Tag Archives: visitoz


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!


Meanwhile, back on the ranch…

6 Aug

So probably about time for a quick update…the short version is that Craig couldn’t get a plumber’s licence and even if he could, he’d have to go to college for a year before being able to work by himself. Even manual labour requires various licences so we knocked that idea on the head and decided to fulfill a childhood dream and become cowboys by booking a Visitoz farm course near Gympie for a week, after which we are guaranteed 6 months’ work on one of their network of farms.

We ended up getting a job 300km from Alice Springs as stationhands – Craig looking after the water bores that fill the troughs for the 10,000 cattle over 750,000 acres and I run the shop for the local Aboriginal community 40 mins down the road, and we both muster cattle, brand them, draft them and various other jobs that need to be done. The mail comes by plane, the turn off from the highway is a 100km dirt track and we get about in utes. The weather ranges from -5 at night to 30 degrees in the day, but we’re not looking forward to 57 degrees in summer.

The internet is rubbish at the station so can’t connect too often but here are some pictures of what we’ve been up to. I will spare you a picture of the dead kangaroo in an Aboriginal’s car we were shown yesterday…and its 2 inch joey still in its pouch…

Mustering in the ute

It’s probably better to be a female calf…






Bushfire Craig and I dealt with on the neighbours’ land on Wednesday


– Craig was driving this


So much for a day off yesterday!


Will try and post some pictures every now and then when we get into town…