As you probably already know, Maya from Backpacker World Travel has left the Lexis travel desk, and in a month will be leaving Byron Bay itself for a brand new adventure in Cairns!
We sat down with Maya to talk about her time in Australia and her top tips for travelling this amazing country!
Maya is from the Netherlands, where she grew up on a cargo ship! This is obviously where the travelling spirit comes from 🙂
Maya, how long have you been in Australia?
I’ve been in Australia now for three and a half years! I was supposed to come for six months as a backpacker, but I fell in love with the country – the wide, open spaces –it’s an amazing place to live.
Where have you travelled in Australia so far?
I actually came to Australia once before and travelled the East Coast – as well as the red centre, Kakadu National Park (which I’ve now been to six times!) and the Great Ocean Road. This time, I was in Sydney for two days searching for my lost backpack (!), then flew to Perth, travelled up the coast to Broome, carried on to Darwin, then down to Alice Springs. From Alice Springs I went to Adelaide, then along to Melbourne, and ended up in Sydney – where I lived for three or four months. I then explored Tasmania, before flying to Adelaide and travelling from there to Perth – driving across the Nullarbor. I found a job in a country pub in Narrabeen, which is 300km inland from Perth! I met three girls there who I travelled up the West Coast with, and they dropped me at a cattle station where I did my three months regional work for my second working holiday visa. After that I flew to Sydney and got a job with Backpacker World Travel! I worked there for eight months, before they asked me to move to Darwin and work in the store there for six months. Finally – I moved to Byron Bay to work for BWT here, and I have been here for 18 months! So as you can see – I have been everywhere!
Where is your favourite place that you have lived in Australia?
Can I have a top three?! My top three places that I have lived are Sydney, Byron Bay and Fremantle, Western Australia.
If I had two months to see as much as I could in Australia, what would you recommend?
It depends on when you are here – as the seasons can really affect where you want to go! If you are here in summer, then I think you shouldn’t miss the Great Ocean Road, and driving across the Nullarbor is an incredible experience. Also the West Coast – you should always do the West Coast!
In the winter, I’d say go to Perth and travel up the coast to Broome, and then further up to Darwin, and don’t miss Kakadu!
Do you have a favourite pub in Australia that you have found?!
That’s a hard one – so many pubs! Probably the Norfolk on Cleveland Street in Sydney – it’s a great pub and has an amazing pub garden.
Which activities do you think shouldn’t be missed whilst you are in Australia?
There are just endless options! Swimming with sea lions on the Nullarbor is amazing, and swimming with whale sharks on Ningaloo Reef as well – you pretty much always know that you will see some in season as they use spotter planes. Also Uncle Brian’s in Cairns is the best day trip I have ever done – it’s just a day of swimming, eating, swimming, eating – waterfall after waterfall and laughing the whole time – literally, your stomach hurts by the end f the day because you have been laughing so much!
And how about activities in Byron Bay?
Fly Gyro is really fun – flying over Byron Bay and the beaches and waves in a little two person plane. Also a skydive – it’s just such an adrenaline kick, everyone should do it once in their life!
Is there a travel spot outside Australia that you’d recommend for someone wanting to explore on their way home?
Definitely Sri Lanka – everyone should go there! Its so unspoilt and not touristy at all – kids are waving at you the whole time, there are elephants and tea plantations – it’s just beautiful.
And last, but definitely not least – tell us more about what you are up to next!
I’m still here in Byron Bay for another month, so I’m still around if you need to book any travel, trips or activities. Then I will be moving up to Cairns to work for BWT there. Byron Bay is a small town, and although I love it, I do need a challenge! Plus, I’m so excited to have the Great Barrier Reef in my back garden! Cairns is a bigger store than Byron, but I will really miss dealing with the Lexis students, you get to know them and spend so much time helping them plan their trips. The biggest difference will probably be that I’m sending people down, instead of sending them up – I’ll have to re-memorise the bus timetable!!
If you are in Cairns – make sure that you pop into the store and say hi! I’ll give you a voucher for a free meal at the Woolshed 😉
Thanks Maya and GOOD LUCK!!!!