Maxime Moved To Australia Over 5 Years Ago To Learn English And Live New Adventures
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14th Jun | 7 min read

Maxime Ducker is from Spain, and she’s a traveler and expert in sustainability and green living, so she tries to intersect both passions whenever possible. She’s the founder of OurGoodBrands, a worldwide eco-hub for consumers and brands to make better decisions. You follow along on all of Maxime’s adventures on Instagram @ecowarriorparadise.

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My Inspiration For Journeying Australia

I always wanted to learn English and live new adventures, get out of my comfort zone; and Australia had great visa options!

So I started off with a Working Holiday Visa, moved to the Gold Coast for a year, fell in love with the lifestyle, and have been here in Australia for over 5 years now.

I’ve also lived in Melbourne, a remote area in North Queensland. Besides getting to know those areas very well, I’ve also visited Sydney and Newcastle.

Where I Stay & How I Get Around The Country

Since I moved to live for a long term period I’ve always rented my own home.

I started off renting private bedrooms in shared houses, which is incredibly common to find since there are many people who come to Australia on a student visa. 

When traveling I have tried a bit of everything depending on the mood, type of travel, and destination; I’ve been around with a van, car+camping, Airbnb, hostels, and a few hotels.

To keep the costs low and make the most of your experience, I’d always recommend hiring or buy a van with a few mates.

The country is very expensive if you are not earning wages, so sharing rent, living, and fuel expenses are essential unless you have a big budget.

If you are traveling around Australia on a budget, then I’d definitely suggest cooking your own meals and not going to restaurants as it can become incredibly expensive.

Other items that add a lot to your costs are tobacco and alcohol, so preferably give them up if you are planning to move or travel around Australia.

Read more: From A Campervan To A Campercar: Here's How Lara's Been Managing Her Working Holiday In Australia During The Pandemic

How I Decide Where To Go

I decided to live on the Gold Coast, based on the fact that it could offer the “Australian dream” we have in mind: nice weather, nine months of summer with an average temperature of 30ºC, surfing, awesome beaches, walking barefoot everywhere with your salty hair and enjoying an outdoors lifestyle.

When I moved to Melbourne it was based on expanding professionally and experiencing art & culture, but after a year I moved back to Queensland especially due to the unbalanced weather conditions in Victoria. While in Queensland I’ve visited waterfalls, islands, towns, and amazing coastlines.

Read more: 11 Best Day Trips From Cairns and How Much They Cost

COVID affected my work and income so I decided to move out of the city and go to North Queensland to eventually experience farm work which is very well-known there (Mangoes, capsicums, Pumpkins, sugarcane…).

So there I got to visit amazing places like Airlie beach or Bowen, and other local spots. The only inconvenience from this area is that you should not risk swimming because there are crocodiles and other deadly stingrays. Great for fishing and traveling around with a cruiser!

Sydney and Newcastle have both been on random trips to discover if there would be any opportunities to live there, yet they are very expensive areas if you are an immigrant and would totally not recommend them unless you want to discover the beautiful New South Wales.

What I still have pending to tick off the bucket list is Cape Tribulation, which is probably the wildest nature in the country.

I’ve also heard amazing things about Broome in the Northern Territory or Fremantle or check some of the islands in Western Australia

Read more: How Haritz Traveled the Australian West Coast in Just 15 Days

How I Pack

In Australia, you should have clothing for the four seasons, swimmers, 50 FTP sunscreen, and mozzie repellent.

Definitely have some savings and I’d suggest you get insurance because if anything happens hospital fees are very expensive.

Like any other trip, to enjoy more pack light; here you can hire any sort of gear or get cool things from the second-hand shop in case it’s needed.

Keeping Costs Low

Budget-wise, I’d suggest you share expenses, avoid restaurants or take-away food and use public transport whenever possible.

Safety Precautions

As for safety, it depends on where you go because every area has its own challenges: check cyclone season if you are traveling to the north, bush-fire season in each state; watch out for crocodiles and jellyfish in the waters in Queensland and Northern Territory.

If you are driving on the sand, be careful with water tides and learn how to drive on the beach first; at night time watch out for kangaroos crossing the roads.

If you are going to Uluru, never stop for anyone hitch-hiking because I have heard horror stories of local aboriginals stealing your car and leaving you in the middle of nowhere.

Even though it is a safe country, you should not hitch-hike or stop for anyone on the road, as it is a vast country and you could eventually not be found if you disappear.

Read more: 18 Months Road Tripping The Coast Of Australia During The Pandemic With Angélica

I’ve Met So Many New Friends In Australia

The beauty of Australia is that you get to meet people from countries from all over the world! I have lived with people from Brazil, Asia, France, Italy, Germany.

It’s a perfect opportunity to understand their cultures, share food and create long-lasting memories. Obviously, I also have a good bunch of beautiful Australian friends who are great to help you improve your English!

I would suggest being open-minded if you live here or in any other new country and try to mingle with locals.

I have seen so many people regret only mixing with their own culture as they leave without learning a new language and miss out on the real “Australian” experience.

Read more: She Got Stuck In Australia And Turned It Into An Epic Trip: Here’s How Moira’s Been Spending Her Working Holiday in Australia!

Some Challenges 

I would say the biggest challenge is how expensive it is, and also how big the distances are between places.

Also, if you are working and studying in Australia, you quickly get caught into a new routine and it is quite tempting to see your bank account grow and get back the initial investment spent for moving to a new country.

Furthermore, if you are under a working visa you want to make the most of it, and if you are a student, you’ve got to commit to studies and attendance is important.

Finally, there is also a big opportunity to travel to countries like Bali or Thailand which are way cheaper and make a bigger holiday with way less of a budget than traveling around Australia.

Read more: Chloe Spent A Whole Month Adventuring Australia’s East Coast In Her Campervan

Best Memory So Far

I loved one trip we did with friends to Stradbroke Island as we got to see loads of wild nature like dolphins, turtles, a Koala, Kangaroos.

My new favorite place in Australia is the Stockton Sand Dunes in Newcastle - you’ve gotta drive around with a 4WD.

I loved the walk to Mount Warning and getting to see the sunrise, even though it was a 4 hours tough walk at night time.

Every sunrise on the Gold Coast is special too, as much as the barbies on the beach with your friends. The national park and its hidden surfing spots on Sunshine Coast are just the best.

I love Alva Beach, Hideaway Bay beach, Airlie Beach, Bowen, Crystal Creek, Rocky Ponds, Yamba, Cameron Pocket, Nelson Bay, Alligator Creek, Coolangatta, Byron Bay.

I will never forget one afternoon I spent with my boyfriend at the Molongle Creek taking pictures and getting spoiled without anyone else around; I was worried about crocodiles and got bitten by a “Happy Moment” fish but he’s a real Australian Dandy so felt safe and protected by him. Oh, and driving on the beach with his cruiser Wunjunga is just unforgettable and truly special.

There is nothing like traveling around Australia with a local. I lived with my Barefooted Welder for about 6 months in a shed and besides loads of frogs in the toilets.

I learned life lessons that I will remember for life!

Other cool travel stories you might enjoy! 

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