(I wrote this blog on Saturday so please excuse any confusion over days!)
So after an exciting but demanding week of looking after kangaroos, we decided to give ourselves two weeks off to recover. We left Denmark (which was a beautiful place) last Wednesday and went to Walpole, where we walked in the valley of the giants. They have a really well-done treetop walk there, which takes you 60m high into the forest. It also swings in the wind to mimic life in the trees. We were impressed and took many a photograph! That night we drove to Albany but it was a nasty town with nothing going on, so we free-camped on a beach to the East of the city. Early on Thursday morning, we drove 5 hours to Esperance, and the rain began...
From last Thursday morning until yesterday (Friday), it has been pouring! I think we are always told to believe that Australia is a constantly beautiful place where the sun always shines. That is a lie! It rains a LOT when it wants to, and there are hundreds of miles of awfully boring landscape between the ‘wow factor’ spots. Needless to say, we found them.
The drive to Esperance was wet and uneventful, but when we arrived there were many things that we wanted to see. We had been told to go to the Pink Lake, which is a huge lake that is Pink in colour. We drove there as part of the tourist drive, but unfortunately, we couldn’t see a thing through the fog and rain, so we spent the rest of that day doing chores such as laundry and the ‘weekly big shop’. This is starting to sound like home...rain and chores! Luckily the rain stopped for a while the next day, so we were able to walk on the beach and meet Sammy, the resident sea lion. We spotted him in the water whilst walking down the long pier, and he was very photogenic. There are some wonderful national parks around Esperance, but due to the rain we weren’t able to get our van over the dirt track that leads to them. Twas a great shame.
On Saturday we started our long drive east. If you have a map nearby, find Esperance in Western Australia, and then look at Adelaide in South Australia. The distance was huge! We did that stretch over 4 long days, mainly through the Nullarbor desert. ‘Nullarbor’ means ‘no trees’ in Latin, so that gives you some idea of what to imagine. There was one straight road that we followed for thousands of kilometres...and it went on...and on....and on. There were maybe two small towns on that stretch that each had a population of around 8 people. I’m not going to write much about the few days we spent driving because it will bore you as much as it bored us when we were doing it. However, I will just say that Phil drove extremely well and we made it in one piece.
On Tuesday we arrived in Adelaide. It was a bit of a culture shock to be back in civilisation but we both welcomed the change. Adelaide is a stunningly beautiful city, and I don’t know why it isn’t as visited as the other big Australian cities. It has lush botanical gardens, green parks everywhere, some great museums and art galleries, a beautiful oval (and I don’t even like cricket!) a posh university, an aboriginal centre, heaps of shops and restaurants and a great wine centre. We have been staying in a campsite in the North of the city, overlooking the river. We can walk into the CBD which has been a wonderful rest from driving. So for the past few days we have been loving city life and all the perks it brings.
On Wednesday, something very strange happened. Phil and I were looking at the menu outside a noodle bar, when a couple (roughly the same age as us) walked in and told us to eat there as the food was good and cheap. We took their advice and had a lovely meal. The other couple sat a few tables away from us, ate quickly and left the restaurant whilst we were still halfway through our food. When we asked to pay the bill, the waiter told us that we only had to pay for our drinks because the other couple had bought our dinner for us. WHAT?! We couldn’t believe it! We had only exchanged a few words with them so we couldn’t fathom the fact that they had paid for all our food and what’s more, hadn’t wanted any thanks for doing so. Maybe I am a cynic, but that sort of thing never happens. When we told a guy back at the campsite about our experience, he just said, ‘welcome to Australia!’ Maybe it isn’t so bad after all...
So, the past 2 weeks have included long drives, hard rain, boring scenery and dull evenings. However, we have also had a wonderful time in Adelaide, received free meals from generous strangers, and (for the past 2 days) some glorious sunshine. Overall, a pretty good time.
We were supposed to drop our campervan off in Adelaide yesterday, but we decided that we couldn’t bear to part with it, so we have hired it for the rest of our time in Australia. We are so glad that we still have the freedom of the van, but as Oz is so expensive, we have decided to change our flights and leave a few weeks earlier than planned. We are having an awesome time here, but it is too expensive to stay. We will still be able to do everything that we want to, but at a slightly faster pace!
Tomorrow we are embarking on our third WWOOFing experience. We are staying at a farm in the Adelaide hills belonging to Sven and Judith and their 3 children. We have no idea what the area will be like, or what we will be expected to do on a daily basis, so watch this space..! We are really hoping that this host will be as varied and rewarding as the last two.
I hope everyone is well? Dad informed me of a spring heat wave that you are enjoying so I hope it lasts. Please write to us and tell us your news.
With lots of love,
Hana and Phil xx
P.S – You are probably noticing a distinct lack of photographs from our time in Australia. We are really here (I promise), we just haven’t found an internet connection fast enough or strong enough to upload any pics yet. We will keep searching and put them up as soon as we can.
P.P.S – It is now Monday and we are in Robe in South Australia. Unfortunately we had to run away from the WWOOF host yesterday as the accommodation was dirty, the people unfriendly and the work involving spiders. We felt bad about it but there wasn’t much point staying there if we weren’t going to enjoy it. So we are now near the Victoria border and taking it slow. We are free camping to save money and enjoying being able to relax more and drive less!