossicking in Sapphire, gold-prospecting and sailing around the Whitsundays!
If you could live in Australia where would it be?
Bene: Buderim (Noosa Beach). Vince: Cairns.
What are Australian people like?
They are really friendly because their community is made up of people from lots of different cultural backgrounds, interest groups and lifestyles. They are also young at heart. Their attitude is, “Don`t worry, be happy,” and “What you can’t do today, you can do tomorrow.”
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened on your adventure so far?
Vince: I almost stepped on a poisonous brown snake! I also accidentally touched a dangerous stingray with my foot in the Whitsundays. Bene: We squashed a spider that was as big as a hand. Its butt exploded and millions of small eggs squirted into our faces! We screamed like little girls and got nightmares from it afterwards. One day, when it was raining, we made the long journey to the beach and lost our camera. The next morning a lady brought our camera into the hostel we were staying at – it was still working!
Which hostels have you stayed at that you would also recommend?
We’ve stayed at lots of hostels in Australia. We really liked Brisbane City YHA and Surfers Paradise YHA because they were clean and well organised. The staff were really friendly and the hostels were centrally located.
Will you visit Australia again?
If so, what will you do differently? Vince: Yes, but I will bring more money with me. Bene: Yes! Next time I will travel alone.
Where are you off to after Australia?
New Zealand and then back to Germany. We’re also keen to travel around South America and Canada in the future.
For more information visit http://www.yha.com.au/