As you can see from my highly artistically rendered map of Australia, Paul and I have a pretty major journey ahead of us over the next couple of months. I think it could even be classed as a spiritual journey… not like India or anything, although there will be lots of cows, although…not half dead cows with drooping skin sweeping every broken road they dare to cross … I hope. I’d like to think the cows we’re about to encounter here in Australia will be slightly healthier than they were on our Indian travels; we do love a good steak, Paul and I.
As previously mentioned, we’ll be staying on some farms along the way. I got quite excited about this last night as I called up a farmer’s wife, who’s name featured in the WWOOF book. I informed her we were more than willing to get our hands dirty and more than anything, I was calling her specifically because the listing read that she had cows and I’d love to learn how to milk one. She then said:
“Well our Galloway cattle aren’t milkable, they’re beef cows. If you milk them, they’ll run a mile, or kick you in the face.”
Something tells me I’ve a lot to learn.
Still, not to be defeated by her, nor the warnings of my lovely all-knowing ex-farm girl friend (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) I am choosing to believe that working on a series of farms will be incredibly romantic and will ensure I meet a lovely farmer, just like on the telly. He’ll have sandy hair and rippling abs that glisten daily with the sweat of his labour. And once we’ve fed the chooks, skipping gaily hand in hand, scattering seed and ploughing the land, we’ll settle in a hammock he’ll have constructed just for me between two sturdy trees, which were planted five generations ago by a lovestruck family man, for his barn-girl sweetheart. There we’ll watch the sun melt slowly to the ground on the horizon, as he explains the constellations, twinkling, like stationary fireflies beween the shooting stars. And as he likens to me to the glorious ray of light beaming down from the celestial sphere into his mortal world, I will marvel at his hard, hard, oh-so incredibly hard… work.
We have a lot of cool stuff to do between our stints on farms, however. To explain it all would take all day, but in a rough summery intended to be followed with your pointy finger on my fabulous diagram here, we’re driving from Sydney to Byron Bay with a stop in Coff’s Harbour for a swim with dolphins. From Monday we’ll be staying in both a glorious spa retreat and a private villa, kayaking with more dolphins and taking a photography tour through the bush with a local wildlife expert. After that, we’re WWOOFing with a guy who lives in the middle of nowhere and practices yoga – could he be my famer?! A wedding on the Gold Coast preceeds a week in the Whitsundays and a place called Paradise Island (sounds shit), before we head to the Big Rock and camp in swags, and complain profusely that this time last month we were most definitely not sleeping on stones, being eaten by wombats.
After Uluru we’re taking the glorious Ghan train up to Darwin, from which point we’ll travel on a bus with smelly backpackers (we’ll be fresh as daisies, obviously) see some more national parks and get dangled in a pool of crocodiles as we taunt them from the trappings of a perspex container (I’m told most people survive).
It’s cruise time next. We’re heading down to Broome over ten days, during which time we’ll be whale-spotting and marveling at ancient Aboriginal scribblings on rocks that by rights, should have fallen over millions of years ago, but didn’t. Once in Broome, we’ll be relaxing at three different spa retreats before heading to Perth, to work once more on the land as volunteer WWOOFers. Here we may make cheese, which would be the highlight of the entire trip, clearly.
A wine tour in Margaret River follows the farming, and then it’s off to Adelaide, where we’ll take a trek through the bush in search of a colony of Australian sea lions. We’re told we can swim with them and they won’t kill us, which will be nice. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to watch Katie’s dog hump her kangaroo, explore the wineries and vineyards surrounding her beautiful home and then head begrudgingly back to Sydney, where we’ll whinge at the unfairness of being unemployed, poor and homeless.
I can’t wait! We’ll be blogging and of course, doing our travel bits for various mags and stuff along the way. We might even do some videos, so set your spam filters on high folks. It’s going to be an adventure!!!