Big jump to day 79!
We have been busy working near Albury for a while! And then even though we stopped working we stayed two more weeks for me to practice my driving to get my p plates. Unfortunately I went for my test yesterday and failed for the second time. Really disappointed but I will try again soon... The good thing is we had time to fix the Troopy set up and plan our next trip! So happy about that. We left that place we were starting to hate, we were really bored after a while and we are on the road again. Heading to Melbourne first!
15 March 2019
A helicopter was bringing construction materials all day long, but it wasn’t too annoying because the area is so large that most of the time it was just like a small point in the sky. We reached the summit at 1pm, from there you get a good panoramic view on all the surrounding alpine region, mountains everywhere you look. The region is really arid, no trees at all, quite a lot of small lakes and river though. Then the way back is a bit boring as you follow one long straight track wide enough for a truck to the car park. Took us 7 hours with the lunch and picture/ drone breaks. My legs are quite sour as we didn’t hiked much recently. I am happy we had time to come here on the way to Albury, it is not a must do or a touristic part of Australia and it is not the landscapes you are use to see in this big country so I think it is really worth it. We decided to spend another night at the same spot as it was really quiet and close to the mountain and free!
Today we go on a hike! And not just any hike, we are walking to the highest point in Australia! How exciting! We are quite excited though because the weather is just perfect, sunny, blue sky and a bit of air. We have breakfast as we prepare our bags for the day and pack everything in the car. And then drive just a few kilometers to the beginning of the Main Range Track, the path we are walking today, it is a loop of 22kms going through some nice lakes and beautiful landscapes! It seems like the best way to get to Mt Kosciuszko, even if the brochure says it takes 9hs to do the loop for fit hikers, we know from experience that in Oz they like to exaggerate on the level of difficulty and danger in the outdoor activities. It is actually a really nice walk especially the first part from blue lake to Kosciuszko. And it is really not difficult. They are doing lots of work to build a kind of horrible metallic boardwalk like a big scar in the middle of the dry landscape.
14 March 2019
We arrived almost for sunset in the national park where we decided to spend the night. The scenery was beautiful and it was really quiet even though there was no real campsite, just a place to park and some pic nic tables next to the road. It was really chilly, maybe less than 10 degrees and it kept going down, at night it became really foggy. So we slept in the Troopy after a pasta/ pesto meal. Our first night in the Troopy since we are back in Oz!
Woke up in our comfy air bnb in Sydney this morning, had breakfast and chatted with Julian our Airbnb host about what to do in NSW. We told him we planned to go to Mt Kosciuszko, highest mountain in Australia, and he said that we won’t be impressed as european people who have real high mountains back home. It’s true that it is only 2200mtrs high, but we wanted to go there last year already and it is kind of on our way to Albury and we still have a few days to get there. So today we are driving to Charlotte Pass, where the track to the summit begins. We stopped in Canberra for lunch, we went to Guzman y Gomez a mexican restaurant brand all around Australia that we never tried before. The vegetarian burrito bowl was ok but not more than that. Then we went to buy some stuff to eat for the hiking day tomorrow and left boring Canberra. It looks like everyone is out of an office in this town, not really our kind !
13 March 2019
First we went to eat in a really nice place : Lentil as Anything, a vegan restaurant where you pay what you want/ can and you can even volunteer to pay your meal. Then we had some drinks in a beer garden called Banks. We stayed with them until the closing of the bar at 1pm and then walked back home. It was a good evening and Camille and Julie are nice people to hang out with ! And it’s always nice to meet new people when you travel! We are going to try and help them find some farm work as this is what they are looking for now!
But instead we drove to the city center of Sydney which is really ugly and looked for a place to park. We found a spot close to the hostel but it was 16$ for the night. It was ok because we payed only 8$ for the room tonight. But once in the hostel the guy at the reception told us the reservation didn’t work and that the hostel was fully booked for the night, then he gave us each a free coffee voucher... At that point it was already late and we were supposed to meet friends later on. So we booked a room for 50$ on air bnb, it was the cheapest we found. Traveling is often made of unpredictable events and sometimes you just have to deal with it. The good thing is the hostel looked really shity anyway, full of uninteresting backpackers. We got ready quickly and went out to meet Camille and Julie, two french people we never met before, but I talked to Camille by mail when he was asking for informations about Australia a few months ago. He is my parents neighbors nephew...
This morning I decided to go for a run on the beach to enjoy the cool temperature. I didn’t run much as I wanted to have energy for the day to come and my legs were already a bit sour. Then Antoine met me on the beach with my swimming suit. So I went for a refreshing swim, I felt completely awake and happy after that. It seemed the weather was going to stay cool compare with the previous hot days we had since we arrived. Today we are driving toward Sydney where we plan to meet some friends in the evening. The road wasn’t really interesting and we arrived in Sydney around 3pm. We decided to visit the biggest bouldering gym in the city for a session instead of going straight to the hostel we had booked for the night. It was a good session and we managed to climb a few interesting routes even if we felt not so strong. At that point we thought we could live in Sydney in one of those little houses in Newton, keep the Troopy, get a dog and go to the bouldering gym regularly.
12 March 2019
Last night we slept in a campground close to Brisbane and we met our first python ! Probably around 2mtrs, he was just on his night hunt ! Even though we slept in the tent we were not worried as pythons are not dangerous to humans, they are just impressive big guys. The next day we drove 600kms, we are now in New South Wales! We can tell the difference in the landscapes. We stopped at night in a beautiful campsite in Crowdy Bay National Park. Lots of kangaroos, some big ones, but no pythons this time ! The campsite was next to the beach so we had a really enjoyable swim after a long and hot day driving (it reached 37 degrees when we stopped for lunch. We had some kangaroo meat and potatoes on the bbq for dinner, first time since we are back, it was yummy. Then when I went back to the tent, a huge kangaroo was standing there just in front of the door, like : “I’m not moving !” And I felt guilty for eating one of his relatives for dinner. 🙄 It was a good day!
11 March 2019
We woke up early on Bribie Island, feeling itchy and sticky. I took a shower but the water was salty so it didn’t really help with the stickiness and itchiness, but I felt refreshed anyway. We had breakfast and watched all the animals coming along around us like they are used to being fed by humans. Kokabooras, bush turkeys, ibises, guanacos, kangaroos... a zoo! We decided to go back to Brisbane, as we needed to stop in a car wreckers to get new mirrors for the car, and see a mechanic to check on the noise. First car wreckers we stopped ordered new mirrors for us, then we saw a mechanic next door who has been really reassuring on the noise as he said it was just a loose belt he needed to tighten up. Only good news for once! Once in Brisbane we went straight to Betty’s burger to eat there marvelous shroom burgers. Then we chilled and cooled down a bit for the rest of the afternoon in the public free swimming pool. We left Lucile after saying goodbye and wishing luck for what’s next!
10 March 2019
Lucile is so happy as she sees kangaroos in the wild for the first time. We find a good camping spot, with no one around, a table and a fire pit, lots of wildlife and quietness. We picked up wood for the fire. We head to the beach for an evening stroll, there is no way to swim as it is low tide and mangrove style beach, but the views are beautiful on the glasshouse Mountains on the mainland! We talk about Camille, travels, family and plenty of stuff, Lucile is really mature for her age and she is funny. We go back to the campsite and start a good fire. We spend a really nice evening chatting, cooking on the fire (grilled veggies potatoes and cheese) and drinking beers. I’m happy that we chose to take our time and go through Brisbane. We got eaten alive by mosquitoes and sandflies but we slept quite well in the tent.
Next step we’re on the way to Bribie Island where we are going to meet Lucile, she is staying for two months in Oz after living for one year in New Caledonia. Antoine is stressed because the car is making some noise sometimes and we are not to sure where it comes from. Anyway it is so hot to travel in the car without aircon and when we arrive on Bribie Island we are a bit stressed, tired, hungry and hot. Lucile is waiting for us at a bus stop! I haven’t seen her in a while and she looks tanned and relaxed! She explains she is being pretty happy and lucky in her life right now. She is traveling solo but meeting lots of people and having lots of opportunities and nez experiences which is great as she was quite down a few years ago in Paris. We do shopping (food and beers ) for 2 days and head into the more natural part of the island to find a nice camping spot for the night. We are not organized at all, but everything goes smoothly.
We are just leaving Jodi’s place now. It was so nice to go back! Just the feeling when we opened the gate and saw the horse, it was like we were coming home, a happy feeling! And then we saw the kittens: Romeo and Juliet, all grown up. Watching us coming not to sure how to react. They became adults almost. Juliet ran away but Romeo spent hours just cuddling with us. So cute! I wish I could take him! The smell of the house brought us back too! A homey smell like Jodi says. The smell of countryside, lamb, dust and soap in the bathroom. Jodi came home later around 9. She didn’t change, she is still nice and weird at the same time, really easy to talk to and sociable and at the same time it seems she is on another planet. But I am thinking maybe I’d be the same if I was leaving there. So we just chatted for one hour but her and us before going to bed.
9 March 2019
We stopped for lunch in Rockhampton Botanical Gardens. And then I drove all the way to Gin Gin (300kms). I have to get use to driving again. It has been 4 months without driving, but at the end it was ok, I still knew how to drive. I just need to find more confidence and good hazard perception skills.
We realized by looking on the map that we were going through Bundaberg, so we decided to contact Jodi. We stayed at her place for two months last year when we worked at Dicky Bill in Drinan. It is really good memories. Not the work, which was shitty, but spending time in her house and garden. We were building the camper set-up back then in the Troopy, and Craig who lives with Jodi, let us use all his tools. The atmosphere was good, it felt like home. The cat had two kittens and I could just spend hours playing with them. We were having interesting (sometime weirds) conversations every day with them, but we had our own space and free time. The bed was like heaven and we were cooking good meals every day. So at the end, what could have been a terrible time because of our job, is one of the best memories I have from last year because of the time we spent at Jodi’s. So we emailed her and she replied she was there and we could come and stay with her in the evening and even sleep there.
Last night at the campsite, a woman was standing in front of her campervan with an old dog barking at us. She was telling us something I couldn’t hear, so I started walking towards her, thinking “ok let’s be friendly and go talk to her, maybe she’s nice”, but she shouted “don’t come closer, I don’t know how he’s going to react”, the dog was an old and fat female barking as an habit but not frightening at all. I turned my back thinking this woman is so weird and close minded. I don’t like when people act like this with dogs. Dogs are not bad people, and you just have to show them your good intentions, they will only be dangerous if scared or feeling unsafe. And you should not push a dog in this position by not letting people come close to them and reassure them. Anyway I want a dog in my life and it will be a friendly and sociable dog.
Thoughts I had : Australians people can be so annoying, but usually they are not bad people. They do have a different culture and mind set. Being in QSD reminds me when we were working near Bundaberg at DB with Jeff, Janelle and Katie, I couldn’t bear the sound of there voices or the way they talked after 2 months and now it makes me laugh, that accent... deep australian shit. Something I noticed: some people have the exact same voice, really weird. There is a real australian identity in their language, something they are really proud about, but which I think is comic.
We stopped for the night not far from Mackay, we drove less than what we hoped. We were not sure about sleeping in the car or in the tent as it was raining a lot, but with the mosquitoes and the temperature we finally put up the tent on a concrete flat area, the grass is full of water like a big sponge. The clouds and rain, we could almost be in New Zealand ! It rained all night and I was worried that the car will get water in it again but it didn’t really. Sleeping in the tent was the good option and I woke up early with daylight. We packed the tent completely wet with the plan that we will be able to let it dry later then headed to Sarina for breakfast as we didn’t have much food left in the car. Breakfast was good, they gave us bacon even though we asked for vegetarian options. So we had our coffee and proteins for the day and are now ready to hit the road again!
8 March 2019
Third day in Australia... and already feels like a week!
Apparently our work has been efficient, today we packed everything in the car and the smell is almost gone, it looks clean wich motivate us a lot for what is coming next! We hesitated on what way we should travel, faster inland, or take more time on the coast. We decided to follow the coast, for today at least, as we really enjoy a break on a beach for lunch and it will be less boring than a long straight highway full of roadtrains. Of course it means more kilometers but if the car breaks down we will not be in the middle of nowhere! So here we go happy again ! We drive until Bowen where we stop for a break and there we find another perfect pic nic spot with crystal clear water and big boulders. Now we are pretty sure we want to follow the coast...!
7 March 2019
Second day in Australia!
We ended up staying in an air bnb in Townsville, from Cairns it was 350kms and I really thought I was going to die on the way as I was so tired and hot and sick of the smell of mold. After a good night of rest, we just spent all day trying our best to clean the back of the car, all our clothes and the rest of the stuff. With the hot weather everything had time to stay under the sun and dry so hopefully it should be better when we leave tomorrow. The smell will still be here because there is still a lot of mold under the floor that we could not reach, but we will have to wait till Albury to figure what we are going to do about this. Anyway it was a sunny day and the cleaning kind of helped us with the mood.
Not out of the shower, just sweating like hell.
6 March 2019
Pic nic spot
[Part 2/2] Probably sounds like a superficial problematic but at our scale it is what we considered our home, and looking at the strong motivation we had back then to build all this, we wonder if we should/ can start all over again. Sometimes it makes you wonder why you are here and if that is what you really want. After a few hours of doing circles around the car, feeling lonely and being lost in our minds, we went for a shower in Cairns free public lagoon and then for a breakfast and coffee. At that point we were already feeling better. Now the plan is to drive down south to our next job which is far away but should be good and starting soon. From there we will find a solution and see what we want to do about this. On the road we admire the large rivers, the lush green vegetation shining like unreal under the midday sun. The landscape reminds us why we are back here and that it might not always be easy but we will be rewarded somehow by this strange, hostile but beautiful country
[Part 1/2] First day back in Australia and a tough one.
Tired from the flight, but excited to be back and find our beloved car/ home for some new adventures, it is hard to stay positive and in a good mood when we realize that the inside of the car smells weird. Everything we built + all our stuff are covered with mold and it is nothing that a quick cleaning can fix. It was the rain season in Queensland and it rained so much in Cairns that in a few months with the heat it just developed everywhere, especially on the wooden structure and the bed. Basically it is like all the work, time and money we spent on this project last year was for nothing and we have to start all over again. Now we try to think straight and not dramatize the situation. But still it is not a nice welcome back and we are feeling quite down and doubtful. [...]