Workaway & Cairns

Work Away:
16.12.16 – 03.01.17

We decided, in order to save money, that we would work in Australia over Christmas and New Year.

Although we did not get paid, we did get accommodation and food for free, which for us proved to be just as valuable during a very busy and expensive time of year.

For a couple of weeks, we worked for Wendy and Hans, a couple who owned Executive Retreats. We spent our days cleaning AMAZING villas dotted around Newell Beach, Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest (area’s about an hour north from Cairns).

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We stayed here: Newell Beach

 

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The view from Newell Beach

 

We would only have to work for four hours a day, which admittedly was not a lot. But due to the heat, which could easily exceed thirty degrees, cleaning could quickly become very draining. But we did get to swim in pools with views like this, so the job had its perks.

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Most of the other travellers and workers at Newell Beach were French. But their English although good, could be challenging and often led to confusion.

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The beach, which was about two minutes from the house, was incredible. However, despite its beauty, it was too dangerous to swim because of crocodiles and jellyfish and thanks to the MANY mosquitos it was too uncomfortable to lounge on and enjoy during the day.

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Christmas felt odd.

It felt like any other day, and made us realise we are best suited to a traditional cold, British, Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we worked in the daytime, and in the evening all of the workers headed to Wendy and Han’s house for a buffet style meal, which consisted of: olives, breads, salads, rice, potatoes, turkey and meats and an array of deserts. But sitting on a veranda looking out to sea made us feel a million miles away from freezing cold Britain.

Christmas Day, and Karis’ birthday, was all too weird.

We awoke, watched a Christmas film on TV, played scrabble, strolled along the beach and just snacked all day.

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In the evening, we headed over to the other worker house for a toga party and ate one of the most unique buffet meals I’ve ever had:

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TRIP ONE:
GREAT BARRIER REEF:
22.12.16

 This was, and remains to be, one of the best days of our lives.

Wendy organised the trip and managed to get us a discount, which obviously was welcomed with open arms. We went with a boat company called Calypso, and our boat was named bubbles. Our day included three snorkel locations, a buffet lunch and unlimited tea, cake and fruit.

But, before we could jump in the water we had to be dressed in this striking attire:

We were covered head to toe in a stinger suit due to the time of year.

Armed with ridiculously huge flippers and a full body suit that made us look hilarious, we both eagerly leaped into the water.

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Upon submerging our heads, our snorkelling experience in Whitsundays became a distant memory.

It was absolutely incredible.

We were surrounded by an architecturally stunning and colourful city hidden beneath the sea.

At each snorkelling location we spent an hour, but due to the huge array to see, it may as well have been minutes. We saw hundreds of different fish. But the ones that stood out most were the multiple clown fish and blue tangs … but that is as far as my fish knowledge, thanks to Finding Nemo, goes.

The reef looked exactly like how David Attenborough displays it on a Sunday evening and we were so sad to leave.

The day ended with hitchhiking home – an activity that we were both taught to fear from a young age. But, as everyone does it in Australia it was considered the norm. It took three cars to get us back to Newell Beach, but each driver was lovely and funnily enough the final driver lived next door.

TRIP TWO:
Daintree Rainforest:
29.12.16

 Our final trip in Australia was a no brainer really. We were living next door to the Daintree Rainforest, so it seemed only right that we should go and explore.

Wendy organised the trip for us, and like the barrier reef she managed to get us discount. We went with a company called Daintree wonder tours, who we could not recommend enough.

Our day started at 7:30am and we headed straight to Mossman Gorge. But only after the whole mini bus had got over their fascination with how Karis’ surname combines two of the best words: God and beer.

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After being at the gorge for only two minutes we stumbled, quite literally, upon an amethystine python that was bathing in the sun on the footpath.

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Whilst our tour guide happily told us we could take photos, he informed us that this type of snake has been known to try to eat aboriginal children in their sleep. Upon hearing this rather unwelcome news, everyone edged around the snake and we carried on our tour of the gorge.

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Next, we headed into the rainforest on the ferry, where we were lucky enough to see a Cassowary and its two babies. But after being warned about how dangerous they can be with their claws, which they can use to slice your throat or stomach, no one (apart from one idiot who kept the flash permanently on his camera) got too close … hence the rather appalling photos.

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We also saw a plant which was coated with many sharp hooks. The plants appearance, as well as its side effects upon touching your skin, was nasty. It can cause you, if you’re lucky enough to be pricked by it, to vomit instantly and feel like you’re on fire … symptoms that can return for 3-12 months!?

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Next on the itinerary was Cape Tribulation, the only place on earth where two heritage sites meet, the first being the Daintree Rainforest and the second being the Great Barrier Reef.

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We stopped off for lunch, which consisted of a delicious steak and buffet, before swimming in a nearby creek that was safe from crocodiles.

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Our last activity of the day was a crocodile cruise, where we were lucky enough to see a baby as well as a two-meter-long crocodile. Whilst on the tour one fact stuck out very prominently: crocodiles can hold their breath for as long as six hours because they are able to lower their heart rate to just two beats a minute.

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Whilst on route back to Newell Beach exhausted from the action packed day, we stopped off for ice cream … but with a twist. The ice cream we were given had four different flavours, which you could not choose. The flavours were just according to what fruits were in season. So we tried Davidson plum, wattle seed, passion fruit and Guanabana (also known as sour sop).

CAIRNS
03.01.17 – 05.01.17

 Before our flight to New Zealand, we decided to cut our time at Newell Beach short so that we could explore Cairns. We stayed with Stu, via air Bnb, about a thirty-minute walk away from the centre via the esplanade.

On our first night we went for a slap up meal to celebrate Karis’ birthday, but I feel the night will always be remembered thanks to the crazy taxi driver who insisted on dedicating AND singing songs to Karis for the entire journey.

Whilst we were in Cairns, before the rain arrived we were able to swim in the lagoon.

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But after, we just explored the various shopping malls and watched the newest Star Wars, before having to walk home in the POURING rain.

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The next morning, we awoke at 3AM, yes three am, to catch a 6am flight to Brisbane, where we had to wait a very long ten hours to catch our next flight to Auckland.

 

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