Monday, 17 August 2015

Farm Life Living - Regional Work

I had initially spent time on a remote outback farm near Cunnamulla, however after a week I decided it wasn't for me and so decided to leave and he'd back to Brisbane. It was just so remote and like nowhere i'd ever been. Just me and a farmer, however it as a fun experience and one i'll always remember and I got to do things I'd never done before.

My time had come to leave Brisbane again and this time I headed north to Makay where I would start my new regional job on a small farm in a place called Nebo. I initially had no intentions in finding regional work as I had no plans to stay in Oz for longer than a year(Yes, still love England) but i was in a desperate situation to find a job and luckily my friend found me this one so as a no brainer I took it. I also figured it'd be good to have the opportunity to gain my 2nd year visa if i ever did decide to come back to Australia at a later date.
My role was to be an au pair for a 2 year old boy and also help with small farm duties and keeping the house tip top.

Here's a brief overview of what i've been up to since I arrived on the 24th July:

My first week was all about me finding my feet and getting into a routine of how to juggle looking after a growing 2 year old as well as having to do washing/house keeping. The single most exciting thing was finding out one of the working dogs had just had new puppies one of which needed to be hand reared as is was a lot smaller than the others.
At the End of the week we all left the farm to go to a weekend Campdraft in Moranbah. For those of you who don't know, Campdrafting is essentially leading a cow round two posts in a figure of eight and then out to the finish post in under 40seconds. The quickest to do so is the winner. It's a sport that i learnt is taken very seriously and is a way of life for the majority of regional farmers in Australia.
Campdraft prep
Moranbah Campdraft
Moranbah Campdraft

My first experience of a camp draft was good fun and something i tried to fully embrace. I slept the weekend in my own huge gooseneck which is essentially a caravan on he back of a horse box and looked after Bentley whilst both his parents competed in competitions. 

Birthday Weekend:

On My second week it was Bentleys second birthday and we all spent the weekend with his family and had a big bbq. It was a good opportunity for me to meet the rest of his family and cousins whilst we celebrated his special day and yes of course, in natural Aussie traddition the weather was great! The middle of winter an it was 25 degrees. 

Another Campdraft weekend:

We left the farm for another camp draft weekend, this time slightly closer to home in the Blue Mountains. My weekend at the campdraft was roughly the same to the first, looking after Bentley and watching people compete when i had a bit of free time. The surrounding scenery was pretty spectacular and the experience was yet again something pretty awesome. 
Blue Mountains Campdraft weekend
Weekend crib
My first few weeks on the farm have been awesome and it feels good to be back living in a home environment with my own room, home cooked meals, not constantly spending money, free wifi(every backpackers dream) and just the whole experience of living on a working Australian farm has so far been a heap of fun. 
Bring on the next 9 weeks and who can complain when this is the sunset I get each and every evening.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Magnetic Island - 28th June - 1st July

We caught the bus from Airlie Beach at 4:40am ready to make our way further north to Townsvile where we would catch the ferry over to Magnetic Island for a two day stay. Our time on the island would see us stay at Base Hostel and i couldn't believe my luck when the lady at reception said she was feeling generous and would let me stay for FREE! The hostel was beach front located and was absolutely stunning. 

We spent our time on the island over the two days down at Horseshoe Bay wandering around the super small market, Chilling on the beach, and on our last day myself and Debbie took a trip to the Forts walk where we were lucky to see a mother Koala with her baby. It was also my very first WILD koala encounter and it was so unbelievably cute!! The last evening on the island all of our Loka group went along to the hostel bingo night. None of our group won anything though but it was good fun none the less and a good way to end our time on the island. If i'd had the money I think it would have been better if we could have hired a car to explore the island as it was difficult to keep ourselves busy throughout our stay.

Whitsundays Trip and the Best Beach In the World - 24th/26th June

I arrived in Airlie Beach at 6am having bought the overnight train from Rockhampton and had to kill time until 1pm when I was due to go and pick the boat for my Whitsundays adventure for 3 days 2 nights sailing around the islands and reefs. 
Our boat was made up of 24 of us as well as three crew members and after a quick briefing we set sail for our first dive.
watching the sunset on our own private beach

This was my first experience at snorkelling in the ocean and it took a while to adjust to breathing under water but once I got the hang of it I quickly found myself cruising along thinking i was a fish. The coral reefs were awash with fish big and small and it was somewhat mesmerising watching from above and i felt like i was actually in Finding Nemo.
Later that evening we caught the small boat over to our own private beach and watched the sun go down over the calm sea.
Moments like this make me feel privileged to be doing all these incredible adventures and how great it is to have the freedom to travel as well as experience priceless moments like this one that I will one day look back on.
We watched shooting stars from the boat before going to bed after a great first day.

Our first full day took us diving in the same reef spot in the morning and then onto another before having a great lunch on board(our on board chef was literally amazing!)Two of the morning divers saw a manta ray cruising along past them.
We made our way over to Tongue Bay where we found our boat surrounded by sea turtles coming up for air every now and then as well as a manatee with her baby(big OMG moment)
After that excitement we bought the small boat again and made our way over to Whitehaven beach, the best beach in the world!
No photo can do this place justice
We spent roughly 2 hours exploring and playing about on the pure white silica sands of this incredibly breathtaking beach, undoubtedly the best i've ever been on in my life. After a long day we tucked into nachos on the boat as we yet again watched another beautiful sun set over the ocean as we sailed over the calm sea into anchor near the bay. The Following morning we had one last dive however it was quite choppy so visibility was not too great and the journey home was even worse! I HATE choppy seas and oh god was it choppy. The boat was swaying from side to side but all that said we had perfect weather the whole time we were away it was only the journey home that wasn't pleasant.

I found my time sailing around the Whitsunday islands and Whitehaven beach to be one of the best experiences i've had so far on my trip. I had always wanted to tick it off my bucket list and now i can say i have. Living on a boat for three days was great fun and i felt sad to be heading back to reality after my short break in paradise.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Rockhampton cattle farm stay - 22nd June

Myself and the others left Noosa in the morning to catch the train from Cooroy to Rockhampton to continue with my Loka tour. we had a long 9 hour brian journey ahead of us but managed to pass the time with card games as well as trying to squeeze in some sleep it didn't feel as long a trip as I had expected. Once we arrived we picked up our bus which took us to the remote farm along dirt track roads in the dark and then once there we unpacked our stuff, mag our swags and tucked into homemade beef stew around the campfire. The BEST stew ever that instantly reminded me of home. 

The weather was too wet to sleep outside so we had to spend the evening sleeping in the barn but we made it fun and drank the night away as per. 

In the morning we made traditional damper bread made from flour, beer and butter and then cooked in a pot on the fire to go with bacon, baked beans and eggs, yum! After brekkie we took a walk down to the paddock to feed the horses in the surroundings of Mt Wheeler, a sacred aboriginal ground.

Loka crew

Our scheduled train from Rockhampton to Airlie Beach was overnight so we spent the rest of the day at a resort in Emu Park where we could shower and sleep in preparation for our long overnight train ride. 
Before we left Emu Park we all headed up Bluff Point to watch the amazing sunset go down. One of the best i've seen yet. Australia YOU BEAUTY!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Fraser Island - Day 2

On day two of our trip we stared the day at 7.30am and this time it was my time to drive. I drove us along the sands, rocks and rivers to Eli Creek, another freshwater stream that carries you from the top to the bottom by the sea. 

We moved on from Eli Creek to the shipwreck and then on to champagne Pools where we chilled on the beach and played in the pools before moving on to India head. We watched stingrays and sharks below as well as catching humpback whales in the distance surfacing for air. 

We headed back for the evening which where we enjoyed spag' bol', beer pong and lots of goon, naturally.

The final day of our trip was short but also just as fun and in the morning after breakfast we made our way to Lake Wabby, another freshwater lake formed by the moving sand dunes. We even ran into a dingo on the way.
Champagne Pools

Lake Wabby
My time at Fraser was one i'll remember for a long time and a highlight of my trip so far. I met lots of great people and we al bonded really well making the trip even more special.
My next journey takes me up to Rockhampton for an overnight cattle farm stay then on to Airlie Beach where I pick my boat up for my Whitsundays tour. 
It feels so good to be on the road again, YAY!

Fraser Island - Day 1

So to cut a long story short i was initially meant to be starting a new job in Brisbane however I decided not to take it and start moving further up the east coast again. although I had loved my time in Brisbane and meant lots of great people at Base Hostel where I was living, it felt like the right time to move on.

I arrived in Noosa on the 18th of June where I was staying at Nomads hostel with the group of others who would be joining me on my trip to the island.

Day 1 - 19/06/15:
Our day started at 7am for an early morning check out where we picked to bus up at 7.30am to take us a two hour drive to Rainbow Beach where we met with our guid Link. We had our safety briefing where they told us all we needed to know about the 4x4's and how to drive them safely, after being put into out groups we were on the road to Fraser. 
Lake McKenzie

After lunch we drove along the sands to Lake Mckenzie, a freshwater lake with beautiful white sands. We Played volleyball in the lake and it was a chance for us to start bonding and getting to know each other.

After our time at the lake we made our way inland along the off road tracks to Central Station, the sight for the original town when the first inhabitants lived on the island. Our guid Link took us for a short walk through the trees and streams before heading back to base camp for dinner and drinking games. Our first taste of the island was fun and in the evening some of us went down onto the beach to look at the stars and catch the Milky  Way.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Exploring Brisbane

So i've now been living and working in Brisbane for just over a month now and I can't believe how quickly it's gone by. 
Because I spend Monday - Friday at work my only time for taking a trip out and getting the chance to explore Brisbane is mostly at the weekends so here's a brief round up of some of the things i've been getting up to over the past weeks in pictures. 

Evening sunset over Southbank
Queensland Art Gallery Of Modern Art. 

Yayoi Kusama infinity room

Michael Sailstorfer  instalatin. Hundreds of truck tyre inner tubes arranged to represent clouds.
Street art awesomeness in Fortitude Valley

Type on James Street, Fortitude Valley.

Australia take on New Zealand - Anzac Test Match Rugby, Sunday 3rd May

After our not very successful first attempt at going to watch the Anzac Test Match between Australia and New Zealand the previous weekend having been cancelled due to the most horrendous rain storm(YES RAIN IN AUSTRALIA, The roads were basically rivers!!)we made our way to the Suncorp stadium for round two.

The pre match kick started at 2pm between the Aus' and NZ girls teams with the Aussies leading the way to win the match. 

For me this was my first ever rugby match and despite only paying $50 for our seats we had a really great spot right by the goal with a perfect view. The mens teams came onto the pitch with NZ performing their traditional Haka, something that i had wanted to say i'd seen, with the match starting at 4pm.

Australia took the lead but quickly started to fall behind with NZ taking home the title and winning 26 - 12, the first Anzac test match win since the 1950's. My first experience of rugby was great fun and even though AUS' lost it was a fun way to tick it off the bucket list and a great way to spend the evening with my friends from the Hostel, Hannah and Jess. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Australia Zoo

I had wanted to go to Australia zoo ever since I arrived in On and Monday 20th April myself and my friend Jade caught the early 7:45am Greyhound coach and headed to the zoo.
After an hour and a half bus ride we arrived and headed straight for the crocs and alligators(naturally)and there was definitely plenty of them. I had never of guessed how big they actually are. Scary!
The weather wasn't great but we still managed to get round the whole zoo and see all the animals, Kangaroos, Koalas, Tigers, Reptiles, Birds, Camels amongst a few. Mid-day we went along to the 'Wildlife Warriors' show in the Crocseum, the main arena for all the animal shows and demonstrations. They started off with a reptile talk followed by birds and then onto the crocodiles.
The keepers gave a talk and demonstration as to how they catch their food and educated us that most people only come into contact with crocs if their too close to croc infested water or their just being idiotic and asking for something bad to happen. 

My favourite part was feeding time and the time when you were able to see just how powerful these animals really are and certainly not to be messed with!
Towards the end of the day we made our way round to the far side of the zoo where we went to the Tiger talk. Again, the keepers were super hands on and were actually in the enclosure with the tigers. They talked us though the enrichment tasks they do how this helps them to maintain the animals are ok and healthy. 
Rather them than me for sure. 

Despite the weather being pants it was a great day and a good insight into how hands on the keepers are with all the animals no matter how big or small.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Surfers Paradise - 08/04/15 - 10/04/15

By this time on my trip up the East Coast there was now just myself and Linda travelling together and after leaving Byron we made our way further along the coast to Surfers Paradise.
It was only a two night stop which was enough because although the beach was pretty amazing it was more of a holiday destination than that of a cultural stop. 
The first day we both chilled by the pool which was something of a luxury for hostel accommodation and then ventured out in the evening for food only because the kitchen was pretty rubbish to say the least and it was easier to eat out. 
Short stop at Burleigh Head National Park for the view overlooking the Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise - Too bad I can't surf:(
The following day we ventured along to the Skypoint Tower which was opposite our hostel. 
The sky was blue and the sea was blue, we couldn't have picked a better day and the views were unreal and it only cost $22 to take the lift up to the observation deck which works out at only £11! In the evening we went along to the evening market along the beach front where I went and got myself a henna tattoo. Small bucket list moment. 

View from Skypoint Tower

Byron Bay - 05/04/15 - 08/04/15

Today was the day we made it to Byron Bay instantly i knew this was my favourite stop of the trip so far. A relatively small beach side town filled with bars, cafes quirky shops and a bustle  of street musicians. 
On the first day we all headed up to the lighthouse which is the most easterly point of mainland Australia and the views were pretty impressive overlooking the town and beaches below. 

For the rest of my time in Byron I mostly chilled on the beach in a desperate attempt to improve on my non-existent tan, fixed up my RSA, Did a barista course which was amazing as i was the only one in the class, met up with friends I had met in Sydney and said goodbye to those moving up before me on their east coast trip. 
For me it was nice to be off a busy schedule and a place where I could chill and sit back before I moved further up the east coast to Surfers Paradise.