Proudly perched in Northeast Australia, and spoilt with hundreds of sun soaked islands, tropical rainforests, as well as the cosmopolitan city of Cairns and the iconic Great Barrier Reef, Queensland is the ultimate place to live the Aussie dream. I mean, you’re doing this because you want to change your life right? What could be more different than paradise?
Last year, Ben Angel won one of 6 working holidays in Australia as part of our Live Like an Aussie competition, and last September he headed out to Queensland to work as a cook on a boat sailing the glorious Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef – a pretty drastic departure from the average 9-5!
Here’s what he thought about his experience and why he thinks you should take advantage of your opportunity to take a working holiday, while you can…
Here's Ben hard at work (kind of), sailing the Whitsundays.
How did you hear about the competition?
I heard of the competition through the STA Travel Facebook page,
I’d never won anything before winning this, I’ve entered many competitions but never got lucky, it just doesn’t happen to me – or so I thought!
How did you feel when you won?
I felt totally shocked when I received the email telling me to call STA Travel, first I thought it was a complete joke and still couldn’t quite believe it when I finally spoke to somebody. It definitely took a while to sink in!
Had you ever thought about going to Australia before?
I actually travelled Australia 5 years ago, so I had a rough idea of what to expect, but coincidently I was planning on coming to Australia to do it all again anyway, I even had my work visa booked!
What were your first feelings when you arrived in Aus?
Well, I had the worst jetlag of my life! But, after a good days rest I began to feel normal again, I met some good friends in my hostel room and we all headed out to discover Cairns together.
Ben's first sights of his new 'office'.
What happened on your first day at work on the Whitsundays?
My first day of work was different to say the least! I was up at 4am on a weekend (which I’m not used to at all!) straight to the boat on the beautiful Whitsundays to stock up and welcome the guests.
I was trained by the full-time cook, and although it was always a hard days work, getting to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef on my lunch break more than made up for it! It was something I always wanted to do and I can’t believe how lucky I was to be able to do it as part of my job!
Have you met many new friends?
So many! After my job in Cairns finished I travelled more of Queensland and the rest of Australia and it’s safe to say I came across a lot of characters!
What’s been the highlight of your trip so far?
The most memorable highlight of my trip so far is snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef, it was an experience I’ll never forget.
Not a bad way to finish your working day - beats a packed out bus ride!
Do you have any tips to give others planning a working holiday?
I would advise people planning this kind of trip to go fully prepared, try to save as much money as possible and also make sure you experience as much as possible! If you’re thinking about staying for more than 1 year then working each day may sound daunting but if you stay in the right hostels you’ll meet some great people and save lots of money. It has the potential to be the best time of your life!
So you’d recommend the experience to others?
I’m absolutely loving the experience and would fully recommend it to as many people as possible, I’m warning you though – you will catch the travel bug!
Thanks for sharing Ben, it sounds like you had an amazing time!
If you have your heart set on a working holiday in Australia, consider starting your adventure in Queensland, this beautiful, sun soaked, adventure rich, state has so much to offer.
There’s no other place on earth where at day in the office could finished with a dive around the Great Barrier Reef, in fact, there’s no other place in the world where a day in the office could actually be a dive around the Great Barrier reef!
Work… Five amazing jobs you could do on your working holiday in Queensland:
• Work on a farm or ranch in the outback.
• Learn to dive and become an instructor with an internship on a boat sailing the Whitsundays.
• Meet some new, large water based colleagues, and work on a whale watching boat.
• Work in a hostel to earn your keep, have fun and save a lot of money!
• Live the highlife and work as a chef on an Island Reef resort.
And play… Five awesome experiences to keep you entertained in between shifts:
• Camp on the sand beneath a blanket of stars on Fraser Island.
• Don your cozzie and dive with the marinelife around the Great Barrier Reef.
• Head out to sea in search of ocean giants and go whale watching in Hervey Bay.
• Learn a new skill and take surf lessons on the Gold Coast.
• Sit back, relax and top up your tan while sailing the Whitsunday Islands.