Tag Archives: outback

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.

Life after Alice

22 Nov

Due to exceptionally rubbish internet connections, me forgetting the little cable that connects my phone to my computer and other things, I haven’t been able to post for a while so I think a condensed version of the last two months is probably due. For those of you on facebook, you may have seen some of these pictures but now I’ve got lovely wi-fi I can put them up on here too.

The baby calves (we ended up with three in the end – Barley followed shortly after – had to be rescued from a demonic Brahman cow who had ‘adopted’ a calf but was dry so couldn’t feed it but spent her time fiercely trying to bite anyone who came near it) although were a little dehydrated so next time I went into town I picked up some sachets from the vet (who was a bit bemused to be asked about calves as she usually dealt in the smaller variety of animal…most farmers round here just leave the calves to die and don’t bother about trying to save them. But how could you resist this little face?

He was a happy little thing, skipping around and headbutting the other calves. The two girls escaped one day but Brian stayed in his pen, deciding the outside world was just too scary. The girls ran down through the farm to the yard where wild cows come to have a drink of water in the evening, and joined their group. They all shuffled off to wherever they decided to sleep, calves in tow, but we hoped they’d be back the next day. Luckily the training I’d been doing with them paid off and they came when they were called for their milk. We eventually managed to recapture them and put them back with Brian, who’d been looking very lonely by himself.

We got quite good at calf-wrestling in the end – this is one who escaped through the crush so we leapt on it (the way all cattle were handled before yards were mechanical!) and sensitively posed for a photo before branding. In all the excitment we forgot to do its ears, oops.

I got to sit with Kathleen, an 82 year old from Uptopia, whilst she painted at the farm. Her and her daughter come quite regularly to paint at the station

She’s nearly blind so you have to help her by turning the canvas around and telling her what colours she’s painting with, but the end result was still lovely

That time of year came round again and it was my birthday all too soon. Craig forgot it (!) so I drove to town as normal and prepared to stay there and come back the next day once the ute had been fixed. No sooner had I checked into the hostel, the boss rang to say I’d better get back here because he’d heard it was my birthday…so turned round, drove 300 km back to the station to find Craig had got out all the Christmas decorations and made me a banner, got flowers for the table, been to the nearest shop (90 km round trip and little more than a newsagents!), bought pizza for everyone, cake, birthday candles and made me a leather bookmark with patterns and a note stamped into the leather with Don’s leathermaking tools. Not bad considering he had about 3 hours’ notice and was miles away from anywhere! He’d also got the boss’s son to buy me some books when he was in town, Bridget had also made me a cake and Don got some rum out and gave me a painting by one of the local artists :)

But all good things have to come to an end and we decided that on balance, as much as we enjoyed working on the station, Craig doing 100 hours a week for the equivalent of $7 per hour just didn’t make sense…getting up at 5 am, getting in at 8 pm and both of us working flat out in between was not sustainable and we decided that a change of scene was necessary. We thought maybe going to another station would be a good plan as it was likely to be better run, with more staff (we’d got 4 plus the boss to run 750,000 acres). The other two girls we’d spent the last two months with were also leaving, so before our arms and legs fell off, we left our lovely calvies, Boris, Buster and the station and drove into Alice Springs for the last time. Luckily we left just before station life changed us too much

We will definitely miss this place but looking forward to getting clean and seeing the bright lights of Alice (ahem).

Animals everywhere

21 Aug

Tried to take a picture of the view from the back of the ute:


After much negotiation, managed to get the boss to agree to let us (me) get a cat, who hated his cat box and screamed for the entire 3 hr drive home. Then spent the next 3 days trying to jam himself into any space that was as small as his cat box


His name is Boris.

Obtained two calves – one’s a week old (Buttercup) who’d got seperated from her mum during a muster, and one’s a day old (Brian) who got left in the yards by himself


Captain Morgan’s finest calf milk…


Fencing woman extraordinaire


After a 13 hr day in the yards – blood, sweat, tears and a little bit of poo. Fit.

What is known as an Alice Springs tan!