The slightly disastrous plan in action
In Part 1
of this I talked about my first experience finding work in NSW (which was a breeze) and how that got us thinking we could easily find work in Queensland once we had a car. We thought we would not need a working hostel, where the work is organised for you, to find a job.
We ended up having to drive ca 1600km from Cairns down to Bundaberg until we found anything stable. I put the route on a map to illustrate:
It was three weeks of looking at the harvest map and driving far into the countryside up to countless farms, trying to get out of the car without letting the small mountain of old crisp packets and fast food wrappers fall out, and asking the either slightly amused or pretty annoyed farmer if they had any work. Either it was a no, or in banana packing sheds it was a “we only need guys at the moment sorry”.
After about ten days, we swallowed our pride of we-don’t-need-a-working-hostel-to-arrange-work-for-us-they-all-overcharge-anyway and stopped at every one of those hostels we found.
A side note: The actual most useful thing while on the road was an app that had every rest stop and campsite in all of Australia with a list of facilities on it. LIFE SAVING APP. The one we used was WikiCamps
, but there are others that probably work just as well.
One story of the most infuriating things ever happened right when we started looking for work. A banana packing shed to the north of Cairns, in the so-called tablelands, told us to come back in one week, when the work was to start up.
So that’s what we did. We stayed outside a small town called Mareeba on a free campsite, sleeping in the car, spending some of our last money and boring ourselves to death.
I don’t think I’ve ever spent any time doing less than that week in the tablelands. The highlights were driving around to see NO WORK signs outside of farms in the area and going to the pet shop in town to look at kittens. To shower, we had to drive to a lake about 30 mins away that had some facilities for swimmers.
Anyway, what happened after we came back a week later? The guy told us that there would be no work for another two weeks or more and to just come back every day at 6am, just in case there was something going on. I still remember his ugly face and the way he said: “Sorry to break your hearts, girls” with the weirdest smirk. I’ve never wanted to slap anyone as much as this man. I suppose now a week doesn’t seem long to wait for work, but at the time it was an age; especially when thinking of the cost of living in Australia. We were getting pretty desperate.
Part 3: coming later on
This is a dreadful photo of what was the craziest weather phenomenon I’ve seen. It was dark and raining for miles while we were driving towards Emerald, on a long and straight road, when there was this huge break in the clouds right across as far as the eye can see and we suddenly saw ourselves heading into a beautiful sunset.