Australasia | Australia | Victoria – Pears Pears Pears
Work dried up in Sydney after Christmas, so we left on January 11th, heading for Canberra, about three hours drive away. We spent a few days in Canberra. It’s an unusual place, rather reminiscent of Milton Keynes in that it’s a planned city. It was very quiet while we were there; strange for a capital city, but it was the school holidays and all the uni students were on vacation, as were the pollies (Aussie for politicians!). We did all the touristy things; visited parliament house, the National Museum of Australia, the National Art Gallery, the National Library etc. Learned lots!
Next we headed into the Snowy Mountains, which are not snowy at all in the middle of summer. They’re very hot and full of annoying little flies! However, the area is very beautiful. We stayed in a little town called Jindabyne, and visited Thredbo, which become ski resorts in the winter. It was very strange seeing all the signs saying ‘hire skis and snowboards here’, and ‘stop here to fit snow chains’ when it was nearly 30 degrees! Went for a ride on the chairlift, and a long walk down, armed with a can of fly spray.
After that, we headed for Melbourne, stopping for a night camping in Wodonga as we left New South Wales and entered Victoria.
We spent just over a week in Melbourne, and we’re hoping to go back again before we leave Australia. It’s very different to Sydney; it has a cooler, less humid climate, and doesn’t have the big city icons of Sydney. The life of Melbourne goes on in all the suburbs, which each have a character of their own. We stayed in a college (which becomes a hostel in the summer when the students are on vacation), and had a lovely meal in Carlton, an Italian area of the city.
We also spent a day at Melbourne Park watching some of the early stages of the Australian Open, the big annual tennis tournament. We managed to see Greg Rusedski get knocked out in the first round, and also Tim Henman, who won his match (only to get knocked out in typical fashion a few days later!). We also saw David Nalbandian, Albert Costa and a few others.
As finding work in Melbourne looked unlikely, we then decided to go and do some fruit picking. We are currently in Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley area of Victoria, picking pears. Lots and lots of pears. Pears are all we think about. We are trying to get faster as we are paid by quantity picked. We are camping on the orchard, which is very cheap, and there’s quite a good atmosphere among all the workers. We’ll keep this up for a little while now to try and raise some funds. It’s also averaging about 37 degrees celsius at the moment, so it’s nice to be in this library where it’s air-conditioned!
We’ll write again when we move on. Now, back to the pear trees…..