Wednesday, December 14, 2011


By Fiz

It has been five days since we arrived in Australia, and so far we have landed a job, bought a car, and started out on the 1200km journey to the farm we will be working on.

Flying into Australia was quite nice, except for some issues with the in flight entertainment systems.  We highly recommend Thai Airways, the flight attendants were very courteous, and accommodating, the food was quite good, and the planes were new with a very aesthetically pleasing interior. Our flight from New Delhi to Bangkok was just shy of 3 hours, then we had a 6 hour layover (where we dropped $20 on two burgers with fries and sodas), and we finished it up with the 9 hour flight to Melbourne. 

We arrived famished at Hotel Discovery, “Perfect for the budget traveler” with dorm beds starting at just $18 around 1:00 o’clock pm!  Our room was a four bed dorm which we shared with two Swiss women traveling having just graduated from College. We were paying $24 per bed and we were still paying less than any other guesthouse/hostel/hotel listed online for the Melbourne region.  After we checked in we went looking for food, which we found at a chain cafĂ©/bakery called Pie Face, a cute little place that served all manner of savory and sweet pies.  Kathleen got a meat pie with a face drawn on the crust in gravy, and I had the first quiche lorraine I actually enjoyed since we left home.

With satiated appetites we began the job search.  We took the advice of other travelers and began our search on the Australian equivalent to and sent off applications to any and every ‘help wanted’ ad we saw.  There are two types of listings on Gumtree, the casual *Holy shit!  We just hit a bird in mid-flight, it flew in front of us and sorta bounced off our hood (or bonnet in Australia)* work, for backpackers and travelers, and Full-time, which is a permanent position listing.  About 15 cafes and restaurants got resumes from us, and a few farms as well.

Ironically the farm we landed a job picking blueberries on is the farm we liked best when we were first looking at harvesting listings while we were in Nepal.  They ignored us until we called, though when I did they were very welcoming.  So within 24 hours we found employment.  The only issue was that we were a solid 15 hour drive south west of the farm itself… 

Thus began the hunt for a car. This was a bit more difficult.  We called every ad for every vehicle that could fit our luggage and was in our price range, so we responded to at least 30 listings on Gumtree, we ended up looking at three vehicles before we found the car for us.  The first was a camper van in rough shape, without any of the paperwork needed to actually drive the thing.  The second was an SUV that didn’t match up to the listing at all, and there were 3 groups of buyers, but the owner hadn’t put any effort into actually selling it, and was just showing it around. And the third was a station wagon that was all good and well except for the tires which looked like they were going to spontaneously explode, and the mileage was super high.

We ended up buying a Holden Commodore, from a used car dealership, a station wagon with enough room with the seats down to fit an inflatable double mattress in the back, AND fit all of our luggage in the front seats. Booyah!!  It has some issues, it likes to lean to the left, and when going uphill the ac only blows on our feet.

After stocking up on produce from the largest farmers market in the southern hemisphere and some other necessities; tent, inflatable mattress, cutlery, maps, ect., we turned out tail to Melbourne and began the journey to the Coffs Harbor area, we drove 4 hours and spent last night in a camper park.  We left the park this morning and have been driving through country oddly reminiscent of Southern France, or Tuscany, it also happens to be the wine country of Australia.

This morning we were woken up by the sounds of wildlife that was as foreign to us as the names of most of the road signs, cities such as Wodonga, Wagga Wagga, and Yea (No joke).  As of right now we are cruising at 120 Km/hr and are about halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, and haven’t seen a rest area for over an hour.

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