Moving to a new country solo can be a daunting experience, even for the most seasoned of travellers.
Not having a clue where to start can cause a lot of unwanted stress and anxiety, luckily though, there’s a company based in Sydney that can help…Welcome to my week with OzIntro!
OzIntro is a company that sorts out all the essential stuff you need whilst backpacking in Australia, whilst you have an amazing week of new experiences with a bunch of new friends.
I’d met a few of the guys from my group on the Sunday that I arrived, but the official start date for our group was on Monday, where the whole group met each other officially (a few of us went out the night before so were a bit hungover)! Here’s what I got up to over the course of what’s been an eventful week…
In the morning the group was picked up early doors outside our hostel (Base Backpackers) and were given a city orientation by our group leader Tom. We walked around the Botanical Gardens and took a few cheeky selfies with the Opera House in the backdrop, before having a beer down on the harbourside. In the afternoon we all got soaked on an awesome jet boating experience around the harbour.
On Tuesday we had to get some of the less exciting stuff sorted including our Bank Accounts, Tax File Numbers and Medicare Cards. This seemed to drag on a bit, probably because most of us were still suffering from the effects of Goon* the night before! After all the important stuff was sorted, we spent the afternoon down in Darling Harbour where we went to the Aquarium to have a look at some of the awesome Marine life including Great White Sharks!
On Wednesday we had an ‘Oz Essentials’ talk before we took the ferry over to Taronga Zoo, where we saw some of the creatures that make Australia famous world over. Aside from the Koala’s, Kangaroo’s and Crocodiles, I was most impressed by the size of the bird eating spider I saw. You definitely wouldn’t want that crawling up your leg! We also saw a seal show, which was pretty impressive.
On Thursday we started the day with a talk about all the incredible things to be done on the East Coast of Australia, which I must say made me so pumped to finally be over here! OzIntro get some pretty good discounts on package deals along the East Coast so the talk served as a bit of a sales pitch for us to book up some of the packages when we came back into the office on the Saturday. After the travel talk we headed to the world famous Bondi Beach. After months of watching Bondi Rescue, I learned first hand how dangerous that beach can be, after being sucked out in a rip with another guy from the group. Luckily I managed to get out of the rip and just managed to drag Peter out before he drowned (you’re welcome mate!). The lifeguards seemed pretty blasé about it all, probably because they see it all the time. I laughed as I couldn’t believe what just happened. After Bondi we did a coastal walk before a BBQ on the beach and a game of beach volleyball captained by Tom and Rhys (the other group leader). We annihilated Rhys’s team and then it was back to the hostel to get a good nights sleep.
I was looking forward to Friday more than any other day of the week because on Friday we took a day trip to the absolutely stunning Blue Mountains. I rode shotgun next to the driver and our tour guide Smokey, who literally is the most interesting man I’ve ever met. This guy is like the Australian Ray Mears and I’ll never forget some of the stories he told! I was gutted we didn’t get to spend more time in the Mountains, there’s loads to see so I hope I’ll get to go back at some point in the future!
On Saturday we went into the OZ Intro office in the morning to get all of our East Coast trips booked up. This wiped me out financially but I can’t describe how excited I am to be doing all of the things I booked. For example, in the next week or so, I will have done another Skydive, another Bungee Jump and spent a day White Water Rafting…epic! The rest of the day was spent getting our fancy dress sorted before we headed out on the party bus for a bar crawl around Sydney, which was a crazy night!
Sunday was a free day, mainly spent nursing hangovers in and around the hostel. In the evening we went up the Sydney Tower for an all-you-can-eat buffet. I made the most of this by gorging down three plates of food including, crocodile & emu sausages, kangaroo and some amazing beef brisket. The view from the top of the tower was incredible although a bit nauseating if you’ve got a fear of heights!
I also want to mention probably the best part of OZ Intro and that’s meeting your group. For those not familiar with hostel life, when you’re placed in a room with a load of strangers that you’ll spend the next week of your life, eating, sleeping and doing stuff with, you become pretty close, pretty quickly! I couldn’t have asked for a better group full of awesome individuals, so a massive shout out to you lot, especially those of you in my room, “the 212 crew,” let’s have an amazing time in Cairns together!
Last but not least, I want to say a massive thanks to our group leader Tom (a.k.a team america!) It was his last ever group at Oz Intro and he made it a great one, cheers dude! Also a massive thanks to all of the other staff and the other group leader Rhys (legend) at Oz Intro for putting together this awesome week.
Now that the week is over, I’ve got a couple of days left in Sydney before flying up to Cairns on Wednesday to continue what has been an epic start to my Oz Adventure!
*Goon – a cheap wine product that comes in a big shiny bag for about $14 which gets you 4L of the stuff and is probably the main cause of all beer goggle related incidents amongst OZ backpackers!