Australia, Perth

17th January 2008 – 13th February 2009

 This chapter has been my longest (in a good way) of the journey so far. The reasons I was able to “settle down” for so long were due to,

  • The situation I found myself in when starting the chapter
  • I loved Perth
  • Mandy and friends
  • I worked my favourite job of my journey to date
  • I got around (explain it later on).


The situation I found myself in when starting my Australian chapter.

I've seen better daysWhen I arrived in Perth (I lived in Perth, but worked at Woodie Woodie, 2 hours north of Perth by jet)  I was coming off the back of two of my most challenging chapters, my deportation and accident. I was in debt, still suffering from my fractured vertebra (it had only been 3 months since the accident), and I hadn’t seen my girlfriend for 6 months. So I knew I would be spending sometime in this chapter as I got back on my feet. Despite this doom and gloom, “poor Hap” picture I am painting, I was excited to be back working and in a new place.

 I loved Perth

The chapter started well right from the start. I had 2 hours to kill at Perth airport before Bugz could come and pick me up, so I was doing my back exercises on the airport floor (as you do). Then totally unexpected, Andy who I had worked with at the orphanage in Mexico walked passed, and after a double take, we both said the same thing, “what are you doing here”. So it was off to the beach for a beer in the glorious Perth sun, and the chapter continued as it started.

The postcard shot of Cottesloe Surf life saving club







From my first beer with Andy at Cottesloe beach I fell in love with Perth. The most isolated city in the world. Located in the South West corner of WA (Western Australia).  Some people say WA, stands for ‘Wait Awhile’, as things take a long time to get done, due to its isolation, but also because of the relaxed nature of the people.


The people are friendly, and the city itslef  has a laid-back beach town feel to it . And rightly so, as it is home to some of the best beaches I have been to. But unlike the famous beaches, for example, Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, it doesn’t have the crowds (unfortunately not the Brazilian bikini bottoms either).


As far as I’m concerned, if you like the city, love the beach, can handle the heat, then Perth can’t be beat-and that’s a rhyme.

Mandy and friends

Relaxing on the deck of the boat after a couple of dives.

As well as beautiful beaches, another key ingredient for any great chapter is to be surrounded by great people.  Walking into a great bunch of mates, a lot of whom were mates of mates from university and old-school high school crew,was key. Add to this the arrival of Mandy halfway through the chapter, life was good.


I worked my favourite job of the journey so far.

The reason I came to Perth, was because I was in debt and needed money fast. The news and everybody else kept telling me about the booming Western Australia mining industry and how much money could be made. Apart from that I didn’t know much about Perth or WA, except it was hot.


Before coming to Perth I was luckily enough that friend Tracey from my Banff and Red Deer chapters put me in contact with her friend Gretchen who was a Geologist at Woodie Woodie manganese mine in the Pilbara region of WA. Through Gretchen I got the job at Woodie Woodie as an Exploration Field Assistant, flying in for 2 weeks work and then back to Perth for 1 week R&R  (6 months later this got changed to 8 days work, 6 days R&R).

Boarding plane at Woodie Woodie - No VIP lounge here

Awesome! I was an Exploration Field Assistant………I didn’t really know what that was, but it didn’t matter because I was just happy to have a job. And what a job it has been.   


Being a “fieldy” has been my favourite job of my journey so far. Although there are menial jobs like sampling holes, cutting drill collars, picking up samples, marking out drill sites etc, it will be the regional exploring work I will remember. This is work conducted outside the mine site in regional locations, for example our Ripon Hills remote camp where I would cook on camp fires and sleep under the stars.


The regional exploration work  involved four-wheel driving in places that no man would of stepped before, helicopter mapping work, walking kilometre upon kilometre in the outback marking out geophysics grid lines, conducting heritage surveys where you take the native Aboriginals of the area to find potential heritage areas and field trips exploring our tenements. Doing all this while surounded by the amazing outback flora and fauna, this is what I will remember. This is why, when people ask me “what is it I do?”, I say  “I get paid to be a boy scout”.


While at Woodie Woodie I volunteered for the Emergency Response Team(ERT). After my accident in the previous chapter where I was taken in the rescue helicopter I was eager to become a more confident first aider. I also wanted to make the most of the training opportunities in the mining industry. 

Action time, fire ahoy!

With ERT I gained experience not only in the emergency setting, but also around aircraft, experience that will be valuable for my future Antarctica application. Through ERT I became a qualified emergency first responder, and rope rescuer. This training is invaluable, I now feel confident that if called upon I can make a difference.

rope training

I’ve got around

This chapter has been varied. I tell people that I lived in Perth for a year, but when you break it down, I actually spent 7-8 months at Woodie Woodie working and only 3-4 months in Perth and a couple of months getting around.


During the chapter I got my travel fix with a 3 week trip to Bali in Indonesia.  The perfect place to meet up with Mandy after 10 months apart. Bali was the start of my life underwater that saw Mandy and I gain our open water dive certification and diving continued to reappear throughout the chapter and will be a big part of the next chapter.


During my R&R’s there were plenty of  trips down south to Margaret River and Busselton.  Mandy and I also got the chance to explore more of WA with a memorable road tripwith our wicked campervan “Wario”, up to beautiful Coral Bay and Exmouth.

Wario by the turmites nest

Unlike other chapters, I have been able to spend time with family, albeit one time for my grandmothers funeral back in New Zealand. But the next meeting was a more joyous occasion, with the family meeting up on the Gold Coast for a week before heading up to Brisbane to celebrate my cousin Karina and Adams wedding (which was my first wedding).

NZ family photo

Lets wrap this chapter up

OK, so this Australia chapter has been a long chapter, but I have achieved everything that I set out to achieve and have built a solid platform from which to launch the remaining chapters of my journey.

 I am leaving this chapter in a much better situation, back pain is a distant memory, back to full fitness (I never mentioned that I completed the Perth City to Surf half marathon), my debts are paid off, the bank balance is healthy and Mandy and I will be in the same country. Bring on the next chapter.


11 Responses to “Australia, Perth”

  1. G at 8:06 am #

    great summary Hap
    Watch out for fukin viruses on ya next journey

    • Hap at 8:26 am #

      Cheerz G, will try and give you a call tonight before flying out, or you guys give me a call when you get back from work.

      NBL Hap

    • Ingrid at 3:19 pm #

      I loved your blog on Au. Are you able to tell me of someone who would help me get a job in the mines in WA? My husband and I need to make some extrea money and would love the experience. Have sold the business and have a good work ethic, are used to long hours, safety conscious, honest and reliable and have stickability.
      We are in HAmilton NZ. Many thanks.
      +647 847 2926

      • Hap at 7:27 am #

        Hi Ingrid,
        I know how frustrating it is trying to find work, but basically I am no real help as i have been out of the industry over a year now and it is an industry that is constantly changing. I was working for Consolidated Minerals, they have a website but a lot of the jobs are advertised internally.
        Basically all I can say is keep trying, its a hard industry to break into but once your in its great, so best of luck.

  2. tim eden at 3:58 pm #

    Hi Hap,, enjoyed your travels,any ideas on finding mine work in WA? Thanks, cheers

    • Hap at 11:53 pm #

      Just the same old advice, get a CV with all the relevant experience, spruce it up a bit, a few white lies never go a miss, send it to everyone, hound them, if you know of anyone already in the industry then get onto them, and be in the right place at the right time. Probably doesn’t help, but it’s not easy to break into the industry, but it’s possible, keep trying.
      I wrote an article for the Press about it last year, go into the public speaking page on my blog and go to the “great australian mining myth”, it sums it up pretty good.
      Good luck.

  3. Mark Fairbank at 11:36 am #

    Hi hap,
    You dont know me, my name is Mark, i live in Cairns.
    I was searching Woodie Woodie info via google and come across your site here. Interesting reading and good on you mate. i’m a pom but have lived here in Oz four years.
    I to have travelled, though nothing like your good self.
    It was interesting reading of your experience at Woodie Woodie as i am hoping (hope to hear back by monday) if i will get dump truck driver job there. I have some previous experience in mines but mainly U.K.
    hoping to do a FIFO (my expense unfortunately) to start and i may sell up in Cairns and move to W.A. We shall see……. Got to get offered job first!
    So right what you say re: got to keep plugging away. mining is hard to get into.
    Anyway, it was nice to read about your experience even though a different working role.
    All the best on your travels.
    Mark fairbank (Cairns)

    • Hap at 8:08 am #

      Hey Mark mate,

      cheers for the comment. Yeah good luck on the job hunt, hard to get into, but great once you’re in, and WA is awesome, amazing beaches, its lucky it’s so isolated otherwiese it would chocka.

      Woodie has a new camp now, so my blog posts will be a bit out dated, but Woodie has a great bunch of people, you’ll have a blast if you get in.

      OK mate best of luck.


      • Mick dundee at 12:08 pm #

        Hap ya lucky bastard!!!! i guess its the old saying “if ya want something ya just have to put your mind to it!!!!” well by the very few stories i have read of your journey u certainly have achieved alot!!!!! yes i am very jealous but i also am making my way slowly around with work so i too can have a few of my own stories to tell!!! im glad u liked W.A. it is a great state and we dont mind waiting awhile!!!! 🙂 take care chief and keep up the good work!!!

      • Hap at 4:56 pm #

        Cheers Mick mate,

        Yeah, loved WA, such a beautiful part of the world, the beaches! And love the Outback. Best of luck with your travels, no rush, the world isn’t going anywhere.

        cheers for the comment, i hope you didn’t have to wait to long for it.



  1. Why am I doing an expedition? « Hap Working The World -

    […] Australia, Perth […]

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