I love city life – public transportation, the abundance of different styles of food, and the high energy vibes – it’s all good in my book. Still, sometimes it’s amazing to take a break from the city and escape for the day. This weekend, Michael and I hopped in the van and headed an hour south of Sydney to Wollongong. This little beach town is full of restaurants, shops, and a long stretch of yellow, sandy beach. This is what we did with a day in Wollongong. This is Day Trips from Sydney: Wollongong.

Day Trips from Sydney: Wollongong

The road to Wollongong is as scenic as the city itself. We took the Grand Pacific Drive – a bit longer of a drive, but 10x more beautiful. The Grand Pacific Drive goes along the beach, with opportunities to stop at ocean rock pools, adorable beaches, and the beautiful Sea Cliff Bridge.

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

We stopped at a few photogenic places on the way to Wollongong. Sea Cliff Bridge, Bald Hill Lookout, and the Coalcliff rock pools are all places I’d recommend.

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

Bald Hill Lookout

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

Coalcliff Rocks

Once you make it to Wollongong, explore the lighthouses along the beach, take a dip in the ocean, or grab a bevvie at the Illawara Brewing Co.

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

craft beers at Illawara Brewing Co

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

There are loads of places to eat in Wollongong. Some of the most recommended are Diggies, Lee & Me, Lower East Cafe, and Pepe’s on the Beach. We opted to stop at Scarborough Hotel, which is on the way back to Sydney, and offers endless ocean views from the top of a cliff.

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

A day in Wollongong is a great way to escape the busy city of Sydney. I’ll definitely be back to explore some more!

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After two and a half years of full time travel, I’ve made a very exciting decision – to create a base in Sydney, Australia! This is an exciting adventure for me and it means that Michael and I will be able to settle down into our own place, and create a permanent base to travel from. In this post, I’ll answer the most frequently asked questions I’ve gotten since deciding to make the move.

Moving To Australia After 2.5 Years of Full Time Travel

Moving to Australia

The Visa

How are you permanently moving to Australia? What type of visa are you on?

I’ve previously done the working holiday visa in Australia – that’s how I met Michael! I am now in the process of applying for a De Facto Partner Visa, subclass 820. This is a very long and complicated process. I came into Sydney on a tourist visa to start the application process with Michael & find a lawyer to work with on the Partner Visa.

Moving to Sydney Australia

What is the “Partner Visa”? Do you need to be married to get this visa?

The partner visa that I am applying for is called a De Facto partner visa. To apply for this visa, you must be in a monogamous relationship with an Australian citizen or eligible permanent resident and have been living together for the past 12 months, minimum. You’ll need information proving that your relationship is legit.

For this visa, it is not required to be married, but it is the most complicated partner visa to apply for (mainly because you aren’t married – the government wants to make sure that your relationship is legitimate and you are fully committed to each other).

In general the visa process is much simpler if you are married, as you’d apply for a different visa which is much less complicated.

Moving to Australia

Are you and Michael going to get married? Why don’t you get married to simplify your visa process?

I get this question a lot. Michael and I have been together for a year and a half, and we are in a very committed relationship. Of course we plan to stay together for the long term. We’ve travelled the world together, and now we are building a home together in Sydney. So why don’t we just get married?

After a lot of talking, we decided that although we do plan to be together long term, we don’t want to get married just to get a visa. We want a marriage to be on our terms, not just to simplify the visa process.

How does the visa process work?

In recent years, partnership visa applications in Australia have skyrocketed. The country currently grants 50,000 partnership visas each year (this includes all partnership visas – not only De Facto visas, but also visas to partners who are married).

Because I am applying for the partnership visa while I’m in the country, I’ll be able to stay in the country while my visa is decided. This is the main reason I entered the country on a tourist visa before applying for the partner visa.

Moving to Australia

The immigration office needs time to process my visa application after lodging it. Once my De Facto Partner Visa application is lodged, I’ll be automatically transferred to a Bridging Visa. A bridging visa is a temporary visa that allows me to stay in the country and work here while my Temporary Partner Visa is processed. On the bridging visa, I have work rights and can also apply for Medicare (yay health care!).

The Temporary Partner Visa is granted within roughly 18-24 months of lodging my application. Yes, this means I’ll be waiting about two years to get my Temporary Partner Visa. The temporary visa is granted first, and I will continue to have the right to work in Australia.

The Temporary Partner Visa is a two year visa. Once the two years are up, Michael and I will submit more paperwork to the government showing that we are still together and happy. We will need to submit bills and proof that we are still living together and still in a committed relationship. The government will then process a Permanent Partner Visa.

Moving to Australia

After the Permanent Partnership Visa is granted, and once I’ve lived in Australia for four years, I’ll be able to apply for Permanent Residency.

The entire stream of visas goes as follows:

Tourist Visa –> Bridging Visa –> Temporary Partner Visa –> Permanent Partner Visa –> Permanent Resident

What is Permanent Residency? Will you still be a US citizen?

Permanent residency means that I will be able to continue living in Australia without continuing to apply for visas. I can be a permanent resident of Australia without becoming a citizen, or I can choose to apply for citizenship if I’d like to.

Moving to Australia

Australia currently allows dual citizenship. This means that you can be a citizen of Australia and another country. The United States also allows for dual citizenship. This means that I can be a citizen of both Australia and the US, if I choose to. There is a lot of research involved in this process that I have yet to do before deciding what I’d like to do.

What I’m Doing in Sydney

What will you be doing in Sydney?

I came into Sydney on a tourist visa. This means I can’t legally work in the country until that expires and my bridging visa kicks in. Until then, I’ve been working on this website, I’ve created a Minimalism Series for Youtube, and I’m revamping my ebook. When I’m legally allowed to work, I’ll be looking for a position in an industry I am passionate about. I’m currently looking into the travel industry and the coffee industry.

Moving to Sydney Australia

Will you still travel?

Of course! Travel is a huge part of my life, and a huge part of who I am. Travel is so important to me. It forces me out of my comfort zone, allows me to grow, and learn more about other cultures and other parts of the world. I am so excited that I am able to settle down in a country other than my home country, so I can properly explore more of Australia when I’m not traveling internationally.

Moving to Sydney Australia

Want to know more about moving to Australia?

Check out my other posts on Australia:

Do you have questions?

I’ll be doing a more in-depth post about the visa process, stay tuned! If you have other questions related to Australia or moving abroad, let me know in the comments below.

 

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After living in Sydney, Australia for over two months and doing my fair share of eating out, I’ve come up with the best vegan restaurants in Sydney. I have been vegan for over two years now, and I love eating out at restaurants that make incredible vegan food. Sydney is full of innovative and modern vegan restaurants, which makes it a great spot to travel to if you’re a vegan foodie like me! These are the best vegan restaurants in Sydney.

Best Vegan Restaurants in Sydney

Best Vegan Restaurants in Sydney

There is such a variety of vegan restaurants in Sydney – seriously, something for any mood you’re in.

Gigi’s Italian Pizza

Craving authentic, Italian style pizza? Head to Gigi’s. This is the best pizza I’ve eaten outside of Italy (it may even be the best pizza I’ve ever had – including the pizzas from Italy!). Gigi’s pizzeria started off as an authentic Italian pizzeria in Sydney, but when the owner turned vegan back in 2015, he turned the whole restaurant plant-based as well. This means you’ll be stepping into vegan heaven at Gigi’s. EVERYTHING IS VEGAN. Beer, wine, cocktails, appetizers, desserts; all vegan. Gigi’s has a cult following, so if you’re in the market for pizza, plan to wait in line for a table. It’s worth the wait, though. I’d recommend ordering up a glass of wine, the pizza of your choice, and saving room for the vegan tiramisu to cap it all off.

Best Vegan Restaurants in Sydney

Funky Pies

Feeling like an Aussie pie, but don’t want meat or dairy? Get your butt over to Funky Pies. Based in Bondi, Funky Pies is a tiny, casual, hippy restaurant. You’ll get a glimpse of the pies in the warming oven before you order. Head over for an early lunch, because the pies sell out fast. This little eatery also sells kombucha, vegan frozen treats, pastries and coffees. The best part is that you can buy frozen pies to take home with you.

Best Vegan Restaurants in Sydney

Speedo’s Cafe

Wanting something healthy with a view of the famous Bondi Beach? Head  to Speedo’s Cafe. Speedo’s is well known in the vegan community for their veggie burgers, but they also serve up some wicked acai bowls, smoothies, and salads if you’re in the mood for something lighter. Head here if you’re keen to spend the day sunbathing at Bondi beach – it’s right past the parking lot. Speedo’s is a great spot to refuel after the Coogee to Bondi hike.

Best Vegan Restaurants in Sydney

Soul Burger

Are you a faux-meat loving vegan? Head to Soul Burger for a scarily realistic rendition of the classic American burger, veganized! This little eatery serves up fries, shakes, and a variety of juicy burgers, all 100% vegan and all 100% delicious. It’s not hard to see what makes it one of the best vegan restaurants in Sydney.

Best Vegan Restaurants in Sydney

Brooklyn Hide

Looking for a chilled out spot for brekky and a hot soy cappuccino? Head to Brooklyn Hide in the hip suburb of Surry Hills for an authentic New York style bagel. Though it’s not fully vegan, Brooklyn Hide has vegan options on the menu, and it’s a great spot for a carb-filled breakfast to kick off your weekend!

Best Vegan Restaurants in SydneyBest Vegan Restaurants in Sydney

Want more? Stay tuned, as I’ll be moving back to Sydney in September 2018. Until then, check out the best hikes around Sydney.

Do you have recommendations? What are your favorite vegan restaurants? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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How To Find Work As An Au Pair

If you’ve been following me on Youtube, you’ll know that I worked as an au pair for two months in Sydney. I got a lot of questions about my experience, including how to find work as an au pair, what are the job duties as an au pair, how much do you work as an au pair, and how much au pairs get paid. Today I am answering all of these questions with my experience. Every experience as an au pair will be different, and pay varies greatly by country.How to Find Work as an Au Pair

How to Find A Job As An Au Pair

I found my au pair job on a Facebook group. I contacted the woman who posted it, and we messaged back and forth for a while. The next step was a skype meeting. At that time, I also got to meet the three kids I’d be watching. It all went well. I decided to give the au pair job a go. I messaged the family and we talked about the hours that I would be working and the pay, and it all sounded good to me, so we picked a date that I would start.

How to Find Work as an Au Pair

Au Pair Job Duties

The job duties of an au pair vary by family. Generally, au pairs don’t get great pay, but you also won’t work a ton of hours. Deep cleaning of the house should never be part of your job duties. The family that I worked for included two parents and three kids. The father worked from early in the morning until late in the evening. The mother did shift work as a nurse, so the hours that I worked went around their schedule.

Basically, any time the parents were not home and the kids were, I was watching them. Sometimes I would get them ready for school and walk them there. Other days, I would pick them up from school, clean their lunch boxes, make them a snack, and play with them until their parents came home. I was asked to clean up after myself and clean the kids lunch boxes after school. The family also had a dog, who I would let in and out of the house during the day.

How to Find Work as an Au Pair

How Many Hours Do Au Pairs Work?

The hours that au pairs work vary greatly by family. This is something you should clarify with the family prior to starting work with them. With my au pair family, I would work anywhere from 10 to 30 hours a week. This was one of the more difficult parts of the job. It was hard for me because I got paid the same amount every week, no matter how much I worked. I wasn’t used to that. The children that I watched would go to school from Monday to Friday, though the littlest one was home all day on Thursdays and Fridays. This meant that I would be watching her all day if the mother had a morning shift at work.

How to Find Work as an Au Pair

How Much Do Au Pairs Get Paid?

I was making $250 per week as an au pair, and my job also included room and board. This could be considered a high wage for an au pair, but keep in mind that wages in Australia are high, and I was sometimes working up to 30 hours a week.

How to Find Work as an Au Pair

Overall, I am happy that I had the experience of being an au pair. I don’t think I would do it again, as I realized that I do prefer to have the ability to make money per hour, versus making the same amount of money per week no matter how many hours I work.

Au pairing would be great for someone who wants the stability of having a job before going in to a working visa. I wouldn’t recommend au pairing as the best job for someone who is looking to save money long term. It is a great way to make a liveable wage and be part of a family. I really value the experience that I had as an au pair. It was great to feel included in a family again after a year and a half of travel.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever considered becoming an au pair! 

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Vegan Fast Food in Australia

I often get asked how easy it is to be vegan in Australia. I spent almost an entire year in the beautiful country of Australia, and I was vegan the entire time. It wasn’t difficult at all, and I actually found Australia to be one of the most vegan friendly places I’ve visited so far. This is a list of the best vegan fast food in Australia.

Australia is home to many a fast food restaurant that includes vegan options on the menu. There are so many vegans in Australia, it is easy to find a place that caters to us.Best Vegan Fast Food In Australia

Vegan Fast Food in Australia
1. Lord of The Fries

This place is magic. It’s an entirely vegetarian (transitioning to vegan) fast food restaurant that serves burgers, fries, hot dogs, and milkshakes – all of which can be made vegan. This chain is spread throughout Australia, with stores in all of the major touristy areas of the big cities. Vegan Fast Food in Australia

2. Guzman and Gomez

There are loads of Mexican restaurant chains in Australia, one of which is Guzman and Gomez. Most of these chains offer vegan options on the menu, with free guacamole for veg burritos! Other Mexican chains with vegan options include: Zambrero (my favorite and probably the healthiest), and Mad Mex (this would be my third option out of the three). A burrito at any of these places will cost you about $12-$15 AUD. Vegan Fast Food in Australia Guzman and Gomez

3. Doughnut Time

While Doughnut Time isn’t a completely vegan establishment, this magical place offers a variety of vegan doughnuts. My favorite is the Liam Hemsworth, but all of the vegan doughnuts are amazing. One of these little hunks of joy will cost you anywhere between $7-$9 AUD, but is completely worth it. Split it with a friend if you don’t want a stomach ache from sugar, because they are massive! Vegan Fast Food in Australia Vegan Fast Food In Australia Vegan Fast Food in Australia

4. Grill’d

Grill’d is a healthy burger chain, with one vegan option on the menu. The veg option here is a vegetable burger, filled to the brim with fiber but not overly filling – make sure to grab a side of sweet potatoes fries. Grill’d is a great place to grab a meal with a friend. They offer seating, tons of drinks options (from kombucha to beer), and a cute setting. A Grill’d vegan burger will set you back about $11.50. Vegan Fast Food in Australia Grill'dVegan Fast Food in AustraliaVegan Fast Food in Australia

5. Crust Pizza

Crust is a fast food joint that has locations around Australia. They stock vegan cheese, and can make any of the vegetarian pizzas vegan if you just ask for it to be made vegan. A pizza here will set you back about $23-$26 with the addition of vegan cheese, but it’s very worth it. Vegan Fast Food in AustraliaVegan Fast Food in Australia

These are my favorite options for vegan fast food in Australia. They are all amazing, satisfying, and cruelty-free. Make sure to check out my favorite vegan restaurants in Melbourne!

What’s your favorite vegan fast food option?

 

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