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Wwoof wwoof! Up the coast!

Coffs Habour, Bellingen, Yamba, Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise & Brisbane

sunny 25 °C

G’Day!

And again it’s been way too long! But I finally feel the tendency again and have the opportunity again to scribble something down about the last month, month and a half?
At the moment I’m sitting on a pillow in a cozy, arty living room in a half open house build on the slope of a hill in picturesque Closeburn, a collection of a few houses about 30 minutes from Brisbane. I’ve been wwoofing for a little more than a week now at this place and it’s become a bit like home. Approximately three weeks ago I met Franziska (or Franzi as we all call her) when I was in a surf hostel in Yamba. We decided we both wanted a change from regular travelling and so made up our mind to go wwoofing together. We contacted no less than 18 hosts in the Brisbane area as we heard it would be difficult to find a spot. Over the next few days we were contacted by about half of them and could choose between a few hosts. In the end we went with the first host that accepted us enthusiastically and without too much hassle and we’ve been very lucky. Randall, a forty-ish filmmaker and his arty friend Tinuviel, (yes as in from The Silmarillion), a dancer, welcomed us and after some getting to know each other chitchat we went to a local festival (The Winter Solstice Festival), tried some Indian chai, admired some local characters (especially one sixty-year-old hippie with shining -stars and planets- leggings!) and met some of their friends. It was a very nice start to our stay here!
The next day we started work around 8:30, digging holes for shed foundations. As you can imagine this was pretty exhausting and afterwards a little painful because I didn’t handle the maddock particularly well. Besides digging a lot of holes (in which Franzi was much better, quicker and less annoyed than me) we have planted many little trees, done a lot of mulching, cleaning, some building and painting jobs and baked some lovely fresh bread. We eat pretty healthy here as most things come from the garden and we try to make the lion’s share ourselves. Tinuviel and Randall are both good cooks and love to experiment with new ingredients and recipes. I’ve learned a lot of new vegetarian recipes already and tried many new things like halva, poppy seed cake, and roasted pumpkin with rosemary. We usually get up at 7.00 or 7.30 for some yoga and then eat breakfast, followed by work till 12.30, lunch, some more light work or relaxing and then dinner around 19.00. I had to get used to getting up early again and also the physical exhaustion was pretty major in the beginning after ‘lazy travelling’ without too much hiking for the last month. But now I’m getting used to it and I feel healthy and sleep very well. Besides working and eating well we have been to a veggie barbie, dinner party, garden party/performance night and yesterday we had a lovely, sunny day off and went hiking up Mt Warning. Great views up there and after the hike we (me, Franzi & Tinuviel, as we dropped Randall at the airport at 6.00, he’s just left for Japan for two weeks) went to the beach and ate at an Tibethan restaurant in West End. It’s quite relaxing to get some roots for a while and not move around my increasingly heavier backpack for a while. Silly as I am I do continue picking up things, I’ve just bought a top and skirt for 7$ at a garden sale!
I’m not sure where I want to go next, probably somewhere near the Bundaberg region for some work in fruit picking. Though, it’s maybe a bit off season.. I think I need to work for maybe a month or six weeks in order to afford what I want to do next. The plan is still to travel up to Cairns and after that I’d like to fly to Darwin and then make my way down through the Outback, to Uluru, finishing in Adelaide. But we’ll see how it goes! If I’ve learned anything here it is not to plan too much.
I’m aware this post is already too long, but while I’m at it I’ll add a little about what happened since Katoomba. Wow, that feels so long ago! After Katoomba I went back to Sydney, Cronulla Beach to be precise. I stayed in work hostel, got my RSA and started asking around in local restaurants for a job. I did find a few places that seemed promising but it was all a bit too much at the moment and I decided to leave Sydney. My last days in Sydney were nice, meeting up with Ali & Hayley I met in Melbourne and going to a great dress-up circus themed birthday party. But I was glad to leave, Sydney didn’t feel right at the moment and the anonimity and vastness seemed to add to my homesickness. Anyway, next stops were Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Yamba, Byron Bay, Nimbin, and Surfers Paradise. In Bellingen I met a German girl, Sabine, with whom I travelled for two weeks and after an extra weekend at Coffs Harbour I met up with Franzi in Byron Bay and moved on to Surfers. I did some beautiful hikes (Dorrigo National Park, Cape Byron), hitched (to the NP), saw dolphins and whales (Byron Bay), tried something ‘magic’ (from hippie-tourist-heaven Nimbin), did my first surf lesson (I could stand up quickly to my own amayement, the difficulty is more related to picking the right wave), discovered the television series The Inbetweeners while waiting for the rain to stop in Yamba, and was bored and lazy in awful Surfers (don’t go there!). Much more to say of course, but these are some highlights! Time to move a little closer to the fire again and join in with conversation, I’m sure I’ll post again at least once before I’m back. The vague plan for now is that I’ll be back somewhere in October!

x Sanne

Posted by sanneastri 04:42 Archived in Australia Tagged sydney harbour surf paradise bay hike surfers byron yamba wwoof coffs bellingen Comments (0)

First weeks in OZ

Melbourne, Tassie & Sydney

semi-overcast 15 °C

Hey there!

I'm sitting in a YHA hostel in Katoomba, Blue Mountains National Park, where I've been bushwalking for the last couple of days. You can travel here from Sydney in just two hours and the park certainly measures up to my expectations, the views from Echo Point are stunning! Tomorrow I will return to Sydney in search of a job or at least a hostel where I can do some cleaning in order to pay for my accomodation. It feels time to settle down somewhere for a while as I'm experiencing a bit of a luxury problem, I feel a bit travel sick. It can be pretty exhausting never seeing people for more than a few days and constantly adapting to a new environment.
I've slowed down my pace a bit since arriving in Australia though. I spend a week in Melbourne, just taking it easy for a bit… seeing the sights, doing some shopping, and thinking about whether I'd like to hang around for a bit to find a job. After a few days I met up with a guy from CS and together with another CS girl that just found a job in Melbourne
we had a nice time talking about politics, travelling, Melbourne and living in Australia. I also met up with two really sweet British girls from York and we went out for a drink together with our other roomies, three boys from near London. One of them was obsessed with learning some Dutch and we kept repeating the same sequence he wanted to learn (Hallo, hoe gaat het? Met mij gaat het goed! Met jou?) fun for a bit (with his pronunciation) especially after a few ciders.
But the weather in Melbourne wasn't that nice so I decided to move on. After Melbourne I went to Tasmania to stay with Kathryn and her family for a few days. I met Kathryn in Chungking Manions, Hong Kong, one of the worst, claustrophobic hostels I've ever been. It was really nice to stay in a house again for a few days and Kathryn and her parents did their best to make me feel at home and showed me some gorgeous sites around Hobart. Me and Kathryn went up to Mt. Wellington which has an amazing view over the city, vistited Port Arthur (an infamous convict settlement), went to a Tassie Devil Park and did some hiking at Mt. Field National Park where some of the tallest trees in the world grow. In addition, I visited Salamanca Market where they sold interesting articles such as edible fruit leather (quite tasty actually!) and Devils fudge (jummy!). After a few days I moved on to rainy Launceston in the north of Tasmania, where I walked around the Cataract Gorge near the city, visited the local museum and joined a nice German girl I met in the hostel for a tour of the local brewery Boag. The tour was a bit disappointing but afterwards we got to taste five different beers and let me tell you, thats quite stiff at 10.30 in the morning!
The next day I flew from Launceston to Sydney where I stayed with Phil and his folks for a week. I met Phil at the same time as Kathryn, sparkling Hong Kong! After Phil picked me up from the train station we had some dinner and moved on to a birthday party of one of his
friends in the city, a 45 minute trainride. The party was in a nice club on the waterfront in a very posh area and everyone was really dressed up for the occasion. Though I was wearing a nice dress, I still had no other shoes that black trainers and flip flops in my possession so I felt
a bit awkward with black trainers under my dress. I hope no one noticed! But the party was nice and I met a lot of cool people.
For the weekend me and Phil walked around Sydney -Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Bondi Beach and the Rocks Market- and when Phil went back to work on Monday I did some hiking around Manly, went to some museums, chilled in the Botanic Gardens and generally enjoyed the amazing weather Sydney has in winter! After a few days I joined one of Phil's friends David to a jazz concert and spend my last day in Sydney going out to dinner in China Town and meeting some of Phil's other friends at the Uni Bar of Macquarie University.
Because I still felt a bit clueless about what I wanted to do I deciced to go hiking for a few days up in the Blue Mountains and then head back to Sydney and see about a job or maybe doing some wooffing (working 4-6 hours a day on an organic farm for food+accomodation) in the area. I still don't really know what I want to do, now I have limitless possibilities, no time restrictions or onwards tickets it's somehow harder to make decisions. I reckon I'm just heading to Bondi or Cronulla and see what happens. I probably have to let go of my obsession with making lists and plans for a bit as I'm now in the country of 'no worries' and 'it’s all good.'

x Sanne

Posted by sanneastri 22:42 Archived in Australia Tagged mountains melbourne sydney tasmania blue hobart katoomba launceston bushwalking Comments (0)

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