A Year in Australia: By the Numbers

A Year in Australia: By the Numbers

Written by Heather

Topics: Life in Oz

I quit my job as a career counselor for uni students at 30 to move to Australia for 12 months for a once in a lifetime opportunity. Following six months of travel + six months of living in Sydney, I realized there are MANY numbers that add up to one great year.

Ways I made money: 3
Cashier at an organic food store
— Placing a bet on the horse that won the Melbourne Cup
Modeling corporate wear for an online company

Ways I tried Vegemite: 3
— Standard — on toast with butter
— On toast with cheese (getting better!)
— The Cheesymite Scroll from Baker’s Delight (I had somewhere between 5-8 of these during my time in Oz — YUM)

Cheesymite Scroll
Cheesymite Scroll from Bakers Delight

Aussie animals I saw in the wild: 6
— Kangaroo
— Koala
— Echidna
— Wallaby
— Wombat
— Emu
— I am sure I am missing some!

Mom and baby wombat
Wombats at Cradle Mountain

Aussie animals I ate: 3
— Emu burger and prosciutto
— Kangaroo steak and sausages
— Crocodile sausage

Aussie spiders I encountered: 2
— Huntsman (harmless but massive — and in my flat!)
— Redback

Celebrities I met (don’t worry, I didn’t go all fangirl): 2
— Cate Blanchett came through my line twice at the store (we talked and she was very lovely).
— Erik Thomson (plays the dad on Australian TV show Packed to the Rafters) also came to the store and I helped him a couple of times.

Getting pulled over by police: 1
— For a breathalyzer, just after crossing the South Australia and Western Australia border.

Aussie Television appearances: 3
— State of Origin Game 1 (close up of our row — the couple beside me kept getting calls saying we’d been spotted)
— First episode of the SBS documentary on Adriano Zumbo (I appear on-screen *and* have 5 seconds worth of quality speaking time)
— Appearing in the studio audience of two episodes of Ready Steady Cook

Domestic one-way flights: 6
— Sydney to Melbourne
— Alice Springs to Sydney
— Sydney to Brisbane
— Brisbane to Sydney
— Sydney to Melbourne
— Melbourne to Cairns

Items addressed on the bucket list or goals list:
NYE in Sydney by the Harbour
— Karaoke for the first time
— Living in another country for a year
— Taking a Bollywood class (it was only once, but it’s a start)

NYE on the Harbour
Sydney NYE view

Photos uploaded to Flickr: 953
— I took loads more than that!

Live sporting events I attended: 4
— Games 1 and 3 of State of Origin (rugby league)
— 2 AFL (Aussie Rules) games, watching my beloved Brisbane Lions lose to North Melbourne and St. Kilda

Tweeps I met: 30+
— Met my first friends from Twitter during weeks 2 and 3 in Melbourne (@darrenc121, @JCDayDream, @Vagabond3Live)
— Heaps more with Sydney Travel Massive (formerly Sydney Travel Tribe)
— And lots of other group or one-on-one meetups!

Macarons consumed: 67
— It doesn’t have the impressive ring of “100!!”, but it was still a fun, tasty, waist-line expanding challenge

Vehicles owned: .5
— Paul Heinz

Paul Heinz

Aussie road trips: 2
East coast trip with Brooke
Southern coast trip + Tassie with Adam and Nicole

Visitors from home: 4
— Grayson and I met years ago through a mutual interest Star Wars (oh yeah!) and he’s been living & working as an expat in Japan for several years. He visited Oz for a week, splitting his time between Melbourne and visiting me in Sydney.
Nicole visited for 2 weeks shortly after I moved to Sydney and loved it so much she returned on the Work & Holiday Visa a few months later.
— My parents came for 10 days in November — their first trip to Australia and my mom’s first trip overseas!

3 most enjoyable coffees:
— Mrs S in Perth (piccolo latte and cappuccino)
— Naked Bean Coffee in Albany (cappuccino)
— Three Bags Full in Melbourne (magic)

Naked Bean Coffee
Naked Bean Coffee in Albany

2 favorite Australia TV shows:
— Masterchef Australia (and Junior Masterchef)
— The Hollowmen (only lasted for 2 series of 6 episodes each, but they’re brilliant)

Biggest “do one thing ever day that scares you” moments: 4
— Karaoke for the first time (it was my flat mate’s birthday and I had to!)
Diving for the first time
Quitting my Aussie job

Memories I’ll never forget: Countless

Thanks for checking out my year-in-review-by-numbers! You might also like:
— My foodie year-in-review
— To follow me on There’s No Place Like Oz on Facebook
— To follow me on Heather Travels on YouTube

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40 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Bagus. Love this post. Sums up many of the experiences very succinctly.

  2. Adam says:

    Awesome way to summarize your time there. And I love that wombat photo!

    • Heather says:

      Thanks — that photo is one of my faves :-) We were walking through the national parks at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania when they exited the bush and walked right up to us!

  3. Julia says:

    I LOVE Masterchef Australia! It’s so much better than our UK version :) And I actually feel as though I would give Vegemite a go with one of those scrolls, something I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to eat!

    • Heather says:

      I agree with the US version — the Aussie one is heaps better!!

      I should have called them “Cheesymite Scrolls” instead of “Vegemite” as they’re cheese AND Vegemite (I edited to correct it O:-)) They are silly good!

  4. Totally loved this post!!! Okay I’m sooo jealous that you met Erik Thomson. PTTR is the BEST!

    • Heather says:

      The first time he was in the store I kept looking at him and his family, wondering if it was REALLY him :-) The second and third times we spoke :-) (but not about the show or who he was). O:-)

  5. Jaime says:

    Oh wow maybe I need to keep track of more than just my kiss count…lol!!! I loved this post. Few questions: What did Kangaroo steak taste like? Why did they give you a breathalyzer test at the border crossing? Didn’t you also see the Tasmania Devil (maybe I made that up)?

    • Heather says:

      I love that I didn’t even keep track of this stuff…the post just came to me and it was easy to remember the numbers (I’m a detail kind of gal!) O:-)

      Kangaroo tastes like…hmm…have you ever had venison or another game meat? It has that slight gaminess to it (is that a word?! Google seems to think so…basically “wild”). The steak didn’t have a gamey flavor but the sausages sure did! They’re very high in iron and protein and low in fat.

      The cops had set up a sort of road block just to test people crossing the border…I suppose since many of the travelers are young backpackers, they wondered if we were “drink driving” (as they call it in Oz).

      And I didn’t see a Tasmanian Devil in the wild! I saw one at the zoo in Sydney, and I posed in front of a sign about the devil for a photo, but I never saw one out and about in nature.

  6. Cypress says:

    I especially covet your macaroon count; so delectable! More than anything though, I love how you express that no many how many ways you add, subtract, multiply, or divide your trip stats, nothing can quantify how life-changing it was for you. :)

    • Heather says:

      I have a few reflective posts I still want to write, but it’s just not the right time yet — as I mentioned today, I’m sure there are ways I’ve changed that I’m still not fully aware of yet. Can’t wait for our dinner this week!

  7. Erik says:

    Great Post! It’s so awesome that you can reflect in this way. Did it take you long to compose this? I started one of these on my Israel trip last year (only a month) but never finished it.

    • Heather says:

      It took me very little time to write this up :-) The categories have been floating in my mind for a while! I didn’t keep track while I was away…it’s one of the very few posts that just came to me O:-) If only it were that easy all the time…!

  8. Great post Heather

    You forgot a few highlights though (with apologies in advance)

    – watching Geelong (the Cats) win games – a few
    – visiting National Parks in Tasmania – many
    – total Wombats spotted in Tasmania – many
    – weird road signs across Australia – hundreds!!
    – meeting me – xxxx

    Cheers and beers!


  9. Nicole says:

    Of course when I came to the part in this post where you wrote about Aussie animals you saw in the wild & I saw that wombat pic again I had to go “Awwww!” But it is kinda ironic that immediately thereafter you mention the Aussie animals you *ate* while you were here – LOL. πŸ˜‰ I remember my Outback tour guide mentioning that Australia is the only country that eats the animals on their national emblem (emus & ‘roos). :(

  10. Megan says:

    Wombat! Oh my god, so cute! You must keep really good track of things–like your best coffees? You’re so organized!

    • Heather says:

      HA! I am a very organized person but this list kind of just came about! The coffees weren’t tracked but all happened at the end of the trip, so they weren’t tricky to remember πŸ˜‰ Maybe it’s my Myers-Briggs type in action — I remember all of the little things O:-)

  11. Laura says:

    Nice round-up! It makes me want to do something similar… hmmm, yes I think I will :)

  12. Erica says:

    How was the emu burger?! I’m always down to trying new meats. But seriously – great round up! That is quite the accomplishment!

    • Heather says:

      I had it a year ago, so I can’t quite remember the taste, but it was fairly good — had it on my Outback tour and it had been cooked in a lot of oil so the outside was pretty crispy/heavy and I don’t remember the taste. The emu prosciutto was salty but tasty (in scrambled eggs at Cafe Ish).

  13. I want to take a Bollywood class! That sounds like so much fun. :) And I can’t believe you’ve met up with so many Twitter folks – that number is impressive!

    • Heather says:

      I can’t believe it either! Oz was full of travelers and travel bloggers in the right spots at the right time :-)

  14. Bob Crunch says:

    Great post. As a new reader to your blog, this really helped bring me up to speed on everything that has gone on. Thank you and I hope to enjoy more soon.

  15. Kyle says:

    Cate Blanchett!!!!!!!!

    And you definitely need to eat more macarooons. I am pretty sure I ate 67 in the 4 days that I was just in France. Up your game! :)

    • Heather says:

      I should rephrase — I tried 67 flavors but had a few repeats, so the count is in the 70s πŸ˜‰ But GAME ON — I’m going to have some in London for sure :-)

  16. Deidre says:

    Wow what an exciting trip you had!!! I wish I’d known about you before, I could have met up with you while you were in Melbourne! Le sigh.

    • Heather says:

      I know!!! My fave cafe in all of Oz is in Melbs and I’d fly back in a heartbeat just to go there. And we could have had some gluten free goodies together!

  17. Chris says:

    Haha, I love this idea. I wish I had even a vague recollection of any kind of number based facts for my time in Korea :-p

    Still planning to do your food challenge btw. Just been flat out lately.

    • Heather says:

      It’s surprised me how many people thought I kept track of these numbers throughout the year…I just remember that kind of stuff, I suppose and the post practically wrote itself.

      Looking forward to it — no rush!

  18. Lizzie says:

    Ooooooooh I love this post, what a great idea!!

  19. Cheesymite sounds way better than Vegemite! Glad we found this blog as we’re going to be spending a month along the east coast of OZ soon. :)

  20. Maybe next time – vegemite & peanut butter. It seems so wrong to me until I tried it. Not my favourite way of having it but it has a certain, unique appeal to it.

  21. Jill says:

    Ok, now I’m really excited that I found your blog. I have no idea what to expect of my working holiday (and I’m ok with that) but it’s nice to see a few more possibilities!

    • Heather says:

      Jill, if you have ANY questions about the upcoming travels to Oz, don’t hesitate to send an email my way! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect either and learned a lot along the way :-)

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