Melbourne to Adelaide 21st/22nd March
Well, it took more than 9 hours by bus to go from Melbourne to Adelaide. Why was I not hitchhiking? Of the simple reason, that it was night-time and I could not be in touch with drivers on the ferry. Anyway I have been lucky to get a seat on the bus, because all were already booked!
I did know that I did not have a lot of time to spend in Melbourne before the train or bus ride, but it was worse, because the ferry was 40 minutes late. When I have got my backpack, I started looking for a bus or tram and found the tram very quickly. I had to read the information how to buy a ticket, find the place, where tickets are sold and purchase one. That took a while, but fortunately not longer than I could catch the next tram. The very good information of an Aussie in a café helped me on my way. When changing tram I had to ask for, which one I had to take to the central station. Actually I learned that there are two of them in Melbourne. I had to go to the Southern Cross Station. Leaving the tram, I could not see the station either and had to ask one more time. Finally I crossed the road, found the station and well there even the information counter, but the assistant told me, that there is a bus called Firefly leaving 8:15pm for Adelaide. She also described for me, how to get there. The bus station was really close and easy to reach by walking. There I had to find out, which one of the waiting busses will go to Adelaide.
I queued and asked for a vacant seat, but in that moment, there were not. I have been told, that I am the third person waiting for a seat and had to wait in the special queue. So I did. Luckily, when it was time for the bus to leave, there were three seats left – the passengers had not shown up! If you think, these seats would be a little cheaper, you are wrong. We had to pay more, because we did not book by the Internet. The bus companies make a really good deal when people do not show up! That is Australia I heard later.
It was already dark when we left Melbourne, though it was not easy to get an impression of the surroundings. The bus driver was very good in explaining the route. He told us, that there will be two stops during the night, each for 45 minutes (there is only one driver for all the hours). He also told us, at which place and time these long rests will be done and that there will be toilets. Even there was a toilet in the bus nearby none was using it. By the way, the little I could see during the night was, that the road was quite monotonous. I was happy the driver was not falling asleep.
At 5:56am local time we arrived in Adelaide – four minutes early.
Adelaide 22nd March to 2nd April
My new helpx-host lives around half an hours drive from Adelaide. She did not care about the early hour and picked me up at the bus station. She welcomed me and I felt from the first moment, that I will enjoy to stay with her, her kids, the two cats and the two dogs, but that changed soon, because her home is a mess, even she works as a cleaner. Even she apologised and told me, that a couple of helpers has been with her until the day before and it would have been better. I really was asking me, what the other helpers did, because it is not possible to make such a mess during a day.
I helped with the dishes, hanged and took in the clothes after the washing, put them in the wardrobes or lockers (being told, it did not care where), vacuum cleaned the house, cleaned the bathroom, fed the cats, baked a Swedish cake – because she asked me for it and was child-minding, when my host were at work. I also drove her 16-year-old daughter to her work. It happened, that it was still dark and it was horrible to drive her car. I should have regretted it, because the light was not working properly and the windscreen was so dirty, that I could not see good enough all time. At God Friday I followed my host and her twin-boys to the Central Bus Station in Adelaide and took the car home. She was coming back in the evening of Easter Monday. She had not left enough with food at home for her daughter and me, though I bought milk and bread and bought own meals twice. One of these days I have been in Adelaide. I started a more intensive cleaning, but did end it very soon, because I did not know, what I should prioritize. Furthermore I was cleaning and making the dishes for her daughter, but her daughter’s room.
When she were at home again, she told me, I hade to work four hours a day for accommodation and full bord, though I told her, what I have done and that I had bought own meals as well as she was welcome to take of the milk and the bread. Furthermore she complained, that I had been driving to fast, her daughter had told her and that I should pay for the fine, if there will be one. I explained, that I usually was driving slower, but that I slowed down, when her daughter told me, that there is a speed camera ahead as well as my gps tells me, when there is a speed camera. That changed her mind. In this conversation she also told me, that she run out of money (but she drank two glass of red wine every evening to relax) that I will be the last helper for a long time. About me cleaning she told me, that I should not do more, because the landlord will come and check three times a year and will send an announcement for the day he will come two weeks ahead. She will clean the house, before the landlord will come. Actually the dirt could not be from four month only, but that is not my problem.
A couple of days she told me, I should make some sightseeing. I was an afternoon to Christies Beach and two times in Adelaide. The first time in Adelaide I was just walking the town. The museums and art galleries were all closed because of the Easter holidays. The second time I bought my bus ticket to Bordertown, visited the Central Market (hall) and Chinatown as well as the Museum for Migration. I like that city with a lot of Victorian buildings, but also the other side of the railway station, where an entertainment quarter is growing up. The Museum for Migration was very interesting. I learned there a lot. The cliffs at Christie Beach are amazing. Once she took me to the shopping centre and another time to her work – two places. By that I learned, that the cleaners has to take with them all cleaning stuff and also have to mop big areas. They have no cleaning machines. I have seen a youth center and the city government related building for the community workers, here: The street cleaners (with the street cleaning trucks).
From Adelaide to Bordertown – 2nd April
My bus was for 8:45am, though I left my host at 6:45am walking to the train station in Noarlunga, where I caught the 7:05am train to Adelaide. By the way, there were ticket machines in the trains. At 7:50am the train arrived in Adelaide and I had to walk to the Central Bus Station, where I arrived at 7:14am. I checked in at the counter and had to wait for the bus around 20 minutes. Less than half of the seats were occupied, when we started at 8:50am. During the ride, some people left, but nobody entered the bus. At 11:45am to 12:15pm the bus driver has had his rest at a combined petrol station and restaurant. I bought a sandwich and iced coffee, because I was already hungry again. At 12:50pm (five minutes late) we arrived in Bordertown, where the mother of my host picked me up by car. We were going to her and her husband’s farm. There I also met my new host. She was there with her boyfriend and children for firewood. Hannah’s parents have African sheep and some goats. The sheep have no wool, they are meat sheep.
Bordertown / Naracoorte 2nd to 18th April
The following day, after breakfast, a walk by my own and lunch, Hannah’s mother left with me and the cute little dog Pepsi by car around half past three. We were going to her daughter’s home. By the way my walk was for around three hours and Hannah’s mother was already looking for me, when I came back. She met me with the car, but I should only have needed 5 minutes more to be back at their home. By the way Gonwin and Dennis were born in the same year as me and we enjoyed our company.
At Hannah’s home in Naracoorte we met up with her and her son Ari and daughter Mahli. Ari goes to school, Mahli goes to the kindergarten three days a week. They are very nice and happy, to have a helper again. The family also has a dog, but with good manners. Daytime she stays outside, even she is in the house during the night, she knows her place. She is also a rescue dog (rescued from a bad owner). We spent the rest of the time together in Hannah’s home and she made a wood fire in her fireplace, because it would become cold (only +3°C) during the night, even it had been a lovely day with sunshine and more than +20°C during the day. By the way, the house she rents has a pipe system from the fireplace, though all the rooms are getting warm by the fire. I like that very much! Unfortunately it is not usual in the houses in Australia.
Hos Hannah and her kids I did the housework like washing the dishes, cooking some meals, making a cake, vacuum cleaning and helping with drying the clothes, taking them down and folding them. Furthermore I was child minding some evenings and during daytime on weekends, because Hannah sells underwear and clothes like Tupperware is sold. She seems to be successful.
I did not get really warm with her, also depending on, that her boyfriend was often coming in the evening, when Hannah was at home and her kids already sleeping. When I was sitting in the living room watching TV, they were sitting in the kitchen. Though I was going to “my room” early those nights. Australian TV also is quite boring because the advertising in between the movies. It feels there is more advertising than the length of the movie. Anyway Hannah is very nice, she never counted the hours I did in a positive way.
I have been downtown three or four times during my stay with Hannah and her kids. Once I was to the regional, but tiny art gallery. There were only two small rooms and a narrow hall. In one of the rooms there was artwork in metal. Half of it for sale. In the other room were paintings, a lot of them were not fit to the wall yet or any more. In the hall was an exhibition of pupils’ paintings. They were quite interesting and I think it feels good for the pupils, that their works were exposed in a real art gallery.
I also have been to the library twice – for the wi-fi, which is for free there as well as one can use a computer for free as long as one wishes, if there is not a queue. Unfortunately the wi-fi is not strong, though I did not do a lot the first time I was there. The second time I uploaded my photographs by my tablet and updated my blog with the help of a PC. So far I only could upload photos until half way on the South Island of New Zealand. There is still lots to do.
On a Saturday Hannah with her kids and me were going to the town Mount Gambier and surroundings. If you are wondering: The town has the same name as the mountain. Hannah stopped at the Father Woods Park (Penola) as well as the Umpherston Sinkhole and was then driving to the Blue Lake. She also told me, that it is possible to drive to an outlook for bushfires on Mount Gambier, but that the road is very steep and she only had made it once and will not drive up there again. Afterwards she was visiting a friend of her, who lives with her patchwork family in Mount Gambier. The road from Naracoorte to Mount Gambier has more interesting views than the road between Bordertown and Naracoorte, because on the way to Mount Gambier there are after the fields and grazing also wine growing areas as well as pine forest areas. The wine areas are named Wrattonbully and Coonawarra. The last-named is special, because the red soil. The pine forest is grown for economic reasons only.
Naracoorte has a national park with caves. Hannah told me, she can drive me there, but I was walking in that direction and after an hours walk I tried to hitchhike. I was lucky and the second car stopped. It was a young woman, who took me to the entrance of the Naracoorte Caves National Park. As the name tells you, there are several caves. One of them you are allowed to visit by your own, the others only with a guide. Caves are scaring me, though I only enter with guides. I was lucky that the tour of the famous Victoria cave was starting soon and the guide was at the desk selling the tickets, because from there one has to go by car to the cave (for the distance) and the guide was taking me there. It was a very interesting cave with stalactites and stalagmites as well as fossils. It is limestone, of course. After the great guidance – we were only five visitors (the groups can have up to 25 visitors) and splendid of time to look around and also ask questions – I hitchhiked back to Naracoorte with tourists from New Zealand, who have been on the same tour as me.
During one of my last days in Naracoorte Hannah, her daughter and me visited a Wildlife Rescue Volunteer. She had a Kangaroo and a Wallaby baby each in baskets. We were allowed to hold them. She also had an old emu, which we were allowed to feed. Another day we visited a friend of Hannah, who has chickens, but not the breed, I am used to. She has one fluffy white chicken and three fluffy brown ones. Each of them has a name. The white one is called snowball, one of the others is called ginger. The other two names I do not remember, but they also had to do with the colour of the chickens.
At one of the evenings I checked the program for the Sydney Opera, because I would like to go and see one, when I am in town. Unfortunately they do not play in Sydney in May, but in Melbourne – and when I am in Melbourne they play in Sydney, though I booked a backstage tour instead. I even booked a site on one of the camp grounds in Jasper National Park, because I found out, that half av the sites already are booked and the camp grounds close to the Maligne Lake very popular
The last weekend with Hannah we were with her parents in Bordertown again. Saturday 16th were the first day after the summer, when it was allowed to have bonfires again. People here have bonfires to get rid of their rubbish, though Dennis made some small ones as well as bigger ones during this weekend and when I asked him, he told me, that they will have bonfires again as long as they have rubbish and it will be allowed to have them, usually until November. The biggest bonfire was really big and nearly reached the boughs of a tree. I was a little afraid, the tree would start burning, but the others were calm. We also left that bonfire for hours, coming back during dawn for a bonfire meal, which was sausages and lamb chops with salad and potato salad. We had plates of thin plastic (disposable tableware), which they throw into the fire after the meal was finished. When I was wondering about it, I have been told, that they will start caring about the environment the following day. Hannah’s boyfriend as well as an aunt of her joined us during the afternoon and evening as well. In between starting the bonfire and that meal, all of us, but the aunt (she had not arrived yet) were going to feed the sheep, lambs and goats with hay. The hay as well as we were on the trailer, which seems to be a usual way for transport on farms. I was welcomed with hugs of Hannah’s parents earlier as well as of her aunt, when she arrived. The aunt told us, before she left in the evening, about her new house and showed us the drawings. When I surprised asked her about it, she told me, that she have had rented houses all her life and finally could buy a used one, that she will have adjusted a little and that she had to move a lot of times before, because she only had lived in rented houses so far. She also told us, that in the area, she will live, most of the houses are relocated.
On Sunday morning we had a Barbecue breakfast at the bonfire. I never had seen before such a “toad in the hole” like the dish is called. The bread with the egg is fried from both sides. We also had lunch in Bordertown and I a chat with Dennis at another bonfire. Hannah had a meeting in Nhill, though I had to wait for her at her parent’s house. It was already dark, when Hannah was back. She took me back to her home, meanwhile her kids stayed for two additional days with their grandparents. On the way to Hannah’s home we saw a shooting star. My last night at Naracoorte had come. It was a chilli night, but without a fire for the night.
Naracoorte to Woodend 18th April
I had been told by Hannah, that her friend Tanya will take me to Melbourne, because she was going there for holidays. She also had told me, that Tanya will pick me up at 9:30am. When I was eating breakfast Hannah told me, that she will bring me to Tanya instead and that we have to leave at 9:05am. I made it in time, but I did not like this last-minute change. There had already been changes before. Hannah offered me first to drive me to Woodend, when she will go to Nhill. When she some days later saw, that it would be a three hours drive between Nhill and Woodend, she changed her mind. One of the following days her friend Tanya told me, that I could go with her to Melbourne and that she would take me the whole way to Woodend, because she likes the place so much. There had been time enough for her to change her mind before I was following Hannah to her parents.
Furthermore Hannah told me the morning I was leaving, that I should give Tanya some money for the trip. It would anyway be cheaper than by bus and train. We (Tanya, her 5-year-old son Harry and me) left Naracoorte around 9:30am. Only some kilometres on our way we entered the state of Victoria. Please continue reading here.