06 February 2008
So you think you can dance? After watching this quite popular dance program in Australia (sort of idols, but with dance instead of singing) reality slowly starts to sink in. The backpacks are packed and this is our last night in Australia. It’s time to say goodbye and man, time went by fast and it was SUPER!! But….before the tears start running down we want to look back on the last few awesome weeks.
Where shall I start. Hmm, working on the wet line. It was hard work and wet of course. But even this was fun, looking back. Throwing green berries and doing the berry dance. And at night it was time for the harvester. All of us having fun on the harvester. Well, having fun? I tagged along a few times just for fun, but the guys did all the hard work. I was around for mental support and taking pictures!
Right when we thought we had only a few last days of hard work in front of us one of the tires of the harvester called it quits. The new tire would take a few days to be ready so the last few days we had all the time in the world to wash all our clothes, clean up the bus, do some shopping with Nick and Jason and we enjoyed the hospitality from our guest family some more! Thanks a lot Kristy, Doug, Kieren and Danni! Also thanks from our parents!
When we said goodbye to all our new friends, we took of on the 30th of January. A little sad we left Rosewood. What an experience and what are people awesome here! We’ll definitely keep in touch guys and we hope to see all of you again one day. Maybe even in Curacao (preferably not all of you at the same time though haha)!
It was time. No way to escape it. Sydney. Nothing wrong with Sydney, but it’s so crowded and busy. Way to busy! We decided not to lose any time and we went straight to the car market. About six months ago we bought our van here and we wanted to try to sell it here again. We were lucky! After about seven hours of smiling very friendly and waiting for buyers the time was there! The same parking spot as where we bought the car came free. And we were sure that would be our lucky spot. It sure was! Within the next hour the van was sold! It was close to closing time when 3 French guys came in. They looked at it, test drove it around a bit and… tadaaa.. that’s it. Sold! So cool. Enjoy it guys and have fun!!
Well, all that is taken care of. What’s next?! We’ve got about 8 days to go till we’re leaving. So after we took care of some other stuff (taxes, bank stuff and all that) we did what all of you would’ve done (at least… the girls would’ve) we went SHOPPING!! No, don’t worry, we didn’t start spending money like crazy on things we didn’t need, but we did do some shopping though. After 8 months of traveling the holes started to appear in our socks and underwear and stuff that used to be stretch was far from it haha! So time for some new clothes. It felt good getting some new clothes and it all still fits in the backpacks…so nooo problem!
I can’t believe it, but tomorrow it’s really the day. We’re heading to the Netherlands. It’s strange because we had an awesome time here and so it’s real hard to leave. But on the other hand it’s going to be nice to go home and see all our friends and family again. And also in Curacao we feel at home and we are looking forward to all the fun and new adventures coming up. So keep checking the website and we’ll keep you all up to date!
Take care, Rosie and Chris
11 January 2008
After crowded Melbourne we took off towards Sydney. At least, that was the intention! After a whole day drive we decided to make a few phone calls to some local information centre’s on the way up to Sydney to see if there’s some work somewhere. And within 10 minutes we have a job! Blueberry picking at Tumbarumba. All right sir, we’ll be there tomorrow!
After we hung up we realized we were still about 300 miles away. And it definitely was not going to be along the coast! After a day and a half of driving trough the rainy mountains of the Kosciusko where in winter you’ll find snow we reached the Vic’s blueberry farm. We’ll start the picking tomorrow morning!
By now it’s almost three weeks later and we finally have a day off. Well.. not totally honest because it has been raining a bit somewhere in between, but that was about 12 days ago! It’s a welcome day to get some rest! We wake up every day at 5 o’clock in the morning to start picking at six. A little bit chilly due to the early morning we get a little bucket tied around your waist and off you go! There’s more to it than you’d imagine. To make sure we pick the right berries there’s quite some criteria they got to match! No green ones, red ones, dark ones, not too soft, not bird picked, not too ripe not wrinkly. It takes a little while to get used to get the right ones and slowly build up your kilo’s. you get paid by the kilo, so the more you pick, the better the pay! Its getting hotter around 9 and by 12 it’s around 105 Fahrenheit in the field. Luckily for us the berries don’t like the heat too much either and they turn too soft. So by 1 o’clock we quit the picking and head to the shed for some lunch.
After an hour break we get back to work. We can help on the “dry line” . all the berries we picked this morning, sometimes over a ton of berries, are being processed and packed. On the line you manually check the berries one more time making sure there are no bad ones left. They get packed un 125 gram boxes and then they are ready to be sold! By now it’s at least 4 o’clock and we’re done working. Time to go to town (30 min one way) to do some groceries and get back. We take a quick shower with the hose on the pump at the dam and than it’s time to get some dinner. By 8 o’clock we’re done doing the groceries, the shower, the cooking, the dishes and washing the socks for the next day and we go to bed. Sometimes we manage to read for a little while but usually we’re knock out pretty quick! What a day!
The people around here are very friendly! With Christmas we were invited by Trish to come and have Christmas dinner with them. The whole family was around and we were invited around the table as if we were part of it. And we didn’t know any of these people. It was very nice!! Same goes for when Jason invited us for a BBQ at his brother in law for new years. Again we were taken in by some very friendly people who we didn’t know and within some time we got offered to even do some laundry over there or take a hot shower if we wanted! Unbelievably nice. You don’t get this much anymore! A new year’s without any fireworks for us though was interesting. Due to the drought you were not allowed to light any fireworks due to bushfire danger. So Rosie and I had our first New Year without any fireworks ever. Very interesting!
Now we are at Warren and Karen’s. we were invited last week and got to meet Karen’s parents. Since we were off today they invited us over for some dinner and some movies. we stayed overnight and how nice was it to sleep in a real bed again and have a nice hot shower!! Guys, super cool of you guys for having us! As I said before, the people around are very nice!
Tomorrow it will all start again! The picking is over but that doesn’t mean there’s no more work! Tomorrow we’ll be starting the mechanical harvesting! During the night the fruit gets harvested and during the next day it all has to be processed on the wet line! Since we are also going to process the fruit of another farm it’s going to be hard work! The idea is that we start at 7 on the wet line. The fruit is being checked again and all the bad fruit has to get out. The harvester is not as picky so all the green ones, the leaves, the twigs, the red ones, the soft ones and the squished ones have to be taken out. This will go on till about 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Around six I’ll be getting on the tractor till about 12. all the fruit that comes from the harvester has to be brought up to the shed. I might have to pull about 4 ton of blueberries behind the tractor! When we’re done with this I can go get a few quick hours of sleep in and then it all starts again! All these times can actually still change and we might even have to work longer days. You could say about 10 hour for Rosie, and about 16 for me. If everything works out fine! We’ll see how it goes!!
We’re almost running out of time. By the end of the month we want to go to Sydney to sell the car on the car market where we also bought it at. About a week or 10 days we’re thinking of spending for that and by the 8th of February it’s time to go to The Netherlands. Time went by really fast but we had a lot nice, new and exciting experiences. It’s a shame it’s almost over but going home to see the family and friends is very nice too. It’s going to be nice to be home again and by the end of February we’ll be back on Curacao. Once again also here we have a lot of next and exciting things to do of which we will make sure to keep you up to date off.
Big hugs and greetings from a reeeaall hot Australia with lots and lotsa blueberries!!
Rosie and Chris
15 December 2007
Traffic lights, traffic jams, one way roads and trying to figure out parking signs al over the place. Welcome in Melbourne. The big city’s are not really our number one’s! after a few hectic days looking for work we decided to keep going towards the east coast. But first let’s see what happened in the last few weeks.
After a few nice days along the Murray river where we enjoyed the luxury of a daily “bath” in the river and some bonfires it was time to head south! From Mildura we drove in a straight line about 300 miles down to the south where we started “The Great Ocean Road” drive. This road is rated as one of the best scenic coast drives in the world and they certainly did not exaggerate! The returning soldiers from the first world war made this road by hand! Almost 125 miles of this winding and twisting road along rugged coastline, deserted beaches and beautiful views. Very impressive!
The coastline is roughly divided in two. The Shipwreck coast and the Surf coast. The names say it all! There are hundreds of wrecks along this stretch and there’s many spooky stories and of course the tales of heroic sea men as well. So goes the story of the Loc Ard gorge where all the crew except two drowned when the ship went down. The skipper made it to shore and when he woke up again he heard someone shouting for help. He went back in the water and 3 hours later they made it out safe. After spending the nice in the cave close by they were found the next day and rescued. The romantic ending of the story says they stuck together and lived happily ever after, but the more true version tells us this wasn’t true.
After the “mandatory” stops along the road where we took loads of pictures at for instance “The Grotto”, “Loch Ard Gorge”, “The London Bridge”, The Twelve Apostles” en “Wreck beach” I think the highlight of the vacation happened for Rosie.
At Cape Otway, where were supposed to have a look at a beautiful lighthouse which happened to be closed, we came across our first wild koala!!! On the middle of the road this little creature was just sitting there and looking around. At first we thought it might be injured and slowly we approached it. Nothing wrong! When we were within 6 feet it just started to walk straight towards Rosie. When he was as close as 10 inches Rosie decided to move out of the way. These animals are still quite big and have some very sharp claws, so you never know! Afterwards Rosie was inconsolable! What would you do if your preferred animals comes straight at you in the wild? You’ll definitely wouldn’t move out of the way you’d say. But hey, it was the first time and you never know. Rosie smacked herself a few more time on the head for that and even now when she’s looking at the pictures there’s a deep sigh coming out! Dushi, there are not many people who’ve seen these animals so up close in the wild! And by the way, I’d move out of the way too!! On the way back we have seen a few more koala’s in the trees and we even ran across another one on its wander. Super Cool these little creatures!
After a nice surf session at “Mog’s Creek”, a beach close to Lorne we eventually ended up in Torquay. Here you have one of Australia’s most famous surf beaches. Bells Beach. Sadly enough it didn’t live up to it’s reputation the day we were there, but is still had some nice surf. Rosie managed once again to take some beautiful pictures!! After some “window shopping” at Surf city plaza where you’d find all the major surf brands together in one mall and we drooled at the thought of a new and warm wetsuit (which were just a bit to expensive for our already tight budget) we drove along towards Melbourne.
After sending some 50-odd mails to employment agency’s and after personally dropping of our resumes at cinemas and so on looking for some work we’ve had it with the big city! The carwash didn’t want to hire us because we were a couple (sounds familiar haha) and at the Mac Donald’s our application was “unsuccessful” this time. And to top it up, no reaction on one of the 50 mails! No work in Melbourne. So we decide to head towards Sydney. If we won’t find a job there we’ll have to sell the car and go back to holland. But hey, we’ll see when we get there. Time will tell!
As you can read we’ve been trough a few busy weeks again and we still enjoy being on this journey. The flies don’t seem to get less though but if feels good to be able to stroll along the beach and sit in the sun without having to worry that it’s to hot or to cold! We’ve got a few nice days ahead (on the east coast south of Sydney) and then we’ll see what happens!
Dear everyone, much love from us and if we’re unable to put up another update before Christmas and new years, have a merry Christmas and a happy new year! All the best and may all your wishes for the new year come true!
Greetings and a hug from us and till next time!
Roos en Chris.
25 November 2007
The clothes are washed again, the car looks clean and tidy. We are all freshen up after our bath in the river and I’m even nicely shaved!! Just the right time to let everybody back home know what’s been going on the last week!
After the walks we did at The Olgas on the hottest part of the day we decided to go at it in the early morning hours at King’s Canyon. This way we could maybe beat the sun. just after sunset the camping got harassed by a group of dingo’s (wild dogs) that went passed every tent, caravan and campervan it became time to go for an early night. We just have to make sure we leave no food outside since we don’t want to have a nightly visit from a dingo like the neighbors had last night. The dingo was actually in their tent the night before! Lucky for us though we’ve got Sasha who’s at least the same size as 5 dingo’s put together so we had a good night’s sleep!
At the break of light we got up, made a cup of thee and headed to the canyon. It’s going to be a 4.5 mile walk along the rim of the canyon. After a very steep climb and the very much needed breaks on the way up the walk became a little easier and we could enjoy the scenery en lookouts a lot more. It’s strange walking along these big fossilized sand dunes. You could clearly see the layers of sand that in millions of year slowly turned into stone across the rim of the canyon. A few hours into the walk we reached the beginning of the canyon where there was a permanent waterhole. Since it well in the upper 85 degrees (even though it was only 9 o’clock) the water was a welcome break! The water was freezing! You’ wouldn’t expect it but since it’s cornered by big cliffs towering a couple of hundred feet up in the sky the water almost never saw any sun and therefore doesn’t warm up. Refreshed we decided after an hour or so to keep going. The last two hours of the walk were totally exposed and there wasn’t any bit of shade. Since it was around 11 o’clock by now it was really hot. Drink lots of water, take many break and Rosie was very happy with her umbrella.(against the sun instead of the rain!!)
From King’s Canyon
it was way over a 1000 miles to Port Augusta. From here on we would be back in
at least some kind of civilization! But we got to get there fist! We spend the
night along the highway somewhere at a roadhouse where Jimmy bought me a nice
steak for my birthday the next day. When I woke up the whole bus was decorated
and I got a crocodile as a present (mom and dad, start digging a pond!!) Rosie
even managed to get some sort of “cake with a candle” on it. (danki dushi!!)
After all that it was time to get going though! Two days of nothing but driving! Temperatures in excess of 115 degrees and poor Rosie sitting right on top of the engine situated directly under the passenger seat so it was even hotter! There’s nothing here! As far as you can see the horizon stretches out as a flat landscape with some small scrub on it not higher than a foot. Imagine driving for over 10 hours straight at 60 miles an hour and there’s nothing around you. Hours to go and miles to go. Road trains pass by and the occasionally car comes by. It’s a welcome change when all of a sudden there’s this car with some warning lights on approaching. Right behind this one two cops pass by with a big sign on the car with ‘oversize” on it. And then this big house set on top of a trailer come by. Hmmm of course this had to be on camera!
All of a sudden the empty vastness had a dramatic change into some moonlike landscape. All around you you could see the white sand scooped up from the opal mines. Coober Pedy is a small town flourishing on the mines. And in the years it transformed from a small outback town with underground houses to a decent size town where we could get some petrol, some ice and finally we were able to fill our water jerry can with fresh drinking water that would taste much better than the bore water we had to drink the last week or so! We also had a look around in one of the underground houses where it surprised us how cool it was considering there wasn’t even an air-conditioning in it! Maybe and idea for Curacao?!
Once we arrived in Port Augusta the weather suddenly changed. From a nice an sunny day with temperatures of 113Fahrenheit to stormy winds an rain and a temperature of less than 60 Fahrenheit. All of this within 5 minutes. A real shock to the system, but it is nice to be out of the intense heat for a while!
By now we also have been working for two days in the citrus industry. For about 5 dollars an hour we’ve been picking oranges for two days. 33 cubic feet of oranges brought up 26 dollars. Not to bad you’d say, but when you realize it take over an hour and a half to fill one bin up with the three of us…..hmm. the crops aren’t to good this year due to the drought lately. After we’ve been working our @$$ off for over 10 hours a day the last two days we only made some 75 dollars each in total. Going up and down the ladder with your pouch full of oranges (weighing around 45 pounds when full) scratching your arms open when trying to reach for the oranges in the middle of the tree and in the end you’ve barely made some money. Hard work is not the problem. We’re more than willing to do that. But this just doesn’t add up! We’ve also had to say goodbye to Sasha and Jimmy by now. Too bad, but that’s life.
After a nice and easy day today on the Murray River we’ll head into town tomorrow again and see what else is going on for some fruit picking around here. But first another nice night’s sleep on the river and then we’ll see what tomorrow will bring us.
Big hug for all of
Take care & be good!
Rosie and Chris
17 November 2007
Australia is a big country! Really big! Within 17 days we covered more than 2,500 miles. That’s more than 8 times from Amsterdam to holland. And then every other day! It’s almost 180 miles in between “roadhouses” or little towns where you can get petrol. You can buy groceries here too! 50 AUD or 45 USD for two small bags with food. A loaf of bread, some milk en 3 potatoes. Petrol costs more then 0.50 AUD more than usual. Emergency airstrips on the highway. One lane highways. Cattle on the highway. More than 100 miles dirt road. Temperatures ranging from 95 Fahrenheit to 115 Fahrenheit. Flies, a lot of flies and more flies! Bonfires under a sky scattered with so many stars it’s impossible to explain!
That’s the Outback people! You get the feeling as if you’re the only one in the world. Rosie, me and our van. Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes it drives us crazy, bet it is a very different experience once again! It’s a landscape none of us have ever seen before and slowly but surely we’re getting the feeling that we’ve seen enough of it by now. But how is it going to be when we get back to the busier roads and cities when we’re going down south? Who knows, we’ll see!
The adventure keeps going! After we got chased out of the water by crocodiles (only freshwater crocs. Small crocs, small bites seemed to be the locals way of handling it) while canoeing on the beautiful waters of Lawn Hill Gorge, the next adventure loomed around the corner! The closest sealed road was more than a 60 miles away. After all the talk from everybody telling us it wouldn’t be raining for the next few days it started raining for the next 2 days. De creek we had to go trough changed from a dry riverbed to a major raging river deeper than 6 feet. The dirt road changed to a six foot wide mud bath that stretched for miles. The 4x4 landrover were having trouble getting trough here, so what do you think about our little van. Just as we counted the food and realized we had enough for the next 7 days some fellow travelers rescued us! They offered to try to pull us out! We’ve made it! pulled by two 4x4’s trough mud of 2 feet deep and trough running rivers across the road deeper than 2 feet is definitely a whole new experience! And by the way….our car that was white once….now it’s dark red so to say!
We continued trough Cloncurry, Mount Isa and Tennant Creek towards Alice springs further south. On the way we spend a couple of night on some rest areas along the road. Nice bonfire, some spuds in the fire, baking our own bread, enjoyed some of the most beautiful sunsets, listening to the sounds of the outback in the dark nights only lit up by the millions and millions stars on the sky. The Outback!!
Very interesting were the Devils Marbles just south of Tennant Creek. Worn by erosion over years and years it seems like these gigantic marbles of stone are precariously balancing on top of each other. Of course we had to take some nice pictures and we even tried as hard as possible to push some of these marbles off each other. (see pics) In the end it didn’t work anyways, so no worries!!
In Alice Springs we met up again with Crazy Jimmy and Sasha who had decided to travel more than 1000 miles to surprise us. Nice to have them around again and of course it feels safe to have this big dog around again! It took some time to convince Rosie she couldn’t sit here for ever with a baby kangaroo on her lap and that eventually we had to get going. Mama (kanga)Roos spotted a baby kangaroo rescue centre where the people told us all about rescuing the little “Joey’s from the kangaroos that got hit in a car accident. Sometimes the baby kangaroo stays alive in it’s mommy’s pouch for up to three days. So from now on we’ll check every kangaroo we find on the road!
After a few nice walks trough the west Macdonnel ranges where we also had a nice swim in some beautiful swimming holes I was time for the next stop Uluru! Or also called Ayer’s rock. We couldn’t jus skip Australia’s biggest attraction! This enormous rock turns bright orangey red with sunset and an sunrise. This is a very important part area for the aboriginals who give Uluru and Kata Tuja (the Olgas) a important role in there dreamtime stories. These are indeed the track left behind by their ancestors when they roamed the (back then still unsculptured ) earth and in this way made the world to what it is right now. After a strenuous walk of 4 hours for 7,5 km in the middle of the day with no shade trough Kata Tuja (the Olgas) where we had some magnificent views of these gigantic worn off boulders and taking some pictures of the sunrise and sunset alt Uluru it was time to keep going! Unfortunately the climb up Uluru was closed due to extreme heat and to much wind at the summit. That would make it a life threatening climb!
On the way to “Kings Canyon” yesterday we came across a “Thorny Devil.” This 15-20 cm long lizard really looks like a little devil. Totally covered in bright colors and spikes! I was really looking forward to and hoped to eventually get a picture of one of these creatures. So cool we found one in the wild!! Jimmy, thanks for spotting it, Rosie thanks for helping finding the best composition for taking some awesome pictures! That made my day! Pamela, happy birthday still and the same for Rosie’s grandpa! Oma fanny for you too a big hug and masha pabien!
Dear people, I’m going crazy by now due to all the flies in my ears, my nose, my mouth and my eyes while I’m sitting in the shade but still starting to float out of my chair by the sweat. But at least you guys are up to date again till today! Tomorrow we’ll be going for another nice walk and than we’ll slowly start heading south again. Just about 1000 miles left. We’ll get there eventually haha!!
Big hug and take care
Rosie and Chris
31 October 2007
While Chris is down on his belly in the dust trying to take a picture of a wild kangaroo I start to write about our latest adventures.
I just had a nice swim to cool off a bit and I just finished putting some pictures of our dearest ones on the ceiling of our van above the bed so now I’m ready to tell you guys all about the adventures of the last few days!
Uhmm, let’s think… we are well over 2 months in Australia by now and man time flies (and so does the money by the way haha). After we met up with our friends Jimmy and Sasha at Blue water Creek we drove up to Paluma Range and visited the first waterfall, Crystal Creek. There will be quite some more falls coming up, so “Google” along!! After Jim managed to make clear to us that there are NO crocodiles in Big Crystal Creek we even did some snorkelling up there. Jim wanted to try too and before I realised it I was teaching again! Feels good!
The day after Chris had some irritation on his eye, so we went to the doctor. Nothing serious, but he did get one of those cool patches for his eye! You think we’ve been making to much jokes about us being the “pirates of the Caribbean?” Anyways, I got to travel with Jim “Irwin” and Chris the “pirate how cool is that!
The next waterfall, on our constantly changing schedule, was the Wallaman falls. This is the highest sheer drop waterfall in Australia. Sounds cool, but after seeing the very steep walk down and the notice board (about: length of walk: 3 hours, bring sunscreen and water, be careful for poisonous snakes and falling rocks and make sure you’re back before dark which for us would be within the next two hours….) I decided that I could see the falls perfectly from the top of the lookout. Of course this did not keep Jim and Chris from doing the walk anyways and it took them all in all just one hour and a half! Good job guys! And after some frog hunting later that night we got in bed nice and early.
The day after the adventures kept going. Jim, who used to live in this area, took us to Innisfail en the nearby Josephine falls. It’s beautiful to witness the force of nature so up close. And we can only speculate how these falls would look like in the rainy season!! After again a good night of sleep our guide Jim took us to the Babinda Boulders. These are some nice rivers with enormous big boulders in it. Really nice!! And the answer to my question “how do these boulders get here?” Jim only said…. The force of the water in the rainy season. Hmmm that really should be some thunderous force coming down!
The next day….. we’ve been thinking about it for a little while already. We are close to the Great Barrier Reef. Let’s go diving! After some asking around we realise the diving here is very expensive. Not only that, but all the diving around happens of the boat and the weather (at sea) is quite bad at the moment. Ok, we’ll think about it for a little while and in the meantime hopefully the sea calms down a bit!
Luckily (by now our renowned private guide) happened to be full of options and he took us on the waterfall loop. More waterfalls? Yes… just a few more haha. Via Kuranda we had a look at the Barren falls and the old school (still in working order) train station. The moment you get on this station you feel like you’re in one of those old black and white movies. The most beautiful flowers are being take care of by the “station-master.” After a night at a romantic little river, with no crocodiles, we took off the next day to see some more waterfalls. One off them the widest one in Australia. All really impressive but by now it’s time for something else too. So we head back to Cairns and we are on our way to the Great Barrier reef.
The alarm went at 5.30 am and at 8.30 am we were (me fully prepped on seasickness pills) on the boat heading towards our first destination on the reef. The water was calm and visibility was good. When the boat moored on we’re the first ones in the water. It’s a nice and easy shallow dive. There’s loads to see and we take a few nice pictures. A little bit chilly we get out of the water after about 50 minutes to enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch. And after a 20 minutes boat ride we arrived on the second reef. This one is also nice and shallow and the visibility is perfect again. This is a good thing since we are diving without a guide and somehow a new area is always a little exciting (especially when you are aware of the possibility of some sharks encounters). Lucky enough (or actually too bad) we didn’t see sharks and when we were all safe and well back on the boat we’re enjoying a nice sunset cruise back towards Cairns. It was a nice day and we would not have wanted to miss it, but we realise one thing Curacao’s reef is beautiful and how spoiled are we!!
At Gordonvale (just under Cairns) our guide Jim made sure he wasn’t doing nothing all day. He found a marvellous spot in the middle of the bush, close to the river where you could do some refreshing swimming. With our “two wheel driven car” we challenged (the officially recommended for four wheel vehicles only) bumpy road and ended up having a few very nice and relaxing days. Days filled with doing nothing, some reading, bbq-ing and floating around on our inflatable tubes. How nice was this!!
Sadly enough by now it was time to say goodbye to our by now dear friends Jim and Sasha. We have to keep going since we want to get out to the outback. Of course they were more than welcome, but unfortunately they could not come along. Thanks Jim and keep in touch!!
So what’s next… hmm. We now are in Karumba. Where’s that? Well… to be exact, in the middle of nowhere. The last few days we drove from Cairns towards Georgetown, Normanton and Karumba. After about 400 miles of scorching asphalt and red dirt we haven’t seen much yet. Well, a few dead kangaroos on the road (109 to be exact) and some half dead trees haha. But hey, that’s part of it and it’s the experience on it’s own that counts. So today we decided to spoil ourselves a bit and decided to spend the nigh and the following day at a camping with a pool!! Strange feeling, being so far away from civilisation but with a swimming pool! Not really the outback feeling you’d say. I don’t care haha it’s over 105 Fahrenheit!! Tomorrow will be another rough day. We’ll drive till we sweat out of our van or until we reach our next destination. Lawn Hill national park.
Keep in touch and wish us luck
Big hug, Rosie and Chris
15 oktober 2007
The 10 commandments. 10 Reasons why life in the bus is so much NOT fun!
It’s hot, really hot by now. Mosquito’s, flies (which sting bad!) and sand flies, it all comes straight trough the mosquito webbing. Birds and bats who scream as if there’s a pig being murdered. People who at 5 o ‘clock in the morning start cleaning the side of the road with noisy leaf blowers. Cars doing doughnuts and almost get in a slip straight into your bus. Waking up in the morning on the parking lot of a supermarket and you have to pee desperately. Trains and trucks which rock you out of bed in the middle of the night. The ice in the jug is melting away so our homemade pasta (for the upcoming days) is swimming in melt water. Every morning you feel about a year older when you get all cramped out of our “kingsize” bed with aching muscles in your shoulders and back. Last but not least, it seems as if we always tend to forget something in the storage under the bed just as we are all settled for a decent night of sleep!
Despite all of the above there are of course also countless of other reasons why we would definitely not want things to be different. Every morning when we wake up there is another day filled with joy and excitement waiting for us. De bird which noisily wake you up actually are beautifully coloured. Looking trough the back window, comfortable out of your bed we look at the thunderstorm with threatening lightning. The rising sun who makes you sweat your pants of in bed make up for some spectacular reflections o the water. With your bus you go to places where otherwise you’d never be, you meet the most friendly, eccentric en different people. The cramps in the morning quickly make place for a feeling of utmost freedom when you realise you can go and do whatever you please. Having a BBQ out in the bush and when you’re done, there’s no need to go home. Home is just about two big steps away from the bun fire! Taking a shower in crocodile creeks is kinda freaky. Every day you realise you’re on a trip, you don’t have to go to work and life is (still) awesome!!
We could keep going like this for ages, but let’s keep it to this for now!
By now we are in Townsville. We’ve been travelling for more than 3,500 miles already in Australia, but when you look it up on the map we actually covered just a small part of this immense county! After the adventures with the dolphins we went to a exhibition of the great white shark in Hervey bay. This again was a experience of its own. After all the “save the sharks” stories you hear all over the place this was something different. This story goes about killing all the tiger and white sharks up till extinction. Vic Hislop is an ozzie who decided to hunt sharks for a living. De frozen white shark of over 19 feet would definitely be the highlight of the day. When Vic explains that the amount of fish found in the gut of a shark is rapidly dropping and being exchanged by turtles, dolphins, seals and sometimes even human bones, you start thinking about his side of the story. He claims the seas are being over fished but not the sharks. So all there’s left is anything but fish. When you see him taking a shell of a turtle of more than 3 feet, a whole skull of a dolphin or even a crocodile of more than 6 feet, it definitely gets you thinking. They are beautiful animals, but still….When we went swimming next at Elliot heads you actually do feel kind of stressed out haha! A beautiful full moon, the beautiful beach and the nice shower we had make up for the stressy shark feeling though! Back towards the highway we came past some mysterious nature phenomena. Some craters in the ground where no scientists in the world have yet been able to come up with a decent explanation for it. Meteorites? Earthquakes? Erosion by the sea? Volcanoes? No one knows. Scientists are baffled. Weird and interesting huh?!
By now we really start realising you’re getting further and further away from the busy regions and the towns on the map sometimes are not more than a small train station, a hotel (with pub of course) and a community centre. The super market is open when the owner feels like it and the cops seem to drive around every hour or so. Of course we are lucky enough to be there when there’s a big party going on in the community centre and people are drinking heavily apparently. In the middle of the night there’s this guy totally pissed puking his guts out almost over our car. We’ve been waiting quietly till he was done and by then we decided to move campsite for the night (Reason number 11) Haha.
One of the highlights so far of Australia would most definitely be the rodeo we’ve seen in Rockhampton! Real cowboys, with tight jeans, high boots, long sleeved checkered shirts tucked in the pants with a belt with a big buckle and a real cowboy hat are in the spotlight here! Old an young, everyone participated. Young kids of definitely not more than 14 years of age were riding these bulls like it’s nothing! Well…. Nothing?! Half of the people walking around had either a cast around some limb or were walking a little funny due to previous injuries. These guys are crazy, to voluntarily get thrown off and sometimes even been ran over by the mega bulls. Again, some experience we most definitely will not forget for the rest of our lives!
Also interesting was the visit we paid at the Crocfarm in Yeppoon. We got some handy info about how to find out if there’s any crocodile around by looking for nests and slides where the crocs come out of the water. No we know exactly in what kind of creeks, lakes, and rivers we can expect these guys. Maybe good for the people back home to know that now we know where to swim and not just take the chance! Another thing we learned here, is that we’re going to change careers. We’ll start a crocfarm. A small girls purse, 300 dollars, a croc pie, 10 buck. Hey, isn’t that easy money!!
The long quit lonely straightforward roads are also a sign of us leaving the bigger and busier regions and we’re getting to Mackay. While having a small BBQ some fellow traveller show’s up and tells us about some nice hot showers around! Whoohoo. Later on that night we were strolling along the beach, and we bump in the same guy and he happened to have bought us a beer! Well.. Rosie immediately fell in love with Jim’s dog. Well.. better said, horse. This great Dane is so big you can almost do some horseback riding on it! That night we decided to camp alongside his van and after some beers we started talking. And for us quite late, we got happily and tired in bed. Next morning we decided to hang around for a while and slowly but surely we got to know Jim a bit better. It’s a safe feeling I can tell you with such a big dog around. Since Rosie has been playing around with Sasha all the time she now sleeps right in front of our van!!
Jim decided to tag along with us towards the forest of Eungella National Park. Here we had some really nice days. This is the real camping. Alongside the creeks, no facilities, nothing but us. At nights we’re having nice bbq’s, big fires and roasting some potatoes in the bun fire. We’ve seen snakes, wild bush turkeys and even platypus in the creeks. Jim turns out to be a real nature lover of which he knows a lot. With his big torch we went “spotting” in the bushes at night. Possums and owls and some kind of marsupial, related to some kangaroos are some of the stuff we’ve seen. On the walks to some waterfalls we did Jim is chasing all kind of lizards and small critters. He even tries to catch a big goanna, some lizard like animal of at lest 5 feet.
By now we’re really getting low on food so we decide to go back to Makacy and get going towards Townsville. The forecast of an upcoming thunderstorm makes us decide to spend the night at a rest area just outside of Townsville. The beautiful lightning show ended eventually, and it became so hot we had to sleep with the side door of the van open. In the middle of the night some of the local youth came playing around in there cars. Slipping and sliding and doing doughnuts until they almost lost control. Waking up at three o’ clock in the middle of the night by screeching tires, straight up in bed and all you see are some headlights dashing towards you!! NOT FUN!
Once we arrived in Townsville we did some relaxing at the “Rockpool” a man made saltwater lagoon where you could swim without the dangerous “box jellyfish”. After we picked our tax and health insurance papers from the post office we camp up at blue water creek. Jim just called that he was on his way over here too. Probably we’ll be going into the bush again. Relaxing in nature. Nice. Looking forward to it! And of course by now Rosie is already busy setting everything up for Sasha the dog who will be here soon again. Also she managed to get the bus nice clean and tidy again. Rosie, you’re the best sweetie!
Dear people, this is going to be it for this time. A little bit more than usual, but hey, it’s been a long time since the last updates, so we’re catching up a bit. Take care and be good. Big hug and hey…. We do miss you guys!!!..
Rosie and Chris
24 September 2007
After a short hold up of two weeks there is a new update people! But don’t worry, last weeks adventures are still to be found! Quickly look down to the previous story. Even though we can’t find a computer on time to always put up an update, we still keep up with the stories!
After all the kangaroo cuddling in the Australia Zoo we slowly but surely kept going up towards the north. This Zoo as an experience of it’s own again. Founded by the parents of steve Irwin, and later on ran by himself and his wife, this zoo was a nice daytrip. Of course the highlight of the day had to be the crocoseum. Sadly enough “mister crocodile hunter” himself couldn’t run the show since is incident with the stingray. But the show with a high factor of drama and humour was still one of a kind.
After the croc’s the cuddling effect got to a high at the kangaroos and the koala’s. these last ones were sound asleep in their trees. They live in eucalyptus trees, and since they eat these poisonous leafs they need a lot of energy to neutralise this poison. So much energy it even led in the evolution to a exceptionally small brain, since the brain take most of the energy available. Not to much to think of and a lot of sleep. What a life!! I could easily fit in!!!
After our Zoo visit we kept going towards Noosa Heads. The surf should be good around here, but not this time. Still not much to surf at. After a shower at Peregian beach we went on towards Noosa. After a good night of sleep on the parking lot of a tennis court there was another bright day ahead. It appears a little bit harder to find a good camp spot around here. Officially you’re not allowed to camp alongside most ogf the beaches, and the payments at a camping don’t really fit our budget. So after an afternoon of looking around for a spot, parking lots at a bowling course, golf club or tennis court always seem to work! After a few beach strolls I even got to surf a bit. It felt good to be in the water again, even though t was still quite cold. Next time I’ll definitely wear my wetsuit. This way I’m not shivering for the next two hours afterwards!!
Yesterday we woke up at six in the morning and in the morning cols we stood along the beach waiting for dolphins. By now we are at Tin can bay. Via Noose we drove along Rainbow Beach towards Tin can bay. In the 50’s a fisherman accidentally hurt a dolphin here. He took the injured animal in, and after a while it was ready to get back to the ocean. Ever since this animal kept coming back. Together with her calf she kept coming back for years to say hi, and to get fed some fish. Her calf, called “mystique” is still passing by and now she even brings here lady friend “Patch” along.
After a no show the day before, today was the day. Our patience was not in vain. So cool to see this animal so close to us. For about an hour she entertained us and some other people until she decided it was enough and headed back towards the ocean. Super cool to see all this.
This way there’s something new and exciting things to do. There seems to be no end of it. Luckily!! Time’s flying by. We are already for over a month in Australia, but we still have some time to go. Slowly we’ll head up north and eventually head west along the north coast. We’ll see where the wind will bring us. Planning we’ll leave for back home, for now we’ll just see what happens.
Dear people, take care & be good.
Hugs and greetings,
Chris and Rosie.
18 September 2007
We’re done! The van is ready. Well… we still have to do some finishing touch here and there, but the ingenious shifting system of the bed seems to work perfectly. We even have a sink and a tap in the bus! Sleeping is much better too in this van than how we slept in the Wicked camper (New Zealand). The bed is much wider, and lengthwise it’s perfect!
After we literally rearranged the whole thing at the camping we decided to go up north towards Crafton. (via Scott’s head). Here we had our Steve (the van) to undergo a major service. He’s totally bling bling again, and is ready to take us for the next few thousands of miles. (at least, we hope so hahaha)
As a thank you Steve brought us to Ballina. A romantic fairytale village along the coast. And even though our long driving experience without any accidents we decided to get an extra insurance on the car. You could say we can even hit other cars without a problem. Not that we’re intending on that though. Hahah.
On a major industrial area we (accidentally) ran into a surf shop. After the owner tried to sell us a brand new board we left 10 minutes later with a nice second hand board. Nothing wrong with it, and much cheaper! That night we slept at Lighthouse beach where the next morning we got kind of spooked by a very friendly (little older) lady. Nothing wrong with this lady, but from a distance she started walking up towards us. We already started to look around to see if we did something wrong or anything. Did we drop something or so? But now, she just came by for a little chat.
We had to get used to this again. After spending some time in the big city’s we finally found the smaller village mentality and friendliness back. Awesome. With the surfboard in the van (Chris, it really has to go up the roof!!) we drove via surfers paradise to Brisbane. Argh. Another big city, but we had to. Here we were supposed to pick up our bank card. Might come in Handy if we find some work!
The same day we drove up towards the Caloundra region where we slept at Currimundi beach. Nested in between the beach an the lake, this again was a magnificent site! We decided to take some rest and come at ease here for the next three days. Even though the waves were not that much Chris even tested his surfboard.
And today, 2 days after our exciting visit to the Australian zoo (see pics, with a high cuddling factor) we’re sleeping at coopers park in Wakana. No idea where the wind will bring us tomorrow, but more about that next time.
Take care and be good
Roos and Chris
09 september 2007
It’s been a while now, but for the ones who got a little worried we’re still here!! By now we are in Australia! After finishing up the vacation in New Zealand with a few days in Christchurch to do some laundry, clean up and return the car it was time for Australia!
After two days in the already know “Boomerang backpackers” it was clear that staying in hostels would be some costly business. 60 dollars a day adds up quite fast, so we decided to look for some wheels immediately. At some shop they sold these vans, already fitted for camping and everything. The only snag was the price, since they were far from cheap. So we decided to head to the car market at Kings Cross. Here you had on the bottom of a underground car park a depressing looking floor full of backpackers trying to sell their cars. From the old school VW vans to station wagons and 4WD trucks. After wandering around for a whole day we were kinda lost at night. So many cars, how are we going to decide?! The next day we decided to get one of the cars tested. It would cost us 150 bucks, but hey, at least you knew if it was a good car for real. The bus was super nice, but sadly enough the Italian owners did not want to negotiate on the price, so we had no deal.
But by the end of the day we had another van tested. And this one also past the test. The owners had to fly out of Sydney the next day, so guess what: we had a deal. We have our own bus! A Ford Economo. Built in 1995 for just over 2000 euro’s. Super cool! The next day we started working on it immediately. It was fitted with one major bed in it and that’s it. So basically the interior sucked, but hey, we’re going to make this super awesome! After we bought a drill and checked out at the hostel the adventure of getting out of Sydney started. Around 8 o’clock we arrived on a camping at Chatswoosd, about an hour’s drive from Sydney. This is where we stayed the rest of the week working on the bus!
First we had to get everything out and figure out how to get it all back in! Seems like a big job, but fun! About a week later now, the main interior work is done. In our van, behind the seats in the front we have a nice kitchen, with a removable plate on top. So at least we can get into the engine still this way. Haha our super-de-luxe bed of 5.25 feet by 4.25 feet is now turned into a comfortable benches/couch in just a blink of the eye. There’s even a small table in the back, against the back window! Learned from experience form our Wicked Camper we decided to attach the top lids of the bed with some hinges to the side of the car, (basically the two sides of the couch when you’re sitting on it) this makes the whole thing a little easier to handle when opening and closing it to find your stuff stored under it.
The biggest challenge was faced with the “extension” of the bed. At night you want it to be nice an long so you can sleep comfy, while during he day you want to make it shorter so you have some extra space. I think it took us more than a day to figure out how to get this done but we came up with some ingenious extendable/turnover/clipon system (if you know what I mean haha).
After painting the whole thing it looks much nicer already and we decide to get going. Going up north, in search for the better weather. Since it has been cold and rainy all last week, it’s time to see the sun! The mattress is cut up in four pieces now and we’ve been sewing (manually!!!!) some very cool looking covers for it. Now it’s getting easier and easier to flip the bed over in a couch and vice versa!
Today we’ve seen dolphins and whales at Scott’s heads!! (Between Newcastle and Port Macquarie) Really cool, we really are in Australia. Haha. We hope to find some warm weather soon and really start our Australia adventure. It has been a busy and hectic last week but we got a lot done. And our own little home on wheels is almost finished and it’s going to be SUPER DUPER!!!!
Take care & be good
Chris en Rosie