So after spending few days in Brisbane with Norpan, and having stuffed my stomach with good food (japanese restaurant, Max Brener chocolates and more japanese food in the market) I travelled to Hobart, via Melbourne on December 22nd. I arrived at the YHA pretty late, around 10PM and hardly slept because of two heavy snorers in my room.
On the next morning, I caught the Redline bus to Sorell where I met with one of the helpers of the farm I’ll be working in: Frenchie! Hey, that’s nice :) I’m currently in Brockley Estate, in Buckland, an hourd rive from Hobart and it’s really beautiful around here. Yes, Tasmania is a bit chilly and I reckon itt’s really in winter but so far I can’t complain, I like it here. And no, no devil yet.
We are 3 helpers here: Ted, Nami and me. French, japanese, french. So for Christmas, the couple we’re working for shot a turkey and gave it to us as they would be in Hobart celebrating with the family. Today was the big day: I prepared the turkey and I have to say I was pretty nervous as it was the first time in my life doing this, and we don’t have much ingredients. Because we should have done a list of what we need and buy it but we didn’t. yeah, backpackers style!
I found recipes on the internet, tried to adapt it and made a stuffing with apples, onions, rice, beef and garlic. It took more than 2 hours to cook it, checking and putting more butter on the skin, quite a challenge!
All in all, the turkey was pretty good, and we had a large lunch after 4 hours of cooking! Turkey, garlic bread, veggies, artichokes, apple and choco cake, cheese and crackers, wine, aussie cakes… After eating, we watched my favourite Christmas movie: The Muppets Christmas Carroll while having tea and cakes.
Time really flies, man I’ve been in Tasmania for a week already!
So how are things in Brockley? Quite busy: doing breakfast for guests, cleaning the house, helping with painting the new cottage and scratching paint from the windows (my recently discovered specialty! Kekeke), helping for dinner and we even had a wedding on New Year’s Eve!
I love this place, it’s good to be busy, have some healthy fresh products, I’m learning to do a lot of new things and everybody is so nice, the hosts are very generous and they take really good care of us! The place is really peaceful and the scenery is amazing. People usually say that Tasmania is just green and cold. This is wrong. Completely wrong. Well, of course it gets cold at night and mainly because of the wind, it’s really windy and the weather is quite dry. But the landscape is incredible, it’s different everywhere, and you’d be surprised to know that the beaches are stunning here!
Yesterday we worked for New Year’s Eve, as we had the wedding (my first time doing the waitress :D) but it ended earlier than expected so after cleaning everything we went to the bosses’ house (let’s call them The Robbs) for a drink. Or maybe it was 4 bottles of champagne, 2 of red wine and 1 of white wine. We had a good time, eating 12 grapes at midnight, like they do in Spain (as Mrs Robb is Spanish, and she’s also the Chef, so imagine the amazing dishes we’re having!).
We got drunk as expected for NYE, and went to bed around 4AM. We wanted to wake up early to go to Freycinet, but obviously we were hangovered and forgot to put the alarm clock the night before so… we woke up around 12PM. Hem hem…
We had a quick breakfast and then Ted drove to Marion Bay. The road to get there is amazing, especially in the Wielangta Forest, surrounded by Blue Gum Trees, we saw 3 echidnas, and finally stopped to the beach. We took some funny pictures but the wind was very strong so we got sand everywhere. You can’t even drink water without getting sand in your mouth! The view is as pretty as Fraser Island and there was nobody else on the beach so we had a good time there, taking some model-like pictures for example.
After Marion Bay we went to Rheban Beach, Shelly Beach and finished by having Fish&Chips in Orford. I had battered scallops with chips and it was delicious!
All in all, another day in Paradise, I think I’m falling in love with Tasmania. (as expected) <3
The news finally hit the world: bushfires are burning all over Australia and Tasmania (yes, Tassie is part of Aussie but oh well, never hurts to mention!).
The view we had from our bedroom when it started.
Truth is it started two days ago, the heatwave hit Australia, and the night before we had one of the warmest night in Tasmania. Temperature rose to 45°C in Adelaide, 40°C here in Buckland.
One fire started 200m from our farm in Brockley, Buckland, Tasmania. Basically, you had: flames, river, us. Ha, that’s new. At first we thought that it could be handled pretty easily and we had to go to Orford, the next city to get some mussels and oysters because Mrs Robb had 11 guests to feed including one gastronomic critic journalist. Bad day to get into trouble… When we got a call from her saying the situation got really bad, we started to worry.
No, these are not clouds or fog, just smoke.
We went back home and got stuck on the road because the fire had crossed it. I have to mention than Mr Robb is in the Fire Brigade so he went to help everyone with the fires. Heavy smoke was everywhere; you could smell it with the windows closed. We managed to get back home, dinner was running late and almost all the landscape surrounding the farm was on fire.
Ted and I were supposed to be off this afternoon but obviously, dinner was running late, the situation was getting quite bad so we accepted to help as much as we could. It got even more challenging when the electricity went off in the middle of the dinner, and the water stopped running. Ha. We ended the work pretty late and as the fire was quite close, Mr Robb told us that we had to watch it in case the wind is changing. For the time being it should be okay as the wind was pushing the flames in the opposite side but if it was to change during the night….We would have to evacuate.
You can’t really see it but that was the helicopter carrying water above the road. See how clear the sky is when there’s no smoke.
We felt really sad about it because for us helpers, woofers, backpackers, it’s okay we’re travelers here so we can just pack a bag with passport, money, important papers and that’s it. We have the most important stuff and in the worst case we just go back home. But for them…it’s all their life: the land, the cattle, the house. Some people died those past days, fire is spreading quickly sometimes you don’t have time to react and that’s it. Game over. During the night we saw a wallaby next to our cottage, which is pretty surprising as wallabies never come on this side.
I sent a message to my brother explaining that we might have to go because of the huge bushfire and posting the news on FB about it because it was both impressive and worrying. People didn’t really react. They didn’t get how bad it was, until they got the news on TV. This is a bit sad as well: you don’t get worried until you see it on TV. Even when getting information from the people that are living here. And then you freak out because medias always make everything worse than they are. If it’s already terrible they will talk about it like it’s the end of the world….
We can’t blame people for that, I know it wouldn’t be fair but I still find it sad. We could see the hills burning all night, hearing the trees collapsing, smelling the smoke, and watching the fire from afar all night hoping the wind didn’t change. We had a very bad night as you can reckon but we were lucky enough not to get into real trouble. The helicopter flight for hours, dropping water and the firemen worked long, very long hours.
The fire is still going on. We can see the hills getting red at nightfall, during daytime you can only see the smoke. The landscape is changed but hopefully Mother Nature will do her job when this is all over. So, our situation today is: we’re safe but the neighbors’ land is not, and Mr Robb is still helping the firemen every day.
After 4 days, the fire seems to get under control as we can barely see smoke from the farm right now. We got just a little rain yesterday, we’ve been hoping for a big storm with heavy rain but only got heavy wind instead….Not helping Mother Nature, clearly NOT helping!
I told you about the hills getting red at night in my previous post so here’s a pic of what we could see from our bedroom to give you an idea.
Things are slowly getting better, the temperatures have dropped to 20°C but in other places it’s still not over. We learned yesterday that people from Bream Creek had to evacuate to Marion Bay. It got really far and we felt a bit upset because we just went around this place last week when we spent time on the beach at Marion Bay Beach!
Anyway, we had an afternoon off this week and with Ted we went to see his friends around. We drove a lot from Buckland: Hobart, Ross, Cygnet.
We found the sign funny because it sounded like a factory manufacturing women, but then learnt it’s actually a jail…Hem…
A long way to go but I could enjoy some shopping in Hobart, finally find some Sailor Moon goodies (yes, i’m an otaku and also a geeky gamer), we had a swim in Ross, next to the bridge but the drive back home at night was a bit tiring. We even spotted a small own named Bagdad! It was pretty funny for us “I didn’t think Bagdad was in Tasmania!!” Finally, we got to see a glowing vermilion sunset, after spotting a golden moon two days ago! (pretty impressive, this is the first time I’ve seen the moon like that, it looked like a movie!)
You have to drive carefully because wallabies, possum and other animals go on the roads and f you’re not careful you can drive them over…. We spotted a couple of wallabies and this huge Brushtail possum who almost got killed on the road by the car in front of us! Wow, scary…(I don’t have pictures sadly, they ran out too quickly, at night the focus wasn’t good on the camera)
Last Friday we spent the day in Freycinet for Ted’s last day at the farm. We drove for a while, stopped to take pictures on the way next to Oyster Bay and were greated by the impressive Hazard Moutains. The scenery was so astonishing it almost looked fake!
I was almost expecting a green screen to scroll up leaving the view empty! We took a bunch of pictures on the marina then went to have breakkie in a little café near by….Ok well it as more a breakfast burger and a beer but it was needed!
We then went to the information center to get the map of the park, pay the fee of 24$ and decided the itinerary: Sleepy Bay, Honeymoon Bay and the famous Wineglass Bay!We even filmed a little dance there but that’s another story.
I have to admit something: I hate walking. Well, not walking exactly but climbing stairs. I hate stairs. And of course, i’m not used to walk, at all. Quite shameful when you know that my brother and father love to do this and wake up at 5AM to walk all day…..xD
Anyway, when we had to climb up to Wineglass Bay lookout it was really difficult for me. Let alone when we went all the way down to the beach and had then to climb the mountain again with a freaking lot of stairs that almost killed me…. But, it was worth it. The view is amazing, the beach is as beautiful as Wihtsundays’ Whitehaven. We saw some wallabies on the beach and on the parking lot we were able to pet them as well. The walk was about 3 hours return, and i’m really proud as I managed to did it to the end, thanks to Ted mainly because he was really encouraging us on the way. I hate you by the way Ted ;) It was a real challenge for me and I’m happy I accomplished it….whinning, and panting, and suffering, and exhausted I wanted to stop at the lookout and go back but I still did it.
And yes, the water was freazing cold. As usual in Tassie xD Mr Robb told me that the name come from the time they used to kill wales on the beach, the water would turn as red as a glass of wine. Han. I’ve imagined something more glamourous…Hem.
We went home and had a nice diner all together as Ted was leaving on the next morning: dancing, drinking, eating home made lasagna and chocolate cake and got to bed really exhausted, but happy! Another day in paradise, minus a very good friend, Nami and I were really sad to see him go but well, that’s part of the game!
Sunday and Monday we had two days off so our generous hosts offered to give us a lift to Hobart as they would spend the weekend with their family. They helped us book a night at the Prickled Frog backpackers hostel and thanks to a generous american couple who tipped us 50$ we were able to enjoy a full day of shopping in the city!
On the way to Hobart, we stopped in Richmond, lovely little city where we had lunch, it looked really british and we were able to enjoy a market and a lollies shop!
We first went to a movie on Sunday (Les Miserables….I found it so boring I felt asleep…) and found a little DDR arcade so obviously I had to give it a try! The backpackers was really funky : each door had different decoration and room 21 was painted as Doctor Who’s TARDIS! I was really disappointed not to be in this one…Sigh…
Anyway, we went shopping, I bought a pair of Uggs boots, had a new haircut, bought couple of shirts to work as I only have tank tops, a new handbag (women always need a new bag!) enjoyed a chinese/thai food and fresh smoothies, walked to the Marina where we saw huge cruise boats, stopped by the Museum (which was closed for renovation…Hem) and then meet with our hosts again to do some shopping for the house before going back to Brockley.
On the way back home where we met the two previous helpers and guess what: the guy was from Reunion Island! I was really happy to meet him, we listened to music from our island and talked in creole, they spent the night at Mr and Mrs Robb’s cottage so we spent the night eating, watching videos, talking etc. A really nice weekend indeed :)
Last Tuesday Nami and I planned our day off with two friends and decided to spend the day on the East Coast. Four girls, one car, and the best of the nineties on CD!
We first headed to the Blowhole first, found a pingouin under the rock (yes, a pingouin), spotted some big black crabs on the red-colored rocks and found lots of dry sea salt!
Then we drove to Natureworld, stopped the car to dance the Macarena (of course we would!) and finally arrived! The aim was to see some Tasmanian devils (my precious) in the park but we were quite amazed by the white peacocks walking around proudly, discovered as well the Cape Garen Goose (which sound like a grunting pig..), the Wedge Tailed Eagle, parrots, royal pheasants, cockatoos, and the nocturnal marsupials like the spotted-tailed Quoll.
I went a bit crazy when we saw the devils, as I took millions of pictures, but I have to highlight the Devils’ house they made, very interested with lots of information about the animal, the saying including the word ‘devil”, some quizz about the animals and the sound they make,etc. It was really a good idea, interesting and funny, we were like kids pressing all the buttons like crazy!
We saw the devils and spotted-tailed wuoll’s feeding, found some peacock’s feathers (normal and white ones), fed some wallabies/pademelons which were holding our hands while eating, then ate our own picnic (Nami and I actually prepared everything the day before).
We ended the day by laying a bit on the Boltons beach before going back home to watch some videos, have some tea and finished the day in Orford around a great Fishermen’s platter! Lots of fun, we really enjoyed the girls’ day trip even if it rained a bit!
Well, I’m pretty late on the update so here what happened lately:
Nami left Brockley for Hobart to do another Helpx and a new guy came instead. Things didn’t go well as he was pretty arrogant and rude, I didn’t like him at all but thanks God he was doing at least a good job when asked.
I’ve been doing a lot of painting in the cottage, gardening, still helping with guests (but bushfires affected the business badly…), I became a professional at the whippersnipper, and I also learned to shear a sheep! Yes. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen : Me, the city girl in fancy red slim pants and 15cm heels who like to drink rosé wine in Paris on Saturday night, I freakin’ sheared a sheep! Don’t get the wrong idea, I asked to do it and guess what? Even if I was a bit scared to try, I did better than expected!
In fact the razor thing is heavy and it’s kind of hard to hold it still because it’s vibrating so much (oow, come on you dirty mind I’m doing the farmer talk here!!). I had no fear of the sheep in itself, when it was kicking and moving around I just listened to the shearer and placed my knees and legs accordingly so that it wouldn’t move anymore. It’s a bit tricky to go close to the skin to cut the wool off and not harm the sheep. The poor thing got a cut on the leg…nothing serious but I was a bit upset “I cut the sheeeeeep, oh my Gooood I cut the SHEEEEEP!!!” which gave a good laugh to the shearers. Then the sheep pooped on my shoe and I didn’t feel that sorry for it… The shearers were extremely friendly and patient, they love talking and sharing about their job and they told me I could come and help if I want to change job! Always good to know :p
On the same week, I spent the day off with a dear friend, Dani, who spoiled me as I was sleeping over at her place. We had a great time at the beach with her dogs, had a drink and then watch a movie before going to bed. It was as relaxing as spending the weekend at Grandma’s. Except that I’ve never done it before as my Grandma was living with us xD
I still love Tasmania and Brockley, the weather is nice but luckily not too hot, I now have the Helpers’ cottage for myself and some exciting projects for the next few months that i have yet to finish preparing!
Yes, all the crap you can see here is mine only…Shh!
Tomorrow is my last day in Brockley before I head to Burnie, where my new host is, for the next two weeks. I know I’m a bit late on my updates, I still have to tell you about the Fractangular Festival for example, but that will come a bit later. I promise. Well, I’ll try my best to do it.
Truth is my good friend Mami Dani offered to drive us to Burnie, as Manami’s next job will be in the same area as me. I’m really happy to travel with my friends, it makes you fell less lonely and you can still enjoy their company a little more.
I’m sad about leaving Brockley though. Those two months went by in a blink of an eye, I never really knew what the date was, and it doesn’t feel like two months. I miss the days with Teddy, as he’s back in France, and I made extraordinary memories here. I’m really grateful to Mr and Mrs Robb as they taught me about so many things I never heard about: hospitality, gardening, farming with Greg (how epic was that shearing!). I’ll miss the place, I truly think it’s a special one to be: having a ciggie looking at the Milky Way while the wallabies are jumping around and the possums are screaming, walking around with 30 chickens following me, seeing my friends on days off to visit some amazing places, learning about different cultures, meeting new people, having fish and chips at the Roadhouse after a day of driving around with Manami and Teddy, the crazy chicken which was jumping on your shoulder every morning (cooler than having a parrot, huh!), learning bellydancing and discovering Parlé Prod with Madii, planning for a convention in August in Melbourne (yeah I’m a planning freak, so this makes me happy as well xD)…
You can’t stay forever when you’re a traveler, it’s part of the deal but I’m happy I was so lucky to meet all those people. It feels like finding a family in Tasmania. I hope I can meet everyone again soon. Well, truth be told I know exactly when I’ll be meeting some of them but it would have been nice to travel a bit longer with all of them.
Anyway, I made a little video with some of the memories we’ve made, Brockley have become really special to me, maybe you could feel how nice it was when watching it. It’s so far my best Aussie experience, let’s hope it’s not the last :)
Two days ago, after having diner at the roadhouse while wearing wigs to match our naruto mood and taking a lot of funny pictures, we headed to Burnie in North West Tasmania with Dani and Nami. It took us 4 hours to get there, we stopped by the Gunns Plains Caves for a visit…which never happened because I got too scared of being stucked underground in the dark. Yeah, I don’t really like narrow dark places…
On the way, Dani bought us some L&P, it tastes a bit like ginger beer (and i fr*king love ginger beer) and the brand is very popular in New Zealand and I bought myself a Lammington. My new favourite Aussie pastry xD
We finally arrived in Stowport. Nami’s hosts are very good friends with mine, and they’re only 3.5Km apart! I met my new hosts, a very gentle couple with a huuuuge garden, they even have a forest in the back yard…pretty impressive….and a promising amount of work!
Some pictures coming soon but the landscape in the North is much greener, even though they say it’s still dry for the season. A different feeling but as beautiful as the South to me!