Before we’d come to Australia, our plan was to start in Sydney and travel our way up the coast before moving on to Indonesia. However, because we had overindulged somewhat in New Zealand (and Australia itself), we decided to extend our trip, boost our bank balance and enhance our experience of Australia by working here for a few months.
To get a taste of working life again after eight months of travel (and to reduce our outgoings while we searched for a paying job), we started off volunteering on an organic macademia nut farm near Ballina in New South Wales.
We would wake at about eight each day and work for around five hours in return for our full board and keep on a quiet twenty-acre orchard, complete with a family of ducks and chickens.
In a short space of time we learnt a lot about the amount of work it takes to manage and run a fully-organic farm and picked up several new skills…
The family here really welcomed us into their lives and took great pleasure in showing us the local wildlife (whether it was welcome or not).
The farm was also very close to some lovely beaches, so if we fancied it we could spend our afternoons by the sea. Although this particular beach got shut down for a few days while we were here because of a shark attack!
After a few weeks here I have to admit I was feeling a little uncomfortable. Before we’d come to Australia we’d expected days of endless sunshine, lovely hot weather and the occasional nasty beastie. What we found in Ballina was beautiful green scenery that came with days of endless rain and grey weather and LOTS of nasty beasties (the mosquitoes were particularly bad).
It was almost like being back in the UK during a particularly bad summer after the seven plagues of Egypt had come to visit.
Luckily for us, we soon found a job that would show us a very different Australia… The outback!