A Travellerspoint blog

Australia

Our first AFL game at the famous 'G'!

Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The sport theme continued for the rest of the weekend as we were going to see our first AFL game at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground also referred to as the 'MCG' or just simply 'The G'. This stadium, which is the home of Aussie Rules Football has been a constant part of our time in Melbourne as its bright lights can be seen from our flat. Today thanks to some spare tickets from our friend Mary we would finally be watching the action under those lights ourselves, as Richmond Tigers take on St Kilda Saints!

The morning kicked off with views from our balcony of the Leukimia Speedo dash that was starting off by the river on Southbank. This sees a stoic group of fundraisers making a dash along the streets of Melbourne with nothing but their bathers and a few large sunflowers to protect their modesty to raise money for the Leukimia Foundation. Don't be fooled by the sun, its still nippy here!

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Before heading to the game in the afternoon we were able to meet up with one of the rugby fans who had come to Melbourne, my brothers good mate Will! We nursed hangovers and the disappointment of the previous nights loss over a few drinks and some great pizza at our local, The World bar. It was great to speak with someone who knows my family well and it was like having a bit of home with us.

Somehow we had all turned up colour coordinated! Thanks for lunch Will, great to see you :)

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It was a short walk along to river to get to the MCG and we joined the crowds heading to the game. An estimated 56,000 were expected to be coming to the game which was more than normal for this kind of match, undoubtably swelled by the touring rugby fans who were taking the opportunity to see what all the AFL fuss is about whilst in town.

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We met up with Mary who surprised Dan with an early bday present of a Richmond Beanie... And knowing that we lived with a West Coast Eagles supporter and that Dan risked being chucked out of the flat for wearing Richmond colours she also gave him a West Coast scarf too :)

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As Mary had season tickets she was able to take us down to pitch side for some pics before we took the stairs to the higher level to be able to get a view of all the action.

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As the drummers got the crowd going even the seagulls jostled to get the best seats.

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Mary told us that the members are at the MCG was one of the only stadiums where there is one way glass in the mens toilet so members can keep an eye on the game whilst they are visiting the little boys room!

As the players came on the pitch the Richmond supporters left no doubt who they thought would win.

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Come on TIGERS!!

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It was a fun match to watch and easier for us to follow once we had realised how the score board was tallied up, showing over all score and how the points had been achieved! At half time it was a chance for the girls to show what they were made of. So cute!

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Richmond pulled through for the fans with a convincing win. It is tradition for the winnings team to sing their team song if they win and the crowd bellowed out the Richmond lyrics...and you have to shout out the 'YELLOW & BLACK' part...

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Another fun night in Melbourne. Thanks Mary!

Sxx

Posted by doyledan 03:55 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

When the lions came to town....

You could feel the excitement rippling through the early morning mists of Melbourne...

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The British & Irish Lions had come to town to take on the Wallabies!! The second to last test was being held at the Ethiad stadium in Melbourne and everyone was swept up in Rugby fever.

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Although, this advert painted at Melbourne Airport caused quite a stir in the media (and a few complaints).

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Seemingly overnight the city had become a sea of red with the occasional dot of yellow thrown in for good measure.

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Apparently there were 30,000 fans travelling with the tour and it seemed majority of them had taken over the bars of Southbank along the Yarra river.

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We had an opportunity to get some standing tickets at the game but for 100 bucks each and no guarantee of actually being able to see any of the action we opted to gather some mates together (made of Brits, Irish, a few Aussies and a neutral Swiss???? to keep things fair).

Dan and I diligently joined the queues 4 hours before the game started to secure a table with a view of the screen, grab a burger and get some drinks in.

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I should have planned ahead and got a lion hat!

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The pub was rammed but after table hopping a few times we managed to get a decent spot... everyone had arrived...

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and it was time for the game to begin!!

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As you can probably tell from the picture it was a tense match and despite the best efforts of the fans chanting "liiiiiiiiiioooonnnnnsss! liiiiiiiiiioooonnnnnsss!" it didn't have the result we were hoping for....

But we all know how it finally ends :) (don't we Broomy!)

Sx

Posted by doyledan 03:50 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Have a drink have a drive, go out and see what you can find.

Healesville, Yarra Valley

Since we had been in Melbourne we had found out that Broomy's housemate Pauly had been waiting on a job opportunity over in New Zealand and luckily had got it. It meant that in a short time frame he had to fit in seeing some of the sights of Melbourne area. Fortunately for me his mates, which included Broomy, Scotty, Dave (Buchanan) and Andrew (Hedge) were going to take him out for a good luck drink and decided on going out to Healesville, around the Yarra Valley.

The morning was promising a good day for weather and as it was so good Hedge turned up on his motorcycle outside our flat. I really liked the look of his bike, that kind of vintage style to it. The rest of us jumped in Scotty and Broomy's cars and headed off to pick up Buchanan. When we got to Dave's we found out about his injury and it sucked for him as the surgery he would need to get meant that he would have to go back to Canada. So in a way it was almost perfect timing that he, Pauly and I got the tourist trip out to see the Yarra Valley.

Before we cruised off, Scotty pulled out his professional like camera with tripod and clicker to match and took some photos, I was glad as I didn't want to be behind the camera so that I could write the blog a bit easier and to be fair you will see he and his camera did a bloody good job of it. Broomy went for the rapper look in this one.

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After leaving the streets of Melbourne we weren't too far out before the landscape opened up and I began to see some of draws of living in Victoria.

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We stopped off to take a brief scenic view and posed for a photo. It was quite funny because each photo with Scotty in it he had his arm out trying to get the clicker working.

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We had a laugh about it, and mimicked it just so it didn't look out of place.

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Broomy working the photo poses again!

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Moving on we whisked through sweaping roads as we we passed farms and small lay-bys towards the Yarra Valley where keen weekend drivers stop for mandatory coffee or brunch, we stopped ourselves to get some bearings and Scotty captured the mood....

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Our final destination was Healesville to have lunch at Giant Steps resturant and enjoy some local brewed ales at the White Rabbit brewery. Giant Steps was kitted out in modern/rustic decor and served up delicious oven cooked pizzas and bottles of wine from its own winery.

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During lunch we toasted to Pauly's success and the guys chucked around a bit of banter as we tucked into our Pizzas! Delicious!

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Across the road we had a chill out at the White Rabbit Brewery where you can chill on sofas and drink on tap some fine ales and ciders. I opted to be the designated driver on the way back so Broomy could have another.

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Later we went back out on the road and just kept driving, the roads here are so good and with the view to match it really is easy to just drive, but we decided to turn back not before stopping off for a group shot.....with clicker arms....

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Getting caught in the act....someone forgot to go to the toilet after some beers!

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We got given a ribbing by an old bizarre british chap who owned a small cafe. He played the part of grumpy old fella very well and I think he was a little put out we weren't planning to stop and have a bite at his place.

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On the way back to Healesville we had a unexpected visitor trying to find his way to Hotham.

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We stopped off back in Healesville to have a coffee and cake at Beechworth bakery before we parted ways and headed back to Melbourne.

Cheers Pauly, Hedge, Buchanan, Broomy and Scotty for a nice day out of the city.

Stay tuned for more tales

Dan

Posted by doyledan 03:45 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Getting set up in Australia

On the job hunt...

So we ve been in Australia for 2 months and realised that we never did a blog on getting set up in Melbourne, probably because we have been so busy getting set up!

So here's what you need to know about coming to Australia on a working holiday visa.

Firstly you don't need to go through the travel companies to get set up for work. We had heard this from several people we had met along the way and also from friends at home who had worked down under in the past. These companies will charge hundreds of pounds for services that essentially you can do yourself. Apparently they guarantee work but we ve met people who found work quicker and that paid better on their own.

Don't know about you but would rather have that money for something more fun!

(Although just a note we re talking about getting work in the city not as a ranch worker on a farm so that might be different if you need to be taught how to ride a horse and brand a cow etc...)

Things you need to do:

Get your visa - Applying for your working holiday visa is quick and easy to do online and we got that all sorted before we left the UK.

You can check out the latest here... www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday

Address in Australia - we were lucky here as we were able to stay with our mate Broomy and use his address for all correspondence as we got set up. I believe most hostels will allow you have mail delivered to them so using an expensive travel service just to have an address is not necessary.

Bank Account - we ended up choosing NAB as they didn't have a minimum fee you need to deposit each month, and given that we didn't know how regularly we would get work it seemed the best choice for us. Don't need extra charges! Just walk in the bank give them your details, address etc and away you go. Simples!

Australian mobile number - I managed to borrow an old mobile and Dan got a cheap handset in china town and its easy to get a pay as you go sim from Telstra or Optus.

Tax File Number - again another quick and easy online application form. You need to get a tax file number in order to get paid so an important one to get sorted ASAP. I think you can only apply for this once you are in the country

www.ato.gov.au/Forms/Permanent-migrants-or-temporary-visitors---online-TFN-application/

We hit the ground running when we got to Melbourne shocking our housemate by getting the above sorted or applied for on the first day we arrived!

Oh and another thing to apply for is a Medicare card, incase you need to see doc etc... I think this needs to be done within a month of getting into Australia to be eligible for one.

www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/medicare-card

After sprucing up our CVs the next thing to do was to start searching for work. We spent hours and hours trawling the job websites and applying to jobs.

We learnt that you need to be realistic about the type of work you will get on a working holiday visa particularly if you are not interested in sponsorship like us. We wasted a bit of time trying to get work in the same industries we had worked in back home, just on the off chance that our experience and enthusiasm would get us a position. The problem we had was that these companies would only take on working holiday visa applicants if they were being considered for sponsorship, they don't want to train you up only for you to leave in 6 months to go travelling around.

Another thing we did was sign up to several agencies. I would recommend signing up to at least 4. All our work we have had to date has been found through agencies. Be prepared though that work from this route could take 3-4 weeks to start coming in as some agencies have a policy that people should be placed within this timeframe so you'll automatically be at the back of that list with other applicants ahead of you.

Some Recruitment agencies:

Robert Half/Office Team
Robert Walters
PKL
Mosaic
Michael Page
Chandler Macleod

A top tip from us would be to join the same agencies as a friend. That way if you get offered work and can't make it you can straight away suggest your mate so their name is front of mind when the recruiter looks for the next candidate. We've managed to tag team a couple of jobs this way :)

One of the problems I had when signing up with recruitment agencies for temp office positions was being overlooked for not having relevant 'admin experience' despite being an account manager for 5 years. The way to handle this is to GET ON THE PHONE! After being rejected from another online application for general admin positions I'd had enough called the guy and explained that I did realise I was applying for temp jobs and not to be put off because I had been an account manager, explained my experience etc... and within 5 mins I was being asked to come in for an interview and sign up on their books... I should have got on the phone to people sooner!

After a few weeks of job hunting and interviews with recruiters I started getting a few reception roles, nothing big a few days here and there but once you can start saying to your agencies you ve had work in Australia and shown you can do a good job the interest picks up. Not gonna lie don't think I want to be a receptionist when I grow up but to get some money as a temp its not bad.

We re both sorted for work at the moment which is great and should keep us going for the next month or so. Dans is an administrative assitant at a large health insurance company and I'm an office co ordinator for a children's non for profit. Hopefully we'll keep getting positions till the end of the year.

Also we re picking up the odd job on the weekend to earn some extra money too, turns out Dan and I are very efficient paper folders!

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Now we re earning we can start planning the travelling we can do in Jan/Feb with the money we ll save. Woohoo!!

Sxx

Posted by doyledan 15:02 Archived in Australia Comments (4)

Aussie Footy introduction

If you haven't been introduced to Aussie Footy before you certainly will have to swot up on it before coming to Melbourne. Much like our footy or soccer as its called down under it plays a huge part in the culture and everyone follows a team. I knew about the game having seen footage of it in the past but really didn't get it, and I certainly didn't realise just how big it was in Australia. The game itself is a bizarre mix of rugby and basketball in that its a full contact sport but instead of phases of play that rugby has it is all about gaining territory by running all over the place to allow you to take a shot at goal.

The pitch sizes are oval and it has two 50m half circles on each end which represents the area players aim to reach in order to have a realistic shot at goal. There are 4 goal posts on each end and in order to score the highest points you need to kick it between the two middle posts, if you go through the outside posts you only get one point. The pitch sizes are not regulated and so the rest of the pitch size that makes up the oval shape can differ from one stadium to another. But, to put it into perspective of how big the pitch is and the kind of level of fitness the players need to have, each game a player can run on average about 15K, which is insane!

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When we got to Oz our mate Broomy was adamant that we had to go and see a game in order to be a true Australian resident and so we were lucky that his team, West Coast Eagles who are from Perth were playing at the Etihad Stadium here in Melbourne versus Hawthorn. His friend Mel had arranged the tickets for us which was really nice of her and I think being neutral to supporting a team both Mel and Broomy were taking the opportunity to influence our team of choice by taking us to see their team. :-)

The game was scheduled on a Friday night and it was cool to turn up at a local bar and see everyone with their scarfs and shirts having a drink before going to the game as it gave a sense of occasion. After we wet our whistles we followed the crowd to the Etihad Staduim and were lent some West Coast garb ourselves so we would fit right in.

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The Etihad Stadium is pretty awesome and luckily for us it has a roof so it was going to be a bit warmer than outside which was well received.

I always like walking into stadiums when there is sport going on as there is always a buzz and as we walked into the first level we saw the pitch and the grounds were gathering.

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Mel and Broomy decided to go up a level to get a good view which would allow us to see the play a bit better so they could explain some of the rules. The beauty of these games is that there is normally tickets available because alot of the West Coast fans don't come over from Perth because its too far. You could certainly tell that Hawthorn, being based in Melbourne, had the larger crowd.

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Before the teams run out they have a big banner raised which has the team motto and the players run on to the field and burst through it.

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It kinda worked....

Whilst the players had a warm up and got into position to start the game , Broomy and Mel kindly gave us a run down of the rules and it wasn't long before the first quarter was underway.

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The game is entertaining because the ball is always moving and it continually goes from end to end. The players can either kick the ball to each other or can fist punch the ball to another player, they're not allowed to throw it. If they run with the ball they have to bounce it on the floor after a certain amount of metres. There are always moments in the game when players are jumping in the air and trying to intercept the ball because as soon as you catch the pass from a kick the referee blows his whistle and signals a mark and the player who caught it has a uncontested kick to continue the game towards opponents goal.

It certainly pays to be a tall guy in this game. One player for West Coast (in the blue) called Nick Naitanui is a like a basketball player!

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However at times it would get quite scrappy with players fumbling for the ball and loses its edge at times, normally at this point someone would be on the floor with the ball and the whole crowd would shout 'BALL!!!!' which is intended to be a call for the player to release the ball.

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You could certainly see even with the level of fitness these player have they would still need thorough amount of physio to allow them to continue playing the game.

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The game is made up of 20 minute quarters so we had time to get grips with some of the rules and could follow what was happening. When the ball is kicked through the middle posts it scores 6 points but if it hits the post as it goes through it is only 1 point. If it goes through the outer posts then it is 1 point. However if a player of the opposite team manages to touch the ball before it goes through the posts it doesn't count. These are just a few of the rules!

Broomy and Mel are passionate fans and the game was quite close considering Hawthorn were top and West Coast were mid-table.

Broomy looked on intently...

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...as the crowd cheered

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What was cool to see during half time was a load of kids of all ages came out on the pitch and play their own games which for them must of been great fun, especially getting to play it on such a big pitch. Apparently they do it at all the games as part of a 'get kids into footy' initiative which we both thought was a nice touch. In all the excitement one little kid clearly had forgotten to go to the bathroom before coming on to the pitch but was determined to try and play with a strange squirming run that was hindered further by his kit that was too big for him and his socks that kept falling down. Definitely made us all smile. With all the advertising and commercialisation of the game that is very obvious to see when you spend some time here it was refreshing to see them giving something back to the community.

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It was a great experience and we certainly were introduced to the game in the best possible way.

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A big thank you again to Mel for sorting the tickets out and Broomy for giving us the right introduction as well as how to say BALL!!!!

Stay tuned for more tales...

Dan

Posted by doyledan 03:34 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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