I’ve realised I have been so preoccupied that I have forgotten to write a blog since we arrived in Australia! So here’s the last five months condensed into one blog post.
We flew to Adelaide on the 4th November, stayed there for a night and then drove to the Riverland where Stus parents live in a very small place, funnily enough called Winkie. It’s wine country out here, surrounded by vineyards, wineries and the River Murray. There’s the gorgeous aptly named Lake Bonney, in a small town called Barmera, five minutes down the road. There’s not a whole lot to do around these parts unless you have a tinny (small motor boat) as many people do, and partake in water based activities on the lake or river such as wakeboarding, paddleboarding, water skiing, fishing and jetskiing. There’s also an array of flatlands, perfect for skooting about on a motorbike or bicycle.
We spent our first three months here enjoying having time to ourselves, visiting nearby places such as Wilkadene, a picturesque woolshed brewery on the river, and Stu and I have enjoyed many a beautiful summers day down at the river for bbqs. Both Christmas and New Year were spent down at the river at Katarapko Reserve and I have to say, it was one of the nicest, most peaceful NYE’s I have experienced.
One of our main priorities was to find a car as you can’t get very far in Australia without one, especially in these parts. We constantly checked online and on Gumtree for any local 4×4’s on sale but eventually realised we were going to need to got to Adelaide to find something worthwhile for our money. We borrowed Stus brothers van and went road tripping down to the big city with about four cars we had in mind. We drove all over the city from one end to the other for a full day and by the evening had decided that without a doubt it was the first car that we had seen in the morning that was to be ours. We managed to get a great deal from a private seller on a Landrover Discovery.
We found super cheap accomodation in the heart of the city through Air BnB with a lovely, if not maybe too intense host called Bradley. He offered to have us stay again free of charge and seemed to particularly enjoy phone conversations woth us once we had left.
Now armed with a car, we had so muh more freedom and we began to apply for local jobs at the surrounding wineries for the Vintage season to help us fund our trip. The vintage is the time of year when the grapes are harvested and the wineries produce that years wine and typically runs from February to the end of March. It is very labour intensive work and generally you end up working every day for this period. The money tends to be good and is a very popular job opportunity for both backpackers and locals.
We applied to many wineries, managing to secure a couple of jobs and began work in the first week of February.
It’s hard to say but I think there’s probably another 3 to 4 weeks left of vintage and Stu may be getting kept on for a little longer afterwards as he has a lot of experience already. We need to make all of the money we can get.
A few other opportunities have also come up: We started making some music with one of Stus old friends Duncan who works in social work. I mentioned to Duncan that I would really love to get involved in some youth art projects and he has managed to find me an opportunity for after vintage and he managed to get the school to agree to pay for my police check.
There’s a local gallery who happened to see my artwork and they have offered to put some of my work up in the window of their shop, so I am super excited about that and definitely need to get some more paintings done!
Once Vintage is over, we will be getting our last odds and ends sorted, tinting the windows of the car, buying our double swag and a car fridge. We will head off on our adventure around Australia around April/ May, so keep posted for the latest travel news!