Tag Archives: brisbane


5 Apr

We decided to make the best use of the car we were leant and go and visit our trainer from Visitoz, Rance. Despite a few wrong turns the day before (getting barged off the M1 as I ended up in an exit lane and couldn’t get back on it), it all ended up ok as this was on the slip road back onto the motorway

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…and that meant MARMITE. Our supply ran out months ago so we were really pleased to find it here and stocked up. We have researched Marmite supply in New Zealand (this was one of the first things we checked) and were happy to find out that it is sold there…however ‘Marmite’ there is made in NZ and to a different recipe (the second ingredient is sugar, ew) but we can get real Marmite but it is called My Mate. We have learnt the hard way to avoid Vegemite, and the less said about Promite and Cheesymite the better. We do feel we’ll get on with the Kiwis as their ‘Marmite’ factory had to shut down for 2 years following the earthquake there and they referred to this as ‘Marmageddon’. I think we’ll be friends.

Anyway, we decided to drive to Gympie (a mere three hours away, a titchy drive by Aussie standards) to see Rance. The journey went well although it never fails to scare me driving on Australian motorways as undertaking is absolutely fine, so you get people trying to cut in from both sides and also the road trains (up to three lorries joined together with 56 wheels, not something you argue with) are not speed restricted in the same way the lorries are in the UK, so the thunder on past at 30km above the speed limit whilst your little car shakes…but we passed the time by trying to pronouce all the Aussie towns’ names. It looks like someone has taken English words and added about nine million vowels – Diddlibah, Caloolahbah, Squigglywigglyloolahagangalangoomerigigaligoolamoo…it was quite fun. If Countdown allowed proper nouns, Aussies would win hands down.

But after the main stretch on the M1, we came to gorgeous scenery near the Mary River

Mary valley

and the drive became much more relaxing. We checked into the Royal Hotel in Gympie so not to have to drive all the way back in the same day and explored the little town, which was lovely and quaint. Immaculately kept and very pretty. After a nice lunch in the Old Brown Jug cafe, we drove up to Rance’s house to say hello.

Rance Goodluck (you couldn’t make it up!) was our trainer on the Visitoz course we did in preparation for station work in the Outback. He was a fantastic teacher and made our experience in Alice Springs so much better as everything he said came in handy on a daily basis. This man has mustered everything from wild horses (himself on horseback) to ostriches and has broken nearly every bone in his body doing so. To say he has some interesting stories is doing him a disservice…we could and did listen to him for hours. He took the time to explain everything and to make sure it had gone in, and made it funny and engaging at the same time. We wanted to see him again to tell him about our experiences and how useful his advice had been to us. We met him at his old Queenslander house just outside Gympie in the rolling countryside and spent an hour or two swapping “war stories” as he would say. It was lovely to see him and he seemed very pleased we’d popped in to say hello.

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Rance Goodluck: a true Aussie legend. “Unnnnnnnnnnnnnreal”.

We drove back to Gympie and ate an enormous tea at the hotel and then went up to our room where a combination of a food coma and an incredibly comfortable bed hit us and we went to sleep about 8pm :I

We had planned to do a horse trek the next day but we were put off by the fact it was expensive and when we woke up, it was tipping it down. Rance had told us there was good fishing up at Tin Can Bay so we decided to take a small detour up there and drove the 40km through the forests to find the weather was just as bad, it was blowing a gale and the tide was going out. We got out of the car, hair horizontal, took a solitary picture


…and looked at each other, said “yep, that was nice” and immediately got back in the car for the return journey, 40 km back again!

We thought it would be nice to take the scenic route down the 6 along the Sunshine Coast rather than spend all the time on the motorway. When we got to Noosaville, we were feeling that the Sunshine Coast was somewhat missold


But it soon cleared up and we had a nice drive with the beaches to our left until we hit the M1 again…we saw the castle cafe and decided that anywhere that had a fake castle and a dinosaur on the roof was our kind of place but unfortunately they wanted $14 just to go into the cafe so we dejectedly gave it a miss

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Suddenly the torrential rain started again and the road, sky and the cars we were following disappeared. We ducked into the services to try and miss the worst of it as it was genuinely scary, ate a Subway and then set off again. Thankfully the weather cleared up again and we got back in one piece.

Then it was a mental packing/cleaning/saying goodbye marathon – we had to pop into Lorraine and Jake’s as Lorraine has just lost her mum and it would have been so nice to be there for her for the funeral etc but sadly we have to go where the work is. We’ve seen them a couple of times since we’ve been back which has been nice despite things, but hopefully they can pop over to NZ to see us later on in the year.

So all that’s left to do is make sure the house is ok, say goodbye to Winchester (I’ll write to you every day) and get to the airport at 5am tomorrow. Excited!


Brisvegas baby!

3 Apr

Got back to Brizzie at 11.30pm having gone via Perth (the most economical route – going allllllll the way down South and then allllllllllll the way across the entire country, makes sense!). Our foster cat, Winchester, who technically lives next door but whose heart clearly belongs to us showed up to say hello in his cranky “mraaaaak” voice that we love. He’s clearly missed us


The way I feel about Winchester assures me I will make an excellent mother.

We have been very, very lazy for the last few days – a combination of not wanting to spend money whilst we’re not earning and the pleasure of being able to do absolutely nothing if we felt like it – but we did walk to Manly (via Lota, it’s clearly been a long time and our internal satnav has gone haywire) to see my step-dad’s parents which was a nice afternoon. So was the fact they insisted on giving us a lift home, saving us a two hour walk :)

We therefore felt it was time to peel ourselves off the sofa and watching reruns of ‘Biggest Loser Australia’ (which we were in shocking danger of being in need to be on) so, as our friend Daniel had lent us a car, we decided to visit Brisbane Sculpture Park on the recommendation of a friend. It was a bit nerve-wracking as it’s a manual car and I haven’t driven a manual for ten years (bar a few months in a ute in Alice, a totally different beast), but a few over-revs aside, it was alright. We got to the ‘sculpture park’ to find it was an artist’s house which he used to sell his sculptures and you had to make an appointment beforehand so we binned that idea and took a drive into the Tamborine mountains. These were ridiculously gorgeous – rainforests and wild flowers everywhere. Despite Craig’s enthusiasm to go hang gliding, my chronic fear of heights got the better of me and we went to the skywalk through the rainforest instead. “Ooooh look at that down there!” Through gritted teeth: “Ooooh that’s lovely!” “You probably need to open your eyes to see that” “I’m OK thanks!”

I do not enjoy how much Craig is enjoying my pain here


Then it was off to the botanical gardens close by




which were stunning although we’d obviously just missed their main flowering season. Worth a visit all the same.

After that, we decided to top off our Day of Fun with a visit to the glow worm caves. Sadly they don’t let you take pictures but it was amazing – 3,500 glow worms in pitch black, in little bunches like constellations (a sneaky trick to make flies think they’re flying towards the sky until they get stuck in the worms’ little sticky web-like things they produce). Apparently there’s a big population of them in NZ in the wild so will hopefully be able to get some good pictures there.

Talking of which, after being in limbo for two weeks whilst things like UK references were sorted out navigating a thirteen hour time difference and a ‘breach of privacy’ from the company I’ve applied for which has resulted in their IT systems being shut down, I finally got the news that I have got the job! Comparable money to what I was on in the UK, HOLIDAY PAY and 9-5. So although it means going back to the office, it will enable us to save up some cash before going home.

Next chapter in our Big Book of Adventures: Wellington


Might have to change the name of the blog…


Bye bye Broome…Broome bye bye

3 Apr

Well that was irritating…went to publish a post and WordPress deleted half of it so here’s take two…

Finally finished my housekeeping job with only a few days to go. I will not miss it one tiny bit – scrubbing blood off walls, playing Poo Roulette in the gents’ toilet (“what’s behind door number three?”), picking up guests’ pants that were too dirty for them to take with them and sweating from my hair follicles down. A hard, hot and dirty job. If I ever stay in a hotel again I will definitely be tipping the cleaners!

I also finished at the pub later on so had a few days to sort everything out and relax a bit, although not before St Patrick’s Day


So after Craig finished his work, the last few days were spent saying goodbye to all our lovely friends which seemed to involve a lot of barbeques and beer (they are Aussie after all…). Despite how difficult it was doing two jobs six days a week – or in Craig’s case doing five 5am starts each week – we did have a good time there and met some great people, enjoyed the beautiful scenery and can officially say we did a full wet season in the Tropics – something no one should have to endure :)

Sights like this do endear you to a place somewhat


And all the cycling to the jobs and working has had a good effect as I am 22 pounds lighter than I was when I got to Australia (give or take a few, see above re: beer and barbeques). Craig laughs because I have a spreadsheet tracking my weight with five different measurements and a line graph…but whatever keeps you motivated I say! I do love a good graph


I am my father’s daughter.

So all too soon it was time to get on the plane to Brisbane and back to shops, traffic, civilisation and less than 100% humidity and say goodbye to our home for the last six months


Bye Broome!