"Year of return...2068..."

Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, June 22, 2005

aWhen we left good ol' blighty nearly 8 months back now, people were shocked when I told them I was going to be away for 18 months to 2 years, the thought of being away from me for that long was just too much for some people! The world's a big place and we now know that we wouldn't have seen half of what we wanted to if we had booked a year long Round-the-World ticket. We would be planning on coming home soon if that was the case!

But I'm sorry to say were just not ready to return to the sunny climate of Southend and back to the morning routine of standing on a cold train platform quite just yet!

Lucky for us then Australia have finally succumbed to pressure and agreed to give people on Working Holiday Visa's (us!) an extra year here. I've always been annoyed that Aussies get 2 years in the UK and we only get 1 - especially when you look at the size difference of the countries, how can we really see all of oz in 1 year? The Aussies are ok though, they seem happy to spend their entire time in the UK working in London!

Australia immigration, worried that we would all decide to work in NZ instead (they changed to 2 years at the beginning of the year) quickly brought in plans to allow all working travelers in their country to apply for the extra year. Great we thought - until we found out you have to pick fruit for 3 months to be able to apply - not so great when you're used to an office climate!

So that's how we found ourselves on another Easyrider bus heading for a small town called Kanununarra - bit of a mouthful l know! Apparently one of the best places for fruit picking in the north, we decided it was as good a place as any to start our 90 days of back breaking, mind numbing work!

Unfortunately Kan. was another 1000km from Broome, so it was back to sitting on the bus we vowed we would never sit on again (there aren't many travel options up here), and another night in 'luxury' accommodation.

Before arriving at such, we were taken on a boat cruise in Geike Gorge National Park, by one of the local Aboriginal guides. As you can see from the photo's, the scenery was amazing, and we lost count how many croc's we saw dive into the water.

Back to our 'luxury' accommodation for tonight - good old fashioned tents this time! It seems Fitzroy crossing (the town we stayed in) lacks any kind of sheltered accommodation for the budget conscious - so it was back to basics for us!

I took great pride using my 5 years scouting experience to chop up the firewood and start the fire, but even though my aim with the axe was still spot on, a bit of wood still managed to fly off the block and cut my leg, giving me a nice inch long scar on my shin! All caught on video camera which was funny!

The following day we drove past the Bungle Bungle National park. Formed Millions of years ago, the park is full of mountains that resemble beehives - apparently, you have to use your imagination!

Feeling like we wanted to treat ourselves we booked onto a helicopter ride over the park. Although way out of our budget at $250 (100), it was 45 minutes long and was the best way to see the park. Thank you Mr. Visa! The best thing though was the helicopters didn't have doors, so you could literally lean out of the door mid-flight - ideal for filming and photographs. Although switching between my 2 cameras, tied securely around my neck, and video camera was a bit tricky at times!

It was worth the money though, the views were spectacular, and it was cool seeing all the dried up riverbeds along the way. It would be interesting to come back during the wet season to see them flowing again.

Back on terra firma we jumped back on the bus and drove the short distance to Kan. Whilst driving, our new driver Otto (resembles Otto the Simpson's bus driver) got a phone call from the helicopter company, it looked like I hadn't worn the safety harness there to stop you falling out, merely wearing the 2nd back up belt (like you find in the middle seat in the back of a car). But worse still the buckle had created a nice dent in the side of the helicopter where it had been flapping outside in the wind! With the un paid sailing trip, and now the helicopter damage, I was starting to owe a lot of money; I'd better keep my head down for the next few weeks!
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