When I applied for my Australian Working Holiday Visa, on a random Tuesday evening after a shitty day at work, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that I was done with working, for now anyway.

Fast forward over a year later and I feel like I've lived a thousand lives out here already. Several jobs have come and gone, and my skill set has absolutely exploded. I seriously believe there is no job I can't do now. From Office Manager, to tour guide, to blueberry picker, my roles down under have been ridiculously varied, so lets talk about that. 

Grace holding a very small baby wombat in regional Australia
Cuddles with one of the animals I helped to look after as part of my 88 days regional work to qualify for a second working holiday visa

I'm just going to say it - getting a job in Australia isn't easy. Maybe it once was, but since the end of the pandemic an influx of visitors have been arriving with Working Holiday Visa's, myself included. So you can't just hand out a couple of CV's and hope for the best anymore. Gone are the day's of stepping off the plane straight into the workplace, and anyone who say's otherwise either arrived long ago or has been incredibly lucky.

That's not to say there isn't work in Australia, there definitely is, but you might end up in an unexpected role...

Grace the Office Manager

Chief Organisation Officer, or Office Manager to us peasants. Yes once upon a time I was responsible for the day to day running of a whole central Sydney office, wild! It was a challenging role at times but honestly I enjoyed it and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I had to very quickly learn how to do a multitude of tasks in this incredibly varied role, but ultimately I now know what it takes to organise and run an office space. 

Grace the Bar Crawl Leader

On the complete opposite end of the scale is my 'job' as a bar crawl leader for the Sydney Working Holiday Girls. Most Saturday nights you'll find me and a few other hosts marching a group of rowdy girls through the streets of Sydney as we hop from bar to bar. It's a great gig that I hope I continue for as long as I live in Aus, but not one I EVER saw myself in before I came here!

Grace and a group of girls posing for a photo whilst on a girls only bar crawl in Sydney CBD
Hosting a girls only bar crawl through central Sydney

Grace The Tour Guide

From time to time I also lead tours for the Sydney Working Holiday Girls too. Previously I've taken groups to the Hunter Valley, and even an overnight trip to Port Stephens, which is beaut by the way! In these roles I've really become a people person, a problem solver, and someone who can think quite quickly on their feet - love that for me!

Grace The Kangaroo Wrangler

Well this was more of a carer role, but Kangaroo Wrangler sounds much cooler. Anyway, there is no way I could have ever predicted landing a job looking after some of the most amazing creatures on the planet! Feeding the animals, cleaning their environments, administering important medication, going on rescues and bringing injured animals into the recovery center, I've done it all. I'm not sure I can add 'Kangaroo Physiotherapy" to the skill set on my CV but, I sure as hell learned a lot in this role. 

Grace holding and feeding a baby kangaroo
Feeding one of my favourite baby Kangaroos at the animal sanctuary

Grace The Cleaner

When I landed in Australia I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't be afraid of starting at the bottom, and that's exactly what I did when I accepted a role cleaning in exchange for my hostel accommodation. And let me tell you cleaning a hostel kitchen is an EXPERIENCE. What did I learn in my time here? People are GROSS, and for some reason they think it's okay to pour pasta down the sink???

 - If you're interested in volunteering for accommodation while travelling, check out this article on how to get free accommodation while travelling Australia, for tips and more information - 

Grace The Blueberry Picker

Another surprise role, but one I found myself needing for my visa. Previously Working Holiday Visa holders would need to complete 3 months of work in regional Australia to be granted a second year visa, luckily from July 2024 this no long applies to UK passport holders! 
So my role as a Blueberry picker was just that - I picked Blueberries. But believe it or not, it actually takes skill to pick berries quickly, accurately, and without damaging them. Well I guess I have that skill now!

Grace holding very large ripe blueberries which are ready to be picked
Picking the biggest blueberries I've ever seen as part of my 88 days regional work

Grace The Receptionist 

More recently I have been taking on temp Receptionist roles, and honestly it's a vibe. I reply to silly little emails, and take silly little phone calls all day, fab! But actually in these roles I've really developed my interpersonal skills, and my ability to constantly adapt to new environments. Not to mention I now know the bus routes to virtually every Sydney suburb!

So I've lived a thousand lives, had a thousand jobs, and I'm not done yet! I feel like in Australia you really have to do whatever it takes to survive and pay your bills, but you are rewarded with such an incredible standard of life out here.

Taking on all of these diverse jobs has given me knowledge I'd never usually gain, and it's also given me the confidence to try new things.

Who knows what role I'll land next? 

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Grace holding two very full bin bags after cleaning up the kitchen in Sydney Central YHA
Cleaning up messy hostel kitchens in exchange for free accomodation in the centre of Sydney

Sydney NSW, Australia


I'm back in the UK after almost a year of non-stop travel. But don't worry, I'll be jetting off again soon, I just need some time at home to heal. Travelling for such a long time has taken its toll on my mental health, and the anxiety I thought I left behind on British soil has reared its ugly head once more.

Now I'm not stupid, I know travel can't cure all, but I think a small part of me believed that by leaving behind the regular things that cause stress (work, living with parents, etc) I might be able to finally free myself of my unstable moods. Well unfortunately that hasn't been the case but my god have I learnt some important lessons on this journey, and regardless of the lows I feel mentally stronger than ever.

Grace is wearing a pretty floral dress while standing in the middle of a sunflower field
Since being back home in Birmingham I've tried to relax and do wholesome activities with my friends and family

Long term travel isn't always easy. From constantly worrying about if I can afford things, to struggling to find accommodation, and transportation every few weeks, it can be a lot. But that's not to say it hasn't been rewarding. I've overcome SO many challenges in the last few months, and I genuinely believe that I can do anything I put my mind to now. I'm the most confident I've ever been and I owe that to the numerous problems I've come across and delt with recently. 

But there is also nothing wrong with admitting it's time to come home. 

If I'm honest part of me is disappointed I couldn't keep on top of my wavering moods. I've done the therapy, I've put in the work, and for the most part I've been so happy knowing I'm finally living the life I've always wanted. So yes sometimes I feel a little frustrated with myself for coming back home. But then I try to remember just how far I've come. 

A few years ago I could barely even get on a bus alone without being consumed with anxiety. Something as simple as being in a crowd of people would fill me with dread. Anxiety attacks were just a way of life for me back then, but now that couldn't be further from my reality. I barely even recognise the girl I was then and I'm genuinely proud of that.

So I'll be catching my flight again soon. I'll pass through airport security on my own, endure a few long haul flights alone with my thoughts, and check myself back into a shitty Sydney hostel to start my Australian life once more. And when I close my eyes on that very first night back in Oz, I'll know that my demons will be watching, but I'm the one who controls them


If you're also struggling with anxiety, Mind has a helpful page on symptoms, causes, treatments, and more.


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Birmingham, UK


Travelling Australia is a pretty expensive game. Even staying in hostels down under isn't cheap, but it is possible to find affordable or even free accommodation in Australia if you look in the right places. As someone who has found free rooms in Sydney on several occasions, I think I know a thing or two about tracking down a place to stay for freeeee.

So here are my tried and tested methods to find free accommodation while travelling Australia...  

View of Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour from Sydney Harbour Bridge
View of Sydney Harbour and the Opera house from Sydney Harbour Bridge

Pet Sitting

In Australia it's very common for families to ask backpackers to watch their pets while they go on holiday. In exchange for pet sitting the backpacker will usually live in the families home rent free. I was fortunate enough to do pet sitting in Sydney over New Years Eve which saved hundreds of dollars I would have otherwise spent on a hostel.

Where to find Pet Sitting jobs in Australia:

- Sydney House & Pet Sitting Facebook Page

- House & Pet Sitters Australia Facebook Page

- Pet Sitters Australia Facebook Page

House Sitting

Sometimes even families without pets ask for house sitters to ensure their home is well looked after while they go on long trips. I know of several backpackers who were able to stay in Sydney for a few months rent free as they were looking after the homes of people travelling overseas. 

Where to find housesitting jobs in Australia:

- Trusted House Sitters 

- Aussie House Sitters 

- House Sitting Australia Wide Facebook Group

Taking out the bins while volunteering for accommodation at Sydney Central YHA

Volunteer for accommodation

While I was on the seemingly never ending hunt for a room in Sydney, I actually volunteered at a hostel in exchange for free accommodation. Every hostel has it's own requirements but generally they ask for around 14/15 hours of work each week in exchange for a free bed, and sometimes other perks such as free washing or breakfast.

Hostels that offer work for accommodation:


- Wake Up 

Tip - While you may be able to apply online to volunteer for accommodation, it's always best to visit the hostel in person and speak to the manager, or give them a call if you can. Be ready and willing to volunteer as soon as possible. 

Work somewhere accommodation is provided

From time to time employers will provide accommodation for their workers, especially in rural areas where hostels and other accommodation might not be available. Often these houses or rooms are very basic, but it is possible to find work where an employer is willing to provide free accommodation. 

One of the cats I was pet sitting in exchange for free accommodation in Sydney

So those are some of the way's you can get free accommodation while travelling the incredible country of Australia. 

Let me know if you have any tips of your own when it comes to budget travel, or if you would like to hear more about my experiences pet sitting or volunteering for accommodation in Sydney!

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Sydney NSW, Australia


Since moving to Sydney I have been dying to dive into the Sydney food scene and I couldn't think of a better place to start than The Brothers Cafe in Haymarket. The cafe is virtually Tiktok famous for it's fat fluffy soufflé pancakes which come in three different flavours. So I headed down to the central Sydney location so see what these wobbly desserts were all about...

Grace holding her cutlery while looking at two places of giant pancakes
About to devour the humungous pancakes at The Brothers Cafe

On arrival at The Brothers Cafe we did have to wait a little while to be seated (we chose to sit inside) but I guess this is the result of having such strong presence on social media and only having a limited number of indoor tables. We did also have to wait around 30 minutes for our Soufflé Pancakes to be served once we ordered. Neither of these things were an issue as we were happy to have a slow afternoon but might be worth bearing in mind if you're after a quick lunchtime fix. 

As I said the pancakes come in three flavours; Thai Tea, Tiramisu, and Matcha Tea. My friend and I liked the look of all three chunky pancakes but ultimately chose to split the Thai Tea and Tiramisu Pancakes between us. Each pancake was $24.90 which I did initially think was quite pricey before I realised how enormous these desserts would be.

The Thai Tea Pancakes sorounded with vanilla icecream, white chocolatem, and strawberries.
The Thai Tea Soufflé Pancake - $24.90

Once the Pancakes arrived at our table we were very surprised to see just how large they were. Before us sat two plates each loaded with giant fluffy pancakes surrounded with fruit, ice cream, chocolate, and a pot of sauce. I wouldn't even like to estimate how chunky they were but I can honestly say they were unlike any pancake I've ever ordered before. I assume the sheer thickness of them, and also the ingredients gives these hefty pancakes their famous wobble. I also assume they contain more egg than regular pancakes as they have a slight eggy taste.

This hint of egg wasn't a problem to me however my pancake loving Dutch friend found it particularly noticeable. I could barely taste it over the host of other sweet flavours from the toppings and sauces. The Thai Tea pancake (shown above) comes with Thai Tea cream sauce, white Timtam crumble, Strawberries, and Vanilla Ice Cream. The Tiramisu pancake comes with Tiramisu cream, chocolate peices, and Chocolate Ice Cream - delicious!

In the foreground is the Tiramisu pancake, in the background is the Thai Tea Pancake
The Tiramisu and Thai Tea Pancakes both $24.90

All in all I enjoyed both the Tiramisu pancake and the Thai Tea Pancake from The Brothers Cafe and I don't think I really favoured one over the other. I felt the portions were very good and I genuinely think one serving between two people would have been more than reasonable for a lunchtime snack. 

Would I return? Potentially. If I had a friend who also wanted to experience wolfing down some very Instagrammable pancakes, otherwise I feel like (for me at least) it's the kind of thing you enjoy once, take your photos, and move on. 

Have you tried the fat Soufflé Pancakes yet? They seem to be everywhere in Sydney!

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Two plates full of pancakes and toppings which look very messy after being cut up
The mess after we halved our Soufflé Pancakes

Sydney NSW, Australia


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