A Travellerspoint blog

A Girl And Her Gum Boots - Part Six

6. Kickin' up Cairns, Last Train from Kuranda and running away with the Circus....

Distance covered so far = 4521km

Well not really.... Last time I was reporting of my adventures in the Land of Oz I was in Port Douglas which was well over a month ago. Pretty place to hang for a bit....



Strange things you find in hostels....

Having not spending much time in Cairns when I arrived there the first time back in April, I ventured back there and into the Aboriginal Rainforest Regions of Kuranda on a skyrail flying over the beautiful rainforest. 'The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway' is one of the world's longest cableways stretching 7.5 kms over North Queensland's Tropical Rainforest to the cute village of Kuranda, nestled amongst the cocoon of the tropical rainforest - spectacular!


Yeah that little black shadow blob in the middle there....yeah thats me

Upon descending at Kuranda after gliding for 90 minutes over the rainforest, the village itself sprawls out throbbing with quaint, eco market stalls as 'Boots' and I trudged around the auro of friendly locals - but of course very touristy as it provides a great daytripper for travellers from Cairns.

I then took up a visit to a Rainforestation Park, which again is an enourmous tourist park where I got better aquainted with some Aussie Wildlife Locals......



yeah not the smartest idea....

Riding in Army Ducks through the rainforest with a 'true blue' Aussie guide (they're really cool, they drive on land and then plunge into water and drive like a boat)


The highlight of my trip to Kuranda was witnessing a male Aborigine ceremonial dance performance which was very different to anything I'd seen before, which paid homage to the dream time stories and native Australian animals that different Aborigine skin names hold so sacredly. They even made fire in less than ten seconds...now they know how to survive. They later took us outside to give us a spear throwing, boomerang and primal hunting demonstrations - woowww!!!! watching six boomerangs being thrown at once swiverling through the air was incredible to watch. I decided to take a more adventurous way back into Cairns by walking down to the pretty little Kuranda station to find a traditional old steam train waiting for me how cute! The Kuranda Scenic Railway took me 34km winding through the tranquil picturesque mountains and rainforest (waterfalls!) back to the cement, iron world of Cairns with the wind rippling through my way as we roared back into the city welcomed by the friendly waves of passerbys who were all so familiar with the train passing through daily. Great Train Journey - highly recommend it.

I was taken by the reef so much after visting it off Cape Tribulation that I attended a marine school for a day back in Cairns being lectured about the World of The Great Barrier Reef (Do you know that Dory is actually a dangerous fish from Finding Nemo? No!)

After crashing the memorable backpackers in Cairns,

Posted by SalBolton82 12:21 Archived in Australia Tagged animals rainforest circus cairns kuranda townsville skyrail Comments (0)

A Girl and Her Gum Boots - Part Five

5. Cape Tribulation, Flying through the Rainforest and The GREAT Barrier Reef

Distance covered so far = 3288 Km

G'day everyone!

Calling from Port Douglas! a swanky coastal town north of Cairns where the Aussie rich folk come to play. Last night I went 'Cane Toad Racing' in one of the bars on the main street, you bid for a cane toad which are Giant Toads which inhabit this part of Australia to place them in the race and then proceed to blow them off a round table, catch them, run across the bar and put them in a bucket - not as easy as it seems! but that was quite an experience dabbling with Aussie quirkiness.


Of course I didn't win.

Well quite a change of scene for me since I left the Atherton Tablelands. All 'cashed up' (as the Aussie's say for having money) I hitched a ride with one of the locals from the Kairi pub to head further north to the mystery of the Daintree Rainforest boarding the two minute cable ferry to cross the Daintree River deliciously riddled with tropical crocodiles and word up hear was that some guy actually swam across the Daintree River as a result of a drunken bet...he did live to tell the tale.


I then travelled 34km by sealed road into the ancient thick foliage of the Cape Tribulation rainforest area - indigenously named 'Kulki' but in fact the area was renamed 'Cape Tribulation' by the English Explorer Captain Cook where his ship ran aground causing 'tribulation' right?

It is seriously paradise here and is the only place where the rainforest meets the reef - The Great Barrier Reef that is

Just like a desert island and not replusively crowded like the claustrophic beaches of Sydney - I love it! I was rooming with a girl at a beach lodge who was working as a stripper in Darwin (interesting conversations) and our eco friendly lodge, its electricity powered by generators and solar energy fitting nicely into my earth saving ways.

The lodge also backs onto the beach, I couldn't ask for more. Life is so simple and uncomplicated. I think the photographs say it all.



I Love it Here!!!!!!

Exploring the coastal rainforest area on my trusty borrowed bike, the Government are very clued up about the
dangers of crocodiles that may be lurking in the mangroves and caution of marine stingers that inhabit the waters this time of year. Vinegar boxes are laid out on the beach with clear instructions of treating any unfortunate souls who are stung. Cringe. These things can kill you out here. Was funny to notice the signs here are in English and German....mmmmm


Not that this should put you off by any means, the rainforest life is gorgeous and I captured the rare sight of a Lace Monitor strolling around his domain on the sand and took a visit to a voluntary Bat Hat in the Rainforest Village - avoiding throwing caution to the wind of my awareness for wild Cassowarys (remember, the most dangerous birds in the world they say) which you may see on the way as I rode to the village.


I never did - but there's plenty of signs telling you what to do if they freak out. The simple rule is, leave them alone and they'll leave you alone. Simple. They do look quite cute though, like big bright blue emus.

Well the Bat House is a local conservation organisation which is a cute nursery for fruit bats, I even met two of the residents themselves 'Joker' and 'Edward'....mmmm wonder what inspired their names.


I signed up for a night walk in the rainforest (highly recommend it) armed with 'Boots' coming in handy yet again with headtorches and was taken deep into the lowland rainforest to see what the night would bring. My guide informed me about the wonders of the Queensland rainforest, things I hadn't even seen out in the Amazonia of South America - pieces of wood that glowed in the dark and a sea of glowing mushrooms on the forest floor, not 'magic mushrooms' by any means. Apparently the Australian Art Producer of 'Avatar' had gathered his inspiration from his travels here. I was also lucky to spy a tree dragon, cleverly trying to disguise itself on a tall slim tree trunk and of course the tree you want to go nowhere near....the stinger tree ahhhhh no really do not go near it.


The next afternoon I had a go at 'jungle surfing' (leads to the imagination) - its a lot of fun. You strap yourself to a flying fox harness and you fly about 25m above the rainforest canopy on a zip wire to a series of towers scattered across the jungle - is awesome you gotta do it, even upside down. Quite rightly I was wearing a helmet saying 'Peter Pan'


Journey To The Great Barrier Reef:

My 'stripper' friend came back to our room one morning and told me that she'd been out to the Great Barrier Reef, snorkelling. A small operator in the village were doing 'Eco Tours' out to the reef to explore. I had planned to go to Cairns to see the reef but here in Cape Tribulation, there were less people and less disturbance to the marine life and just hearing the word 'ECO' just swayed my decision. Of course I favor organisations which minimise the disturbance of the environment and to be honest if you wanted to be 100 % ecologically friendly, you wouldn't even travel and go places and not step foot around Planet Earth - life would kinda be pointless don't you think? so I signed up and was heading out nice and early on a high speed boat transporting me to the rainforest to the reef zipped up in a stinger suit brimming with excitement that finally I will be visiting one of the great wonders of the natural world.


But here's some info about it...courtesy of Lonely Planet. really I didn't know too much about it just that it was just one of Planets Earth's most precious treasures. The Reef itself is actually larger than the Great Wall of China stretching along the Queensland seaboard from south of the Tropic of Capricorn to the Torres Strait which is in the south of New Guinea and is archived to be between 600,000 and 18 million years old - that's pretty damn old! its said to attract about two million visitors a year but marine biologists and conservationists are continuously growing concerned that the Reef is dying out from warmer seas and the oceans rise in acidification because of yep you've guessed it, climate change and global warming.

Now I was one of those two million visitors and I now had the opportunity to see this spectacular showcase of natural beauty while it was here. Lucky I was doing it out here in the Far North area as the reef was only located 30km from the shore whereas in the southern parts its way out there beyond 300km.


After about a 40 minute speedy journey, our Skipper dropped anchor at a small sand island explaining how to snorkel and all the hand help symbols and all that - I was just eager to get in and slapping my flippers on with an underwater camera - I dived in never having snorkelled this far out in the open waters and was transported to a different world hidden beneath the calmness of the marine ocean surface.


Wow! One of my dreams was to the visit the Great Barrier Reef and I was extremely glad that I'd chosen do it but here. I went for a 2 hr snorkelling trip where there are no other boats around and the reef is totally unspoilt. It is like being transformed to another world as soon as your head goes under the water, its magical - swimming alongside turtles and fishes, watching the corals pulsating with collages of colours its a must do in life in general. I even found a star fish!

31051_3944..117637_n_1_.jpgSea Turtle

Sea Turtle

Some more snaps from my underwater camera.....the colours are not done justice


wow greatest biodiversity of an ecosystem on earth....check out some stats

1,500 species of fishies

400 types of coral

4000 breeds of clams

800 echinoderms like those funky sea cucumbers!

500 varieties of seaweed

200 birds

6 types of turtles!

STOP GLOBAL WARMING and come see this!!


Won't forget that. Ticked off the list. Well there's been many adventures so far but thats the general memories of it but I'm heading back south to Cairns now to go explore the rainforest a bit more down there and then hopefully get some more work on a farm...with so many cool things to do your hard earned cash dwindles away so quickly - we'll see.

Hope you'll good!

Port Douglas, QLD, (weather is 30 degrees - nice!!!!)

Posted by SalBolton82 06:41 Archived in Australia Tagged sea snorkelling fish rainforest ocean australia jungle great queensland cape daintree crocodiles reef coral turtle barrier tribulation Comments (0)

A Girl and Her Gum Boots - Part Four

4. Dreamin' Avocados, Livin' as a Tourist Attraction and My One Trick Pony (well...Horse)

Distance covered so far = 3178 Km


G'Day everybody!


Its been a while since i've been near a computer as I've been way out here getting grubby and dirty in the country.

Well for the past weeks I have been working on Avocado farms in a small town called Kairi outside of Atherton in the Tablelands of Tropical Northern Queensland. The town is the complete reverse of life as I am used to in London with it consisting of one road with a pub and a shop....thats it.


The job at the first farm I was initially working for packing avocados into boxes only lasted 2 weeks which wasn't going to be enough funds to get me up to Rainforest and to The Great Barrier Reef so I had to come up with a contingency plan which are really helpful to have on the road when you get unpredictable curve balls like this. I moved into the Kairi pub manned by a jittery old Aussie bloke named Finn who sat in the laundry room drinking 'XXXX Lager' or 'Toohey's New' the popular Queensland drink in a small bottle 'Stubbie' (contrary to what the outside world thinks, Aussie's don't drink 'Fosters'). The word 'Bloody' over here is used in pretty much most sentences which makes noone utter in disgust as a curse word - even on the beer labels the serving instructions tell you to serve it 'Bloody Cold' ha!

The pub was extremely cheap rent, a tip off I got from another backpacker picking Avocados at my last farm and borrowed one of the locals scooters to cruise around the surrounding potato, peanut and 'Avo' farms that were in season asking for work to the drawling farmers telling me to go somewhere else. I survived nibbling on the corn from the fields and of course on free avocados and faced getting chased by dogs and spooking out rock wallabies in the grass.




Fate smiled on me and I eventually landed myself another job on a neighbouring Avocado farm where the farmer I was working for lent me a bicycle from his family shed so I could get to the farm and didn't leave me totally anchored at the pub. The farmlands were beautiful cycling through them at sunset after work. It was a godsend and with that and my scooter I occassionally borrowed, 'Boots' and I could take some adventures exploring across the farmlands and down to the enormous artificial Lake Tinaroo


A cute thing I have noticed out here in the Australian country is that farmers families harvest their crops and then sell them in a little shack on the roadside with an 'honesty' system where passerbys donate a few dollars in a money box in exchange for a bag of avocados or paw paws. How sweet! can't imagine it happening in London, but the mentality of folk are refreshingly honest and different out here. My boss' son Joel made it his own little business with his dads Avocados and I always found it charming passing his little stall on the roadside after I'd finished work offering a bag of Avos for $2. Bargain.


It has been a far more authentic experience for me living with the locals than living in a backpackers in Atherton or in the city beause I was seeing the 'real' australia - living and drinking (kind of hard not to when you live in a pub) with the small town local characters playing dart and pool against them and in theory treated as one of them (even though at times I did feel quite a tourist attraction being the only girl aside from mature Margy the barmaid in that pub for a long time, you have to tolerate quite a bit) I've come to know everyones dog here as all Aussie farmers have a faithful friend - this one is Schooner who's a regular and is happy to give you a high five...


And some that like to drop by too...


As I was such a 'nice pommie girl in gum boots' 'Boots' were put to good use as we were treated to motorbike rides into the Queensland hills, fishing outings, swimming in the lakes and the Millaa Waterfalls, and an aboriginal led Rainforest walk by a member of the Ngadjonji Aborigine community in Malanda. Most names of places have a very evident and distinct Aborigine influence here - Yungaburra, Malanda, Millaa....kinda cool.

You know I thought there were things out in the Amazon rainforest which were bad but in the Australian Rainforests up here in the tropics, there is a certain type of plant called a 'Stinging Tree' which is pretty much a no brainer for most people. Well they are this small stemmed plant with a heart shape and jagged edges, if touched the folicules from the leaves getting under your skins and cause a rash and burning pain - yikes!


spying a very rare 'Tree Kangaroo'...I was so lucky to see one because they are not out and about often.


Of course, I've had to keep myself entertained in the pub too and was aksed to join the towns pool team and travelled around the Tablelands playing pool against other towns which was great excuse to go see other places and meet more Australian folk - besides I was the only 'Shiela' too! I even played against the native Aborigines which was quite a highlight for me - and perfected my house of coaster card building record too of course.....can even hold a stubbie of Cider


Queensland is a beautiful part of Australia, my favourite so far.

Just when I found myself starting to dream about Avocados after a month or so, the market for them went down - they weren't selling enough so there was no need to harvest them anymore. I alternately stayed at the pub and started washing farmers cars and even their dogs (would you believe) while they came in to have a drink and cleaning locals houses and sheds for money - some were very generous but not so keen on washing cars anymore! I also helped collect firewood from farms and cut them for the fire and helped out in the pubs restaurant at night in exchange for my rent. So I've been working as the Aussies say 'Bloody hard!'

There is definetely some interesting people living in pubs why they are there, how they got there - many of them alcoholics! but usually if you advertise the fact you need a job, many people will try and give you some leads. Its the kindness of human nature.

Every year, the Australian Sporting World erupts with competitive aggression for something very poignant in their Sporting Calendar called the 'State of Origin' rugby game which is like the World Cup here in Oz. Its an iconic showdown on the rugby pitch in a series of matches between the states of Queensland and New South Wales which the whole town gets into. Being in Queensland I had to go with supporting the 'Cane Toads' and it was a great match to watch for the first time in the Kairi pub with the locals especially because Queensland won.

To finish off this blog I also had my own horse up here...very random I know and this is something I always wanted as a little girl as I love horses. He's not really mine in theory - a 6 year Clydesdale named Pablo, he's gorgeous but doesn't get ridden much by the guy who keeps him in his boatyard and offered me to come and treat him like my own. I've been learning to ride him bareback but he hasn't been ridden in a long time so he's very lazy but I love him. Horses are much more accessible here than they are in the snooty Equestrian world of England where your mother needs to be in the Pony Club....ok bit of an exaggeration but still I can have him all to myself.


But as life is going on, the snowball affect of sadness will be rolling as now its time to play so 'Boots' and I will be saying goodbye in a couple of days and will be leaving the sleepy town of Kairi and the quirky Aussie characters behind to embark on the next stage of my travels up through the Daintree Rainforest enroute to Cape Tribulation and out to the Marine paradise of the The Great Barrier Reef...


Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!

See ya


Atherton, QLD

Posted by SalBolton82 04:49 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls rainforest australia waterfall queensland atherton millaa avocados Comments (0)

A Girl and Her Gum Boots - Part Three

3. WWOOFIN' the Yurtfarm

Distance covered so far = 3137 Km

'The core of ones spirit comes from new experiences'


Which you believe its April already and have a track record of existing in the Land of Oz for 2 and a half months now and I'm still alive!

Now you're maybe wondering why this blog is called 'A Girl and her Gum Boots'...well in this entry you'll find out how I came to grasp my walking companions.

I've ended up in the tropics of Cairns, Far North Queensland and it is scorching hot!! I feel I can’t stand outside for too long as the heat is so overwhelming but hey better than the cold! I flew here after slumming it on the floor of Sydney airport, I felt homeless, nice insight into the world but 20 other people were doing it too. I pretty much got little sleep so I pretty much crashed out when I found this earthy backpackers in Cairns city. There has been an oil spill on the Great Barrier Reef which is not good for its well being. So finally having time to sit down and reminisce about the adventures.

The reason for my whereabouts up here in the Tropics I owe to two people I was rooming with in Sydney - with my funds rapidly depleting, one Australian girl was kind enough to give me a phone number of a Avocado farmer she knew near Cairns who might be harvesting soon. Without a doubt I called him up and he could give me a job in April.....which was two months away.....so I had to come up with a way to stall my spending till then. Word was on the 'backpacker scene' about a scheme called 'Willing Workers On Organic Farms' or 'WWOOFing' as its commonly known. This was an organisation (which is all over the world apparently) which acted kinda like a cultural exchange getting you off the tourist trail. You buy the book with a membership fee of $60 which lists all the farms in Australia who take volunteers to come help out on their farm and for 4 hours work you get food and board. No money spending from there on and boy my money was scarce and the farm life would be so novel for me, having not really been involved with a farm except the petting farms we would visit on school trips.

Flicking through the handy sized book (which I instantly warmed to being printed on recycled paper and with plant based ink), I first saw advertised in the Sydney area a number and brief description of a WWOOF farm called the ‘YurtFarm’ it was in a country town called Goulburn home of the giant 'Big Merino' statue, 3 hrs away from Sydney.
Now I actually have no real idea what a 'Yurt' was and I am one for novel, unfamiliar experiences so I went for it and gave them a call to ask if they needed any help. I was in luck, I could go in a few days and could easily catch a train straight there from the city.


So I did......

and getting off into the small country town, I felt a sigh of relief to be out of the honeypot trap of Sydney and into the calmness of this little town with its buildings echoing the scene of a Western film set. I couldn’t get in touch with the farmers and then realised I would be needing some Wellington Boots - if I was going to be immersing myself in farm life for a while I needed the look for it. So I walked nearby and found an agricultural kind of place which catered for the labouring man (or women) but when I asked for 'Wellies' I got a strange look and was told 'Nah you mean Gum Boots' and taken to the Gum Boot department...... and that's when I saw them, we were the perfect fit......no other footwear needed.

After being preached to about Jesus by this old guy who introduced himself as Tony, now equipped with my hard wearing 'Boots' I was lucky enough to hitchhike up to the farm which was about 20kms out of the town, through the rolling hills and dusty road sides. Really it was pretty isolated but this was the adventure of it. I knew this was the right place as I recognised the farmers name on the cute little letter box on the roadside next to a sign clearly stating 'Yurtfarm' so you didn't have to be a moron to work it out.


I entered pushing the long wooden gate, closing it behind me of course remembering the Country Code - and was met by an old VW beetle with wooden figures dressed in clothes sticking out of it which sort of confused me and proceeded to walk with 'Boots' of course down the main path channeled by these glorious pink flowers flourishing in the summer bloom. A little down the path, I became surrounded by a tree house and psychedelic decorated trees and shed making it look like some peaceful hippy retreat with signs saying 'To the Meditation Garden'. It was so cute, just like you'd imagine a chocolate box idea of a proper farm, barn, tractor and horses......





Two English girls Josie and Sophie and a German boy Flo had arrived the day before to start work there and told me I could find the farmers partner Judit who was busy shearing sheep in the barn when I turned up with two daughter Ruby and Tess. The farm was abundant with art work from past Wwoofers and cultivated the idea of a primitive 'Back to Basics' ethos which really attracted me to the place with various signs saying 'No T.V' and 'Live Life'. I knew I was going to like it....
Mike the farmer came home from town and showed me his Yurt Village about 2Km away from the main farmhouse on his 1175 acre sized land which he's been building since the 80's. I was extremely impressed with his self made village with 13 different coloured Yurts looking very much like giant cupcakes dotted around a lake. Mike invited youth groups and visitors to come stay in the village to learn how to be self sufficient and adopt a more country 'back to basics' lifestyle, something that has faded in the digital age of the today's world. But these places still existed and I was enchanted by the womb like bubble of the farm like Peter Pan's NeverNever Land where you don't have to grow up and are free to release your spirit in the simplicity of the place.


In case you're wondering - a 'Yurt' is a wooden round house taken from the idea of the Mongolian Yurt tents and made into houses – they are WICKED everyone should have one. You can make them for any use, and they have open fires and are cheap to make. He got the idea to bring them to Australia when he was broke in the USA after the wool industry collapsed and was forced to close his Merino sheep farm. Mike discovered the Yurts at a self help centre in California and brought them to Australia as a new business in Goulburn and is pretty famous here for doing it, he was on the TV and had magazine interviews the lot.


Mike proudly showed me around his village after a quick knock of Ping Pong in one of the Yurts and was astonished to find he had constructed a crazy golf course, a sports field, a workshop where he would teach kids to build mini boats, a flying fox, a bathroom and two toilets whos walls were adorned with inspirational messages from past visitors and the like.


Hand on heart - I absolutely loved the place and its ethics.

So life as a farmhand....its great fun and has given me the opportunity to do thing I'd never had the chance to do in life before. I'm kinda converting to a country girl. The great thing is that everyday was unpredictable and would wake up not knowing what we would be doing as everyday was never the same. We had our own WWOOF House which was a charming little cottage sharing it with the Huntsman Spider 'Spartacus' (you get used to them, they are harmless). We started work at 8:00am till 12:00pm where we squeezed in a 'Smoko' (a break), Mike getting out his guitar to sing us a few Aussie country songs 'Home Amongst the Gum Trees' and recite some Aussie poetry before the heat of the day crept up on us. I've actually wanted to do more than 4 hours because I had enjoyed it so much.


Insy, winscy Huntmans Spider....they're harmless


First glimspe of Boots and I....

I even learnt how to throw a boomerang which were primarily hunting tools by Aborigine huntsman....and it came back first time! haha

When kid camps came to the farm, we got stuck in helping out with them, learning how to herd sheep and light fires, taking care of the farm animals, picking fruit and just helping to entertain them even pretending to be a ghost in the forest ha! (now this is where my experience at USA summer camp came in handy)


The type of work we had to do involved us really getting stuck in regardless of your background or where you came from, which was the Australian country way of being - gravelling the roads, making signs, picking grapes, stripping bark, collecting firewood and even milking the old cow Princess like a maid...haha


In our free time I would go running in the farmland, canoeing, golf, teaching the kids and Mike Tennis on his home made tennis court which is nice because we were also allowed to get involved in the families life as I would take Tess and Ruby to the country show, playing cricket, riding in the trucks with them and playing practical jokes. The sort of life I'd craved for such a long time. I was even around for Mike's 70th birthday so he had a big farm party from everyone he’s known for years rocking up to the farm.


On the Yurt Farm besides the Village, Mike had built four more Yurts spread across his land for more private stays for people or for the more adventurous types. I was one of the those people and having visited some of the other yurts with my fellow Wwoofers, I wanted to experience being out in the bush overnight on my own with my new found skills, wanting to shake off my push-button city girl background and fend for my self. So I packed my bag, threw in a tin of spaghetti and armed with 'Boots' headed into the bush with the snakes and Kangeroos to find a yurt for the night....

Here's my video diaries.....

The good news is....I survived it! and I cannot tell you how beautiful it is to walk back through the bush at sunrise listening to the laughing Kookaburras and watching the flight of wild grey Kangeroos for the first time.

I stayed at the farm for 2 months and more WWOOFers came along, Leisbeth and Nele from Belgium, Dan from Canada, Struen from Scotland and Heather and Sean from Ireland, so I was meeting different people from around the world and working and living with them. It’s a very unique experience, especially when we were the first WWOOFers to find the surf boards and clean them off to surf the farm dams! Its been a blast and I’m gonna do more WWOOFIN’ working my way around Australia. I’ve had so many good times and adventures so far It’s the best way, you get to meet actual Australians and be part of their lives which I feel is a much more of an adventure.

I began painting a horse mural as a gift to the family for their kindness but the avocado harvest is starting so I plan to return one day to finish it. It feels good to be here ready to work, the weather is getting bad in NSW so I bought a plane ticket with my last set of funds and ran away to the north for the winter! ha (seems to be the only country where you can actually escape from the winter so you can have an endless summer - very sweet)


I leave the Yurtfarm for now, remembering the wisdom of Mike as he told me Five Golden things that most people may need to find their lives fulfilled.

1. To be in Love with someone
2. To have someone Love you back
3. To have something to play
4. Have a passion
5. Have a job you like

But onto the next chapter of the adventure……..and I hope its a job I like which will finally get me some money in my pocket…one eventually gets tired of Nutella Sandwiches and Apples haha!


Sal, Cairns, NQL

Posted by SalBolton82 09:47 Archived in Australia Tagged animals australia farm bush yurt goulburn organic wwoof Comments (0)

A Girl and Her Gum Boots - Part Two

2. The 'Big Smoke' of Sydney, Not-So-Blue Mountains and meeting GODZILLA!

Distance covered so far = 841 Km

G'day! Howzit goin? (a phrase I am hearing all too often in the Land of Oz) well its February! and I'm usually used to it being the coldest time in my life....in London though but still we are smack bang in the middle of the Aussie summer so here's a new blog from my early days in my adventures around Australia.


After Melbourne, I crashed at a friend of the family until their son was making an unexpected visit, so I had to hit the road for an emergency trip to the 'big smoke' the mistaken capital of the continent.....Sydney! in the new state of New South Wales. Of course I was heading into the honeypot of Australian tourism, but well advertised pretty things and places in the world are inevitably going to attract masses of people so its something you can't always escape if you've flown to the other side of the world only to miss out on.

I had my firsthand experience of Australia's east coast main rail network, the very accommodating 'CountryLink' for the 12 hour trip, making me realise this country is BIG compared to itty bitty England and the distances between cities and towns are HUGE. Of course the Aussie's don't think anything of it and would gladly drive three, four hours to see a friend. I like their style and they must love driving. Anyway, I arrived finally to the famous Sydney, the oldest and most diverse city that Oz has to show off, built around a stunning natural harbour rightly known as 'Darling Harbour' home of the Sydnarians beloved 'Harbour Bridge' and iconic 'Opera House' which essentially defines 'Australia' to the rest of the world. Of course, its home to 'that' beach, yes one of the most famous in the world....BBBBBondi......maybe. They even have a TV show over here about it, bit like the Aussie Version of 'Baywatch' but its real life. Not that Sydney is all about the lazy beaches. its pretty cultural with a ton of stuff on offer that could rival London....except London doesn't have a beach a bus ride away.

Anyway when I arrived at night (well after 12 hours it eventually came to night time), I had to go and pick the first hostel I could find which also happened to be one of the most expensive in town. with an in house cinema and pool on the top floor of the five floor building. Who needs it really. Anyway it would be a good base to crash and reorganise myself and look about finding a job as the temptation of the cities sure do suck the funds out of you. I'm getting pretty used to letting myself in to rooms and introducing myself to random strangers. Travelling is good character building in a way.

I'm sharing a room with a number of girls (one is an old Irish Lady who sometimes acts like our Grandmother), a Belgium girl Angie and I took a day trip to visit the Blue Mountains near Katoomba west of Sydney - the mountains are part of the 'Great Dividing Range' and get their names from the mist of oil given off by the eucalyptus trees or 'gum trees' which are everywhere in Australia. Not that we could see them as the day we picked to go absolutely poured down with rain but our walking guide (who looked very much like Patrick Swayze, I thought anyway) did the best he could to make the day fun teaching us about how the Aborigines used 'Ochre' from the flakes of rock to paint artwork onto their 'Red Hands Cave' very interesting.



Despite the rain lashing down, we descended through the beautiful low climate rainforest to some monstrous waterfalls and gingerly treaded across the velocity of the water surges ahh!! was pretty intense and the National Park were thoughtful enough to put a sign up showing us 'You are Here' just to feed off my adrenaline


ever wanted to be on the edge of a waterfall?

ever wanted to be on the edge of a waterfall?

good to know....

good to know....

We soon found ourselves standing before The Three Sisters Rocks - the evidence of a legendary Aborigine tale of a sorcerer turning three sisters into rocks to avoid the advances of three young males. The bum deal for the sisters was that the sorcerer died before switching them back. Geez now that's bad luck.

Except errrr.... we couldn't see it.

Can't you see it Angie?

Can't you see it Angie?

We ended our day in the mountains by riding the steepest railway in the world up an incline of 52 degree to the valley floor - wahooh, no really it was steep Indiana Jones would have been proud of me


Just what I love about travelling is the unpredictability of it - on the way back to the city we heard word that there had been a landslide, causing road closures so we had to take an alternate route back to Sydney for a further 3 hours - ha! but we did bring back a little souvenir from our day in the mountains

A little souvenir...

A little souvenir...

Back in Sydney, my buddy Tahlz from summer camp put me up in her place in the suburbs of Sydney and offered to accompany me in visiting some highlights of the city. We got lost driving up to sample the buttery Northern Beaches still in the stormy rain (I seem to have ruined Sydney's summer) to show me ‘Summer Bay’ home of the Aussie Sitcom rival to Neighbours ‘Home and Away’ (I actually preferred Home and Away as a school girl) it wasn't exactly 'Summer Bay' that day anyway. You find some funky things on beaches though - I love them, when there's nobody there.


Not so Summer Bay

Not so Summer Bay

Returning to the city, Tahlz knew I was a sports fan and kindly whisked me over to the Olympic Park which staged the 2000 Summer Olympic Games when I was a wee 18 year old school girl. It was pretty magical to look out onto the Stadium where I had been glued to watching all the Athletic events ten years previously. The tour also included a peek inside the dressing room where the 2004 Rugby World Cup final was played so I took a seat in Jonny Wilkinson's cubicle....he didn't mind

DSCF1771.jpgMmmmm they do spoil you in the Rocks....

Mmmmm they do spoil you in the Rocks....

'The Rocks' is a popular, quaint and charming little area of Sydney which is like the trendy place to hang out. Tahlz took me to a really popular pancake restaurant in The Rocks, something like 'Pancakes on The Rocks' or something like that. But boy, the pancakes were divine....I never will have another one again.
Now what else can you do on a rainy day in Sydney? well there's the Wildlife World and the Aquarium and guess what there was a 2 for 1 deal so we could go to both, how lucky to come on such a day. So off we trotted to spy some more Aussie animal friends which I think would have left Tahlz yawning at my eagerness to the Southern Hemisphere species spying the Red Kangaroo, a baby Koala (which I didn't get to hold booo) and the biggest crocodile I have ever seen in my life GODZILLA woah! seriously Australia's not for the faint hearted folk and in fact has the most venomous snake, spider, bird being the exotic turkey looking 'Cassowary', fish, octopus and something else.




Funky Aboriginal Kangaroos

Funky Aboriginal Kangaroos

Now the Sydney Aquarium, that's a treat walking through underwater glass tunnels amongst the daily life of Oz's rich and diverse marine life. Wow! quite a kaleidoscope of colours, oozing tropicano - its magical. I faced the introduction of the 'Dugong' on my 'I Spy Animals of the World' book - a real gem of Australia. They are adorable, nicknamed the 'Sea Cow' and 'Mermaids' (I couldn't really see their likeness to 'Ariel' the Disney mermaid though) and look very much like walruses....see for youself


Speaking of Disney, it was very evident where Disney had got their inspiration for the cast of 'Finding Nemo' (that film did wonders for sea life) coming across the stars themselves in the exhibit.....my favourites the Blue Tang very cool fish complete with a spike in the tail


Is that Nemo and Dory?

Not forgetting the forboding presence of the sinister Sharks, smirking at us with that jagged smile of theirs and the flashy jellyfish (which are actually really dangerous here), not forgetting the cool as a cucumber curious sea turtle checking us out. I cannot wait to get out into the Great Barrier Reef...


Sea life...all out to serve eachother, nice shady spot fishies???

Sea life...all out to serve eachother, nice shady spot fishies???

You wouldn't believe but after the weekend, the sun eventually shone which gave me some time to fix up my bank account and to just wander the streets of Sydney soaking up its scent surrounded by Aussie voices for a couple of days marvelling at the majestic Sydney Opera House and its Harbour Bridge sidekick.


Now the Harbour Bridge is nicknamed 'The Coat Hanger' and connects the north of Sydney to the central business district taking a whopping 8 years to build and a further $20 million to fund! - no wonder they love it aswell as using it as the centre piece for the New Years Fireworks. You can pay ridiculous prices to scale up it for a panoramic view of the city, but I just settled for the shoestring budget of getting a slightly downsized version for free by taking a good ole stroll across it.

Now you see the Opera House there, on the jetty on the Parramatta River now thats an impressive piece of architecture - it was actually designed by a Danish guy Jorn Utzon who funny enough quit the project before it was completed and opened in 1973! But credit to the Mr Utzon for the original idea, many people liken it to shells and orange segments but I have the idea is looks like a Cockatoos' head feathers when they're playing attention - still it exudes Australia's quirkiness and earthy identity. The inside is grand and beautiful, home to you've guessed it Opera, aswell as theatre, concerts and dance events. At night is when it soars like the stars.


Talking about quirkiness in Australia, I'm beginning to feel the excitement that I will be witnessing some very weird and wacky things in this country, but thats why you travel right? I'm pounding the pavements of the city to try and get a lead for a job as my money is zapping up, drinking 'Snake Bite' (a mix of beer and cider and black current juice - a beverage I enjoyed in my student days) and watching 'crab racing' in the 'Scubar' next door, keep them comin' I'll see you next time.


Go crabbies go!


Sydney, NSW

Posted by SalBolton82 11:09 Archived in Australia Tagged mountains sydney harbour australia bridge blue house opera shark crocodiles aquarium nemo dugong Comments (0)

A Girl and Her Gum Boots - Part One

1. Melbourne, Neighbours, Aussie Tennis, Hanging out with Kangeroos and getting arrested?!?!?

Distance covered so far = 91 Kms



G'Day! (as the Aussie's say) well after travelling across the Americas, swinging my way through the Amazon Jungle and kicking up the dust on the streets of Africa, I always had a burning ambition to do a 'Working Holiday' in the adventurous outback of Australia for at least a year of my life. As I said in my trip into the Amazon, my most passionate desire is to meet the indigenous people of the land, the Native Americans and Shamans, Indigenous African's and what struck me was the native primitive culture of the Aborigines, the first Australians' who my ancestors once seized, captured and killed to try and make their culture as there own. The past as nothing to do with me, but the future does so I was so intrigued to get down under and see the indigenous people for myself, teach me how to play a Didgeridoo or a 'Didge' in Aussie terms...... and also the fact I have a fascination with Kangaroos. So lets do the paperwork,..

Now there are certain boxes one has to tick to secure oneself a WHV

1. Be aged 18 - 30 years old. Ooh 27 pushing it but I'm in!

2. Have no dependent children. No way!

3. Be of good character. Hell yeah I'm the best person I know!

Now I did have to have a chest xray on London's prestigous Harley Street to test that I wasn't about to bring TB to Aussie shores and so successfully passing that, secured myself a one year Working Holiday Visa and prepared to leave the cold winter of Britain behind!

Well here I am, thought I'd let you know how i'm finding life in Australia as a 'Pome' (The affectionate name Aussie's like to call the English), pretty much as a temporary resident and living off Nutella sandwiches and Vitamin Pills. I made it to the other side of the world or the land that everybody calls 'Down Under' as it really is this HUGE island drifting in the Pacific Ocean tucked away down under the world from the rest of it. After surviving a 21 hour flight and having to be escorted from the plane in Hong Kong to the plane heading to Australia, I planned my arrival so I would touch down in the middle of the Australian summer which I was told is a 'scorcher'.....well it wasn't quite....I set foot in Australia to what was a not-so-hot Melbourne in the state of Victoria. In fact, it was cloudy and pretty cold! so I never should have listened to anyone telling me its too hot for warm clothes. Melbourne is pretty much like Chicago in the USA, it's on a bay and the weather can change in 5 minutes but after a couple of days Australian weather lived up to it's name to being gorgeous, hot, summer weather :), which has been great for the Australian Open Tennis Tournament which pretty much dominates Melbourne during January, very cool. What took me by surprise was arrivng in a hostel after 21 hours and still on London time, I was crashing on a sofa in a lounge watching tennis feeling like half dead, when a film crew walked in and asked to film me for their new hostel film for promotion, I didn't really have to do anything, but God I must have looked terrible on that film! the plus side was they gave me a free pizza in the bar downstairs, how awesome is that with a pint of Stongbow cider. Mmmm think I'm gonna like Australia.....


Anyway, the weather is gorgeous here and very blue as the promotion for the tennis is everywhere. It is actually an ambition of mine being a tennis fan to visit all the major Grand Slam tennis tournaments in the world and the Australian Open is the last I needed to tick off.

DSCF1410.jpgNancy Bolton.......Australian Open Champion...my great great great grandmother?

Nancy Bolton.......Australian Open Champion...my great great great grandmother?

I got tickets to go and see the games Saturday Night in the main arena with my Aussie buddy from my time way back at Summer camp in the USA, Stevie G. The 'Australian Open' is a really cool atmosphere, that give out 'ice neck coolers' you can even get cocktails with the glass lighting up in the dark. I even noticed a bust of 'Nancye Bolton' a past Australian Open Champion in the 'Hall of Fame' and I'm convinced I'm her great great great granddaughter ha!. Seeing a night match is pretty exciting, Melbourne thrives on sport so when Lleyton Hewitt came out to play Marcos Baghadatis, it was quite entertainment...but unfortunetely was cut short when Baghdatis retired on the second set - major bummer as I was soooo looking forward to a riveting match....but.....the next match was pretty entertaining with Wozniacki vs. Wozniak - wouldn't you believe it with names like that and I don't even think they are related. Wozniacki had to face the embarassment of having points taken off her because both the pom poms on her socks tore off and disrupted play ha!

Also the giant moths get attracted to the lights of the stadium so they swarm over and then the birds fly in to try and eat them! I went back the next morning for a day session having woken up late and had to jump on a water taxi down the River Yarrra to the stadium which was cool, waving to the rowers and cruising by the riverlife of the Yarra. People just love to hang out by the river side, rowing, cycling, jogging, it's a really active city - thriving on it's sport, very environmentally friendly with the trams buzzing around (and theres even a FREE tram to the tennis too!)


So I've just been hanging out in Melbourne, enjoying the sun, music and tennis - perfect!. Adjusting to Aussie life - they're are very friendly and happy people. Down to road from me, there is a huge square called 'Federation Square' along the river, everyone gathers there to watch the tennis on the big screen (in Melbourne EVERYONE is given the chance to watch the tennis). I went to watch the Federer v Hewitt game for the atmosphere, pretty much half of Melbourne churned out for the match. The Aussies love their tennis. That's pretty much what I do at night, go and watch Gram Slam Tennis outdoors with a drink!

DSCF1448.jpgDSCF1450.jpgDSCF1445.jpgDSCF1470.jpg DSCF1467.jpg

January 26th is 'Australia Day' where it's the National holiday when they celebrate the arrival of the first immigrants and when the '£10 Poms' came to Australia from England when it was just £10 - blimey why couldn't I have been born then? Everyone is off work, kitted out in Aussie gear in the bars, in the parks, Federation Square is alive with street performers and a concert of didgaridoos and the like. It was cool to see some real Aboriginal people play their music and of course lots of fireworks. There was even Aboriginal people in the audience with fair hair and dark skin - my first glimpse of indigenous people of Australia.

Of course, I couldn't come to Melbourne and just stay for the tennis - I was tempted to go and see the famous Aussie Soap Neighbours set at 'Ramsay Street' (which in real life is sooo small) but it was cool to see the street with all the famous houses and think this is where Kylie Minogue and Jason Donavan first started out. Having not watched the show since the 90's, I was really in the old school knowledge, so it was pretty funny and cringe worthy to have some people on the tour who knew the entire show inside out! (slightly out of my depth) was so funny when we met one of the actors who was having a break from filming and I had no idea who he was! but everyone was cooing over him and he plays the mechanic Lucas in the show. Still, how many times are you at the Neighbours Set in Australia? It's good fun, recommend it....

DSCF1371.jpgNeighbours Actor....no idea

Neighbours Actor....no idea

I've spent most of time just hanging out in Melbourne City and watching the tennis - but Aussie people just tend to smell so good, like constantly, they always smell nice, but danger came my way when I saw...........the BILLABONG store......oooooo (not that I have the money but it's BILLABONG!) hopefully I get round to some surfing and put the stuff to use. Oh, and I got arrested!?!?!......drinking in a public place......nah not really, you are apparently not allowed to drink in a public place, but you know of the famous Australian Outlaw Ned Kelly? (Heath Ledger played him in a movie of the same name and freaky enough, he actually looked like Ned Kelly). Well I went to the Old Melbourne Gaol where I was arrested like in real life (not that I've been arrested of course :) ) and got myself locked in a cell in the dark for 'possession of a dangerous weapon' yeah yeah heard that before, under the name of Miss Shoreland ha! it wasn't Shawshank but would have been pretty grim back in the day when they really imprisoned people. Well 136 people were hung in the Gaol and you can see Ned Kelly's death mask (the mould they take of their dead face) was pretty creepy.......


I swear I didn't do it...

For all those who know me well, know of my love for animals and I took a day out of Melbourne in search of some funky Aussie Animals on Phillip Island down the South Coast and East of Melbourne. This was a really cool trip to take out of the city for me to see the real country of Australia. We first stopped off at a Wildlife Sanctuary where I took the opportunity to hold a carpet python snake which tends to just hang on to you - he was a cool dude, snakes aren't slimy, they are really dry and scaly so that was a first time for me - especially holding a snake in Australia of all places. In the wildlife park, l went to see lots of iconic animals of Australia whistling at Dingoes and chirping at Emu's and Kookaburra birds who sound like they're laughing.


In the park, we were allowed to walk in the outback area of 'Wallaby Walk' where you can just walk around with the Wallabies (they're like mini Kangeroos!) but they are sooooo cute and especially like you if you have some food around. What was really cool for me was when I came face to face with a KANGEROO - after the initial 'wow' factor and being slightly intimidated but it's HUGE size, I shook my bag of food and Mr. Roo came bouncing happily over to me - he was a cool dude - I love the Kangeroos. They have big long feet and long claws for all that bouncing around. I hope I can be around them more and learn about them, I find them fascinating.

Hello Mr Roo....my first encounter with Skippy

Hello Mr Roo....my first encounter with Skippy


There's an Island next door called Churchill Island where I visited a farm to watch some good ole Aussie country Sheep Shearing and then bizzarely enough - the farmer Ken started to recite some poetry he had written for us! ahhhhh......after wiping the tears away from his moving poetry,


we headed to the special Koala Conservation Centre where you can see the Koala's up in the tree tops of the 'Gum Trees' the native trees here in Australa. I can't begin to tell you how CUTE Koala's look in real life, pictures just don't do justice! all of them were sleeping so it is quite rare to see one awake because they sleep 20 hours a day because of their low energy diet of eucalyptus leaves. They also have massive bums for them to sit comfortably in trees...ahhh...i'm determined to hold one.


Now what Australia is famous for - the beach! and with over 1,000 beaches fringing the shores of the continet, the first beach in Australia I visited was Cape Woolami, it hosts the Rip Curl Pro Surf Competition and shame it wasn't on when I turned up - would have been nice to see Kelly Slater in action. Plus there are sharks out there, kind of weird looking out onto a ocean knowing there are sharks patroling the deep waters. The sand is beautiful though with all those Surf Watch lifeguards in their iconic red and yellow outfits - so Aussie.


The main appeal of heading down to Phillip Island for the night was to see one of the most unique acts of nature in Australia - 'The Penguin Parade'. Every night, little penguins about 30cms high, swim back to shore and emerge waddling up the beach to their burrows. After penguins are about a year old, they take to the sea alone to learn how to hunt swimming 15 - 20 kms a day (good fact ay) they come back a year later for new feathers. The experience was so cool as people gather on the beach with popcorn like they are watching a movie! but seriously when I saw them, my heart melted coz I've never seen anything sooooooooooooooo sweet in my life, with little penguins emerging from the sea and waddling towards you. You can't take photos because the flashes blind them and they'll be disorientated and really confused wandering around awwwwwww. The amount of how many will come is not always known. but the night I was there......800, no kidding!!!!! we had to check under the tour car incase any were hiding out there, as some of them waddle up to their burrows in the car park awwww!!!!!That's been my favourite day so far, besides going to the tennis of course......I've met alot of people already, but at the moment they are just coming in and out of my life, a travellers life is all about losing and gaining I guess. The hostel I'm in is cool, right on Flinders Street near the Yarra River and Batman Avenue (not named after the superhero!) it was only a matter of time before I inevitable lost my room key so I had to run down 4 flights of stairs and sing a song to them at reception to get another one! ha! already experiencing the Aussie sense of humour.


Tomorrow, unfortunetely there's no more room at the inn here in Melbourne for the tennis finals (Murray's in the final!!!!!) so armed with my boomerangs, I'm jumping on a train heading 3 hours north of Melbourne to a town on the Murray River (funny that) called Albury on route to the hub of Australia.....Sydney home of the 2000 Olympic Games.......... but Federer v. Tsonga tonight, it's gonna be a beauty!

See ya later!


Melbourne, Victoria.

Posted by SalBolton82 08:10 Archived in Australia Tagged melbourne koala australia island tennis australian gaol penguins ned open kelly phillip kangeroos wallbies Comments (0)

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