A Travellerspoint blog

Mad Updates!

Recap of the last few months

March - June 2011
Time sure passes by real quickly. Before we know it, we've traveled more than 3000km and explored 3 states without making a single update! So ladies and gents, here's one massive update with lots of visuals ('cuz, of course, pictures are worth a thousand words :P)

After the short yet amazing few days in Melbourne, we hit the Great Ocean Road- about 250 km of scenic coastal drive along the south-eastern coast of Victoria.

Great Ocean Road start

Great Ocean Road start

The 12 Apostles
2_apostles.jpg
12_apostles.jpg
The views
great_ocea..further.jpg
great_ocean_view.jpg
London Bridge

London Bridge

James got a new board!

grip tape

grip tape


new board

new board

Cape Nelson, a near ocean-side village with a beautiful estuary, the last stop on the Great Ocean Road.

Nelson_estuary.jpg
Quiet dawn fishing

Quiet dawn fishing

Hello South Australia!

welcome_to..stralia.jpg

We arrived in South Australia on March 7th, and the weather was noticeably warmer. We encountered a couple of hurdles trying to find a job. We rocked up in the Penola/ Coonawara region known as the largest Cabernet Souvignon region in South Australia. Wineries were left, right, and center! There were over 35 wineries on one road! It was insane! We thought for sure we'd get a job, but after dropping by the wineries and talking to the locals, we've found out ALL the wineries contracted to ONE contractor. This dude has monopoly over ALL the wineries. He turned out to be a real redneck and sketch bag- telling us that he can't tell us how much we'd get paid because it depends on how fast we work. He even told us, if we work too fast, we get paid less! Essentially, he bell curved the wages so that even the best workers just scraped by, and the rest made bugger all, while he cashed in.

We got out of that region pronto! We then drove another couple hours to the Renmark area. We dropped by an employment agency, and immediately, he gave us a number of a orange picking job in Waikerie. We were stoked! We set up camp by the over flooded Murray River.

Camp Waikerie

Camp Waikerie


Waikerie sunrise

Waikerie sunrise


Waikerie sunset

Waikerie sunset

We started the next day, only to find out orange picking sucks big time! $25 a bin. It us at least 1 and a half hours of hard work- climbing ladders, getting scratched, running to and from the bin trying to fill it up. We hardly make more than $100 a day together!! We gave it a couple days, and once again- job fail.

But Korean food success! On a really really hot day, James and I made cold buckwheat noodle soap!
mul nam yong

mul nam yong

By now, we've made some friends, and they gave us some numbers for grape picking in the Clare Valley, known for its Riesling. Off we went to Clare! Our home for the next month. We had an awesome paid-by-the-hour job with some real good people.

Red wine grapes

Red wine grapes


All different types of wine grapes

All different types of wine grapes


picking friends, lots of those around!

picking friends, lots of those around!

After a month of working, we hit the road again!

We first did the Alligator gorge bush walk in the Southern Flinder's range. It was good to be out in the nature again!
1.5 billion years old

1.5 billion years old


Mt. Remarkable- Alligator Gorge walk
the ripples in these rock are hardened sand ripples caused by an ancient sea

the ripples in these rock are hardened sand ripples caused by an ancient sea


large_Mt_remarkable_walk_4.jpg
more of our picking friends on our walk!

more of our picking friends on our walk!

Trail friendl

Trail friendl

The two and a half week trip to Western Australia is now forever known as the Greatest Fishing trip ever! We just cruised from one jetty to another- Port Lincoln, Coffin Bay, Streaky Bay, Haslam, Smokey Bay, Point St. Claire, Esperance, Albany- we caught salmon, trevallys tommys, tunas, leather jackets, squids, crabs, flatheads, garfish, and razor fish. We had at least 68 fish (based on a tally I kept in the beginning of our trip). We were living off the hook and eating like kings and queens! We'd be eating salt and pepper calamari, seafood marinara, fresh crabs, fish fry...It was pretty epic!

Coffin Bay

Coffin Bay


Beautiful sunny day in Streaky Bay

Beautiful sunny day in Streaky Bay


Smokey Bay

Smokey Bay


Fishing off the rocks at Mad fish Bay

Fishing off the rocks at Mad fish Bay


Our camp spot past Denmark at Parry Beach

Our camp spot past Denmark at Parry Beach

Me and my almost 42cm flathead!
DSC04726.jpgDSC04727.jpg

Fish feast!
blue swimmer crabs

blue swimmer crabs


fish platter

fish platter


Cooking up a feast by the jetty

Cooking up a feast by the jetty


YUM-BO!

YUM-BO!

Another epic event is the loooooong drive of nothingness into Western Australia- the drive known as the Nullabor Plains.

DSC04785.jpg

It's about 1200 km of nothingness with a road house (aka. gas stations) every 200 km. The cheapest petrol that we saw on the drive was $1.79/ litre! Good thing James and I filled up on fuel before the plains and we were also driving at 80kph because we realized that we get more mileage out of Lucky, our good ol' reliable wagon(nearly 300km more than driving at the standard 110kph!). We drove for about 12 hours a day for two whole days, hardly seeing a soul on the straight straight road.

DSC04784.jpg
DSC04782.jpg
DSC04808.jpg

It was night time when we hit the straightest road in Australia, though there wasn't much difference comparing to the 10 hours of "not-so-straight" road. We saw a car coming, and automatically turned our high beams down, but then we realized it was a straight road, the other driver could be really far away. Fair enough, we turned our high beam and our timer on, it was almost 6 minutes before the other vehicle was close enough for us to turn our beams down!

It was night time when we hit the straightest road in Australia, though there wasn't much difference comparing to the 10 hours of "not-so-straight" road. We saw a car coming, and automatically turned our high beams down, but then we realized it was a straight road, the other driver could be really far away. Fair enough, we turned our high beam and our timer on, it was almost 6 minutes before the other vehicle was close enough for us to turn our beams down!

Entering the Wild Wild West
large_DSC04798.jpg

Everything is bigger in the west, including their trees! We went to the Valley of the giants, a preserved forest area near Denmark, WA. These tingle and jarrah trees can be up to 1000 years old, and some are as tall as 130 feet with a 16m base circumference!
large_DSC04896.jpg

So that's the update. Time moves pretty fast. Soon new decisions will need making, we'll let you know when we know ;)

Searching for gold, we don't have to look very far.

Searching for gold, we don't have to look very far.

Posted by etthuang 15.07.2011 17:20 Archived in Australia Tagged great_ocean_road fishing western_australia nullabor south_australia orange_picking grape_picking clare_valley waikerie alligator_gorge mt_remarkable Comments (0)

Goodbye Tazzie...Hellooo Melbourne!

Back to civilization

Picking up after our last blog entry...

end of February 2011
We headed up towards Bay of Fires on the northern east coast of Tasmania for a couple days. It’s scenic and the best part was that it’s warm! (well..warmer anyway...)

With only a couple days left in Tasmania, We headed down to Bruny island- off the south east coast of Tassie. It was a few days of solid fishing- we caught heaps of squid and mullets. Calamari and fried fish…mmm.

fishing gear

fishing gear


8DSC04359.jpg
fresh calamari

fresh calamari

Having a feast of fresh fish

Having a feast of fresh fish

Melbourne- artistic hub
Beginning of March 2011

Melbourne was 3 whirlwind days of fun. Since I took a flight to Melbourne to save some money, and James took the ferry. We had our first long hours apart since we started traveling. I slept in the airport for the first time in my life. It wasn’t at all comfortable, so I left to explore the city wee early in the morning. I walked all around downtown Melbourne- from the southern cross station to Queen Victoria Market to the State library to China town with all the delicious smells and food. It was quite exhausting and I saw more people than I have in months! Melbourne is hands down one of the coolest cities I’ve been. Next to the awesome people we met and the awesome fun we had, the city itself has such an artistic zing! James and I enjoyed a sunny day just walking through the graffiti covered alley ways in Fitzroy.

T.O meet Melbourne, keep it fresh, yo

T.O meet Melbourne, keep it fresh, yo


8DSC04432.jpg
9DSC04415.jpg
9DSC03909.jpg

Highlight of Melbourne for me was the ‘Tattoo and Pizza party.’ We met a Korean tattoo artist named Wan Lee while camping in Tassie. He and his girlfriend captured our attention with their cross Tassie trip on their scooter. When we got back to Melbourne, he was available for a tattoo, but we had no space to do it in. On our last day there, his wonderful friends let us use their place and we got a slab, 4 pizzas, and tattooed away. I ended up getting the tattoo that I once had a dream of- I had a rough sketch, Wan made it into art. Though it was one of the most excruciating, agonizing painful experience I’ve ever had in my life. At one point of the night, around 11pm, I sounded like i was giving birth to sextuplets, Wan was droning out my scream with calming "ahhs," and we had Bob Marley blasting in the background. Geez, I wonder what the neighbours were thinkin'.

Travel Tattoo Kit

Travel Tattoo Kit


Before...

Before...


...during...

...during...


..during..and enduring...

..during..and enduring...


...enduring the pain...

...enduring the pain...


...After, nicely healed

...After, nicely healed

Now it’s all healed, I don’t regret it one bit.

check out Wan Lee's work on Facebook- tattontravel

Posted by etthuang 21.03.2011 22:05 Archived in Australia Tagged melbourne fishing tasmania tattoo graffiti fitzroy squid calamari bruny_island tattoo_and_pizza wan_lee Comments (0)

Fast Times in Australia

Quick catch up from the last few months (sorry for that)


View Ociana on skateaddic's travel map.

Feb. 14th (ish) 2011

Big Guns

Big Guns

Devil Crossing

Devil Crossing

Alright, time to catch up. I’m offline in a town called Swansea on the east-coast of Tasmania. The weather is cool and cloudy, and I am also, cool and cloudy- working off the ‘goon’ and late night fishing (which was a success by the way, 8 mackerel and 2 cod).

- - - - - -

So, last time we left off (December?), I think we were on our way to a town called Young, in New South Wales, looking for work picking cherries. We found several jobs, but stayed on at just one farm for the season, making usually less than $6 dollars per hour, and having cold showers and no electricity. Does that sound appealing too you? It wasn’t our cup of tea either.

To start, the boss turned out to be a somewhat important biker gang member. Add in the rain we had to pretty much destroy the cherry season altogether. Then add the fact he wouldn’t pay us on the books… or pay us at all… Why did we stay? We were forced to pick a crop that was destroyed in order to get paid the weeks of wages he was holding from us.

Rained Out

Rained Out

Here’s the go:
Usually a person would expect to make $10 for a 15Kg ‘lug’ of cherries, and you would just pick everything on the tree and other people are hired to sort out the good from bad. Instead, we were the ones sorting.. Mind you he paid us $15 for 15Kg.. It just took over an hour to pick and sort one lug. Between the two of us.
Like I said, he held our money. But we stuck it out to get paid, and did eventually get our money. Though the amount we made in 4 weeks for two people equalled less than two weeks wages for one person… and on payday he decided to slaughter two goats in front of all the workers. After work- while we were eating dinner.

Why didn’t we called labour laws or the police? For one, we wanted to get paid, but for two, and the main reason, is this guy was one scary-ass mother *!*! with ties to psycho’s all over Australia. We figured in the end it was best just to let this one pass.

- - - - - -

We managed a field trip to Canberra (Australia’s capital city) one of the days off at that job. Everything ‘National’ in Canberra is free. Great for us broke backpackers! We hit up the Parliament house, Museum and Library and stayed at a hostel with a free (broken) spa. Erica and I also went out and ate some Korean food. We miss the food of Korea in a way that isn’t unlike an addict without his fix.

Kangaroo and Emu

Kangaroo and Emu

Australia National Museum

Australia National Museum

- - - - - -

Also during the madness of working for the‘bikey’ farmer, we ended up meeting a really nice family with a home in Victoria, in the snowy mountain region. They were in the same boat as us and we ended up bonding over the whole nightmare. We were invited to their home for Christmas and New Years and they also hooked us up with a job thinning apples (knocking some off to let the remaining grow larger) for a couple weeks.

Apples

Apples

We relaxed the whole week of the holidays before starting into the new job. Christmas we just cooked a big feast and ate and ate. New Years was all Jager Bombs, beers and a really messy, fun time.

Perfect Place for Christmas

Perfect Place for Christmas

Mt.Beauty

Mt.Beauty

Snowy Mountains

Snowy Mountains

The work was easy, well paying and in the middle of the mountains on a stream. Erica and I had a little ‘house’ we rented off the farmer for really cheap, and we had a much much MUCH more pleasant time working there than the cherry farm. We made double the money of cherries in half the time.

bright_house.jpg

- - - - - -

The job was coming to an end, and we were onto Tasmania to a job I had lined up for us. The employer was one I had worked for the last time I was in Tasmania. Super nice farmer, a really good farm, and a sure way for us to make a few hundred a day. We bought our Spirit of Tasmania ferry boat tickets on sale. $90 for the car and half price for people at $79 each. Non-refundable tickets. Then we got a call from the farmer. The rain had wiped him out too. Now, no job to go to and non-refundable tickets, we were in a bind.

There was definitely work if we stayed and waited a few weeks. But we already paid for the tickets. We decided to take the chance of no work and go anyways. Worst case scenario we just take two weeks vacation in Tasmania.

We drove down to Melbourne for the ferry and spent one beautiful evening along the canal downtown, listening to the buskers and taking in the romantic setting. The lights are dim but cover the entire space along the canal, keeping everything out of the shadows but still in lighting similar to candlelight.

melbourne_night.jpg

Early in the morning we boarded the ferry for our ride.

Spirit_of_..venport.jpg

On the boat, with hundreds of other passengers, parked right beside us, turned out to be a friend we had made in Young. He told us he was going to a cherry job but two of his friends had bailed on him, and he needed to bring two more people to the job. Thank you Karma.

The boat ride, however, was the iron fist. On one of the stormiest sailings of the year, even crew members were ill for our ten hour gut-wrenching experience. Water was even dripping on us through the ceiling of the top deck! I made it out alive, barely, but Erica didn’t hold it together quite so well.

We finally made it to Davenport, Tasmania, Jan.11 at 7 PM. We drove an hour south-east to Launceston to sleep near an area called ‘The Gorge’ to locals. I’d been last time around. We slept, woke up, and walked around the giant pond of cool water with coffee in hand. Taking in the steep stone walls and scrub, it’s hard to imagine the waking city literally one minute walk away, concealed from the entire park on all sides.
Back to reality, we drove the rest of the way to Campania, our new job, and started immediately.

- - - - - -

We finally made some money in cherry picking. Woot Woot! We averaged out three to four hundred a day and put the numbers in the bank up again. We camped at a free campsite.. more of a park really… but it was free, and there were around 20 or so other travellers there for the same reason. Our presence doubled the population of Campania, though it still had a pub with off-sales and a general store that made the most absolute, hands down, B E S T hamburger AND chicken burger, in the world, as of this far in my life.

Life was good, though short lived. Two weeks of work flew by, and that’s all there was. We made some seriously kick ass friends (Two of them are with us at the moment in Swansea).

We also took a ‘field trip’ to Port Arthur, an old prisoner camp on the Tasman Penninsula. Surrounded by ‘shark infested’ ocean, high cliffs and thick forest, only 4 people managed to escape in all the years it operated. It was a massive place with loads of interesting history and stories.

Caged In

Caged In

Jail

Jail

Cool geology in Sorell

Cool geology in Sorell

- - - -

January 26, Australia Day,. I finally got a hold my ‘brother from another mother’ (one of many) who was down from Melbourne visiting his Mom in Hobart. Erica and I went, and then we proceeded to catch up 4 years of life over 2 cartons of beer. We’ve talked maybe twice since we parted last. I reckon that’s how to tell you got a great friend. No bother of time, you can pick up where you left of like none had passed at all.

- - - - - -

Now two more weeks has passed (I think??) and we’ve been out in the bush doing some serious bush walking.

We are preparing for the South-Coast Track, a week on one of the most remote un-touched wildernesses left on earth- you have to fly in with a single engine plane and get walk back to civilization.

We hiked the Cape Pillar circuit on the Tasman Peninsula. The first day was amazing.! The views of the ‘Totem pole,’ ‘Candle Stick,’ and the highest sea cliffs in Australia were breath taking. The second day rained. A lot. Our water proof gear couldn’t take the test and we got wet. Reeeeeally wet. So we called off the second night stay and put in a super 10 hour day of hiking to get out of there. We just wanted hot food and dry cloths. We got dry, but everything was closed so we had the best damn instant noodles of our lives.

We returned our ‘waterproof’ gear to the store.

large_Cape_pilla.._cliffs.jpgMystical Forest

Mystical Forest


- - - - - -

A week ago, we picked up our friends, re-supplied, and took a few days camping at a place called Mayfield. The view over Great Oyster Bay to the Frycenet National Park was mystical, picturesque, idyllic… the whole score of over-used travel writing adjectives can’t come close to the description, but you can try to imagine.

After two days of strictly ‘No Driving’ we were off again to the National Park for a 3 day circuit hike. We passed across Hazards Beach to Cook’s Beach and over Mt.Ghram ending on Wineglass Bay. Another Tasmanian gem. This time around, perfect weather for the whole hike, which made it quite nice for our friends on their first over night hike.

The Hazzards

The Hazzards

Wineglass Bay 2

Wineglass Bay 2

Wineglass Bay

Wineglass Bay

- - - - - -

Now resting, doing laundry and contemplating a fisherman’s life, I can only imagine what’s next. We’re looking for work (though not very hard), and we want to do the big hike… there’s a place called the Bay of Fire’s to the north, or the Bruny Islands to the south.

- - - - - -

I’ll try to keep on this a bit more often. Thanks for reading!

Posted by skateaddic 28.02.2011 19:19 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 10) Page [1] 2 3 4 »