As I still want to have some kind of diary here – for me and anybody that is interested – I post monthly updates of what we did (including pictures), what we are up to and what our future plans are. Ideally that will also show a bit how much our plans change and how our progress and planning goes for the near future. You can find all entries until now here and for a bit more frequent reports you can head over to Agnès Blog or her short updates.
What we did
Again what we planned to do and what we ended up doing were 2 completely different things. While we were still in Melbourne the plan was to get a rental car or catch a bus or train to go via Canberra and Sydney to Brisbane and work our way up north from there to end up in the outback. Well, as we couldn’t find a good way to go towards Brisbane and as Jan and Rob from the station were in Townsville middle of April anyway, we decided one evening to fly to Cairns 2 days later to meet both of them in Townsville the following Thursday. It was an interesting change to go from the cold Melbourne area to subtropical Cairns with 35°C and an incredible humidity. We spend just 1 night in Cairns before catching the bus to Townsville where we stayed the rest of the week. The climate was a bit more comfortable and before we met Jan and Rob, we visited the city and nearby Magnetic Island. We somehow managed to put our backpacks in their already bursting full car and headed off for the 8 hr drive down to Farewell Station.
At Farewell we stayed in a 44000 liter water tank that was transformed into a guest room, with bed, closet and air conditioning. We did a bit of cattle work (mustering, drafting, branding, etc.) and helped with the general maintenance of the property (similar to what I did 4 years ago), fixing windmills and busted pipes, reinforce our water tank, maintenance work on the vehicles, etc.
During that time my new passport also arrived in Brisbane so that we could finally apply for the work & holiday visa for New Zealand.
What we planned to do
The idea was to stay a bit longer on Farewell for sheep work and leave middle/end of May. Ideas included going to Townsville again to work on Magnetic Island and going to Rockhampton to do a road trip of some sort down to Brisbane.
The biggest problem this time was certainly my failure to take care of my Stauder bottle! While packing my bag in the hostel in Cairns I kicked the bottle and unfortunately broke it. I still have one in Auckland but that meant that there wouldn’t be any more pictures in Australia.
Apart from that it wasn’t really clear if I could fly from Melbourne to Cairns as it turned out that some of the domestic flights leave from the international terminal, which means that I cannot board these planes without my passport because it was in the embassy at that time.
We also had to change our plans spontaneously when we booked a camper van to go from Cairns to Townsville and an hour before pick up we received a call, telling us that it wasn’t available any more – leaving us without accommodation or any possibility to move. In the end we decided to take a bus to Townsville instead. While we stayed on Farewell we first had limited internet (20GB per month for ~160AUD) and later none at all due to a technical problem. This itself wasn’t too bad as we were busy all day anyway. It became a problem though when we applied for the visa and the New Zealand immigration communicated deadlines via email. Luckily we went to Winton often enough to check our emails send all necessary documents in time.
What I learned
- A lot more about cattle and station life in general
To Do List
- Get a new passport
- Get a long-term visa for NZ
- Catch fish for dinner on my own
Arrive at Farewell station
- Get a job in New Zealand
- Arrive in Brisbane
- Fly to New Zealand