Tag Archives: beach

Road trip

22 Nov

And we went to find Cloe and Bridget, also freshly escaped from the station, to go and have drinks with to celebrate. We had a great night but a less good day afterwards…never mind, we now have INTERNET. So from our hostel bed we ordered brunch (ah Dominos, how I’ve missed you), delivered to the room door (ok that was a touch lazy), got a new job on a station in Hall’s Creek, WA off Gumtree.com.au, got my computer picked up to be fixed and called people in England. This is what the internet was invented for!

We didn’t need to be in Hall’s Creek for a week or so, and as Bridge and Cloe were driving up to Darwin which was kiiiind of on the way, we decided to join them. Another girl on the station had told us about rental relocations, where you drive a campervan back to the depot from wherever it’s been left by the previous one-way hirer, so we decided to investigate that. The guy from Hall’s Creek said he could pick us up in Broome, and by luck, there was a Britz campervan that needed driving back from Alice Springs to Broome the next day. We applied for it and got it – $5 for a four berth, brand new motorhome with shower, tv, loo, aircon, two double beds, fridge/freezer, oven…it was enormous and we could have easily have lived in there! Britz also threw in $250 towards the fuel, so it turned out to be cheaper than flying AND we got a week’s holiday. The only downside was that we did have to be in Broome in six days’ time or face a £1000 penalty so our epic week of driving 3000 km began :)

We set off first as we wouldn’t be able to go as fast as Cloe in her car, and stopped off at a little petrol station at Ti Tree (basically just a petrol station and a pub) to fill up where we saw this amazing sign

I’m still not sure what a grog yard is but now I definitely won’t be fighting in one.

We stopped off at a little (everything is little past Alice!) pub/caravan park only to be met with one of the unfriendliest people in the world. Everything was too much trouble for him – including providing water in the “caravan park”…basically a carparking space with a plug – to the point where he told us we were drinking in the wrong area and the bar needed to be kept free…considering we were the only customers this was a bit odd. We had craftily bought our own supply of beer from the supermarket in Alice anyway so we headed off for a beer and a dvd so we could get up early and leave Barrow Creek early so we could get plenty of driving in during the day time, before all the mental kangaroos and other animals start hopping about all over the road. Note to self, do not confuse these things ever again whilst cooking bacon. They look the same, but are in fact, very different

We eventually got overtaken by Clo in her car and met up in Mataranka, which we decided to use for our driving day off so we could explore the natural hot springs there. The campsite was set in a national park which was mainly rainforest – such a nice sight after miles and miles and miles and miles of red dust, bushfires and withered trees! The hot springs were amazing

Even if Craig did cry about not being able to see the bottom and the threat of crocodiles. What a baby.

It was lovely to see the girls again and chill out…after working so much at the station floating around in hot springs was bliss. But we had to get to Broome so after a day and two nights relaxing, we had to get going again. We had breakfast at Katherine, and then split up as the girls were off North to Darwin and we were going West to Broome. The road just went straight on for miles

but it was so good to have some time by ourselves and be back travelling again we really enjoyed it. We drove all through the mountains (with a short detour to a mine and back where I missed the turning…ooops) and to Kununurra where we saw the magic words “lakeside views” – yes please. Parked our van right by the lake and put this pic on facebook

…and within seconds was arranging to have a drink with the lovely Niall and Penny…two other people we worked with at the station! So although we’d travelled thousands of kilometres by this point, we hadn’t really left the farm at all :) Had a nice time with the guys and then left early in the morning again to get our final few days of driving done. This time we stopped at a free campsite along the road on top of a cliff and watched the sun setting over what seemed most of Australia with our little awning rolled out, our deckchairs and a beer thinking that we were possibly the luckiest people in the whole world. Whilst Craig made tea, I sat outside reading my book only to find a dingo about a metre and a half away in a bush, staring at me. Being the big bravey that I am, I courageously Got Craig who scared it off :)

Did our final leg of the journey to get to Broome, passing through Hall’s Creek. According to the sites we’d looked at, it looked like quite a big place but when we went through it there were about 6 houses. We enjoyed being on a remote station before but this was just ridiculous! We knew we wouldn’t be able to spend 3 months really in the middle of nowhere; the nearest town being 700 km away which is a bit far to drive on your day off. Luckily, the guy who we were going to work for hadn’t confirmed either way so we thought we’d call him once we got to Broome.

This bit of the journey was very boring as there was no radio reception, straight roads and nothing to look at. We invented an awesome game of cow-spotting called ‘Cow’…ok so imagination maybe isn’t our strong point…but by the time we’d finished with the rules (that ran onto three pages) and had finalised the ‘cemetery clause’ (the person on the other side to the cemetery has to shout “ALL YOUR COWS ARE BURIED!” and your opponent loses ALL THEIR COWS! OOOOOH THE DRAMA!, we realised we’d just pulled into Broome. Nuts.

However, this is what Broome looks like

we knew we’d made the right decision about Hall’s Creek. Goodbye outback, hello beach.

It’s a long road to Hikkaduwa…

18 Mar

We had a lie in the next morning and woke up to see Mathias and Frederik playing cricket with Ajit’s children and their friends. They were absolutely soaked in sweat but looked like they were having a great time. After paying our bill and eating our breakfast (leaving us with 1,000 rupees…£5), we joined them and played a quick game. They played it with a tennis ball and if you knock it out of the garden it’s not a six, you’re automatically out which seemed a bit unfair! I started off fielding and then all too soon it was my turn to bat. I was praying I wouldn’t knock myself unconscious but I managed to hit the ball, even if Frederik caught me out…a good excuse to get out of the sun :) Craig did much better but the kids were amazingly fast and thought nothing of running over broken bricks to try and catch the ball. Mathias and Frederik were great, albeit slightly bewildered by the rules (“why do two people have to run? why can’t we stand here and someone else runs for us?”). No one seemed in any great hurry to leave, but all too soon our bags had to be packed and it was time to go. We were genuinely sad to say goodbye to Mathias and Frederik as we’d had a really nice couple of days with them, but they were off for to Nepal for new adventures and we really needed to see more than one village!

We strapped on our big bags, medium bags and little bags and decided to give walking to Hikkaduwa a go. The bus was only 19 rupees each but we needed to save a bit of cash and we thought it would be nice to give the death-bus a miss for a change. It was seven kilometres but that’s never put us off before so off we went. Mathias bet that we would have over 1,000 offers of tuktuks along the way, but in the end we stopped counting at 15. So it was probably around 1,000 by the time we collapsed into our guesthouse.

The walk was pretty nice; we got to see a lot of things that would have just been a blur on the bus

We got passed by little bakery tuktuks – tuktuks that are filled with cakes and bread and play a little tune. My favourite one plays Santa Claus is Coming to Town. We were accompanied by a dog for quite a while – we stroked it when we stopped for a drink. Another guy gave it a pancake, but it obviously knew people who loved dogs as it didn’t give the guy a second glance before it came with us, wagging it’s tail the whole way until we got to town and it turned back. We also got stopped by lots of people just for a chat – “where?” is “where are you going?” and “crazy” is “why are you walking from Akurala to Hikkaduwa?”. We even got offered a lift for free but we explained we were long of leg and big of belly so it was good for us to walk carrying 15kg of stuff each.

We arrived at Hikkaduwa just in time for the sunset

but found that our card was still blocked. We found a little restaurant which had wifi and managed to change a couple of dollars into rupees so we could have a beer and get something to eat. I phoned the bank and eventually got them to unblock the card after a very stressful 15 minutes of security-grilling. I have no money, my priority is not to remember my stupid memorable place I thought of three years ago, it’s to get you to understand I HAVE NO MONEY!! But both cards are now working again now so all good.

We were pretty hungry after our walk (which ended up being nearly 13km due to the cheaper guesthouses being at the other end of Hikkaduwa) so went for a cheap rotty, or filled chappati/pancake thing. When we got there, it also said kottu on the menu so we decieded to try that. The old man making it was amazing as he could turn little lumps of dough into pancakes in seconds. He fried up vegetables, bacon and chicken and then got two huge chopping knives and rhythmically chop-diddy-chop-didy-chopped at full volume until everything was smushed up into tiny pieces. Soy sauce, chillies, a fresh egg and then it was done

It tasted a million times better than it looks!

We went for a quick drink by the beach and then to bed, absolutely knackered. We spent this morning on a pilgrimage to the cashpoint so we could use the now-unblocked cards and plan to spend the day at the beach and going for lunch with one of the guys we met on our walk yesterday. To celebrate the use of our limbs (quite an occasion when you’ve spent the last couple of days lying on the beach!) we might break out the matching teeshirts. Oh yes. You have been warned.

Sihanoukville

20 Feb

We went out with Chris and a French guy, Edward, who was on our bus to Stung Treng, to say our goodbyes as he was staying in Phnom Penh. Edward was not my biggest fan because I accidentally moved his blanket off the seat he was saving, thinking it was the driver’s. He complained a bit about it so at least I got the chance to apologise :) Lost track of the time – realised it was 2.30am all of a sudden and we had to get the bus at 6.30am…ah well at least we’d sleep well on it! We were really sad to say goodbye as he’s been a) our saviour in times of desperate need (of cash) and b) a great travelling companion for the last week or so. It is a shame he’s got to go off to Korea to study rather than continuing to travel but I am sure that will be an adventure in itself.

We got the bus to Sihanoukville without too much drama with just the one wheel change this time. The dog, as usual, was impeccibly behaved and made us lots of new friends, including Ben, an Englishman who had resigned to come travelling. He last worked in mental health, has been in the forces and has travelled fairly extensively so is interesting to talk to. It is funny that it’s exactly the same as being with a puppy in England…everyone wants to talk to you – the Cambodians think you’ve nicked it ot think it’s hilarious/mental you’re bothering to carry round a puppy with you and everyone else wants to stroke him or take pictures!

We stayed in Serendipity for the first night, meeting up with our friend Andy on Victory beach, before heading over to where he was staying the next day as it’s cheaper and quieter. We’ve ended up in a similar set-up to where we stayed in Vang Vieng – lovely garden, basic bungalow (dog-friendly) and flowers everywhere. It even comes with a pair of frogs in the shower

I am much more of a fan of these guys than the giant evil cockroach in our last room. Bleurgh.

Sihanoukville is lovely. Really relaxed (especially where we are now), amazing weather and great beaches to while away lazy afternoons

and the sunsets are pretty awesome too

We’ve just spent today hanging out with Ben and Andy, lying on sunloungers or swimming in the sea, reading books and chatting with ice cold Ankor beer (60p a pint) with the puppy snoozing in the sand at our feet. Absolute bliss. I think it will be wash rinse and repeat for the next week or so…will try and not bore you all by more “and then we went to the beach and made like flat fish for 5 hours” stories :)

There is plenty to do here though if you’ve got the time and inclination. There’s a national park, a crocodile farm, monkeys on Independence beach (which we saw whilst driving to Victory beach…they take nuts out of people’s hands, so cute), sailing trips, islands…might be here for a while…