Here’s What’s Up For My First 2 Months In Australia

Holy moses! I’M MOVING TO AUSTRALIA TOMORROW!!

I can barely wrap my head around that fact. It seems so natural, but with these last few weeks just flying by it’s become REAL. I’m about to become an expat in my most favorite country in the world!

For the first time ever, I have zero ties or obligations (‘cept for you, my darling student loans – xoxo!). I’m really excited to see what I can do with all that crap stripped out of my life.

Darling Harbour in Sydney 

I’ve been very intentional about NOT planning my year in Australia. I’ve always had a plan – always had time commitments of some sort. And there’s some part of me that does find comfort in planning.

But that’s not what this is about. I didn’t cash in my comfy NYC life for a year in Australia so I could fall into a similar routine. I’m not doing this to be comfortable. So I’m not going to make (many) plans.

Here’s what I AM going to do: I’m going to spend my first 6-8 weeks bopping around Australia, hitting a few must-see places before seeking some sort of job and then ‘settling down’ for awhile to work. I don’t know where I’m going to be working, or in what capacity – I’ll see where the wind takes me.

Now, about that Aussie bopping —

12-15 December: Sydney

“So what are you going to do as soon as your plane lands in Sydney?!”, people keep asking me. Cry tears of joy, of course!

I’ve given myself 4 days to get reacquainted with my old city before I take off on my Christmas vacation. No plans, though since old habits die hard, I’m pretty sure you can find me frolicking around the harbour and ogling the bridge.

Sydney Opera House 

16-29 December: Queensland

I’ve never known a Christmas that wasn’t freezing, so it’ll be interesting to experience a tropical Christmas this year. I’ll be jetting up to Queensland for two weeks with the intention of being outside as much as possible. Seriously – I’ll only be sleeping in a tent or on a boat the entire time.

Whitehaven Beach, The Whitsundays

Whitehaven Beach. Photo credit: Let’s Travel

Whitsundays

I don’t know how I missed this gem the first time around, but it’s the first thing up on my second Aussie stint. You’ve likely seen photos of Whitehaven Beach, one of the most magnificent beaches in the entire world – I cannot WAIT to dip my toes in its white silica sand!

I’ll be based in Airlie Beach for the week, but spending most of my time out at sea: camping on an island, doing a 3 night sailing trip in the Whitsundays on the Solway Lass (please oh please don’t let me get motion sick), and taking a scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef with GSL Aviation. And no, I’m not sorry that I won’t be sorry for blowing up your instagram feed with a bajillion photos of this miraculous region.

Heart Reef in the Whitsundays

Heart Reef. Photo credit: Rebecca Brace

Magnetic Island

On Christmas Eve, I’m heading north and planting myself on Magnetic Island for 5 days. The main draw for me is that it’s easily accessible, affordable, and beautiful – even though it’ll be filled with hundreds of other people who feel the same.

I’m not a huge fan of animals – in fact, my loyalty lies exclusively with cats – but there’s a koala sanctuary adjacent to where I’ll be camping, where you can book a mimosa breakfast and hold koalas. So, you know, that’s happening.

Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island. Photo credit: The Tomboy Tales

29 December – 14 January: Sydney

There’s a reason why I decided to book my flight to Australia in December rather than spend the holidays with my family and wait til next year: I’ve been DYING to do New Years Eve in Sydney! You guys know my obsession with bridges and all things rainbow-colored, yes? Well gosh, mash ‘em together and I’m just the happiest.

Mind you, I’ve already been judged to my face for this. I recently attended a travel industry meetup where some colleagues actually had the gall to say “you didn’t make plans to go to Sydney specifically FOR New Years, right?”, accompanied with some sort of a judging scoff. WHY YES, ACTUALLY, I DID.

But no, actually, I didn’t say that to them because I don’t waste a shred of energy on people who judge or otherwise wrong me because I do. not. care. Like I said: be a honey badger! (See also: The Unbearable Lightness of Not Giving a F-ck: Why Caring Less Helps You Live More)

New Years Eve in Sydney

Photo credit: Motor Yacht Charters Sydney

In fact, allow me to give people like them a few more things to judge me for. Yes, I’m going to Sydney in December specifically for New Years Eve. I committed to the two-week minimum stay that most hostels require around this time of year. I splurged on a ticket to an exclusive dinner party on the harbourfront just so I’d be guaranteed of a prime view of the fireworks. It may be the single-most non-frugal purchase I’ve ever made.

That’s just how I roll. Go big or go home, amiright?

15 January – ??: Tasmania

I also missed Tassie on my first Aussie tour, and since summer is when this island is in its glory, January seems like an ideal month to hit it up. I’d been in talks with my Australian friend Teresa about possibly roadtripping around Tasmania in mid-January – the next thing I know, she goes and books her flight before we confirm an exact date with each other. I’m so used to a tedious back-and-forth process whenever I travel with friends (and to be fair, I tend to drag my feet when it comes to booking flights because I overthink it to death) – but it was so refreshing to cut out all that nonsense and just do it. I’m going to Tasmania!!

I have no flight out yet, so there’s no telling how long I’ll stay. Should I spend my 30th birthday (February 2) in Tasmania?!

Tasmania Road Trip

We’ll be driving around Tasmania for 5 days – er, correction, my friend will be doing all the driving. You think I’m going to attempt to drive on the other side of the road?! Never. Again.

I haven’t done much research yet, but I’m eager to explore the coastline and sample wine from the vineyards in the north. We’ll likely have a mix of camping and hostel-ing on the agenda.

Wineglass Bay Tasmania

Wineglass Bay. Photo credit: Norman Peters

The Overland Track

A 6-day, 65km trek carrying all my gear would have been straight-up crazy talk last year, but now? After handling three frigid weeks on the Everest Base Camp Trek, carrying my own heavy pack on the 4-day Laugavegur Trek a few months ago, and being the strongest and fittest I’ve ever been with this past year of Crossfit training, I’m confident I can do this. What’s a tent, a stove, and a little more food on my back this time?

I’ve heard nothing but praise for the Overland Track, the most famous (and allegedly the most beautiful) Australian trek. It passes through diverse landscapes: mountains, lakes, gorges, even rainforest. As usual, I’m most concerned about the weather – because I’m a pansy and can’t handle the cold or the rain that well. I’m also slightly worried about my ability to use my brand new camping stove, but ah I suppose I can always ask someone along the way to help me with it.

Overland Track in Tasmania

Photo credit: Cradle Mountain Huts

What are your must-do’s in Sydney and Tasmania?

Where should I spend my 30th birthday? Should I look for work in Tassie, or elsewhere? HELP ME HAVE AN AWESOME START TO MY YEAR IN AUSTRALIA! :)

 
 

Lindsay Buckley is the photographer and travel blogger behind Frugal Frolicker. She's a New Yorker currently based in Sydney, Australia, documenting outdoor travel experiences Down Under and beyond. Follow along with Lindsay's travel photography on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to sign up for the monthly Frugal Frolicker newsletter!

Where in the World is This?


  • Wow… I am GREEN with envy, right now… Not jealous, i wish you the best, but you’re just doing EVERYTHING i would have done in the exact same situation… Like you, i had to skip Whitsunday Islands and Tasmania when i was down there… There is NO WAY i would skip that a second time around. And New Year’s Eve overlooking the Harbour Bridge ?! I would totally pack up my thing in a minute JUST for that !!!

    Also, this : “in fact, my loyalty lies exclusively with cats” is one more reason i’ll continue to read your blog.

    I have no suggestion for you. Except for : have a blast.

    • lindsaypunk

      Thank you so much, Olivia! I feel like we had similar first-time Aussie adventures way back when ;) It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who skipped some of the best stuff in the country! You’ll get back there someday for Round 2, too :)

  • This is an awesome itinerary! I have a load of posts on Sydney and Tasmania (my home state!) over on aglobewelltravelled.com if you’d like to check out my recommendations :)

    • lindsaypunk

      Girl, I’ve been stalking your blog! Just found the post on Tasmania roadtrip itineraries and bookmarked the crap out of it. I knew Tassie was beautiful, but holy wow – I’m even more psyched for it after seeing your gorgeous photos!

      • Ooh I’m glad the itineraries could be of assistance! I’m not just saying this because I used to live there (though maybe I am a tad biased!) but Tasmania is seriously stunning, you are going to LOVE it. And the overland track is supposed to be absolutely amazing!

  • Melissa Trinidad

    Love it all. Maybe at some point we’ll cross paths.

    • lindsaypunk

      Are you planning on spending a year in Melbourne? I’m “planning” on spending extended time there at some point in 2015, so we’ll have to hang once I get there!