The month started in Sydney with a trip to Taronga Zoo, even though I’d visited nearly every tourist attraction in the city, I hadn’t gone to the zoo and when my friends invited me along, I went. Surprisingly enough I really enjoyed it, Taronga zoo is massive and for someone who has only visited Colchester Zoo before I was impressed. It would seem that the Australian climate suits the animals better than mild Essex, as the animals were wandering around their enclosures and seemed happy enough.
(The luckiest giraffe in Australia)
I particularly enjoyed the giraffe enclosure, which has the most beautiful skyline view ever. The day was spent wandering around the zoo getting up close and personal with some of Australia’s native species, we even got to see two kangaroos boxing, no joke, it was intense! I’m telling you the fact that they can use their arms like humans in that way, they have elbows, it’s weird.
(Sydney skyscrapers from the Royal Botanical Gardens)
It was back to hostel life for me, after spending most of the festive season sofa surfing. I stayed on Pitt Street which is one of my favourite streets in Sydney (basically just one of the really long main streets that leads into the city centre). I began applying compulsively for farm work, which I had begun doing just before new year. My original plan as I mentioned in my last Wanderings post was to complete my 88 days farm work at the beginning of 2017, so that I could get it out of the way and hopefully secure a second year visa. Apparently everyone else had had this idea too, but had been smart enough to book their working hostel in advance or arrive in the area before the season commenced. It was a long and stressful process, beginning with applying for jobs which provided accommodation or didn’t specify that I needed a drivers license, then I started looking for a working hostel with the least scary reviews attached to it, and then I began considering going to the dodgy working hostels, trying to decide whether I valued bedsheets or wifi more.
In the end I burned out, which wasn’t helped by a creepy middle aged guy in my dorm coming on to me. I fled my hostel, and was kindly offered a place to stay at my friends. When you’re travelling by yourself and figuring everything out for yourself it can get really tough especially if things aren’t going to plan and you’re not sure what to do next.
By this point I had spent two weeks in Sydney and I was keen to move on, I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted but to me all I wanted to do was find farm work. In the end I realised I could do whatever I wanted, I could stay in Sydney and find work, I could keep travelling enjoy myself a bit more and hope to stumble across people also looking for farm work, I could go to a working hostel, or I could find work somewhere else. I found myself watching Psychotraveller’s video on How to find work in Australia, where she suggested finding work in an outback hotel. So I went on gumtree and found three ads, the first position had been filled. The second was in Mungallala where the population of the town is 50 people and there was limited wifi access, the second was in Winton, a hotel with such a lively ad and so much going for it that I was intrigued by the place.
I emailed both and heard back the next day from the hotel in Winton and accepted the offer, I made arrangements to travel from Sydney – fly to Brisbane and then take a 14 hour bus trip to Winton that weekend. The bus journey was long, and even though I’d managed to sort something out and now had a place to be for the next couple of months, I was still being eaten alive by ‘am I doing the right thing?’ ‘What if this is a huge mistake?’ At the end of the day I had to take a chance. I knew that if the place wasn’t all it was cracked up to be I could leave. Ultimately I’m responsible for myself, and if I don’t like the situation I’m in I can either accept it, change it or leave it, so I keep this in mind at all times.
I arrived in Winton in a dishevelled state, fourteen hours on a bus with air con on blast is not fun, but thankfully the bus wasn’t full, I was one of two passengers on the coach by the time I arrived in Winton. The other passenger was a twelve year old boy headed for Mount Isa, Australian kids are hardy! Arriving at the hotel I was greeted by my boss who showed me to my room, I was allowed to have a wash and rest up before coming downstairs for something to eat and completing my RSA in order to start work the next day.
On my first night I was lucky enough to meet two girls visiting the hotel from Longreach, their family very kindly invited me to join them for a drive to the jump ups, I was very touched by their offer and enjoyed my first morning in Winton exploring the local area. I’m definitely in the outback, the land is vast and it’s like being in a nature documentary.
My first week has been an interesting one of learning new things, making silly mistakes, including serving the manager a scalding hot coffee and not knowing how to turn a washing machine on. It hasn’t been easy being the new girl, but I think I’m on my way to settling in now, and I found that I’m really glad to be here. The past couple of months backpacking has been amazing, but now I’ve got a routine it allows me to think about what I want to do next, and reflect on my trip so far. I’m only here for a couple of months tops, before I move on to find farm work again.
At the moment I am in Winton and taking every day as it comes, the town is quiet at the moment as it’s low season and apparently wet season is on its way. The sun shines constantly and temperatures reach 40 degrees and up. The population of the town is around 1,000 but there’s barely anyone here at the moment, I see very few cars on the road and those I see are pick up trucks. There’s a swimming pool, which I visit after work and pay $2 to swim, and a Spar which has a 2 Coca Cola per customer rule. Alongside that Winton has a really cool history, which I think I’ll write about in another post, it’s a quirky place and I’m happy I took the chance to come here.
Here’s to the next month!
Thanks for stopping by
What have you been up to?